BADNESS: the subject is badness, our wicked ways.
Yesterday you walked (with mmj) from Tarquinia to the Tomb of the Augurers. Last week (with mmj) you were in conversation with Professor Dworkin, Professor of Jurisprudence, in London listening to him discuss the topic of Democracy and Freedom.
Your attendance at both events of course were Ritual Fictions. This is what we do here; walking on the road out of Tarquinia, the conflict at the cleft, and the salty taste of the wrestler’s sweat; sitting on our chairs in a London bookshop, hearing when tolerance and respect break down for each other… – "You are wrong!", he says you have to say. Both these events are Ritual Fictions. Both deal with how to handle events that lead us astray. Or ‘Badness’, as Simone Weil would put it.
ABOUT Ritual Fictions – "How simply charming", you might say (to mmj), "we so enjoy your stories!".
You are not advised to take them so lightly. Some 500 years ago the Ritual Fiction concerning the spiritual presence in the bread during the Mass caused you and I to argue. – "Real", one of us said. – "Representation", the other replied.
The argument was potent enough to split the church, Protestant against Catholic, the Reformation, a War of Words throughout Europe that quickly escalated into grim and relentless violence, the slaughter on a mass scale reaching its crescendo a 100 years later with the terrible ‘Thirty Year War’.
Such badness had to stop. In 1648 the representatives of the sovereign states of Europe came together and signed the Treaty of Westphalia, itself another Ritual Fiction of course, but one which successfully put and end to the killing; henceforth nation and nation, not required to tolerate or even respect one another’s religion, but now grudgingly required to accept the sanctity of the frontiers between nations. Upon which Ritual Fiction, international Professors of Jurisprudence have built their reputations, and both you and I have accepted the atrocities that tyranical governments and dictators visit on their peoples in other countries even down to the present day.
Except the instances when the power of the Ritual Fiction no longer holds… as they say happened in Kososvo, when NATO invaded there in 1999, and perhaps also when the Coalition invaded of Iraq in 2003, although some argue the other way… so that our winding way returns us to the Wilderness, and a War of Words – "You are wrong", conflict at the cleft, that leads to something worse.
A War of Words, conflict at the cleft: last week ak wrote about Simone Weil, beginning with her quote on Crime and Error:
“Everything belonging to creatures is limited except the desire within us which is the mark of our origin. The yearnings which make us seek the unlimited here on earth are therefore for us the only source of crime and error.” Page 271 in Simone Weil: An Anthology (published in the Penguin Modern Classics series)
In other words, unlimited desire, properly speaking, is desire for God, for all things heavenly and when that desire is, mistakenly, applied to things here on earth, then the result is crime and error.
UNPACK THAT, I wrote as a comment. It was another way of saying. – "You are wrong!".
[BADNESS: The subject is about Badness, our wicked ways]
Crime and error… for those of us who locate desire within, and those of us who locate desire elsewhere. Voices are raised in argument.
- "There is this other greater love".
- "Yes, in here".
- "Yes, out there".
- "You are wrong!".
That God is and we are not. That we are, but God is not. Both ways is crime and error, since either way the love we feel is largely self-love. Corrupt. But anger is being stirred, and the Professor has already lead us over the limits of the black and the white squares so that the Ritual Fiction powers of Jurisprudence no longer hold.
In contradiction, we are spilled off the road and into the Wilderness (Are we lost? Nearly all the time. Do we stumble? Frequently!). But thrown into the dust at least the moment of badness ends. We come, if only momentarily, to our senses and walking on, past the old familiar Ritual Fictions, there is the possibility that we may resist the impulses to taste the sweat on the cheeks of the wrestling men, to lick the ink on ones fingers or to eat the pages upon which the words are written, and that we may walk on, in the compassionate company of those whose extended hands exert a restraint over present time, waiting for the cessation of views.