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Thread: The MegaSaeculum - Page 9







Post#201 at 03-23-2013 01:49 AM by Eric the Green [at San Jose CA joined Jul 2001 #posts 22,504]
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03-23-2013, 01:49 AM #201
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Quote Originally Posted by Chas'88 View Post
Chas' Summary:

Literature has an evolutionary development of "five periods" which have now occurred twice in Western Civilization, once in the "Classical" period--though an imperfect example--and we currently are positioned at the end of the secondary "literary cycle". Most of this cycle is determined by how literature relates its heroes in relations to their environment and to the rest of humanity. The heroes beginning as divine beings and ending up as below the "common man" by the end, if not lacking a hero altogether in the "traditional sense".

Mode One: Myth - hero is divine
Mode Two: Romance - hero is human but superior to other humans and his enviornment
Mode Three: High Mimetic - hero is "a leader", superior to other humans, but not his environment
Mode Four: Low Mimetic - hero is "one of us", neither superior to other humans nor his environment
Mode Five: Ironic - hero is "below us", we look down upon a hero from a position of superiority in some manner

How this translates into our discussion:

Mode One = Dark Ages (Fall of Rome - ~1000)
Mode Two = Medieval (~1000 - ~1500)
Mode Three = Renaissance (~1500 - ~1750)
Mode Four = Industrial Age (~1750 - ~1900)
Mode Five = Modern (~1900 - present)
That's a good summary. When I was reading Frye, it seemed like all stages could fit within any civilization cycle of 500 years. In this case, the time since the Dark Ages as listed above would be a "megacycle," with smaller cycles within it. And I always took hope that we would revert to stage one soon. The "divine" would be interpreted in a new way, of course; the new age way.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive,

Eric A. Meece







Post#202 at 03-23-2013 02:55 PM by Eric the Green [at San Jose CA joined Jul 2001 #posts 22,504]
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Quote Originally Posted by Kepi View Post
No that article covers not just voting habits, but beliefs, across not just Boomers, Xers, and Millennials but GIs and Silents as well, and tracks data from FDR on, while there are sections that cover particular elections, the article as a whole is very clear and the data I was refering to was specifically about registered party affiliation, not voting habits in a particular election. If you'd read it, instead of wanting carte blanche to rewrite reality to your liking, you'd see that.
I had already read it thoroughly. It is a poll about the coming 2012 election, before it happened. The other poll covers actual voting patterns, across time.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive,

Eric A. Meece







Post#203 at 03-23-2013 05:42 PM by Kepi [at Northern, VA joined Nov 2012 #posts 3,664]
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Quote Originally Posted by Eric the Green View Post
I had already read it thoroughly. It is a poll about the coming 2012 election, before it happened. The other poll covers actual voting patterns, across time.
If you think it's 1 poll and 10 pages, you clearly haven't read it. I mean, on page one, three quarters of the way down, you have voting preference from 1994 to 2010 represented by president you came of age under. More often than not, older boomers are pretty evenly split. Nixon era Boomers really only split D side for a six year period from 2000-04. Ford/Carter era Boomers mimic the preference to Reagan/Bush1 era Xers almost exactly, with variances by year, but come out preferring Republicans 6 to 1 with a split in 2 years. GI's usually split, but when they had a preference, it was blue. Silents split red and Blue evenly up until we started letting black people sit in the big chair.

Then below that, there's a graph which asks who was the greatest president of your life time, now not only is it interesting that the unravelling era presidents are, across the board, the most popular amongst every generation, but Reagan is more popular amongst boomers than anyone else! Are you trying to tell me that all these people hated the guy turned around and said he was the greatest president of their life times?

The data is there... Boomers shift Red more often than Blue. Boomers prefer Reagan. Even Xers don't prefer Reagan to Clinton!







Post#204 at 03-23-2013 06:18 PM by Chas'88 [at In between Pennsylvania & Pennsyltucky joined Nov 2008 #posts 9,432]
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Bolding and underling by me, for the sake of Eric, Tim, and Pat.

First Essay (continued)

Comic Fictional Modes (Part One)


The theme of the comic is the integration of society, which usually takes the form of incorporating a central character into it. The mythical comedy corresponding to the death of the Dionysiac god is Apollonian, the story of how a hero is accepted by a society of gods. In Classical literature the theme of acceptance forms part of the stories of Hercules, Mercury, and other deities who had a probation to go through, and in Christian literature it is the theme of salvation, or, in a more concentrated form, of assumption: the comedy that stands just at the end of Dante's Commedia. The mode of romantic comedy corresponding to the elegiac is best described as idyllic, and its chief vehicle is the pastoral. Because of the social interest of comedy, the idyllic cannot equal the introversion of the elegiac, but it preserves the theme of escape from or on the frontier (the pastoral of popular modern literature is the Western story). The close association with animal and vegetable pastures (or the cattle and ranches) of the idyllic, and the same easy connection with myth recurs in the fact that such imagery is often used, as it is in the Bible, for the theme of salvation.

The clearest example of high mimetic comedy is the Old Comedy of Aristophanes. The New Comedy of Menander is closer to the low mimetic, and through Plautus and Terence its formulas were handed down to the Renaissance, so that there has always been a strongly low mimetic bias to social comedy. In Aristophanes there is usually a central figure who constructs his (or her) own society in the teeth of strong opposition, driving off one after another all the people who come to prevent or exploit him, and eventually achieving a heroic triumph, complete with mistress, in which he is sometimes assigned the honors of a reborn god. We notice that just as there is a catharsis of pity and fear in tragedy, so there is a catharsis of the corresponding comic emotions, which are sympathy and ridicule, in Old Comedy. The comic hero will get his triumph whether what he has done is sensible or silly, honest or rascally. Thus Old Comedy, like tragedy contemporary with it, is a blend of the heroic and the ironic. In some plays this fact is partly concealed by Aristophanes' strong desire to get his own opinion of what the hero is doing into the record, but his greatest comedy, The Birds, preserves an exquisite balance between comic heroism and comic irony.

New Comedy normally presents an erotic intrigue between a young man and a young woman which is blocked by some kind of opposition, usually paternal, and resolved by a twist in the plot which is the comic form of Aristotle's "discovery," and is more manipulated than its tragic counterpart. At the beginning of the play the forces thwarting the hero are in control of the play's society, but after a discovery in which the hero becomes wealthy or the heroine respectable, a new society crystallizes on the stage around the hero and his bride. The action of the comedy thus moves towards the incorporation of the hero into the society that he naturally fits. The hero himself is seldom a very interesting person: in conformity with low mimetic decorum, he is ordinary in his virtues, but socially attractive. In Shakespeare and in the kind of romantic comedy that most closely resembles his there is a development of these formulas in a more distinctively high mimetic direction. In the figure of Prospero we have one of the few approaches to the Aristophanic technique of having the whole comic action projected by a central character. Usually Shakespeare achieves his high mimetic pattern by making the struggle of the repressive and the desirable societies a struggle between two levels of existence, the former like our own world or worse, the latter enchanted and idyllic. The point will be dealt with more fully later.

For the reasons given above the domestic comedy of later fiction carries on with much the same conventions as were used in the Renaissance. Domestic comedy is usually based on the Cinderella archetype, the kind of thing that happens when Pamela's virtue is rewarded, the incorporation of an individual very like the reader into the society aspired to by both, a society ushered in with a happy rustle of bridal gowns and banknotes. Here again, Shakespearean comedy may marry off eight or ten people of approximately equal dramatic interest, just as a high mimetic tragedy may kill the same number, but in domestic comedy such diffusion of sexual energy is more rare. The chief difference between high and low mimetic comedy, however, is that the resolution of the latter more frequently involves a social promotion. More sophisticated writers of low mimetic comedy often present the same success-story formula with the moral ambiguities that we have found in Aristophanes. In Balzac or Stendhal a clever and ruthless scoundrel may achieve the same kind of success as the virtuous heroes of Samuel Smiles and Horatio Alger. Thus the comic counterpart of the alazon seems to be the clever, likeable, unprincipled picaro of the picaresque novel.

In studying ironic comedy we must start with the theme of driving out the pharmakos from the point of view of society. This appeals to the kind of relief we are expected to feel when we see Jonson's Volpone condemned to the galleys, Shylock stripped of his wealth, or Tartuffe taken off to prison. Such a theme, unless touched very lightly, is difficult to make convincing, for the reasons suggested in connection with ironic tragedy. Insisting on the theme of social revenge on an individual, however great a rascal he may be tends to make him look less involved in guilt and the society more so. This is particularly true of characters who have been trying to amuse either the actual or the internal audience, and who are the comic counterparts of the tragic hero as artist. The rejection of the entertainer, whether fool, clown, buffoon, or simpleton, can be one of the most terrible ironies known to art, as the rejection of Falstaff shows, and certain scenes in Chaplin.

