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PostWAISers: a Personal and Literary Update (Jon Kofas, Greece) (John Eipper, USA, 11/16/09 4:40 pm)
JE: It's been a long time since we've heard from our friend Jon Kofas, so I wrote him a personal note last week. I was very happy to receive a reply. While away from WAISland, Jon has been very busy working on two novels. He sends this personal update: I have not written WAIS recently because of my novel writing. Besides trying to complete my second novel, I have been working with a Greek translator for the first one to be published mid-2010 and at the same time trying to have it published with a major US publishing company. I am keeping my fingers crossed as far as having an English edition. In any event, I did read the recent WAIS question about the word agape, which of course has undergone different meanings. The modern-day one is losely translated as love in the secular sense. However, the same word has religious connotations and it is used in Greek Orthodox services to mean spiritual love. The word in ancient times is linked with paganism, but it does not have the same meaning as eros. Here is a brief introduction to my two novels: Slaves to Gods and Demons A historical philosophical novel. It will be published in Greece in late spring-early summer 2010 and in English in 2011. At the core of the novel are imbedded parallels between pagan mythology and Christian society that help explain common universal aspirations of modern man's quest for purpose. The thesis of the novel is that all life is indeed a series of illusions on which people base their actions. The novel explores the complex layers of human nature and society based on classical Greek (pagan) thought, Christianity and superstition, Hinduism, and Existentialism. Resting on Jose Ortega y Gasset's What is Philosophy and Emerson's Illusions, the novel guides the reader to the conclusion that all reality and all ethical choices are rooted not in duty but in a series of complex illusions--euphoric ones represented as gods throughout the novel, and horrifying ones presented as demons. An underlying theme of complex rational and irrational motives for human behavior figures prominently just under the surface as the clash of the archons' "gods" that are necessarily "demons" for the rest in Micropolis revealing the degree to which human freedom and creativity are possible in any society. Phantoms of Apocalypse Science Fiction in process of completion by spring 2010. The question of whether the ultimate solution to a better society rests with political revolution that alters the social order or a scientific one that alters human nature is the thesis of this science fiction novel. An underlying theme running through the novel is based in part on the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer that life is evil because its basic stimulus is suffering, and on the psychoanalytic theory of Erich Fromm that necrophilia and sadism are at the core of contemporary materialistic-hedonistic culture of violence, especially in the western world where consumerist values transcend humanism. Modern man's attraction to anything lifeless is rooted in human propensity to control and avoid pain, and in social conditions that glorify necrophilia, sadism, and violence. The novel takes place in the fictional town of New Heaven, Iowa on the 300th anniversary of July 4th (2076). A plague infects the entire country after a bio-chemical war that may have been caused either by accident, or rogue military elements within the US Defense Dept as a way to end a rebellion in New York and other major cities. In late 21st-century America, the infected segment of the population, which is the majority and has survived a plague caused by biological warfare, behaves as though life is predicated on unrelenting aggression and destruction. JE comments: I wish Jon the greatest of success with his novels--they certainly have deep philosophical underpinnings! As a bonus, Jon has sent a posting that I've added to the long queue in my inbox. (WAIS has been extremely busy for the last several days.) Welcome back, Jon--glad you are well. When you get the chance, can you tell us how you find the motivation to write novels? I have two or three that have languished unfinished for years.