January 2, 2012

The Torment

Time simply dropped onto the table. Several morsels chose the painter whose art blows up the sky. God was something like phrases that were laid one on top of the other, and which set me laughing. For instance:

The Word is the same kind of illusion that Eve is, in that she's not a real creature, she's something made out of man's rib -well, what's closest to your rib is your lung, what comes out of your lung is your breath, what you use to speak with is your breath, all Word is manipulation of breath -Life is Breath, Death is No-Breath- uh, communication is use of oxygen to produce communication... and you have to communicate with somebody -you communicate with your own rib? -Brion Gysin in Here To Go

Every thought and every defining conception which aims to encompass and grasp the divine nature is only forming an idol of God... - Gregory of Nyssa, from The Life of Moses

We all find this book of riddles and it's just what's going on. And you can figure them out. The problem is, you figure them out inside yourself, and even if you told somebody, they wouldn't believe you or understand it in the same way you do. You'd suddenly realize that the communication wasn't 100 per cent. There are a lot of things like that going on in life, and words just fail you. - David Lynch

These men without motive who stay in their rooms because there seems to be no reason for doing anything else. -Colin Wilson, in The Outsider

God does not become present to human consciousness the way that an object in the concrete world is said to be present ... Speaking of God's presence is at bottom another strategy for saying the unsayable -and why many mystics have wrestled with the paradox that God is found in absence and negation more than in presence. - Bernard McGinn (emphasis mine)

Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was... -Exodus 20:21 KJV

[God] made darkness his secret place. -Psalm 18:11 KJV

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever. -Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV

Kick that man habit, man. -Brion Gysin

They could not define Allah, who was beyond human definition, nor could they precisely interpret messengership, a unique relationship of deity and man. Before very long, Sufis were able to freely say such things as: "I am an idol worshipper; for I understand what idol worship means, and the idolater does not." -Idries Shah in The Sufis

I learned that just beneath the surface there's another world, and still different worlds as you dig deeper. -David Lynch

We all live in the world as we imagine it, as we create it. And so, instead of enjoying its benefits, we are the victims of its defects. -Andrei Tarkovsky, from Sculpting in Time

Now in the thirty-first year of my dark pilgrimage on this earth and knowing less than I ever knew before, having learned only to recognize merde when I see it, having inherited no more from my father than a good nose for merde, for every species of shit that flies ...on this my thirtieth birthday, I know nothing and there is nothing to do but fall prey to desire. -from Walker Percy's The Moviegoer

"I don't feel the least bit like getting dressed," she said. "I really like swimming, I really like making love," she told me. "But I don't like dancing, I don't know how to enjoy myself, and I've always hated parties. Do you think that's normal?"
I hesitated for a long time before replying. "I don't know," I said at last. "All I know is that I'm the same." -from Michel Houellebecq's Platform

He doesn't like feeling that futility gets the last word in the universe; his human nature would like to find something it can answer to with complete assent. But his honesty prevents his accepting a solution that he cannot reason about. His next question is naturally: Supposing a solution does exist somewhere, undreamed of by me, inconceivable to me, can I yet hope that it might one day force itself upon me without my committing myself to a preliminary gesture of faith which (in point of fact) I cannot make?
The poet finds that he can answer this question with a 'yes.' ... He begins with reason, which, as it were, makes him self-sufficient, and he subjects all to the test of reason. Ultimately his reason informs him: you are not self-sufficient; you are futile, floating in a void. This is unanswerable. What is he to do? Demolish his own premises? ...
This experience of terror on the edge of nothingness was not an unfamiliar experience to many of the saints, Christian and otherwise. -Colin Wilson, in The Outsider

Most men will not swim before they are able to ... Naturally the won't swim! They are born for the solid earth, not for the water. And naturally they won't think. They are made for life, not for thought. Yes, and he who thinks, what's more, he who makes thought his business, he may go far in it, but he has bartered the solid earth for the water all the same, and one day he will drown. -from Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf

[William S. Burroughs] was asked if he had been able to think for any length of time in images, with the inner voice silent. "I'm becoming more proficient at it, partly through my work with scrapbooks... Try this: Carefully memorize the meaning of a passage, then read it: you'll find you can actually read it without the words making any sound whatever in the mind's ear. Extraordinary experience, and one that will carry over into dreams. When you start thinking in images, without words, you're well on the way." -from El Hombre Invisible by Barry Miles

Prepare to meet your God. ...Then take hold of ink, pen, and tablet. Realize that you are about to serve your God in joy. Begin to combine letters, a few or many, permuting and revolving them rapidly until your mind warms up. Delight in how they move and in what you generate by revolving them. When you feel within that your mind is very, very warm from combining the letters, and that through the combinations you understand new things that you have not attained by human tradition nor discovered on your own through mental reflection, then you are ready to receive the abundant flow... -unnamed Kabbalist, from The Essential Kabbalah

Every time I say: X is neither this nor that, neither the contrary of this nor of that … I would start to speak of God, under this name or another. God’s name would suit everything that may not be broached, approached, or designated, except in an indirect and negative manner. Every negative sentence would already be haunted by God or by the name of God, the distinction between God and God’s name opening up the very space of this enigma. -Jacques Derrida, from How to Avoid Speaking (thanks Boyda!)

