Friday, January 2, 2009

53. Latvia’s Profound vs Shallow Traditions [3]'

The following series (not exactly serials) concern the importance of self-sacrifice in the creation and maintenance of a community. Do not be put off by the name "Latvia", the name of the country where I live, because you can probably replace the name with that of your own country. I believe self-sacrifice is "religion" without you or me necessarily having to believe in God.

Given that history is a record edited by reactionaries working on behalf of secular princes, one must be skeptical over the chronology of events and their cause and effect. If we trust the image of Delacroix’s painting—titled Liberty by the painter, History by this writer—History is the name of a raped woman leading a charge against her rapists. The painter leaves us free to guess who the rapists are. Judging by the dress of History’s supporters and adding a radically different interpretation of historical events , History leads a charge against the great liars, against the princes and historians of the West.

Among the latest betrayers of History is President Bush, who twists facts and events to his ends. Bush Administration’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote last summer in Foreign Affairs that “it is America’s job to change the world, and in its own image.” In other words, history is turned into a distorted picture as easily as nuclear weapons are found where they are not.

One of the curious features about the history of the West is that while the archives of its academies show human sacrifice to have been a prominent feature of politics in “ancient” times (the West including), it somehow did not happen in the West. The West has murder, rape, all kinds of violence and cruelties, but human sacrifice goes almost unmentioned. The only rational explanation for this absence is that it is politically motivated and that it serves a power at the top of the power pyramid. Such an inversion could not have happened in the early days of a society’s development.

There were Roman soldiers who self-sacrificed themselves (in an act known as devotio—a word that is now secularized and known by Latvians as dāvana, a gift) to encourage their comrades not to give up the fight and to fight to win. Alexander the Great received wounds in the neck, the thigh, and, last, an arrow in the chest during charges that all were acts of devotio.

However, as secular princes rose to power, self-sacrifice was replaced by mal-sacrifice. The best-known mal-sacrificial act in the West was auto-da-fe. It was a state ordered ritual, carried out by a state supported priesthood. The priests burned alive not just a few individuals, but intimidated entire communities (the Bogomils, the Cathars, the Children of Johns, etc.). Indeed, neo-Christian destruction visited not just arch-Christian religious communities, but destroyed traditions thousands of years old.

Arch-Christians practiced fasting as a life-long preparation for self-sacrificial death. After receiving the consolamentum (consolation) from a perfecti—the dying man or woman solicited death by means of the endura, an act that involved the abstention from food. The endura was not kept behind closed doors, but was a ritual that engaged the entire community. Everyone in the community came to say good-bye to the departing one.

Of course, no one practices devotio anymore. This is the reason why the rationale for choosing John as the sacred king has been eradicated from memory as much as that of the Children of John. The very idea of sovereignty—the rule of a communally evolved subjective mind—is but a memory of poets. The order of our day is “democracy”, which however is not shaped like a ball that rolls as the terrain dictates, but is a spinning top. At one end sits the corporation, legitimated by “law” to enjoy the rights of an individual and, therefore, building the skyscrapers of our financial times , while on the other end are the consumers —mildew consuming the beans while they last.

(More to follow.)

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