Opinion

Harold Bloom, Literary Critic of the Spirit — A Tribute to a Complicated Man

Harold Bloom, Literary Critic of the Spirit — A Tribute to a Complicated Man

On 14 October 2019, Harold Bloom died at a hospital in New Haven, Connecticut at the age of 89. I learned of his death on the day, and there’s been a strange disquiet prodding my soul since learning the news. The concept of “celebrity deaths” isn’t new, but a literary critic, even one as (in)famous as Bloom, wouldn’t like qualify as a “celebrity” by most people’s standards; even so, this seems to be the first time the death of a public figure has caused me to mourn even beyond my own free will. I do not choose to mourn, the soul of my soul chooses for me, which only testifies to me of the impact Harold Bloom had upon me personally—even from the distance of merely a writer and reader.

Mother Cosmos: Notes on the Upanishads and the Venus of Willendorf

Mother Cosmos: Notes on the Upanishads and the Venus of Willendorf

Ranging much of the Indo-European and Proto-Indo-European world of approximately 4,000-25,000 years ago, one senses echoes of an image now almost entirely evaporated into the time before humanity’s earliest memories or histories. Though not at all clear today, with some trepidation and humility, one may venture to describe this widespread image as maternal. Were one to preserve only two works from the era in question, they might be the “Venus” of Willendorf of Paleolithic Europe and the Upanishads of ancient India. Both the Venus and the Upanishads may not only stand as crystallizations of humanity’s deep past, in the form of sculpture and literature, but as indications of the mental landscape common to all human beings.

The Psychology of Subjectivity — On Perception and Introspection

The Psychology of Subjectivity — On Perception and Introspection

The intersection of life and subjectivity is a tricky one to navigate. Axiomatic to any discussion of perception is that one experiences nothing but that which is mediated through their own nervous system and brain; rather than seeing the “thing-in-itself,” one instead experiences the best its brain can reproduce of the external object in question. One does not see anything so much as experience whatever their visual cortex may produce.

The Zen of Nier: Automata — Tasting Reality in the Death of Meaning

The Zen of Nier: Automata — Tasting Reality in the Death of Meaning

What follows is devoid of spoilers for Nier: Automata. Instead, what I offer is an interpretive lens through which those who have yet to play the game, or who may have already done so, may interpret the narrative of Nier: Automata. This is, of course, only one possible reading among many others.

Ender’s Zero-Sum Game — Psychoanalyzing Andrew Wiggin

Ender’s Zero-Sum Game — Psychoanalyzing Andrew Wiggin

Thanks to some recommended reading from one of my sisters, I’ve come to read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game in an entirely different light. In “Creating the Innocent Killer:Ender’s Game, Intention, and Morality,” John Kessel offers a fascinating reading of the moral ambivalence, and even potential immortality, of Card’s novel.

In Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, Kessel sees the construction of an ostensibly “innocent killer” merely; in other words, that Ender, though guilty of tremendous atrocities by the novel’s end, is written off as simply a product of his circumstances and thus justified rather than morally culpable. … After his own damning character analysis of Ender, Kessel concludes, “If I felt that Card’s fiction truly understood this, then I would not have written this essay.” …

That said, and I’m tempted to say that Radford and Kessel may likely agree, I am not yet prepared to toss all copies of Ender’s Game — and Card with them — onto the pyre, cultural or otherwise. Instead, rather than a zero-sum condemnation of Ender’s Game, I believe Radford and Kessel’s critiques offer readers an additional layer to Card’s novel — though not at all necessarily one Card himself may have noticed or even intended.

Why Reading Is So Damn Hard — with Gilles Deleuze

Why Reading Is So Damn Hard — with Gilles Deleuze

Reading is difficult, if for no other reason than that the text is always already dead in some substantial way, opaque to the reader to some degree. Even if one had the author to explain the text, there is no guarantee the author understands their own text, let alone what it means.

The Psychology of Evangelion — On Falling in Love with Existence

The Psychology of Evangelion — On Falling in Love with Existence

With the recent release of Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix, as well as the anticipated conclusion of the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy in 2020, it seems fitting to dive back into the franchise as a whole and explore what it may have to offer viewers. Despite belonging to medium which has largely been overlooked or denigrated in the West, as far as anime is concerned, Neon Genesis Evangelion nonetheless contains a subtle yet substantial message about human psychological development, one as relevant now as when the series was originally aired in 1995.