Sunday, April 14, 2013


It all devolves to knowing, gnosis. In the absurdly Balkanized empire of Christianity, the Gnostic enclaves are about as esteemed as North Korea. 

Take, for example, the gnostic Gospel of Thomas, which contains the astonishing beatitude, "Blessed are those who are solitary and superior, for you will find the kingdom."

Of course, I am picking and chosing my translation and ignoring things like context and scholarly hermeneutics. But you can see that this bit would be anathema to the prevailing narrative: there are no solitary Christians.

Which is why one predisposed to solitude, upon entering the Christian narrative, finds themselves in the wrong story, as if Captain Ahab had found himself washed ashore in Little Women.

How did it happen ? Can I blame the taxi driver -  But Your Honor !  I clearly said the Oddfellows, not the Godfellows !

So Saturday, early spring, early enough in the day when fugitive winter still hangs in the cloudy air -- what is the guiding gnarrative of the meadow ?

One arrives in the meadow already washed in the water of the womb; any misstep into a swollen stream or knee-drenching crouch to focus on fruiting moss are baptismal extras, canonical and much to be desired.

Weeds, moth, rust, outer darkness -- all are welcome here. Truly. There is, after all, nothing other than here here. Hear ? Here here !

After awhile one wearies of screaming,

It's a metaphor, Goddamnit !

of staking absolutely everything on one impossibly convoluted and not very coherent poem, of looking at the world through a single set of idiosyncratic, distorting lenses (set of blinders included.)

Anthropologist ! Anthro-apologist ! 

And then there's the claim that, after 10,000 hours of Zazen, one attains -- what ? A less reactive way of being-in-the-world ? Bliss ? Enlightenment ?

Isn't there a drug that does that ? Gnorco ? Gnostrilla ?

Side effect -- gnausea ?

There's less vexation in the meadow. Accept it: everything's a brain-construct anyway: what ARE the ten thousand things apart from our knowing, anyway ? Is this -- or the oily unfathomability of this -- what sets one to retching upon the root of the chestnut tree ?

Just sit back and enjoy it -- the graceful volume inscribed by involuting bracts --

moss and tattered bark, dark with days of rain --

boulders that hint at their fiery origins --

lichenoid affinities --

an absolutely post-Nicene Rosa Multiflora --

and -- oops -- caution ! derailment ahead ! --

oneself, accidentally caught in a water droplet, looking back at oneself ...

It's spring, yada, yada, yada.  I open my winter-stiffened arms and sleep-enraptured eyes to the next chapter of the world's narrative, a greening backdrop now

to the last of the skeletal totentanzen -- my own included --

and, at nightfall, recite the old incantation --

Be sober and watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.

Recite it, faithless ones, if only for the placebo effect.  

Placebo domino in regione vivorum ! (Vespers, the Dead Letter Office.)

And so it goeth.


Vincent said...

thanks for all your defiant manifestos, ever giving courage and succour to us others

christopher said...

Oh there are those regions of Christendom where people become rather fond of the hermitage, though most often even there the hermits who gather there are bound together in close knit groups engaged in intimacy with a silence not always found elsewhere, ever.

The monastic life is provided for some of us and I have seem their struggles displayed for consumption on late night and very early morning cable tv.

They apparently touch us in places we share but prefer not to discuss that much.