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Having declared a belief in God... (1995).

Having declared a belief in God, and God's presence in current human affairs and (however obliquely) human consciousness, I think it is incumbent (in times like these, times of varying styles-of-doubt) to attempt to write what I personally mean by the word "God." I'm no theologian, obviously, nor even an acceptable "cracker-barrel" philosopher. I theorize--and almost entirely in the field of aesthetics. Primarily I write to exhaust language on a given subject, to drive the mind beyond words, so that I can begin, and begin again and again where words-leave-off, veer their references into vision, each verbal connective synapse, to effect that my mind's eye have full sway so that I can commence my work: I am a filmmaker.

I have found, across years of photography and editing, that the verbal can open into the visual, like a swing gate in the mind, or sprung door, revealing plethoras of inexplicable and often utterly unexpected visitations. It is my only excuse for titling my films--that words can announce Light's-life, as it were, and prompt a chaotic display of illumination into Vision...and at the same time can tutor chaos into rhythmic mimic of cathectic thought.

The twin aspects of seeing--(1) sheer reception of the entire fiery illumination of the world, its bounce-light, and (2) cathexis-of-such into visual thinking--can be guided (in imitation of language, perhaps) to co-exist at once and one, like the yes/no or then/now of unconscious process. It is as if that which sparks the meat-tongue and heaves the diaphragm into such shaping of air as we call "speech" can also cathect, haunt, invest light waves, sparkled optics, and the electricity of thought into memorable coherency without any loss of one's sense of chaos (i.e., chaos: "a state of things in which chance is supreme," as Webster's has it).

"Oh God!" "Dear God," and the like, as pleas uttered in desperate nervous extremity, are the signifiers of illumination and envisionment at one, except inasmuch as the words stand shackled to wish. The aesthetic of such prayer might best be expressed "Oh/God," "OGod," so forth.

How can God be defined in our language except as some ultimate compound Good. Perhaps it should be compacted to "Gd," that it be grunt of the flute-throat trapped in the mouth of the sayer rather than social expression...(for as a saying, this word maybe uttered easily immediately after, say, the act of slaying a helpless creature to no purpose; but as a term thrust to the arched roof of the mouth and curled upon the tongue, one would suppose it must adhere, in the mind, to benevolent kinship and Grace in the eventuality of thought).

But as God can be experienced as ecstasis passionately, then one must factor all pain plentifully into any equation. The fevers of being Human, The Wrath of God as experience of life-on-Earth, invigorate any notion of deity with such trembling of the vocal cords and quake of mind as can be heard in barest whisper and felt as slightest thought. Yet this, too, must come to be known as a goodness--even if against all body's sensibility of well-being.

How to picture such?...except, say, classically, as a stasis such as The Sphinx, or baroquely, as does Bach (with bass quaver at-one with theme engendering seemingly infinite variations) or romantically, as "A solid moving through an inferno" (as poet Michael McClure has it). None of these traditional formulas achieve a moving at-oneness. None permit both visible-chaos and envisioned-meaning coexistence (though each, at best, can be sensed as attempts at such resolve).

Fear, as an inward-looking condemnation of history's traditionridden forms, aborts outlook, creates props (defence) such as, for prime example, "subject matter." If the external be subject to one's self, and if self be, thus, possessed by oneself, then all explative becomes such muttering as an echo-chamber might be said to engender: the visual corollary to this word-trap would be mirror-reflecting-mirror's imagery to some supposed infinitesimal microcosm... I see myself seeing myself infinitely from a felt base-stance in diminishing, albeit solid-seeming, variations which, at sight's limit, opt, naturally enough, to be imagined and to be variably imaginable. The inverse of this imagined variability of one's diminished self, would most reasonably be a macrocosm in which one's self-shape didn't exist at all, coexistent with an imagined BEING, larger and ever larger, multiply amorphous shape-shifting of oneself: this, then is the classically baroque romance of self and God which Western aesthetics have engender ed.

