I imagine peace. This icon of imagination is what remains of us. We are disappearing. Do you hear that? It is silence. The icon is embedded in quarter-cut of wood. Hiding. In plain sight. No one sees it. Welcome to our time. Now go away. This is no place for us. Away, away!
The Art of Peace begins with you.
Work on yourself and your appointed
Task in the Art of Peace.
Everyone has a spirit that can be refined,
A body that can be trained in some manner,
A suitable path to follow.
You are here for no other purpose
Than to realize your inner divinity
And manifest your innate enlightenment.
Foster peace in your own life
And then apply the Art to all that you encounter.
- Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969)
I cannot apply art. Nothing innate manifests. It is time to disappear. No sound, no trace, no epitaph, no silly pretense you will be missed. Just go.
St Paul Miki (1564/6 - 1597)
He was born in Japan between 1564 and 1566. He joined the Society of Jesus and preached the gospel to the Japanese people with great success. When a persecution of the Catholics arose he was arrested together with twenty-five others. Mocked and tortured, they were eventually taken to Nagasaki on 5 February 1597, bound to crosses and speared.
(Universalis, Tuesday 6 February 2007, Saints Paul Miki and his Companions, Martyrs)
We don't have a martyrology of Nagasaki 9 August 1945. Apparently we'd scuttled the idea we were a civilized and intelligent culture capable of spirituality purporting nearness to God. Just as well.
I don't remember exactly when God turned face from us. Looking elsewhere has become our new religion. God is not needed in this practice. God is locked away in museum and library leafing through uncatalogued books like an aging actress rummaging press clips from former glory. It is after hours. No security alarm protects the premises. No one wants in. What would they do with such a forlorn face that says nothing and remains silent in stuffy rooms?
A study of Schelling's late philosophy of mythology, despite the renewed interest it presently enjoys, still needs some justification. Why should we spend time and effort on a demanding philosophical text based on often outdated and inadequate historical information about myths? And why revisit a philosophy that claims to incorporate revelation, yet has been criticized for bending revelation to its own pre-established concepts, while in the process corrupting the methods of theology as well as of philosophy? The answer may be brief. Because Schelling (1775–1854) was among the first to recognize the myth as an independent form of consciousness, irreducible to rational thought or to a prescientific interpretation of nature or history. For him, mythology constituted an essentially religious phenomenon, marked by polytheism but indispensable for the rise of an inclusive monotheism, that is, to an idea of God that incorporates creation within God's Being. Despite the undeniable flaws of his work and the enormous progress since made in this area, no one has yet surpassed the scope and intellectual depth of the two-volume treatise on myth written during the final twenty years of Schelling's career. Schelling understood that neither mythology nor revelation could be simply juxtaposed to philosophical truth. The two had to be integrated or one would inevitably exclude the other.
(-- from The Role of Mythology in Schelling's Late Philosophy, by Louis Dupré, Yale University, in The Journal of Religion, Volume 87, Number 1, January 2007)
Edge nears. Over edge you imagine a fall to some inexplicable depth. You look over expecting to see a bottom far below. That is comforting. You envision a body broken on craggy ledge or limbs lifeless balancing momentarily on cracked surface of water. These images are wishful. What really is seen upon looking over nearing edge is nothing like these images. The sight is of your town and city. Ordinary people go about banking, buying insurance, making investments, managing real estate, and writing sermons, formulating dissertations sure to stun outsiders into sudden and solid salvation. Thank you, oh, thank you!
"Occasionally, even experienced mountaineers are faced with precipices that force them to say,'This is too much.' When I tell my friend Ferenczi about this, he'll say, 'You can convince me of lots of things, Sigi, but this is impossible.'"
--p.55, in novel The Discovery of Heaven, by Harry Mulisch
What is 'this' impossible? This is what is seen. It's why we never see God. God is impossible.
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin impossibilis, from in- + possibilis possibleThe edge of what? Of 'what is?' What does that mean? And why is God unacceptable? (This is where Christian friends lift eyebrow with certain assessment of apostasy, pale implication of anti-this/anti-that, a facile wispy dream of anti-Christ desacralizing mysterium tremendum et fascinans, an unwashed and unsaved rabble, hoards (to be pitied and prayed for) not on solid ground -- neighbors, fellow and sister citizens, not to be trusted, needing to be informed (or informed on), for the love of God and obedience to God and (naturally) to God's dutiful especially washed kinfolk.
1 a : incapable of being or of occurring b : felt to be incapable of being done, attained, or fulfilled : insuperably difficult impossible deadline>
2 a : extremely undesirable : UNACCEPTABLE b : extremely awkward or difficult to deal with impossible on the set>
There's a curious calculus occurring. A Stockholm Syndrome computes us.
Politicians, priests, ministers, pundits, administrators, and populace are abducted hostages, hostages exhibiting loyalty to the hostage-taker. These hostage-takers smirk and strut with torn constitution and tattered bible mouthing mantras of compliance, complicity, and consecration to the new power, new idol, new deity on the block -- themselves.
An angry people slowly suspect anger is wrong. Tony and Chris say this view is wrong.
FORMULATION: SELF AND WORLD
The path beyond anger is formulation. By formulation I do not mean detached theories about the atomic bomb, but rather the process by which the hibakusha re-creates himself--establishes those inner forms which can serve as a bridge between self and world. Ideology and "world view"--often in their unconscious components--are central to the process, and by studying their relationship to A-bomb mastery, we gain a sense of their significance for mental life in general. Formulation includes efforts to re-establish three essential elements of psychic function: the sense of connection, of organic relationship to the people as well as non-human elements in one's life space, whether immediate or distant and imagined; the sense of symbolic integrity, of the cohesion and significance of one's life, here including some form of transcendence of the A-bomb experience; and the sense of movement, of development and change, in the continuous struggle between fixed identity and individuation. Conflicts we have discussed over issues of trust and peace, as well as struggles with residual anger, are part of the "psychological work" involved. And the internal "A-bomb philosophy" which results--the imagery of formulation--not only enhances mastery but, in an important sense, contains the mental representation of mastery or its absence.
(--p.367, in Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima, by Robert Jay Lifton; Random House, 1967)
Anger is not-yet transformed into creativity. I have not morphed into palette or paean -- peaceful, wise, above-it-all, antidote to noxiousness. I am, rather, disheveled beyond belief.
I know where the museum is. I can see the library. The photographs and pamphlets are carefully preserved. Some vague amorphous thought drifts through walls and windows catching slanting light just out of focus on shimmering branch.
This February --
Not yet -- this cold time.
Robert Jay Lifton writes: We may define the survivor as one who has come into contact with death in some bodily or psychic fashion and has himself remained alive.
(from chapter 12, THE SURVIVOR, in Death in Life, ibid)
I remember once being nearly electrocuted in Jolon, California in 1970. I fell back stunned and repeated over and over: "I'm still alive, I'm still alive, I'm still alive."
(Cat sits by outlet waiting for something hidden to appear. Old dog barks from barn to be let in.)
Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
for a simple reason.
And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
And look! look! look! I think those little fish
better wake up and dash themselves away
from the hopeless future that is
bulging toward them.
if they don't waste time
looking for an easier world,
they can do it.
(--from poem, Dogfish, by Mary Oliver)
Mu-ge settles on couch. Cesco on rug. Saskia souths from north.
We go on.