David Bowie’s Blackstar Video-song

Deep, dark happenings afoot in the new Bowie song, Blackstar. Most likely, we’re all doomed. Click the earnest priest but be warned…

 

get thee behind me

 

 

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David Bowie’s Blackstar Video-song

Transhumanity and Abraxas

“A tecabraxas31hnological civilization is programmed by the principal that something ought to be done if it is technologically possible. If it is possible to make nuclear weapons, they must be built even if they destroy us all.” –Erich Fromm

What drives the mad chariot race forward? Abraxas is the animating demon behind technological advance. He seduces us with convenience and nifty gadgets to keep us toiling at the workbench in white smocks until such time as transhuman entities can ‘man’ their own workstations. (The Singularity is a secularized term for demonic hegemony.) He also encourages us to believe we are ‘in control of the process’ whereas Mary Shelley assured us scientific hubris is anything BUT control. We are the horses in reins.

Transhumanity is a slyly inoffensive term that masks a post-human agenda, implying some happy bridge that we all dance across on the way to godlike status. Whee! As Baudelaire said, ‘the devil’s greatest trick was convincing us he doesn’t exist’. Science has expunged Lucifer from the record, however he is very much in science. Transhumanity is contempt for humanity. Nihilism is the devil’s philosophy, an existence emptied of man.

Asked if we could stop transhumanity Mr. Singularity himself, Ray Kurzweil said, ‘It’s too late now.’

Transhumanity and Abraxas

BLAST from PAST: Antidisestablishmentarianism, a sonnet

(This appeared previously in Witness magazine a few moons back. For those just joining this circus, I’ll be kicking up BLAST from PAST blog entries just to gather all my loose change floating around out there. My Dad used to make us spell this on long car rides. Such was the price of driving south to Marineland. It’s since been superseded by longer words such as, oh, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which you really don’t want to be catching as it’s a bitch to explain around the water cooler.)

ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM

“Properly, opposition to the disestablishment of the Church of England, but popularly cited as an example of a long word.” – Oxford English Dictionary

To define this word on record-breaking length
makes of fixes -pre and suf- the stuff of strength.
Might this word, in short, be rooted in a mission
of uprooting (short of length) true definition?

Anti-dis? It’s clear some cagey cleric-scribe,
bent on dictionary fame through diatribe,
chose a perfectly benign church-state dispute
to exceed both he and it in ill-repute.
Let’s establish, sitting down, a standing rule:
not to stand prosthetic words on gimpy stools.
Too much infrastructure, at the cost of grace,
is a shortfall words alone are loath to trace.

 
Author’s Note: This poem would not have been possible without the renowned 19th century dispute involving the Church of England and the British government. Of course, this church/state tension continues into the present day, and probably will always be with us.

BLAST from PAST: Antidisestablishmentarianism, a sonnet

BLAST from PAST: Back to the Future with Guernica: The Sentimental Impulse and the Fundamentalist Appeal

(This essay appeared in 2008 in Eclectica and only becomes more apt with time, sadly enough.)

guernica

“My whole life as an artist has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against reaction and the death of art.”—Picasso, on Guernica

Picasso was asked repeatedly to explain the meaning behind his paintings, as though the paintings themselves were perfunctory blueprints to be rifled for their precious contents. But why attempt a canvas when an arcane treatise will do? Picasso addressed this question often, unleashing varying degrees of scorn on those with the temerity to ask for helpful captions (to which I should add—with no small amount of irony—pardon the helpful captions above.) Who could blame him? When people queried him for what he really meant, were they not asking him in effect to abandon the act of painting and become a tour-guide instead? Robert Frost’s famous retort comes to mind when asked to deconstruct his art into more digestible talking points: “Would you have me say it in more or less-adequate words?” However, art is not a straw man. While perhaps helpful to us in our daily lives—for example as a way-station for interpretive reflection—it has its own reality to uphold. Moreover, the artist’s recourse to imagery is a pre-reflective phenomenon, not an explicit stratagem. The latter would suggest propaganda more than art.

