The Muses Companion

The Muses Companion – May 5, 2024

Good day, readers. Today is May 5th, the 125th day of the year 2024, with 241 days remaining.

“May dances forward, each day a brushstroke of deeper green, a vivid celebration of growth and renewal.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Today in Literary History:

On this day in 1818, Karl Marx, a philosopher, economist, and revolutionary socialist whose works have inspired countless discussions on politics and society, was born. His writings, including Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto, co-authored with Friedrich Engels, continue to influence and provoke debate across various disciplines.

Notable Birthdays:

Søren Kierkegaard (May 5, 1813 – November 11, 1855), a Danish philosopher and theologian, was also born on this day. His work in philosophy, theology, and cultural criticism laid the foundation for existentialism and remains pivotal in contemporary thought.

Today’s Readings:

“The tragic hero gives up everything in order to fulfill his duty. His deed is the fulfillment of duty and nothing but duty; for the sake of duty he renounces everything. But the movement of faith must constantly be made by virtue of the absurd, yet in such a way, let me say, that one does not lose the finite but gains it every inch. For example, by my own strength I cannot get the least little thing that belongs to finitude, for my strength is impotent, whether the task is to get the least thing or the greatest; I can only get everything, and by virtue of the absurd I must get it by virtue of the fact that for God everything is possible.”

This passage explores the tension between the ethical (duty) and the religious (faith) realms, illustrating Kierkegaard’s central theme of the “leap of faith” as a necessary move in the life of a true believer, who must trust in the absurd (that which transcends reason and logic) to truly engage with faith.

Literary Fact of the Day:

On this day in 1862, the Mexican army claimed a victory over France at the Battle of Puebla, now celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. This historical event has transcended its military origins to become a cultural celebration, richly depicted in literature and public memory, symbolizing perseverance and cultural pride.

Reflection:

As May unfurls its lush panorama, let the intellectual vigor of Marx and Kierkegaard inspire us to delve deeper into the forces that shape human existence. Their explorations of society, economics, and personal identity encourage us to question and understand the underpinnings of our own times.

Poem of the Day:

“Spring” by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

Nothing is so beautiful as spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

Advice for Writers:

Reflect on the dynamic interplay between individual will and societal forces in your writing. Like the works of Marx and Kierkegaard, explore themes of conflict, resolution, and transformation. Consider how personal and collective struggles can lead to profound insights and societal change.

May your day be as inspiring as the stories you tell. Until tomorrow, may your narratives capture the vibrant spirit of this season and the profound depth of human thought.

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