Who Disturbs My Tomb?! Death and Sleep, Monsters and Resurrection
What to make of inscrutable death? How are we to think around its unthinkable essence? One of the reasons death is difficult to penetrate, is that it is such a concrete fact -- just that big black wall over the subjective horizon, or the rapidly approaching canyon floor below Wile E. Coyote.
What do we really know about death? What can we affirm about it that isn't merely an abstract idea? Indeed, most anything we say will be an infinite distance from the state of being dead, unless we happen to be tenured or employed with the MSM.
At first blush, it seems that death is one of those existential parameters that the mind can never contain, but rather, contains us -- like time or space or sexuality or desire.
Sex and death are intimately related, for if we didn't sexually reproduce, we wouldn't die, at least for any biological reason. Rather, we would live endlessly, except that it would be a horizontal endlessness, which is not to be confused with eternity (which is outside time).
Furthermore, without the boundary of death, we couldn't know nothing, which is the beginning of knowledge. Animals can only know something, but even then, they don't know that they know, because they don't know that they die. Only man can know that he he doesn't know, and thereby clear a potential space for knowledge. Out of this deathly silence will grow words of various kinds.
unKnown Friend says that it is the above form of purely biological pseudo-eternal life that the serpent promises when he tells Adam and Eve that they "shall not die." Thus, technically he wasn't lying, because a vertical lie may well be a horizontal truth (and vice versa), as our trolls never stop teaching us.
In our bʘʘk, we wrote of the extreme unlikelihood of anything resembling human intelligence evolving elsewhere in the cosmos, for human intelligence isn't just a matter of "big brains." Far from it. Look at Noam Chomsky or Paul Krugman. It's hard enough for human beings to develop human intelligence, and if history is to be our guide, man usually falls short of this standard.
Humanness emerges specifically because of the trimorphic situation of an immature and incomplete nervous system in dynamic rapport with an "empathic" mother and "protecting" father (and when we speak of "mother" and "father," we are doing so from the infant's archetypal perspective, wherein the early experience of empathy becomes mother, and is directed into that preconceptual archetype or "empty category"; in this view, mother emerges from baby, and then father from mother -- more on which below).
UF writes of the connection between, on the one hand, sleeping, forgetting, and death; and on the other, waking, remembering, and life.
For example, psychoanalysis has long posited the idea that chronic insomnia can result from an inability to die to the day. One lives by day, but then must let it dissolve and scatter within the death of sleep.
So many people cannot "let go of the day." Instead, it intrudes upon their easeful death, persecuting and tormenting them. Then, even worse, they dream -- or more often have nightmares -- by day, since they cannot metabolize experience by night and wake refreshed and resurrected in the morning.
Who disturbs my tomb!!! That's pretty much the question any new patient brings to therapy.
For other people, they cannot die to the unconscious because of the monsters that lie there in in wait and haunt the interior world. This is a routine result of a traumatic childhood, of things that happened to them -- and more commonly, what didn't happen to them, in the form of a secure and "containing" relationship with the mother. For these individuals, they cannot "rest in peace," because their dream life is like a continuous horror movie, a "living death."
For that is what a monster is, isn't it -- an indiscriminate mixture of the categories of life and death, resulting in a grotesque entity that has no proper archetype? During Holloween week TMC ran the classic monster movies, and they all share this feature of living death or death living: Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Dracula, the Mummy.
Perhaps this gives us a clue about death -- that it is not so much the opposite of life, but a dark form of it. One might say that Christmas celebrates Life amidst death, while Halloween "celebrates" death in life. Probably no coincidence that this unholy-day has become much more popular with the increasing secularization of our culture, i.e., the culture of death (which is by extension a culture of journalistic sleeping and left-wing forgetting).
I remember reading an interesting book -- here it is, Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality -- which suggests that most funeral rites evolved around concerns of making certain that the dead stay that way -- that the corpse is not merely dead, but really most sincerely dead. (The book takes an academic and positivistic approach, so it's of limited usefulness except for the historical trivia, which is at times nevertheless fascinating.)
So, to sleep is to forget the day and awaken to the world of the Dreamer: "One forgets, one goes to sleep, and one dies." In turn, "One remembers, one awakes, and one is born" (MOTT).
In a previous post, I discussed the idea that from a developmental perspective, one may turn Genesis on its head and see the infant-Adam as the creator of God and everything else.
In fact, from a certain perspective, this is how it must be, and to the extent that one fails to understand this distinction, one may well fail to appreciate the difference between God and infantile omnipotence.
Unfortunately, not only is this conflation commonplace, but it might even be the norm. Certainly the Islamist god is indistinguishable from an enraged baby, while the infantile dreams of the left are suspiciously similar to those conjured by the omnipotent and implacable gods of the nursery, whose demands are few: I Want!, More!, and Again!
Looked at in this way, the human baby's shocking discovery of Adam and Eve -- or a Mother and Father separate from the baby, with wills, desires, and interests of their own -- is an insult to the baby's omnipotence. How dare Mommy and Daddy exist separate from my magical wishes!
Therefore the baby-god banishes them from the infantile paradise, where the infant restores his "oneness with God." No coincidence therefore that the way back to paradise is blocked by a coterie of babies with flaming swords.
To fall asleep is not just to give up everything, but to do so in the faith that everything will somehow be cleansed and transformed when we are reincarnated and reborn in the morning. So sleep again has this digestive or metabolic property; which implies that death and forgetting do as well.
And in fact, one doesn't have to comb very far through the esoteric literature to discover this idea, that the initial postmortem state is very much analogous to the metabolic function of dreaming, except that it will range over our entire life, so that whatever was "inessential" is consigned to the flames, while what is essential lives in eternity.
In any event, know that your life is being dreamt by forces far greater than yourself, and not just at night.
This is perhaps the central point of Finnegans Wake, which is supposed to be the dream of all human history within the ultimate Dreamer (wake is a play on words, meaning the wake of death and the wide a-wakeness of Dreamer and Resurrection, in which we fin again only to reboot and sin again). Here's how Joseph Campbell describes it:
"Finnegans Wake is a mighty allegory of the fall and resurrection of mankind. It is a strange book, a compound of fable, symphony, and nightmare -- a monstrous enigma beckoning imperiously from the shadowy pits of sleep. Its mechanics resemble those of the dream, a dream which has freed the author from the necessities of common logic and has enabled him to compress all periods of history, all phases of individual and racial development, into a circular design, of which every part is beginning, middle and end.... Joyce presents, develops, amplifies and recondenses nothing more nor less than the eternal dynamic implicit in birth, death, conflict, death, and resurrection."
To be resurrected and continued....