Durandus von Meissen

The Science of Cultural Criticism

Recollections from The Odyssey and Other Works. (Proceeding to “The Inversion of Consciousness, from Dante to Derrida.” ~Curtler)

“The Odyssey of Heart”

As doonning faces for the shift of things

Accommodation serves a Passing Rite

To open-up upon true faith, condign

For right and wrong; whence given’s, always nice.

Such hours begun, in times of proving worth

Thence tend for certain, as both night and day

Defining gauntlets, now ordained by birth

Initiating to humanity.

Weather comes fair or foul that ever lives

Between what was, perhaps that which  shall be

When nothing’s yet received, nothing given

Except that proven by integrity.

Some prudent heart, in seeming self discerns

What loss to own, what gains to yet forgo.

(pg 52)


to an Historical Criticism

“By every criterion the vast majority of human beings have used to judge well-being, we moderns of the West enjoy a life our ancestors imagined only in their myths and dreams.”

“The success of science and technology seemingly validated an epochal assumption: that all reality is material, and that the spiritual reality all humans for millennia had experienced and expressed in various rituals and religions, myths and legends was an illusion of the human race’s childhood. A whole dimension of human identity and experience had become cloud and vapor, and we were now mere things in the world, as was nature too….stuff of matter was accidental, a consequence of vast material forces and laws without direction or meaning….journeyed into a world filled with nothing but the brute blind forces moving matter [night and day], our puny selves included, to an ultimate extinction.”

…the death of God…”A morality once sanctioned and validated by transcendent reality has now lost its moorings, and we vainly wait for science to fill the void. ..[all attempts of interpretation based on Determinism, comprising] our humanity by ignoring our reducing those aspects of our experience that many of us feel to be quintessential: love, altruism, beauty, mystery, creativity, particularly our freedom to choose.”

“Moreover, we feel the pain of having the heart torn out of our mystery….Surrounded  by a thousand excitations and sensations…straining to hear through the din of modern prosperity the voice of the transcendent telling us what it all means, and where we might, or should , be going.”

“…the solitary self simply cannot bear this burden….And how could it, when the dominant discourse of meaning, science, tells us that we are only bundles of genetic chemicals…hurtling toward extinction?”

“The story of how we came to this pass is perhaps the most important we should know…a portrait of the lost world of transcendent meaning as captured by Dante in Divine Comedy,….trac[ing] the slow extraction of deity and spirit from human consciousness…the many consequences of  that fateful decision to split our world and selves between reason and faith,…show[ing] us too those who revolted against this reduction of the intricate, complex mystery of human life and consciousness…end[ing] with a portrait of our times and the various movements that with varying degrees of coherence (shame on U, Professor!?) attempt to come to terms with our fragmented times and our anxious souls…a balance of reason and faith…our best hope for recovering a life that fulfills all aspects of our humanity.” Impressive.

~Professor of Classics and Humanities at California State University, Bruce Thornton.

Tell US a Story, Professor.


“It is right, then, that we should go some distance into the past in our search for the root of ideas which rule our world today.” ~Maritiain

“…there are, indeed, more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in philosophy (more than theology also, perhaps?)…wonder and a deeper sense of mystery.”

“ethical relativism of the modern world…self-preoccupation…ignorance of simple manners…attraction to things material…comfortable and pleasant ways…teenagers…radio turned up loud…”stuff we have purchased, and the titlesof books selling well (not me!)…living at a time when the Self is paramount: the Other, and the world we share, have become marginalized (periphery interests?).”

“..human beings…selfish, compulsive…human ego has become “hermetically sealed” against a world it has “hammered into a sheet.”

“…worlds reflect our lost sense of piety…romantic meaning…an empty universe….human consciousness becoming fixated upon the subject itself…a world no longer inherently interesting…a world become the World-for-me…lost intrinsic worth…no longer directed outward to a world of beauty…consciousness become directed  at [mere’ perception of the world, and everything in it was filtered through the lenses of personal reactions.”

“…I turned repeatedly to the poets, who have always seen more clearly and more deeply than the rest of us.”

