Detailansicht

In: KulturPoetik 2013, Heft 2

Autor

Karl Eibl

Titel

Von der Unwahrscheinlichkeit der Lyrik und weshalb es sie trotzdem gibt. Teil II: Lyrik. Undeutliche Rede über wichtige Sachen

Kategorie

Beitrag

Abstract

Religion and lyric poetry are treated as responses to the same problem intrinsic to the human intellect. It is the problem of the unachievable cognitive imperative: »Be omniscient!« This problem is rooted in our biological constitution as inhabitants of the »cognitive niche«. Ignorance of any important matter touches on our most efficient tool for survival and causes uncertainty and anxiety. Several means are used to alleviate this problem, such as providing a temporal context through the idea of progress or a social context of faith in personal or institutional authorities.
The first part of the paper was concerned with religion as the most frequently used means of coping with the problem of the cognitive imperative. The purpose of religious rituals is not to communicate verifiable truth. Instead, their rhetorics employing »meaningless« repetition and circumstantiality appeal to evolutionary cognitive devices, especially the »induction instinct« and sensitivity to »handicap signals«, in order to assure us of the permanence of the world and of the relevance of the message.
The second part of the paper deals with lyric poetry as a way of solving the same problem using similar means. Its tendency to ignore or to hide literal references and to show a playful surface with meaningless repetitions and »handicaps« parallels that of religion. Imprecision of reference and strict form allow it to treat matters which are highly relevant but of which we don’t have sufficient knowledge (such as God, life, love …).