Saturday, January 30, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

77 Climbing Mt. Citheron (X)

"King Oedipus” is a tragedy, which as a play and a story has endured a misreading, the misreading leading to tragic developments for humankind as a whole. That we have come to read the story afresh and gain new meaning from the riddle it presents is the result of a confluence of occulted near and far historical events, a chronal moment and a confluence for the inner consciousness of a writer living in antiquity and our own.

The gyres of occultation, which have enabled us to see something so obviously before our eyes as to have escaped our notice for these many years, are partly related to such events as the death of innocents; bombs upending earth seconds and not many meters behind; the sight—mercifully from a distance—of cities burning; tortured bodies marching by imaged in the clouds; and not least, the stealing from the Latvian people, of whom I am one, the future. The latter is the end result of rule by a government with no ultimate sense of responsibility for the results of its deeds as government. The people, so commonly referred to as “populists” (why not equate populism with a form of “terrorism” then?), have been pushed to the periphery where government feeds on its livers without cost to itself.

The chronal moment of unriddling the riddle (likely related to the universe as a hologram) is driven by a necessity to acknowledge events we have been censured from noting to lasting effect, and, thus, have not been able to give the chorus of dissident voices “out there” an ear. Our necessity is the necessity for truth that comes to every dying entity on its deathbed—to live on through others. So, let it not be said that either Sophocles or myself have invented the story of King Oedipus, but that it has gone unrecognized for the lack in our civilization of self-sacrifice, which has brought us to a time when a majority of people on our planet, little Latvia including, have little more than their naked self.
The willful misinterpretation of the role of Oedipus in Sophocles’ “King Oedipus” is the result of a zerstoertes (disturbed) mind. The failure by the mind in our times to look beyond the immediate is as profound as looking over the ruins of Dresden and Hiroshima and not seeing them, and the inability to bring a Stalin, a Churchill, and a Truman even post mortem to court for war crimes. The ruinous events in what so many theatre goers have presumed to be an honest rendering of a tragedy (there was a Nuremberg trial, what else do you want?), turns out to have been Sophocles’ coded scream for help, but unnoticed for the presumption that what makes tragedy has no relation to government.

If “Tiresias’ Revenge” becomes a story of which the riddle went unsolved (for good reason some may claim) for two thousand years (Scaligeri’s chronology), it may contribute toward the removal of so-called “just war” from the bag of pardonable crimes and prosecute it from the perspective of past, present, and future self-sacrifices. Were this to happen, the onus will be on those who fail to acknowledge the equal signs between themselves and the victims as well as beneficiaries of their acts. At this time, the beneficiaries of the government have the power to ignore any call to responsibility. The payment in lives and life styles is still exacted from the weak for the benefit of the strong solely because the latter invented arms that kill at a distance. The mailed fist has for too long allowed a minority to remain in denial that it is the major cause of death of “others”.
The so-called ‘just wars’ are little more than those who are violent claiming for themselves a “more equal than other” status. As the killer drones in Afghanistan prove, the art of ‘just war’ has progressed to the point where the killer kills the victim as if the latter were a figure on a video game screen and the former no more responsible than a child for pushing the buttons in a gaming arcade at a shopping mall.

With death among the violent ones having been replaced by the doctrine of ‘resurrection of the dead’, death among educated “elites” occurs as if in secret still. Indeed, the violent ones have not only eliminated direct knowledge of the death of their victims, but knowledge of themselves as mortal beings. Sure, death remains a matter for tears among one’s immediate relatives, but the laws that tell that the body will upon death be taken to the refrigerator at the mortuary make sure that death remains invisible and will not trouble the dictatorship of positivism. No rulers of hegemonies where consumers are the core of ruling parties will acknowledge that they are the cause of death of millions of—let us call them ‘nakeds’. Such ignorance follows the same line of reasoning which during the current crisis causes governments to treat the most irresponsible banks institutions “too big to fail”, because failure means their fall from power as well.
The subject of violence and death presently discussed is not often met with in the discursive space of modern media. None of the “authorities” who have done and condoned violence has sworn an oath to die a conscious death, yet the same are said to be fully conscious and in alignment with the will of Allness when they send to their deaths millions. No “authority” in our day will extinguish his-her life through his-her own will—even if that is not expected from them sooner than old age—and will censor such a notion as suitable for public space.

The doctrine of self-sacrifice and the ability to extinguish one’s life comes from an imaginary that has expectations of a future in which a larger-than-life community creates an environment that enables it to recreate itself until forces beyond it—rather from within it—end it. It is from this itself that life beyond mere naked life community arises. It is from the larger-than-life community which is able to practice self-sacrifice that the potential of a continuum of self-consciousness arises.
If one wishes to create a hegemonic community, one has to be willing to help create the kind of charismatic bond that memory will not let go of. Death through natural causes may provide the original understanding for the desirability of such a charisma. Death as a result of a violent attack may confirm the power of death’s charisma. However, only self-sacrifice faces the charisma of death (some may wish to call it motivation) in full self-consciousness. This is why one must learn to project, then internalize an image that is powerful enough to displace the image of Jesus in the sky. Innocent as Jesus himself may be, his image was engraved into the vault of the sky by the physical violence of those who reject owing up to the notion that a fully human community can result only when its members have authority over their deaths. In the context of the neo-Christian secular order, which is founded on the high blown words vs the arch-Christian Johns seeking to live with the endura engraved as the grail on their minds, it is the former who die in their beds, while the latter if not dead by fasting, once managed to die on their feet. There are none like these in public space today, unless the space is not only subjective, but hidden, and if discovered is lied about. Hopefully, the solving of the riddle of “King Oedipus” will turn the tide and soon prevent the rule of lies.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:
On material depravation in Latvia.
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” George Orwell's Animal Farm
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's  "1984"). 
Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

76 Climbing Mt. Citheron (IX)

There is yet a thirteenth death in “Tiresias’ Revenge”. It is the death of the Sphinx, the chimera of child sacrifice child sacrifice that has been haunting Thebes.

When fleeing Corinth—in order to escape the prediction that he is about to kill his father and marry his mother—and on his way to Thebes, Oedipus meets and kills his father. Sophocles presents the scene as if it is a fated accident. We are told that King Laius and Oedipus meet on the road, but neither of the parties identify themselves, and both try to push each other off the road. The fight over who has the right of way escalates into a deadly fight. In the melee, the captain of Prince Oedipus’ bodyguard kills Laius, the king of Thebes.