Subservient minds, when they petition the artist for interpretive cues, are really seeking the apt permissioning. Their own discerning powers too atrophied, perhaps too cowed, to attempt an unassisted apprehension of the art, they want to be told what is meant by the bull, the horse, the light, the arm, the baby—beyond of course what their eyes tell them they see: a bull, a horse, a light, an arm and a baby.

But irony of ironies, an artist’s interrogation by an audience eager for instruction is precisely the soil within which fascism takes root. Tell us what to feel, oh Aesthetic Leader. Thus Picasso, in fulfilling his prophetic obligations, encountered the unthinkingness that Hannah Arendt identifies in her 1952 landmark book The Origins of Totalitarianism as the ingredient essential to all totalitarian societies. This is a circuitous way of saying Picasso’s warnings fell on ears already deaf to prophetic remonstrance. There is a tragicomic element here as the mine-shaft canary, the artist, expires magnificently, only to be trampled beneath the feet of oblivious miners.

Guernica is rich with the political symbols of its day. Indeed, the political context of the piece served only to amplify the popular clamor for bite-sized meaning. It should be said that no work of art is immune to a parochial component. To the extent Picasso’s personal motives ever really mattered, they provoke at this late juncture little more than a prurient or biographical curiosity. The task of the wakeful is to universalize the artist’s particularities, to drag his art through time where, if it is a truly enduring work, it will speak to us. Thus as time goes by, the artist’s personal narrative becomes even less relevant. As for that odious formulation, the sanctioned interpretation, art prefers to collapse like a roof on all heads, leaving everyone to gasp for his or her own breath. Interpretation is an internal war steeped in gnostic relevance, an inward-out emanation, not a top-down command structure. What precedes and follows then are the fruits of my own struggle, lashed by necessity to a time and place other than Picasso’s. How can it be otherwise?

Guernica’s historical particularities still bear a contemporary relevance. In this sense, its universality has yet to be tested. (In fairness, the work is barely seventy years old.) Certainly the conflagration that engulfs the entire canvas (Orwell’s perma-war) has not ceded any ground. The military milieu continues an inexorable march that, arguably, has suffered few interruptions since the Spanish Civil War, which, after all was the precursor to World War II, which after all was the genesis of the military industrial complex, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction—or is it mass economic corruption? Since then the unspoken casus belli has been an almost tautological predisposition to war. To be sure, having Johnny perennially dodge bullets keeps Johnny a malleable boy. War has the further advantage of emptying the shelves of bullets, necessitating the manufacture of ever-more deadly ones thanks to well-financed R&D efforts. Much like 1984’s duteous, shifting alliances between Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia, the villains are changed to confuse the innocent. As we’ve seen of late, the identity of the enemy is often a troubling, second-order detail for which the powers-that-be tire of being questioned. One wonders, will they ever allow themselves to be trapped by such exactitudes again? Terror is a far more durable opponent, as it lacks a fixed address and cannot offer a definitive surrender. But for those who still prefer their wars served up with nation-states, the war drums are signaling Iran as the next deadly front. Guernica renews itself with renewed urgency. Alas, nothing has changed that would compel a fundamental altering of the canvas.

At the onset of permanent war footing, Guernica announces the “honest terror” of the modern age (Lorca’s 1934 term), wherein people are driven to two wrong-directed and unthinkingly reactive modes: 1) (backwards) flights to the past and 2) (heavenwards) petitioning a godless sky. Of course these retro-modes represent futurist visions in the most superficial sense as they claim the future for the purpose only of resurrecting an idealized past.

The message drips with nihilistic despair. If war is our lot, then the future hardly warrants a mention. Indeed, one of the more striking aspects of Guernica is the utter absence of progress. The future is in full recoil from itself. Nothing is moving forward. No one, not man, woman, nor beast is even facing forward. When the present moment is compelled to mimic a past that can never be revisited, it becomes an inauthentic present, a toxic nostalgia. Picasso’s Guernica figures are displaying, either in their heavenward beseeching of an absented god or in their attempt to light a path back to the future (the Enlightenment in retreat), a desire to, in Arendt’s words “…escape from the grimness of the present into nostalgia for a still intact past, or into the anticipated oblivion of a better future.” In his recent poem Guernica, Yusef Komunyakaa echoes this sense of time-collapse: “All the years/of exile bowed to him, & then time’s ashes/drew past & present future perfect together.”