Narcississm as a development of “inverted consciousness,” whereby the subject itself becomes the principal object of human awareness.” …answers  from the “poets and visionaries who were sensitive to the same phenomena and as concerned about their implications as I was.”i

“…how a condition so widespread and even possibly dangerous could be avoided–if at all….take an effort of will, greater perhaps than any of us is able to perform, to wrest human consciousness away from itself and turn it again toward the world…will require a balance bwetween feeling and intellect, a balance we have lost in turning in on ourselves, reducing self, as Jung saw it, to mere ego, “which naturally produces a hopeless conceptual muddle….But a self comprises infinitely more than a mere ego, as the symbolism has shown from of old. …the deeper connections that join all of us in one human community (has been lost), and the spiritual dimensions of human experience that surround us but no longer seem to interest us. We have lost that deep sense of piety that was commonplace for eons and is still present in “primitive” communities [and solo artists], but missing among the sophisticated…[whom] we like to think we are [Western man]…the romantic revolt, consequent to the loss, and the excessive claims of science and the hubris of intellectualism.” Descarte’s assertion: Cogito, ergo sum. Not factual until Proven. Novelty is the Invention of Emerson’s “hob gobblin” of the rational, historical mind: consistency.

The “Attack.”

“….given birth to the movement known as “postmodernism,” which has assailed modernism, human reason, and Enlightenment values.” And why not?

“…intense, hysterical, result[ing] in numbers of armed camps within academia, that refuse to acknowledge one another’s legitimacy…filtered down into the lower grades…a peculiar aggressive form of “multiculturism”…a mood [of] “repressive tolerance,” [and] blind acceptance of the new orthodoxy and the a priori rejection of opinions that are deemed heretical.” An overstatement, as what is a priori would have apodictic necessitation, or acknowledged certainty, methinks.Maybe a logical fallacy here. A fine criticism, though…under the circumstances.

“…in its attempt to fill the void within itself with the aid o the latest trendy fad, it has become increasingly enamored of “pop-psychology” (some would argue is Jung and offshoots, as others would argue against Freud and his cocaine addiction)…a soporific that helps us ignore the problems rather than address them seriously…continued to flounder in the “hopeless middle.”

Here comes “…an adventure in the history of ideas and the philosophy of culture (distinct from the Reflections upon Culture, no doubt?), attempting to understand the sources of our present malaise and to point in the direction of possible solutions. …how our inverted consciousness focus on the Self, leading us to forget the Other (the colonization of the soul?)…not a book in religigon…not advanc[ing] any particular religious perspective…cross[ing] the forbidden boundaries (of orthodoxy?) that separate philosophy from religion, [that] does not hesitate to mention God.”

“…lost our sense of piety…abuse of earth, other people and well-being…scoff[ing] at the warnings so clear to ancient, primitive peoples who learned the difficult lessons of inflated pride (hubris?). …the exaggerated claims of science and reason, not falling into the romantic trap of blind reliance on feeling…profound minds…pondered why this happened…[as] I shall draw upon their ideas [proceeding] to ponder and make sense of the complex phenomena we oversimplify at our own risk…contrary to the bloated opinion we have about ourselves…not as smart as we think…having yet a deep need to ancohor our lives on something outside ourselves. (Other?).

“The Odyssey of Heart”

O laws of Learning, sum of thinker’s best

How magnified, ensconced upon the hours

Of social wealth and privileged, native dowers;

Once ruled by You, the earth pleads for redress!

No scruple sought, to reservation found

To staunch against Your certifying will

Which point of Iron Stylus now furrows

The world at large as Object for the kill.

So cart away your pleading victims, mired

In sleazy wallows of concupiscence

And faith deny, self-dubbed the doubtless squire-

Errant usurper of the human quest!

How dignified, the rake of YOUR ambition

That promises perpetual division.

(pg 21)


Chapter One

Dante’s Medieval World: In his world, and our peace.

“It was the tortured logic of medieval jurisprudence that a pledge of licensed violence for the future canceled the stigma a unauthorized crime of the past.” Claims to the Reformation to come, or “in play” perhaps?

“Beer was basic ingredient of everyone’s diet, children as well as adults…every member of the population, man, woman, child, consumed almost forty gallons per year, i.e., nearly a pint a day.” !

“…his fears are not simply of things imagined…though what he imagines terrifies him.”

“…although every man naturally desires revenge for an injury done him, the clerics (academy of the day) as we see, permit themselves to pursue revenge more eagerly than other men, although they preach patience and above all things commend the forgiveness of others.”

The ‘warfare’ of the Church, “..especially the high-ranking Church officials…are generally held in high regard by the popular opinion…men “of blood, strenuous in slaughter, prone to bloodshed and wanton in incendiarism…viewed by contemporaries as “…spiritual monsters and beast with many heads…in many parts of Europe it was considered  bad luck to meet a priest, or t o pass one by one by on the right side.” Plague of Thought and Belief.

“Nonetheless, to the medieval mind, “the unworthiness of the persons never compromised the sacred character of the institutions.” …which allowed the masses of men and women to “loath the individual priest and still desire his spiritual gifts.”

Conflict. “…an imbalance “rendering both individuals and masses liable to violent contradictions and to sudden changes.””