After the “victory”, Oedipus continues his journey until he reaches the temple of the Sphinx. The temple is not far from Thebes. The Sphinx, we are told, is plaguing the city of Thebes. The Sphinx will continue to plague Thebes, that is, demand the city to sacrifice its young for its dinner, until someone is brave enough to come before it and answer its ridiculously simple riddle: Who walks in the morning on four, at noon on two, and in the evening on three legs? The answer is “man”, at least this is the answer that everyone in the last two thousand years plus (according to Scaligeri’s chronology) has accepted as being the right answer.

One may accept the given answer as the correct one. On the other hand, we should not forget that the third leg, which is not a nature made instrument, but an instrument made by man, may be presumed to be other than a cane. After a crawl on all fours and learning to stand upright, the hands may hold more than a stick. This is to say that after learning to walk, one may support himself on a spear, a sword, or a rifle. The instrument need not be associated with the physiological nature of man. It may be an instrument that is typical to a cultural ethos.

In any event, Oedipus and his father do not meet each other by accident as Sophocles misleads us to believe. To the contrary, the meeting has been prearranged by Queen Iocaste, the wife of King Laius and mother of Prince Oedipus. The Queen knows that on a certain morning the King is to go and pick up a wagon full of children he has bought from some traders for sacrifice to the Sphinx. The purchase is in lieu of having to sacrifice the children of Thebes.

The Queen arranges an as if accidental meeting by conspiring with her sister, Queen Merope of Corinth. [The history of the two sisters is discussed in greater detail in “Tiresias’ Revenge” (blog 47)]. The captain of the guard which accompanies Prince Oedipus’ flight from Corinth is informed of King Laius’ upcoming transaction, and is to take advantage of the circumstances and kill the king.

In terms of the story, we need to understand that Prince Oedipus’ journey to the temple is not so much the next episode of the play as it is a continuation of action that began at the crossroad where the exchange of the children for payment took place. In short, the death of King Laius is to be identified with the death of the Sphinx. This identification need not be made by anyone else but Queen Iocaste, because it is she who starts the story of Oedipus by refusing to expose him to the elements on Mt. Citheron, which will put him at risk of becoming a sacrifice to the Gods of Fate. Since the Sphinx has wings, we may imagine that he-she could fly from the temple to Mt. Cytheron and snatch the royal child exposed there and deny him life and the right to become part of the royal retinue. Queen Iocaste has a plan that may outwit the Sphinx.

There is no need here to tell the details of the original plot of Sophocles. What we know is sufficient to understand that Sophocles wrote a riddling play from which a number of essential elements of plot have been removed or have been so abstracted as to make the play a riddle. The most likely reason for creating the riddle is political repression. Since the political repression may be for the purpose of ridding society of self-sacrifice by identifying it with the sacrifice of children, the censure and repressive force can only come from a hierarchical society in which self-sacrifice—from the point of view of its elite—is undesirable. Self-sacrifice is an individualistic act in that it is unpredictable (subject to the subjectivity of the individual) and may cast doubt on the authority of those at the top of the pyramid, especially if those at the top have no intention of doing self-sacrifice themselves. Rather than submit their lives to fate, they rather enjoy the “pleasures of life”, albeit a diminished life in that it asks for itself no more than a leisurely drift to Hades via a river called Yana, G(Y)anges, D(Y)on, D(Y)onava, or D(Y)au(n)gava.

As mentioned in earlier blogs, other than sacrifices made during the violent times of Latvia’s founding, Latvia had two distinct opportunities for self-sacrifice in the twentieth century. One was in 1940, when the President Karlis Ulmanis could have (but did not) self-sacrifice himself in the face of the ultimatum to the nation by the Soviet Union, because Latvia had no chance of winning a fight against the aggressor, except make it a symbolic act. The other was in the years immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union, when the post-Soviet Latvian government was on its way to becoming so corrupted that it was obvious (though not necessarily noticed) to most people outside the government, and one Adolfs Bukhis (1993). The latter attempted to redeem the government’s failure by protesting the direction the government by sacrificing his life. His effort was denied recognition by both the post-Soviet Latvian government and its media.

One may object by saying that the troubles of Thebes have little to do with the troubles of Latvia. As the saying goes: yes and no. In this writer’s opinion, we shouldremember that the story of King Oedipus is

1. not as “ancient” as we are led to believe it to be by the Scaligeri chronology (I am inclined to agree with Anatoly Fomenko’s suggestions as to the reliability of orthodox history);
2. fails to confront the interests of a secular and fundamentally laissez faire prince (government) to repress self-sacrifice;
3. substitutes self-sacrifice with a return of child sacrifice, but in place of children, places young immature men and woman, re soldiers;
4. leaves the elite occupy the summit of the power pyramid, where it never makes a sacrifice, but frequently changes chairs of office among its members to escape coming into focus of the public.

The substitution of self-sacrifice and child sacrifice with “war sacrifice” by modern government confirms that our modern orientation of rule is toward maximum, rather than minimum use of violence and terror as the tool of authority for keeping government in power. This keeps the weak bonds of community weak and under the control of the government. Invariably such power is usurped power. How long will it endure? If once the answer was “not for ever”, today it is “not for long”.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:
On material depravation in Latvia. 
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” George Orwell's AnimalFarm.  
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's "1984" )  
Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and  

Friday, January 22, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

75 Climbing Mt. Citheron (VIII)

Let us begin the play by pretending that we are its directors.

Imagine that you are going to the theatre tonight. The play you are going to see is some author’s scandalous rewrite of the ancient and famous playwright’s Sophocles play “Oedipus the King”. The reinterpreted and rewritten version is called “Tiresias’ Revenge”. What is Tiresias revenging? Perhaps the “truth”. What is truth? Perhaps what ought to have been done and can be done still.

This is a long play, which is why some readers have compared it to Wagner’s Der Ring des Niebelungen Der Ring Des Niebelungen cycle. No music for this one yet though. There will be a long intermission after the second act, when one may have coffee and cake. In the basement cafeteria of the theatre there will be young aides to help those interested to understand parts of the play that they did not understand. If asked, the aides will also explain what is ahead in the fourth and fifth acts. Tip the aides generously.

Imagine that the curtain of the stage is closed. It is still some minutes before the play is about to begin. The audience is in taking seats. The volunteer selling programs is still sitting in in the lobby. The balcony seats are almost filled.

There is movement from behind the stage curtain, then it parts a little, and to the front of the stage steps one of the actors. The actor is holding in his or her hand a mask to indicate that he or she is part of the production. He-she intones: “Ahem… I have an announcement to make. There are some changes in the scenery tonight. You will see one of the scenes twice. I will briefly tell you about the scene, so you know what occurs if we decide to skip through it quickly. Here it is:

“There is a temple. It stands in the mountains, indeed its rear exit stands right over the edge of a cliff. The temple is on the road from ancient Corinth to ancient Thebes. [Some directors may wish to replace the name of Thebes with that of Riga.] In the centre of the temple on a high and broad pedestal sits the Sphinx. It is a horrible beast and inspires terror the moment one sees it. However, in fact, you see nothing of the Sphinx but its Face. The face, horrible to behold, is drawn or projected on a curtain. Its features show the anxiety of life facing Death. The Sphinx is a former dragon that has devoured itself from the tail up, and the image resembles—I will let you imagine—that of your own face after you have cannibalized yourself from the tail end of yourself. The road of your rage to live has been a bloody and horror filled voyage. Now you cannot devour yourself any further. The Face cannot eat itself, but only express its terror of Death if it takes the next step towards it. Perhaps the Face looks something like the one Picasso drew in one of his last drawings, except in place of man’s tightly drawn lips, there should be teeth as horrible as the teeth of a saw.

“On the road below the temple appears a wagon drawn by four oxen. In the wagon sits a large cage, and the cage contains four to eight children. [This scene may in fact be projected on the screen behind the actor’s back as a video clip.] The driver of the wagon is Tiresias, the priest of the temple. Tiresias has not been blinded yet, but somehow he already has that “blind” look of one who has gone snow blind from having seen too much snow. On top of the cage sits a guard armed with a spear.

“Tiresias stops the wagon before the temple, opens the cage and motions one of the children to follow him. The child is dressed as if he or she has been invited to a children’s birthday party. The child and Tiresias walk toward the temple, then walk up the temple steps right up to the curtain, to the Face of the Sphinx directly in front of them. To the right and left of them in the shadows may be present some other figures. Perhaps these are the witnesses of the proceedings.

“When Tiresias has come before the large temple curtain and the face of the Sphinx, he seizes the child by the scruff of the neck, grabs the belt around his or her waist, and pushes him-her with some force through the curtain. The curtai has a tear or an opening in the middle to facilitate a quick “disappearance” of the victim. Tiresias performs the motions as if he has had lots of practice. The children do no more than cry out in surprise.”

A few moments after each child disappears behind the curtain the audience hears a thud. [Thud! x 4.] Some men may bring onto the stage four sacks of sawdust and let them drop there in a matter of fact manner, one after the other: Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud!] If you want to know, yes, the remaining four children are to be saved for a later sacrifice.

“Let the  plague begin!”

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:
On material deprivation in Latvia.
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” George Orwell's Animal Farm
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's "1984"). An article to orient yourself on populism in America (and hear the echo in Latvia), Retrieving the Democrats’ Reason for Being by Sam Smith.
Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and  

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

74 Climbing Mt. Citheron (VII)

The response that I received over my interpretation of Sophocles’ “King Oedipus” (“Tiresias’ Revenge”) was somewhere between a statement and a question: “How is anyone to perform all those deaths in one [the last] act?.” I was taken aback. I thought that this is what directors of a play do—besides choosing a cast, they also solve problems and think of ways to do what may seem impossible to do. A stage need not have only one platform.

Nevertheless, on second thought, I could only agree that one may get the impression that death arrives as a pile up of speeding cars speeding cars. It all comes after the discovery of the facts or, if you will, the truth. Let me count the deaths.

1. First to die is the blind seer Tiresias;
2. then comes Iocaste, Oedipus’ mother and wife;
3. & 4. their two sons, Polynices and Eteocles;
5. then Antigone, their daughter;
6. Antigone’s lover Haemon, Prince Creon’s son;
7. then Prince Creon’s wife, Eridike, because Creon will not pardon Antigone for burying her brothers. No doubt, Creon also does not forgive his son for not abandoning Antigone.

This makes for a total of seven (7) deaths. However, these seven were preceded by four (4) others:

1. The infant who was substituted for Oedipus, but whose death is not declared.
2. King Laius, killed by his son Oedipus.
3. Polybus, the king of Corinth. He is killed by the Queen of Corinth, Merope, Iocaste’s sister.
4. Oedipus.

Seven plus four is eleven, quite a few deaths indeed. A dramatic denouement, not least because the central act no longer is Oedipus stabbing out his eyes as Sophocles seemingly wants to makes us believe, but the other deaths. All lose their lives as a result of the refusal by Queen Iocaste to expose for a night her son Oedipus on Mt. Cytheron and discover whether he is fated to become the king of Thebes, Greece,  or not. And then there is the “plague” itself, obviously with death lurking at the end of the road.

The reader, who knows the play according to Sophocles, will quickly notice that either Sophocles hid the motive why Oedipus was exposed to the elements, or I have added it. In Sophocles’ version of the play, at least the version that has come down to us, King Laius wishes to kill his newborn son for reasons unknown. In my rewrite or deconstruction of the plot, I propose that Laius does not wish to kill Oedipus for reasons unknown, but to test the will of the Gods. In other words, by exposing Oedipus to the elements on Mt. Citheron, Laius and all Thebes will know if the fates are agreed that he is suited to grow up to be king of Thebes. There are other additions as well, for example, Sophocles nowhere mentions that Queen Merope of Corinth is Ioacaste’s sister.

My acquaintance made no comment on my interpretation of the play or, more accurately, my resolution of the riddle posed by Sophocles. Rather than probe and embarrass myself by having to listen how perhaps my Latvian skills made reading the play difficult, I let the matter rest. Perhaps on another day would come and offer another opportunity. After all, the plague that plagues Thebes may be said to plague Riga and Latvia, and plagues do not simply disappear. King Oedipus may be renamed King John, and imagined as a descendant of the king of Jersika, King Visvaldis. [See blog 58 ff. for a discussion of the kingdom of Jersika and its king.] An interesting coincidence is the fact that the current President of Latvia is a surgeon, and the English name “surgeon” may be read as “sur-john” or Superjohn.

In any event, the several years that separate my probe into the nature of the Protestant mindset in Latvia has done little to change my impression that self-sacrifice as the cause of death is a subject too touchy to touch. It has obvious political implications. The sacrifice by Adolfs Buķis (see blogs 16, 36, 67, 68) of his life in front of the Freedom Monument in Riga and the dismissal of the event as inconsequential by the authorities and the media is ample evidence of the unwillingness of Latvia’s post-Soviet government and society to take itself “that” or so seriously as to involve self-sacrifice. The bureaucracy of the state, with self censorship its second nature—thanks to eight hundred years of self-repression—knows how evade any subject, itself including.

Mostly my disappointment was however the way the echoes of self-sacrifice rebounded on Latvian society itself. It simply had no ear for it. No doubt, the fate of Oedipus and Thebes could be imagined as in some way applicable to not only the current political situation in Latvia, but indeed to the political atmosphere the world over. Whatever the rest of the world may think or make of self-sacrifice, in Latvia it is but a clump of clay stuck to the shovel and what the shovel needs to be freed of. This is taken for evidence that everything is as it should be. Self-sacrifice as a phenomenon necessary for the creation and maintenance of a community, which makes it a political force, has not been able to find room for imagination here.

Now the act which my actor acquaintance was questioning is the last act, the fifth. (See blogs 46-47.) It is true that most of the deaths in the play (eleven +) occur or, better, are declared in this act. The entire network of relationships among those who are part of or somehow connected with King Oedipus’ court unravels here.

For the time being my probe to try discover Latvian reaction to tragedy had proven itself to be unsuccessful. As I came to interpret it, it was simply too risky to risk upsetting a Latvian audience with a play that insists in introducing such radical changes in how we have grown up to see ourselves. Latvians would rather continue to perceive the Sphinx as a mystery rather than a revelation.

However, there is a solution to the difficulty of having to present to the audience death after death after death. One solution is to tell the audience the story first or by giving it a hint of what the play is leading up to. Not all of the eleven and more deaths need to happen in the last act, but can be told in a brief introduction. In this way, the audience is given some tools with which to imagine the events in the play more easily.

Let see how this might work in the next blog.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:

On material depravation in Latvia.
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others” Orwell's Animal Farm  
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's "1984".) 
Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and

Saturday, January 16, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

73 Climbing Mt. Citheron (VI)
Let us return to Sophocles’ “King Oedipus”, a play that has profound implications for politics. At least, I think, Sophocles thought so.

As some readers may have noted (though not those who see no “enemy” or adversary in sight, not even within themselves), the ancient method of defusing a potentially violent situations was through self-sacrifice. When the naked life-force embodied in the serpent Kirtimukha had shortened itself to its face without losing the urge to annihilate itself and was about to give birth to twins [who through annihilating each other would annihilate ‘naked’ life force (portrayed as Shiva’s wrath)], human consciousness in one of the twins found “religion” and stepped in with a self-sacrifice. This is how the Face of Glory remains energized by the force of life without destroying itself. No matter how awesome its appearance, it never becomes a death head over two crossed bones that underlies the piracy prone and victim seeking Western civilization.

I begin with the fate of the tragic theatre in Latvia. Needless to say, at the present time, such a theatre is playing in my imagination only, as is my interpretation of what Sophocles’ had on his mind. [See blogs 40-47 for “Tiresias’ Revenge”.]

Firstly. Once upon a time the proto-Latvian people possessed if not a tragic theatre, then at least the chthonic elements that are essential to its being. J. A. Jansons, a Latvian philologist, wrote a paper, published in 1926, which he titled “Why we should found our tragic theatre on Johns and Spirit days.”* [My translation; ‘spirit days’ = veļu dienas.] Jansons argued that already a century earlier the philologist J. Lautenbergs had made a connection of the Latvian Johns Days with the Greek Dionysian Festival. As a specific example, Jansons cites the rite observed (~1864) by “Old Andreys”, a peasant from Kurland, who set a table, called on, and greeted his forebears in the old sauna. The sauna was a sacred place, probably so since ancient times, because the ghosts of the departed had very likely been born there to substance. The sauna was the retreat and therefore also the ‘home’ of women giving birth. It was in the sauna that the Goddess Laima, a midwife and the Goddess of Fate, received on a towel the newborn and told his-her fortune.

We ought to remind ourselves that tragedy depends on fate and fate being fated on someone. Unlike the modern ‘career’ man or woman, fate leads a human being to his-her destiny, which cannot be achieved by ‘money makers'. No doubt, the necessity to make money and become a ‘money maker’ has provided work and career jobs for teachers, psychologists, career advisers, employment office workers, etc. Today one is born to a career, because without a career it is almost impossible for one to make ‘a living’. Even a man or woman in high a career position, if asked how they like what they are doing, may respond with a shrug and the words “it’s a living”. But is it fate?

In the days of Old Andreys and before him, a man or woman would describe whatever happened in their life as “it is (or was) my fate”. Fate is somewhat like a card players hand. The cards dealt become the player’s fate. This may be one of the reasons why “career” people become addicted to gambling: they wish to experience fate vicariously.

Secondly. J. A. Jansons paper had no echoes to speak of in Latvian society. While the Latvian theatre has a tradition of “drama”, it has no tradition of “tragedy” other than a replay of the classics. This is not to say that Latvians have no room for a tragic space. However, to this day it has not been realized. If there are exceptions, exceptions they remain.

Latvia, founded in 1918, was soon overwhelmed by the trends of modernity and the movement of people from the land of traditions to the city of “fashions”. Latvians lost ‘fate’ and gained a ‘career’. Though drama—one that included large numbers in lives lost to violence and emigration—was certainly a common experience, it was always an experience of having survived a wreck. Old Andreys forebears had to exchange the scarf of fog rising in the fields and forests that surrounded the sauna for a sandy path in the church graveyard, which was transferred soon to a cemetery in the city. In the city or its suburbs the ghosts no longer come alive by way of the mind projecting them on the fog, but are painted over by a 24-hour circus. For the city dweller, an Old Andreys was a curio, a survivor from another age. If Old Andrey was also known as Andreys son of John (Andreys Jāņa dēls), the city changed his name to Andy whose past no one knew or cared about. In the same way, tragedy was exchanged for a ‘mention’ of certain dramatic historical events, certain cultural shifts that had caught Latvians in their gears. In other words, Latvians saw themselves as having a passive role in these events. The people kind of put their lives in a state of suspended animation. Though Latvians still have a special place for the theatre, the Latvian government is no longer among the peoples’ best friends if one goes by the support the theatre receives from it. The Latvian theatre may not only have no place for tragedy, but is itself a receding phenomenon.

