Edgar Allan Poe, American author and poet, is generally known today, for the so-called 'horror stories' or stories of the gruesome and bizarre. He is also generally maligned as a drunkard, having died a mysterious death, related to drug and/or alcohol problems. Although, he is often referred to as genius, this term is clouded in a vail of darkness and intrigue. The combination of the strange and unknown, which are said to characterize his works, is often perceived as something more dangerous and undesirable, as opposed to something good and admirable.
The truth about Edgar Allan Poe, as a thinker however, lies in his last most important work, The Eureka. He called it his crowning acheivement in life. Here Poe brings together his ideas as an artist and as scientific, philosphical, thinker. For Poe, these two areas of human creative endeaver, were inseperably linked. In this way, Poe defined an artistic and intellectual standard for the young American nation which remains virtually unknown, and unsurpassed, to this day. Even readers of Poe, hardly know of his work Eureka, or if known, almost never read to its completion. Yet, in this work, dedicated to the German scientist, Alexander von Humboldt, Poe elaborates ideas and theories. on electro-magnetism, gravity, and the nature of the universe, as well as epistomology, based precisely, on the difference between Socratic thinking and Aristotelian logic and empiricism. He saw his own life and creative work, as part of a certain historical mission, for the future intellectual survival and cultural development of the United States.
Unfortunately, today, that mission has been undermined and buried under a sea of opportunist thinking and popular culture. That degenerate popular culture exists both on the individual personal level, as well as on the larger social and political level. This has created circumstances in which very few, if any persons, can any longer distinguish between what are profound and what are merely superficial developments in life. Due to this common rejection of active truth seeking, in American society, most people lack the capability, of even comprehending, that they are trapped in a world of false appearances, all too often to their own liking.
The importance of restoring Poe's mission to its proper historicl perspective, also means, in part rescuing present American society from its continuing its decent into the maelsstrom Of self obliiteration. By taking up this initiative, and restoring a semblance of truth to his life, it is also, my hope, to help bring American culture up to a new higher level, and thus establish a new direction which would also go together with the direction that Poe was devoted to.