Faust vs Gilgamesh


I am reading Coming into Being by William Irwin Thompson. It is really fantastic. There are gems everywhere. It is exactly the kind of book I love to read.

I was reading a section on the story of Faust retold from Marlow to Mann, and the tale of Gilgamesh. For Thompson these two stories represent two different epochs or world views. Man selling his soul to the devil for worldly success and man going on a journey to create an ego against nature, the goddess/god and death/time. This is a paraphrase.

This I found quite profound. Ancient man was creating a self, differentiating herself from the natural cycle and from fate. Natural man creating her own destiny. It is really about the creation of destiny apart from fate. Then modern person was about crafting the self, presenting the self, valuing the self. It was an ethical turn. We could say the first movement was ontological and the second turn was ethic. What is success? It is a value. I almost called this aesthetic. But I do believe that beautify / aesthetics is eternal. It is the harmony. Ethics is always changing, it is balancing the harmony, it is brining the aesthetics into being. This makes me think that our current age is about the aesthetic turn. It is about beauty about deep somatic resonance with a creation. It is about pleasure, about feeling good. But it is not a narcissism. It is communal. We will be in true bliss when everyone is in true bliss – and this is why the bodisattvas keep reincarnating.

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