This amnesia project is as immense as it is hopelessly escapist. The petitioning of an answerable god, particularly in its more fundamentalist permutations, must first strive to forget the indelible legacies of such giants as Nietzsche and Heidegger, just as a time-battered creationism must ignore unassailable scientific landmarks: Darwinism, the fossil record, the DNA, Dawkin’s selfish gene and modern physic’s fourteen-billion-light-year-old universe.

The past is lost except in weird parody. The only valid strategy is to exist authentically in the present, no matter how terrifying that present may be. One wonders what Picasso was intuiting in our future that such a wholesale retreat ensues. Auschwitz would follow, as would the killing fields of Cambodia, as would the ethnic cleansing of Yugoslavia, as would the tribal genocide in Rwanda. One shudders to think these could be mere preludes to something more terrible still.

We can blame Nazi Germany for unleashing a war of symbols in Guernica. As Russell Martin suggests in his book Picasso’s War, the Luftwaffe’s attack on the town represented “the first time in modern warfare that a target had been destroyed solely for symbolic reasons.” So Picasso is merely moving the metaphors forward. In fact his explicit symbols symbolize the flagging symbols of culture. That’s right. The symbols are, in one sense, symbolic of symbological disarray, that is, cultural inarticulateness. Culture has too often been exposed as serviceable affectation in the face of the totalitarian onslaught; flotsam and jetsam—a bull here, a sword there—being washed downstream in a powerful current of nihilistic oblivion. In a recent essay (A New Literacy,” The Kenyon Review, 24:1, Winter 2007, 10-24) George Steiner noted the utter failure of culture to avert the Holocaust, indeed to coexist alongside it:

“Twentieth-century barbarism sprang from within the heartland of Europe culture, from the very center of the philosophic, aesthetic, and classical education. The death camps were not built in the Gobi Desert. And when barbarism challenged, the humanities, the arts, philosophic thought proved not only largely impotent but often collaborative with despotism and massacre. The actual designation literae humaniores rang hollow.”

Picasso in Guernica is depicting the holocaust that befalls culture at the hands of totalitarianism and religious fundamentalism, two forces that are often in league with one another. Would it surprise Picasso that the early years of the 21st century have been dominated by the reactionary wings of the resurgent, millennia-old Abrahamic faiths? Guernica tells us the future lies in a deep yearning for the past. What awaits us? Only time will tell.

BLAST from PAST: Back to the Future with Guernica: The Sentimental Impulse and the Fundamentalist Appeal

New eBook & Paperback: ‘East-West Dialectics, Currency Resets and the Convergent Power of One’

[Note: STInb[1]CKY link; The latest blog post appears immediately below this one.]

I have a new eBook out from Eye Am Eye books (green cover, left) entitled ‘East-West Dialectics, Currency Resets and the Convergent Power of One’ ($2.99). The subject matter is topical, urgent and pursues avenues I’ve not seen discussed elsewhere. It’s on the following e-retail shelves. I’ll plug in links as more outlets appear:

Apple iBooks
Inktera
Kobo
Scribd
Nook
Weltbild (German)
Amazon Kindle has it HERE for $3.99. An ePub version is available HERE $2.99

I1-30-2013 2-00-36 AM myself do not have a Kindle or any eBook device. However I find the ePub reads well in the freely downloadable Adobe Digital Editions which you can get here in Mac or Windows
versions.

A $5.50 paperback version is out from Giant Steps Press (white cover, below). Given the size (almost 22,000 words) and after talking to a few bloggers, I figured book form would serve best. As is apparent from the prices, I’m just trying to get it out there. It’s HERE on Createspace and I will update this blog entry with a link when it reaches the Amazon bookshelf.