In some religious poetry, for example at the end of the Paradiso, we can see that literature has an upper limit, a point at which an imaginative vision of an eternal world becomes an experience of it. In ironic comedy we begin to see that art has also a lower limit in actual life. This is the condition of savagery, the world in which comedy consists of inflicting pain on a helpless victim, and tragedy in enduring it. Ironic comedy brings us to the figure of the scapegoat ritual and the nightmare dream, the human symbol becomes existential, as it does in the black man of a lynching, the Jew of a pogrom, the old woman of a witch hunt, or anyone picked up at random by a mob, like Cinna the poet in Julius Caesar. In Aristophanes the irony sometimes edges very close to mob violence because the attacks are personal: one thinks of all the easy laughs he gets, in play after play, at the pederasty of Cleisthenes or the cowardice of Cleonymus. In Aristophanes the word pharmakos means simply scoundrel, with no nonsense about it. At the conclusion of The Clouds, where the poet seems almost to be summoning a lynching party to go and burn down Socrates' house, we reach teh comic counterpart of one of the greatest masterpieces of tragic irony in literature, Plato's Apology.

But the element of play is the barrier that separates art from savagery, and playing at human sacrifice seems to be an important theme of ironic comedy. Even in laughter itself some king of deliverance from the unpleasant, even the horrible, seems to be very important. We notice this particularly in all forms of art in which a large number of auditors are simultaneously present, as in drama, and, still more obviously, in games. We notice too that playing at sacrifice has nothing to do with any historical descent from sacrificial ritual, such as has been suggested for Old Comedy. All the features of such ritual, the king's son, the mimic death, the executioner, the substituted victim, are far more explicit in Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado than they are in Aristophanes. There is certainly no evidence that baseball has descended from a ritual human sacrifice, but the umpire is quite as much of a pharmakos as if it had: he is an abandoned scoundrel, a greater robber than Barabbas; he has the evil eye; the supporters of the losing team scream for his death. At play, mob emotions are boiled in an open pot, so to speak; in the lynching mob they are a sealed furnace of what Blake would call moral virtue. The gladiatorial combat, in which the audience has the actual power of life and death over the people who are entertaining them, is perhaps the most concentrated of all the savage or demonic parodies of drama.

The fact that we are now in an ironic phase of literature largely accounts for the popularity of the detective story, the formula of how a man-hunter locates a pharmakos and gets rid of him. The detective story begins in the Sherlock Holms period as an intensification of the low mimetic, in the sharpening of attention to details that makes the dullest and most neglected trivia of daily living leap into mysterious and fateful significance. But as we move further away from this we move toward a ritual drama around a corpse in which a wavering finger of social condemnation passes over a group of "suspects" and finally settles on one. The sense of a victim chosen by lot is very strong, for the case against him is only plausibly manipulated. If it were really inevitable, we should have tragic irony, as in Crime and Punishment, where Raskolnikoff's crime is so interwoven with his character that there can be no question of any "whodunit" mystery. In the growing brutality of the crime story (a brutality protected by the convention of the form, as it is conventionally impossible that the man-hunter can be mistaken in believing that one of his suspects is a murderer), detection begins to merge with the thriller as one of the forms of melodrama. In melodrama two themes are important: the triumph of moral virtue over villainy, and the consequent idealizing of the moral views assumed to be held by the audience. In the melodrama of the brutal thriller we come as close as it is normally possible for art to come to the pure self-righteousness of the lynching mob.

We should have to say, then, that all forms of melodrama, the detective story in particular, were advance propaganda for the police state, in so far as that represents the regularizing of mob violence, if it were possible to take them seriously. But it seems not to be possible. The protecting wall of play is still there. Serious melodrama soon gets entangled with its own pity and fear: the more serious it is, the more likely it is to be looked at ironically by the reader, its pity and fear seen as sentimental drivel and owlish solemnity, respectively. One pole of ironic comedy is the recognition of the absurdity of naive melodrama, or, at least, of the absurdity of its attempt to define the enemy of society as a person outside that society. From there it develops toward the opposite pole, which is true comic irony or satire, and which defines the enemy of society as a spirit within society. Let us arrange the forms of ironic comedy from this point of view.

Cultivated people go to a melodrama to hiss the villain with an air of condescension: they are making a point of the fact that they cannot take his villainy seriously. We have here a type of irony which exactly corresponds to that of two other major arts of the ironic age, advertising and propaganda. These arts pretend to address themselves seriously to a subliminal audience of cretins, an audience that may not even exist, but which is assumed to be simple-minded enough to accept at their face value the statements made about the purity of a soap or a government's motives. The rest of us, the realizing that irony never says precisely what it means, take these arts ironically, or, at least, regard them as a kind of ironic game. Similarly, we read murder stories with a strong sense of the unreality of the villainy involved. Murder is doubtless a serious crime, but if private murder really were a major threat to our civilization it would not be relaxing to read about it. We may compare the abuse showered on the pimp in Roman comedy, which was similarly based on the indisputable ground that brothels are immoral.

The next step is an ironic comedy addressed to the people who can realize that murderous violence is less an attack on a virtuous society by a malignant individual than a symptom of that society's own viscousness. Such a comedy would be the kind of intellectualized parody of melodramatic formulas represented by, for instance, the novels of Graham Greene. Next comes the ironic comedy directed at the melodramatic spirit itself, an astonishingly persistent tradition in all comedy in which there is a large ironic admixture. One notes a recurring tendency on the part of ironic comedy to ridicule and scold an audience assumed to be hankering after sentiment, solemnity, and the triumph of fidelity and approved moral standards. The arrogance of Jonson and Congreve, the mocking of bourgeois sentiment in Goldsmith, the parody of melodramatic situations in Wilde and Shaw, belong to a consistent tradition. Moliere had to please his king, but was not temperamentally an exception. To comic drama one may add the ridicule of melodramatic romance in the novelists from Fielding to Joyce.

Finally comes the comedy of manners, the portrayal of a chattering-monkey society devoted to snobbery and slander.
In this kind of irony the characters who are opposed to or excluded from the fictional society have the sympathy of the audience. Here we are close to a parody of tragic irony, as we can see in the appalling fate of the relatively harmless hero of Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust. Or we may have a character who, with the sympathy of the author or the audience, repudiates such a society to the point of deliberately walking out of it, becoming thereby a kind of pharmakos in reverse. This happens for instance at the conclusion of Aldous Huxley's Those Barren Leaves. It is more usual, however, for the artist to present an ironic deadlock in which the hero is regarded as a fool or worse by the fictional society, and yet impresses the real audience as having something more valuable than his society has. The obvious example, and certainly one of the greatest is Dostoievsky's The Idiot, but there are many others. The Good Soldier Schweik, Heaven's My Destination and The Horse's Mouth are instances that will give some idea of the range of the theme.

What we have said about the return of irony to myth in tragic modes thus holds equally well for comic ones. Even popular literature appears to be slowly shifting its center of gravity from murder stories to science fiction--or at any rate a rapid growth of science fiction is certainly a fact about contemporary popular literature. Science fiction frequently tries to imagine what life would be like on a plane as far above us as we are above savagery; its setting is often of a kind that appears to us as technologically miraculous. It is thus a mode of romance with a strong inherent tendency to myth.

Next Post: Comic Modes Part Two (my hands are aching)...

I pause here for what I've bolded to be seen by Eric (different types of ironic comedy), Tim (Dionysian/Apollonian duality), and Pat (science fiction).

~Chas'88
"There have always been people who say: "The war will be over someday." I say there's no guarantee the war will ever be over. Naturally a brief intermission is conceivable. Maybe the war needs a breather, a war can even break its neck, so to speak. But the kings and emperors, not to mention the pope, will always come to its help in adversity. ON the whole, I'd say this war has very little to worry about, it'll live to a ripe old age."







Post#205 at 03-23-2013 06:54 PM by Kepi [at Northern, VA joined Nov 2012 #posts 3,664]
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The irony of advertising actually goes a long way to why we think of the 50's as seedy and kinda creepy in retrospect. I've got some videos from 50's comedies and variety shows and they have advertising bits and it just feels awkward. I think part of it may have been an insincere ironic thing that advertisers worked out because they decided to sell to the only people they felt they could in that era: morons. At that point advertising probably felt pretty dead and like a lost cause. You have cynical Losts and hardened GI's as your market. Really what's driving sales is a generally expanding market. Adverising is just a display of brand dominance, the only people who care are the corporate execs... Everyone else already knows what they're buying.

Same with the propaganda videos. They were being made that way because the people doing them more or less didn't care and knew that what they were supposed to do was stupid, and so they kinda made a parallel world where what they were doing mattered in order to do the job.







