Sunday, August 30, 2009

Copyright E. A. Benjamins aka Jaņdžs
24 A Function of Awe

The civil war that began round about the year 1117, when Alexius I threw Basil (according to my theses also known as Jesus or John) into the pit of fire continues to this day.

After killing Basil (and the subsequent destruction of the empire of Alexius I by the French in a “Crusade”), Basil-John’s Holy Office was removed (1305) from Constantinople to Avignon. Seventy-three years later, in order to make the priesthood in Avignon look less French, the office was moved once more, this time to Rome. The Byzantine people were not happy, but perhaps this spiritual violence was mitigated by a promise that Basil-John would sit in Rome, where western princes would surely protect him from oriental despots like Alexius I. The protection, if such was offered, proved a lie. No Pope has ever sacrificed his life as John-Basil and his retinue of Johns routinely did before secular kings put them to death. Instead, the early popes—the brothers or in-laws of kings—called (actually renamed) John Jesus and wrote a new myth about his divinity.

While today neo-Christianity is a show that entertains a dead God, western thinkers stubbornly cling to western (Scaligarian and Petavian) chronology of history. Even atheists cannot shake off this lighter than air God and remain bound to a God, they claim not to believe in.

From the very beginning of this religious civil war, which essentially polarizes people in two economic camps, the allies of Jesus have had the upper hand. It is thus that they are able to impose on the world their version of the story-history of John. Indeed, the princes invented the story about Jesus we know. At the same time, this invention is the reason why the fire pit death of Basil is practically unknown.

The civil war is at its bloodiest today, even though to one of the economic poles it may appear to be bloodless. No matter how many thousands of images of dismembered and dead men, women, and children are shown on the internet and television they are as if not seen. This is because such scenes take place far away from the viewers living inside the protected zones of the powers-that-be.

Being the apparent winner of the civil war, the successors of Alexius I (symbols of state power and righteousness) claim to speak in the name of love and peace, and let the bloodguilt fall on unnamed secularist armies (their own and that of their enemies) as though these appeared outside the bounds of western foreign policies. Worse, the oligarchs (or their like) have not only killed Basil-John and changed his name to Jesus, but have installed Jesus-Basil as the ruler of heaven, where all his energies are consumed trying to sit on air.

Perhaps the “victory” of the successors of Alexius I will be carried forward yet another thousand years. However, there are reasons to doubt this. The torn social bonds that are the price of appearing to be victor of this war have turned the populace into an army of the dumb. This is not without its corrosive effects. Unable to resist the oligarchs, the poor play a waiting game. That is, they wait for the rich and their own to exhaust the resources of our planet, because it is only after the resources are exhausted will everyone be able to let the Earth go fallow and gradually resume a normal life again.

Poets, often true, but physically weak seers, have watched—real time and their mind’s eye—ignorant armies rush to be devoured by chaos . Brazen men with brazen promises are in leadership positions . Mountaintops (bald for loss of snow and forest cover) and deserts (jumping from Africa to Europe) have replaced the ancient Johns with Apocalypse sans Jesus in real time.

Waiting still, the poets see no sacrifice charismatic enough (whether by John, Jesus, or anonymous soldiers blowing their heads off in the field) to save humankind. Governments with high decibel sugars glaze all protests.

But wait! Is it not curious that the present winners of the civil war appear to hate most “suicide terrorists”? Is it not a “suicide terrorist” one who takes not only his-her own life, but the lives of everyone around, the lives of the innocent as well as the guilty? Does not such self-sacrifice speak of utter moral depravity, which gives the ruling elite moral authority by default? Most likely this is because the powers-that-be presume such moral authority as much as the terrorists do.

At this time, the losing side, the poverty stricken and superfluous, use tactics that they have learned from the winning elite, who camouflage their violence from the eyes of the ordinary citizens by controlling the communications media. We hear of remote controlled drones killing the opposition leader, but it takes a long time for the news to reach us that along with the leader, the dead include the bride, the groom, and most of the wedding guests. . While the tactics of both sides of the civil war are roughly the same and equally brutal, it nevertheless appears that only the side of the poverty-stricken and superfluous ones, has the option to practice true self-sacrifice. At a time when the internet is replacing newspapers, radio, and television as primary media as the disseminator of news and other information, the tools are available that will record and broadcast the self-sacrificial deed and censure it and keep it anonymous. The failure to express protest by using self-sacrificial death as a tool (what John-Basil-Jesus taught), may be seeing the end of its days.

Slavoy Žižek, a Slovenian philosopher and at this time the director of the Birbeck Institute in London, approvingly cites Brecht, the German playwright. Writes Brecht (in “Baden Learning Play on Consent”): “To encourage a man for his death, the interveningly thinking one (der eingreifend Denkende) asks him to give away his goods. When the man gives away everything, what is left over is only life. Give away more, says the thinking one.” The ‘interveningly thinking one’, one assumes, is one’s own inner voice. [No doubt, the language is a bit heavy.]

Žižek then writes (“The Monstrosity of Christ”, pp 300): “This ‘give more’ is a true ethical answer to the false spirit of sacrifice: it hits the narcissistic satisfaction provided by sacrifice in the eye. Brecht’s real target here is the pathetic gesture of sacrifice….”

Nevertheless, one may object: What if sacrifice is essential, a kind of mirror of the Big Other mentioned in a previous blog, so that human kind will be reminded of itself by reminding itself to mind, which reminder is essential to the formation of a larger-than-life or virtual society?

What if with the mirror, which reflects back to one one’s true terror of death, puts the same one in awe of the (“pathetic”) sacrifice and breaks down the refusal of one’s otherwise ungovernable ego to submit to the compromise that is necessary to create a society larger than one’s immediate family and intimates?

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