Eduardo Zeind Palafox


Ten years have elapsed since I resolved to plunge into my memory the ensuing noserag-like fourteen sonnets written by Garcilaso de la Vega (1503, Toledo, Spain; 1536, Nice, France), with which one can palliate the snotgreen begotten by the wrack-monger blind Hap, by stubbornness, by the bedeviled industrial Romanticism swilled in Germany and France, by the stilted deaf Providence philosophised by Christianity, and by the uncouth ever-seething heathenism concocted by the warp of our wits. Such are the main themes of his poetry, by the way.

If metaphysics is the morningtide of art, and if the whilom is arrayed by the minion ideas of soul (“Seele”), world (“Welt”) and God (“Gott”), and if these flapping cloddish concepts are the tokens of the three main cravings of the human mind, videlicet, the setting of strong adjectives, the hoisting of stout hypotheses, and the blurbing of cosmogonies and apocalypses, then artists are those who can depict objects by means of an original garb, arrange them in an unmovable manner, and homogenizing them without lacking of accurateness. An artist is, ere all, one indued with the wit to beget a new sleight, to contrive hallowed dispositions, and to harmonize sundry objects within a tale.

The following topics constitute the structure of the digital reputation of a public figure, and are either solid props to ameliorate or sustain it or accursed arms to destroy it. The young technocratic masses of our age feel they do not have some place in our modern economical and political structure, and that they are foredoomed to material poverty and invisibility, and by reason of this they eagerly applaud social media personages who appear before them relishing lyrical pleasures, e.g., a costly goblet of wine, a pied dash, a Cuban cigarette, or a bottle of whiskey with more peripeteias than them.

With a simple reasoning we could explain the theory that sustains the great book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, hoisted by Edward Gibbon. That reasoning is: a society unavoidably subjected to material conditions can be described in terms of tragedy; a society ruled by reason, that is, one that is free, can be described in terms of epic; but a society compounded by rational beings that is deceived by material accidents and psychological illusions deserves to be described in terms of satire. The said book is a methodic, philosophical, elegant and perdurable jeer against irrational beings, whose pretext was Rome. The famous sentence of Gibbon, quoted here and there as a slogan of the said work, thus gets a meaning, and it says: history is “the register of the crimes and follies and misfortunes of mankind” (1).

En el penúltimo artículo (Four Modes of Translation Without Inspiration, Diario judío, 6 de agosto de 2021) que redacté dije que hay cuatro maneras de traducir textos, a saber: la orientada a transmitir información, la enderezada a transformar mentes, la meditada para imitar estilos y la enfocada en modernizar la lengua.

The “logical thinker”, as Borges affirms (1), can find “patterns” in poetic metaphors. I will try to indicate some logical patterns in eight books.

Technique is the main concern of an artistic writer, and subject-matter is the general anguish of a propagandistic writer, says G. Orwell[1] (1). Art is possible in quiet moral ages, he says. Propaganda, therefore, is the fruit of unquiet moral ages, in which the “whole scheme of values is constantly menaced”. Such constant moral fear transforms the literary criticism, which is “judicious, scrupulous, fair-minded”, into something impossible. Objectivity, that is, “intellectual detachment”, is the origin of the universal masterpiece. Is the Defoe's Robinson Crusoe a technical and objective book or is it mere English propaganda? Four thesis extracted from our propagandistic experience will test the famous book of Defoe.

[1] See The Frontiers of Art and Propaganda, published in the Listener, April 30, 1941. I offer Spanish translation in Don Palafox: donpalafox.blogspot.com/2018/12/fronteras-del-arte-y-la-propaganda.html

On Twitter there are hundreds of comedian memes, and seeing them constantly habituates the masses to the apodeictic, that is, to what is recognized in the distance (“apodeictic”, from Greek “apodeiktikos”, from “apo”, far, and “deik”, to show). On YouTube there are hundreds of bricolage instructors, and seeing them constantly accustom the masses not to conceiving (from Latin “complexus”, a scientific notion today), but to assembling (factory notion) concepts.

Our scooping finite mind, which is jostling athwart the fleeting and hitherandthitering reality from morning to night, is prone to sublime chimeras, to helter-skelter expressions without some tail tressed by adjectives or some head made of nouns, and to descry odds from the top of its wavering teleology. We can regard this hodgepodge of mental movements, with Kant, as the main crux of the “human intellect” in an “unphilosophical state” (1). The bleak lack of philosophy leads us to give an apparent rhapsodical accommodation to the sundry deeds of the world, and such an arrayment stands for a “Weltanschauung”, which is conveyed through religious words (2), which as spells hie us to believe in divinities. This apparent rhapsodical accommodation might be called “common sense”.

I pretend to teach how I perused public opinion and caused social conflicts when I was a political propagandist. I will not do this anymore. I am repented. Our mind displays three fundamental operations, which could be called, for the sake of simplicity, “unions”, “separations” and “comparisons”. These mental movements carry two paradigms, namely: monism and atomism.

The philosophy of Immanuel Kant is useful to knit literary readings. With some Kantian principles and without ancient erudition we have attained hermeneutic conclusions on Homer, conclusions which coincide with the Homeric opinions of masters like Matthew Arnold and Alexander Pope. Homer says (The Iliad, book three, translated by George Chapman):

A translator is just a field worker, and not an artist. A translator must have in mind the next axioms, namely: 1) the perceptions of the average man are singular; 2) the reproductions of his imagination are subjective; 3) his words belong to the common sense of his society. With such axioms and with some examples we will analyze four modes of translation.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica poorly affirms that Melville's Moby Dick (1) admits “numerous, if not seemingly infinite, readings” (2), and that the keys to understand it are the biblical verses and names. This suggestion is based in the old hermeneutics, whose three mainstays are: “mystice”, “allegorice”, “symbolice”.

In the last days I read the American press, and I remembered an old, classic problem between the Humanities and the Natural Sciences, which I can formulate in the next fast question: are the Humanities useless for Natural Sciences? Leon Wieseltier says[1] (1) that the Humanities, in the technocratic world, without solid reasons have been accused of having a “nonutilitarian character”. With criticism he remarks, besides, “the essential inability of the natural sciences to offer a satisfactory explanation” of human concerns, such as Soul, God, World, Freedom, abortion, euthanasia, etc. He argues that “the character of our society cannot be determined by engineers”. He says that “no distinction between human and machine”, as a director of engineering at Google wants, is nonsense.

Los predicados usuales en matemáticas, es decir, en geometría y en aritmética, dice Kant que son útiles al estudiar objetos físicos, que se “conocen”, mas no al hablar de ideas, que sólo se “piensan” y que carecen de objeto sensorial correspondiente. Aplicar dichos predicados en ideas, sugerimos, es causa de supersticiones, que provocan o contradicción moral, es decir, hipocresía, o indiferentismo cultual.