Post#206 at 03-23-2013 07:39 PM by Chas'88 [at In between Pennsylvania & Pennsyltucky joined Nov 2008 #posts 9,432]
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Quote Originally Posted by Kepi View Post
The irony of advertising actually goes a long way to why we think of the 50's as seedy and kinda creepy in retrospect. I've got some videos from 50's comedies and variety shows and they have advertising bits and it just feels awkward. I think part of it may have been an insincere ironic thing that advertisers worked out because they decided to sell to the only people they felt they could in that era: morons. At that point advertising probably felt pretty dead and like a lost cause. You have cynical Losts and hardened GI's as your market. Really what's driving sales is a generally expanding market. Adverising is just a display of brand dominance, the only people who care are the corporate execs... Everyone else already knows what they're buying.

Same with the propaganda videos. They were being made that way because the people doing them more or less didn't care and knew that what they were supposed to do was stupid, and so they kinda made a parallel world where what they were doing mattered in order to do the job.
And keep in mind this is someone from the period (the book I'm re-typing was published in 1957) giving this analysis. And he's a core Canadian GI equivalent.

~Chas'88
"There have always been people who say: "The war will be over someday." I say there's no guarantee the war will ever be over. Naturally a brief intermission is conceivable. Maybe the war needs a breather, a war can even break its neck, so to speak. But the kings and emperors, not to mention the pope, will always come to its help in adversity. ON the whole, I'd say this war has very little to worry about, it'll live to a ripe old age."







Post#207 at 03-23-2013 08:16 PM by Chas'88 [at In between Pennsylvania & Pennsyltucky joined Nov 2008 #posts 9,432]
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First Essay (continued)

Comic Modes (Part Two)

The conception of a sequence of fictional modes should do something, let us hope, to give a more flexible meaning to some of our literary terms. The words "romantic" and "realistic," for instance, as ordinarily used, are relative or comparative terms: they illustrate tendencies in fiction, and cannot be used as simply deescriptive adjectives with any sort of exactness. If we take the sequence De Raptu Proserpinae, The Man of Law's Tale, Much Ado About Nothing, Pride and Prejudice, An American Tragedy, it is clear that each work is "romantic" compared to its successors and "realistic" compared to its predecessors. On the other hand, the term "naturalism" shows up in its proper perspective as a phase of fiction which, rather like the detective story, though in a very different way, begins as an intensification of low mimetic, an attempt to describe life exactly as it is, and ends, by the very logic of that attempt, in pure irony. Thus Zola's obsession with ironic formulas gave him a reputation as a detached recorder of the human scene.

The difference between the ironic tone that we may find in low mimetic or earlier modes and the ironic structure of the ironic mode itself is not hard to sense in practice. When Dickens, for instance, uses irony the reader is invited to share in the irony, because certain standards of normality common to author and reader are assumed. Such assumptions are a mark of a relatively popular mode: as the example of Dickens indicates, the gap between serious and popular fiction is narrower in low mimetic than in ironic writing. The literary acceptance of relatively stable social norms is closely connected with the reticence of low mimetic as compared to ironic fiction. In low mimetic modes characters are usually presented as they appear to others, fully dressed and with a large section of both physical lives and their inner monologue carefully excised. Such an approach is entirely consistent with the other conventions involved.

If we were to make this distinction the basis of a comparative value-judgment, which would, of course, be a moral value-judgment disguised as a critical one, we should be compelled either to attack low mimetic conventions for being prudish and hypocritical and leaving too much of life out, or attack ironic conventions for not being wholesome, healthy, popular, reassuring, and sound, like the conventions of Dickens. As long as we are concerned simply to distinguish between the conventions, we need only remark that the low mimetic is one step more heroic than the ironic, and that low mimetic reticence has the effect of making its characters, on the average, more heroic, or at least more dignified, than the characters in ironic fiction.

We may also apply our scheme to the principles of selection on which a writer of fiction operates. Let us take, as a random example, the use of ghosts in fiction. In a true myth there can obviously be no consistent distinction between ghosts and living beings. In romance we have real human beings, and consequently ghosts are in a separate category, but in a romance a ghost as a rule is merely one more character: he causes little surprise because his appearance is no more marvelous than many other events. In high mimetic, where we are within the order of nature, a ghost is relatively easy to introduce because the plane of experience is above our own, but when he appears he is an awful and mysterious being from what is perceptibly another world. In low mimetic, ghosts have been, ever since Defoe, almost entirely confined to a separate category of "ghost stories." In ordinary low mimetic fiction they are inadmissible, "in complaisance to the skepticism of a reader," as Fielding puts it, a skepticism which extends only to low mimetic conventions. The few exceptions, such as Wuthering Heights, go a long way to prove the rule--that is, we recognize a strong influence of romance in Wuthering Heights. In some forms of ironic fiction such as the later works of Henry James, the ghosts begins to come back as a fragment of a disintegrating personality.

Once we have learned to distinguish the modes, however, we must then learn to recombine them. For while one mode constitutes the underlying tonality of a work of fiction, any or all of the other four may be simultaneously present. Much of our sense of the subtlety of great literature comes from this modal counterpoint. Chaucer is a medieval poet specializing mainly in romance, whether sacred or secular. Of his pilgrims, the knight and the parson clearly present the norms of the society in which he functions as a poet, and, as we have them, the Canterbury Tales are contained by these two figures, who open and close the series. But to overlook Chaucer's mastery of low mimetic and ironic techniques would be as wrong as to think of him as a modern novelist who got into the Middle Ages by mistake. The tonality of Antony and Cleopatra is high mimetic, the story of the fall of a great leader. But it is easy to recognize his common humanity with ourselves; it is easy to seem in him a romantic adventurer of prodigious courage and endurance betrayed by a witch; there are even hints of a superhuman being whose legs bestrid the ocean and whose downfall is a conspiracy of fate, explicable only to a soothsayer. To leave out any of these would oversimplify and belittle the play. Through such an analysis we may come to realize that the two essential facts about a work of art, that it is contemporary with its own time and that it is contemporary with ours, are not opposed but complementary facts.

Our survey of fictional modes has also us that the mimetic tendency itself, the tendency to verisimilitude and accuracy of description, is one of two poles of literature. At the other pole is something that seems to be connected both with Aristotle's word mythos and with the usual meaning of myth. That is, it is a tendency to tell a story which is in origin a story about characters who can do anything, and only gradually becomes attracted toward a tendency to tell a plausible or credible story. Myths of gods merge into legends of heroes; legends of heroes merge into plots of tragedies and comedies; plots of tragedies and comedies merge into plots of more or less realistic fiction. But these are change of social context rather than of literary form, and the constructive principles of story-telling remain constant through them, though of course they adapt to them. Tom Jones and Oliver Twist are typical enough as low mimetic characters, but the birth-mystery plots in which they are involved are plausible adaptations of fictional formulas that go back to Menander, and from Menander to Euripides' Ion, and from Euripides to legends like those of Perseus and Moses. We note in passing that imitation of nature in fiction produces, not truth or reality, but plausibility, and plausibility varies in weight from a mere perfunctory concession in a myth or folk tale to a kind of censor principle in a naturalistic novel. Reading forward in history, therefore, we may think of our romantic, high mimetic, and low mimetic modes as a series of displaced myths, mythoi or plot-formulas progressively moving over towards the opposite pole of verisimilitude, and then, with irony, beginning to move back.

Chas' Summation


Theory of Modes covers how stories go from their mythical origins to depicting a more and more plausible sense of life in fiction, eventually returning to myth when a new myth is born. How each mode handles the important mythical points are what make it simultaneously different and yet the same simultaneously.

Modes of Comedy - about the joining together of a society and building up of it and the ascension from one plane of existence into a higher one, Apollonian values

Mythical Comedy: One near-godlike character ascends to the realm of the gods or god after a probationary period
Romantic Comedy: One heroic character founds an ideal society on the frontier or rural environment becoming legendary with time (all those patriarchs in the Old Testament for example...)
High-mimetic Comedy: One high-born character who cobbles together a society in opposition to those who oppose him
Low-mimetic Comedy: One low-born character who rises in a Cinderella like fashion
Ironic Comedy: A scapegoat ritual, typically along the lines of the murder mystery where instead of ascending to a higher order the person is selected to be shunned from the community in some manner due to a crime they've comitted, never crosses over into a sense of the tragic because with a "whodunit" type of plot there's a sense of it being a random selection and thus lacking tragic inevitability


Next Post: Thematic Modes (likely to be a three or four parter, unless I shrink it down.
"There have always been people who say: "The war will be over someday." I say there's no guarantee the war will ever be over. Naturally a brief intermission is conceivable. Maybe the war needs a breather, a war can even break its neck, so to speak. But the kings and emperors, not to mention the pope, will always come to its help in adversity. ON the whole, I'd say this war has very little to worry about, it'll live to a ripe old age."







