Tuesday, June 16, 2015

happy trails



A June 1 “site update” note at the gedavis.com blog [March 16, 2017: which has been abandoned in preference for the “discursive living” blog] got cavalier with an unnamed friend who’s a psychiatrist to the rich in a very wealthy corner of a southern state. We’ve been corresponding for years as compatriats of interest in some areas of philosophy.
Would you like to read about a psychoanalyst’s confused sense of “Intelligence”? That is with a capital ‘I’ (while equating ‘daimon’ and ‘demon’). (I prefer the spelling ‘daimon’ rather than ‘daemon’ because the Aristolelian notion of being well is standardly spelled ‘eudaimonia’—not that I’m Aristotelian, but as Greek terms go….)
When I wrote that about ‘daimon / daemon’, I didn’t know that great Harold Bloom last month published The Daemon Knows: literary greatness and the American sublime. American sensibility is fundamentally different from European sensibility. Bloom has argued that America is basically a "post-Christian" land (The American Religion, 1992).

Historical origin of that is “divine” humanism of the Renaissance, I would argue—which would be a long story. A beautiful lineage of European sensibility bypasses Christianity, beginning with Classical Greek sensibility, retrieved by the Italian Renaissance. Even for pre-Christian Palestine, Hellenic culture was already deeply rooted when a few writers refined their idea (decades in the making) of a christos—Greek term—whose life-based humanism would antedate the exclusive and otherworldly Judaism of their time. One and a half millennia later, Renaissance humanism in northwest Europe preceded the Reformation, leading to the Reformation.

And so, there arose Literature. Bloom wrote a large book entitled Shakespeare: the invention of the human, as earthy, cosmic, divine, and mortal Will is a god to Harold. Mysteries of a round planet inspired a new conception of humanity to be embodied by the New World, wholly ideal back then: positive freedom to, beyond Europe’s negative (depressive) freedom from (as literary historian Andrew Delbanco argued years ago).

But Bloom’s designs are wholly Literary—and, for my point, American....

—which reminds me: Today is Bloomsday—not about Harold, ha, rather: Leopold, his common hours made sublime as James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Have I told you?—excuse the repetition (I forget)—I was born on a Bloomsday; and my dad’s name was Homer (he hated that name, his father’s; went by “Ed”—‘E.’ for ‘Edward’), long dead, done in by a sea—really.



Meanwhile, I’m boggled by the death of six Irish students in Berkeley today, Bloomsday. I couldn’t have been aware of that, in wee hours of this morning when I was writing, “happy trails”; and when the partyers fell.