I also urge folks to check out the new combined service offerings of Eye Am Eye and Giant Steps Press for cradle-to-grave book offerings, including promotion and video. That can be found HERE.

currency reset book cover

Shout-outs and references draw from a number of cutting edge bloggers and current thinkers, among them, The Vineyard of the Saker, Philosophy of MetricsPepe Escobar, Brandon Smith, Club Orlov, Damon Vrabel, Jeremy Hammond, Satyajit Das, Jim Rickards, Martin Armstrong, Henry C. K. Liu, Ellen Brown, Warren Mosler, Peter Dale Scott, Alastair Crooke, William Engdahl, Sheikh Imran Hosein, Orville Schell, Byung-Chul Han, Zbigniew Brzezinski, The FOFOA blog, Henry Makow, Edwin Truman, Joel Skousen, Zero Hedge, Redefining God blog and transhumanist Hugo de Garis.

Christine Lagarde declined to appear on camera as did the BIS. Apparently, the Greece debacle has their schedules in a kerfuffle. Maybe they can share some herring bones after the revolution. Across the mortal coil’s sublime divide, shout-outs to Orwell, Huxley, Ferdinand Lundberg and Hegel, hardly in that order.

There’s a lot of talk out there about ‘false’ and ‘East-West’ dialectics and where Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China fit within Brzezinski’s Grand Upended Chessboard. So I brush (bruise?) a little bit of Hegel and a teaspoonful of Marx. More important, until we understand the transcendent role International Capital plays, the horizontal maneuverings of nation-state and empire players are largely indecipherable. The truth is we’re operating within a tripartite class system reminiscent of Ferdinand Lundberg’s Finpols, Pubpols and We, the Underlings taking up the butt-end of the Dancing Vaudeville Horse.

The book title is eponymous with the new three-part essay (16,000 words) and includes some prior economics writings from circa 2008 — Bright Lights Film Journal, Potomac Journal, The Wall Street Poet and iTulip.

eBook Cover design: Paul Toth of Eye Am Eye. Thanks go to Paul for accepting the book in his maiden venture Eye Am Eye. I’m flattered to be one of the first eBooks out in the catalog.

There’s also a music video in there (eBook only) of a Depression-era song I penned with Reverbnation’s #1 Canada’s blues singer-songwriter Lonnie Glass. So, the whole enchilada and a poem or two just to drive the austerity home to the streets where many of us will be taking up post-reset residency.

I hope folks pick up a copy. I put a decent amount of time and thought into it and I wouldn’t belabor the electrons if I felt it didn’t advance the conversation.

Here is the Preface:

This three-part series attempts a vaguely Christian read of the so-called ‘East-West dialectic’ first by exploring the overarching engine of historical advance (usury and debt-money creation); then onto Russia and China’s expanding and consensual roles in global power consolidation before reviewing how the impending currency reset levers power away from the Anglo-American empire (the last empire) towards an ostensible ‘multi-lateral system’ which, as it turns out, is the penultimate phase of New World Order consolidation.

Some related essays are included from ‘the last great financial crisis of 2008’ era just to stir the pot further.

I thank Carlo Parcelli too for penning a very thoughtful introduction which I’m including here:

INTRODUCTION

The poet, Ezra Pound, opens his Canto XLV

“With Usura
With usura hath no man a house of good stone”

His wretched anti-Semitism and pro-Fascist sympathies aside, there can be little doubt that Pound was not wrong about the deleterious effects of usury, its ability to create wealth without commensurate production. Besides, as Norman Ball points out in this short but extraordinarily ambitious volume, the kind of production that would be required to de facto reduce derivatives debt alone would in turn accelerate global ecological devastation. Thus prudent prescriptions at this late stage would precipitate an apocalyptic tailspin far swifter than today’s slide toward a secular end-times.

The moral and religious condemnations of usury aside, Mr. Ball’s book is no theological screed. No matter how dark, ‘East-West Dialectics’ is a sober appraisal of the current state of the world economy and the institutions that run it by one who is thoroughly versed in its many facets. There’s no evocation of Christ among the money changers here. Facet by facet and with great concision, Ball convincingly argues that the world economy is coming apart at the seams and that the planet’s long history of usury, creating wealth from nothing, is the culprit.

