Sunday, March 04, 2007

Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! Chapter 18 (Original Sin and the Inquisition vs. a post-Albigensean movement-Waldensians, Beguines, BotFS, etc.)


Worldeater--swallower of worlds and destroyer of the Biosphere--is already an apt, funtionally descriptive name for the Western Leviathan at the time of its inception in Crusades against Infidels. But such a descriptive name will not be acceptable to Westerners until the post-ecclesiastical cleric Hobbes and his contemporaries Bacon and Descartes take up the calling of advertising their beast's powers.

At the time of the Crusades, an earlier Bacon is already castyin greedy glances at the Biosphere, but the lethal character of the Western beast is not yet visible either to those in its entrails or to outsiders.

The Universal, all-embracing or Catholic Church has been carrying the project of total dominion for a millenium, but even Churchmen fail to see that their dream is a last being realized because it is not being realized on the Churchmen's terms. The ecclesiastics have gotten used in relegating their dominion to the hereafter, and in the here-and-now they hurl themselves into the rush for spoils. Because of this greedy shortsightedness, the Churchmen fail to lodge their Organization at the helm, in the new beast's head, and by the time they become aware of their oversight, they will already have missed their chance.

Viewd from abroad, the Crusading Westerners do no look like claws and tentacles of a new Leviathan, but rather like invading Barbarians storming the walls of Civilization. To Byzantines and Muslims, the Westerners are still Franks, and the lethal Franks are not the only barbarians at the gates. Byzantium itself is simultaneously battered by Frankish holy warriors from the west and by Ottoman Turkish holy warriors from the east, while Islam is pestered by the much more formidable Shamanists from the northeast, the Mongols.

The Westerners are Franks to Ottomans and Mongols too, and although the Turks do not make common cause with their fellow-topplers of Leviathans, the Mongols do consider the Westerners allies, at least potential allies.

Khan Qubilai welcomes Italian Catholic emissaries to the Mongol court, and the Catholics accompany the Shamanists who invade the far-eastern Leviathan and topple the Sung Dynasty. The Western Catholics do not only witness the Mongol transvaluation of Chinese values but also participate in it. The Catholics are part of an administration that raises former barbarians to bosses while reducing Sung Chinese to barbarians with no rights.

The famous Marco Polo is one of the Westerners who returns to tell the tale. Others stay in China; among them are Papal envoys who devote themselves to the holy work of converting to Catholic Christianity those Chinese who are already Nestorian Christians.

Far Western and far Eastern Eurasians are reminded of each other's existence. The Westerners henceforth know that a dazzling Leviathan sprawls in the east, whereas the Easterners have no reason to modify their opinion that barbarism is a function of distance from China's wall.

The Shamanists as well as the Christians who remain in China are eventually absorbed by the oldest continuous Leviathan in existence, and they too learn to think that the sun sets among barbarians.

The Westerners leave scars in China, but little else, whereas numerous dishes from the Chinese cusine, as well as printing and explosives, are carried westward through the ephemeral world-empire of the Mongols.

The western contemporaries of Marco Polo, of Qubiai Khan and of an obscure Turkish Amir known as Uthman or Osman are encasing themselves in a Leviathan of their own. Osman are encasing themselves in a Leviathan of their own. This Western Leviathan will eventually encase the entire Biosphere, it will metamorphose Mother Earth into an archipelago of labor camps filled with slaves, zeks, Ensis, Lugals and scribes. But none of the contemporaries of the Italian long-distance traveler can as yet recongnize the Leviathanic potency of the West, least of all his Catholic contemporaries.

The Westerners are terminating their apprenticeship to Viking and Muslim masters, but they are not really setting out on their own. They are losing their identity, ceasing to be what they were, and becoming what their enemies were. They are not inventing, discovering or developing anything new. Everything comes to them from their tutors.

The only element that can be called the Westerners' own is their habit of lying about what they are doing. They do this better than they do anything else. They've been trained by legions of Vicars of Christ. In their own eyes, the Westerners are not appropriating the profits and posts of Islamic Infidels; they are saving souls, their own as well as those of their victims. An oligarchy of owners of liquid capital is already at the head of the Western Leviathan, but in their own eyes thge oligarchs as well as their clients are drawing closer to Heaven, to God's Kingdom, to Eden, the all-but-forgotten community in the state of nature.

For a millennium Westerners saw a Roman Empire where there was none. Now that they are at last becoming Leviathanized--but in unacceptably Infidel ways--the Westerners see no Leviathan where there is one. This habit of denying what they are will keep Western Europeans running frantically from themselves to the furthest corners of Earth.

