The Reading on Friday Night

July 15th, 2008

As I sit here at 3:26 in the morning, sipping from a can of Diet Coke, squinting at a massive amount of words, and unconsciously biting away at my fingernails, it is simply impossible to not feel the dejavu that I was doing this a few nights back, and what a night it was! I was extremely impressed by the spirit in the room, among the people. It seemed as a wave, a rise and fall throughout the night, into each other, into each Book and line and word. Campbell’s spectacular story-telling ability I think shook us all in each round, awakened us. I know that, when he was reading, that Serpent made me really nervous. I remember at first how it seemed to take so long for even one or two people to end their turns, and I’d steal a glance at my phone and go “Oh, it’s only 9 p.m.!” That wore off, I began to fall into that pushing, pulling rhythm more, and the books really began to take off. I’m also a night owl, so my wind comes around 11 p.m., and carries me through until 6 or so. I certainly know my sweet, jolly friends that I brought along for Book 5 enjoyed their small turn at the reading, do they know Milton as we do, I doubt it, but the spirit moved them in way enough. I also made sure they signed in blood that they had come and went (by blood, I mean pen to journal) so now their experience is as cemented as ours, as solidified as the rising sun and the chirping birds that woke up Campbell and gave the rest of us one more rush to the final Book, the final lines. Simply spectacular….

Relationship between God and Adam

July 15th, 2008

It seems perhaps that God has more concern of Adam’s following then of Eve’s temptation and sin with the apple.  Adam must struggle between the loyalty and love of two, from God and from Eve. His unity toward Eve invites his sin, but his superiority over her, and his closeness to God allows him to see Eve objectively, flawed. In Book XII, Adam is drawn to Michael’s instruction with the faith that, eventually, revelation will be brought about. This concept is very Christian, where Adam finds patience, hope, and maintaining goodness. Michael’s story to Adam brings two ideas together, of death and life, and the man is equal ineffective in either, and after the Flood, there is less fragmentation/separation and more continuity of ideas in the story.  I think all of this has to deal with Adam’s relationship to God, where Milton focuses so much on Adam in the telling of history, in the mentioning of ideas like separation versus continuity, as if the real temptation is the tempting of man, more so than of woman.

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July 7th, 2008

adam and eve

July 7th, 2008

Beautiful Portrait of Eros and Psyche

Privilege of Being

July 7th, 2008

(This post is a little late, sorry)

I think Milton’s contiguous  ideas are incredible, where cutting apart the concepts is in fact how to truly build them and create something in uniform, that sanctity is developed through divisions. I love it because it is human, because continuity is impossible to achieve in its pure shape, and we are all fallen people with flaws, with “brotherly dissimilitudes” and “moderate varieties.” The poem The Privilege of Being by Robert Hass draws upon this significance of human contiguity, and it is shown when the angels are jealous of Adam and Eve when they have sex. They aren’t jealous that humans aren’t at the spiritual level that they as angels are, they are jealous because humans, by not being continuous, are able to enjoy life on a much more interesting level, because there are more lines to be drawn, there are more boundaries to cross, there is more good and more evil to fall back and forth between. Thus, the good is better because the evil exists. Milton certainly goes more deeply into this, trying to avoid the duality, or if you will, the binary composition of good versus evil, which is too surficial for Milton’s taste. Milton finds evil to be the absence of God, not the antithetical good, but rather the absence. Thus, you aren’t a being if you are evil, and you aren’t of God, since God is being. On page 212, where he brings up the story of Psyche and the seeds, “that those confused seeds which were imposed upon Psyche as an incessant labour to cull out, and sort asunder,” Milton creates an understanding of good and evil that I just fell in love with. Before there was evil, there was a way to know good. Obviously, Adam and Eve enjoyed goodness, before the apple and the fall. Yet, before evil, they had no choice to have good, to do good, to be good and be a being. There is no choice for good before the alternative of no good was brought into effect. Once good became a choice, humans became much more well-rounded, more able to be great, to be a virtuoso, or to not be a virtuoso. The point is, the angels are jealous of something that seems almost hypocritical, for I believe they are jealous of the choice between good and evil, the choice to be good, and the choice to have sex, and enjoy sex, to be in control and have such a mind where one can make decisions and thus appreciate life to an extent where angels cannot.

Milton on Reason for Church-Govt.

