by Bodwyn Wook
7 July 6
The Baron Bodissey
EXCELLENT Baron, Yes indeed, language is a snare & inveiglement. Nowhere more than in history and history-making. You know, I think, that I prefer temperamentally a phenomenological
and, altogether, quite conditional standpoint. The concept or phantasy of objectivity exists, at least in the narrative-structure (albeit more pointedly in certain eras rather than others); it co-exists with a host of other notions. Let us see, therefore, how it all may be applied. And, above all, try to develop a sense of, one supposes, timeliness. When is objectivity appropriately to be adduced in the narrative? And, when must one resort rather to other phantasies, of poesis, reverie, imagination? One wouldn’t try–could not very easily, at any rate!–to make a Jarnell Intersplit out of a hammer and a bucksaw. And still less should one try to make stovewood from the tools in a therarob’s therachest, one supposes.
‘Real history’, you wrote–I like that phrase and enjoy turning it over in my mind.
The chief metaphor at which I’ve arrived during my sojourn in this peculiar early-postmodern era (from popular literature & since the past fifteen years or so) is that for many of us urbanised and abstracted european-american types, why, the image of Red Indians makes them magical to us, like elves–to our distinctly pudgy & pornographic hobbits!
What people forget, though, is that Tolkien specified here and there in the ring-cycle that some elves were quite dire and reclusive, in their hidden vales and glens. Galadriel and that ilk were, comparatively, high-up–and it is these hoity-toity elvenfolk that we parallel, in our phantasy-type of the pre-columbian indigenes, as wood-land innocents, with never a thought in their dusky heads, of the torture-fire and the skinning-knife.
The fact that these people in their narratives, and because of semantic confusion, get up to such factually (molecularly) unreal (sic) constructions is, itself, an objective fact that should be of great value to the historian of this final pre-spacefaring interval; at least I perceive it so–and, so, I find on my hands a whole roster of phantasies about historical reality; nor in the main in any pejorative sense, I mean. But the fact remains that the historian perhaps ought to have a good deal about him of the poet. Else one may not embrace the paradoces of our all-too-usually-grim enquiries.
To me, the central dramatic tension about the whole high-plains nineteenth century on the Big Prairie of Old Earth is that an old world was brutally dying, another brutally being born. Curiously, this successor-world, in which I am incarnated through an inadvertancy, has turned back to take up in re-visioning and re-valorisation some of the dimly-perceived revenants of that prior world; out of the usual half-aware emotional motivations, of course….
But, there is also value in re-vision, I would say; although not so much to me, in contemporary ‘revisionism’. (What passes for ‘higher’ education in this place and time is a stark staring illiterate horror!)
What re-visioning properly understood can do, I think, is to help the historian to develop a more accurate feeling not for affects, of course, but rather for what most-importantly is to be understood about the past, at least time-for-time. With sincere lay-collegial-regards, I am,
Wook, Chief Constable, Cadwal Conservancy (retd)
PS: What these innocence-phantasies about Indians may reveal is a very real difference between human neoliths and these palid apres-modernes of mine. In the main, the tribes of the Americas do not seem to have had eschatologies. Those hunting-visions, as I have experienced them for myself in the company of certain tribal descendants, go forward in illo tempore and are, precisely, timeless, aeternal. The aeschaton, however, appears only in a handful of cases, notably that of the Maya. And, their vision in the last analysis was terrifying. The capacity for perception of ‘end times’ must go hand-in-hand, I should say, with the accumulation of differentiated material culture; an ever-increasing hoard of objects conveys, if only subliminally, that this is indeed an abode of decay. Thus, we dimly know in the times in which I am marooned (in a way that the Cheyenne did not, about their buffalo-culture) that the West and United States are most decidedly not for ever–in that chronological linear sense, because of a certain net gain in a mainly gloomy awareness, we (the present generation of pre-posthumans, ie) are the ‘old ones’ of humanity, jaded, aetiolated, blanched and nervy; and, so, yearning back to the wisdom of the so-called ‘ancients’ is to me, therefore, a direct appeal–to, precisely, the future. And, to what we shall one day become. As Mahound Nadgemee should put it: ‘inshal’abru
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 7 July 2006]