Post#208 at 03-24-2013 12:43 AM by Kepi [at Northern, VA joined Nov 2012 #posts 3,664]
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Is there any kind of trends between cultures that prefered one type of story over the others either in that saeculum or the next?







Post#209 at 03-24-2013 02:44 AM by Chas'88 [at In between Pennsylvania & Pennsyltucky joined Nov 2008 #posts 9,432]
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Quote Originally Posted by Kepi View Post
Is there any kind of trends between cultures that prefered one type of story over the others either in that saeculum or the next?
What this cycle purports to trace is what he refers to as the "Naive cycle", or:

The world naive I take from Schiller's essay on naive and sentimental poetry: I mean by it, however, primitive or popular, whereas in Schiller it means something else in English, but we do not have enough genuine critical terms to dispense with it.
And by popular or primitive he would say what is generally being "written and consumed" publicly. For the large part we've yet to leave Irony behind--although Science Fiction, Super Hero stories, and Fantasy give Comic Irony (Thrillers, Murder Mysteries, Spy films, etc.) a run for its money, they have yet to completely overtake them (although I say that with Millennials they inch a step closer to possibly doing so). Tragic Irony I see pop up on occasion, but it's still not as popular or pervasive in our society as Comic Irony is. For the large part we still base our films and television shows (CSI, Skyfall, The Da Vinci Code, Law & Order, NCIS, etc.) around the Comic Irony pattern, though there are attempts to break out of it, as I've mentioned before. Also Millennials--like the GIs before them (GIs like Asimov are best noted as authors for their contributions to Sci-Fi, while Millennials seem obsessed with High Fantasy)--are more willing to lap up and write in the dissenting views, while Boomers, Xers, and Silents all tend to consume Comic Irony as a staple part of their diet (with of course notable exceptions).

Also take note of how GIs were mainly "future" driven in focusing on Science Fiction, while Millennial tastes are "past" driven in focusing on Fantasy? Both are Romance formulas, but one speaks of an Apollonian Civic generation looking to create something new in society. While the other speaks of a Dionysian Civic generation looking to return to some golden past society.

Looking again at the Dionysian and Apollonian qualities of literature, it becomes plaintively obvious what the Boomers should be doing and have done. In the most basic form Apollonian virtues are "comic" ones, about building something greater, an ascension to a new plane of existence, and creating a new society or a new order. Dionysian virtues are "tragic" ones, about the fall from grace, the death and destruction of society (typically in tragedy this is portrayed through the breakup of a family if not a society ceasing to exist), but also the communion ceremony. So the Great Power Saeculum, as people have reiterated consistently is an Apollonian Saeculum (at least for the US) as it lead to the creation of a new order, the United States' ascension to the role of Super Power, etc. The Millennial Saeculum thus is Dionysian, which means it's about our "fall" from being a Super Power, and thus is the "musical answer" to the "musical question" raised in the Great Power Saeculum.

How did the Civil War Saeculum handle its Dionysian ritual? Well, we had a communion ceremony over Lincoln's body. No, I'm quite serious with that, after all that's what the train ride of Lincoln's body was for most of the nation, and from his death the rest of the society was rejuvenated. Lincoln literally became our Dionysus/Christ figure and his "sacrifice" could be seen as enacting the ritual which needed to be required to satisfy the Dionysian rhythm, perhaps "early" perhaps "right on time" all that depends upon your viewpoint. After all, Lincoln's been called the "last casualty of the Civil War".

The Civil War Saeculum was about the "fall" of the system established by the Revolutionary Saeculum. However falling apart does not always mean that that can't be a good thing. After all what was the system that was established by the Revolutionary Saeculum built on (at least partially) but slavery? And what has our "Great Power" been established on but nothing but constant US imperialism and warfare?

Uhh... and now that I'm done that ramble, returning to your question:

It's not the "Sentimental cycle" because as Frye would have it, sentimental literature can be written at any time and thus would no cycle to it theoretically. The most popular example being writing a modern version of a romance a la The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Prydain. However, having said that,I'm sure there's some sort of beat to "sentimental" literature as people who like what they read in sentimental literature would be more likely to buy more of it. And thus you could theoretically see if there are trends based on how popular specific genres are compared to one another, and from there formulate some kind of theory based on book sales equaling social mood. For example, after The Lord of the Rings was published there was a whole era of popular High and Low Fantasy books and films released that remained fairly "popular" until the end of the 1980s.

~Chas'88
Last edited by Chas'88; 03-24-2013 at 03:11 AM.
"There have always been people who say: "The war will be over someday." I say there's no guarantee the war will ever be over. Naturally a brief intermission is conceivable. Maybe the war needs a breather, a war can even break its neck, so to speak. But the kings and emperors, not to mention the pope, will always come to its help in adversity. ON the whole, I'd say this war has very little to worry about, it'll live to a ripe old age."







Post#210 at 03-24-2013 03:59 AM by Kepi [at Northern, VA joined Nov 2012 #posts 3,664]
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Quote Originally Posted by Chas '88
Dionysian vs. Appolonian.
Hmmm... You know, that view actually makes sense of science fiction's trend towards retrofuturism. A genre which used to be about flying through space in a rocket with a sexy telepathic alien diplomat in a skin tight silver body suit changed to being about either flying through the sky on a Zepplin with a sensible Victorian woman and seeing the wonders of the world or falling to earth on a rocket because your last attempt at escaping the radiated hellscape of earth had failed, and so now you're stuck with your side kick: a 300lb telepathic mutant tentacle guy, who is unfortunately wearing a skin tight silver body suit.

And of course what this says about us is pretty significant. I've often called steam-punk "comfort sci-fi" and considered it's popularity resulting from a need to have an adventure but an unwillingness to accept the risk. Does that assessment jive with a Dionysian line of thought? With the post apocalyptic, I kinda get the vibe that it's a blending of romance and irony, it's just not what it should have been, but there's still work to be done, still a world to save, still a Boy and His Dog, Still a Vegas that needs a New King. Does this line up with a Dionysian way of thinking?







Post#211 at 03-24-2013 11:04 AM by The Grey Badger [at Albuquerque, NM joined Sep 2001 #posts 8,876]
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Quote Originally Posted by Kepi View Post
Hmmm... You know, that view actually makes sense of science fiction's trend towards retrofuturism. A genre which used to be about flying through space in a rocket with a sexy telepathic alien diplomat in a skin tight silver body suit changed to being about either flying through the sky on a Zepplin with a sensible Victorian woman and seeing the wonders of the world or falling to earth on a rocket because your last attempt at escaping the radiated hellscape of earth had failed, and so now you're stuck with your side kick: a 300lb telepathic mutant tentacle guy, who is unfortunately wearing a skin tight silver body suit.

And of course what this says about us is pretty significant. I've often called steam-punk "comfort sci-fi" and considered it's popularity resulting from a need to have an adventure but an unwillingness to accept the risk. Does that assessment jive with a Dionysian line of thought? With the post apocalyptic, I kinda get the vibe that it's a blending of romance and irony, it's just not what it should have been, but there's still work to be done, still a world to save, still a Boy and His Dog, Still a Vegas that needs a New King. Does this line up with a Dionysian way of thinking?
I'm going to put in my own perspective on steampunk here. Bear with me - it's been simmering for a while.

The old Flash Gordon type sf, as silly as it could be at times, was based on the mindset of the Age of Exploration, and that it would continue into the Solar System, and then into the stars. We got a lot of very good sf, much of it space opera, along those lines. And people believed it would happen and even worked to make it so.

The Solar System proved to be totally barren and hostile to unsupported life on a scale unmatched on earth. The sf continued on the grounds that we could terraform the other planets until we found our hyperdrive or jump points. And serious writers and readers had to accept the fact that FTL travel depended on the sort of handwavium of the cartoon here:

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...W79_W-CtigWQMw

But both transport and terraforming depended on cheap and efficient energy sources, which were also taken for granted. Atomic energy too cheap to meter and used for everything (Asimov). Fission (whose drawbacks Heinlein saw early on) replaced by fusion. (Heinlein.) Even using atmospheric electricity (Leinster.) Just like the settlement-friendly solar system, those power sources were not forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the technological revolution of the past few decades early on went off into either arcana (who today, if they're not in the trade, understands the chips in their cars or appliances? Let alone their computers? ) or a specialized and increasingly low-paid trade (see "Microserfs").