Let me draw a bit of an invented glyph. It is, to me at least, as if a drawer (pun unintended but certainly pertinent) in the "locked cabinet" of the page were opened. These (my crude copies of drawings by Miro) suggest an inhabitable space wherein God might be conceived?...inferred?-no!, "might be" (as if uttered) is better.

Why is that?

We are "in God's hands" we say, and sometimes feel an "I am" thus. It is earliest sense of cradling mother being invoked. It is a sensation of imaged space, really--space as protective and comforting touch, as a tremolo, length/breadth surface-and-interior entire self which is, as touch, as caress and reverberating containment, realized by us as movement, an infinitely moving experience (of what is otherwise known only coldly unto immobility).

The axiomatic corollary experience is God-as-stillness, the ultimate sense of deity as all-pervasive and encompassing peace and protectiveness; but this, too, is a feeling of movement, of being so much at-one with an intricacy of cosmic rhythms, with felt radiant particle/waves (as Niels Bohr would have it) in cancellation of chaos and stasis at one once forever.

God dreams a tree, say; and the tree is in the brain of a human, any/all humans--this story a terrible fable to frighten little children into sleep...a tree enfolded within each slept child's mind, so that the dream of God and the dreams of the children are one. This, each, tree grows to a great height which (envisioned as branches) is/(are) in the stars--these heights and branches become the very dreamt limbs which straightway connect the, now, dreamt stars: however, the forms which these limb-lines delineate haven't finally any solidity separate from an ever extending dream-web of God's dreamt tree.

The forms must be named by The King (caught also in all gauze of dream) or by his sorcerers, wizards, poets, what-not-know-alls in/to order, that there be a reality...a royal way, or something that all can agree upon.

For a very long time, while all the forms and then the stars were being named, God's dream was taken for granted; but once the multitude of earthly shapes, and shape-shifting animal life, had come close to being entirely named (the shapes of the sky growing dim in themselves) the remembrance of God's dream began to prompt all dreamt thought; and the memory of that was too terrible for shape-sentient men and women to bear: it, the dreamt Tree of God was become superfluous to the naming game--was in fact terrifyingly antithetical.

Just as the composer Anton Bruckner could only utter the word "Gott" in whispers, so too the reverent dreamer couldn't imagine a word for God in the hush of dream. Some then cursed by way of that term by day and forgot all dream by night.

At all/(any-which-way) turns--MIRACLES...or so it seems to the awake-sleeping/sleep-awake human dreamer in seizure of waves, light-waves, sound-waves the self-generated electrical waves of touch, the synaptic waves of scent-taste or taste impinging on brain--miracles, either as one is overwhelmed by sensation and/or senses chaos. The simplest logic posits order: the basest survival instinct is insistent appeal for order, for primal form: the whole nervous system's constantly jostled continuities and particularities of thought prompt thought's ultimatum--ordered form (to degree of agnostic, atheistic negation/positivistic BELIEF) in "crystal clear", like we say--giving that "cluster" of, then, centered idea the word "God": gender, generatrix, generator, evermore.

It is not, of course, as simple as that, nor nearly so complex either. You cannot say, "If there were no God one would have to be invented", because the absolute necessity for concept of "god" is, in itself, sufficient inference for the existence of a deity. It is the language which complexly signifies. The felt-need-for pervades each personal and all historical Human.

"With a great desire I have desired to come to you and rest with you in the marriage of Heaven, running to you by a new path as the clouds course in the purest air like sapphire": Abbess Hildegard von Bingen (d. 1170), poet, playwrite (supposed creator of "the morality play") and wondrous musical composer...myself wishing I could end this writ with one of her beautiful hymns--the intervals between her sung tones, the textures of her words, an audio equal to Miro's spacially charged doodling exhibited earlier in this (otherwise faulty) script.
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Publication:Chicago Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2001
Previous Article:Geometric versus Meat-ineffable (1994).
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