The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap. - Novalis

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Canon

It would do me a lot of good to understand more clearly what it is about certain kinds of Authority that I have found so compelling for so long. It has really been a terrible constraint on my life. I am thinking particularly about literary & intellectual authority. Why Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Nietzsche? Why did they (and Others) seem to me to harbor Truths that I had to understand in order to live my life? Was it the seriousness? The "profundity"? The difficulty? Perhaps partly it stems from a desire to have someone tell you the best way to live your life rather than having to figure it out on your own and probably get it ALL WRONG.

These and related questions are directly relevant to any discussion of the authority of a sacred text - its orthodox reading versus the "heretical," mystical and creative readings that stand so often in opposition to the institutionally approved readings. Much of my attraction to Henry Corbin stems from his understanding of these dynamics. In any case thinking about Corbin brings all these various threads together. 

And in this context its hard to ignore Harold Bloom, who is a big fan of Corbin, and whose books I have long disliked precisely because of and in spite of their arrogant AUTHORITY.

Here are a couple of nice commentaries noted today on Ron Silliman's ever-useful blog:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

On Sabrina Dalla Valle

I'm way out ahead of myself on this since I haven't actually read this book - which I am about to order - but I like what has been said about it here and what she says about her work here and here. Surely worth some scrutiny.

"In early history, philosophy and poetry were one and the same: the Veda Sutras, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Homeric Epics, the Bible, the Kalevala, the I Ching… others that I cannot list right now. Here, the entire notion of modes of ‘deliverance’ and ‘intent’ is wrapped up with guides for how to live a sane life within an unpredictable and mysterious world. These are written as puzzles, narratives, songs, psalms, verses ~ all uses of language that are more ceremonial gazing into a mythical/pre-historical sense of the world. This interdependence between state of awareness and rhetorical modality is sacrosanct to me. But also, maybe because of translations and difference in our historical awareness, these works are chaotic. As we become more modern, the author’s voice (philosopher and poet) becomes more self-reflective, less focused on the mythical legacy of the wild universe and more attentive to the scattered wilderness of the soul."