our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a


in need of a "profound modification of the human imagination."

note: for more on Couliano (Culianu) : see Dorin David, Conceptualizing Culianu's Model
Also the discussion here.
It strikes me -- modeling by way of opposites: perhaps a projection (and substance) of our dual nature – a product / circumstance of our mind / brain : see The Master and his Emissary, (which also speaks to Couliano's model re shifts of power in religion.


 (at 9:07 AM, Peter sent an alt history link.)


Have you read this?

(and do look inside.)
Eros and Magic in the Renaissance (excellent short review)
Ioan P. Culianu.  Consummate scholar. Personal hero. Trust his take on this: We need a "profound modification of the human imagination."

Re the links (about revising history, timelines) -- You know my Cassandra warnings about self-fulfilling prophecy. After all, we're only human. So I ask -- who, what inspires a work? Who, what do they serve. (What Mad Men** these? What phantasms do they hope to insert into the spiritual apparatus of the heart? Hm?) That's the most interesting thing to me. The power to manipulate, which is fascination itself, fascinates me. (Shiny!) Scares me, too. It's the core of dramatic narrative.

Culianu writes:

The originality of an era is not measured by the content of its ideological systems but rather by its "selective will," that is, according to the interpretive grille it imposes between preexisting contents and their "modern" treatment. The passing of a message through the hermeneutic filter of an era produces two results of a semantic kind: the first, aiming at the very organization of the cultural structure of the time and hence located outside it, is set forth as a complex and subtle mechanism of emphasis or, on the contrary, of suppression of certain ideological contents; the second, which operates in the very interior of the central structure, is set forth as a systematic distortion or even semantic inversion* of ideas which pass through the interpretive grille of the era.
All of this means that the crowning wish of the historian of ideas is not, or should not be, to define the ideological contents of a given period, which are fundamentally recursive in nature, but to glimpse its hermeneutic filter, its "selective will," which is, at the same time, a will to distort.

(*Frung: I'd typo-ed "invasion" -- watch it happening right now: http://themoonsfavors.blogspot.com/2012/05/you-know-that-ted-talk-you-werent.html   and http://www.thefilterbubble.com/ted-talk )

(**dear god. I'm Roger.)

more after coffee


That's better.

The incomparable Lewis Lapham, in Ignorance of Things Past, Harper's May 2012:

History is work in progress, a constant writing and rewriting as opposed to museum-quality sculpture in milk-white marble. To read three histories of the British Empire—one of them published in 1850, the others in 1900 and 1950—is to discover three different British Empires on which the sun eventually sets. The must-see tourist attractions remain intact—Napoleon still there on his horse at Waterloo, Queen Victoria enthroned in Buckingham Palace, the subcontinent firmly fixed to its moorings in the Indian Ocean—but as to the light in which Napoleon, the queen, or India is to be seen, accounts differ.
 Each age revises its conception of the past to fit the context of its present, and by and large the historian will find the facts that prove the truths of his interpretation. History is not what happened 200 or 2,000 years ago; it is a story about what happened 200 or 2,000 years ago. The stories change, as do the sight lines available to the tellers of the tales. Montaigne in one of his essays provides, as is his custom, an apt quotation:

See how Plato is moved and tossed
about. Every man, glorying in applying
him to himself, sets him on the
side he wants. They trot him out and
insert him into all the new opinions
that the world accepts.
 Not being a scholar affiliated with a tenure track, I don’t much care whether the mise en scène is Athens in the fourth century b.c., Paris in the 1740s, or Moscow in the winter of 1905. I look for an understanding of the human predicament, to discover or re-discover how it is with man, who he is and how it is between him and other men. To consult the record in books both ancient and modern is to come across every vice, virtue, motive, behavior, obsession, consequence, joy, and sorrow to be met with on the roads across the frontiers of the millennia. What survives the wreck of empires and the sack of cities is the sound of a human voice confronting the fact of its own mortality. The historian Sarah Bakewell, in How to Live, her recent book on Montaigne’s life and thought, compounds the apt quotation with a corollary observation that she borrows from Virginia Woolf, “. .. any live mind is of the very same stuff as Plato’s & Euripides. . . . It is this common mind that binds the whole world together; & all the world is mind.”
extra credit: