Saturday, June 27, 2009

Byron's Don Juan on today's economic crisis

A good "devotion" , a meditation that I am almost finished with is reading Don Juan by Lord Byron entire. I am now on Canto XIV.

Most of the poem cloaks Byron's deeper concern, almost as if he were worried that folks would see through his public personae and see his true contemplative soul. So one has to patiently read stanza after stanza of tongue in cheep and near flippant wit. But it turns out these pages upon pages of light wit frames the value of the core seminal observations all the more, and thereby serve the purpose of outlining and supporting the important thoughts. I now have the view one cannot read excerpts of Don Juan as this framing is then missing.

Here was the start of Canto XIV which though Byron was addressing t0 societal philosophy of his day and age seems of interest today:

If from great Nature's or our own abyss
Of thought we could but snatch certainty,
Perhaps mankind might find the path they miss,
But then 'twould spoil much good philosophy.
One system eats another up, and this
Much as old Saturn ate his progeny,
For when his pious consort gave him stones
In lieu of sons, of these he made no bones.

But System doth reverse the Titan's breakfast
And eats her parents, albeit the digestion
Is difficult. Pray tell me, can you make fast
After due search your faith to any question?
Look back o'er ages ere unto the stake fast
You bind yourself and call some mode the best one.
Nothing more true than not to trust your senses,
And yet what are your other evidences?

For me. I know nought. Nothing I deny,
Admit, reject, contemn; and what know you,
Except perhaps that you were born to die?
And both may after all turn out untrue.......

Canto XIV, 1-3, Don Juan, Byron.

All fine advice to current pundits and economists.

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