“Your heart’s beating so fast!”
Because it’s running past each new present, fleeing to a future that might be, maybe, just like the past.
Because it’s lashing out, pounding at your head that shouldn’t be there.
Because it’s breaking out, bursting through to embrace you.
Because my blood is fire, and my entire flesh a burnt offering to your eyelids.
“Because I want you.”
[…] I felt so bad yesterday I fled to the attic bedroom of a wonderful new friend and watched Waking Life and laughed a lot and had holy moments in the half light. […]
Desire is [hell]fire, and it burns, and you burn with it if you identify with it.
I haven’t felt this miserable in a long time. And I know how fucking stupid it is. Just two months ago I was immune to everything. I hate and love this slavery to desire.
I sit enchanted,
Exclaim to a friend,
‘Look at that power!—
They all are in her thrall!’
I sit before you,
Our knees interlock,
I am devouring you
With my knees;
You tell me all about Taiwan.
You rest against me,
Sleepy cold and
Friends are leaving; I say,
‘Come and see my room?’
You are warm
Against my body,
Crying out at midnights,
Am immune to your bite.
I am far gone,
In God or something greater;
I give you my flesh
I am lost
In a tangled morass
Of long, black hair:
Is God this dark abyss?
I dream of cheetahs
Horses being tortured;
I find glistening black
Strands of you
In my bed.
I sit despondent—
Again you are dancing—
Your eyes do not meet mine;
My eyes are starving.
You say, ‘I do not need you’.
You are sleeping in my bed,
Fingers in my hair;
I stare at your still, sweet lips…
You are devouring me.
Sometimes suffering is like consuming flame but other times it is like a dully glowing coal resting in the palm of your hand, and you know you can hold it, despite the pain, and resist the urge to throw it away. But if you can simply hold it you can examine it and let it be exactly as it is, and you see its beauty—maybe just in glimpses—the same beauty you see when you look back on your pain once you’ve passed it. This coal would be a precious jewel if you could simply hold it. I like this unconsuming heartache.
“Man’s great affliction, which begins with infancy and accompanies him till death, is that looking and eating are two different operations. Eternal beatitude is a state where to look is to eat.”
— Simone Weil
“Where the world comes in my way—and it comes in my way everywhere—I consume it to quiet the hunger of my egoism. For me you are nothing but my food, even as I too am fed upon and turned to use by you.”
— Max Stirner
Hell is consuming flame and Heaven is illuminating light. To eat destroys the object and to merely see leaves the subject unsatisfied. To eat is to be eaten, to be cooked as food is cooked. Stirner is at least more honest than most people, though not most honest of all people (Weil comes close).
To comprehend, to consume, to cook… “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Even to merely judge is to consume and encompass one’s neighbour.
In Christianity there is the notion of Christ as bait for the Devil or Death. Death swallows him because he is human, but because he is God he poisons or explodes Death. The consumption of the Eucharist is similar: you swallow Christ that Christ may swallow you.
Adyashanti: “The part of you that wants to be enlightened will not be around when you are enlightened.” The desire for enlightenment as bait for the ego.
Platonic love (in Plato’s sense): you endure mere seeing until something else—something spiritual—starts to feed you.
To merely see is to wait for grace, is to be open to grace. It hurts because until grace comes, it is starvation. But grace may also come in the food, if the food is bait.
These realisations are incredibly reassuring. Truth is somehow within me. If I find truth it will resonate with me, because it is already a part of me: it will recognise itself and rejoice. Sin is insincerity, and this insincerity can be felt, if we are attentive. Sin is insincerity! Faith must be based on sincerity, or else it is worthless.
In another sense it is all extremely difficult. Because sincerity demands embodiment: truth wishes to consume us. It wishes to annihilate everything that is false about us, which is most or maybe all of what we think we are.
And it seems that insincerity is the essence of sin. In the Gospels, the most accursed character is Judas—the traitor. Obviously the essence of betrayal is insincerity, but it goes in two directions. First is the insincerity to the other: the loyalty pledged and broken. Second is the insincerity to self. Judas was a disciple like all the others, and like all the others he knew who Jesus was (not only innocent and good but, perhaps, God).
To betray an innocent person requires a huge degree of self-deception (not only are you failing to embody your deepest truths, but often we try and trick ourselves, intellectually, that such a thing is justified) but to betray who you know to be God requires infinite self-deception. The other disciples were just as weak and imperfect: witness their fleeing at his capture or Peter’s triple denial. Judas was the same as them in all ways except the critical point that he betrayed Him.
The other Gospel villains: Pilate and the Pharisees. The Pharisees are hypocrites, and Pilate knew Jesus’ innocence, and even wanted to save him, but caved in to the cries of the crowd. Models of insincerity.
And Satan prefigures Judas. He knew he had no right or even ability to overthrow God (how could he, glory of God’s creation, not have had this knowledge?), yet he must have deceived himself to do so. This is true to life: when I want to do something I know I shouldn’t (because, on sober reflection, I see it is immoral or ultimately detrimental) I deceive myself—through dishonest rationalisations I try to regain the rest and unity of being that sincerity signifies. I wish to create a new truth and abide in it (as Raskolikov wishes not only to commit his crime, but to be the type of person who can commit it).
If insincerity underlies even the noblest actions it nullifies them, or worse. Simone Weil speaks of atheism as purification: “Religion in so far as it is a source of consolation is a hindrance to true faith; and in this sense atheism is a purification.” If you believe something because it comforts you, this is insincere, a self-evasion, and thus worthless.