Saturday, October 31, 2009

© Eso Antons Benjamins

50 A Floating Dead Fish (II)

The photos are of the "harvesting" of forests about 6 km from Riga on A2, the highway to Pleskava. The many gaps, some most likely hundreds of hectares, are clearly visible from the road.

(Continued from blog 49)

How did a people teaching themselves and those around them through their language a culture of endearment (a form of blessing everything that they came in contact with) become crushed by the gears of the ‘more-equal-than-others’ machine?

The answer is as simple as its history is lost: militant strangers coming from the west  , which put their faith in the sword and (in the case of today) the nuclear bomb, occupied the lands of the Balts and the Slavs. The Evangelist (re: Yang-elist), imbedded in the language and life-style of the arch-Christians through the endearing word (and, therefore, the very opposite of a militant manner of proselytizing “faith” was turned into a passive agent through the aggressiveness of neo-Christian evangelism. The faith of the culture of endearment that it would survive through abiding cultural consensus is, if not dead, then certainly critically challenged.

I noted in earlier blogs that the college of neo-Christians engineered the cultural shift when its members removed Jesus—once an arch-Christian priest of the college of Johns—to Heaven. Jesus went to Heaven because it makes a better prison. The princes and barons needed no Johns in Latvia or elsewhere in Europe blessing the people, making them into trusted members of Visums or Viss (Allness or All, respectively) or the Day (whence the name of Dievs/God) which included all Johns. Those “more-equal-than-others” needed their own God, even if he was to be put forward and defended with violence.

Visums as such was never God among Latvians, because it was taken for granted. Indeed, the inhabitants of Visums so reverenced and endeared it to themselves that endearment was embedded in the social fabric. Many will recall the fairy-tale about the ‘table’ (‘galds’ in Latvian) that become a ‘dear table’ (galdinsh). It is the same table or tablecloth (galdautiņš) that magically spread itself before a hungry saime and food drops out of the sky to fill everyone’s empty stomachs. The reverence for life and all that Visums contains attaches itself to all objects as another (a second) way of naming it: dear bread (maize = maizīte), dear honey (medus = medutiņš), dear butter (sviests = sviestiņš), dear roast (cepetis = cepetītis), etc. In other words, the endearing word is a word of prayer and hope that comes from a hidden but self-assured resident in us all.

Alas, this used to be true, but is no longer. Today no one knows what the Heaven that Jesus is supposed to be a resident of is like. Is it an abode of love as neo-Christian proselytizers claim? The answer does not really matter as long as Jesus and Heaven are beyond human reach. This state of affairs is a God given opportunity for the ‘more-equal-than-others’ economic class. To remain “more-equal-than-others”, the class needs to but keep preaching “love”. Which is why “love” in our times has assumed a persona of sexuality, the Madonna the pop singer.  To speak of love in the sense of agape, with the endearing word being a synonym, is not the wont of our times as its near total absence from the Latvian public media attests.

No doubt, the disappearance of the Latvian community as an entity capable of critical thought is an ideal situation for business. Fortunately, ideals are seldom realized, which is why perhaps not all is lost. Even so, the communities (not only of Latvians) are sufficiently demoralized to have forgotten themselves and—though actors with a role to play—did not and still do not know they fall through a trapdoor they do not suspect.

As noted in a previous blog, Latvians had their “singing revolution” (1987-1990), but because this revolution did not establish a nation of heterogeneous “people” except in government rhetoric, Latvians are now having a “subdued revolution”. The subdued revolution gathers the middle aged and elderly (hopefully at least about 10,000 in number for the demonstration to be respectable) for a quiet demonstration, which includes entertainment provided by countryside choruses singing folk-pop songs. The demonstration lasts for about an hour or so with everyone standing in the rain under their umbrellas. After the middle aged and elderly ‘people’, go home, the alienated segment of the younger set goes on an angry rampage and throw cobblestones through the windows of the Parliament building.

In the aftermath of the outburst, the public media talks mostly about how much it costs the government to reestablish order. As for the government itself, it accuses the people of listening to populists—apparently the worst possible element among the public. Thus, for ‘the people’ it is a quick slide from being the object of worship during the “singing revolution” to taking a toboggan to nowhere with a “subdued revolution”. Clearly, the latter has no power of persuasion vis a vis the government.

Nevertheless, challenged by the “more-equal-than-others”, mostly neo-liberals ensconced as government, populism—its sovereign rights usurped by partidocratic democracy—may be about to reawaken.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you have read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.

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