Global Amnesia vs. Goethean Relevations

The blog Laudator Temporis Acti cited a few lines from Euripides today in a post entitled: "Transient Global Amnesia". The lines read: "What place did I leave to get here? How did I arrive?/ I cannot remember: my former state of mind has left me." I had written of my own experience of such on my other blog - but the lines reveal the state to be a predicament.
I am still busy, with troubled heart, working my way out of it - and coincidentally today read a beautiful explanation of the phrase τετιημένος ἦτορ, troubled in the heart at Sententiae Antiquae: To be troubled in the heart is essentially to be "occupied with [one's] own thoughts, living in an internal dream rather than engaging in the outside world".
The dreaming is prompted by being faced by a dreaded, constrictive future. The S.A. post ends with a suggestion of the way out from this: a heart that "grows" through "listening to the speech of other men". What speech of other men can cure the effects of global amnesia?
Firstly, it should be pointed out that not all global amnesia is self-inflicted. What of the lives of what I could call "hybrid babies" (taking the Bakhtinian word): those whose earliest and formative years were not steeped in the local? If transient globality is amenesia, what is remembering to one who never "left" to forget in the first place? Finally, what is the local to one who seeks to be a "citizen of the world"?
We know that Goethe, to some extent, popularized such concepts in more modern times. For example, in his Eckermann conversations in which he famously spoke of his idea of world literature, he said: "poetry is the universal possession of mankind, revealing itself everywhere, and at all times, in hundreds and hundreds of men." The poet is to present, "something higher and better" in a manner intelligible to a place and time (thence, Shakespeare "makes his Romans Englishmen"). There is no superficial adventurism here (we remember, "adventure" was scorned even by Barthes in his essay on "Neither ... Nor Criticism"). Goethe explicitly says the point is not to seek "unheard-of adventures" but to masterfully re-present the wisdom of the ancients. Western cultures should draw on ancient Western wisdom. This is an answer to "global amnesia".


This is also the alethia of "saying" something that "means" (I am quoting Gadamer): saying something that "serves to clarify something". The task of the modern hybrid person is to find such meaning, and I argue that the hybrid person has more at stake to find such meaning, because that meaning is the only home they will ever have. That person knows, too, like what Gadamer via Heidegger, says: "there can never be a total recovery of meaning" (emphasis added). But this is no modern idea! Hadot has done marvelous work in The Veil of Isis tracing the idea that some knowledge will always be concealed existed in various guises from antiquity until quite recently. Hybrid people feel their incompleteness: it is their τετιημένος ἦτορ. Hopefully, though, they find counsel in "the speech of other men" and, like Goethe encouraged, craft something new and "make something of a simple subject". Incidentally, I once blogged of the work of another graduate from one of my boarding schools who made something unique: Mrinalni Sarabhai, who made her culture intelligible to other cultures through dance. One wonders if she understood the needs of the foreign audience through her own early uprooting to that foreign culture, during formative years...

Book in background: Boucher's 1,000 Years of Fashion. Brush: Ewansim via DeviantART.

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