Steampunk technology is something we can understand. It's accessible to any child of the 20th century. Steampunk culture returns us to very first days of the techno-optimism cited above, when the British Empire ruled the waves, and if anything happened to it, America was waiting in the wings. In other words, it gives us a sense of a do-over. And on the cultural front, there seems to be a hunger for the dignity, dressing up, and stateliness of earlier periods.

Meanwhile, popular culture went off into vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, devils on earth and angels fighting them, etc.... which makes sense if you consider them to be reflections of what they dimly see all around us in the culture. Wall street. Gangs. Hungry masses devouring brains. The bitchy boss. The people ruining it for everybody and the valiant members of one's own church or party standing against them, often using the same tactics. And so on.

Next to which, steampunk seems clean, simple and upbeat. Not to mention it puts one in contact with ways of doing things that do not depend on the grid, which is another popular underground theme. That's one of my own hobbies.
How to spot a shill, by John Michael Greer: "What you watch for is (a) a brand new commenter who (b) has nothing to say about the topic under discussion but (c) trots out a smoothly written opinion piece that (d) hits all the standard talking points currently being used by a specific political or corporate interest, while (e) avoiding any other points anyone else has made on that subject."

"If the shoe fits..." The Grey Badger.







Post#212 at 03-24-2013 12:28 PM by Chas'88 [at In between Pennsylvania & Pennsyltucky joined Nov 2008 #posts 9,432]
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Quote Originally Posted by The Grey Badger View Post
I'm going to put in my own perspective on steampunk here. Bear with me - it's been simmering for a while.

The old Flash Gordon type sf, as silly as it could be at times, was based on the mindset of the Age of Exploration, and that it would continue into the Solar System, and then into the stars. We got a lot of very good sf, much of it space opera, along those lines. And people believed it would happen and even worked to make it so.

The Solar System proved to be totally barren and hostile to unsupported life on a scale unmatched on earth. The sf continued on the grounds that we could terraform the other planets until we found our hyperdrive or jump points. And serious writers and readers had to accept the fact that FTL travel depended on the sort of handwavium of the cartoon here:

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...W79_W-CtigWQMw

But both transport and terraforming depended on cheap and efficient energy sources, which were also taken for granted. Atomic energy too cheap to meter and used for everything (Asimov). Fission (whose drawbacks Heinlein saw early on) replaced by fusion. (Heinlein.) Even using atmospheric electricity (Leinster.) Just like the settlement-friendly solar system, those power sources were not forthcoming.
I'm currently reading a time line over on the Alternate History forums which has an Xer being sent back in time to becoming a GI (an Xer's secret dream to be like grandma & grandpa GI--I've seen it played over and over and over again in their culture, that I feel quite confident about this one) in a related but slightly altered version of the past where the Alien Space Bat who sent her back populated Venus and Mars with some old Science Fiction thoughts on what possible life could be on those respective planets, making them more hospitable. Mars has a dying reptilian culture which sees humanity as the new kid on the block whom they can teach in a sensei manner before they die off as a species. Venus is populate , in such a world that kind of science-fiction optimism remains popular and kinda never ends. In fact that's what the Xer writing the time line sorta wished had happened (as well as her Xer and Millie readers, who are all jealous and wish to be living in this time line where the USSR and the USA are slowly meeting in the middle and seeing each other simply as friendly rivals--especially after WWIII where Fascist Brazil/Peru/Argentina & Maoist China were taken out) that the Great Power ideals hadn't stopped working.


Meanwhile, the technological revolution of the past few decades early on went off into either arcana (who today, if they're not in the trade, understands the chips in their cars or appliances? Let alone their computers? ) or a specialized and increasingly low-paid trade (see "Microserfs").

Steampunk technology is something we can understand. It's accessible to any child of the 20th century. Steampunk culture returns us to very first days of the techno-optimism cited above, when the British Empire ruled the waves, and if anything happened to it, America was waiting in the wings. In other words, it gives us a sense of a do-over. And on the cultural front, there seems to be a hunger for the dignity, dressing up, and stateliness of earlier periods.

Meanwhile, popular culture went off into vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, devils on earth and angels fighting them, etc.... which makes sense if you consider them to be reflections of what they dimly see all around us in the culture. Wall street. Gangs. Hungry masses devouring brains. The bitchy boss. The people ruining it for everybody and the valiant members of one's own church or party standing against them, often using the same tactics. And so on.

Next to which, steampunk seems clean, simple and upbeat. Not to mention it puts one in contact with ways of doing things that do not depend on the grid, which is another popular underground theme. That's one of my own hobbies.
That is the most perfect way to describe steampunk, Pat, that I've ever read. A lot of 1990s Millies seem to be jumping on this bandwagon I've noticed.

~Chas'88
Last edited by Chas'88; 03-24-2013 at 12:41 PM.
"There have always been people who say: "The war will be over someday." I say there's no guarantee the war will ever be over. Naturally a brief intermission is conceivable. Maybe the war needs a breather, a war can even break its neck, so to speak. But the kings and emperors, not to mention the pope, will always come to its help in adversity. ON the whole, I'd say this war has very little to worry about, it'll live to a ripe old age."







Post#213 at 03-24-2013 12:42 PM by JordanGoodspeed [at joined Mar 2013 #posts 3,587]
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I agree with everything that was written above, and can vouch for it from personal experience. I grew up with scifi/fantasy, and the realization that the space age wasn't going anywhere was hugely disillusioning.

I also suspect that, given the decline creeping in from the margins, Steampunk is popular in Western culture because the Victorian/Edwardian era was the relative high point of Western civilization, and certainly the highpoint of Modernity 1.0, before Communism and WWI/WWII led to the disillusionment and nihilism of postmodernism.







Post#214 at 03-24-2013 01:47 PM by Chas'88 [at In between Pennsylvania & Pennsyltucky joined Nov 2008 #posts 9,432]
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Quote Originally Posted by Kepi View Post
Hmmm... You know, that view actually makes sense of science fiction's trend towards retrofuturism. A genre which used to be about flying through space in a rocket with a sexy telepathic alien diplomat in a skin tight silver body suit changed to being about either flying through the sky on a Zepplin with a sensible Victorian woman and seeing the wonders of the world or falling to earth on a rocket because your last attempt at escaping the radiated hellscape of earth had failed, and so now you're stuck with your side kick: a 300lb telepathic mutant tentacle guy, who is unfortunately wearing a skin tight silver body suit.
I love the irony you reflected in there. The Elizabethan Tragedians would appreciate your ironic reflectors. That's not to say that tragedy is all about irony, but in comparison to pure romance it has more irony in it than romance does (which typically has little to none). The Elizabethan Tragedians would have the typical tragic scene of your hero, and then immediately follow it depicting a scene where a seemingly unrelated in terms of plot, but when looked at from a perspective of theme, are there to explore the farcical side of the tragic theme. This dualism goes back to what I talked about in the Archetype thread of the relationship between Tragedy and Farce. Farce being the "younger brother of Tragedy" that's born a few minutes after you've contemplated the tragic and weighty situation--instead viewing it from a more or less humorous perspective. Elizabethan dramatists married the two in their tragedies. Shakespeare does this less often, Marlowe is the archetypal example--especially in The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus--but Shakespeare does it to some degree, especially in his History plays. Japanese theater also has the same dualism between Noh plays and Kyogen Farces which are performed back to back, and of course the Greek Theater had their Tragic trilogy which was then followed by a Satyr play, from which modern Farce descends. These farces are always related in terms of theme to the main tragedy, but that's about it. It's to give an alternate sense of "catharsis", where we can laugh at the tragic ideas instead of feeling pity and fear. Elizabethan Tragedians simply combined the two as part of their tragedies, and typically in modern tragedies you don't get this. That's why the farces come later like in "Scary Movie" which is the best of those farces because it sticks to the providence that it should. Farce parodies tragic implications as an immature middle schooler would, which is the kind of humor that a Farce entails and has always been about. Not Another Teen Movie comes close when they parody the "tragic back stories" that typically waft through Teen films, but that's about it. The difference between it and Satire is that Satire goes for a more mature and "knowing" humor and has an attack to its nature. Farce is simply obsessed with poop, penis, and vomit jokes and that sort of humor.

An example of a modern Tragedy: Donnie Darko, although it does have a few ironic reflectors in it, now that I think on it. Another example of a modern Tragedy that definitely does have more than a few ironic reflectors in it--the director's cut being the pure tragic experience: The Butterfly Effect.