All "paths of liberation" (brain-freeing schools) know that we cannot remain in the abyss of the nameless forevr, unless we choose to become hermits. (Very few do.) Once we have returned from a school of brain-change to the ordinary world, we again must see and think in masks, or we will not have the ability to communicate and deal with others. -Robert Anton Wilson in Cosmic Trigger: My Life After Death

post by NAMERS with help from SINNERS. The painting is The Torment of St. Anthony, by Michelangelo


Boyda said...

"When you feel within that your mind is very, very warm from combining the letters, and that through the combinations you understand new things that you have not attained by human tradition nor discovered on your own through mental reflection, then you are ready to receive the abundant flow..."


s$s said...

Have you tried it yet? Maybe it works better with the Kabbalist's Hebrew, but English has gotten me feeling "very warm" (though I wouldn't say "very, very").

I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Bleeders thinks it is too long and needs more structure, but Sinners and I are quite happy with it. It was our first attempt at consciously using words and images for magic. We're trying to convince Bleeders to let us use the blog as magic more often. He scoffs at our mysticism. Sinners said, "he just doesn't like the words we use. If we said 'psychological tricks for bypassing the conscious mind' or something like that he might be on board." So we tried it. But he knew we were just trying to talk about magic. Little does he know, he's a magical creation of sSs. Now he'll read this and go:

irk boink grock "What?"


Jon Coutts said...

I like the Gregory of Nyssa quote the most (boringly this is probably just because I recognize it), but many of them were illuminating!

Once again you've brought Barth's Epistle to the Romans to my mind. I flip through my heavily underlined copy and find things such as:

"The Gospel is not a truth among other truths. Rather, it sets a question-mark against all truths" (35).

"The Night, too, has its wisdom" (49).

"Disturbance of soul, restless murmuring, cavil, and protest: such may be sign-posts to the peace of God which passeth all understanding" (67).

Anyway, sorry to intrude those upon your impressive cavalcade of quotes.

Jon Coutts said...

Bleeders knows how to reach Jon Coutts, but Sinners and Namers are intriguing as well.

s$s said...

I don't know what 'cavil' means, but I like that quote. I've used up all my good quotes now, and Sinners isn't a big reader. Bleeders, well -I don't even know what he reads. Bleeders doesn't believe in God, but I think he still believes in the word God, so he reads those kinds of things probably.

google says,
cavil: "to raise trivial and frivolous objection." Look what I learned today!

Tangential thought: I learned today that when Albert Speer was in Spandau serving his time, he studied Karl Barth in some depth, especially his 14-colume Church Dogmatics.

Why-oh-why must it be FOURTEEN volumes!?! Seriously, why? Oh well. I can start with 'Romans.'

also, Cavalcade is a very good word.


s$s said...

irck boink grock "give me a break."


s$s said...

Break granted. What do you want it for?


s$s said...

For tying your feet to the ground so you don't float off into nonsense land.

I like poetry, and even appreciate intuition, but one's relationship with it has got to be grounded in something more than "the abundant flow" -whatever that's supposed to be.


s$s said...

I kinda agree with BLEEDERS.

It's like what Burroughs said, about how it's not good to lose yourself until you've found yourself already. Something like that. I wish I could remember his exact words.

Like, it's not good to lose your mind until you are connected in a positive way to what's out there beyond what the words 'your mind' signify. So keep thinking critically and don't let every breath from the unconscious blow you into "nonsense land."


s$s said...

That's not what I'm saying, Sinners.

I'm saying, DON'T LOSE YOUR MIND. At all.


Jon Coutts said...

Chesterton says it is safest and best to play once you have an idea where the sidelines are. Bleeders remembers him.

s$s said...

Great quote Jon.

"the centre of the universe is everywhere and its circumference is nowhere." -Giordano Bruno

Of course, that doesn't help much at all.


s$s said...

No, NAMERS, it doesn't help much -because we're talking about losing one's mind, not losing the universe (which, unless you're a sollipsist, is a signifcant difference). And that Bruno quote seems just about meaningless anyways.

Whereas the GK Chesterton quote actually gives you something to hang onto that relates to this strange little conversation.

is it just me, or is this getting rather dull? We'll start talking about self and surrendering the self, and consciousness, and ...you'll find me snoozing in the corner.


Dave M said...

I like this post too.

Predictably the Hesse and Tarkovsky quotes. Though I think they are all worth kicking around.