Return is the demonic opposite of resurrection. Whereas resurrection transforms, return repeats. Not once or twice, but indefinitely in a process which demeans existence – first as tragedy, second as farce, thereafter over & over as farcical tragedy.
Human existence, as lived by humans in our day, is a succession of phenomenon we have already experienced many times over & which have so become both comical in a sad way, & sad in a way that produces suicidal laughter.
Neo-liberalism is the realm of accelerated eternal return. The same ugly things keep happening all over again, faster & faster, in slightly different guises, enough of a disguise to fool those who can’t, or won’t, look too closely.
Stasis is packaged as novelty, repeatedly.
Were not the Gardaí who assaulted the Debenhams workers the other night the same as those who assaulted the people of North Mayo a few years ago on behalf of Shell Oil? Were they not the same as the free state gangsters who tortured & murdered teenagers in rural kerry in 1923 in order to stabilise the nation & render it once again profitable for landlords & industrialists?
Are the three Taoiseachs we have at present not simply three aspects of DeValera, three ingredients which add up to Queen Victoria, three disentangled, for the time being, strands of Cromwell or Strongbow?
Didn’t Brendan Behan tell us the truth in 1947 :
‘The only thing that changed in 1921 was the badge on the warders cap’
‘There is no situation that cannot be made worse by the arrival of the Gardaí’
But it is easy for a writer or prophet to tell the truth. What is hard – impossible? – is to be heard & heard in such a way that their truths are acted on. More than likely – in fact always in The Realm of The Fall – their truths will be acted on in a way that will make them mean the opposite of their intentions.
This too is a fate that absurdly & cry-laughably returns – it is the common fate of Jesus, Nietzsche, Marx…I’m sure they laughcry about it together in the otherworld…Jesus providing the wine, Nietzsche the maudlin & the rage, Marx the bawdy jokes.
Gramsci doing everyone’s costumes, hair, & make-up, halloween-style….
Bukowski, a debauched modern sinner (but NOT a modernist), alike in spirit to that ancient debauchee Mary Magdalene, & who himself returned Rumi the debauched medieval sinner, spoke in a late drunken interview of the ossifying effect that eternal return has on the soul & sense of meaning of the individual. The interviewer, a fool with a phd, asked Bukowski if he were afraid of dying. Bukowski, a great sinner but nevertheless a great poet & a prophet too, replied on the contrary that he is looking forward to dying for the simple reason that as you get older you start seeing the same ugly & upsetting things happening over & over again to people you know, some of whom you love.
While it’s possible to deeply mourn the first or even tenth young suicide you knew, by the time in your old age you get to hear about the fiftieth or the five hundredth, it gets harder to respond with anything other than a laughcry. And that is a grave betrayal of both knowledge & love, the foundations of a life worth living, & so death starts looking more & more like a rescue.
The farcical swallows the tragic in every instance of repeated return, hollowing out our lives until nothing is left but the driest of laughs & those plump & heavy-laden tears steadfastly refusing to launch out of the corners of our eyes. Because even our griefs are paralysed.
Literature, an anxious & unruly child of Theology, and a degenerate sibling to Religion, nevertheless suffers the same fate when it expels its outcasts as Religion does when it turns its back on those who need it the most & therefore believe in it & sustain it the most.
The Illiterate nomad outlaw outrage Jesus Christ had left his tomb by the time that his adulterous Mother Mary & his lover the sex-worker Mary Magdalene, the only two who really believed Jesus would return – love is wiser than reason – arrived at dawn to greet his resurrection.
In his place was the announcing Angel of The Lord whose ‘face was like lightning & whose clothes were white as snow’. The Angel purifies by Fire & Ice.
The Angel’s descent causes an earthquake & paralyses the soldiers sent to guard Jesus’ tomb.
The resurrection will be a catastrophe that will resculpt the very surface of The Earth & render powerless all the institutions of the old world in one fell swoop.
Neither States nor Armies nor Electric Grids will survive The Resurrection.
Jesus does indeed appear to the Marys as they are leaving the Tomb. The resurrection will be recognised at first only by outlaws & outcasts. Only those who become outlaws & outcasts will ever learn the wisdom required to recognise it, wisdom that is learned in no school or college but out in the weather of the open air, in the outlands alone.
Resurrection is the angelic opposite to return. It is simultaneously an annihilating catastrophe for the old world & the launch of an entirely new one. In the new world things have changed so irrevocably that the phenomenon which repeated-unto-absurdity in the old world, demeaning existence and emptying all things of substance, can simply no longer arise.
If Jesus resurrected (a special & singular return, a return of one blazing/transforming instance) what would it look like?
I think it would look like an asteroid strike, like the simultaneous eruption of all the world’s volcanos, like water becoming poison worldwide overnight – like Climate Change in our lifetimes.
What would Resurrection actually mean for human life in the aftermath?
I think that it would mean living in a cityless, stateless, moneyless, prisonless, brotheless world according to the principles of Deep Adaptation, (ie a complete rejection of all aspects of the The Fall, which is the theological name for civilisation) – as outlined in the few crucial verses below, Matthew 24-29 KJV:
24: No one can serve two masters: for either they will hate the one, and love the other; or else they will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
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