And of course what this says about us is pretty significant. I've often called steam-punk "comfort sci-fi" and considered it's popularity resulting from a need to have an adventure but an unwillingness to accept the risk. Does that assessment jive with a Dionysian line of thought? With the post apocalyptic, I kinda get the vibe that it's a blending of romance and irony, it's just not what it should have been, but there's still work to be done, still a world to save, still a Boy and His Dog, Still a Vegas that needs a New King. Does this line up with a Dionysian way of thinking?
First let me start by saying something--the post-apocalyptic does occur in tragedy in its Ironic Tragedy stage (think of King Lear and the wasteland of the moors he travels upon) but most typically it is the providence of Satire & Irony to live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland of some sort, eventually culminating in the final form of a post-apocalyptic earthly world of unending bondage, suffering and torment that you find in Dystopian novels. I've seen the film version of A Boy and His Dog (and own it too--and love it) and it's clearly of the world of Satire & Irony--there's not really anything tragic left in it. The only tragic ritual that is performed is the cannibalistic consumption of the girl at the end of the story to save the dog, and that's not played up for a sense of Catharsis as we generally are meant to be shocked and horrified at such an act, but not feel pity and fear for the girl as it happens to her for no other reason than she's there and available. Had another person been available she wouldn't have been eaten. What would've been a tragic end to that story was if the boy had sacrificed himself or a limb to keep the dog alive. And that I think you could use to separate Tragic Irony from Ironic Tragedy (the murky boundaries that Frye talks about), is that at the end of the day there is no inevitability to the girl's death. It was due to random luck and chance she just happened to be present, and it wasn't so much a sense of sacrifice on her part that we are meant to feel pity and fear for, but to be shocked and horrified by the implications of. Even the most ironic of tragedies (The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka) has some cathartic sense of pity and fear we feel for the protagonist--even if the inevitability has been taken away and replaced with randomness. By pity and fear, Frye puts it as:

Tragedy is a paradoxical combination of a fearful sense of rightness (the hero must fall) and a pitying sense of wrongness (it is too bad that he falls). There is a similar paradox in the two elements of sacrifice. One of these is communion, the dividing of a heroic or divine body among a group which brings them into unity with, and as, that body. The other is propitiation, the sense that in spite of the communion the body really belongs to another, a greater, and a potentially wrathful power.

...

As a mimesis of ritual, the tragic hero is not really killed or eaten, but the corresponding thing in art still takes place, a vision of death which draws the survivors into a new unity. With his fall, a greater world beyond which his gigantic spirit had blocked out becomes for an instant visible, but there is also a sense of the mystery and remoteness of that world.
Dionysian thinking at its most basic is a ritual of sacrifice. To this sacrifice there is a sense of inevitability and catharsis. The inevitability lends itself to the idea of the "ticking clock" that keeps getting faster and faster that you find in Tragedy. You can take away inevitability and you can still have tragedy through a sense of catharsis from pity and fear. However you can't take away both and still call it tragedy, it then enters the world of Satire and Irony--and that's where I'd place A Boy and his Dog. Horror by the way typically exists between the murky worlds of Ironic Tragedy or Tragic Irony--more often Ironic Tragedy--which is a world of shock and horror that still has a sense of catharsis to it. The Cabin in the Woods takes the tragic implications of the Horror genre and brings them purely into the realm of Satire & Irony, exposing the "ritual of Horror", undermining it and saying "fuck it". Every time we're supposed to feel pity or fear in The Cabin in the Woods for our "virgin sacrifice" we cut to the rooms below where the technicians are commenting on the action, pranking one another, flirting, getting drunk, and mostly going about their business as usual.

Dionysian thinking: an inevitable ritual of sacrifice, which requires a great fall of the protagonist, from which the rest of the community that survives is revitalized. You can see how Lincoln's death became the sacrificial lamb served up as a way of ending a bloody civil war.

In terms of archetypes: it's the Prophets who "arranges the sacrifice" or more typically "foresees it" because they can see the "inevitability of it all". It's a Nomad who typically get sacrificed OR you can have it as a Prophet/Nomad cusper who foresees his own sacrifice, thus fulfilling both roles. Lincoln did this via his premonition dreams of his death, which is why he's an archetypal Prophet/Nomad cusper. Christ did this as well, which is why he's a Prophet/Nomad cusper as well. The ones who "benefit" from this sacrifice typically are the remaining Nomads, Civics, and Artists who go on to build and live in the revitalized society. And the revitalized society is much like the old society, only with that fatal flaw taken out of the picture. Because the whole point of a Dionysian ritual of sacrifice is to cleanse society of the great sin it's committed.

~Chas'88
Last edited by Chas'88; 03-24-2013 at 02:17 PM.
"There have always been people who say: "The war will be over someday." I say there's no guarantee the war will ever be over. Naturally a brief intermission is conceivable. Maybe the war needs a breather, a war can even break its neck, so to speak. But the kings and emperors, not to mention the pope, will always come to its help in adversity. ON the whole, I'd say this war has very little to worry about, it'll live to a ripe old age."







Post#215 at 03-24-2013 11:05 PM by Kepi [at Northern, VA joined Nov 2012 #posts 3,664]
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Quote Originally Posted by Chas '88
Because the whole point of the Dionysian ritual of sacrifice is to cleanse society of the great sin it's committed.
Okay, I think I get it. So something like Fallout 3 (basegame at least, where you don't wind up surviving at the end) where you, the player trudge through the barren radioactive wasteland to turn the radioactive wasteland to use a techology to purify all the water in the region, but sacrifice yourself (or one of your companions) in the process?

Also, I'll invite you to reconsider Christ as a Prophet-Nomad. I consider him a core civic for the following reason: 1) his age in the story, 2) the prophets as villians in the story, 3) his role as the ultimate sacrifice, 4) the alterations to the traditional prophet symbolism, and 5) his relationship with the law.

Jesus was 33-34 at the time of crucifiction, and if we're going to say his sacrifice marks the end movement of the crisis, then he's got to be coming of age early to mid crisis. While Jesus came from humble beginnings, as you'd expect from a Prophet/Nomad cusp narrative, it's also a great way of saying his parents were Nomads, which given his age at the crucifiction/deep in the crisis, I think they were (also, given the narritive's point of showing Mary and Joseph appeasing Imperial oppression by going to Nazareth, I think the Nomad connection is pretty firm). Also, the Good Guy prophet wasn't Jesus, it was John the Baptist. So we start the Narrative with John the Baptist with a prophecy, then he gets killed, which is very unravelling.

The villians of this story are the Pharasees and the Scribes. Both are deeply embroiled in a theological dispute with eachother and with society at large. They're also orders deeply embroiled in the political power structure of the time. These high minded theological disputes don't strike me as civics or artists arguments, and given the time frame we're talking about the crucifiction being in relation to the turning, both these groups, and the Roman conquest seems to be an awakening part of the story: Rome takes over, the Pharasees are all "If we follow the law really, really close God will do us good by sending us another prophet like he always does!", to which the scribes respond "that's stupid". Over time, the awakening sentiments devolve to the Pharasees are rule mongers who prove their holiness by counting how few steps they take on the Sabbath and the Scribes are so annoyed, they've busted theie cannon back to the septuagint just to show how dumb the Pharasees are. So when Jesus hits the scene, he's not picking sides. Had he been a prophet, even a Prophet-Nomad, he'd have been too entrenched not to have created his own side.

The Ultimate Sacrifice wouldn't be a prophet. It can be a great sacrifice, but it's not absolute or Ultimate. Consider the Civil War, Lincoln was a major loss, but only because of the world he'd built. Lincoln as president, not Lincoln the man, was the sacrifice. Jesus on the other hand was considered to be perfect, there's nothing Nomad about that, also while Prophets strive for perfection, it's something they obtain, not a status. Jesus was, by virtue of his existence, the Ultimate Sacrifice, and the rest of the narrative is really unneccessary to get Christianity. You could chopp the Biblical narrative to only include Jesus's spiritual perfection, the crucifiction, and the resurection, and it'd really mean the same thing as now. That's a Civic persona.

Prophets in the biblical cannon follow a particular pattern. Namely, they have an interesting relationship with water. Moses and Elija part the water. Jesus, however, walks on top of it. It's an entirely different message. The only other prophet who I can think of that has any different relationship with water is Jonah, but even he travels through the water.

Also, with prophets, they come in and they seperate the good from the bad, and they fight the bad, usually verbally. Jesus more or less makes the Pharasees and such prove their badness, but he works, really to include everyone, especially the bad. Sluts, Tax Collectors, Soldiers, he's more into making a coalition of friends instead of following the rules. This isn't a prophet behavior. On the other hand, that's the civic MO. There's a line, sure, but that time around it looks like it was The Pharasees. That were on the wrong side of the line, despite best efforts otherwise.

So, overall, Jesus was a civic.
Last edited by Kepi; 03-24-2013 at 11:21 PM.







Post#216 at 03-24-2013 11:23 PM by Kepi [at Northern, VA joined Nov 2012 #posts 3,664]
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Quote Originally Posted by The Grey Badger View Post
I'm going to put in my own perspective on steampunk here. Bear with me - it's been simmering for a while.

