Saturday, October 25, 2008


Agnus Dei.

Too late you say? I've missed its commemoration? -- by six weeks? And the war is over, won, so we might turn our distressed attentions toward some other, more affecting crisis? Which will give way in its turn to some other?

No stirring words remain, to rekindle the passions and exquisite agonies of past tragedies. Music, wordless in its foreign tongue, may reach into the deepest part of our brains, manifest as some unrest in the limbic system, but it too is a passing thing, a present memory, say, a marriage of vibration and tissue, a mere transference of force that might be represented entirely as an equation of higher mathematics. We won't be duped into ascribing to it any significance beyond the arbitrary. Where we are born, after all, determines our sense of justice.

Likewise with images -- a photonic innervation of optical neurons, some transferring of synaptic biochemicals, and we are supposed to think the physical world is reproduced within our brains? Canvas and color and shapes that give reason for color and shadings that give subtlety, all caught up as it were and shot through something more insubstantial than space, carried by instant and eternal photons to be absorbed by our transparent flesh -- and therefore we have seen. We pass through smoke and suppose it to be light. Everything is secondary. The intimacies that we -- we imagine we share ... how can we know they are returned? How can we know even that they are genuine within ourselves? We can't even see things as they are.

We think the world is solid. How many substantial seeming things must evaporate, to correct us, convince us that we are, all of us, parallel universes, that intersect randomly and affect each other only by a sort of emotional gravity? You see? We mistake attraction for something more meaningful. We mistake our yearning for meaning as a sort of proof that meaning exists. How are we to know? What test outside of our inclinations can give us assurance?

There is no answer that can satisfy the conditions of the question. What first precept, what axiom can we hold up and count as true? We think? We feel? We exercise our will? We resolve to respond to wayward circumstance according to some ideal? Yes. We think, and feel, and resolve, and aspire. We choose a meaning, and act as if it were truth. The external standard is God, and faith is a gift.

A sound, a sight, a scent, a stray word and we are transported, and memory becomes more real that anything physical, and imagination washes away the present. The past is always with us.

Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.

If light is a messenger, what is the message?


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