Western Europeans are not the first Leviathanized human beings who think themselves what they no longer are or never were. We've seen that the first Leviathanized human beings, the Ur-beings, were pioneers in this as in so much else. The Sumerians turned their former world into a wilderness, but they took care to carry parts of the disrupted world into their Temple garden. Inside the garden they could think they had never left the state of nature, or at least that they hadn't gone very far They were as close to their forgotten community as Death is to Life.

The Western Europeans know that they left the state of nature, but they do not yet want to know they've entered the entrails of Leviathan. Human beings who unabashedly affirm themselves as segments of an artificial worm, as springs and wheels, will not appear in the West until several generations later, when contemporaries of the English scribe Hobbes will institute the worship of Leviathan itself, raw and unadorned.

Although the Church, with its Roman commitment and its Maximizing deity, already carries mor than a mere seed of Leviathan-worship, the later worm-worshippers will have to break with the Church to institute their novelty. This is because the Church cannot rid itself of the baggage that came to it from the anti-Roman crisis cult.

The Church of Rome, like the Temple of Ur, retains vestiges of a forgotten time and a vanished place. These vestiges give the Church its aura of being something other than what it is. The vestiges, for the Church as for the early Temple, are vestiges of the ancient human community in the state of nature. The Sumerians thought of the community temporally, as a Golden Age. The Christians think of it spatially, as a place called Eden. The Sumerian Temple gave its inmates the illusion that they were still in that community, or at least in a moribund facsimile of it. The Catholic Church gives some of its inmates the ame illusion, but it makes even these feel guilty about being where they think they are, and it leaves all others suspended in a quandry called Limbo.

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The Church induces its believers--its sheep, as it calls them--a condition some of our contemporaries will call schizophrenia. This is because the Church originated among resisters who intended to participate in the overthrow of the ruling Leviathan and expected the Kingdom of Heaven or Eden to follow the beast's fall. The Church, like many other monsters, reduced the original resisters to paintings and statues decorating its pillars, walls and windows, while treating as heretics all living resisters with similar commi8tments and expectations.

The Church performs this feat with the help of its doctrine of Original Sin. This doctine is built out of a story placed into the first book of the Old Testament by woman-hating scribes in the ancient Persian-sponsored Kingdom of Judah. The original story is a simple-minded polemic against the primal goddess, the Earth-mother, and by implication against all women.

According to this story the woman, Eve, is not the mother. The man, Addam, is the mother. He gives birth to her, with help from the Father of Fathers, who plays midwife. The fact that the woman does subsequently give birth to living human beings is played down. What is played up is her inconstancy toward the Fathers and here illicit affair with a Serpent. By consummating her affair, she spoils the polemicist's male harmony and provokes the Father of Ffathers to chase the entire family of of Eden.

Ancient ISraelites and their successors used this story as its authors meant it to be used: to insult and depreciate women. Jews did not derive a doctrine of Original Sin from the story. On the contrary, they becamethe apple of God's eye, the Chosen people, and even the deity's scourge against Edomites, Moabites and others.

Christians, starting with the pseudo-Apostle Saul or Paul, put this story to an altogether different use. They use the story to justify their own betrayal of the original resistance movement. Just as Adam and Eve had betrayed Eden by committing the original sin of eating fruit from the tree of knowledge, so Christians betray the ways of their uncompromisingly anti-Leviathanic founders by hurling themselves into opportunistic Leviathanic ventures.

By arbitrarily treating the first betrayal as the cause of all the later betrayals, the Christians wash away their blame for all their opportunistic lies and crimes. All the blam flows to Eve, the original sinner. By eating the fruit, she brought about the Fall of all her progeny.

Up to this point, ths story is still a myth, one among many origin myths. But at this point the Church transforms the origin myth into a cudgel, an instrument of blackmail. Just as the CHurchmen's own dirt could be washed off and give to Eve, so the sins of all the fallen can be purged and given to Satan. Fallen, sinful humans can be washed clean, they can be saved. Jesus and his Apostles descended to Earth to save the fallen. The Pope is the Savior's Vicar and his sole surviving Apostle. The Church is the door to Paradise. In order to be saved, a sinner need only serve the Church faithfully, give tithes unstintingly, pay large bribes for the remissions of major crimes, and will all his properties to the Church.

Those who devote their very lives to serving the Church as monks and nuns are rewarded with earthly Edens called monasteries and convents, enclosed and lifeless replicas of the state of nature, Christian versions of Sumerian Temple gardens. These elect even recover some of the ways of the lost kinship community by sharing all things in common and by considering each other brothers and sisters.

But the conscientious among these elect devote many of their Edenic days and nights to guilty musings about their undeserved grace, since as Eve's progeny they are as sinful as the greatest emperor or the smallest thief. Guilt leads the elect to serve the Church yet more devotedly.

As for the non-elect, they can neither lie nor stand nor sit in the Christian world, they have to keep moving, and if they run fast enough they might reach Paradise, but only in the Afterlife.