The old Flash Gordon type sf, as silly as it could be at times, was based on the mindset of the Age of Exploration, and that it would continue into the Solar System, and then into the stars. We got a lot of very good sf, much of it space opera, along those lines. And people believed it would happen and even worked to make it so.

The Solar System proved to be totally barren and hostile to unsupported life on a scale unmatched on earth. The sf continued on the grounds that we could terraform the other planets until we found our hyperdrive or jump points. And serious writers and readers had to accept the fact that FTL travel depended on the sort of handwavium of the cartoon here:

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...W79_W-CtigWQMw

But both transport and terraforming depended on cheap and efficient energy sources, which were also taken for granted. Atomic energy too cheap to meter and used for everything (Asimov). Fission (whose drawbacks Heinlein saw early on) replaced by fusion. (Heinlein.) Even using atmospheric electricity (Leinster.) Just like the settlement-friendly solar system, those power sources were not forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the technological revolution of the past few decades early on went off into either arcana (who today, if they're not in the trade, understands the chips in their cars or appliances? Let alone their computers? ) or a specialized and increasingly low-paid trade (see "Microserfs").

Steampunk technology is something we can understand. It's accessible to any child of the 20th century. Steampunk culture returns us to very first days of the techno-optimism cited above, when the British Empire ruled the waves, and if anything happened to it, America was waiting in the wings. In other words, it gives us a sense of a do-over. And on the cultural front, there seems to be a hunger for the dignity, dressing up, and stateliness of earlier periods.

Meanwhile, popular culture went off into vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, devils on earth and angels fighting them, etc.... which makes sense if you consider them to be reflections of what they dimly see all around us in the culture. Wall street. Gangs. Hungry masses devouring brains. The bitchy boss. The people ruining it for everybody and the valiant members of one's own church or party standing against them, often using the same tactics. And so on.

Next to which, steampunk seems clean, simple and upbeat. Not to mention it puts one in contact with ways of doing things that do not depend on the grid, which is another popular underground theme. That's one of my own hobbies.
That's exactly what I meant by comfort sci-fi. Accessable, easy to understand, simple, upbeat. Great way of putting it.







Post#217 at 03-24-2013 11:47 PM by The Grey Badger [at Albuquerque, NM joined Sep 2001 #posts 8,876]
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Jesus was a Civic? But the Crisis - and you can't deny it was a massive one - came 40 years after the Crucifixion. The Romans, having had one uprising too many, stormed in, pulled down the Temple, leveled Jerusalem, and deported the survivors. The rabbis of the Diaspora were all that was left of formal, official Judaism, and they had to reinvent a form of it that depended on the Books and not on the priests and the Temple. At which point, Jesus' contemporaries would have been elders.

Sorry. Prophet. And as for the Pharisees, you said it yourself. They were into really, carefully, self-righteousness Following the Law. The itty-bitty picky rules, all form and no spirit. That's Civic behavior. Civic and Lost. Ask any Boomer.

(And we know there were two generations at the top of the hierarchy: the High Priest and his son-in-law.)

The Romans, BTW, were on a similar timeline. They reached the climax of a Crisis Era in 72AD, when Vespasian finally was persuaded to march on Rome and declare himself Emperor and put an end to the chaos following Nero's assassination. His reign was said to be one of peace, order, and fiscal frugality. But without much imagination. Any resemblance to Eisenhower's presidency is purely in my Silent Generation imagination.

But, no. Also, Judea at the time of Christ was boiling over with sects, nationalists, terrorists (Simon Zelotes = Simon the Terrorist! So, apparently, was Barabbas.) They did everything but march down the main drag of Jerusalem a million strong shouting "What do we want? Revolution! When do we want it? Now!" Awakening time.
How to spot a shill, by John Michael Greer: "What you watch for is (a) a brand new commenter who (b) has nothing to say about the topic under discussion but (c) trots out a smoothly written opinion piece that (d) hits all the standard talking points currently being used by a specific political or corporate interest, while (e) avoiding any other points anyone else has made on that subject."

"If the shoe fits..." The Grey Badger.







Post#218 at 03-25-2013 03:19 AM by Kepi [at Northern, VA joined Nov 2012 #posts 3,664]
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The destruction of the temple was a biggie, but it was a biggie Awakening moment. The first Jewish rebellion wasn't nearly as definitive or brutal as the second. Though the first was bad, Jerusalem still remained populated, and while the temple was important it was most important as a symbol. Meanwhile the next war 50 years later was much more total and absolute, leaving some Jewish controlled areas completely depopulated. That's a crisis war.

Meanwhile, Christianity didn't seperate from greater Judaism until after the temple was destroyed, to me this is also an awakening thing. If Christianity had been founded during an awakening, the split would have come much quicker (I'll point to Mormonism as an example). Plus the synoptic gospels, which are earlier writings, sound much more like civic narratives than the gospel of John, which came later and definitely reads like it was written by a prophet type.

The way the Pharisees are self-righteous reminds me of prophets. Both civics and prophets can be self-righteous, but Pharisees were self-righteous because they were acting outside the temple like they were inside the temple. That desire to unify your spiritual and saecular life is totally a prophet mentality. Looking into the pharasees a little further, they became the source of rabbinic Judaism after the destruction of the temple. Again, the response to the destruction of the temple, though tragic, lead to the emergence of new expressions of faith, not the destruction of it, which would be more of a ended crisis kind of game.

Also, looking at Paul of Tarsis, he totally seems like the adaptive leader in his writings. He's taking the new world, and through a mystical experience, he's going and building a peaceful group of people in a golden age of Christianity hallmarked by sharing, community, and mutual belief. If Jesus was a prophet, Paul would be a Nomad, and... That doesn't sound like Paul to me, and a Golden Age of a new belief system doesn't sound like the unravelling, it sounds like the high.

*(for a Nomad sounding writer, I think of Isahiah. His proclivity for vulgar imagery is amazing, and a thing of beauty)







Post#219 at 03-25-2013 10:18 AM by JordanGoodspeed [at joined Mar 2013 #posts 3,587]
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The destruction of the temple was a biggie, but it was a biggie Awakening moment. The first Jewish rebellion wasn't nearly as definitive or brutal as the second. Though the first was bad, Jerusalem still remained populated, and while the temple was important it was most important as a symbol. Meanwhile the next war 50 years later was much more total and absolute, leaving some Jewish controlled areas completely depopulated. That's a crisis war.
I'm not sure I agree with that. The first Jewish-Roman war led to the destruction of their temple, and the death or expulsion of a large fraction of their people. The Kitos War around 117 (two turnings or so after) was a rebellion in the diaspora caused by religious tensions and anti-tax protests and caused a great deal of bitterness, that culminated in the last of the revolts, the Bar Kokhba revolt, which completed the diaspora process, and even led to the temporary ban on the Jewish faith, until the death of Hadrian in AD 138. Two major wars fought primarily in Israel, about 70 years apart, with a diasporic protest in between? Sounds like two crises and an awakening to me.

Also, where was the political change that Jesus caused? His death didn't change anything till later, the civic culture stayed intact until the destruction of the temple.







Post#220 at 03-25-2013 10:34 AM by Mikebert [at Kalamazoo MI joined Jul 2001 #posts 4,502]
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Quote Originally Posted by JordanGoodspeed View Post
For a number of reasons, most especially because of the broken window fallacy.
I never claimed any benefit to society from war. I said that war involves the government raising debt and spending it. This increases demand which leads to higher commodity prices. Higher prices encourage more output so you have prosperity during the war. When the war ends, the artificially-high demand falls back to a level below what it would be without the war because some income must be now be used to service war debt. You get price deflation and reduced output. All the war does is transfer future production and consumption to the present, the net effect on welfare is negative. The broken window fallacy does not apply.

Because of war-enhanced demand, the leading sector will grow as if it were far removed from the limit. When the war ends, the artificial boom ends, and output falls as if the limit had already been exceeded (which it had been but was obscured by the war spending). What this means is limits to growth peaks tend to be aligned with the price peaks associated with wars. This is because the leading sector growth both helps support the ability to wage wage and is rapidly brought to its growth limits (or beyond) by the war-enhanced demand. When the war ends, whether because the hawk-faction can no longer secure credit or the dove-faction gains the upper hand, you get both a price peak (Kondratiev peak) and a leading sector peak occurring at about the same time that the war ends.

In Figure 2 of that Chase-Dunn article, you can see the Modelski and Dentian waves (and some others I found) plotted out. These are plots of leading sector output divided by GDP or population, and then normalized to the maximum value expressed as 100%. The dates show when this ratio reached a maximum, that is, when the sector stopped being a leading sector, or put another way, when it reached its limits to growth. I have analyzed 60+ historical leading sectors in this way and obtained peak dates. These dates are clustered in bunches spaced 50-60 years apart. And these bunches appear to be aligned with the price peaks (i.e. Kondratiev peaks) and with peaks in Great Power warfare as measured by casualties/population in a statistically significant fashion.

