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Sunday, May 20, 2012

St. Catherine of Siena and Vampire Movies



I was reading about St. Catherine of Siena again, and meditating on her statement:
"If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire."
There is a good deal about "popular" mysticism I do not like, and that is exactly those tedious themes and images which repeat themselves ad nauseam:  swooning women, eyes aimed at heaven, jumping to one's death from a cliff rather than allow the neighbor boy a kiss - or worse, battling legions of the evil one...

Then, after having had one's fill of what "Organized" (sic) Religion thinks is experience of the Holy, one finds such things as St. Catherine's speech, and finds at last a fit object of wonderment and meditation.

The words of St. Catherine have not been pre-masticated for us. They are sufficiently powerful and mysterious that no middleman can effectively come between ourselves and St. Catherine. We are always, thus, in a state of primary engagement with St. Catherine: we are ever new when we meet her, and she is new to us. We use our entire beings as contact to understand her.
This is what intelligent contact is. When I spoke of language as articulate contact, it is an articulated human behavior which forms the focus of a primary engagement with something in the world we wish to engage with. There are secondary engagements later, based on memory, but it is the primary ones which are very important for getting things right.

Organized Religion is the popularization of the Holy, and it takes the intense mystery which usually requires years of struggle to understand, and turns it into B-movies. There is no primary engagement with mystery: it is all secondary and derivative, masticated and philosophized into paste.
And let's look at B-movies. How many vampire stories can there be with the same awful sameness? The Twilight series has a teen love story, but that is about all. The rest of it is derivative and tedious.
I suppose if I were a teenager again, and the series were my initiation into the vampire lore, it would be different. However, having seen the same story over and over with slightly different emphases and twists, it exhausts me.

Zombie flicks are worse. Once, just once, I'd like to hear somebody yell, "Shoot 'em in the foot! That's their weak point!" Once I'd like to see something new, like combining the suave Count Dracula shtick into a Baron Samedi-type King of the Zombies, say. Maybe a line like:
"I don't eat...  brains!"
I watched AMC's The Walking Dead until I fell under the weight of  nothing-new-under-the-sun. I could not put up with it anymore. As stupid as vampire and zombie icons are, they are very prevalent images in our popular culture, and they are boring. They are boring, and mainly so because we have chosen images of death as important carriers of meaning in our culture, and we are bored with death; we have seen genocides and disasters and wars, and nothing fazes us anymore. We stick our heads in the sand, and we let our leaders make pious statements and do what they can.

Everything is boring. Do you have any idea how boring it is to watch the world fall apart? If only there were something new......

There is something new:
Revelations 11:18
...thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
We cannot even stop ourselves from destroying the earth with pollution, over-population, and nuclear armaments: if a new form of destruction presents itself, we send it to the think-tanks, and they come back with a precisely logical modus vivendi with the devil.
When we have finally had enough, we let anger and hatred run riot.
We set the world on fire by adamantly resisting the call to be what we are.

To us now, St. Catherine is new.

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4 comments:

amy@ Souldipper said...

Being in your company, I feel myself guided to a trigger, a release of my love for what is good - so it can be freed. It can...perhaps, just a modicum, authenticate St. Catherine's words.

My head says, "Yes" and my heart says, "Me, too?"

Baysage said...

Alas, no one heeds St Catherine. Most people would not have a clue about what she means. Meanwhile, we may not have to wait long for the Earth-shaking we've been expecting . . . this European money situation is really serious.

Montag said...

Amy
I think everyone is seeking some release from the rats' maze we've created.
I feel what you feel, and it is so exasperating... it's a feeling like there are green pastures just beyond the fence, and we know that all we have to do is climb that split rail fence... but we don't do it.

Montag said...

Hi, Bay.

I sure do not know for sure what she means, but it seems like a worthwhile puzzle to figure out.