He wrote in Latin. He wrote in Greek. He wrote in new speak, cowpoke, screenplay, urban contemporary, and small church in the valley bulletin.
He wrote exoterically to fool others.
He wrote esoterically to fool himself.
He wrote the current cursively in hopes of changing the script.
I know what you’re thinking, but don’t make reference to the above with the “D” word. Because the Coda puppy does’t cotton to the rank usage of doggerel. Besides he did buy me three new books on the day that X marks the spot. Yep, the hound dog handed over some straight up heavy. The first one being: Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing, by Arthur M. Melzer, published by University Of Chicago Press
So Coda must have tired of my bitching about the home boys in Hyde Park pricing this puzzle as if each chapter is piece work. But then again the U. Of Chicago is always good for giggles and even a flat out Bellow laugh. Ha Ha. Consider all the yucks the boys of the Chicago School have shared with numerous Central and South American underclasses, ‘cause there’s nothing like a peon learning the benefits of creative destruction up and close and personal from post-doctorate disciples of Milton The Man With The Free Market Plan.
But did it take? A mess-o-plantains on the pampas…nope…so soon the Bloom (ha ha) was off that apple of austerity, yielding but another Bellow gut buster for those, re-bought, and yet again, re-sold, and all in Yankee Dollars.
But, I look forward to loving ”Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing.” Seriously, I’ve been smitten by the subject matter since the masters of the dogs of war clued me to the so-called Captain of the Neo-Cons, Leo Strauss.
Seems that old Leo was Levi jeans comfortable in suggesting that philosophers, from Xenophanes to Chuck Berry, shared their learnings and understandings both exoterically and esoterically… and often simultaneously, for the good, the bad, and a damn drum roll of numerous reasons. Wh.. What?
(esp. of a doctrine or mode of speech) intended for or likely to be understood by the general public: an exoteric, literal meaning and an esoteric, inner teaching. The opposite of esoteric.
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: via Latin from Greek exōterikos, from exōterō ‘outer,’ comparative of exō ‘outside.’
intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest: esoteric philosophical debates.
When you think philosophic esoteric writings: think first and foremost the need to cover your ass. As in not being boiled in oil, poisoned, crucified, drawn and quartered, hung from the neck until you are dead….little things like that. Because stuff like that happens, when, you piss off the powers that be…as new ideas have a tendency to do. That’s, shit happens simple, and simple survival, don’t you think?
They punk it up to protect the whole. Because society can get just too spicy.
There’s nothing mystic, single-theory unifying, or anything even approaching elitism about saving one’s own ass. Then again?
As an old hick hustler, I’m lost to understand how anyone would not grasp this at first blush. That thinkers who think hard about thinking would share thoughts one way with those who don’t think hard about anything, and try a more indirect approach to convey understandings to the like-minded few, who, too, suffer the flu of complexity; and all the while keeping the snots that run the mucus of the moment content to beck and call with their hankies y’all, waving at all the falderal, attention diverted by the majority that never questions.
Seems simple as ground round but someone’s always cooking the books, so let’s dumb it down like Dan Brown. Seems low-rent CYA isn’t the sole reason philosophers season ”ideas“ in the esoteric. They punk it up to protect the whole. Because society can get too spicy. And that blood boiling taste on the collective tip of the mob’s tongue must be mitigated by a measure of sweetness dished out judiciously, prepared by ancient recipe, and throughout history referred to as ”The Noble Lie.“
The masses can be just as monstrous as the political, theological, or monarchical powers that be. So philosophers rinse societal threatening new ideas through some self-revelational gauze which is more than border-line elitist and understandably leads to pushback by those flogging fraternity, democracy, and demagoguery. And rightly so.
But did this pushback go too far? Has modernity muddled the relationship between theory and praxis by suggesting we read the ideas that built western civilization as mere blueprint without a pulse? Reciting the text unconcerned by the times and temper of it’s composition.
I sure as hell don’t know. That’s why I’m curious what author Arthur has to say.
Yes that’s Coda above, and yes, this hot mess is a repost.