Friday, September 28, 2012

Historical Influences and the Straight Line Through

Litton's Fishing Lines was a simple conception: fishing line as trope for written lines. And none of my written work is altogether separate from the rest; most of it can be described as literary apprentice work towards writing novels, which I set out to do at age 17, letting my ambition to be an outdoor writer and tourament pro go, even though I continued to fish tournaments well into my 18th year. (Nowadays, I realize I can fish tournaments again if I want to, and have been successfully published at outdoor writing again since 2005.)

Magazines and newspapers have specific expectations for stories, although the innovative conception within boundaries is a winner. I respect print publications greatly, and make sure to do my very best at delivering as promised within the appropriate limits of the expected. Even online blogging, as free form as this is, is limited because: 1. The title of the post determines web placement and visitations in turn, and the title must be honest in some respect or you break the social contract with readers and make yourself look like an ass. 2. Because there are limitless ways to appear online as a fool. In William Shakespeare's Mid-Summer's Night Dream, the poor carpenter or whatever transformed into a donkey, this is a visionary work--or as ordinarily put, Shakespeare on acid (he never needed the stuff)--the man transformed into donkey awakens to joy and didn't care what people thought, yet Shakespeare did care, of course. At least he did at work.

Litton's Fishing Lines is always at least implicitly about human history. History is tricky because--by influences of propaganda, delusion, and power lust--it's bull. I've already written about how fish are a central spiritual symbol worldwide, a sort of counterbalance to historical tendencies that lean in a wrong direction, as if California really would slide off the map. That's plate tectonics, not popular opinion used to sway people across the nation, while nothing of the sort has happened, if perhaps 10,000 years from now the continental plates will have shifted. 

I just guessed the number because it will be a long time from now in any case. But the British Civil War did happen quite suddenly compared to continental drift, and Isaac Walton, author of The Complete Angler, went fishing. By doing that, he found his own peace and wrote a classic. But taking the clue from Albert Camus who wrote "Was it Solitary or Solidary?" one does wonder if the spiritual powers of the presumably humble angler did not actually do Britain a lot of good, let alone the Anglican Church.

I will point out that John Locke's political philosophy--basic to the constitution of the United States--is ultimately derived from the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Although Locke's genius is original, it is not original without the preponderant influence of this man who lived a mere 2400 years ago or so, not really a long time past, and could be honored as the grandfather of our nation. Aristotle is often considered to have invented modern common sense, and I wonder if Thomas Paine considered this, although I haven't read Paine thoroughly. 

When we think of the course of Western Civilization's history, we do not think of a twisted line, unless we are perverse in our attempt to be realistic (good luck if anyone can mark all the concrete events on the graph recorder of his mind). And although history is complex, it can be conceived as circular or even as a giant theater-round as if all of it is here and now and even accessible by very strange psychic conditions. Nevertheless, we like to think of a straight line. It cuts through all the crap.

More than any other philospher--a man or woman who sets the course of a civilization--Aristotle gave direction to the West from ancient Athens forward through the present. He is the father of logic and science. Even if scholars would take issue and point out that the Pre-Socratic philosophers issued logic, Aristotle exhibited more explicit exercise than any previous. Everyone since has paid deference to him. So I like to think that Western History is a straight line from Aristotle. But most of all, I like to think Aristotle was a man like me, and not preoccupied with making history too much.  If you are new to my posts, welcome to Litton's Fishing Lines.  

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