Monday, July 10, 2006

Zweig & Gilson: Remembering The World

אוונדן: פאלאצן אין די צייט

That's how a Yiddish poem of A.J. Heschel starts, and of late it seems to me as though the palace of old wanes into decay and turns rather into a painful embrace; unlike other times the evening finds me in a sad tortured tiredness... one that I prefer to conceal from thinking and other demeanours so typical of my nightly hours... the only times when I'm able to experience that spontaneous freedom of twilight, unbeknown.

Quite a beautiful day, and the quintessence of doubt. A whimsical series of momenta connected to one another only by Midrashic instrospections that betray the flesh and turn so absolutely timeless that not even the sun of Jerusalem's hot summer enables itself to remind me of such earthly reality. One would thoroughly appreciate theatre then, for then and only then the human condition seems unusually palpable and righteously graspable.

Nonetheless I did think some thoughts that came to me some weeks before. In days of old (not too old) I used to rejoice in Zweig's account of that "World of Yesterday". It seemed to me as though the world of security could have been the only possible home wherein to hide from the mightiness of the Ocean. Such a world had never been available to me and I found myself running in search of shelter for years with no end until this very day. But even so I did have a world of yesterday, one that made me feel secure about being human and in which only literature had the authority to ask questions on the quintessence of living. One could derive all possible knowledge and wisdom from the Classics, both the Greek and German... the only languages intimate enough for conversation. Often times we read also some of those books so famous from the school's yard that portrayed this violent humanity one could be so proud of.

Living in a pretty Catholic world, George Elliot had all the morality necessary in order to live a life of sin, for after all guilt was nothing but a metaphor of exclusively human goodness. One couldn't trouble less with philosophers or churches. The Bible was read too, in order to grasp a little bit of that "Zeitgeist" ever-present in the glorious history of the Western civilization. I wrote poems almost every night and sent them for oblivious lovers, who in turn only traded them for a little bit of warmth in a hue and perhaps a short line. We wrote letters all morning long and rejoiced in the earliest Martinis of intimacy and pride.

Any betrayal found us in the vein of an artist, self-delusive and irreverent only out of the conviction inherent to his condition; whilst the world couldn't prove him wrong it could neither appreciate his artistic expression. But he was content with it, because the poetry was simply a label to the youngest of bodies and the most innocent sights. Those days have remained shattered for too long, it seems to me as though they died away with those long glasses of cognac and were morning-buried in the sand, with the most incredibly intoxicating of all banal forms of pain. Then came the day to flee, the day to wander.

From place to place, as though one were a prophet receiving training in hardship as a free gift from nowhere. The living room also flet away, with any possible attestation of having been occupied before... my pasts and lovers and friends did exist at a time, but they all had betrayed me and quite unconcerned with it I would ride the train for the coast. Along the way I would write some of my last poems of the period, of rather questionable quality.

But I was then travelling by train and staring into the Ocean, protecting myself from the mightiness of the world. Never again the world would shine as in those years preceding my search for refugee. Living would become nothing but a way to remember the world.

Those days have vanished already with their faces and their flavours. When one becomes thought-of then all of this historiography carries but little meaning. But who can forget these days of new?

Not trying to be in any sense modernist, but yet enjoying the pleasures only reserved to the loftiest of souls and in the most ancient of all Western cradles still inhabited today, so ancient that even the locals became oblivious of its meaning. My history in this city disappears with the days through the raw madness of the air and the viscuous texture of the hours, one couldn't remember himself being a person no more... not anymore than we did in the days of the creation; it all started on a second day and its completion only carried fateful consequences. Every moment is but a dialectical thought that lingers about the rooves and hovers on cups of coffee that in the summer can never be drunk but to themselves.

Living in such dark times... that when people will read our history they will but understand nothing. My only advise to the future generation is to read our poems and our discussions on philosophy (not our books, they're testimonially useless because it's hardly possible to philosophize as in the days of old in a world whereby philosophers promove themselves in order to afford walking their dogs and watching erotic movies), our tax forms and our cardboards. History will not have any meaning. Once the wars will end and no more blood will run in our streets and our pens there'll be no meaning to this dwelling... because one can only save the earth and the physical location into morningness. The world can never be said by optimism, with its venomous declarations of freedom. We're saving the world from the mightiness of being, by keeping it diminished and angry, sleepy and rusty. We're saving it from meaning, and only God aids our heroic purpose.

Not other generation will dwell in Jerusalem like ours, at the crossroads of the quintessence of what being human means. At no other particular period will be Lessing so widely unread and so throughly understood and anonymously discussed. No other possible world will be so terribly modern and vexed. This city is a celebration of this inescapable quintessence. In my miser situation I became acquainted with the most progressive ideas the world could ever bear in its wombs and the loftiest of souls in the porticos of the churches, the rooves and the gardens... in the markets, the brothels, the bakeries and the magazine-stands. The halls of learning remain deserted, or rather occupied by our enemies and all those whose only purpose is to emancipate man from barbarism. While it still demands silently to be emancipated from humanity, from emancipation, from progressivism, from history, from rationality.

Never before in history had God been so lonely, never before God needed to have a history in order to afford his rent at the heavenly dwellings whose ownership he traded for reason. A generation where God hired Aristotle and Madonna, where people like Edith Stein and Thomas Aquinas would become irrelevant to discourse. People are thirsty for a truth that is opposed to falsehood.

Shall God grant me one day to un-live this city and this generation without enduring the fate of Adam, but rather the faith of Noach. I want to sail away in the mightiness of the primal waters far away from here. One day I'll escape this quintessential prison. One day. In the meantime only with Zweig and Gilson one can remember the world. The news continue to shatter the way we communicate. The truth of logic only shatters human discourse. Never before wanted people to engage in discourse as much as today. The justest of all possible world, the most free of all possible words. A silly world, a dehumanized kind of thinking. For that only reason one should continue to philophize amidst the bombs and the parades and the demagogies of the internet: In order to remember the world. An anti-world has taken over. Remembering the world is biblical theology, is building those palaces in time... it is telling Midrash while one altogether weeps and celebrates the irrational. It's living from nightness to morningness and awakefulness to prayers and odes, lyrical hymns and tawdry ballads. It is forgetting history, not the history of humans but of beings.

History of humans is the foundational stone of the anti-world, the most un-existential of all possible dwellings. Humans were replaced by statistics, God by lying hatred.

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