Tag Archives: Leo Tolstoy

Facebook Posts During January 2015

Galaxy NGC 6822

Galaxy NGC 6822

Facebook Posts During January 2015

(Somewhat chronological, but in no particular order)

We need a new vision of life on this planet, a new attitude about what it means to be a human being in our time, to bring us together, across our many divides, to unify humankind.

Nothing is impossible for the Imagination with which humanity is endowed… From time to time, we human beings need to look afresh at what we’re doing, who and what we are, I believe, and I hope that my epic poem might help all of us around the globe do just that, reflecting on our human fragility a little more, and what we have in common, before the mystery of life in this cosmos, a quarter million miles away, from Tranquility Base. I hope you’ll consider taking a flight to the Moon…

We need to take the next step toward a new vision of life on this planet, a new attitude about what it means to be a human being in our time, to bring us together, across our many divides, to unify humankind.

I believe an Imaginative story, like John Lennon’s Imaginative song, can help do just that… hope you’ll read it! …make the Journey.

John Lennon showed that an Imaginative song can bring the world together around the globe; I believe an Imaginative epic song, a tale about humanity’s Journey through time and space, can help us see the great Image of Mother Earth as never before… feel again our common humanity in the depths of our souls.

However unlikely it might seem, I invite you to consider that one of the best responses to the terrorism we now face around the world might indeed be a trip to the Moon…

What’s needed is a new work of literature that revives and teaches the value of the humanities to people in all walks of life… including those in the university. Then, all will understand why the humanities are so important to the health of the individual and the community–global now.

A New Global, Universal Vision of Life on this Planet…
2012 to 2014 > 20 reviews in 7 countries–Ghana, Africa (1), Australia (1), Bangladesh (2), Canada (3), India (1), United Kingdom (3), and the USA (9). Excerpts from all of them now on Amazon USA, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, Amazon France, and Amazon India. Search The Parliament of Poets.
Help me DOUBLE that to 40 reviews in 14 countries by… June 30th? December?

If you want it, all of the great cultural divides can now be healed… Catholicism and Protestantism, Sunni and Shia, Muslim and Hindu, science and religion, religious and secular, Marxism and Capitalism, East and West, North and South… The alternative to healing these divides is more reactionary nostalgia and violence… global now.

In all the great religions and indigenous wisdom traditions, duality and exclusivism ultimately resolve and clarify into Unity. One of the marks of Enlightenment thinking is the loss of that realization and its replacement with the meta-narrative of its own myth. With nihilism now a global myth, it can now be overturned, East and West, through mimesis, from a universal perspective, driven back like a scapegoat into the wilderness or substratum, as from the Moon… an Imaginative realm and act of the soul, as in Dante, achieved through sacrifice.

Both nihilism and the modern reactions to it can in this way be resolved, as well as through lived life, which continues, leading to a higher resolution of the traditional conflicts that have absorbed humanity for most of the last 500 years.

The Myth of the Enlightenment: Essays explains all this and more in detail, often through the lives and writings of John Milton, Tolstoy, Tagore, Saul Bellow, and other writers and cultural critics, for example, Julien Benda and Jacque Barzun.

Given the horrendous events in Paris, I’d like to mention that I have studied Islam all my adult life, with course work back in the 1970s at the University of Michigan, including with one scholar from Al-Azhar University of Cairo. Both of my recent books respond to the dire nature of the threat that faces world civilization around the globe, especially in the essay “Decadence, East and West.”

My fullest response to Islam and modernity is in my epic poem, however unlikely that might seem to some in our culture today, addressing, from the Moon, our current dilemmas… A couple of cantos in my epic poem are specifically about Islam, attempting to evoke and explore a new way forward for Muslims, as well as the rest of humanity… to come together in peace.

The Myth of the Enlightenment: Essays

The Myth of the Enlightenment: Essays
Hardcover. ISBN: 9780982677834. Earthrise Press, September 2014. 230 pages.

From “Decadence, East and West,” in The Myth of the Enlightenment: Essays:

“The Quran (9:29) says,

“Fight those who believe not in Allah, nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya [tax] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” (King Fahd Holy Qur’an)

“There are many other similar verses. They’re well known to anyone who actually reads the Quran. For the fanatics, and some moderate Muslims, that’s Islam. And it cannot be soft-pedaled. Nothing discredits Islam more than its reduction to a political power symbol, as Ibn Khaldun recognized, and the use of violence and terrorism in an attempt to install it. The great jurists who developed and practiced the principles of “ijtihad,” a moderately balanced interpretation of the Quran, did, have, and would condemn such violence, lack of compassion, and a sense of the historical moment. Their sense of the fullness of the text of the Quran would note, “Let there be no compulsion in religion”; “Unto you your religion, unto me my religion”; “God has respited the People of the Book”; “If God had pleased, He would have made you all one people. But He has done otherwise.” Hearing only one part of the voice of God in the Quran turns it into an idol, and the individual into a decadent fanatic, seeking through pride and violence to impose his distorted interpretation on others.”

What the world cannot but ask > Are the apologies taqiyya?
I.e., lying to infidels. How can we know but by the *actions* of Muslims?
Words aren’t good enough… East and West, we need to reform ourselves.
“By their fruits ye shall know them.” –Matthew 7:20 KJV

Is ijtihad (moderate interpretation) a solution or partial solution? The emphasis on universality by Sufi and Indian poets, indeed world poets, on tawhid, the spiritual unity and oneness of God? Is it too naively hopeful to think that most Muslims at least can come together with others from such a spiritual perspective, be energized by it?

All the old visions are shot to hell…
We need a new vision of life on this planet.
Gazing from the moon, we see one Earth, without borders,
Mother Earth, her embrace encircling one people, humankind.

John Lennon sang an Imaginative song that brought the world together… I believe an Imaginative epic song, a tale about humanity’s Journey through time and space, can help us to see the great Image of Mother Earth as never before… our common humanity, before the cosmos, find our way to peace on Earth… helping to change life on this planet!!

Few read the traditional works of literature and myth, around the world. As in Japan and probably Korea, many young people are more interested in Anime and popular culture. So they really don’t have the depth of knowledge to think deeply with the full wealth of culture, East and/or West. It’s an extremely serious problem because it leads to very shallow thinking about the perennial problems of human nature.

Unfortunately, the trivial culture of modernity, with few reading the great traditional works of literature, poetry, and myth, around the world, leaves many young people unprepared for the profundity and complexity of life.

Many of their elders are to be blamed for bringing about this situation, in our now extremely, extremely fragmented culture, which endangers us all, at exactly the time when we need the most the great visions of human struggle, endurance, tragedy and triumph from the past, the great tales of what it means to be human.

The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem

The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem

My epic poem addresses and resolves precisely the problems at the core of the conflict between Islam and the rest of the world, modernity broadly, as attested by two Muslim scholars:

“The purpose of the spiritual journey of the Poet of the Moon is to seek deliverance of the modern human from the captivity of nothingness, nihilism and atheism, and from the resulting chaos and chasm of soul. From the versatile he gets scores of life-affirming lessons, yet the core meaning of all is that the Supreme Being as well as the earth is one, and so human beings are one nation irrespective of their clan, class, color, race, religion and gender. In this earth human beings are part of the Great Mystery’s creation and their duty is to keep the balance and harmony of the universe, to achieve union, to choose sacrifice, and to be self-controlled. In this manner Glaysher sings the song of ‘one Earth, without borders, Mother Earth, her embrace encircling one people, humankind’ (19)…. The lucid and placid feet of the language moves deftly and smoothly from the beginning up to the last line of the poem. Bravo to the Poet for this toilsome but brilliant endeavour.”
Umme Salma, International Islamic University, Department of English Language and Literature, Chittagong, Bangladesh, in Transnational Literature Vol. 7 no. 1, November 2014, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

“The review has evocatively summed up the stylistic and thematic magnificence of ‘The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem.’ A contemporary classic! Highly recommended for reading.”
Nishat Haider, Associate Professor, Lucknow University, Lucknow, India

Though many are waving their arms about and shouting at one another, eager to climb the barricades, a trip together to the Moon… is what is actually needed, and the only thing that will help bring us together on this planet in peace.

