No. 23 Aphorisms, Notes and Reflections #3


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Vol III – No. 23

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Against Spirituality. ‘Spirit’ denotes breath, repetition, basic dependence, and the impermanence of a life slipping away, but captured through continuity. It represents the resolve of what is out of our control – thus, it is humbling. ‘Spiritual’ is also a colloquialism that people use to make themselves seem wiser and more connected to the universe than they are. There was a time when to be ‘spiritual but not religious’ was novel and alternative. Now, it is so common as to be less novel than simply being religuous. I would be in favor of a new term being coined by someone better versed in etymology than me. Leave spirit to itself – what we want, rather, is something that denotes fire, heat, consummation, passion, drive, love of the possible rather than resolving oneself to fatalism in the face of the impossible, celebration, joy in both satiation and in hunger. Spirit is, at once, too much and not enough.

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The horror of the American era is that it forced its citizens to live outside of history while in the process of creating it. It now watches its own present as though it is already long gone. The very events which mark a definite change are already indicitive of that shattered presence which revealed everything before it to be a kind of waking slumber. It has lived in the luxury of possessing no destiny and, ultimately, no possible imagined end. Cushioned on all sides by economic power, the major oceans its moat, having made the entire world beholden to it, it could seemingly live in this dream of a ‘last possible world’ forever. The beginning of America was the end of everything else. What then will the end of America be? The beginning of everything?

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Nationalism, like most ‘isms’ is softened by that very ‘ism.’ If a nation is a people, at what point can a state institution properly represent them? An insitution can always be bought, the nation always sold, sending it adrift in the world without a home. Nations which lose their sense of myth are more susceptible to this, as it becomes harder for posterity to resist the material gains of bureaucratic organizations and their many immediate perks. In a post-myth age, in which people sit eagerly in wait of a new myth, but whose conditions are seized upon and cheapened precisely by this eager historical attention, the point by which we could find it within us to cool our eagerness so that a worthy myth could arrive seems as distant in the future as the moment when it happened organically seems distant in the past. The clumsy tendency is to want to take the reigns and manufacture a myth suitable to the situation. This never has the desired effect, whether Wagnerian drama or internet subculture. The result, where recognized in its artificiality, pushes us further into an adrift present where we must resolve ourselves to wait or, even, embrace some of those elements of our present time that were, a moment before, considered vulgar on account of our deliberate distance from them. We then live our present as though it were someone else’s past, with a kind of faith in its storied quality. This would resemble fatalism if it weren’t for its sunny potential. One forces oneself to accept and even love one’s moment in history, having eliminated all false hopes in false idols of the future.