Back to this idea of the modern adaptation of ancients- the two Confessions
both texts present the conversionary experience, with Augustine finding the truth in willing what God wills and Rousseau discovering the image of the natural self
Augustine’s was considered the landmark autobiography and Rousseau wanted to write a better one. We can learn from the latter’s ambition if nothing else. Nietzsche’s is hilarious, I think he went beyond both, that’s another story though.
Look at this, they were freer than us in the year 390 AD
Christ did nothing by force, but did everything by persuading and warning. Indeed the old slavery [mankind under Mosaic Law] having been ended, the time of liberty dawned
Augustine later in life corrects his error and notes that Christ DID use force when he attacked the usurers in the temple.
Confession, to him, was a kind of auto-crucifixion. Parrhesia in part means asking for forgiveness for speaking. Letting the soul express itself can be painful for the speaker and the listener.
The Christian preacher was a political figure for Augustine. When you challenge the world it pains you to pain others. Usually people avoid it for that reason. Nonetheless, it’s more prominent in the west than other places. Back to that idea of collectivist peoples being one uniform blob.
It’s like how I tell you to be real, to be serious for one second. No one wants to sacrifice themselves. They’re probably worried the blob will gobble them up. Well, that’s why it’s called a sacrifice. That’s the only way progress can be made, through defiance and the mutual suffering it causes. Everyone lives in their own little hidey-hole, doesn’t want to play peek-a-boo and represent the self-awareness of the blob, the emanation of Spirit above the social pyramid. The crucifixion above the pyramid.
Anyway, a secret of the history of Christianity I’m learning- Augustine’s model of the preacher is rooted in the rhetorical science of the pagan Cicero. Scandalous. Modern day people already know that in their marrow though without having to learn about it explicitly, hence Rousseau’s Confessions are much more palatable to them than Augustine’s. Some scholars have called it Rousseau’s Cult of Sincerity. We’re all part of that cult on some level, unless you’re like Amish or something. As with most things these days it is a vulgar form of sincerity that is often expressed. Tell me about your sexual urges or your bowel movements, I love to re-live middle school. How brave and daring you are. There are many adults who find it genuinely “edgy” to talk about their “private parts”. This is a coarse form of sincerity, they’re still living in reaction to puritanical Christian norms rather than simply not caring about them. Try saying something that might get you crucified instead. “I’m content being milquetoast.” Yeah, I know. This is my sincerity about popular sincerity. Toilet humor isn’t true confession. If I ever witnessed anyone actually being real for once I’d probably faint. They’d probably have to go insane on some level to do that. They haven’t yet had a “conversionary” experience in other words.
ARE there two yous?
burdened with the challenge of reconciling his subjective understanding of self with the amalgamated views of a public account
Or are you just purely a mini-blob? Looking at all the totally failed human beings out there I do have an initial suspicion that there are two yous. I’ve learned to simply address the blob, unfortunately.
Does the non-blob in you relate to this at all?
the autobiography transitions from natural goodness of childhood, to the corrupting bourgeois emptiness of high society
It wasn’t published until 13 years after it was written, and by then he was already dead, so we have to imagine it was painful for him the thought of his contemporaries knowing he wasn’t “all blob”. I myself have the unshakable feeling that I’m mostly only talking to the blob.