Thursday, March 30, 2023

Sync: Arthur Koestler, scripture as fan fiction

Yesterday’s sync post, “Liverpool and the double-D lemniscate,” was about those two recent sync themes appearing together in Arthur Koestler’s book The Roots of Coincidence. This is the first book I’ve ever read by Koestler, a writer about whom I know virtually nothing. I had been pointed to this book of his by the Paul Broks essay “Are coincidences real?” which was recently featured on Arts & Letters Daily.

Meanwhile, an email discussion group to which I belong has been discussing whether the novel has a future and if not what might replace it. I’ve been sitting this one out, having nothing very insightful to say about The Novel, and I realized that this is because, while I’ve certainly read my share of novels, including some indisputably great ones (Dostoevsky, Tolkien), novels are not the central form of literature for me. The defining works of literature, and the ones I reread the most, by a very wide margin, are the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, and the King James Bible. When I think about the future of literature, I’m not thinking about the possible Balzacs or Walter Scotts of generations to come; I’m wondering who can fill the shoes of Virgil.

Reading Homer or the Old Testament is a more participatory experience than reading a novel. The style is spare, much is left out, and much more hangs on cultural and spiritual rapport with the author. In terms of the Barfield schema current in my circle, the old literature is an Original Participation phenomenon, while the novel epitomizes the Consciousness Soul. What lies in the future is Final Participation — so perhaps the novel really will be succeeded by something that is in some ways a return to the old literature.

In the email group, fan fiction was mentioned as a possible clue to the future of literature, and I realized that there is a certain fan fiction element to the old literature as well — the characters drawn from a common stock, the core stories reworked and adapted by one writer after another. Isn’t some of Euripides’s best work pretty literally Homeric fan fiction?

But I’ve already told you I don’t have anything terribly insightful to say on this topic. Rather, this has all been a shaggy-dog lead-up to a sync note.

I just started listening to one of the more recent episodes of The Higherside Chats: “Adam Green | The Abrahamic conspiracy, prophecy programming, & creating theological controlled opposition.” It’s about how Christianity and Islam are just a big Jewish psyop, which is obviously not a point of view I have any sympathy for, but I listened anyway because, hey, why not? Green mentions that the supposedly antisemitic idea that modern Jews are not Israelites but Khazars was actually promoted by a Jew: Arthur Koestler in his book The Thirteenth Tribe. A bit later, he and Greg Carlwood agree that the scriptures and related texts like the Book of Enoch are “basically fan fiction.”

I’ve only listened to about a third of the episode so far, but those are some fairly specific syncs.


Hayseed said...

Koestler's "The Thirteenth Tribe" is the only thing I've ever read by him, thought it was ok but uncertain how credible it is.

I listen to Carlwood occasionally too. He's a fellow native Missourian and we grew up relatively near each other. He's a little too pozzed for my taste though. I remember Back in '20 or '21 he shut down the comments on his YouTube channel because they were becoming alt right sounding boards/ circle jerk echo chambers. Fine and good. But he then capitulated to the woke and began hosting leftist types and on occasion has shown sympathy for trannyism, at least implicitly.

I think he wants to stay in the center and remain uncommitted to either side but the only thing that pops into my mind is the passage from The Revelation to Saint John: "Being what thou art, lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, thou wilt make me vomit thee out of my mouth."

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Apparently Koestler's purpose in writing The Thirteenth Tribe was to deflate antisemitism by showing that modern "Jews" were unrelated to the people who had killed Christ. That sort of backfired, since the Khazar thesis has instead been embraced by 4chan types because it means modern Ashkenazim are fake Jews, and the Revelation to John says that fake Jews "are the synagogue of Satan."

I pretty much agree with you on Carlwood. He positions himself as an enemy of WEF-type evil, but he doesn't seem to have a very clear idea of what the Good is.

Serhei said...

The trickiest part of fanfiction, and the part I could not quite master when I tried my hand at writing it, is that the characters of a particular work really do become a collective phenomenon. There tends to be quite broad agreement on whether a particular rendition of a character is that character, or if they are merely a 'character-shaped entity' the author has slotted into the story in their place, in order to steer the situation in a different direction.

If characters in the ancient works were understood as real because they are figures of history-myth, and characters in a novel are understood as if they are fictional constructions, then characters in FP-literature are understood to be real in spite of being created by the authors?

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

The fifth chapter of The Roots of Coincidence is called "The Country of the Blind." I very recently read The Country of the Blind and Other Stories by H. G. Wells.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

In the chapter, Koestler refers directly to the Wells story.

I downloaded The Country of the Blind and Other Stories because I wanted to read "The Door in the Wall." When I searched for the story title on Gutenberg, it returned two different collections: The Country of the Blind and Other Stories and The Door in the Wall and Other Stories. I chose the latter for no very special reason.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Chose the former, I should say.

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