Sunday, July 30, 2006

Information

Topical information dies. You want to say something true in a thousand years? Solomon praised the cedars of Lebanon; I prefer the cedars in the Hamptons. Christ has been in man’s thoughts two thousand years; he’ll probably be there a thousand hence. Honeysuckle will smell as sweet. Good information guides and entertains us but dies quickly; or “lives” only as history. Information of traffic and weather dies; I urgently turned the dial seeking last night’s score. Greek and Latin tease. Falling in love with Marcus Aurelius, I sought the original Latin; he was the Roman emperor, after all. Alas, he wrote in Greek. And so I studied Greek, but prefer Homer to the philosophers. We are information for the future.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Michael,
I've been reading an odd book called Baltic Origins of Homer's Epic Tales, published by Inner Traditions. The writer is Felice Vinci, apparently an engineer by trade who got started thinking how the world of the Odyssey sounded more like Norway and Viking tales than anything he knew about in the Mediterranean. He's self-taught and kind of delightfully nuts.

If you remember the narrative of the Laestrygonians it really is odd that there could have been an island in the Mediterranean where it was light all night. They are the giants who attack Odysseus' ships and cannibalize his men.

Vinci sets that island in the north sea.

He sets Troy in all places in southern Finland in a small town called Troija, near the city of Turku.

I'm very amused by the book.

Homer does start with facts of a kind. There are weather reports, sports scores in a sense, and so on. But there's also a powerful structure, and of course an archetypal dimension.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Michael Andre said...

Marcus Aurelius at one point had an almost magical ability to calm my soul. I was disappointed when I couldn’t read the original, but luckily met a sometime professor of classics at Austin who offered to teach me classical Greek using Clyde Pharr’s Homeric Greek. He loved teaching Greek and I loved learning it. As for the meaning of Homer, I like the books by M.I. Finley. My brother-in-law Victor Bers teaches Greek at Yale. I like his Greek Poetic Syntax in the Classical Age because it reminds me of how little I know.

3:48 AM  
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