"My story, you see, is about a search for the present. Years of longing for a home in the orphaned thought worlds of noble centuries; of familiarity in the foreign, of a sense of identity extracted border to border, city to city, language to language, have all left me to ask whether the ideas and people in my life have been but transitory and episodic passages or whether, as I have sought, they have been unified by some common denominator of purpose I longed to create out of the sad and silly events of my times. When I add up the years during which the only consolation around me consisted of the sanctuary of my introversion; when I struggled to understand how it was that the qualities I had most going for me where the very things that seems to conspire against me; when my mind fought in vain against the constant stream of Gabriella-scenes and Gabriella-dreams flashing by in narrative stills of Gabriella-sighs and Gabriella-cries...When I try to discern some thread of coherence in all of this, it is only then that the philosopher in me comes truly alive, compelling me back, chain-link upon link back to the origins of my chains, to penetrate the mystery of the motivation behind the wrong choices in my life."--The reminiscence of Constantine, Chapter One, The Last Will and Testament of Western Man.
The Last Will and Testament of Western Man. William Caxton & Sons, Winter 2018, 600 pp.
Last Will is written in the style of a classic novel-of-ideas, flamboyant in scope, obsessive in detail, and inspired by the traditions of Robert Musil, Julio Cortazar and Vladimir Nabokov in its love of language and its manic introspection, but with satire and wit to lighten the load and carry the story. The work follows the lives of four brilliant eccentrics, friends from university days now in their forties, who are in dogged, hopeless, pursuit of the Answer to the Question that has both directed and disastrously misguided their lives: Am I who I am 'Because-of' or 'In-Spite-of' the circumstances of my life?
It is the classic philosophical dilemma of Becoming versus Being, one that has plagued the history of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratics to the neo-Platonists; from Catholic Scholastics to the atheistic Existentialists of the 20th century. Or, it may be, that there is no real distinction between the two. In the words of Antoine de St. Exupéry,“to live, is to slowly be born“; that is, To-Become is, in fact, the very act of Being, with no origin and no end—much like the mystery of the human mind itself...
The Forest and the Faustian Soul Private Press 220 pp. Autumn 2018
This collection of essays on the human mind and the human mystery range from five- to nine-thousand words with each a richly-drawn meditation upon the splendor and decline of the great creations of the Western (and Eastern) imagination. The topics cover a broad range of historic, scientific, artistic and philosophical themes, written in a manner that is intense, poetic and language-inspired--scholarly, yet not academic. The central theme of this volume is man's relation to and relationship with Nature--that of the universe and of himself--a fascinating dynamic and eternal cycle of conquest and submission.