Muslims cannot alone reform Islam. It has become a global problem and needs the help of the entire world. We are all human beings on this planet. We must help one another.

We human beings, we’re in a mess… The Emperor is bare naked, and the peasants are starving, half of them out of their minds. There are a lot of rocks in this universe with no life on them, as far as we can tell. We might want to hold on to this one…

I have an idea, as a poet, I think, let’s sing them a tale, take their minds off killing one another for a while, at least, lull them with song, and then work on rearranging their soul into something more human… before they notice it, and start killing one another again in the aisles… but, it seems, few of the barbarians any longer know how to read, or want to read, a serious book on an adult level… Thoughts of a new Dark Age, shake them off.

I refuse to give up, being a fool, Shakespearean!!! …in a tragic tale. Perhaps a little catharsis will help, especially from the Moon, from where the entire pageant play can be seen. Worth a try…

Idealism is the only truly realistic position, as has often been said. It can recognize that the heart of the human being harbors great evil, but also great good. Those like Nietzsche, Freud, Marx, and the whole modern pantheon of cynics have taken civilization in the wrong direction… The influence of the great German writers were in the hearts and minds, in the pen of Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Isaiah Berlin, and many others, from all walks of life, who opposed, as best they could, the fascists, triumphed against them, as Mann did in Dr. Faustus. They definitely were not in the work of Heidegger and Paul de Mann and other fascists who brought the dregs of their relativism, nihilism, and despair into American culture through Deconstruction and its sundry sophistries that have corrupted the writing of many since the 1970s.

W. H. Auden’s stricture that poetry makes nothing happen is false, as is all of its derivations. Poetry does make something happen–civilization, by elevating the thinking of the people. Without it, without the real thing, there is nothing but bestiality and despair. Idealism *affirms* what is best in the human being in order to call it into being, as Julian Benda wisely observed in The Treason of the Clerks. I *choose* to affirm what is best in human nature because I have experienced it, know its reality, as well as the bestiality and banality that result without it. No ideology could more perfectly dovetail with the greed of the mega-wealthy and the lust for power of politicians than nihilism. Idealism has always whipped them out of the temple and treated them with unmitigated contempt that they deserve.

The Moon reflects the Light of the Sun… without the Sun, it is dark, as dark as men’s minds without the love of God.

“Without vision, the people perish.” An ancient adage that still holds a perennial truth. I have nothing against atheists or anyone else. In our extremely, extremely fragmented cultural landscape, it has become almost impossible to conceive of the Unity that all cultures independently enjoyed at their best. Together, from the Moon, we can see it, global and universal… expanded now to the entire planet.

A modern Journey to the Simorg…

We ourselves have to change in order to save life on this planet…

This is now basically much of the trouble around the globe… so, I said to myself, long ago, perhaps a poet’s shaman tale of a Journey to the Moon… might help the world heal:

“It happens sometimes that I must say to an older patient: “Your picture of God or your idea of immortality is atrophied, consequently your psychic metabolism is out of gear.” ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Pages 399-403.

It is now possible to move beyond modern Nihilism and recover Unity of Being… global now.

Islam, too, is an interpretation of life predicated on exclusivism… with a call to *return* to it, or “ascend” to it. Then everything will be Peace on Earth…

The human being is the most blood-thirsty animal on Earth. From the Moon, we can see there is a way to tame him…

Tolstoy’s Green Stick, on the Moon… upon which is written the secret of how all men may live as brothers.

Frederick Glaysher

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Notes Over My Writing Desk

Notes over my writing desk

Notes over my writing desk

Notes Over My Writing Desk, from top left down to right:

“The heart of so great a mystery cannot ever be reached by following one road only.” – Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345 – 402), a Roman statesman, orator, and man of letters, quoted by Augustine from exchange with St. Ambrose. Quoted by Arnold Toynbee in his Gifford Lecture.

“The passionate love of the artist for his subject is the soul of art. Without love no work of art is possible.” –Tolstoy, Letter, September 1889.

