My genitor strikes me—to maintain Vigo’s image—as someone who delights in dried bouquets, in flowers from Rousseau’s herbarium. I can even sympathize with this as an academic. On the tribune, my old man’s self-deception becomes a deception of the populace.
On the other hand, my interest in the Domo’s squabbles with the tribunes is metahistorical; I am absorbed in the model, not the urgent issue. At the luminar, I studied the particulars of Rousseau’s visit with Hume, plus the misunderstandings that led to Hume’s invitation. Jean-Jacques’s life leads from disappointment to disappointment to solitude. This is reflected in his successors, down to the present day. It hints that something human was touched at the core. The great ideas spring up in the heart, says an old Frenchman. One could add: and are thwarted by the world.
I consider it poor historical form to make fun of ancestral mistakes without respecting the eros that was linked to them. We are no less in bondage to the Zeitgeist; folly is handed down, we merely don a new cap.
I therefore would not resent my genitor for merely believing in a fallacy; no one can help that. What disturbs me is not error but triteness, the rehashing of bromides that once moved the world as grand utterances.
Errors can shake the political world to its very core; yet they are like diseases: in a crisis, they can accomplish a great deal, and even effect a cure—as hearts are tested in a fever. An acute illness: that is the waterfall with new energies. A chronic illness: sickliness, morass. Such is Eumeswil: we are wasting away—of course, only for lack of ideas; otherwise, infamy has been worthwhile.
The lack of ideas or—put more simply—of gods causes an inexplicable moroseness, almost like a fog that the sun fails to penetrate. The world turns colorless; words lose substance, especially when they are to transcend sheer communication.
Ernst Jünger, Joachim Neugroschel (translator), Eumeswil, Marsilio Publishers, New York, 1993.