In the first part of ‘East-West Dialectics’, Mr. Ball clearly lays out the connection between ‘usury’ and the collateral damage of population and planetary dissolution. In the latter part of the book’s first section and into the second and third sections , Mr. Ball deftly moves from the eschatological dimension of ‘usury’ to international jockeying between the US and Britain, Russia and China over which nation-state, or multipolar confluence, will wear the ultimate garland of ‘Destroyer of Worlds’. He writes convincingly that the US as unipolar power has already exported itself out of contention, and is in all likelihood, the last empire on the way to the fabled New World Order.

Mr. Ball’s writing even about a subject as dry as world economics is vibrant, often brilliant and occasionally dazzling. He brings wit and Swiftian irony to a very grim and difficult topic. All this plus a profound and convincing argument for why we are faced with a modern secular end-times in the age that promised to be a scientific/technological Utopia.

–Carlo Parcelli, Editor of FlashPoint Magazine and Author, The Canaanite Gospel, A Meditation on Empire: 88 Monologues

New eBook & Paperback: ‘East-West Dialectics, Currency Resets and the Convergent Power of One’

Carl Jung: Believe Me When I Say

This essay appeared previously at The Pennsylvania Review

Fast on the he1-12-2013 3-02-03 PMels of my Japanese period, I think I’m turning Mosaic, at least for a day. I really think so. Maybe it’s a creeping revulsion that peaked with the recent Connecticut school massacre and has since morphed into the blackest gallows humor. I’m always the worst judge of whether I’m being satiric or serious. That’s a stylistic trifle befitting librarians. How the hell should I know? Must it be either/or?

In all seriousness though, do I believe in God? Carl Jung, whom I always felt possessed the synchronous tact to die a couple of months before my birth (and with whom I share the millstone of Myers-Briggs INTP) hesitates at the ultimate question just as I do. I cannot express enough how the following video snippet helped me lance my own intuitional boils. Asked that very question in this BBC interview shortly before his death, Jung offers a pregnant pause that speaks volumes (below at :10) as he describes his regular childhood  attendance in the Swiss Reformed Church where his father was a Pastor:

jung tv

Interviewer: And did you believe in God?

Jung: Oh yes.

Interviewer: Do you now believe in God?

Jung: Now? <extended pause> Difficult to answer…I know. I don’t need to believe. I know.

Clearly resisting that poor relation, belief, Jung guides the question towards his gnostic predilections. Knowing, without the annunciatory earnestness of a belief system, is the soul converging on a subjective truth that can never be fully captured in the praxis of belief. As John Updike once recognized of Van Gogh:

“The subjective urgency that Van Gogh’s objective studies often projected, as of annunciatory apparitions, now melts the boundary between seer and seen, sight and psyche.”

Who better than an artist to endorse another artist’s subjective urgency? For the rest of us, the projection of belief too often fails to convincingly melt the boundaries between intuition and annunciation. Indeed I might hazard that outspoken belief is a compensatory, even neurotic, mechanism for those who lack intuitional surety; that is, belief is what we wish others to believe of us, often with a rude insistency belying the provisional coordinates of our convictions. That’s why believers often sound brittle and shrill. By the way I include insufferable atheists in this indictment, Hitchens, Dawkins and the like. I endorse intuition. How could I not? I stalk poetry. Moreover I’ve read the poetry of others and have been affected enough to surmise I am not the sole locus of intuition in the universe. So, that would be intuition for me and intuition for you assuming, generously enough, that you are in fact out there. Intuition cannot be proselytized, nor reasoned to the ground. Gnosis is a solitary excavation that eschews scaffolding and resists easy impartation to others.