This Afterlife is an umbilical cord, something like an Afterbirth but far more important. In Christian thought, Death is the real birth, and the decomposition after death is the Life that matters. The umbilical cord is what the Church provides, or rather, this is what the Church is, the Door. By offering and withholding this umbilical cord, the Church manipulates one after another generation of Western Eurasians.

The doctine of Original Sin is the key to the Church's power. That's why the Church cannot rid itself of the components that go into the making of this doctrine. The fall from Eden is the doctrine's central component, and thus the Church itself is the vehicle that carries the memory of an Eden to human beings who have never been outside the entrails of Leviathan.

The Church deploys a vast thought police known as the Inquisition, and it resorts to witch hunts and heresy hunts to liquidate implications and conclusions other than its own.

But the Church fails to repress the news it cannot help but carry.

The causes for the failure are probably numerous, but some are obvious.

Firstly, the daily practice of Pope, priests, monks and nuns does not live up to the standards the Church holds out to laymen, and people who think of the Church as a whore and of Churchmen as pimps are not likely to let the piety police intimidate them into avoiding their own conclusions.

Secondly, secretive successors to Albigensians continue to spread a Bogomil message among good Christians, and this Manichean message acts like a powerful acid on the doctines of Original Sin and therefore on the entire repressive machinery of the Church.

The result is that a generalized resistance movement, one as thoroughgoing and as commited as the anti-Roman crisis cult and more widespread than the geographically localized Albigensian movement, turns against the newly-launched Western Leviathan with the Church's own language.

Later secular and fundamentally tamer resisters, even those among them who are not Progress-worshippers, will dismiss the post-Albigensean movement because the resisters who turn against the Western Leviathan and its Church express an even greater interest in Salvation and the Kingdom of Heaven than the official repressors of the movement. We will have to remind ourselves that resisters normally express themselves in the language of their time and place. Furthermore, the terms used by the post-Albigenseans are not conservative Catholic terms which the resisters infuse with radical meanings. On the contrary, the terms were initially radical expressions which the Church infused with repressive meanings, so that we can say the resisters are reappropriating their own language.

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Anti-Catholic, or more accurately, anti-Christian resisters become as numerous as Burghers in hastily-Leviathanizing Western Europe. The resisters, characteristically behind the times, aim all their blows against the former central power, the Church; they do not yet know that some of the Burghers have already displaced the Pope in a newly-constituted beast's head.

Many Burghers, those with much to lose, already recognize the resisters as a threat to all Leviathanic power, not merely the Church's. Such Burgher's lose no time in making common cause with priests as well as knights against the resisters. And they do more. Just as the Church launched the Franciscan Order to channel potential resisters into a cul-de-sac, the Burghers launch movements of their own to drive other potential radicals into similar cul-de-sac.

Attaked and therefore hysterical Churchmen, the main record-keepers, add to the confusion by calling all non-conformists Heretics, whether they are zeks or Burghers, whether they are Manicheans or Christians, whether they are radicals or recuperators.

And among the radicals, as among other Westerners, everyone thinks himself another and is thought to be a third.

The Albigensean communities of southern France were exterminated by armies of Crusaders. But individual Cathars manage to escape from Provence and to carry their Bogomilism to every part of Europe. Apparently less sectarian than many ealier or later radicals, the Manichean Cathars form friendships and in time merge with Humiliati, Waldensians, Joachites, Brethren of the Free Spirit and others whith whomthey share the distinction of being hunted by the Inquisition. They do not merge with Franciscans, recognizing these pseudo-resisters as kin to the Inquisatorial Dominican police.

The radicals carry their news to every part of Western Europe. Records tell of persecutions, burnings and hangings of heretics on most routes between Italy and Scandinavia, from England to Hungary.

The "Poor Men of Lyons," for example, wander all the way to Bohemia-Moravia after eighty of their companions are burned in France by the executioners of the Inquisitorial police. They will later be known as Waldensians, after Peter Waldo, one of the Poor Men who finds refuge in Moravia and dies there.

Women are prominent among the radicals. Maguerite Porete and Jeanne Dabenton, both of whom are captured by the Inquisition and burned, are among the better known.

Bypassing the male-dominated official rostrums and pedestals, independent-minded women travel from town to town, usually singly or with a male companion, and spread news which undermines the repressive priestly and knightly hierarchies. Most of them are visionaries and militants; some of them are tehoreticians and writers. Their contemporaries call them Beguines. Their male companions are called Behards.

These migratory radicals find accommodations in every town, in houses of sympathizers. In larger towns and cities, Beguines and Behards are too numerous for private houses and are put up in hostels with names like "Society of the Poor" or "House of Voluntary Poverty." The very names of the hostels announce that these women and men are not in tune with the times. At thses gathering places they share news of common friends, of the heresy police, of major and minor insurrections against the ruling powers.

