sense that it stems directly from Dr.nDeutsch’s imagination, or at least fromnwhat he imagines to be scholarly language.nHowever, it has no apparent direction,nno discernible purpose othernthan to celebrate itself. I’ve always feltnthat such displays of creative writing,nespecially in scholarship, were sort of likenart without purpose, linguistic equivalentsnof graffiti or, perhaps, statues ofnpink flamingos on front lawns: interestingnto look at for about a minute, but ofnno particular consequence except to distractnfrom what might otherwise be seennclearly.nNevertheless, I plowed on through thenbook, making notes on senseless wordsnand phrases that defied reference-bookndenotations, and I came to the followingnconclusions.nOne, a physical description of a thingnmakes a thing what it is and separates itnfrom all other things; it puts a thing intona class of things and distinguishes it fromnall other things in that class; it establishesna thing as unique. People are notnthings because they possess reason and,nhence, defy essential definition basedncompletely on physical accidents andnproperties.nTwo, Professor Deutsch believes thatneach person is a unique individual becauseneach person is aware that he or shenis unique.nThree, individuality is a product ofnpersonality, which is, in turn, a productnof recalled experience, both imaginednand real, both vicarious and actual; nontwo individuals perceive even an identicalnexperience the same way; rather, theynmodify it according to previous or anticipatednexperience, environment, educa­n48/CHRONICLESntion; it is further modified by heredity.nFour, creativity is the product of appliednpersonality, modified by experience,nwhich also is modified (see numbernthree); it is, therefore, unique to eachnindividual, as each individual is uniquento himself.nSuch conclusions, of course, reveal nonnew ideas; none of them has sufficientnimpact to rock even a junior high classnto its foundations or to get a clockwatcher’snmind off lunch and sex. Mostnof this was discovered by Locke, Hume,nDescartes, Spinoza, and, of course, thengreat-granddaddy of all philosophy,nAristotle. To a certain extent, one cannreach the same conclusions by readingnthe Old Testament—or Dr. Seuss.nCould it be that this is all ProfessornDeutsch is saying? I think so. And thatndecision led me to two more conclusions:nOne, Professor Deutsch has a prettyngood little sinecure; I mean, if he can getnhis own university press to publish notnone but two volumes of this stuff andnstill pay him to teach, then he’s a muchnsmarter man than 1 am or ever will be.nOn top of everything else, he gets to gonsurfing anytime he feels like it. Two,nmore than likely, anyone who has readnthis book and understands it—includingnthe editors at the University of HawaiinPress—is either lying or is so far removednfrom the average educated individual’snlevel of intelligence that the CIA willnprobably want him as a cryptographer. (Inmight add that when a scholar has troublenwith spatial perception and can’t tellnan adverb from an adjective, I have troublentrusting his ability to probe thendepths of human philosophical development.)nNone of this should imply that Dr.nDeutsch is a confidence artist. Actually,nhe falls well into the mainstream of absolutelynlegitimate, completely acceptable,nhighly motivated, and much celebratedncontemporary scholarly pursuits as theynare being practiced by the “best minds”nin America’s universities today. Thosenprofessors on the “cutting edge” of intellectualninquiry spend a lot of their timendoing a lot of talking—mostly to eachnother—about a lot of really importantnstuff. It’s so important, indeed, thatnonly a few of them have any notion ofnwhat it is, and even fewer of them havenany understanding of what’s being saidnabout it. But that’s how merit pay andnrelease time come about.nAristotle observes in The Poetics thatnthe first consideration of rhetoric is audi­nnnence; whom one is writing for (or, in thenold Greek’s case, speaking to), then, isnthe first and most important decision anwriter must make when generating ideasnthrough an expressive medium. Mynquestion is, “Who is Professor Deutschnwriting this book for?” The answer mustnbe “great thinkers,” fellow philosophers,nand profound intellectuals, most ofnwhom are probably so far removed fromnthe creative process that, without a fullnmorning’s contemplation of the problem,nthey have difficulty matching a pairnof black socks.nI suspect I’ve inadvertently revealednmy own personal prejudice. The sort ofnscholarship represented by Creative Beingnis self-serving to the point of egomania.nIt is indicative of the worst of contemporarynintellectual fads in the academy: ifnit can be understood, it must not benimportant; if it fails to confuse, it fails tonelevate.nThe function of scholarly inquirynhas always been and should remain thenclarification of the obscure, the explanationnof the difficult, the opening of thatnwhich is closed. In the past two decadesnor so, that has changed. Part of the reason,nI think, is the tremendous pressurenon young and not-so-young scholars tonfind something new to say and to publishnit in order to advance in the profession;nrather than thinking creatively, however,nthey are busily pouring old wine into newnbottles and labeling them in a languagenno one can read. Indeed, the presentnfunction of scholarship seems to be tonconceal the obvious, to make hard theneasy, and to close the accessible—in othernwords, to achieve tenure, no matternwhat the cost to the greater body ofnknowledge in the worid.nThus, I refused the offer to review thisnbook. The editor also refused to acceptnthis essay in lieu of a review. (I suspectnshe may know Professor Deutsch.) I explainednthat had I not agreed to reviewnit before I saw it, I would probably havenperused the first five or ten pages andnplaced it on a special bookshelf I keepnfor books fitting the category “Life’s ToonShort.” There it would join a dozen ornso other much celebrated and discussednbut seldom truly read volumes, which Infirmly believe would never have beennpublished if the editors were willing tonconfess that they couldn’t understandnwhatever it was their authors thoughtnthey were trying to say.nClay Reynolds writes from Denton, Texas.n