So I have decided to write a series of posts on my substack exploring theses on the world crisis. You can join my free weekly newsletter at jeffrich.substack.com, and I would encourage all readers of the blog to do so.
As it happened, I had watched on the weekend the earlier Soviet film, Come and See (1985). Perhaps next Victory Day, Michael Pezzulo should write to his staff, and urge them to watch Come and See.
On the podcast I discuss how the history of emotions might offer a framework to think mindfully about the past of the last three crazy years of the pandemic and its impact on democracy.
Towards, the end of Memory, History, and Forgetting, indeed, Ricoeur evoked the famous angel of history from the painting by Paul Klee, described in Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History. This image also inspired my poems, blog, podcast, YouTube and now Sub-Stack newsletter. It marked a deep, unexpected bond between Ricoeur, Macron and I.
On the podcast this week I examined the enormous protests in France caused by President Macron’s changes to the minimum qualifying age for retirement pensions.
I took a deep dive into the history of the idea of global reserve currency in the podcast this week. This episode was provoked by the outcry in America about other nations that showed the audacity to trade in their own national currencies rather than the US dollar.
Empress Zhu wrote, “Once I lived in heaven above, in pearl palaces and jade towers; now I live among grass and brambles, my blue robes soaked in tears. I hate the drift of snow.”
The story of Arthshastra is similarly fit for the Burning Archive. It was composed some time between the 2rd century BC and 3rd century CE. It was known to be influential until the 12th century, but then was lost or went underground, perhaps due to the Persian, Mughal or Muslim rule over India. It was known of, but considered lost by colonial era scholars. Then in in 1905 a Tamil Brahmin from Tanjore walked into the newly opened Mysore Oriental Library with a copy of the Arthashastra in Sanskrit, written on palm leaves.
Sadly one of the tragic, compassionate lessons of history is that sometimes people can destroy themselves. There are many examples in history where people become possessed by strange ideas, and when these possessed elites follow a path of ruin.
Tagore's essay, ‘Nationalism’, was published in 1917. It is a scathing denunciation of the war of Western nations who controlled empires that raged in Europe at that time.
My latest podcast takes a look at the influence of the Mongol Empire on Russian history, and indeed on world history.
I have published From the Burning Archive: essays and fragments 2015-2022. You can buy it as print or e-book here at Amazon and also at other online retailers. Here is an excerpt of the introductory essay of that collection. It tells how a dream image became a poem became a blog became a podcast and then an author platform.
I have just released episode 55 of the Burning Archive podcast. This episode is about the concept of civilization, in both the legendary game Civ I-VI and in the traditions of history-writing. Civilization, the game, is soon to be released in its 7th edition. In this episode of The Burning Archive I respond to a… Continue reading The making of my podcast marathon on Civilizations
Over the last few weeks I have collected a fair swag of Russian world history and literature.
From this traumatised, divided old Russian Soviet poet, we learn about our own strange freedom.
Vladimir Putin's Victory Day speech tells stories of how Russia has responded to threats by embracing multi-ethnic, multi-national traditions.
So, it seems reasonable at least to ask: what will happen in the West if Russia wins the war in Ukraine?
Something tells me Chekhov and the innovations in drama he bequeathed to us may appear in my podcast series on the gifts of Russian culture.
Catherine Merridale, Lenin on the Train (2016), which I finished reading last night, is a very fine book. It is a gem, and perhaps ought to be recommended as among the very best introductions to the history of the Russian Revolution.
Last night I saw The Northman, the new film set in the world of the Norse/Vikings and directed by Richard Eggers.