31.0 - 34.0 The John Stymer story that began on page 21 continues here, with Stymer still dominating the conversation. Beginning on the second half of page 30, Stymer tries to convince Henry to partake in his idea to run away together, by offering profound words about living life to the fullest, dropping the name of his hero, Dostoevski, for good measure.
31.1 Dostoevski's death
Feodor Dostoevski died in 1881. Miller's first of many Dostoevski references begins at 11.4
. Stymer believes that Dostoevski summed up the modern age.
31.2 Dante [summed up] the Middle Ages
Stymer's opinion again. Miller's first reference to Dante
is at 1.7
. I'm out of my league if I try to summarize both Dante and the Middle Ages, let alone how he was the voice of that time. Try Digital Dante
if you're curious to know more.
The Modern Age as we now define it began in the 18th century and continues today. I'm no expert on this, but it appears to be the period in which the Renaissance ideas of the Early Modern Age (philosophy, science) were put into action through the Industrial Age.
31.4 lunar life
Stymer believes we are now living a "grotesque lunar life"; barren, as if living on the moon. Instead of living merely in the mind, he believes we should all live with our full and true being. But it's possible that we are all Mind and nothing more, but perhaps w are all connected through a universal, collective Mind. (ugh, I'm not going to pretend I can easily sort this passage out for you).
31.5 "[W]hat did Dostoevski represent, in your opinion?"
Miller asks this of Stymer when he brings up the name. I leave the analysis for you. Suffice it to say that I believe Miller is using Stymer's character to voice his own opinions about Dostoevski on death. "We do not surrender to life, we struggle to avoid dying."
32.1 "To live dangerously ...": Nietzsche
"To live dangerously is to live naked and unashamed." This quote attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche
(1844-1900), but I couldn't locate this exact quote. It seems to be an amalgamation of two Nietzsche thoughts: 1) To live "naked and unashamed" is to live unlike Adam & Eve, i.e. embracing the Self and Knowledge without the shame of religious/dogmatic thought; and 2) this quote
from Nietzsche's The Gay Science
(1883): "Believe me! The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!"
32.2 the phantom world
This abstraction is what Stymer says Nietzsche warns us about wasting our energy battling: fear, death, sin, "the enemy."
33.1 The criminal aspect of the mind.
Stymer's not sure where he got this phrase; neither am I. He talks about all men being criminals. "If there's such a thing as a criminal, then the whole race is tainted."
34.1 "At this point, [Stymer] got out of bed to fix himself a drink, asking as he did so if I could stand anymore of his drivel."
Miller nods his head, allowing Stymer to go on for another one and a half pages. I think I need a drink.
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