The Latvians of today see themselves better reflected in ‘soap operas’, almost all which take their cue from the fact that audiences around the globe like to watch characters who change their sexual partners every few weeks or so. Latvians may trace this tradition to the pseudo epic of “BearJawBreaker” (1888) by Pumpurs, who gave the hero two women as lovers, but because of the mores of the time left it to the imagination of the audience. He made no written commentary on the liaisons. The audience either may or may not read between the lines. I read it as love affairs within a situation that calls for the hero’s death, but only one of the women (the temperamental one) is so much so involved with the hero as to commit suttee by jumping into the river after he falls into it during a violent wrestling match with the Black Knight. The possibility of tragedy for the fair ‘other’ woman, especially if the writers (Pumpurs and Rainis) had caused her to be with child, is beyond anyone’s ken. Because the neo-Christian dogma does not permit the hero to marry or have an affair with two women at the same time, Latvian writers did not dare to imagine the superhero as having a descendant.

This is the background against which I wrote my version of the story of King Oedipus. The death of tragedy is not unique to Latvia. Even compulsive gamblers may now be rescued from their addiction to fate by career psychologists. Positivism has sent fate into hiding among Taro cards, where unhappy love affairs seek solace from what at least one of the partners may feel as a tragic unrequitement.

That said, a sense of something called fate lingers around the edges of Latvian consciousness, this blogger’s including. Without such stirrings, it is doubtful that after fifty-one years abroad, I would have returned to Latvia. No doubt such stirrings are traceable to a childhood, the last several years of which were spent on a farm, where horsepower was as real as twelve horses are at a full gallop.

I wrote my version of Sophocles’ tragedy in English and then translated it into Latvian. Perhaps I did the translation, because I knew that self-sacrifice in America—where I spent most of those fifty-one years—is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind, but Latvia—after so many years at a distance—was only partially known to me. Therefore, after I had invited a Latvian actor to help me in my efforts to rejuvenate the Johns Eve celebrations in my local area and had made his acquaintance, I used the opportunity to pass him my manuscript.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:
*J.A. Jansons, Filologu biedrības raksti, issue VI, 1926.
On material depravation in Latvia.
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others”, see Orwell's Animal Farm
A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four)
Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.
These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.
Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

72 Climbing Mt. Citheron (V)

Strange as it may seem, the myth of Kirtimukha repeats itself in modern politics. It appears, for example, in the work of the German scholar of jurisprudence and political philosopher Carl Schmitt , for whose importance I will quote Chantal Mouffe, his prominent critic, but also one who has developed his ideas further, but other direction.

Writes Mouffe: “[For] Carl Schmitt… the defining feature of politics is struggle and that ‘there always are concrete human groupings which fight other concrete human groupings in the name of justice, humanity, order, or peace.’”* Mouffe concurs with Schmitt that it is essential in political struggle (as opposed to a bureaucratic foreclosure of dissent) to have an “enemy”. The differences in the two thinkers’ ideas lie in that Carl Schmitt does not believe that liberal democracy is able to cope with the potential of violence inherent in the system and, therefore, under conditions of exception, needs a leader to resolve the matter, while Mouffe tilts toward a resolution of conflicts by means of a resolve to use hands (i.e., words), not weapons. The last sentence in Mouffe’s book, “The Return of the Political” reads: “Instead of shying away from the component of violence and hostility inherent in social relations, the task is to think how to create the conditions under which those aggressive forces can be defused and diverted and a pluralistic democratic order made possible.” One of these conditions as I understand it is hegemony contingent on the ability of interest groups or equivalences to come together against a common adversary in a time of crisis. This hegemony is populist in nature.

However, thought and conclusions alone, without a substantial transference of authority to implement thought and its conclusions (words alone will not do the job), are for naught. As Mouffe herself says: “The absence of power embodied in the person of the prince and tied to a transcendental authority preempts the existence of a final guarantee or source of legitimation; society can no longer be defined as a substance having an organic identity. What remains is a society without clearly defined outlines, a single or universal point of view. It is in this way that democracy is characterized by the ‘dissolution of the markers of certainty.**’” This is a radical idea indeed, if one considers that with the dissolution of the markers of certainty there will also dissolve all charisma, attraction. For me the rub comes when I have to imagine the latter, because I cannot get that abstracted.

How will the “dissolution of the markers of certainty” be bridged? I argue that the “substance [lacking] an organic entity” (which I presume makes it behave as any bureaucratic instrument) remains, a serpent in the grass, a proto-social being (as in a ‘naked human being’ in the Greek concept of Zoē). A “larger than life” society on the other hand is a development that has gone past this proto stage and is already bound by the charismatic force of death, whether self-sacrificial or violent. This is the stage when Kirtimukha bites its tail and propels itself as a wheel. Its substance is diminishing (no institution is immortal) by being turned into energy. It has bit its tail and moves no longer with a winding slither, but with a roll. We have become a substance (inorganic on a contingency basis) which moves inexorably toward its denouement—sooner than later—if we do not stop before the window of our faces.

What the neo-liberal Latvian government is engaged in at this time is to twist Latvian society under the aegis of the neo-liberal West in a way that it becomes like a twisted bicycle wheel. Given enough of a push, such a wheel will move forward for a few turns, but then tip over. It urgently needs a tuning. The present (2010) Latvian government, a collective of right-wing partidocracies in its make-up (i.e., sponsored by its own team of oligarchs and with only a few members from the public), may be a better transport vehicle for the baggage in its baggage container than having no wheels at all, but having already suspended disbelief several times in order to believe that a partidocracy led to a better future, Latvians may no longer vote to save the organic leeches in their swimming pool.

One proof of failure of the Latvian government may be deduced from its refusal to speak about the future. This is evident in its unceasing lambasting (and implicit repression) of “populism”, the interests of which demand the neo-liberal elite to tell the people about the future the state envisions. Since the government has consistently failed to do so, it is apparent that the future is already here. It consists of leeching the people as if they do not matter. This also makes it evident that the enemy of choice for right-wing partidocratic politicians is the Latvian public, even though partidocrats have no juridical authority in and of itself except as a subjectivism that may be as personal as it is coincidental with that of the greed of the oligarch collective. Given that the word ‘populist’ emerged from the Latin ‘populus’ (plebs and people), ever wonder who the ‘enemy’ of the Latvian people may be? Not that the politicians would want you to know, but ultimately it is the people’s authority that is sovereign. Unfortunately, it is the politicians, who failing in humility and presuming they represent the norm of the superstructure (parliament as a collective of oligarchs each with his own party), try to steal it from them.

