Should we “Sicilianize” our Weltanschauung?

Leafing through Sciascia in search of the Meaning of Society, Power & Conspiracy

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ABSTRACT:  Western philosophy and poetry tell us little about the psyche and power that we did not already know. These opuses feature but commonplaces told grandiloquently. I, for my part, need  building blocks wherewith to erect some sort of new theory of power. So, in a fit of mutinous revulsion against these so-called “classics,” I have decided to go look for clues elsewhere. I am just sick and tired of having always, whatever the angle, to engage the same writers and their commentators. Academic scholarship itself has been set up in this fashion. It makes one go around in the same circles and forces him, with each lap, to squeeze out of an already depleted allotment further residues of meaning. Over time, these “resides” of text have perforce ended up losing meaning altogether.

It is as if, in the classroom, we have been given, generation after generation, the standard palette, with the same three colors. They give us, say, blue, gray, and white, to depict a scene, which, in fact, is essentially crimson & ochre. More than a challenge, the liberal arts cursus of western studies is a swindle. And so confound the usual suspects. Plato, Aristotle, Dante, Hobbes, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Marx, etc., and their legions of imitators and pedantocratic exegetes: confound them all. Enough of that. I am going to investigate the works of “minors,” instead.

Leonardo Sciascia is regarded as one of Italy’ s most noteworthy writers of the second half of the twentieth century. By no standard, however, has he yet been yet acknowledged, worldwide, as a “great.” My claim  here is that in the collected works of Sciascia, one may find a different sort of insight into the mystery of life and violence. Something far more powerful than what is otherwise extractable form the revered texts of the “classics.” Sciascia’ s “Sicilian” landscape swarms with male and female fiends and nobodies. Their stories of murder and betrayal mesh with the vicissitudes of Spanish inquisitors and rebels, of impostors and virtuous detectives. It is an iridescent microcosm full of genuine tragédie humaine. This, I think, might very well be the sort of “non-classic” material future dissenting politologists will tap in their much needed push to found the discipline anew (86 pp).

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