Don't want to hear about it
Every single one's got a story to tell
From the Queen of England
To the gates of Hell
And if I catch you coming back this way
I'm gonna serve it to you
It's not what you want
But that's what I'll do
--Jack White/The White Stripes
The cultural-philosophical attitude known as nihilism vanished just after the Russian revolution of l917, only to return with a vengeance in the 21st Century, having resurfaced large in the middle of the l950's. with such magazines as MAD, Cracked, Evergreen Review and even some articles in Playboy.
Today, it's Mad Indies Rock from what appears to be Hell:
I'm going to Wichita
Far from this opera for evermore
I'm going to work the straw
Make the sweat drip
From every pore
And I'm bleeding and I'm bleeding
Right before my lord.
And the feeling coming from my bones
Says find a home
Cut to: Jorge Luis Borges quoting Pascal: "Nature is an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere." And somewhere in his Aleph story, the story about this sphere, Borges concludes that it is a false Aleph.
Add to this the hundreds of comments in Jeff Wells' blog, Rigorous Intuition, and you'll get a spooky sense of the Devil himself, and if not him, certainly the conviction that what sensitive people feel these days is not necessarily Nature, or God, but a group of sinister people who have convinced us that their very brains comprise an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. Call them Illuminate. Call them Aliens. Call them mad scientists and social engineers. Whoever they are (Are they from here? Are they real?).
Their presence is obviously felt by millions if you believe in the the monkey business of Art Bell, George Noory or a host of "moonbat" manques around the world.
But, as Russians often claim, they invented everything, the Prince Kropotkins, the Bakunins, certainly Dostoevsky in his "Devils" or "The Possessed". It is my belief, to introduce an oxymoron, that the Russians invented nihilism.
Nihilism is a condition of complete enervation. It is a loss of faith in the benignity of the cosmos, the absense of laeticia, that joy of life, a sense of futility and ultimately, the desire to throw a bomb. How far are we from Dostoevky's wild-eyed nihilist to the fanatic of the Middle East? And how well is it articulated by our own Rigorous Intuition, The Jon Stewart Show--where he for the first time had a musical act, The White Stripes singing, Get Thee Behind Me, Satan..
Am I just courting comments here? Do I seek a new audience of moonbats? I don't know, except that if life is a tragicomedy, Jon Stewart certainly has a handle on it and Jack White of The White Stripes for certain.
I'd like to take a more positive view.
There is a sense, coming from my own background, of a kind of salvation. The late Hryhory Chubai of Kiev:
and around there was no river
no sea lake
or stream was around
only helpless imagination surrounded itself
with uncountable suggestions
for every one of the flower's eight faces
the imagination surrounded itself and staggered
staggered and fell
and never got up and did not come
did not ask--what time
did not ask--why the door opened
did not ask--where they buried the goldfish
on the sun or on the moon
and it is very frightening when there's inquisition
where one cannot remember the voice
and cannot forget the face
when for a long time no one comes
But, a kind of damsel with a dulcimer finally appears, a Joni Mitchell, an accomplice, lover, Loreli. Chubai goes on:
it's a thousand flowers coming
and behind each one will sit ashes
but someone invisible will suddenly say
CHRIST HAS RISEN
all will turn their heads back
everyone will want to see behind him a fire
everyone saw behind him ashes
someone will suggest to halt the debates
but the invisible on will again say
CHRIST HAS RISEN
all will slowly turn their heads back
not to frighten the one who's behind
all will suddenly hear how on the sea of black pepper
the green waves will turn yellow
all will suddenly see on the far shore a star
which they never saw before
all will start waiting for the tiny boat of the nightingale
that is to take them to the shore
the waves on the sea of black pepper
turn yellow and calm
the knotty bottom will regain sight
and someone will again say
CHRIST HAS RISEN
all will slowly turn their head back
any minute now
they are to see
Well. From Satan, through Easter, to Chrismas. I don't know what I have done here. But Something Important has surely gone by.