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Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Process of Dreidels

We tend to forget about process and think more of individual events. This is why some of us think the world will end sometime in December 2012: the reason is the Mayan calendar, but more importantly we have been able to fix upon a definite point in time, and it is the definite point in time which is all important.

We do not like to think of events as "processes" extending back and forward in time: the end of the world is 2:15 AM on such-and-such a date. We think we shall tip over the edge; we do not think we are already sliding down it slowly bit by bit. Oh, we may say we are, but everyone believes there is a point of no return, a point when the sands of time begin to avalanche.

Our images of unhappy futures wherein we seek uncertain sanctuary from zombies and vampires and evil men is not a prediction of a date that suddenly appears in the future; it is a commentary on the "now" and the ongoing process of a life declining into despair.
Siegfried Kracauer's history of the German cinema "From Caligari To Hitler" does not indicate that films "foretold" the future. No, but they were a process in the making of the future: they were creating and fighting against an infinite number of futures.
Look at Lang's "Metropolis": for all its length and story, it did not capture the story of what was to come; it was no prophet in that sense, but it did thoroughly plumb the two obvious alternatives: Capital and Labor work together versus Capital and Labor fight each other.
It is the depth of this film which taken as part of the process of German History from 1918 to 1945  makes a enormous emphatic irony of the reality: both Capital and Labor were to be enslaved and subverted into Madness... and that was a possibility that escaped Lang, but may not have escaped the inhabitants of Caligari's insane asylum.
Lang was not aware of it, but it was right before his unbelieving eyes disguised in such a way that its toxicity did not have enough "Symbolic Gravity " to capture his awareness and make it a satellite to its heavy gravitas of enchantment!
(Ever since, we have never stopped jabbering about National Socialism; it is still our favorite perjorative. It is such a favorite curse word that it is symbolically a "black hole" to some minds.)

The Apocalypse is now, not some future time. It is always now for us. A belief system which puts things like the Apocalypse into the future is a child's toy: a dreidel spinning as we wait for it to slow and topple over: a great miracle will be happening ... there!

If we need to fix things, the fix is now. The disaster is now, the fix is now, the future is now.

Forget prophecy. Prophecy is part of an ongoing process, and points not to some future time and event, but points to now and points to itself as well as everything else around it.

What is the place of Mankind in the Universe?
Man's place is the Now. Man has the unique ability to forget the immense past and the infinite future and stand naked in the Now, as if the present were the most important thing in creation.

The infinity of the Holy means it cannot stand in the Now. Only Mankind sees things in the blink of an eye and encapsulate reality into the tiny ambit of its mind. The angels envy us our ability to love in the present; they can only love as a process. There is no climactic moment in infinite love.

The genius of Christianity is in the Holy stepping into the Now.
Every other religion allows the Holy into the world, too, but too often they portray it as Mankind doing the will of God, whereas what we are talking about is Mankind meeting God and somehow both existing in the Now alongside the Infinite.


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