Polytheism is too delicate a way of thinking for modern minds.

(John Gray, Straw Dogs)

There are polytheist and monotheist energies in every religion, and i don’t think one can, or should even try, to do away with either. The tension between the two, for example in Heraclitus and Wallace Stevens, is titanic and delicate – and not to be swept under the rug for the sake of spurious simplicity; and perhaps something of this tension underlies the profound shift in Wittgenstein’s philosophy, from the Tractatus to the Philosophical Investigations. i could say that the Tractatus fulfills a roughly monotheistic energy, whereas the later philosophy is polytheistic, but even that is crude – the tension resists easy resolution, it is i think central to human imaginings. If the early Wittgenstein seems rigid, confiningly singular, the later Wittgenstein enters a confusion of plurality. i agree with neither; or rather, i agree with elements of both – for language is underwritten by the power from whence we came; as Frank Wilson has written:

It occurs to me just now that the word spirit means breath, and that in turn reminds me again that words were spoken and heard long before they were ever written and read. Suddenly I am prompted to juxtapose in my imagination the beginning that is the word and God’s breathing into man the breath of life.

i am enjoying Gray’s book, a loan from Murtaugh, and the first Gray i have read. On the plane from France it occurred to me that had i written up (bits of) the notebooks i have kept since 2001, the result would be similar to Straw Dogs – there are even passages which run closely parallel to things i’ve scribbled on the bus home from work, alongside musings on the awfulness of data entry and the desirability of MILF.

Gray is correct to see polytheism as very very different to monotheism, as enabling a wholly different view of the world, and of humanity. My own understanding of polytheism comes from my experiences with gods, and from my other life memories, long before the Old Testament was written. Gray’s, i presume, comes from sane reflection and erudition.

i feel i would like to write up some of my ideas, on polytheism and related subjects. i don’t think i could blog them – the blog form is too superficial, too light (hence i had no qualms about deleting The Lumber Room). However, i’ve decided to write up some of my ideas in a Word document and, if i like the result i’ll put it on Lulu – i can set it to cost very little (or possibly nothing) as an electronic document, so if anyone wants to read the book, they can. If i could i would handwrite them all but i’m still not sure the book will be any good, and handwriting is arduous work – anyway, i already have handwritten the notebooks, from where i will draw this book.

This probably won’t be complete for a while yet, as most of my notebooks are in a box in a friend’s garage in England, and i can’t really foresee having the money to return for at least six months, probably more. i half-forget most of what i write (it seems the price i pay for having new ideas), so there’s no point writing without them.

If i get round to it, the book will be about polytheism and monotheism, God and gods, language, fate, free will, animals and birds, magic, science, music, Taoism, with perhaps a little light reincarnation thrown in if i feel it necessary. i don’t want to write something so weird and personal that only my dedicated readers will like it – but on the other hand my sorcerousness and memories are a part of me, and not to be wholly denied.

Provisional title will be “The Lumber Room” – or perhaps, “An Uninteresting Lumber Room” (Eine Uninteressante Gerümpelkammer).

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