Bob Dylan’s “Grail”

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In “Chronicles” Bob Dylan writes of a search he undertook in the early 1960’s when he first arrived in New York City. He had been singing Irish Ballads but wanted to change his subject matter. Dylan says

“I was beginning to think I might want to change over. The Irish landscape wasn’t too much like the American landscape, though, so I’d have to find some cuneiform tablets-some archaic grail to lighten the way. I had grasped the idea of what kind of songs I wanted to write, I just didn’t know how to do it yet…

…In some ways the Civil War would be a battle between two kinds of time…The age that I was living in didn’t resemble this age, but yet it did in some mysterious and traditional way. Not just a little bit, but a lot. There was a broad spectrum and commonwealth that I was living upon, the basic psychology of that life was every bit a part of it. If you turned the light towards it, you could see the full complexity of human nature. Back there, America was put on the cross, died and was resurrected. There was nothing synthetic about it. The godawful truth of that would be the all-encompassing template behind everything that I would write.

I crammed m head full of as much of this stuff as I could stand and locked it away in my mind out of sight, left it alone. Figured I could send a truck back for it later.”

(Bob Dylan, Chronicles – Volume 1, pp. 83-4, 86) Continue reading

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Soren Kierkegaard on “equality in loving” which is the love that can change the world – “Works of Love” 9 (preferential love, part 2)

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In this post we will consider Kierkegaard’s positive view of the duty of loving our neighbor. Continue reading

Bob Dylan’s “Political World” – On infidels, the politics of force, and General Clausewitz

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General Carl von Clausewitz 1780-1831

Bob Dylan, in the songs “Political World”  and “Sweetheart Like You,” and in an excerpt from “Chronicles Volume 1,” presents a fairly negative view of our political world. But I find his negative assessment to be difficult to argue with. Continue reading

A lesson from Heinrich Heine – How to prophesy the future by knowing the present

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Heinrich Heine, 1831

For Christmas 2011, I received a kindle from my wife. After I had downloaded more free public domain works than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime, I actually read “On the History of Religion and Philosophy of Germany” by Heinrich Heine. It proved to be a fascinating work from beginning to end. One of the most interesting parts was toward the end when he began to write as though he knew without a doubt, that some dark and foreboding world shattering event would transpire in Germany, in the future. Continue reading