by Emmett R Smith
Previously I wrote that “[i]n history as far as it had come in the late-modern age, the picture of the past was concrete, clear, and thus subject to misunderstanding only when taken out of the rhetorical context of that era. In that narrative mode, history indeed tells us all that it contains. But just as soon as one tries to get into the heart of the matter, the whole affair ‘goes straight to Hell’ in Mr Judson Andersen’s memorable Eagle Lake, Minnesota, phrase, and everything is a hopeless muddle of conflicting accounts, fragmentary images and momentary recollections.” This is certainly the case in coming to terms with something like the reported curse on Mankato, Minnesota, widely held through generations to be true in our local folklore.
That curse is certainly real in the fullest sense of the term, and this is because of its power when cited to compel popular assent and, indeed, to be assigned by the popular mind as “the” cause of a host of public and personal disasters locally and all down through the generations since 1862. Needless to say, such assertions are no end enraging to the conventional mind, which is confronted in this “black mud of occultism” with sure evidence most of all of its own soon-passing away, along with the authority of its previously agreed model, or fantasy, of reality.
In turn, then, we are brought to consider wider issues of historianship — further proof if any be needed still, of the ongoing power of this very same curse on Mankato.
Needless to say, and under the new conditions of postmodernity in which western man now finds himself all at sea for good among global men, and the denizens of Old Mankato as well as everyone else, the first casualty of any legitimate historical introspection worthy of the name is “the” truth and still more any too-narrow objectivity. It is in the nature of participation to alter cases as mathematician “Ferret” Ball points out, and this — alteration — is what participation in what I call “active historianship” is now emerging to avail.
For the business of living history is nothing less than this, “…namely a participatory process going on ‘now….'”
This is simply what we have called history in the past is presently evolving toward.
Under conscious conditions of ethical committment above all to a greater range of perception of any actual past, I have long since found that this selfsame participation and intermingling, of the present personality with those of others who lived before, gives rise to an overwhelming loss of conviction as to time itself. Thus a man lives as his grandfather, or alongside that grandparent, and then later as his grandson’s best friend in the kindergarten. Then, his reach both back and ahead extends further through regular exercise. The experience of these events brings to life for once and for all the clear realization that human life is spread over generations, as well as the mere property of the so-called “individual.”
This is not a mere fantasy of ongoing reincarnation either, as the chains of that circularity are as a rule the first to be broken; or, perhaps it is fairer to say that reincarnation, metempsychosis even, all these modes are subsumed in the greater and increasing experience of what “Ferret” Ball no doubt should call a sheaf, or ensemble, of “subroutines.”
Altogether then what is conveyed by use of active imaginal tools in participatory history-making is a clear and self-evident knowledge of the objective reality not so much of my (sic) immortality as of the sheer everlasting side of existence. This existence is by definiton found to be additive and, hence, personal immortality is simply the assimilation to the physical texture of reality, of one’s personal story. However, as the historian becomes operationally adept, of course that “personal” story goes on and on in a broader flow of aware life.
Thus, the individual life is raised to the level of all human and creaturely existence.
This in turns leads to an apocatastasis or restoration not only of ancestral life, but of all life yet to come. The lot in the world of the momentary individual has advanced to an unusal degree of salience and power for some time in the now-defunct Renaissance civilization of the past five hundred years. And, it has all gone forward with all of the well-known social gains and juridical advances with which we are long-since familiar, “human rights,” constitutionality, the entrepreneurial individual and so on. Archetypally, however, this was not the end of the story.
So the collective mind began in late-modernity especially to conjure other “individualities,” such as the nation-state and the corporation, and the anodyne socialisms. It was all of it compensatory for the unbearable isolation which is the lot of the embodied human being in society. There are notable signs now at every hand of the collapse of this hermetic biophysical individual, certainly as the final focus of future forms of awareness, and if communism has long since been defeated as a notion of organic unity, the lonely tide of compensatory chimpanzean copulation floods deeper by the day, in the frantic quest.
[A further metaphor for the catastrophic senility of the patriarchate of the Old Atlantic West is that, more and more, the hordes and medicated legions of impossibly literal old men for whom late-modern “individualism” anachronistically and hideously is still the be-and-the-end-all, nonetheless long in their growing panic for deliverance from this hellish isolation; and, this moral escape from consequences, of the epidemic cultural senectitude, oft is besought in the utterly non-moral fascinations of pedophilia: whereas, it is by no mere accident that so many of these jaded dribbling excursionists after fleeting sensation make their doddering and insane, prostatic, way cancerously to an altogether younger Asia, that whole other non-Atlantic world now rising in the emerging post-human world; and, there, like vampires in Elysian Fields, these lost souls from dying seashores fasten themselves amid their victims, good post-religious ‘humanists’, or defrocked priests, one and all — BW]
The drive of the suffering individual for deliverance from the exhausted historical state goes on, and the defeat of one proposed escape merely gives rise to other schemes.
It is immediately clear thus to the new participatory historian what cathartic and rejuvenating effects are being sought, by pedophiliac obsessionals, the so-called “New Conservatives,” Senator Obama and everybody else. All alike, distinctions between these exemplary categories wane however, as the history-maker traveling in reverie and time develops a deeper awareness, above all of the sheer darkness surrounding even the mentalities of our best and brightest professional plotters, of some shortterm renewal or other. All are marooned in their notional inadequacy, and cursing like Vice-President Cheney, so that finally we can see for ourselves the real tragedy of our necessary loss over three centuries of the old faith. And so much the worse for us! the hellish immediate consequences are amplified by the absence still, of any new source of the wholesome experience which alone is to be afforded by transcendant religious emotion.
Those consequences now are so dire because I take account of the fact that now, too, not only the history-minded layperson but the professional historian as well, all alike do not as yet possess a full or even adequate knowledge of the new historianship.
This is all the more to be regretted, of course, not least because as matters now stand a re-visionary process of history-making as yet scarcely to be distinguished from wizardry and sheer virtuoso magicianship alone is what may offer deliverance from the miseries already at the door. Simply, the requisite knowledge is not yet the property of enough workers, even though paradoxically enough our deliverance is assured, after all (NB). It is this last miserable ongoing failure, namely that “tomorrow never comes,” which is to blame for the collapse of all the old creeds, and while the still-unkept promise of human being even now delays and delays….
A particularly poisonous result of the endless deferral of hope fulfilled is, then, that oldtime curses such as that rumored merely to hang over Old Mankato, Minnesota, do not attenuate, rather they become daily more black and vicious and murderous. That, alas, is the cost of wholesome scepticism and a solar progessive myth, all based on nothing but good intentions to “do better, tomorrow.” Only as noted, tomorrow never comes….
But since even one worker in the field, in each lifetime of the world, is enough to insure that final outcome, so each new one to join in now gladly hastens the transition soon upon us, which is beyond human being.
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 22 July 2008]