Edginess and Leading Edges in the Adventure of Consciousness
By definition, the leading edge has always been with us. We can recognize it in hindsight. However, very few people who are alive at any given time have any idea where that edge is. For example, only a tiny handful of people knew in 33AD that the edge of the cosmos was located on top of an obscure hill named Golgotha. That’s probably not the best example, because a Christian would argue that that was also the center and axis of the cosmos. However, even a secular historian would have to agree that it was the leading edge of mundane history as well, of mankind pushing itself beyond itself to a new understanding of the relationship between man and God and man and man. Likewise, the American Revolution was--and is--at the leading edge of history.
The drama of human liberty is meaningless unless it is oriented toward a nonlocal telos. This, as I have said many times, is one of the fundamental divides in the culture war between “left” and “right.” I hesitate to use these words anymore, because not a single one of my critics has ever understood what I mean by them. In failing to understand what I am talking about, I believe they confirm my thesis, because they are literally “in the dark” metaphysically. If you disagree with me, just assume that you fall under the heading of “left” in the larger sense that I am using the term. Your purely horizontal view may, of course, be the correct one. But it won’t be because you’ve understood me.
Leftists are aware of this fact--they know that there is something to this religion business---so they have lately been ramping up the effort to ape the lingo of religion and speak about “values” and the like. But their religious talk is about as convincing as Christian rock music--almost an exact mirror image. The pathetic genre of Christian rock is completely parasitic on the forms and idioms of real rock music. There is no originality whatsoever--it is completely hollow and derivative.
Which is unfortunate, because real rock music that is any good is ultimately derived from real spirituality. It is derived from certain collective forms of music that no one invented, but which spontaneously sprung from the earth, just as the authentic revelations spontaneously sprung from the heavens. Folk, country, blues, gospel--in their original form, these were all spontaneous vertical expressions of the human soul, with no commercial motivations whatsoever.
This is what makes a Johnny Cash or Howlin’ Wolf so much more compelling than any contemporary country or blues singer. They sprouted straight out of the earth. It is also what made the early Elvis or Beatles or Stones so great. They were still very close to those pure musical revelations of the earth, whereas later musicians simply ape the styles forged by purely commercial and derivative artists. It’s like a series of xerox copies that become increasingly faint with each copy. Don't get me wrong--it is still possible to make great music, but only to the extent that one is in harmony with the earthly or celestial spheres (for example Arvo Part in the latter case). If your art doesn't aim at, or derive from, something beyond this world, you are sure to hit your target.
(Obligatory memo to the clueless--please don’t accuse me of being a nostalgic old fogey who is out of touch with contemporary trends. I had no contact with most of the music I enjoy until I was an adult. As a child I can assure you I didn’t listen to Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Buck Owens, Mavis Staples, or Bobby Blue Bland. Only a musical primitive doesn’t know that Duke Ellington or Thelonious Monk--not to mention Bach or Beethoven or Shakespeare or Joyce--are still from the future, not the past. We are still trying to “catch up” with the musical edges they explored. Time is obviously not necessarily progressive, even though progress takes place in time. Regress takes place in time as well, which progressives prove every day.)
Being that the left is as spiritually hollow as Christian rock is musically empty, they have invented a purely horizontal theology. I found a fine example of this on huffingandpissed by a Christian pastor, Jim Rigby, entitled, Christians Who Want Democracy Must Stop Bowing to a Dictator Christ. This is essentially warmed over Marxism--the purest of horizontal revelations--recast in the language of Christianity. I will grant that it is very edgy theology. So edgy, in fact, that it drives right over the edge of the cliff:
“Many Christians seek a white male king. He may be called ‘Pope’, he may be called ‘the decider President,’ he may be called ‘televangelist,’ but the title only masks what he is, a benevolent (or not so benevolent) dictator.”
For the downwardly mobile left, the bottom edge is the leading edge. Jesus must have "street cred." He must keep it real and he must have attitude: “The real Jesus was born illegitimately.... The real Jesus was an anarchist.” Thus, a complete inversion: Christ was not the son of God, the logos, the third person of the trinity, but a bastard and a leftist social revolutionary--perhaps almost as lofty as Che or Chomsky or Arafat.
Yes, “If you want to know why Americans are so frightened and why we are attacking anything that would challenge our dominance over others, read the Bible.” Ah, if only Pastor Rigby had written, “If you want to know why Muslims are so frightened and why they are attacking anything that would challenge their dominance over others, read the Koran.” In fact, I would love to hear him say that in a Muslim country. Then perhaps he would understand that it is specifically Christian tolerance that allows such a twisted soul to blaspheme in the name of what he blasphemes.
For those with eyes to see, America--despite its flaws--is so obviously at the leading edge of history that it is difficult to conceive of where history would be without her. Not so for Rigby’s inverse Christian theology: “So called ‘Christian America’ is still a nation built on the work of slaves. We do not see them because they toil invisibly in other countries. Today’s church doles out bits of charity from booty stolen from God’s powerless people the world over.”
Yes, the World Sees U.S. in Iraq a Bigger Danger than Iran. Well of course it does. “The world” and its mullahs are at one edge, while America and her allies are at the other. Only one side is at the leading edge. Only one of us, as Van der Leun has noted before, has the groove. And they hate us for that. I can't say that I blame them. It's painful not to have it and to have no idea where to get it, whether you're a musically bereft Christian rocker, a left wing Christian off your rocker, or a demwitted cutandrun-from-Iraqer.
Speaking of the mullahterror & dusty old leftist complex: no fun allowed!
"The point of this post is not that Bush intentionally taunted (sic) a blind man, but that his insistence on clowning with the press is undignified and highly inappropriate...
"Bush's clownish banter with reporters--which is on constant display during press conferences--stands in such stark contrast to his administration's destructive policies and to the gravity of the bloodbath in Iraq that it is deeply unsettling to watch. This may be impolitic, but wouldn't refraining from frat-style horseplay be appropriate for this man? Or at the least, can't reporters suppress their raucous laughter every time he blurts out another jibe... the way they did when Colbert put them in their place?"
Right. NO COMEDY ALLOWED, unless it's the angry, unfunny kind that puts someone in their place. You know, like Arab anti-Semitic humor.