In the current twilight of apocalyptic global affairs, Kafkaesque geopolitical mayhem, and catastrophic climate-change, perhaps it is relevant to take a break from the competition, and reflect briefly on the terror of historical consciousness and the real dread of history through which we are living. Increasingly in this digital and digitized virtual world, we are not merely watching our appliances, the i-Pods, i-Pads, i-Phones, and Mac-Books that crowd out our real living spaces, but we are also spectators in the greater narrative of history being spun around us, almost automatically. Such a spectacle even informs our own autobiographies, as we allow its world historical agents and events to dictate our own worlds, emotionally and intellectually.
Historian of Religion, Mircea Eliade, reported back in 1959 that:
History either makes itself (as the result of seed sown by acts that occurred in the past, several centuries or even millennia ago…) or it tends to be made by an increasingly smaller number of men [!] who not only prohibit the mass of their contemporaries from directly or indirectly intervening in the history they are making, but in addition have at their disposal means sufficient to force each individual to endure, for his own part, the consequences of this history, that is to live immediately and continuously in dread of history.” (Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return, NY 1959)
The insight here is both accurate and frightening (viz., dreadful). And yet the more connected we have become to one another, the more trapped we are becoming; spectators and not actors in this drama of history. But, that was the apparent triumph of historical consciousness; no longer tied to traditional archetypes and myths, but free to explore, make progress, and create history. No longer participants in the great cycles of nature, we were free to innovate, compete, acquire and control nature, rather than be controlled by it. But, therein lies the cruel joke, the rub. Cut loose from the methexis, “direct participation” in the cyclical drama, in the telluric energies of our Pleistocene makeup, and the natural world which infuses and enlightens us – we became rather victims to the vicissitudes of events orchestrated (poorly or masterfully) by great historical actors. We became slaves to a machine operating independently of our “wills,” now apparently freed from the stable moorings of myth, ritual and tribal participation. We became lost in a terrible labyrinth of cause and effect, of significations without a signified, of false flags and false hopes, of pin-up models rather than archetypes, unwitting victims of dissimulation and unforgiving distraction.
We have before us, my fellow spectators, one such player, Baruch Hussein Obama, President of the United States. He is the pen and the mouthpiece, a posterboy for historical actors par excellence. And we, the guileless spectators, are forced to endure the consequence of the fabled history he creates. Not that he alone is culpable, but there is an increasingly smaller and tighter cadre of those who enable and write this history we must endure like oxen in the field. You too work to pay your tribute to these historical actors who thus send off your slave wages to fight their wars and make their history in far off lands. They distribute your wealth (LOL) to the ministers of State who monitor and mediate, mollify and modulate what you know, who you know, and what you say. They watch you, and you pay for it.
No one in this drama of historical creativity is exempt from prosecution. From Israel to China, from Russia to Brazil, from Iran to India, from Germany to Belgium, all states are party to this unfolding cacophony. However, if we listen closely to that particular part of this rhythm being played out ever so loudly by Washington against Moscow, it is difficult for those of us in the West to forgive the constant drumbeat of death, together with the noise and the distractions being trumpeted in our name by Baruch Hussein Obama. The masked Greek chorus has not yet sung its closing lines heralding the end of this tragedy. But surely, it must be hiding, waiting just behind the curtain. When will the dread be lifted from our shoulders? When will the tragedy and the terror of historical consciousness finally be laid to rest? Perhaps, the crisis that has spread like a virus from Liberia to the land of Liberty will point the way. Both Bosch and Kafka would be proud.