By Ole M. Høystad
“My middle is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.” “The middle has cause that cause can't know.” “The extra i am getting to understand President Putin, the extra i am getting to determine his center and soul.” the guts not just drives our actual existence, yet all through human historical past it has additionally been considered on the seat of our inner most feelings. It has figured hugely—if metaphorically—in approximately each element of human civilization and because the endless topic of literature, song, and paintings. but before there has now not been a research of this paramount icon of affection. Ole H?ystad ably fills this huge, immense hole with a desirable research into this locus of grief, pleasure, and power. Firmly positioning the center on the metaphorical and literal heart of human tradition and heritage, H?ystad weaves historical past, fable, and technological know-how jointly right into a compelling narrative. He combs via religions and philosophies from the start of civilization to discover such disparate ancient issues because the Aztec ritual of removal the still-beating center from a residing sacrificial sufferer and supplying it to the gods; homosexuality and the center in Greek antiquity; eu makes an attempt to hire alchemy in carrier of the mysteries of affection; and the connections among the guts and knowledge in Sufism. H?ystad charts how the center has signified our crucial wants, even if for romance and fervour within the medieval excesses of troubadour poetry and chivalric idealism, the body-soul dualism propounded through the Enlightenment, or maybe the trendy notions of individualism expressed within the works of such thinkers as Nietzsche, Foucault, and Joseph Campbell. A provocative exam of the private vaults of our souls and the efforts of the numerous lonely hunters who've attempted to free up its secrets and techniques, A heritage of center upends the clich?s to bare an emblem of our basic humanity whose beats could be felt in each point of our lives. (20070928)
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Additional resources for A History of the Heart
But that is not the case in all cultures. Not even when we seek for the roots of our own culture in Greek Antiquity do we find a coincidence of soul and heart. The ancient Greeks did not have a heart in our sense of the word. For them, the psyche (that we have to translate here with soul) meant something completely different to the soul of Christian Europe. And the liver and the lungs were far more spiritual than the heart for ancient Greeks. So we do not even need to go outside our own cultural history to have confirmed that there is nothing human that is constant and general or universal.
It is perhaps not simply the image of man but man himself that has changed since Antiquity. Greek Antiquity gives us unique source material for studying the cultural history of the heart, since we are here dealing with works that cover a long time-span, with various phases in the development of the concept of the mind. The oldest sources, represented by Homer (c. 700 bc) have roots in an oral culture. At the same time, Homer’s works are of such a quality, both thematically and artistically, that they are the common reference point for a whole culture, from the time the Iliad and the Odyssey were written down until the great Greek tragedians, until classical Greek 33 Antiquity peaks with the philosophy of Socrates and Plato around 400 bc.
This goal was attained when the deceased’s birdlike ba (more his spirit than his soul) undertook the cosmic journey together with Re and was reunited with his body to complete the daily resurrection to life. ’ When this doubly central part of man, with the flying beetle or ba as its symbol, is reunited with the body, man once more becomes whole. Re (and not only with the meaning ‘sun’) can be recognized by man, because it is the same divine fire that burns within man as that in the heavens. And it is the heart with its glow that by analogy can recognize this cosmic glow of the sun and its divine origin.