This month celebrates the triumph of what is most ignoble in the human spirit, the desire and capacity to shove an opinion down somebody’s throat. Special recognition is given to the puppeteers whose armies of billions of zealots are so ready to hand.
One glance at social media in these physically disconnected times suggests that there are zealots everywhere, more than you can defeat in battle or even point a stick at. What they all seem to have in common, these stalwarts of the perennial conflict with imperfection, is the knowledge that something true is threatened with extinction.
The allure of totalitarianism is not particularly the opportunity to perfect others, but the absolute imperative to perpetuate the conditions for an identity, as a white supremacist, a queer person, a person of colour, a nationalist humiliated by history, the list goes on, or simply anyone otherwise perfect on the verge of being ignored. “Freedom!” the anti-lockdown protesters spit. I suspect they mean freedom from you.
In the beginning was time. First they diseased the future, and then they erased the past. Live in the now, they said. To fuse future and past into a present is the finitive compulsion of the zealot, but what happens to a past with no future is a black hole which haunts him. Time itself is something true threatened with extinction, like a chook running around without its head. The roots of the Tree of Life are dangling in mid-air.
Trees grow from the top, where the chloroplasts are. Is the Galactic Centre the crown of our tree or its roots wrapped around a spiritual black hole, winter in the North, summer in the South? Centres are full of zealots, and so passe.
Poet, Saint and Fool are far behind, propped in the lowest sephirot of the Tree of Man, somewhere back there among the ragged hills of youth and romance, not visible from the artificial park whose laps we avatars continue to call a journey, though it have no beginning and no end. Zealots, the shriek of the cockatoos means only, you’re facing the wrong direction. There has ever been a ready antidote to ideology.
“My place is the Placeless, my trace is the Traceless;
‘Tis neither body nor soul, for I belong to the soul of the Beloved.” Rumi.
”When it all comes down to dust, I will help you if I must, I will kill you if I can.” Leonard Cohen.
“Behind rigidity there is always something hidden, in many cases a double life.” Pope Francis.
“…He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbours.'” Robert Frost, from “Mending Wall“.
”The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” Bill Shorten.
“Justfriendistan. A territory only to be rivaled in inhospitability by the western Sahara, the Atacama desert, and Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell.” Dr Ali Binazir.
”…There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours….” Kemal Atatürk.
This Moon has so rudely transformed my culture, so brazenly redefined its traditional meanings, that I am cowed beneath it like one deafened by laughter. One minute I was like a drunken bee, swinging from stalk to stalk in an Elysian Field, each stalk topped by a lovely flower, of art, philosophy or music; the next I am clinging for dear life above a tsunami of sewage. Eek! Has one of the gods broken a vow sworn by the primaeval waters of Styx? Has Styx said #MeToo?
It used to be said that the opposite of love was fear. Ah, the seventies, those good old days, joined in oblivion by the shamelessness of white privilege. The opposite of love is not fear; it is identity. At first glance, the tsunami seems to be a heaving mass of guilty miscreants borne aloft on a sea of placards demanding justice and the unmasking of corruption, but fearless inspection reveals the putrid turmoil stripping every stalk of its flower to be a contagion of anger and hatred. It derives its irresistible force not from a balance of reason and instinct, or even a unity of purpose, but from a unanimity of righteousness.
You see, like you, I always knew what was going on behind the facade. Incest, bestiality, pederasty, Zionism, Islamism and White Supremacism: we had lots of names for the unmentionable. But we were groomed to forgive and forget, in the name (as it were) of love. Good outweighed evil. Identity meant we were all the same, imperfect, imprisoned in our curtailed salvation, assailed only sometimes by envy, resentment and paranoia. How could the theist, socialist and humanist covenants be denied, let alone withdrawn? Well, we have decided that not only is it our right to be unique, but it is our right to be perfect, a pre-existent state of being we might regain if and when the evil of the perpetrators of our imperfection has been identified and punished. The process of healing is interminable, since every wound, and every evolving definition of perfection, is different.
What is the craft of any artisan? Perfection! An emergent autonomy nurtured by the great oath of the gods that healing may be enjoyed, craftspersonship is the very apotheosis of enjoyable healing, the Covenant of the Styx itself. When the Southern Cross is at its highest in the South, for those blessed by atmospheres in which the splendid design of Crux’s background in the Milky Way is revealed, arcing from due east to due west, the keystone of perfection locks into place. (I feel such compassion for the perfectionists north of the tropics who are denied this denouement! How do you manage?)
No, this Moon is not perfect. Supermoon, you call it, but its Perigee was yesterday; it is indeed on the cusp of the September Equinox, but the New Tropical Year is four hours old; and, most careless oversight, it is nearly two days from its Northern Lunistice. If it were a chair, the buyer would need to re-glue some dowels. But the buyer might be a bit of an artisan themselves, recognizing that nothing is perfect enough, not in the human realm, anyway. The Southern Cross now, as a symbol of Country, covenant between finitude and emptiness, Crown of the Emu no less, coincidence-that-never-dies, that’s an altogether different matter.
“But there is no way we will overcome the neurosis of victimization if, by transforming the past into our subjective present, we root our identities in injury alone. For the past to become a principle of action in the present, we have to manage to admit the reality of loss and stop living in the past instead of integrating it in to the present as that which must sustain human dialogue. In any case, the complete restitution of the past is not only terrifying, but also a clear impossibility.” Achille Mbembe.
Google ‘Western Sahara’.
*** DAILY HANSARD PROOF ONLY – DO NOT QUOTE ***
Mr A PODES (S Province) (11:43):
The climate-change, ecological translocation and Earth redistribution concatenation has become a national chthonic crisis, and in view of the cataclysmic consequences for the ownership of water, the availability of deckchairs and other aspects of our global viability should we falter in our resolve to protect our traditions from gods who break their vows and suchlike, we must build a Wall to keep the ancestral tsunami out. The consulting engineers have alerted us to the necessity of relocating as many inhabitants as possible within one horizon, and of putting the Wall on rollers which will frequently need hazardous maintenance on the outside in territory contested by the UDL (Upside Down Life) independence movement, and so we call upon all artisans to make themselves known to us, so that we may deploy them immediately to appropriate locations on the horizon. Yes, a wall is expensive to construct, maintain and defend, but be assured that the cost will be met by the Other Side!