Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tersanctus

"When I'm rushin' on my run...I feel just like Jesus son." Heroin - Velvet Underground.



Yesterday, I spent the afternoon listening to Perfect Prescription over and over again. I think. It's hard to tell in a loop...of glorious loops.

They are glorious.

Hard drugs and Jesus. They come up a lot together and the connection is probably not unwarranted...not entirely.

"If heaven's like this, then that's the place for me." Spacemen 3 Confusion/Walkin With Jesus.
 
Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa. The sculpture is a depiction of the nun's experience with an Angel who was delivering God's love with repeated thrusts from a spear...
 
"When he pulled it out I felt that he took [my organs] with it, and left me utterly consumed by the great love of God. The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one cannot possibly wish it to cease..."
 
I think most readers today would see a sexual allusion in this. That's what the 18th century smart ass, de Brosses, saw when he sassed..."If that is divine love then I have a lot of experience with it." Bernini was no stranger to that kind of experience either. In fact, as a young man, he seems to have been consumed with carnal passions. He is, you'll remember, the one who, upon discovering that his mistress was making time with his brother, had a servant slash her face to bits and pieces. He couldn't do it himself, of course, because he was busy trying to murder his brother.
 
There is no better illustrator for the need of Christ than a Christian.


A heroin addict might see Teresa in a different light though. Like those that see sexual gratification, he would not be that far off either. For Christians, the great hope is not an eternal spiritual existence in the clouds...not, as Orwell hilariously described, "choir practice in a jeweler's shop."  It is for a renewed material creation...a place for the senses in full.

Surely being in the presence of God, physically, is a greater sensual experience than even heroin...which is merely a hint of a taste.



You don't have to be a Christian or even believe in God...you don't have to believe that Jesus actually existed at all, as I suspect some of you don't...adamparsons and Muj once had a running dialogue here about the historical evidence for his existence. Even if he is just an amalgamation of various cargo cult figures...rumors of an eastern mystic...whatever...Christianity's narrative exists. It exists and has it's own logic. We can imagine, even if we can't fully comprehend, the existence of an omniscient being that is pure Love...and we can imagine that being in the presence of such a creature would have a physical element to it...a euphoric element.

 
I'm not saying go find Jesus in the curve of a spoon. I'm just saying that the desire to push the potential of sensual experience...probably comes from a genuine urge...a pure prescribed desire.


14 comments:

  1. Have you read the Divine Comedy? I mean the bits that aren't just about Dante having a vengeful wank-fantasy about the people he didn't like getting tortured for all eternity?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only the torture parts. It's always been the same with anyone who assigned it or talked about it. Hell's great but the rest...

      I guess I should?

      Delete
    2. Yes you should. Go for the Dorothy Sayers translation.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  3. That's a superb painting, Erik.
    And I'm pretty damn sure I saw Spacemen 3 at the same place I saw Pavement and possibly around a similar time but oh it's all so long ago now....
    Interesting stuff all this religion, sex and drugs; I suppose we look for euphoric experiences anywhere we can and all of those three have the potential to provide them by giving us excursions away from what we perceive as reality.
    You're right, I don't believe in gods or heaven or hell or the bible in any conventional sense, but I do believe in human spirit and the power of the mind/imagination... and that religion provides some kind of convenient man-made communal construct on which some choose to hang those aspects... does that make sense? !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you ma'am. There are more coming.

      I'm trying really hard not to include you in the hatred I have for the people that frequented that club in the early 90's. If you tell me The Clean played in there...I'm probably gonna have to say a prayer about it this Sunday.
      :)

      Reality is where I should have ended this post. What I was saying in too round about of a way, is that these euphoric experiences are a wiff of Reality. It's telling, I think, that our attempts to experience it can be completely consuming and destructive.

      Christianity speaks directly to this. I chose Tersanctus because of a point the Rector made recently. When the angels exclaim Holy, Holy, Holy they aren't addressing God they are addressing one another. In the Rector's Midwestern idiom they are saying "Holy Smoke" do you see what I see. They are, and we are to join with them, in a euphoric tizzy caused by God's presence...a sensual experience.

      Our senses are obviously capable of so much more than they are generally used for. Even a materialist can imagine every bedtime story being an Iliad...every greeting card a Botticelli...every expression of Love being a Buddy Holly song...because these for examples.

