Wednesday, October 8, 2014

EC 427/ Smartass John
© Eso A.B.
As those who stumble on these blogs know, by passing over them without comment, they confirm them as a writer’s public diary. This is why pareidolia is the primary mover of these blogs, which may make some readers upset, but yet others laugh. Needless to say, I take it for granted that not everyone makes the same associations or perceives the same synchronicities as I do.
As some claim: those who invent their own mythology are impaired to judge its quality. It is interesting, however, that when the mythmaker is more than one, we have the beginnings of a culture.
My tendency to paredolize has a number of sources.
One is the experience of war at an early age. The experience of war in childhood destroyed for me the credibility of the ‘modern’ world view. Pareidolia’s first effect was to turn me into a delinquent, that is to say, I saw no sense in the culture (particularly that of the West and U.S., the presumed victors of WW1&2) to which I was to come and which claimed to be a caring one. While I valued learning, I rejected learning for the sake of a profession, because I saw this as a form of personal defeat, a sucking into an enterprise that from my perspective deserved no commitment, and an effort to cause to join those who were culpable in the destruction of a humanity subject to its inner rather than a government deposited outer layer (chitin) of its nature.
Early delinquency and respect for literature (what did other intelligences make of our being infused in nature?—yes, I believe that intelligence extends beyond the brain), indeed, led me to attempts at reconstructing mythology. The first attempts were by way of surrealist poetry, which included attempts at translating Latvian folk poetry. These attempts, utter failures due to a lack of personal confidence and my extended (exile) community’s concerns for survival in a bombastic and disruptive ‘American’ culture, were accompanied by haphazard, yet somehow relevant reading, of material that included history, literature, myth, philosophy, religion, and art. Gradually, I arrived at the conclusion that all of so-called Western culture was built on a lie. It made and yet makes me feel as if I am walking on the surface of a mirror, which as it reflected the soles of my feet and crackes continually, kept whispering to me: You are walking over irrelevant depths.
The preceding blogs are something of a record of where the cracked mirror of relevant and irrelevant associations  has taken me.
The following blogs present the translation of a story that I wrote in Latvian. The story gives a superficial overview of what I believe to have been the culture of the Balts, which was destroyed when the violence of the West via the Franks of Byzantium and Westphalia] turned a culture of determined turnip eaters into hunters, who—as soldiers of fortune and collectors of the fur tax helped the Franks (Western Europeans, including Normans and Englishmen) introduce to the world our current culture based on cruelty and taxation. In effect, the culture of the Balts at the time still shied away from Western materialism and favored emotional commitment to a moral perspective. Its exposure to the cruel and nature denying fur tax most likely introduced by the Vikings, was relatively recent phenomenon and solicited resistance, because it appeared that it could be resisted and denied.
One of the costs that a destroyed culture and history (of the West as a whole, but my country of Latvia in particular) forced on its people to accept was demoralization and a mealy mouthed leadership, which continues to express itself through disinterest in its own history to this day. The resulting ignorance (Latvians call it ‘tumsonība’, darkened self) is manifest as a ‘chiting’ or ‘exoskeleton’ culture . This ‘culture’, that denies its own skeleton, may be seen in the pareidolic association of Lithuanians with the Poles during the end of times for the Balts in the region of Livonia in the 12th century. While today the association is explained as circumstantial, it may in fact be so, because the Poles (and likely the Belarusians and Ukrainians) were, once upon a time, part of an extended Baltic culture. Marija Gimbutas (1921-94) , the well known Lithuanian archeologist at UCLA, hinted as much in her studies on the origin of the Balts , though she did not venture to speculate why the Balts so readily succumbed, while their neighbors, the Slavs adapted to Western ways, internalized their resistance, which they aborted with such tragic consequences during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.  While today the Balts blame the Slavs for their fate, this appears to be the less critical analysis of whence the aggressiveness. From this writer’s perspective, the greater agressors are the Vikings and their ruling dynasty, the Rurics (? Rovers), whose meat eating habits predisposed them to the exploitation of life by judging wildlife less worthy than itself, which made it easier for them to become killers. Surely the fur tax was a holocaust aimed against wild life that extended from Lisbon to Vladivostok to America to, in effect, everywhere. While untenable today, Western culture continues to exploit Nature, exemplified in our time by hardening the psyche of humankind against God or any other transcendent meaning of life.
To put it another way, I come from a contemporary culture as profound as the “Pop!” one hears when inadvertently one steps on one of the billions of snails that globalization and industrial polution (including warming) has inundated Eastern Europe with. While denial of the death of Latvia as a cultural entity is widespread (recently the denial has been reasserted through a pompous four volume history called “Latvians and Latvia”), the death is self-evident to anyone who wishes to take a pareidolic view and resists government sponsored analysis.
The story of “Smartass John and Crazy Jane”, put in the form of a play, and told (and sing-songed) by a chorus of voices, is based on a folk character known as Clever John (Gudrais Jānis). Since there is a bit of conceit about his character, I have named him ‘Smartass John’, even though anciently his name was likely ‘Dievelis’ (whence the English ‘Devil’), meaning “divine derivative of God” or the Son of the Sun (the Morning Star), yet humiliated and in more recent fairy-tales appearing as Tom Thumb or worse--Satan.
Smartass John interacts with Crazy Jane, a well known but also belittled (and now extinguished) character in European folk literature The elimination of Crazy Jane (last European author to take her seriously was the Irish poet
W.B. Yeats) from Europe may have followed the incineration of Joan of Arc , a Crazy Jane from the point of view of Catholic (neo-Christian) religion embarked on globalization and banalization of culture through means of ‘just wars’ worldwide.
Since “Smartass John and Crazy Jane” is a long story, I visualize it as being told over a period of two Midsummer (Johns) days, the first day encompasing Scenes 1 through 8, the second day concluding the ritual tale of ‘community reconstitution’, Scenes 9 through 14.
Note to editors: As these blogs are written serially and not first and only then inserted in blogs, it often happens that not all the kinks when naming characters or creating tangents to story line are as clear as they ought to be. Sometimes, I return to the blog and make corrections, but for the most part, I leave the material remain as originally entered. If anyone becomes interested the material other than this writer, I leave it to the editor to make the necessary corrections, clarifications, and consultations.

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