Applying the Four Levels of Reading to Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra in four parts between 1883 and 1885. A few years later, in 1889, he had a complete mental breakdown and spent the next decade as an invalid before succumbing to a final stroke in 1900. It would therefore be easy to toss the baby out with the bathwater and assume everything Nietzsche had written was nothing more than the ramblings of a madman. However, as many scholars before this have proven, hidden beneath the layers of parables and riddles in Thus Spoke Zarathustra there are deeper truths to be found. As Robert Pippin writes in his introduction to Thus Spoke Zarathustra:

“’Meaning’ in a poem or play or novel is not only hidden, and requires effort to find; our sense of the greatness of great literature is bound up with our sense that the credibility and authority of such works rests on how much and how complexly meaning is both profoundly and unavoidably hidden and enticingly intimated, promised; how difficult to discern, but ‘there,’ extractable in prosaic summaries only with great distortion.” (Zarathustra xv)

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Applying the Four Levels of Reading to Thus Spoke Zarathustra

A Biblical Examination of the Nephilim

“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown” (ESV, Gen. 6:4). The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible translates the verse slightly differently: “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

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A Biblical Examination of the Nephilim

The Odyssean Gods

odysseus

Homer’s portrayal of the gods and goddesses in The Odyssey is completely different from the majority of literatures’ handling of the Greek Gods, and even differs from Homer’s previous work, The Iliad. In most of literature dealing with these Greek Gods, including The Iliad, they are seen as true deities: omniscient and omnipresent, blamed or thanked for every bad or good thing that ever happens. However, with The Odyssey, we have a divergence from this literary theme. While the gods and goddesses are still there in The Odyssey, they are not omnipresent. While they are still all-knowing, they are often seen as more aloof than accepting of blame. In fact, while the gods are acknowledged by all of the characters in The Odyssey, they are more background characters, while the focus is on the human star of the epic, Odysseus. Indeed, most of the gods’ and goddesses’ roles in The Odyssey have them interacting with Odysseus.

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The Odyssean Gods

The Full Circle Theme of Death in The Epic of Gilgamesh

gilgameshtomb

In many ways, The Epic of Gilgamesh is a story of a king’s struggle to understand and overcome death. It does not start out this way, however. Gilgamesh first comes across as an arrogant, narcissistic king. In Tablet I of The Epic of Gilgamesh, he is described as “supreme over other kings, lordly in appearance,” and even “awesome in appearance.” Gilgamesh is only one-third a man, the other two-thirds god. He is the “handsomest of men … perfect” (Tablet I). His tales of strength are renown far and wide. He is most famous for building the high walls and ziggurats of his city Uruk. He is not a good man, taking advantage of droit du seigneur, also known as jus prima noctis, or the supposed right of kings to sleep with the bride before the groom. In fact, he is so bad, the gods create a foil for him: Enkidu. Enkidu is very bestial and wild, in direct opposition to Gilgamesh’s worldliness. They fight, but then become the best of friends. They might even be homosexual lovers, depending on how one reads the subtext.

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The Full Circle Theme of Death in The Epic of Gilgamesh

Goldfish Cravings

goldfish

Today, around 1pm, my wife suddenly had a craving for Goldfish, of all things.

When I picked my son up from school (1st grade), he was nearly in tears because his teacher did not let him eat his snack today. Can you guess what he normally gets for a snack?

There it is, a simple, microcosmic example of the interconnectedness of my wife and son. My son wanted his Goldfish snack so badly, he blasted a wave of psychic craving out into the Universe, which my wife immediately picked up on.

Pretty cool, right? Just further proof the veil is truly lifting.

 

 

Additional research:

Goldfish coated in heroin instead of salt.

Goldfish are gay.

Pepperidge Farm won’t say their ingredients don’t come from China.

Goldfish are marked by God.

Goldfish are not natural.

 

Goldfish Cravings