Sunday, February 8, 2009

Birth, Death and Rebirth

Still, no matter what Obama does, even in making the finest of choices, somebody’s ox is going to be gored. Especially in a country whose economy and sense of identity is driven by a ridiculous infantile and pointless lifestyle of gadgets,20fads and flatulence. In other words, somebody is not going to get their goddamned pony for Christmas and be pissed as hell. Which makes them prime fodder for demagogues and profiteering corporate sharks.---Joe Baigent


"Goethe(who, With Nietzsche, was Spenglers leading inspiration, as he was also Thomas Mann's) in a brief study called "Epochs of the Spirit" had outlined, already at the opening of the nineteenth century (1817), a sequence of four stages normal to all culture cycles, whether of mankind in general, a civilization, or a nation, which he then summarized in the following diagram:



Beginnings

I Poetry folk Belief Hearty Imagination

II Theology Idealizing Holy Reason
Exaltation

III Philosophy Clarifying Wise Understanding
Devaluation

IV Prose Dissolution Vulgar Sensuality
in Banality



On the 4th Epoch--

This epoch cannot last long. Human need, aggravated by the course of history, leaps backward over intelligent leadership, confuses priestly, folk, and primitive beliefs, grabs now here, now there, at traditions, submerges itself in mysteries, sets fairy tales in the place of poetry, and elevates these to articles of belief. Instead of intelligently instructing and quietly influencing, people now strew seeds and weeds together indiscriminately on all sides; no central point is offered anymore on which to concentrate, but every odd individual steps forward as leader and teacher, and gives forth his perfect folly as a perfected whole.

And so, the force of every mystery is undone, the peoples religion itself is profaned; distinctions that formerly grew from each other in natural development now work against each other as contradictory elements, and thus we have the Tohu-wa-Bohu chaos again: but not the first, gravid, fruitful one, rather, a dying one running to decay, from which not even the spirit of God could create for itself a worthy world.
--Campbell, Creative Mythology, pp. 378-379


See:

Goethe, in "Geistes-Epochen," Sammatliche Werke (1853), Vol 3, pp.327-330
Thomas Mann, Der Zauberberg, (Berlin: S. Fischer Verlag, (1924), pp. 526-528, abridged, English transl. by H.T. Lowe-Porter, The Magic Mountain (New York, Knopf, (1927), pp. 510-511




Yes, of course, imaginative chicanery dug up from the ignorant and innocent past; then again one hopes that you are not missing the latest episode of Desperate Hosewives, or the oracle wherein the ultimate fighter is crowned again this week.--

Be content. Be happy. Despite the isolation, the loneliness and alienation which permeates everything that is touched. Be obedient to your switches and knobs, fill out your registration forms and keep a copy for yourself in the unlikely event that a record will be lost. Be diligent, work hard, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain creating the great Oz, for he is you, whitewashing the old fence over and over again. Swathed in illusion from the cradle to the grave, safe and saved by one creed or another until nothing can be discerned in the yellow fog descending.

Slowly it permeates the whole. The realization that this life you've lived is not your own, bits of it sold, some given away, some stolen, who knows? You want it back but its gone. --one narcotic or another is provided depending on the severity of the malaise, physicians clothed in gold guide you through white halls to the proper treatment areas, should your status merit such consideration, otherwise you are herded with the rest of the mob into long lines to receive injections that will render you harmless until your next premium is due.

At this point, each essential truth is examined and denied. Truth itself is pointed out as a caricature, "life is a joke, and the joke is on you;" sums up "Being and Nothingness," and the world grinds on, host to a motley crew. We founder aimlessly, pinballs bouncing between lights, moths drawn to one flame or another, leaves caught in an uncertain wind. Each succeeding anchor made of sand melts away.

Helplessly we grovel in the entrails of the machine; our hope being that the Collective Will will overcome inertia and erupt erecting barricades and smashing the shop windows once and for all dumping the manikins into the streets so that they can be burned and we can bask in the heat.--Yet the seed says, "Let me me be safe, until I am gone," then the revolution can burn the house to the ground, and the anger gnaws like the fox in a trap who leaves his paw behind to rid himself of the constriction.

Take heed of the Parthenon on the Acropolis, The Colosseum in the heart of Rome--
those who wander in our ruins will find that Myth & poetry in our accomplishments just as well, that Atlantis which rose and fell when the world was cool and abundant; that learned time when men sat about the colonnades in the evening shade and debated Birth, Death, and Rebirth but did not hear the voice inside.

1 comment:

Jacob Russell said...

Glad to see you posting again.