Virgil– write it out in prose. “No day without its line.” [Apocryphal? It shouldn’t be…]

“For the artist, however, a worldview is a tool and instrument, like a hammer in the hands of a stonemason.” –Mandelstam, from “The Morning of Acmeism,” quoted by Saul Bellow in Summations (The Bennington Chapbooks in Literature, 1987).

“Get the work out.” –Robert Hayden, to me once in conversation.

From top right, down:

“Long choosing, and beginning late.” — John Milton, Paradise Lost, BOOK IX

“Make the works.” — Walt Whitman, on a type of name plate reportedly on his desk

“I think we’re in danger of seeing a new dark age come over the mental life of the country. It is a very serious matter.” — Saul Bellow, The Dean’s December (1982).

“And the honour of virtue consists in contending, not in winning.” — Montaigne

“Certain it is, however, that this great power of blackness in him derives its force from its appeals to that Calvinistic sense of Innate Depravity and Original Sin, from whose visitations, in some shape or other, no deeply thinking mind is always and wholly free. For, in certain moods, no man can weigh this world, without throwing in something, somehow like Original Sin, to strike the uneven balance.” — Herman Melville, “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” 1850.

“The supreme test of a book is that we should find some unusual intelligence working behind the words.” — Herman Melville, “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” 1850.

Bottom, right, from a dream, August 30, 2008:

“This is the structure, this is the theme”: Sacrifice thyself for the good of others. Serve them. Lead them to the Light. Accept and bear thy load of suffering and pain for their sake, for the sake of God, the Absolute Reality. Oneness of God. Oneness of the Prophets. Oneness of humanity. “Radiant acquiescence.”

Frederick Glaysher

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Finished the 8th Draft of The Parliament of Poets

Galaxy NGC 6822

Galaxy NGC 6822

August 17, 2012.

This morning I finished the entire eighth draft of The Parliament of Poets.

The eighth draft of the printed ARC or Advance Review Galley was only partly finished, up to the time whenever it was I sent it out and had it printed by Lightning Source, which version was about July 8th. That means up through BOOK IV, for the printed ARC. Most of the digital copies have been July 17th, to BOOK V, or earlier.

The Summer Serialization version, in ePub, has, however, been the eighth draft of each book. In fact I’ve finished each book usually three or four days ahead of publishing it on Sunday mornings throughout the summer. I’ve now finished BOOK XI and XII, so the entire epic is the eighth revision. I made some interesting changes and clarifications, much sharper here and there, with additional lines. Some nuances in BOOK XI, set in Africa.

This morning I found particularly exhilarating the Gates of Horn and Ivory in BOOK XII. I remembered and realized that I had written about both in my book The Bower of Nil and that there were fruitful connections to be made.

Frederick Glaysher

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Finished the 7th Draft of The Parliament of Poets

Man on the Moon

On June 6th I finished the 7th Draft of The Parliament of Poets, an epic poem. Tolstoy set the standard for me with his seven drafts of War and Peace. Reading about that years ago, I have never been able to forget it. He, with his wife’s help (much contention around that fact in later years), wrote out the entire manuscript, over 1,000 pages in most editions, by hand, seven times! Awesome just to think of the physical energy expended, let alone the mental, especially after having written by hand my manuscript of a mere 280 pages, five times, puny by comparison! Argh, perhaps in other ways, self-doubt barking, though I dare to think otherwise, while knowing the ultimate judgment resides with readers… as it should.

At least, I tell myself, I have, in my own terms, achieved what I set out to do, as long ago as the early 1980s: Write an epic poem, a serious one, though laden with delight, that attempts to stand with Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton, the other great epic poets, East and West, one that confronts, attempts to confront, the fullness of modern life, in all its global complexity, humanity’s many strands, and weave a new, universal vision of epic song. It’s been a long and lonely, arduous journey. Whatever comes of it, whatever readers think, like or detest it, ignore or spurn it, for the first time in over thirty years, it’s not a weight on my consciousness, not one I’ve yet to deliver, but done, setting on my desk.

Read my other reflections on my epic poem in the Epic Category to the right >

Frederick Glaysher


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