Sunday, July 18, 2004


Read below....


I am inspired to reread some of Shakespeare’s plays (who I haven’t read since undergraduate days in the early 60’s) by the following passages in Paglia’s "Sexual Personae". You can’t expect anything better from another’s writing than inspiration:

“Every time I open Hamlet, I am stunned by its hostile virtuosity, its elusiveness and impenetrability. Shakespeare uses language to darken. He mesmerizes by disorienting us.... Shakespeare’s language hovers at the very threshold of dreaming. It is shaped by the irrational. Shakespearean characters are controlled by rather than controlling their speech.... Consciousness in Shakespeare is soaked in primal compulsion.” (p. 196)


For a couple of years now, I’ve been reading in the sciences and have been very interested in the evolution of consciousness and what that process tells us about the human animal’s plight on earth. The book which originally fired me up was Daniel Dennett’s, “Consciousness Explained”. From there, my reading has expanded and inspired me even more than my early interests in literature which led me to get an MFA in Creative Writing.

I’m now beginning his “Freedom Evolves” and am immediately inspired by the opening passage which goes to the heart of my thinking, which has been delineated in other posts, that the human animal is less free than it thinks it is:

“One widespread tradition has it that we human beings are responsible agents, captains of our fate, because what we really are are souls, immaterial and immortal clumps of Godstuff that inhabit and control our material bodies rather like spectral puppeteers. It is our souls that are the source of all meaning, and the locus of all our suffering, our joy, our glory and shame. But this idea of immaterial souls, capable of defying the laws of physics, has outlived its credibility thanks to the advance of the natural sciences. Many people think the implications of this are dreadful: We don’t really have ‘free will’ and nothing really matters. The aim of this book is to show why they are wrong.”

"I only like two kinds of men; domestic and foreign." —Mae West

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