Jenny continues to amaze me
the Greek tragedians, who, for all their differences, wrestle with the same fundamental issue of man’s relation to the gods, often within the framework constructed by Hesiod.
She says her books on Homer, the Homeric Hymns, and, here, Hesiod, are on early Greek theology. In other words the original theology in the west. The Greeks had to live within that set horizon or they would either have been exiled or killed.
I like the way Stan Rosen describes the evolution out of theology
the replacement of mirrors with Ideas. Whereas one sees an image of oneself upon looking into a mirror, Ideas do not reflect.
Homer and Hesiod were still emotional beings. They saw their own low impulse control, passionate nature in “the gods”.
For contrast you might remember Harold Bloom’s critique of Plato- basically, “I’m a human being and I’m not ashamed of it.” I think most people can relate to Bloom. Plato’s is the ascetic perspective. In my opinion, in a healthy society there is an exchange between the two perspectives. We don’t have that in ours. Ask yourself, is low impulse control a good thing? Think of Bourdieu’s book on the French nobility and taste. In more refined spirits a disgust arises when one recognizes that one is indulging in low impulse control.
Going back to some notes I kept about 6 years ago, Rosen has some real gems
Poetry celebrates the diversity of the human soul, but philosophy inculcates the correct principles of the best life.
If you’ve survived to read this you’ve definitely gotten an accelerated education. Rosen is one of the most explicit ones you’ll find in print and reading him again I’m finding he was a very elementary esotericist.
It’s because this isn’t able to unfold all at once
In this chaotic time of relativism, extremely anti-demotic interpretations are allowed to emerge. Will they be understood by everyone? Of course not. Still, we have our own “pantheon of Hesiod” to adjust to, hence Rosen is required to be a “hinty” writer.
[Aristotle’s] solution to the political problem is to replace the philosopher with the gentleman. The modern (and postmodern) tradition begins with the ostensible replacement of the gentleman by the people. It remains to be seen whether this choice will endure.
Rosen’s colleague Allan Bloom was a “hinty gentleman” also. It’s good to read these two in our time when the people have replaced all the gentlemen. To give you a hint about the above quote, notice that term “the people” seems neutral on its surface. We know here that there are a lot more “ruder and ungentlemanly” ways of referring to them.
I want to show you that one Rembrandt again
2000 years of Christianity- GONE. That was the only safeguard keeping the people from lapsing entirely into being “the people” exclusively. Look at that face above. That was someone who believed in the Higher Good. People were reluctant to “crucify” others who challenged the status quo. That was the great value of Christianity, and why science was allowed to emerge in the west. Everyone felt that guilt about being the one who nailed Jesus to the cross. That is gone now. It’s all people who don’t challenge anything now. Because they’re afraid they will be crucified. And you know what? That fear is in the right place, because that WILL be their fate.