The Kondratiev cycle itself is a price cycleóNOT an output cycle. What Kondratiev actually saw was clear cut cycles in 19th and early 20th century price indices. He also claimed that it could be seen in output as well, but his analysis was subsequently shown to be invalid. So when Modelski talks about Kondratievs in his leadership cycle, he is speaking of a hypothetical concept, because 50-60 year cycles in output have never been conclusively demonstrated. Modelski further claims that these hypothetical K-cycles are aligned with his own hypothetical leadership cycle. Ultimately all this has to be related to the price cycle since that is the only conclusively demonstrated long cycle.

The mechanism I described above provides a plausible reason for alignment. If this mechanism is invalid, then one would expect the price cycles and leading sector cycles to be independent of each other and so unaligned. Finding nonalignment would invalid the idea. Since I found alignment the idea is not invalidated.

With this result it now makes sense to use the leading sectors peaks as one way to characterize the Kondratiev cycle, particularly when you cannot determine clear-cut price cycles (e.g. 15th century). For example my data suggests a K-trough around 1460. Braudel also finds one in 1460 too. So maybe Iím not seeing things, and so maybe I can write down 1460 as a trough. This fits in well with a price peak in 1483, the S&H date of 1487 and, if IIRC, the leading sectors estimated a peak in the 1490ís, so maybe I can write down ca. 1490, and so on.
Last edited by Mikebert; 03-25-2013 at 10:44 AM.







Post#221 at 03-25-2013 11:15 AM by Mikebert [at Kalamazoo MI joined Jul 2001 #posts 4,502]
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I'd also be curious to hear how you figured your gas calculations. What are you driving, a moped?
In 1988 I was driving a 1973 Pontiac LeMans that got 10 mpg. Gas was about a buck and so thatís 10 cents a mile. Today I drive a Prius C that gets 45 mpg. Gas is about $4 and so thatís 9 cents a mile.

Öbut ultimately it still comes down to exergy, the amount of energy available to do work.
Quite correct. But as my little example above illustrates the work (or more precisely the utility gained) is quite a long ways from the exergy content of the resource we are using.
Last edited by Mikebert; 03-25-2013 at 11:26 AM.







Post#222 at 03-25-2013 09:04 PM by Kepi [at Northern, VA joined Nov 2012 #posts 3,664]
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Quote Originally Posted by JordanGoodspeed View Post
I'm not sure I agree with that. The first Jewish-Roman war led to the destruction of their temple, and the death or expulsion of a large fraction of their people. The Kitos War around 117 (two turnings or so after) was a rebellion in the diaspora caused by religious tensions and anti-tax protests and caused a great deal of bitterness, that culminated in the last of the revolts, the Bar Kokhba revolt, which completed the diaspora process, and even led to the temporary ban on the Jewish faith, until the death of Hadrian in AD 138. Two major wars fought primarily in Israel, about 70 years apart, with a diasporic protest in between? Sounds like two crises and an awakening to me.

Also, where was the political change that Jesus caused? His death didn't change anything till later, the civic culture stayed intact until the destruction of the temple.
I'd say Jesus's death probably had the same level of impact of, say, publically executing someone from the leadership of occupy would now. Jesus's death alone isn't that big a deal, but overall the Roman Government was cementing it's relationship with the Temple, as opposed to just the King. If you check out Herod the Great's reign in the 20's and 10's, he's running around avoiding assassination attempts, and spreading money around in massive building projects, and such, he's importing food to keep people fed. This is pretty Analogous to our most recent awakening where we had the War on Povery, and were putting a man on the moon, and seeing Kennedy get shot.

Then around 6BCE you get this event where the king hangs a Golden eagle on the Temple which is destroyed by Pharisees as a Roman, and therefore heretical symbol. All this is very unravelling. Plus you get Herod Archelaus' reign right after, which is definitely all unravelly, pitting brother against brother and dragging Rome into it. Then Antipas comes in and he sees out the Crisis.

And then you can tell by the next Ruler, Agripa, that it's the high, because he's running around, able to garner favor with Caligula to prevent the Temple from being destroyed, and he's really the Pharisees kinda king. He's supressing open revolt, he's doing all the high kingly social duties, and he's playing the politics that make everyone (except the early Christians) very happy.

Then you fast forward to the destruction of the temple, and what's the response? The Pharisees establish Rabbinical Judaism right there on the temple's ashes and the Christians split off Judaism completely. It sounds more like the learned something (awakening) rather than gained or lost something (crisis).







Post#223 at 03-25-2013 09:55 PM by Mikebert [at Kalamazoo MI joined Jul 2001 #posts 4,502]
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Quote Originally Posted by The Grey Badger View Post
I'm going to put in my own perspective on steampunk here. Bear with me - it's been simmering for a while.

The old Flash Gordon type sf, as silly as it could be at times, was based on the mindset of the Age of Exploration, and that it would continue into the Solar System, and then into the stars. We got a lot of very good sf, much of it space opera, along those lines. And people believed it would happen and even worked to make it so.

The Solar System proved to be totally barren and hostile to unsupported life on a scale unmatched on earth. The sf continued on the grounds that we could terraform the other planets until we found our hyperdrive or jump points. And serious writers and readers had to accept the fact that FTL travel depended on the sort of handwavium of the cartoon here:

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...W79_W-CtigWQMw

But both transport and terraforming depended on cheap and efficient energy sources, which were also taken for granted. Atomic energy too cheap to meter and used for everything (Asimov). Fission (whose drawbacks Heinlein saw early on) replaced by fusion. (Heinlein.) Even using atmospheric electricity (Leinster.) Just like the settlement-friendly solar system, those power sources were not forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the technological revolution of the past few decades early on went off into either arcana (who today, if they're not in the trade, understands the chips in their cars or appliances? Let alone their computers? ) or a specialized and increasingly low-paid trade (see "Microserfs").

Steampunk technology is something we can understand. It's accessible to any child of the 20th century. Steampunk culture returns us to very first days of the techno-optimism cited above, when the British Empire ruled the waves, and if anything happened to it, America was waiting in the wings. In other words, it gives us a sense of a do-over. And on the cultural front, there seems to be a hunger for the dignity, dressing up, and stateliness of earlier periods.

Meanwhile, popular culture went off into vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches, devils on earth and angels fighting them, etc.... which makes sense if you consider them to be reflections of what they dimly see all around us in the culture. Wall street. Gangs. Hungry masses devouring brains. The bitchy boss. The people ruining it for everybody and the valiant members of one's own church or party standing against them, often using the same tactics. And so on.

Next to which, steampunk seems clean, simple and upbeat. Not to mention it puts one in contact with ways of doing things that do not depend on the grid, which is another popular underground theme. That's one of my own hobbies.
An excellent piece that rings true to me. Thanks for posting it.







Post#224 at 03-25-2013 10:26 PM by TimWalker [at joined May 2007 #posts 6,368]
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And then there was a brief vogue for the O'Neil/Cole space habitats...we didn't really need the planets for colonies. But they were very interesting for stories.







Post#225 at 03-25-2013 11:12 PM by Eric the Green [at San Jose CA joined Jul 2001 #posts 22,504]
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Quote Originally Posted by Kepi View Post
So, overall, Jesus was a civic.
Archetypally he's a prophet, according to the authors, who described Awakenings as the battle between Caesar and Christ, and Caesar of course are the civics. Although I suppose since Jesus was 30 years old, that means Jesus could have been like a war baby artist (a John Lennon or Bob Dylan in our time, or perhaps a Martin Luther King).

The High would have been the Augustan Age, circa 20 BC-6AD or so, when in fact Augustus actually celebrated the original "saeculum" as having returned to its golden age. I actually mentioned it in my book, published the same year as T4T. The Augustan Age was echoed by all the great building projects under Herod the Great. So the Awakening would have been when Christ appeared, at least toward the end of it (in which case he certainly was a prophet), or maybe even an early unravelling (like the "moral majority/culture wars" era). The crisis in that part of the empire was certainly 60-70 AD.

Jesus had Neptune in Scorpio, which is like a late prophet or early nomad today, and Uranus in Pisces, which is like an early artist. Having the trine between the two planets is like a war baby, right in between those two archetypes.

However, it is all useless speculation, because there were no generation cycles in those days. The Saeculum would have had to be some kind of civilization or economic cycle.

It's like "which archetype can we PIN on Jesus?"
Last edited by Eric the Green; 03-25-2013 at 11:29 PM.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive,

Eric A. Meece
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