      I think the least real Reality is the one we interact with everyday.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Erik. Actually that was a good little club looking back, but I never saw The Clean. Phew.
      I worried if what I said seemed disrespectul but I know we're both ok with what we are and think and the differences. I suppose I am in constant awe at the world and life and at that reality and personally I'm happy to leave it there. I think we humans seek answers and explanations for everything, be it in science or in the mystical or whatever, even if the explanation is that it can't be explained. We frame everything in the context of being human, for our need to understand and relate in some way. I just think, it just 'IS'. I don't understand, but I'm happy that I don't, because just being here suits me fine. That actually makes me feel pretty euphoric! Probably one reason why I couldn't ever take drugs properly, I get high on seeing snails mate :-) I saw a clip from Stephen Hawking the other day about the Big Bang creating the universe and I could no more get my head around it than I could the idea that God did it in a week. Because to me they both seem like 'human' explanations, and I don't think there needs to be one. I probably sound really thick here...

      (PS It is with some irony that I keep getting offered work from Christian publishers - my fourth book offer from a big one in the US just came in! Maybe someone is trying to tell me something after all?!!)

      Delete
    3. Ha...perhaps.

      Of course you are free to speak your mind here and it didn't seem disrespectful at all.

      Some of these questions can't be avoided because decisions and positive action can't be avoided. Consciousness doesn't really allow us the option of taking a pass...and the implications of that are flabbergasting.

      If you'll allow a specific digression....on the issue of creation I'd just like to say that I don't believe the earth was created in six days and, as far as I know, this wasn't actually an important issue in the Church until the rise of Fundamentalism. I'm pretty sure St Augustine believed the Universe was eternal. The first real evidence for a beginning of the Universe was the discovery of an expanding Universe. If the Universe has a beginning...the Necessary nature of the Universe is called into question. The theological implications of the Big Bang were immediately grasped by many scientist and there was some resistance to the idea.

      I once heard an astronomer explain that Genesis gets the sequence of planetary emergence right...especially the counter-intuitive parts...like light (the Sun) coming after the formation of the planet because light wouldn't penetrate to the surface for some time...whatever. I'm not an astronomer. I have no idea whether he was talking nonsense or not but, there's a fun twist to all this.

      Two Biblical scholars have written a book relatively recently that tries to place the creation story back in it's original context by focusing on the audience it was written for...i.e. people who had been in Egypt for centuries. It seems that the creation story uses an Egyptian stories to make points about the True God's intentions and nature by tweeking the Egyptian story...again these people weren't taking it as a natural science text. So...if both the astronomer and these scholars are right it means the Egyptian's were right about the formation of the planet.

      Maybe the ancient astronaut people are onto something HA!

      I only bring this up because you're example of creation gave me the opportunity to put those two ideas together...which really tickles me. Thanks for the indulgence.

      If bugs making love gets you high...you need to pick back up the guitar. :)

      Delete
    4. Thanks... I know we'll never have quite the same beliefs but I always appreciate reading and learning from what you say and this was no exception - such a thought-provoking post and comments.
      I know that sounds pervy about the snails! I just get the biggest buzz from something or other in nature every single day - it's my fix, my heaven :-)

      Delete
  4. Nice post. Maybe watch the Aya Monologues? There's always people harping on about connecting with God/Spirit/Love/healing etc there. Plus you need a shaman to sing an icaros (?) so there's music in there too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the party...don't be a stranger.

      Delete
  5. One interesting argument I heard for assuming that Jesus did exist was put by C.S. Lewis, who pointed out that, in all of the ancient literature he had read in a lifetime of reading, he had never, anywhere else, come across the phrase “Verily, verily I say unto you”, which appears throughout the New Testament, and is always ascribed to Jesus, suggesting that it was an individual's verbal tick rather than a stock phrase in general use. I expect Biblical scholarship has disproved Lewis’s point, but I enjoyed someone arguing for his existence from a literary critic’s viewpoint!

    I agree with Mistress La Spliffe about the Dorothy Sayers translation of Dante – though I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying the vengeful wank-fantasy elements.

    Really enjoyed the post, Erik – now I’ve got to go and think about what you said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's fun to think about Christ having a speech impediment or tic. I don't know about the phrase though. One of his points still persists and that's placing Jesus on the timeline. It speaks to the reality of Jesus as a man but, it also allows the matter to come up from time to time because we've been given a specific time in history to look for evidence. I am convinced he was an actual person that existed (I have some training in evidence and how it's handled) but, that will do nothing to stop the reoccurring debate.

      Don't think...just listen to Spaceman 3. That'll settle it. :)





      Delete