Wanting to see what Bloom, the master of poets, has to say about philosophy

What he looks for when he reads is aesthetic splendor, intellectual power, and wisdom. Aesthetic splendor, I could use some of that in my life. He says societal pressures obscure all three of them. Therefore it’s up to us to muse on them ourselves. I choose now as my muse one of recent time’s greatest appreciators of those through history who were inspired by the Muses.

He distinguishes between beauty, truth, and insight, seeming to imply that what makes poetry and philosophy similar is insight. So perhaps a question less biased toward a philosophic framing is Where Shall Insight Be Found?

Hint- if poetry is wisdom why isn’t it ever included in the canon?

If poetry’s insight is higher than wisdom then isn’t philosophy for inconsistent fools?

Bloom claims Plato would’ve been even unhappier with the great poets of modernity than he was with Homer. Might explain some things… The ones who invented the self that we know he would have kicked out of society. Bloom begins a book on these subjects with extensive quotes from the Talmud. As if to ask rhetorically, “Where do you think wisdom shall be found?” My old time readers will find the way he structured this book rather amusing in light of that

Do I trust someone like with “what’s strictly canonical”? The imperative to kill the best goys echoes through my mind for some reason. I can think of a few Russians he suspiciously omits, for instance.

I’m just skipping to the Greek chapter, okay? They should have been extensively quoted in the introduction, in this Stupid Ivan’s humble opinion. So where shall wisdom be found? We’re trying to figure that out. (P. S. think of the Book of Job there as drawing on a black eye with a marker.)

Remember, academics hesitate to affiliate themselves with Bloom these days. In a sense, many simply accept his idea of the canon as definitive. And then they proceed from there to proggify it. I want to do the opposite.

Anyway, people DO tend to forget this is how philosophy arose

I’m going to have to focus more on Homer in the future for that reason.

The way Bloom pits the fundamental agon is J’s Moses vs. Plato’s Socrates. (Did the Hebrews have a “Homer”? Of course we speculate about that and call it Atlantis.) Moses tells you what to do, Socrates asks you what you should do. Both claim to have a certain divine power.

People these days aren’t even taught where the Life of the Mind started, no wonder they don’t question anything and only follow orders

He goes on to say the Republic makes him unhappy, even furious – (((I wonder why))). Let’s hear him out though, maybe some can relate to his perspective better than I can. He says this chief work of Plato’s is the origin of what he calls the School of Resentment, which I alluded to the other day. Also it is where ideology was born, Puritanism he calls it.

I see some of the ways TV cartoons are drawn these days, and they’re so ugly. Children identify with that ugliness. I guess I’m a Puritan for being against that. And that’s not even to say anything about the messages of those cartoons. I watched an old clip of Rocket Power (remember that show?) the other day and I was cringing at it, I would not want kids these days to see that. None of us have much of an idea what we really watched as kids because we were too naive.

Here are two other types, I dunno, Bloom is probably right (tragically)

Leo Strauss mused on a reconciliation between Athens and Jerusalem, which I believe is not possible.

I muse nonetheless.

This book though is really a blind side of Bloom. Most of his many many books are on the poets. An exception I saw was one on Rousseau who also was pretty harsh on the arts. Some read that statement and find it quite amusing I bet hearing it from me.

He knows Strauss/ianism so these might be more of the poet’s-eye-view of Plato that he prefers

He probably felt personally attacked by Strauss if I had to guess.

This is why you can’t trust someone like him with what counts as a Great Book. He says himself elsewhere that they shouldn’t be read in terms of their purpose of education, and for the sake of the public good. Even if that intention isn’t there they are going to be educative and they are going to affect the public good.

Oh this is getting good, he’s bringing STAN Rosen into the mix

Being the severe critic that he is he takes issue with this

How are we to believe that Homer, unlike Socrates, does not lay hold of the Truth? Socrates knows the difference between images and reality, while Homer supposedly does not.

You can’t be serious. This is just pure relativism which is typical for the poetry side of the debate. Homer doesn’t know reality in Plato’s sense, that’s so absurd as to not even warrant a response. The images of Homer carry more of a reality to most people, that doesn’t mean he can explain them himself. Ironically, Bloom is essentially treating Rosen here like Homer and being a Platonist, i.e. he’s acting like Rosen’s “image” can’t be explained or improved upon rationally. He’s definitely out of his element in this book, I appreciate it though. You can tell that Platonists existentially “offend” him, perhaps beyond anyone. Reading Plato, to him, must be like personally visiting the Inferno, in his language.

This sort of reveals Bloom’s implicit worldview, and it’s relatable

It’s more of a moderation of excess than a call to be devoid of personality. I feel “enthralled” in this debate. I sense that he is out of his control pulled into being more philosophical than usual and one gets the sense that he’s better off talking about literature. Look at him squirm! Something truly ironic about this. Because Plato is arguably the first “literary critic” which Bloom believed himself to be the exemplification of in our time. And Plato really gets on his nerves, you can tell.

Something else that reveals Bloom

Homer’s all-too-human gods sincerely offended Plato.

He feels accused of being all-too-human when he reads Plato.

I told you the other day I’d love to see someone give Bloom a lashing for a change!

Where shall wisdom be found? I think I have to conclude that it is in their quarrel, rather than either in one or the other, philosophy or poetry.

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