That idea of cyclical history though, I like that, it gives me “hope”. Most people in this sphere know the basic idea of Spengler, of decline. Aren’t we lucky one of the great novels of recent times concerns waking up from one’s wake? “There’s no cycles, man, the west is just done, once it dies it dies and that’s it, and it’s already pretty much dead.” I like hope shut up! Besides, from a cynical Khaldunian perspective the more one “artifies” (not to be confused with “artifice”) history to seem cyclical the more the reality will be hyperstitioned into existence. Yes, I believe the West is going to wake up from its own wake, call me a priest if you want. Joyce said himself he doesn’t care if Vico’s theories are true, just that they fuel his imagination. Studying the former, it’s like something exotic. “What is this artist critter anyway?” Is this similar to how Socrates perceived Sophocles?
This is counter-intuitive
Joyce does not pursue beauty as the ideal of art; he pursues the conscience of the race in his own conscience
I’m not reading him as “neutral”, I’m reading him as a Platonist reads poets, which is to say as someone who attempts to forge consciences.
He might have been self-aware of this himself, look at this
Were you expecting to find a historiographer in a novelist? I wasn’t.
I’m just shaking the casket here. Is this the “denial stage”? Wake up wake up!
I can’t wait for the west to have its own “century of humiliation”. We’re already in the first years of that, arguably.
Vico is probably so obscure today because he conflicts with our End of History theology. The reality is that we’re heading toward the beginning of a worse history. And we’ve already began. Joyce believes, or at least wants others to believe, in the possibility of renewal. I.e. history didn’t end, it continues, and we can begin again- to wake is to rise, rise instead of decline, rise instead of be buried. I think I remember late Jünger anticipating a century or so of the rise of the East and the decline of the West. Not to be a doomsayer- if the opportunity presents itself they will bury us. If you’re a rotten corpse who wants you around anyway? The west is already pulling dirt over itself- the Chinese will only have the arms left to bury. “No, we’ll pull those down into the dirt ourselves.”
Remember how those anthropologists pointed out that philosophical theories about the state of nature are mythical? Vico, who was 11 when Hobbes died, speculated that history began with a sublime thunder boom that scared the roving primitives into caves where they began family life, and Joyce uses 100-letter onomatopoeic “thunderwords” as if to act as Jove to restart the cycle, so he sort of represents a “beginning of history” theory. Remember, Vico is only a way to get a bird’s-eye-view of the novel, there are other ways to interpret it too, this is just preliminary. I’m just interpreting this as the sequel to Spengler, which again, I see us as being extremely fortunate to have had someone of Joyce’s caliber to at least attempt. The Wake of the West. What, are you accusing me of having a reactionary agenda in this interpretation? I’m just looking at him the way he looked at Vico- as fuel for the imagination.