Monday, February 16, 2009

Ode to your socks

I like thick socks and heavy shirts because I live in a cold country, but all my theories are threadbare. -- Robert Bringhurst

... the familiar path, trodden by the Gnostic esotericists of the first century AD, from the problem of evil to cosmological dualism: evil exists because there is an evil power in the universe. This is, moreover, a distinctive mode of dualism [...]: evil is not just a power, it is a ruling power. The "conspiracy" inevitably stretches out to embrace the cover-up -- the creation and maintenance of a spurious (exoteric) reality in which people are trapped. The world is not as we are told it is; every apparently benign figure is a mask for "the authorities" (Greek exousiai in the Gnostic literature); every cover story must be disregarded or inverted -- just as certain Gnostics inverted the story of the Fall to discover that the serpent was an emissary of the true God, smuggled into the false creation to arm the trapped Adam with "knowledge of good and evil." It is by a precisely analogous esoteric manoeuvre that the "red-browns" [in Russia] have come to revere Stalin. -- Edmund Griffiths, on the search for hidden truths, TLS, January 30, 2009

Anyone interested in seeing the Hate Socialist Collective: click here (via Matt).

Pictured: 12th century cotton sock, found in Egypt, probably made in India. The knitter of this sock started work at the toe and then worked up towards the leg. The heel was made last and then attached to loops formed while knitting the leg. This ingenious practice allowed the heel to be easily replaced when it wore out (according to Wikipedia)


Henry Gould said...

The Byzantines (the Eastern Roman Empire) took theory seriously, because they were trying to come up with a reasonable justification for Scripture. They surpassed the Gnostics, in terms of arcane terminology : basically, they SOLVED the Gnostics. In the process, many people died (were martyrs) - Maximus the Confessor, for example.

The world suffers from a dearth of theology. Not a lack of faith - there's plenty of that - but a lack of educated understanding. I know this sounds controversial, but it's true. The process started many centuries ago, & culminated in the 20th. I hope.

There's a very good illustrated children's story, about a Scandinavian boy and his heavy socks. It was popular in Scandinavian Minnesota, back in the 60s. I'm trying to remember the name of that boy.

michael robbins said...

Breaking news: MFA swag almost killed me at AWP! Yea, a carelessly dropped pen advertising an unidentified MFA program on the Hilton's marble stairs did meet most precariously my Frye boots. In other news, I drank a five-dollar glass of Coca-Cola. But Lisa Robertson's new book is called Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip, so I am consoled.

Matt said...

Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Lemon Hound said...

Lisa Robertson's new books is whip-smart, not surprisingly.

Sorry we didn't butt heads in person Mr. Robbins.

michael robbins said...

It would have been a pleasure, Ms. Hound! Anon, anon. 'Tis a small world, after all.

Lemon Hound said...

Indeed, and ever-shrinking and wearing at the heel. Love that Bringhurst quote, by the way.