July 2nd, 2008

His concepts for Church Governance stem from a very thin line between what is God’s commands and our obedience to that, and how free we are to run our lives by human reason. I still wonder what kind of boundaries Milton had for himself, beyond his theological words and writing. He won’t engage himself with set prescriptions because that would be forced, but only if there is also persuasion, which makes it voluntary and virtuous. He seems to have found a balance, where he subconsciously knows religion so well that his life just abides to it, and he is comfortable in that manner. Although, I find that he really is able to have these beliefs because he is closest to his human beliefs, non religiously. I might be rambling here, but his abilities, his talents as a writer, as a critic, as a thinker, as a political activist, as a grand poet, these are the things that motivate his life, that give him a persuasion beyond set prescriptions. I don’t believe his beliefs in God formed his ability to think and write and study, but rather that his genius and ability as an artist and theorist who might search for ever-changing definition shaped his religious beliefs. Also, looking at the disheveled shape that England was in, how it was falling, Milton had to find something beyond the government to maintain his faith and adhere to a belief system. I think he turned to himself. Just a thought…either way, I think I’ve just become a believer in, if I may, Miltonism.

Milton by Him

July 1st, 2008

freudjohn-minton.jpgMilton’s apology is so particular, one with strong personal opinion and esteem. I fee like most men and women could not pass with this kind of work, but its Milton, and his gifts were truly that grand and he had that awareness of maintaining his obedience by performing his gifts. It is very interesting to look more deeply into the idea of Lucian Freud’s art where most people, if in doubt, are meant only to find their direction somewhere else. Lucian Freud’s study of psychoanalysis in artists, that their work can portray the person who made, even the connections between artist and spectator, is a very cool concept that can take Milton into another perspective. Being able to unearth an artist’s deepest psychological motivations through his artwork is incredible. What is interesting is that Milton has uprooted it himself, he knows his motivations and is true to his psyche and to every spectator. His art, through writing and oratory, portrays himself personally as well as intellectually, because to Milton these went hand in hand. He was confident in his value, in his credentials, and that makes an Apology that cannot be undone.

Lycidas

June 26th, 2008

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Along blue water and pale calm skies, the peace of a high sun, and lapping waves, Fortune’s wheels is carefully turning, clicking gear by gear toward the ever approaching chance for disaster. Milton is very aware of this, that tragedies are always beneath the surface, pushing at the seams of even to the most undeserving man or woman, pushing at the seams of anything good, and full of love or beauty or honor. Milton shows that it is these unfortunate, disastrous events by which human beings can truly understand the significance of humanity. That humans must advocate for their beliefs, they must be ambitious and use that drive everyday, that they cannot look back, because if they do, it will vanish.

Being such an activist, an extremist, an artist and lover and great man, Milton’s personality appears through the point that he makes with the writing of the story of Lycidas. Milton views ambition as a choice we must make when living each day. That Lycidas is so wonderful is very important, because it allows Milton to make his point in a way that a character with flaws could not. The effect is in Lycidas’ superb life because our social structures operates around reaching such heights, having perfect expectations of poetry and rhetoric, of perfect political power and knowledge. The chance for that to be gone in an instant keeps the world going on ambition, because without extremes, we’d be walking in a faceless, gray world.

And Milton would have none of that gray, faceless world stuff.

On A Masque

June 26th, 2008

It is interesting that the poem seems to provide, in part, a portrayal of a lady resisting the movement toward her own sexual maturity. Despite great beauty and her singing a beautiful song as if she were a nymph, she is very naive. She strolls by Comus, and within minutes, he is asking her to come to the cottage. “And if your stray attendance be yet lodg’d, Or shroud within these limits, I shall know, Ere morrow wake, or the low roosted lark, From her thach’t pallat rowse, if otherwise, I can conduct you Lady to a low, But loyal cottage, where you may be safe” (315-20). She answers yes to the Shepherd, of course. The concepts of pleasure and enjoyment that stem from Milton’s work so readily and excessively for these two characters, for Comus and the lady, is very interesting, because it is not a difficult process for them to go through to reach such a point, it is simply laid out for them at the table of “dainties” in the cottage. Yet, she responds with such anger. ” Was this the cottage, and the safe abode Thou told’st me of? What grim aspects are these, These oughly-headed Monsters?” (693-5). Her reactions are over the top and extravagant, and eventually Milton is portraying that the loss of her Virginity brings Nature to a less aerial, and more material state that has problems for humans.

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