why no one gets tight with the geek
The '92 text follows, after a list I sent out in '89 in case it was the doomsaying that had put people off and the flip side stood a better chance.
First the good news.

1)  Yes, there's a God.

2)  Yes, the end is near.

3)  Redemption is in rock and roll.

No, no magic in it but otherwise this is syllogistic; if 1 and if 2 ('the end' being apocalypse, simultaneity of doom and redemption), then rock, rather than endeavors which might seem better suited, recognized the penultimate and played prophet.
4)  This is a natural world.
No magic anywhere, with matter and spirit separate:  the spirit is to do justice and love kindness, to do to no one what you hate done to you, the law and the prophets, real but without entity or energy, material notions.
5)  The soul is a metaphor for the self.
We are physical but fashioned to behave as if we were spirits clad in matter.  The metaphor is adequate (in every conceivable sense precisely as if) and requisite:  there is no objective answer to the question of the self and other metaphors are flawed but this one covers all the ground.
6)  The human is the condition of creation.
With creatures born blank and drawing conclusions, poof!paradise produces a dilemma requiring something very like humanity for resolution.  Since this had to happen anyway that didn't, but this had to happen just as if it had:  the theodicy is a metaphor for creation.
7)  The condition is domestic.
Humanly, the spirit is implicit in simple relation, given as absolutes the autonomy of the self and the equivalence of the other.  Held in conjunction they preclude nonsense.
8)  Snarks are boojums.
Heisenberg's principle for metaphysics is ineffability (you can't put your finger on it because it's not it with your finger on it), so anything with fingerprints on it can't be it but even though God told the prophets long ago never to forget the fool who carves and then worships an idol, reductionism remains appealing, ambiguity appalling.  Progress is not in the rising tide of civilization but exodus at eversubtler levels and finally detachment, exodus however volitional risky or worse and entailing a definition of the self diametric to the center.  Thus the human is articulated.
9)  The Passion was a play the first time.
As Rome and Israel collided millennia ago the man who thought he was messiah died and his friends insisted they had seen him later.  With its elaborate context the story was bound to play Rome, and by a paradigm shift on the road there to undergo a specific rewrite, to become a deicide.  The rest is history but there is in the drama after its metamorphosis (encoded as surely as a caterpillar's) a givenness beyond its appeal to the mind, to the psyche, beyond its agency in the ensuing eons:  deicide had not happened, but it would, much later, when a people who'd waited ages for messiah didn't know him when he came, despised him and then killed him or stood idly by--and failed to recognize him even when he returned miraculously to life.  The gospel prefigures Auschwitz and the rebirth of Israel.
10)  Judaism is true.
Immortality is not lost with the soul as an entity but enabled naturally by the metaphor:  personality contained in the brain's configuration can be transferred in a twinkling from extinction to the moment of redemption, each death at the end of time.  There is no afterlife (somewhere else), but only life (here)--and this is prelife, tunnel to the world to come, not for everyone but the rule is simple:  choose life.


posted 1/1/01
updated 2/23/02