“EDITOR’S NOTE: l. 15. This address to Immortal Love conflates many different ideas. It alludes to the opening of Genesis, by way of Milton’s invocation of the Holy Spirit, which “with mighty wings outspread / Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast abyss / And mad’st it pregnant” (Paradise Lost, I, 20-22); but it also echoes the invocation to the love-goddess Venus which opens Lucretius’s materialist poem De Rerum Natura (I, 1-49). For “the egg of Night” (17), see III, 178n, where Darwin quotes from Aristophanes’s The Birds: “sable-winged night produced an egg, from whence sprung up like a blossom Eros, the lovely, the desirable, with glossy golden wings.” Darwin distinguishes this “celestial” creative Eros (who reappears as the god of “Sentimental Love” in Canto III) from the “terrestrial” god of sexual love Cupid (the dominant deity of Canto II, on Reproduction). Early drafts make this identification clearer by addressing the present passage to “Celestial Love.” Darwin had already explored these ideas in notes toThe Economy of Vegetation, discussing the Aristophanes quote more fully (I, 413n), and (in The Economy of Vegetation, I, 101n) linking the image of “the egg of Night” (17) to the idea of evolution, in single organisms, in the formation of the earth and finally between species: “From having observed the gradual evolution of the young animal or plant from its egg or seed . . . , philosophers of all ages seem to have imagined, that the great world itself had likewise its infancy and gradual progress to maturity; this seems to have given origin to the very ancient and sublime allegory of Eros, or Divine Love, producing the world from the egg of Night, as it floated in Chaos.” Darwin goes on to link this idea to evidence that the earth’s crust has built up slowly, and that many plants and animals display “useless or incomplete appendages,” suggesting development from or towards other species.”
For more on Eros, its grip on our psyche and the consequences of unrestrained “terrestrial” Eros, download a PDF of my Senior Thesis: Marketing Magicians of the Shopocalypse: Eros, Advertising and… the End of the World?
ABSTRACT: The modern marketing profession is not merely the child of 20th century capitalism. It is also an heir to the theories and traditions of Renaissance magic. In particular, Giordano Bruno’s techniques of “bonding” and his special version of the classical “art of memory” provide the basis for especially effective forms of integrated brand promotion which combine the raw power of human desire with an appeal to the archetypal nature of the human psyche. This article examines the Classical origins of Bruno’s theories and techniques as well as some of their modern marketing usages in an attempt to ascertain how they have brought humanity to the brink of extinction through the stimulation of consumer frenzy, and how they might help us survive.
From the Conclusion: Both lover and beloved, then, have together succumbed to the incessant whinnying of the corporeal horse (the lower Eros), exercising little to no self-restraint. The consumer/beloved engages in self destructive behavior at the behest of the manufacturer/lover, and the cycle of dysfunctional codependence perpetuates itself to the brink of annihilation. This is precisely the kind of self destructive greed which caused Wall Street to crumble at the expense of taxpayers and which lurks in the trash-strewn epicenter of the Shopocalypse.
This “hubris,” as Plato calls it “when desire rules in us and drags us toward pleasure in a manner contrary to reason,” has its remedy in its opposite, or “judiciousness,” which occurs “when judgment guides us by reason toward what is best and is strong enough to prevail.” Given how undisciplined it has become, regaining control over the ornery horse will not be easy. However, the task of bringing the two horses back into balance under the rational authority of the charioteer is crucial to human development, as it constitutes the process whereby the soul regains its wings. Once desires have been tempered and the wings regrown, the soul may once again partake in the procession of Zeus, gazing out once more over the rim of heaven to look upon the “things which are.”
— Iaon P. Couliano, Eros and Magic in the Renaissance, p. 87
Bibliography and Works Cited:
Bernays, Edward. (1928). Propaganda. Brooklyn, NY: Ig Publishing.
Bernays, Edward. (1935). “Molding Public Opinion.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 179, 82-87.
Bernays, Edward. (1947). “The Engineering of Consent.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 250, 113-120.
Bernays, Edward. (1971). Emergence of the Public Relations Counsel: Principles and Recollections. The Business History Review, Vol. 45, No. 3, 296-316
Berthon, Pierre; Holbrook, Morris; Hulbert, James. (2003). “Understanding and Managing the Brand Space.” MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 44, No 2, 50-51
Bruno, Giordano. (1590, reissued 1998). Blackwell, Richard & de Lucca, Robert, ed. “A General Account of Bonding.” Giordano Bruno: Cause, Principle and Unity: And Essays on Magic. Port Chester, NY: Cambridge University Press. 145-176.
Bruno, Giordano. (1590, reissued 1998). Blackwell, Richard & de Lucca, Robert, ed. “On Magic.” Giordano Bruno: Cause, Principle and Unity: And Essays on Magic. Port Chester, NY: Cambridge University Press. 103-142.
Bruno, Giordano. (1591, reissued 1991). Higgins, Dick, ed. On the Composition of Images, Signs and Ideas. New York, NY: Willis, Locker and Owens. Couliano, Iaon P. (1987). Eros and Magic in the Renaissance. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Curtis, Adam. (Producer). (2002, April 29). The Century of the Self, Episode 1: Happiness Machines [Television program]. BBC.
Dawkins, Richard. (1976). The Selfish Gene. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Ficino, Marsilio. Jayne, Sears, tr. (1484, reissued 1985). Commentary on Plato’s Symposium on Love. Dallas, TX: Spring Publications.
Freud, Sigmund. (1927, reissued 1989). The Future of an Illusion. New York, NY: Norton.
Freud, Sigmund. (1930, reissued 1989). Civilization and its Discontents. New York, NY: Norton.
Jhally, Sut. (1997). Advertising and the End of the World. [Film]. Media Education Foundation.
Jung, Carl. (1961). Memories, Dreams Reflections. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
Kendall, Henry, ed. (1992). Union of Concerned Scientists (group). World Scientist’s Warning to Humanity. Retrieved May 12, 2009 from http://www.ucsusa.org/about/1992-world-scientists.html
Kristeller, Paul O.; Conant, Virginia L., tr. (1943). The Philosophy of Marsilio Ficino. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Lindstrom, Martin. (2008). Buy-ology: Truth and Lies about What We Buy. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Mark, Margaret. (2001). Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes. Blacklick, OH: McGraw-Hill.
Nelson, John. (1958). Renaissance Theory of Love. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Plato. (385 BCE, reissued 1991). Allen, R.E., tr. The Symposium. New Haven CT: Yale University Press.
Plato. (380 BCE, reissued 2000). Griffith, Tom, tr.; Ferrari, G.R.F., ed. The Republic. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Plato. (370 BCE, reissued, 1993). Cobb, William S., tr. The Symposium and The Phaedrus: Plato’s Erotic Dialogues. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
VanAlkemade, Rob. (Director). (2007). What Would Jesus Buy? [Film]. Warrior Poets Releasing.
Walker, D.P. (1958, reissued 2003). Spiritual and Demonic Magic. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Wertime, Kent. (2002). Building Brands and Believers: How to Connect with Consumers Using Archetypes. Sommerset, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Woodside, Arch, G.; Sood, Suresh; Miller, Kenneth, E. (2008). “When Consumers and Brands Talk: Storytelling Theory and Research in Psychology and Marketing.” Psychology and Marketing, Vol.25, No. 2, 97-145.
Yates, Francis A. (1991). Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.