Tried to read some Gadamer, and he’s no Strauss. H had lots of well-known thinkers in his courses on the ancients, for instance Marcuse was his teaching assistant for a few years. The other day though I read that Strauss is “perhaps the last of the major Western commentators” and I’d have to agree. There’s lots of debate on what his politics really were, and I’ve always found this letter in particular to be illuminating. Did the later shoah change that very much? Did living in Chicongo? Not from what I can tell.

The scare-quotes on this article I just saw make me laugh

His letters to Löwith in general though are pretty interesting in that they contain hints for new paths that can be taken in terms of “commentary”. He calls Gotthold Lessing and Jonathan Swift the freest minds of the modern era. And to my knowledge there still hasn’t really been much written about them.

Let’s look at what else he says about these two. He calls them

the greatest representatives of the ancient party in the quarrel… These men had no doubt that antiquity, that is true philosophy, is an eternal possibility

What’s immediately striking about Gulliver’s Travels is that it looks like a children’s story on the surface. You’re probably going “Huh? What could Strauss possibly be talking about?” You COULD easily read it to children, and they’d probably find it funny.

“Okay.. how are you going to make this into toxic psychopath material? I’m waiting for it.” You think you know me?

Let’s jog your memory here- perhaps from childhood

This is the most memorable image from the book. Maybe this is a reflection of the author himself in a sense, if Strauss is onto something real.

Gulliver travels to four lands, above he is in Lilliput, where the people are miniature. Any Straussian relates to Gulliver above, and all my readers are Straussians. Don’t worry, I won’t mention that to your boss.

Gulliver in Lilliput is the Greeks.

“Well at least he isn’t talking about the Jews.” Uh didn’t I just mention Lilliput?

I was surprised by the boldness of something I saw in a State University of New York Press publication (which if you want a glance at the Lessing side of the quoted letters you can read here)

When he was still a young professor of philology at the University of Basel, Nietzsche wrote that the content of Plato’s Republic went beyond anything that παρρησία could permit even in the freest state… Does the freedom of expression of the freest state today permit the literal exposition of Plato’s Republic?

I’ve never seen this in print before! Do they answer the question very honestly? No. The fact that they asked it is what matters. No one ever goes that far. And the Republic is just the tip of the iceberg.

Children find this hilarious, and even adults would never expect…

Gulliver’s Travels satisfies all audiences.

You might recall that Dugin’s Aristotle series was removed from youtube.

To understand this it helps to examine The Battle of the Books that was written about 30 years before Gulliver’s Travels. It’s a fantasy to think we can return to the ancients- what’s called for here is a “non-modern modernity”. I think most people will feel “personally attacked” by the linked-to satire. We’re all moderns after all. This is an earlier “Gulliver” looking in on us. Medieval theologians are designated as the proto-modern villains

one’s reputation depended not on one’s intrinsic value but on the controversies created through the de(con)struction of existing theories.

We’re just the clones of people from the 1200s. We worship the “goddess Criticism”.

Found out!

It’s postulated that it was avarice and envy that led us to go to war with the ancients.

I CAN imagine Strauss being amused by the anthropomorphization of books into soldiers, given his famous thought about Machiavelli.

“Modernity is here to stay, just accept it!” I just like to learn what classic books are really about.

Both Blooms have some interesting writings on the book in question

Gulliver’s Travels is a discussion of human nature, particularly of political man, in the light of the great split. In general, the plan of the book is as follows: Book I, modern political practice, especially the politics of Britain and France; Book II, ancient political practice on something of a Roman or Spartan model; Book III, modern philosophy in its effect on political practice; Book IV, ancient utopian politics used as a standard for judging man understood as the moderns wished to understand him.

I really have to hand it to Strauss, because I’ve been stopping at Aquinas and Duns Scotus, and “Gulliver” designates them as moderns too!

I can already tell this is “PhD dedication” level material so just take this as a glance (and Lessing will likely be the same).

Allan Bloom has a great collection of essays titled Giants and Dwarfs

Gulliver is as a giant in Lilliput because of what he has learned in Brobdingnag; when he is with the Brobdingnagians, however, he returns to his awareness of himself as a real Lilliputian.

See, just the name of these people would make a kid smile- Brobdingnagians. You wouldn’t guess it’s a genealogy of modernity. I know I feel like a Lilliputian in the presence of Aristotle.

Am I the only one that’s creeped out by these depictions of the Brobdingnagians in this Straussian context?

I’m getting UFO vibes from this.

Here’s neechboi

Neoplatonism levels off the charts in Gulliver’s Travels.

That feel when you’re studying Heidegger’s Aristotle courses

Now let’s think of Gulliver among the Lilliputians again


Allan Bloom himself is one of these latter types he speaks of here

the great majority of men cannot, for lack of experience, understand the great superiority of soul which is humanly possible.

Just let it all out in public, Gulliver. It’s totally not YOU in the above picture, tied down.

Some of the covers of this book that are meant for kids look so innocent.

No, Bloom was one of those people I mentioned yesterday who removed the all-too-human from the Forms and consequently could appear cold and inhuman, maybe why you don’t hear much about him anymore today. He’s the one I’ve quoted before from his commentary on the Republic about creating an aristocratic society-within-a-society. The Closing of the American Mind isn’t even his best writing. I omit a couple things I just read from this essay because they’re too cold. “Aww man!” Sorry I have manners.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: