[lit-ideas] Re: Got Home

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2012 09:45:00 +0000 (GMT)

 From: Andy <mimi.erva@xxxxxxxxx>
To: lit-ideas <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
Sent: Friday, 20 January 2012, 22:55
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Got Home

From:Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2012 10:39 AM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Got Home
From:Andy mimi.erva@xxxxxxxxx
Donal:  When the last Pope died, his death was spoken of as a going home [to 
his Father's House] - and where did Jesus go [; and indeed where did E.T. (the 
Spielberg Jesus, who came down to earth, died, resurrected and went "home" 
after saying "Be good" and feeling other's pain for them) want to phone]? That 
the "Going Home" is a journey relating to death, as Ursula suggests, seems 
Andy:  That's what I said too, death (false self) and then rebirth (true 
self).  The literal resurrection theme goes back to Day One of the species.  It 
either happened (Christians) or will happen (Jews).  I don't know about 
Donal:  And it would seem it refers not merely to the journey made to death but 
beyond - or at least to some transformed state that is "home", and that comes 
about either after death or by dying.  It could therefore be left open that 
this "home" is not some further or altered state of being so much as a state of 
non-being such as the non-being from which we started out, and which in that 
sense is "home": 
Andy:  I don't see how returning to a state of nonbeing is returning home.  
Home implies life.  Death is simply returning to one's state of nonbeing, not 
to home.  Death in the heroic journey sense is Orpheus going into hell and 
returning; it's a necessary precursor to an altered life in the here and now.
Donal:  so the song permits a reading that does not imply there is an afterlife 
but simply a returning, in or by death, to what was before - non-being or no 
'life' or whatever there was. [It is against this backdrop that Cohen wants to 
reassure his Leonard that he doesn't need to be propounding any great vision].
Andy:  Sorry, Donal, I don't see that at all.  He's simply shed his baggage, or 
at least acknowledged his baggage and is Going Home lighter than before.  I 
like your point though, there's an interesting, what's the word, nihilism?, in 
it.  Why do anything since we're all going to die anyway.  Unfortunately I 
don't see it in the poem.  As to why do anything, why not do anything?  That 
goes back to the idea of life as meaningless, but responsibility and 
meaninglessness can be mutually inclusive.  Can be and should be.  In that 
sense I think you're right, Cohen is assuring Leonard that he needn't be 
propounding any great vision, that it's all right.  At home people don't have 
to prove anything.  He's going home.
 >Adding to my list of many talents beginning with can't type and progressing 
to can't read, I also wasn't impugning the tubes idea from John Wager.  I love 
that idea.  It's so true.  In rereading the post yet again, I do disagree 
only that it doesn't begin to address the idea of what makes us human.  Of 
course it does.>
Donal:  The term "elaboration" leaves open how far from a basic "tube" we are. 
Andy:  A tube is a tube.  Even the highly evolved, immensely complex, perhaps 
even intelligent, human gastrointestinal 'tube' is still a tube, unable to do 
much of anything out of context.  In context it's amazing.  Out of context it's 
functionally worthless.
Donal:  Second, it leaves open in what senses we remain tube-like:- the 
important thing that makes us human is not that we err, or consume at one end 
and excrete at another, for these are not unique or specific to humans and so 
not explanatory of "what makes us human". What is distinctive and unique about 
humans is their World 2 and the interaction of their World 2 with a World 3. 
The upshot is that it is not to err that is human but the capacity to 
consciously correct errors; it is the consumption and production of World 3 
content that is uniquely and specifically human. Really, philosophically 
speaking, Leonard should have written "brief emergence from a tube". This would 
have left open how, metaphysically, what emerges might stand on a different 
level to what it emerged from. He should also have crowbarred in a reference to 
World 3 or 'The Third World'. 
Andy:  I think you're saying that the so called first world consumes resources 
and spits them out as finished products that wind up devastating the planet on 
which we live, and I agree.  Meaningless consumption, no responsibility.  With 
no added happiness.  Our collective happiness quotient peaked in the 50's.  

Other related posts: