Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vast Literary Self-Fulfillment

I hold the following maxim very dearly: The best way to reach fulfillment, or to influence your surroundings, is to know WHAT HAS HAPPENED and WHAT PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY DONE, take their successes, and ask yourself where to go from there. It is a secondary or tertiary cycle of the machine. I believe knowledge to be my only saviour (metaphorically, of course), and it to be vital for every man and woman to garner as much of it as possible. And this all fits in with my treatment of literature and other forms of creativity.

But then, isn't that what locales is all about?

In response to this long-held revelation, I have thus began the following self-instituted program.

I am attempting to read the major works of as many regions and past eras as I can, and as many obscure, deserving works as I can uncover as well. (Anyone who was a visitor of Direct-Waves knows that many of the best and most precious artifacts are those that are the most hidden). For example, I spent some time reading as many Greek and Mesopotamian works as I could - the birth of literature in Eurasia. Currently I'm on Latin literature, and as my time frees up, I'll have more and more time to fulfill this goal. I have gone so far as to make lists of works I feel I should come into contact with, and I will reveal some of these for the fulfillment of others and myself, whether this fulfillment is interactive or otherwise.

Any ignorance of the so-called classics is not embarrassing as long as those gaps are subsequentially filled. I had not, for example, read any Plato until about six months ago, but I also read works from the Pre-Socratics, Aristotle, Plotinus, and others, so I can fit his ideas neatly in place with the grand scheme of things, and thus attain the greatest fulfillment from them. It is better to admit these ignorances and fill them in than to simply accept ignorance as inevitable, whether you and I are ignorant because we had a poor education, we were naive, or simply stagnant. I see far too many people that accept the fact that they know nothing about a certain subject, and do absolutely nothing about it. I was once one of these people.

The average man would find this daunting, if not foolish or worthless. Many would also wonder why I bother taking such a linear, academic approach to what seems so personal a matter. And then upon this realization I feel even more alien in my driving approach to these kinds of things. But that is fine.

As I said, I started at the very beginning. Here are my rough lists for a few sections.This all comes from my notes, so it isn't supposed to be definite.


Enheduanna [The first known writer]
*enuma elish []
*epic of gilgamesh
Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta []
Lugalbanda I & II
*Dialogue of Pessimism []
_I Will Praise the Lord of Wisdom (Poem of the Righteous Sufferer or the Babylonian Job)
_Esagil-kin-apli - Diagnostic Handbook
_poor man of nippur []
_The Theodicy
lament for ur
code of hammurabi
Code of Ur-Nammu [Assyriologists have given the name of Code of Ur-Nammu to a literary monument that is the oldest known example of a genre extending through the Code of Lipit-Ishtar in Sumerian to the Code of Hammurabi, written in Akkadian. ... It is a collection of sentences or verdicts mostly following the pattern of "If A [assumption], it follows that B [legal consequence]."] - My note: compare to the Dialogue of Pessimism.
the tanakh (old testament)


pyramid texts
book of the dead
memphite theology on the shabaka stone
instruction of hardjedef
instruction of kagemni
instruction of ptahhotep
Admonitions of Ipuwer
story of sinuhe
westcar papyrus
tale of the shipwrecked sailor
Papyrus Harris 500
Instruction of Ani
Instruction of Amenemope
Tale of Two Brothers
Truth and Falsehood
story of wenamun


*mythology - edith hamilton
*Homer - Iliad
*Homer - Odyssey
Apollonius of Rhodes - Argonautica
Hesiod - Theogony, Works and Days
*Sappho []
*alcaeus (alcaic meter) []
theocritus (bucolic meter/pastorals)
*aeschylus - prometheus bound, agamemnon
*sophocles - oedipus the king, antigone
*euripides - alcestis, medea
*aristophanes - the frogs
*pre-socratics (thales to anaxagoras)
homeric hymns

The idea is to get a broad understanding of things that have always been withheld from me, because of personal misgivings, gaps or prejudices in profressional knowledge (for example, "the only important poets of genre x are a, b, and c") or a poor environment.

(And also, let me note that the idea of a "classic" can fall apart very easily with proper reasoning, but that is a matter for a different day).

Just remember: every LOCALE, every mindbomb, every shining light of knowledge is right there, within grasp. Only personal limitations keep us from exploring the realm of intellect out there. I for the longest time restricted myself from certain sectors of literature and thought because I felt they were too vast or I was too inferior. When I finally tried, I proved myself wrong. As cliche as it may sound, no one, with adequate work, can ever not do anything, or conquer any sector of what is knowable. It took me so long to realize this - probably too long.


wassonii said...

Knowledge/Information are tangible commodities, subject to supply constraints. As such, as you say, all that can be ingested should be.
Have you gotten to Seutonius' Histories yet? I've only read book one, but most interesting.
Thanks very much for the notations. I'm always keen to follow through where I've not been before.

thunderperfectmind said...

the supply restraints are a big part of the problem. a lot of people are ignorant because they aren't within reach of a lot of this stuff. ideas and language are without form, but they need some kind of vehicle to be experienced, even vicariously. and that means books, internet sites, schooling...the internet is the most versatile and revolutionary one.

haven't heard of seutonius, actually. it's going on my list though, it looks interesting. i'm actually skipping over most of the stuff that's purely historical, such as herodotus, for now. for the moment i'm trying to focus mainly on "pure" literature, like poetry, speeches, myths, and so forth.

i'm starting on the latin list now. today i finished some seneca and epictetus, and recently marcus and catullus...ovid, cicero, martial, are probably next. i'll probably make a post on the romans soon. i also need to read the bible for everything afterwards. (not being a christian, i've never read it cover to cover, and feel like i need to).

i find this kind of stuff of the highest importance, but i'm not sure anyone else finds it as interesting as i do. i don't want to teach or preach about literature. i want to take ideas directly and see how you can use them, and prove to other people that they can too. in my eyes, that's the point. people seem too hopeless and distant about this kind of stuff, and it bothers me on a deep level.