Rather than roll down a hill as it is capable of doing, the serpent (zalkts) for fear of failure starts to devour itself. This is the situation the present Latvian partidocratic government has put Latvia in. The partidocracy is destroying the country by causing it to become an empty place, both, by out migration and by way of the negativity (hopelessness) from those forced to stay. To paraphrase Moffe’s words, [it means] ‘that we cannot distinguish within a given regime of truth between those who respect the strategy of argumentation and its rules, and those who simply want to impose their power’. This is why ‘apocalyptical postmodernism… characterized by drift, dissemination, and the uncontrollable play of significations’, does indeed ordain for Latvia a radically new epoch. *** Unfortunately, “strategic argumentation and its rules” will not work without enablement by self-sacrifice.

The tragic drift of the Welsh people into Englishness will either be repeated by the Latvians (as Richard Burton surrendered to the seductive Elizabeth Taylor, Latvia may be seduced by someone named Pop) or the current of time will bring them to a chronal moment that will spring forth as a revelation. Instead of the partidocracies holding a royal flush that sucks up the last of the common good and communal bond, Latvians may have luck and draw a queen of spades followed by a joker called John, followed by a king of hearts, who, having been dealt the ace of hearts, calls the hand of his opponents and wins by invoking a near forgotten sovereign right to change the rules of the game. It is on this or a similar occultation of cards that Latvian populists must be make their bets. In short, it will be a new game with new rules. It will be won not by saying “yea” to a system gone sour (as if it can be unsoured by one more suspensions of disbelief), but by creating in a flash of inspiration a hegemony of “nays”, and electing a radical and plural democracy that acknowledges the need of the not-violent terror of self-sacrifice by drawing the Face of Glory on its flag.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:

*Chantal Mouffe, The Return of the Political, Verso (paperback) 2005, p. 113.

**Claude Lefort, Democracy and Political Theory, Oxford 1988, p. 19.

*** Chantal Mouffe, ibid., p. 15.

On material deprivation  in Latvia.

On the theme of “more-equal-than-others”, re Orwell’s fable Animal Farm.

A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four). An article to orient yourself on populism in America (and hear the echo in Latvia), re "Retrieving the Democrats’ Reason for Being" by Sam Smith.

Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.

These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.

Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and

Saturday, January 9, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

71 Climbing Mt. Citheron (IV)

Riddles sometimes take a long time to solve, though partial solutions may occur long before we discover the complete answer. It was thus for me with the Hindu monster known as Kirtimucha, who I first met in 1958, now over a half a century ago.

I was still attending Boston University at the time. Though I hardly glanced at the books assigned for classroom reading, I often read with great interest the books that I came across in the bibliographies. When I came across the story of Kirtimukha, I was quite taken with it. It answered to a question that had not yet even occurred to me: what happens to the serpent that bites its own tail? I had heard stories in my childhood that the garter snake, known to Latvians as ‘zalkts’, which was sacred to Latvian ancestors, was sometimes seen in cemeteries, and for which farmers put out a plate of milk near the barn door (not only for the cat or the hedgehog)—that this small nonpoisonous snake was known to bite its own tail.

The story went that in ancient times there was a ‘king’ garter snake. It wore a gold crown and moved like a wheel. It could do so, because it bit into its tail and formed a ring. Some people knew to tell me that they had seen such a snake come rolling down the hill, especially on Midsummer or Johns Eve. It was the stuff of stories that put children on the alert when walking through swamps while mushroom hunting. I had a pretty good idea on what hill this could happen, though of course it never happened but in my imagination.

Here is the story of Kirtimukha. After God Shiva had been angered and had released his anger against the lesser God who had provoked it, Shiva changed his mind. That presented a problem. What should Shiva’s Wrath, which had real substance, now do? It had been created; it was still here. Shiva told Kirtimukha that it should put his and its anger to good use and devour itself. So, Kirtimukha bit into its tail and started shortening itself. Maybe this means that anger was becoming less angry. However, when anger came to the doorstep of its very face, it had to stop. It could not eat itself any further. Nevertheless, the wrath of Vishnu remained on the serpent’s face, which is why it became known as the Face of Glory or Face of Wrath.

As it happened, I was also reading Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” at the time. The play tells a story of how a mother put her son on the throne of a kingdom by marrying him. When the people of Thebes, suffering from a mysterious plague, learned the true story though, chaos broke loose in the kingdom of Thebes. Iocaste, Oedipus’ mother, killed herself; Oedipus blinded himself; and their two sons killed each other. It was the latter event that made me connect the myth of Oedipus to Kirtimukha. After I had read about the monster’s Face, I had begun to wonder if there really was no way that the serpent could put an end to itself. It was like a mathematical problem: if the flight of an arrow can be put to a stop by bending it into a circle, and the circle could be reduced to a point, the Face of Glory, how could the point be reduced to zero? The story of the two sons of Iocaste and Oedipus provided the answer. When at a Dead End and with no way out or to die, the thing to do is split into two.

Since in the case of Kirtimukha, its tools of wrath were its teeth, when the teeth had no longer anything to devour, two of them expressed themselves by growing ever longer—until they grew out of the top of the serpents face as horns. Thus, Kirtimukha became a face with two horns, at which point I remembered the events at the founding of Thebes (read third paragraph down). Cadmus, the itinerant prince, had killed a serpent guarding a sacred well. Very likely the serpent had a name that was a cognate of Kirtimukha. To kill Kirtimukha X was a major transgression against the laws of the universe, and it had to be avenged.

Cadmus was told by the Goddess Athena to sow the serpent’s teeth into the ground. When he did, the teeth sprung up as two rows of fully armed men. The Goddess Athena (or perhaps it was Artemis) had hoped that the sown-men would kill Cadmus for having killed the serpent. However, Cadmus had a quick wit. He threw a pebble between the rows of the armed men. The men believed that the pebble was thrown at them by the men in the other row, and there began a fight among them. All but five of the men killed each other. Perhaps these five men are to be equated with our ‘teeth of wisdom’. In the myth though, the five represent the five vowels of the alphabet: AEIOU, and it was with these that Cadmus founded Thebes. In other words, politically speaking, the Theban kings were not kings by accident, but kings who had been ‘chosen’, therefore were sacred, and could not just kill each other off as consonants without vowels may.

