What Emerson says of the best books
they impress us with the conviction, that one nature wrote and the same reads.
It’s how you find out who you are. If you never read great works then you’ll never know the best person you could be.
This can be said of any media. We’re more impressionable beings than we like to believe. We are others. Right now I am being an other to you and telling you that you have a choice to be what others you are and choose to be around others that make you the best person you can be. That often means being around others who are not alive anymore technically. Those are arguably the only real souls that exist. It’s as harsh as it is true- if you don’t spend time with them then you won’t have a real soul. No one talks like this and it’s so important- we’re talking about your soul, what else is more important? Just going back to the basics here. You know the self that you are is important, right? And the self is shaped by others near it?
You know when you’re alone and pass a group of people that kind of look at you intimidatingly? That’s how I feel when I look at a “societyling”, that I’m in a group of people. Are those people not alive? They might as well be alive in my mind. I look at individual people alive today with them, we’re in a group looking at you. Do I ever truly understand Plato? Probably not! Is something similar to him, an image of him, standing next to me in said group? Yes. We watch you. Trust us, you want to be the one watching, not the one that’s watched. You want to be in this group. Everyone in it disagrees with one another- what is similar about all of them is they differ from the typical person who’s alive today. The true souls of history can be recovered, resuscitated. Hello, this is Harold Bloom talking to you right now. Or at least someone who momentarily realized who they are through Harold Bloom. From certain severe perspectives, there are people you do not want to use to realize who you are. Most people today realize who they are through various vulgarians. That’s not who you want to be, you don’t have to be that way. That isn’t you. “You” is arguably only learned after reading a bunch of the Great Books. So don’t pretend you know who you are until you’ve done that. You’re not fooling “us”.
Bloom in certain ways is a better hermeneuticist than people who tend to hold that title
Reading falls apart, and much of the self scatters with it… What is to be done can only be performed by some version of elitism, and that is now unacceptable
This is the trick, you need someone to direct you to that. If you’re only around others who never direct you to it then you will never realize who you are. You will only realize who you are through them, the vulgarians in denial, and that is a pretty modest self to be. You’re betraying the status quo, oh no. It’s better for the status quo to betray it. You have to turn your back on your own self first, or at least the self you think you are. This is a soul factory here, and I can only give you the instructions on how to create one of those. Like I said, I don’t know many human beings.