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‘Gods to be His Friends’
WC and JL Discuss Ancient Views of Humanity, Humor and Divinity
I received all the books, and am in the middle of revising your monologue on dogs you sent this weekend. It really does read like you wrote it sitting at a bar (possibly drunk), and I’m having a spot of trouble piecing it together into something as poetic as it is passionate! Give me the summary and what was running through your mind when you penned it.
Regarding the books, I want to finish my article on horses before I dive deeply into them. Maybe Hounds could be a series of articles of both of us addressing the various qualities of the Aryan people: horsemanship, hunting, meadmaking, boxing, and so on. It would allow you to add your flavor to the book, and embellish what I would otherwise gloss over. Quick point: I wish you would add more citations whenever they corroborate your thoughts. I get that many of your readers more resemble dad than they do us, but I’d appreciate it! It would make it easier for me to grok how your wonderful mind operates!
-WC
You are kind—to me it’s a ruin not a wonder and if I ever figure out how this brain works it will likely be too late. You are the boss on this project. I will provide citations where I can. However, since I have had to throw away or gift out my entire library and I spend large stretches of time without internet access, I won’t have page numbers and other specifics unless it’s a book I’m currently working from.
Actually, I wrote of Dogs and Men while getting drunk alone while the aging dog that was the subject of the telepathically dictated autobiography of his heroic exploits, laid on a small rug next to me.
-JL
I’ve got a few citations which may interest you from primary sources:
Aristotle acknowledges that the household is more natural than the polis because it is more essential to survival (Nicomachean Ethics 1162a16-29). It does lack the capacity to defend itself against, say, invading tribes as occurred everywhere in mainland Greece except Athens between the Socratic and the Homeric ages (Politics 1253a18-29)
-WC
The clan is a family-based social defense system that does not require the polis and might be worth looking into as an Aryan archetype.
-JL
Aristotle’s Parts of Animals contains critical information on man’s character: it is laughter that distinguishes him from hounds, horses and other beasts (Parts of Animals 673a8). Laughter is a greater marker of humanity than wonder, which most readers of Aristotle claim to be the quintessential human attribute. They of course read this in Metaphysics 982a-b, and perhaps also read Aristotle’s Politics and Nich. Ethics while ignoring everything else. This is one of Aristotle’s many jokes: wonder belongs only to a select few i.e. those who read everything. Most students lack sufficient wonder, hence they are not fully human. It’s an interesting nuance.
-WC
I agree with Aristotle and see most people as animals, not human beings. Many of these are potential humans who embrace hedonism or other forms of materialism instead. I also think that it is a quintessentially necessary quality of the mind that seeks illumination and the attainment of humanity to treat those doomed souls trapped in the bodies they were born in and the ethos they were schooled in with decency and to not try and drive them mad by positing such Socratic questions or Cynical answers as would drive them mad. Aristotle saw this in terms of the need for obviously man-made folk religions for the common man.
-JL
The ancient Hebrews possess a telluric character. They are tied to one place, and even their Jewish descendants saw the sea as a barrier more than a highway. The apostle John’s heaven is one constructed entirely of land (Revelation 21:1). They are not a migratory people, treating their journeys from Ur and Egypt into the Levant as titanic migrations. The Boers completed their voortrek in far less time.
Jesus held there to be no greater honor than laying down one’s life for his friends (John 15:13). Socrates concurs, moving to protect Alcibiades from his enemies, but not attacking until attacked first (Plato’s Symposium 221b, Gorgias 469b-c, Apology 25c-e). Xenophon’s Cyrus turns this on it’s head. While the Socratic philosophers and Jesus emphasize how strong one’s faith is if he is willing to die for what he believes, Cyrus holds the greatest result “is that you see your country being enlarged and your enemies’ being diminished (Cyropaedia 5.5.24).” Cyrus loves staring at the bodies of those he killed (1.4.24). He is willing to murder for what he believes. I happen to believe that possessing both qualities makes one truly divine (Cyrus himself is unwilling to declare himself a god; it is enough that he is descended from Zeus through Perseus and holds the gods to be his friends (1.6.4)). But you may hold a different opinion.
All my best,
-WC
It seems obvious that Indo-European deities represented both ancestral patriarchs and a supernatural regard for a heavenly deity and that the concept of a father of gods who stood outside of Time and sowed and reaped men and gods is not incongruent with the God of Genesis, who says when discussing Man as a potentially ascendant and troublesome creation, “we,” and “us” in what sounds to this ear as supernatural conclave very much in keeping with the catholic ideal of the Holy Trinity.
In regards to Cyrus, I see Alexander as having aspired to the godhead status he declined to self-assign, which I see, in itself, as anti-heroic and counter-ascendant.
-JL
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