Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

11/05/2004

For these Solomonic times...I'd posted this about a year ago, but I thought I'd replay it. From Walter Bruggeman's Prophetic Imagination:
The possibility of an alternative consciousness...was quite removed from Israel in Solomon's time. The king characteristically could find no such notion acceptable. It seems likely that criticism could no longer be practiced because the transcendent agent necessary to criticism was gone. And we may hyphothesize that promises that could energize are now all confiscated for royal use....The tension between a criticized present and an energizing future is overcome. There is only an uncriticized and unergizing present...
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,,,Now there is no notion that God is free and that he may act apart and even against this regime...God is now "on call", and access to him is controlled by the royal coiurt. Such an arrangement clearly serves two interlocking functions. On one hand, it assures ready sanction to every notion of the king because there can be no transcendent resistance or protest. On the other hand, it gives the king a monopoly so that no marginal person may approach this God except on the king's terms...
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The royal program of achievable satiation...(a) is legitimated by an "official religion of optimism," which believes God has no business other than to maintain our standard of living, ensuring his own place in his palace, and (b) requires the annulment of the neighbor as a life-giver in our history; it imagines that we can live outside history as self-made men and women...
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How can we have enough freedom to imagine and articulate a real historical newness in our situation? This is not to ask...if this freedom is realistic or politically practical or economically viable. ...We need to ask not whether it is realistic or practical or viable but whether it is imaginable.
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In considering the Solominic achievement, I have been speaking of the fate of the royal consciousnss as "numbness" even though I have not used that word. The Solomonic establishement embodies the loss of passion, which is the inability to care or suffer. ..Clearly, the regime is interested not in what people experience but in their behavior, which can be managed.

So, is it imaginable?

1 Comments:

At 11/22/2004 12:43:00 AM, Blogger Juke said...

Imagine nomads, close dependence on agile small herds, imagine willing submission to the give-and-take of natural cycles. Imagine the years it took to gain a subsistence culture in the Kalahari.
The petri dishes of urban living are colonized every time by the same culture/variants, dominant and biocidic, and ultimately cross-temporal, pharoaonic connection seeking the longest reach, linked thrones in succession.
We're given the illusion of the small sun circling the earth to explain it, but it's much bigger than that we learn, and the spells built in to the language and numerical symbols to snare us as we wake to the larger plot. But there's no unimaginable gate, just will, willingness, and the awesome obstacle of grasping thwarted slaves whose masters find them expendable.
The kingly haste, like Cheney's scuttling for the unnamed bunker, so much like a medieval bishop down cathedral stairs, plump arrogant mean, and powerful as an emperor, hurrying swish of his vestments, barking orders as he dives for cover - because even the king, the bishop, even Cheney, they're mortals, tapped into the eye at the top of the pyramid but still human, and all human things stop. That goes far to explain the rush toward access of the gene-keys and processes.
Something beyond that is imaginable, easily. But anything imaginable is vulnerable to co-option - its seeds are here with us now and need protecting. They'll watch us once they understand they aren't going to make it, to see where we turn. It may be necessary to fuse the linkage. That's imaginable as well.
I'm not throwing this out as alternative consciousness guidelines but as proceeding from something like that.
Much that was once unimaginable is now daily conversation.

 

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