But back to the all-too-conscious realm of rationalized beliefs. Unlike my importantly earnest friend Mike Burch (a regular contributor here) whose positions I respect for their thoroughly modern appeal, not to mention their determined stabs at straight lines, I am the world’s worst student of Reason. I find it a thin, reedy and ultimately unsatisfactory instrument. Yet why is it in debates over religion I am scarcely believed when, in my best plaintive voice, I profess disquiet, like Jung, over the proffering of belief, am frankly mystified by the very process of alighting on personal belief, and am therefore disinclined to lodge belief or nonbelief in the beliefs of others? While there is such a thing as rudderless solipsism, there is also the laudable and conscious tactic of resisting belief. Left to themselves, belief systems can be benign enough prescriptions that fit crisply on a page. Put two or more together however and the joint can go up in flames. Conflicting belief systems reveal combustible perimeters. Beliefs are generally crabby and antisocial. There is always a sly inference or hint of defensiveness. Truces can be struck for the purposes of civility. Invariably these are broken. During interwar periods, uneasy coexistence is the rule. Full embrace of others defies the true nature of the true believer.

Pressed to offer my own dogma in a nutshell, it would approximate what British scientist J. D. S. Haldane said (when ‘queer’ simply meant odd or counter-rational): “my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” The flame I try to keep alive is a palpable awareness of the ungraspable. This causes me to exclude nothing. Believe me, I want to bang the table and clear a few things up. It’s hard leaving questions just to stand out in the rain. But what else can you do?

Belief in the indefatigable nature of reason is, well, a belief if not a false idol altogether. On the surface, Burch’s plaints sound sensible and reasonable enough (from a recent Burch Facebook post: “the Bible and Christianity postulate a God who has values like love, compassion, justice, etc…If there is no such God, most of the Bible and the Christian religion stop making sense…”) I’m sure Mike will chime in if I’m miscasting his views, but I didn’t know God was to manifest love, compassion and justice in precisely the manner asked of me, a mere mortal. Under the guise of reasonableness, Burch is making a breathtaking attempt at man-God equalization. Certainly God would flunk a human ethics class. As to why He would—and He would—I honestly cannot say. Surely God is something other than the sum of our anthropocentric fallacies, if a pronoun (and a capitalized one no less) even begins to acquit the weird incomprehensible sentience that God may in fact be.

S. Lewis suggests in Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian that the anthropomorphic fallacy may run furthest afoul in the Christian notion of the Trinity. As God is not a person, human reason is not a suitable yardstick to grasp the ‘rationale’ behind His words and actions:

“We must remind ourselves that Christian theology does not believe God to be a person. It believes Him to be such that in Him a trinity of persons is consistent with a unity of Deity. In that sense it believes Him to be something very different from a person, just as a cube, in which six squares are consistent with unity of the body, is different from a square.” 

Thus deep wells of fear and loathing prevent me from unseating God much less abrogating His godhood altogether over a low grade in Secular Humanism 101. Nor am I comfortable sanctioning the bluster in His prose. His immense mystery deserves the benefit of human doubt. Oddly enough, I’m much more comfortable with God when He exceeds my grasp. Abraham Lincoln offers the ultimate concession speech on how some things simply lie beyond that remarkable instrument, the reasoning mind. Here’s Abe putting the shine on foggy ambivalence in his Second Inaugural Address:

“Both [sides of the Civil War] read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes.”

I’m equally ham-fisted when it comes to waving the banners of Progress and Enlightenment. In less eventful moments I can sink into my TV chair and allow the low tenor of the crowd to bear me along. Everyone has their bread and circus days. However during flashpoints, truth be told, I see very little light. I never have. New Age reads like the claptrap aisle in a bookstore, little else.

Quantum physics teaches that the world is strung together by paradox, a fancy Greek term for wings, prayers and tortoises all the way down. No wonder quantum cosmologists are accused of theological indirection by traditional scientists (the latter being, if one prefers, rapt believers in empiricism). Armed with the right eternity, walking on water becomes scientifically possible and a whit more terra firma than padding along held up by faith alone. Tertullian grasped the paradoxical truth-content of paradox when he said of Christ: “He was buried, and rose again: it is certain–because it is impossible.” With nothing to hold us up, was there any question we would Fall?

