September 13, 2020:
I followed the reading where it led.
Seymour's door led to Kierkegaard and Kafka. Kierkegaard led to Sartre, Camus, Merleau-Ponty. Kafka led to Proust, Proust to Zola, Flaubert, Balzac, Stendhal. I'd heard of the Beats so I read Kerouac, who led to Burroughs. There were "great books" you knew of so I read Gibbon, Hemingway, Shakespeare, Frazier. Frazier led to Campbell, Eliade, Kirk, Bettelheim, the Thousand and One Nights, the Grimms. I'd read Dostoevsky so that led to Tolstoy, Gogol, Pushkin, Bulgakhov. I'm in an Anarchism study group at Groundwork, which adds Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin, Stirner, Goldman, Bookchin, the revolution in Spain. I'm in a Feminism study group with my three older friends, reading Sisterhood is Powerful , Our Bodies, Our Selves and The Awakening, one of the highest highpoints of American letters IMO. I've set a goal of three books per week and for most of my gap year I achieve that, where the novels are easy and the philosophy is not.
This reading has purpose. I am no longer evading authority. I now have the straightforward goal of kicking authority in the teeth, where my background in military history and strategy plays a role. I understand the centrality of strategy and tactics. Social change cannot occur as "The Batley Townswomen's Guild Presents the Battle of Pearl Harbor", a mêlée where two equal sides bash each other unconscious. The sides are not equal, they have vastly contrasting capabilities, we must grow our forces through education and experience, and we must act to win. I am studying to become a better militant, where literature, history and philosophy all contribute to at minimum avoiding the most avoidable mistakes.
At this time I'm most impacted by Gravity's Rainbow, Kate Chopin, Naked Lunch, The Masks of God, and Kafka's diaries. Campbell has such a strong pull that I decide to study mythology in college. I don't yet have a theory of ideology, but I'm thinking the old stories and their structures might provide an effective channel through which people can be reached. I haven't encountered The Banquet Years which next year will spin my head in circles. Nor yet Joyce, who I'll meet at university. Nor Marxists, who arrive around that same time. I'm very early in my journey as autodidact. I am, though, moving rapidly.
This is not systematic study, it's reading by free association, where one name evokes another and I go there to introduce myself. Reading day and night, very late at night, with urgency. I've stunted myself almost six years. This is the year for catching up.