I was surprised. Was this another chronal occultation? It reminded me of yet another Greek story. There were two giants, twins, Otus and Ephialtes. The brothers went hunting one day. The object of their hunt was the Goddess Artemis. Both brothers wanted to have sex with her, but the Goddess changed into a doe, so she could better run away. Instead of then attempting to catch the doe by hand, the giants threw their spears at her at the very time that they stood opposite each other. The spears missed Artemis, but killed the twins instead.

The story’s point is telling. The reappearance of the twins in Sophocles’ play means to tell us that Oedipus has come to a dead end. There is no escape for him, but to die. This is why the image of Kirtimucha  is so popular in some cultures to this day. It looks like the living image of wrath. It reminds the onlooker of the desirability of its death—if not as a force, then as a phenomenon one has learnt how to deal with and, therefore, has been able to check it within his own self.

Indeed, this myth reflects profoundly on the politics of our days. More in Blog 72.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:

On material depravation in Latvia.

Iceland fights back, re TheMovement

On the theme of “more-equal-than-others”, re Orwell's Animal Farm.

A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's NineteenEighty-Four). An article to orient yourself on populism in America (and hear the echo in Latvia), Retrieving the Democrats’ Reason for Being by Sam Smith.

Of great interest to me is this and like articles/. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.

These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.

Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

70 Climbing Mt. Citheron (III)

For anyone who has been away from home for a long time, returning home ought to lead through the ‘old home’ first, because the ‘new’ old home is never the same as the old home was. The problem for human kind for this kind of maneuver, however, has been that a journey to the ‘old home’ necessarily leads through the past and a forest of lies and misconceptions about what the old home looked like. The lies and misconceptions of course have been sown by those who are at the wheels of power now or were anytime between the ‘old’ times and now. In other words, there is no such thing as returning home, though you are welcome to try and find out for yourself.

Lewis Carroll’s famous story “Alice in Wonderland” may be read as an allegory of Alice wishing to visit the old home of her immigrant parents. Alice herself is too young to have ever had an old home yet. So, one day when Alice feels bored, she sees a white rabbit, she begins to chase it, and the rabbit leads her to a hole in an old tree stump. Being young and innocent, Alice sticks her head into the hole, the ground under her gives way, and down and away she falls.

Sometimes seeing the ‘old home’ (click here for a synopsis of Alice’s story) may change the picture of not only the past, but how you see the present. I do not mean that when you return, you simply will be brushing off a few leaves the moment after you believed your head was about to be chopped off on the orders of a mad queen. For all I know, you may be Ann Boleyn  and the queen is king Henry the VIII. Or you have decided to make your journey back to the old home on February 14th, Valentine's Day.

Yet another almost impossible struggle to return to one’s old home is presented by the Greek playwright Sophocles in his play “Oedipus Rex” or “Oedipus the King”. However, in Sophocles’ story, the “return” is not to discover one’s old home, but the truth to what really happened not only to Oedipus, but to a lot of people who in one way or another were connected to him.

On the surface “Oedipus Rex” is a simple riddle asked by a chimera, known to Sophocles as the Sphinx. The riddle asks who is it who walks on four legs in the morning, two legs by noon, but on three legs in the evening. The answer is that it is “man”, because a baby first crawls on all fours, then as an adult walks on two legs, but when old walks with the help of a cane, which ads up to three legs. The answer is of course correct. Any half wit can come up with the answer. However, this is the very reason why the riddle begs a deeper probing. So far, most critics of the play have not got past scratching the surface.

Nevertheless, before we go into a possible solution of the riddle, we need to ask yet another question: Why did Sophocles write a mystery to which no one seems to have the answer? That is, why is it a mystery until we discover (in the next blog) the answer? I believe that it has to do with timing. The answer can be discovered only at a “chronal moment”, when like the stars in a horoscope occultate in such a way that what was impossible before becomes possible now.

One reason why the riddle of Oedipus has been under occultation by the present for so long may be because the present has for a very long time been dangerous, life-threatening, and there was no way of avoiding the threat to one’s life except to pretend to believe in mysteries. Thus, the answer to the meaning of Sophocles’ play may be that he is telling his audiences of something that is very dangerous, and, indeed, may cost him and his audience their lives. On the other hand, everyone may recognize the danger of the topic immediately the play begins, understands the danger of it, and tells the next audience coming to the show that they will be seeing a mystery play.

People who live under the rule of dictators know this phenomenon, i.e., the hope to live long enough to experience the chronal moment, the dictator’s fall, because their poets’ heads and popularity depend on the wit used in their verbal allusions. While the people wait for this moment to arrive, there appear all kinds of guesses as to what Sophocles’ play and the Sphinx are about. The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud made himself famous with his theory, which he called the Oedipus complex. Indeed, we still hear of it, because while the salacious aspects of the theory arouse most sexually repressed people, Freud discovered that there may be secrets repressed beyond memory. However, they reveal themselves only at certain chronal moments.

It is possible that even as I am telling the reader what I know and have reconstructed, I am hiding the story by writing about it in English, which is a language most Latvian politicians fear to learn past the 800 words of Basic English, but those who speak it well are too far from their old home to care how the ball bounces in Latvia. After all, those who return to Latvia today and presume that what they see is “old Latvia”, are like King Oedipus—blind, or like Alice are arriving in Latvia on a daliisque ship with sails of made of giant pink irises.

So, where do we begin with the unraveling of Sophocles’ mystery? Let us wait for blog 71 and see.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:

On material in Latvia. depravation in Latvia.

On the theme of “more-equal-than-others”, see Orwell's Animal Farm.

A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, aka 1984.  

Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.

These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.

Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and

Friday, January 1, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

69 Climbing Mt. Citheron (II)

There is only one thing that is sufficiently inspired to bond a dysfunctional and dying old community that wants to yet live and see a better day. And there is only one thing that will bond a community that wants to rise. It is death. I am thinking of death as a willful occasion for self-sacrifice to create and/or maintain a community. I said so in the previous blog, and I repeat it here.

I propose that in order to survive as a community that will outlast a government that cultivates corruption as part of its root system, Latvians (and every people) need to discover some means to counter this regressive phenomenon. One means is through the application of a not-violent terror or, if you will, a way of death that will serve the will to live as it is given not only by Nature, but by the Nature of a psyche that has the power to will itself into being as a community. The alternative, as always, is death in bed.