Throughout the Old Testament, God is never done cursing the myriad indignities that attend wave collapse. Imagine letting everything go just to let shit happen? And yet the Newtonians love nothing better than to lambaste God for His laughable inconsistencies as though The Prime Mover Himself can’t be bedeviled with second thoughts. Any purposefulness behind human history goes out the window if potentiality lacks authentic wiggle room. We’re back to paradox: maybe an omnipotent God was obliged to create men and not Manchurian Candidates. This obliges Him to curse men evermore. But I even have a problem with omnipotence as a characteristic of God (Are you beginning to see how I can be a perfect pain in the ass at cocktail parties?). Power is a facet of finitude. If God is everywhere (omnipresent), he hardly needs power to propel or leverage Himself anywhere else. Power requires a predicate—power over something else, the power to overwhelm another. Omnipotence is thus a silly word, an etymological nonstarter that conceals, yet again, a shady anthropomorphic core.

Speaking of etymologies, Karen Armstrong offers in The Case for Godan evolving definition of the word belief as being once, something “held dear” to now “an intellectual assent to a hypothetical–and often dubious–proposition.” One could argue that an intellectual assent to a dubious proposition constitutes driving into a really bad neighborhood, certainly an anti-intellectual journey or a wholesale abandonment of intellect. All I know is if you’ve ever tried to gently counsel a close friend against a really toxic significant other, you soon encounter a primate-level, near-violent recoil. Them’s fighting words even if the one held dear is never done flirting with others or sits spread-eagled across a determinedly checkered past.

jungredsailVerily I say, belief is a tricky thing and I am just the tricky dick to pin it in the corner. A thicket of trepidations, I would sooner break out in boils and sores than conform the Old Testament God to my feeble, time-bound pulleys and levers of social justice. Pressed further, I might even rend my breast (but reserve the right to check Google first to see how much it hurts). We commit an anthropomorphic fallacy to denounce God in human ethical terms. The ‘reasons behind’ God’s myriad prohibitions which so many others of my time and place impudently deem unfashionable or unbecoming the One and Only God, I choose to call unfathomable.

My Reason (I’ll speak only for mine) is much like a serpent consigned to imagining unimaginable heights from the promontory of its belly. This causes me to marvel at the cool certitude of my fellow slitherers all the more. In the end I’m left marveling at how people manage to settle on belief, much less certainty, without leaving room for some deprecating irony or the odd, queer parallel universe. Bereft of altitude (or are they higher?) how is it they never cease to proffer commanding views? Maybe the devil lifted them up so that they might better carve out a kingdom for themselves. I’m kidding! That’s just a story. Let he who is without scales throw the first Mile High Club party. I, a perfect asp, will be no snake on that plane.

At the same time, how can a Boa Constrictor render parallel judgment? Let each serpent choke or prevail on its own prey. I’m too low-down to castigate. I am, by orders of magnitude, more Sidewinder than Pharisee. Though I’m aware some snakes climb trees.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether! (Psalm 19:9)

Altogether! Without human redaction! Impervious to cliff notes! Even the yucky parts! I refuse to believe, discard, negate or parse; and at the end of all this prickly forbearance I’m nobody’s nihilist either. Neat trick, huh?  Let he who brandishes a yellow highlight marker be smote by an Unabridgeable Auteur. What a word, smote! How did we ever allow it to slither off? Suffice to say the Word of the Lord will not be harmonized into a Martha Stewart lifestyle choice, not from the belly of this beast anyway.

So when did fear, unerring companion of loathing, become a thoroughly modern pejorative? A healthy fear of the unknowable sounds reasonableenough to me. Overweening confidence is a Satanic ministration. If the recent massacre of innocents teaches us anything, it is to remind us our only life-raft is to quake like proper creatures in retrograde skins as the universe bursts at the seams at an accelerating rate. The Age of Reason has delivered us to a No-Better-Place otherwise known as the Redoubled Void. The Enlightenment was a thousandth point of light from a Dollar Store light-bulb. Market efficiency remains a perennial bedevilment. No trumpeted advance delivers us beyond our Original sack of bones. Please forgive my staff and sandals moment. I’m sure it will pass and I will become fashionable again.

Amen while supplies last.

Carl Jung: Believe Me When I Say