Monday, August 8, 2011

"To read life" a section of an essay

This is the first section of this essay what I will explore at length in another essay, the idea that life is structure like a book, that to order life we can write it as authors, that we can plot our events and work towards the resolution of out goals. Literary criticism becomes a central philosophical viewpoint, a method for approaching all things.

Daniel Christopher June


4. To Read Life

Michelangelo - The Sibyl of Delphi.JPG

            Both consciously and unconsciously – that is, allistically – the mind seeks patterns in all it sees. You may have a theory about why your neighbor leaves the house at a certain time every Friday, and consciously think it over, but unconsciously you are weighing up his every step and gesture, and take it in, about that and all things, encyclopedias of information, which are only dumbly felt in the conscious mind. Each speck of dust is infinite, and infinitely interpretable.

            The act of reading life is as complex as the act of reading a book. If only I could read a book for half an hour, and record every mental process on every level, so that I could study this at leisure and figure out the go and way of my thinking. In each book there are lines and circles running through like blue in red marble. The geometrical ideas implied by concepts form a hidden image and this is present in every reading. There are levels of imagination to every novel; the picturesque is only the most obvious layer; deeper still are layers which cannot be seen without special methods of meditation, though we all feel them and are moved. As every overtone of the violin is heard, though not consciously differentiated, so every aspect of life is infinitely subtle until we know how to read it.

            The living genre is that work of art a society puts most focus upon. The ancients held the living genre of myths, stories of the gods; the not-so ancients held the living genre of legends, stories of demigods and heroes; the last few centuries have held the living genre of novels, stories of every day people and their inner world; today we hold the genre of the cinema, dioramas of perfect visual expressions, emphasizing the close-up and the well-framed. The reduction from the universal archetype down to the specific instance parallels the reduction of theocracy down to the present day democracy: our government is of, by, and for the average man.

            The forms we daily live with inform those we daily make. Because I am an American living in the 21st century, I will write a certain way; not merely do I write in American English, but I write in a certain mode of American. The events that surround me, the “War Against Terror” which this nation has wrought against the attacks of 9-11, the threat of communist China, the never-ending daily blah-blah-blah of the news, inform me despite my disinterest. I must accept such things, must accept them unconsciously, allistically, even if consciously I attempt to avoid such newspaper gossip.

            I take my daily life, my work life, family life, and reading life, as the eternal triad of tropic concerns. For the Transcendentalists, the study of nature was the trope fountain, to discover metaphors for human nature in the emerging natural sciences. Once we have discovered our field of study, and once we have hammered out our archetypal ideas, books pour from our hands as if our fingers were pens and pencils, or as if we bled ink.











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