A community cannot survive for long on the credits it imagines it has earned from a society that for some time has been dumbed down by capitalist interests. Such a dumbing down is often not admitted to by the first generation experiencing it, which is why a community may survive long enough for the next generation to grow up in complete unawareness of the facts. Sadly, the Latvian community’s seed pod has been so infiltrated by individualist rot and divisiveness (Latvians observe this divisiveness in themselves as “a manifestation of materialistic jealousy among outselves”) that it no longer knows that individuation and not individualization is what makes a community possible. Why is individuation preferable to individualism? Well, for one, it enables one to listen to all the intrusive advertising with a critical ear and know that behind it stands not a presumably infallible God, but a God whose Word was, is, and will remain unsubstantiated.

Unfortunately, Latvians today are bound to a string of Gods. There is the God of Ostentatious Cars; the God of Hunters and Hunters’ Orgies in Finnish style saunas; the God of Illegal Fishermen; the God of Chainsaws which buzz down trees. The next to last God is called Money. Money is bound, in turn, to the last of the Gods, God. What this last God looks like no one knows. Some say that for $10,000 anyone can call him, and God will turn the video on himself. However, the poor do not have such money, and the wealthy are not telling. When this writer went to search the internet, the rumored price was close to $100,000 per minute of looking. I decided to save up another $100,000, because the ads claim that for just $200,000 a seat, in a few years all that have such a sum can visit outer space in “SpaceShipTwo” rocket, made by a company named Virgin Galactica, which is owned by Richard Branson the Perpetual Youth. I imagine that for the money, Branson will also introduce us to God, who will come dressed in light reflecting armor made of a thousand fractured mirrors and issue some profound question such as “How now brown cow?”

The reader may not find my jokes funny, but anyway one looks at it, it tells of one of the reasons why today there are so many Latvians who are into individualism, and why the individualist’s secret (they will deny it) dream job is to be a politician. It is the perception that counts and, of course, the power to cause lies to levitate long enough to be forgot they are lies. If the population is dumbed down by an education system that makes no attempt to teach history, it helps put most lies in the past tense and have it serve as a long-term tool of social control. When the lie is discovered—and the day is sure to come—the pyramid of power collapses and we all die under the falling rubble.

Such a day of reckoning is facing most of the world today. On the world stage, it is revealed by the crumbling American dollar. Absent life and death controls and given over to manipulations of private financiers, the dollar has been the beneficiary of a virgin birth ever since the creation of the Federal Banking system. Nevertheless, suddenly, we discover that virgin birth has been nothing more than a charade, an act by government printing machines. True, the system still levitates, but then again, I have heard tell of the woodcutter who saw the tree falling straight toward him, and was so amazed it should happen that he never moved.

The Big Problem for Latvians is money as well. While money was to be had, it did not matter that the people, demoralized by several centuries of social instability and repressions of various sorts, no longer knew who they were. Naked life or what the Greeks called Zoe, and having a language were all that was thought to be necessary to form a government. For its part, the government maintains various old myths, the favorite being that of BearJawBreaker (Lahchplehsis), who, we are told, is a true Latvian. Having replaced the old community totem, Jahnis (John) with BearJawBreaker (the figure of Samson in Luther’s Illustrated Bible) over a hundred years ago, Latvians lost their sense of having had a past marked by their own traditions of the sacred. God, once a signifier signifying All or Allness, became filled with blood-red jelly, which was so real that it was removed to a place somewhere beyond the skies where it has been bleaching into pink ever since. The Holy days or Johns Days, culminating on Midsummer Eve or Johns Eve, became a ‘Family Day’ for some, but a day to get drunk for most young men. The songs of Johns or ‘Lihgo’, which once served to project the individuated skills of the participating singers (one was the leader, another the quick wit, yet others the sopranos and tenors, etc.) were forgotten. The people stood naked, so to speak, while the moneyed among them started going to ‘concerts’. Then, suddenly, Boom! yesterday, today, and tomorrow no more money; people leaving in droves for Ireland, England, wherever; suicides and alcoholism again on the increase. Who in such a ‘time of troubles’ has time to remember the Kingdom of Jersika of 1209 with its proto-Latvian inhabitants, most of who probably knew themselves as “Johns Children”, who visited and were visited by the Cathars of Languedoc, France, and who round about that time were chased into the swamps? Came 1209, the Pope put an end to the Jersika (Jerusalem) and the Cathars of Languedoc. Today the overwhelming feeling pervading Latvia is that of lost identity, even of the little that was believed to belong to ‘native’ traditions until about a century ago. [No, I am not speaking of ‘kultur’, which came with the 20th century.]

One often hears the phrase that when attacked, the best form of defense is a counter-attack. Perhaps the first thing that Latvians ought to remember is that they do not need to be cowering when it comes to saving their community—either in foreign chanceries or with regard to their own politicians. This is not to say that Latvians need war, nor could Latvians win a war as war is conventionally defined. Nonetheless, the community needs a war, or, to twist Clausewitz’s famous phrase that “war is diplomacy by other means”, the community needs to resist the annihilation it is facing by more effective means than the ludicrous positivism Latvian politicians campaign on in a nation they have stolen. The loaning of a people’s sovereignty to the corrupt and implicitly violent ones by politicians for the purpose of having a well paid job raises a nauseous stench. Latvia is not the only place this is happening. This is why the cardboard president of another country bows his head before the Nobel Peace Prize. This is why the sermon by the President of Latvia for Latvians: “Do not be afraid of the birth of Jesus” (24-12-2009). Still, the sponsorship, the exiling of John to welcome Jesus, does not fit well with the Latvian people’s historical character, which has little to do with the ruling partidocratic ‘kultur’ occupying the chairs in Saeima and Cabinet Ministers’ room.

Surprise of humiliating surprises! The Latvian peoples historical character is to be sought in the colloquial endearing word [Ieviņa for Ieva (Eva), Jahnihtis for Jahnis (John), for example], and the Latvians are grateful that every minority in their country originates in a language that knows and uses it.

The question of how to deal with the theft of their sovereignty and meager material resources is a question of survival for all cultural entities that have found domicile in Latvia. This is why Latvia needs a domestic and foreign policy all its own. However, alas! Latvians also know that their Foreign Ministry officials will not find the endearing word worthy of foreign policy. They know that the endearing word cannot be found in either today’s public media or among the documents of a government that neither speaks, writes or knows of such words. However, they know that for the lack of knowing it, we are having today’s revelations.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:

On material deprivation in Latvia.
On the theme of “more-equal-than-others”, re: Animal Farm.  
Of great interest to me this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the cultivation of Johns Grass in Latvia.

These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.

Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline  + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and