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.
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.
Were I to review Terry Eagleton’s Radical Sacrifice, I would recommend it unequivocally. Though Eagleton and I may not see eye to eye in all things (and I would have it no other way; how else would I learn?), this latest addition to his bibliography is well worth the time of any reader interested in revolutionary politics, ideology, or even the Christian narrative itself. Rather than evaluate the merits of Eagleton’s work, I’ve instead experienced it for myself; and in lieu of a review, I have instead opted to share a stream of insights I gained from reading Radical Sacrifice.
I’ve recently found myself fascinated with the surviving fragments of Heraclitus and his philosophy, especially what he has to say about what we may call religious expression. What follows is a brief exploration of his ideas and an application to religion generally, especially my own native Mormonism.
I recently happened on an old book I’d encountered before: Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism. The first time around, I didn’t know what to make of it; now, after some reflection, I think Freud was a poor historian, and at times even a poor therapist (at least as psychoanalysis’ “version 1.0”), but I think he had moments of intrigue — Moses and Monotheism, I’d now say, was one of them.