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Mountain of Paradise

Reflections on the Emergence of Greater California as a World Civilization

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Josef Chytry

Mountain of Paradise challenges conventional taxonomies of world civilizations by introducing a new and formidable candidate: the civilization of Greater California presently incubating as the evolution of California into a veritable «nation-state» or «world commonwealth» according to contemporary commentators and scholars. Through a series of reflective essays it clarifies the momentous implications of this claim by a thorough account of the genealogical origins of «California», permutation into its speculative moment of self-identity thanks to prolonged creative interchange with European thought and philosophy, advancement to status of a socio-economic powerhouse by the 1950s and 1960s, invention of distinctly Californian variants of political economy by the 1970s and 1980s, and present domination over regions formerly classified as «Greater California». In its range and originality Mountain of Paradise constitutes a robust contribution to current political, social, economic and global thematics.

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Epilogue:California and the Paradiso

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185 Epilogue: California and the Paradiso “You wish the world to believe you are the granddaughter of Troy, the famous, and daughter of Rome.” Giovanni Boccaccio (to fellow Florentines), Life of Dante “quand d’apparve una montagna bruna Per la distanza, e parvemi alta tanto, Quando veduta non m’aveva alcuna.” “When there appeared to us a Mountain, dim with distance; And to me it seemed the highest I have ever seen.” Ulysses to Dante Dante Alighieri, Inferno, XXV. 133–136 Somewhere in the latter stages of his tramp through the Inferno, Florentine poet Dante Alighieri – accompanied by his cicerone, the Mantuan poet Virgil – has occasion to run into none other than Ulysses (aka Odysseus). Though doomed to an eternity in the Inferno, the pagan Ulysses is at least conceded the honor of directing Dante toward the Mountain of Purgatory, atop which the poet’s spiritual journey will reach its ultimate goal by ascending directly into the celestial Para- dise under the guidance of his divine intercessor Beatrice. This interesting, some would argue ultimate, work of faith conceived by medi- eval Christendom has laid permanent proprietary claims over the very notion of “Paradise” – notwithstanding, as we earlier noted, the word’s origins (pairidaeza) in pre-Christian Avestan-Pahlavi Persia and practical instantiations in Cyrus the Great’s installations for his Achaemenid Empire.1 Rather than ignoring such claims, let us call upon Dante’s monumental design, in order, however, to reach some very different conclusions that favor identification of California with our “Mountain of Paradise” label. As Dante commentators...

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