“Everywhere the flames of hatred arise and injustice reigns, Satan covers a gloomy earth with his somber wings.”

“…since he is born a poor member of the “third estate,” as most are, he will almost certainly remain poor for the duration of his life.”

“…the world is not what it seems; it must be interpreted in terms of a complicated set of static images placed in the rigid hierarchy….into this world the poet casts his masterpiece…The Divine Comedy, which sought to deliver medieval men and women from their fears of justifying the ways of God to man.”…like human existence itself, in a world of allegory everything the poet said meant something else: the words and images suggested and revealed certainties to those willing to take the time to interpret” Criticism.

“William James may have put it best in describing such a complex world of symbols and hidden meanings when he observed that “the outward face of nature nee not alter, but the expressions of meaning in it alter. It was dead and alive again. It is like the difference between looking at a person without love, or the same person with love….When we see all things in God, and refer all things to Him, we read in common matters superior expressions of meaning.”

“For Dante, all reality is symbolic: the higher allegory is only the inner truth of reality.”

“Carl Gustav Jung decries the modern mind with its inability to see things symbolically, its loss of connection with its deeper self and with the collective unconscious.”

“…the mind of the poet, the savage and the child, sees things otherwise.”

“These terms are not used derisively, but descriptively to portray a mind unlike our own…not worse or better, simply different. Such was the mind of Dante. Though it was deeper and more cultured than the mind of the man {commonly known}, for whom Dante would have had utter contempt, it bore important similarities in its fears, suspicions, and beliefs [to his own]. Above all else it was similar in seeing things symbolically.”

“Symbols allow us to organize and harmonize an otherwise incomprehensible world…an image of the world distinguished by impeccable order, architectonic structure, hierarchical subordinates….each implies a difference in rank or sanctity…connected with some third thing of a higher order.” Symbols. “This sense of order, reflecting hierarchical schemata that were as old as ancient Greece, permeates Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.’

“For Dante, all reality is symbolic; the higher the allegory is only the inner truth of reality.”

Definitions of “primitive” and “childlike.” Non derisively, but descriptively given…not worse or better, but different only.

Symbolism defined.

“Symbolism allows us to organize and harmonize an otherwise incomprehensible world.”

“Symbolism’s image of the world is distinguished by impeccable order, architectonic structure, hierarchical subordination.” “…each symbolic connection implies a difference in rank or sanctity; two things of equal value are hardly capable of symbolic relationship with each other unless they are both connected with some third thing of a higher order.”

“Almost literally, nothing was left o chance” in Dante’s poetic scheme.

(Day 2)



Examining Institutional and Personal Value

Demonic and Sacred Voice

Discussion on Voice and Crafting a Sense of gravitas in Verse:”The Odyssey of Heart” Book I: “Birth of the Sojourner”

The “craft” and “science” of Cultural Criticism:


Author’s Extract of Book I:


The “Content Demonstration” of Institutional vs Personal Values:


Author Contact on Twitter (BeingQuest):


BeingQuest.com former Website Homepage:


Acausal Wave Theory of Consciousness and the Formal Paradigm of the Existential Field


Transcendental Aesthetic Judgment

Apperception and the Individuality of Space and Time1

The Public Intellectual and Social Commentariat


Is Communication From the Future Already Here?

Reflections on the One Field hypothesis of Existential Validity and the aftermath of Transpositional Realism.

Is Communication From the Future Already Here?.

The Avoidance of the Intellectual

Context and Relevance Frames for variant Perspectives, Historical Criticism and Authentic Voice.

Darwin’s Regret

Aesthetic Judgment is a corollary of organic Intelligence, whose Model is Instinct and whose Practice is enriching Survival. No bird builds a nest, nor sings, nor courts without such expertise of Experience. How less any terrestrial existence?

Human Extension

Though I don’t usually address Darwin’s views or theories, since they are largely (but not wholly) outside of the social sciences and humanities (SSH) in which my work is based, the following quotation from Darwin’s autobiography serves as a lesson in what Darwin gave up and later regretted on his scientific journey:

“Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. . . . But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. …

This curious and lamentable loss of the higher esthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies…

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Banned TED Talk: Rupert Sheldrake – The Science Delusion

Environmental Energetics

TED’s Chris Anderson censored Rupert Sheldrake, along with Graham Hancock, and removed this video and Hancock’s from the TEDx YouTube channel. They dared question the mainstream Scientific Orthodoxy, and for that they have been publicly questioned, ridiculed and defamed. Watch the video and decide for yourself is what Rupert Sheldrake is talking about is too controversial for the mainstream.

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