This informal network consisting of friendships and guest-houses keeps the wandering radicals better informed than the information-gathering fuctionaries of kings and bishops. But the radicals do not share their news with functionaries, not even with Brethren of the Common Life, another Franciscan-type Order launched by the Church, this one to trap potential Beghards.

The numerous wandering radicals will be called everything from Christian heretics to latter-day Apostles. Some will say these radicals are Protestants before their time, others that they are early Christians long after their time.

The categories hide more than they reveal; they reduce and sometimes ridicule and malign the radicals. When businessmen write of people devoted to Apostolic Poverty, they expect readers to smile condescendingly. The categories are in th emain designed to explain the radicals away.

The radicals are numerous, many are highly imaginative, their inspiration comes from distant places and times, and they stimulate each other to rethink their commitments and start over again. They are as varied as human beings can be. They nevertheless share some large commitments, and it is these commitments that make them anathema to ecclesiastical and lay authorities.

The radicals are explicitly committed to freedom and to community. The very names they give their informal groupings, names like Brethren of the Free Spirit, announce both of these commitments.

It is misleading to call these radicals Christians, either Apostolic or Heretical. The Apostles, after all, were Jews whose stories became the gospels of the Christian Church. If Christianity is the religion instituted in the Roman Empire with the help of Apostolic gospels, Old Testament and Imperial forms of organization, people like Marguerite Porete or the Brethren of the Free Spirit are not Christians at all, since that religion is precisely what they reject.

Later Protestan Reformers of Christianity will borrow, tame and denature some of the radicals' insights, but this will make Protestantism contain some anti-Christian elements; it will not make the earlier radicals Protestant Christians.

I would call these radicals An-archists. The Albigenseans among them help all of them disencumber themselves of the Christian doctrine of Original Sin and to consider the Archon, no the first woman, the sinner. Yet even the name An-archist is misleading if it associates these radicals with some later wearers of that name who are committed neither to freedom nor to community.

The Beguines, Beghards, Free Spirits and their friends are not part of what Yeats will call "the darkness," the "twenty centuries of stony sleep." Thay are an awakening from the stony sleep.

When ancient Egypt fell into the entrails of the Roman Leviathan, some Egyptians denuded of everything except vague memories rushed into their temples and breathed life into long-dead deities.

When Europeans begin to fall into the entrails of the Leviathan that will encase them to our day, many of them repeat the Egyptian feat. The Europeans no longer remember Isis or Osiris, they no longer know the Earth Mother or the cycle of vegetation by any of their former names. Yet they, like the Egyptians, breathe life into the long-dead and now even nameless deities.

The Free Spirits refuse to identify with the Pope's absentee overlord. They are pantheists. They say Nature is deity, every existing thing and every living being is divine. The individual's relation to such a deity is not one of fear, sbumission or obedience, but one of respect, admiration, love. Europeans will soon come in contact with distant people who call such a deity a Great Spirit.

Unlike the recuperated St. Francis, the radicals know that they do not need a Church, priests or sacraments to mediatte between themselves and deity. The Church is nothing but an obstacle; it makes separations where there was unity; it overturns kinship and usurps community. The separations are the only real sin, and the agents of separations are the evil ones. The aim of the radicals is to overthrow the separation, to remove the masks and armors, to return to the original unity, the lost community of free loving kin.

Marguerite Porete even writes a sort of manual to help others remove their armor. She calls her book a Mirror of Simple Souls. It is a profoundly anti-Christian work. When a repressed Christian looks into a mirror, a free human being is to look out. Christian humility and self-denial are not the goal, they are part of the condition to overcome. Zarathustrian light, a light so bright that it blinds, shocks the individual out of the dark Leviathanic pit, wakes her from the centuries of stony sleep. Outside the pi8t there's an undreampt-of joy, there's exultation, not in an Afterlife but in Life. The wakened person recognizes the repressiveness, the sinfulness, of the separations; she recognizes herself as Life, as Earth, as Deity. She mates as freely as other divine beings, enjoys the sexual act, and knows that the Sin is in the priests and their other doctrine. She rediscovers the ancient community of free, sinless beings, and she sees the community fenced in by repressive powers, by artificial obstacles. Without qualms, she turns to sweeping away the obstacles: the sacraments and preachers and their salvation machinery, the Virgin and the Saints and God himself. Communities of free human beings are to reappropriate the powers usuruped by Leviathans with no more qualms, "with such peace of mind, as they use the earth they walk on."

This messasge is no Christian heresy. It is as far from anything Judeo-Christian as the wisdom of Dakotas, Ojibwas and other communities as yet unknown to Europeans.

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