under the spell of grotesque religiosity...
This is a dissertation by Gus, about a religious article published by The ABC religious unit...
The article starts thus:
On 3 August 1964, Flannery O'Connor, one of America's greatest fiction writers, died. To mark fifty years since her premature death, we are pleased to publish this article by Ralph C. Wood, University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University and author of Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah ...
For we have also witnessed a second and salutary kind of assault on the Kingdom as it is fictionally embodied by both Mason and Francis Tarwater. They are indeed scandalous figures. Yet their offense lies not only in the violence they visit on others, but also in the holy ferocity to which they subject themselves. Only because they have been "torn by the Lord's eye" of divine judgment can they become prophets of divine mercy, bearing away the Kingdom of Heaven, not selfishly for themselves, but for whosoever else will come - baptismally shaming the Devil by participating in the Christian pilgrimage, first in its this-worldly intensity, and finally in the fierce blessedness of life in the world to come.
Ralph C. Wood is University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University.
Brother!!!! (my apologies to people who hate multiple exclamation marks but I limited myself to four!!!!)... For crissake, another loooonnnng tirade by a Christian Illuminati on the ABC... Please, could the ABC stop this avalanche of nonsensical religious blancmange puréed for babies-in nappies, that is being passed-on as adult philosophical thought? PLEASE ! ?
I mean it...!
Yes... we know, the devil exists... Really?...
Despite the strong Catholic beliefs of the author, Flannery O'Connor, the theme and the religious triumph at the end of her book "The Violent Bear it Away" can be ALSO read as a powerful existential journey where things go totally loopy for all concerned because of a young man's destructive madness until he finds a way to rationalise it into an illusionary religious belief. But he is still mad! So by the end, only the dangerous trait in his madness is hemmed in by his belief that he is a prophet, a "feeling" that he was trying to suppress... Total delusion of existential proportions.
"Prophets" often (always) do stupid things — and they use the god umbrella to "tame" their inner demons which they want to share with other people by claiming their rights to promote dangerous solutions, including shoving a stick up your butt till it hurts your brain... "The Violent Bear it Away" is also a rebellious teenager's tale, in a very narrow-minded uneducated environment, and who, like a lot of other teenagers, tends to be an aimless destructive idiot. I know, I've been there...
"Torn by the eye of god... shaming the devil"... What is this crap about?... "in the world to come"? Oh boy... Ralph C. Wood, how can you?... Yes the drowning of someone can be illused as a baptismal event... Elegant Crap...
Only a learned devout zealot writes this sort of stuff... How does a realist deal with all this glorious and fear-inspired nonsense, which has no other metaphysical value but to give a false impression of the future, while often despising this world to the point of being "violent" or by being patiently morose and guilty until the next?.
Wikipedia, that atheistic encyclopedia gives a much better report on "The Violent Bear it Away" than this religious tirade by Ralph C Wood, who of course knows theology since he is a professor of it.
Disclaimer: Gus knows shit but I'm not a professor of it, though I am an expert at the detection of it.
The most obvious theme of "The Violent Bear it Away" is the idea that destiny and religion will dominate over the secular. O'Connor illustrates this well, demonstrating the power of Tarwater's destiny as it dominates every obstacle in its way; the drowning of Bishop is transformed to a baptism, Tarwater's rape turns to revelation, and the secular Rayber fails in every way.
The importance of passion is linked with the power of religion. Tarwater is filled with passion; Rayber suppresses his. Thus, Tarwater succeeds and is redeemed, and Rayber is ultimately destroyed. This is shown when Bishop is killed; when he realizes that he has no love for his son, Rayber collapses.
Actually I am unfair to Mr Wood... Madness is not a grotesque issue. It is a serious problem... And religious beliefs are art forms of learned madness, some less dangerous than others.
Psychiatrists are revolting... I mean they are having a revolution about what they are taught in the diagnosis of mental illness, which obviously the young Francis Tarwater has in the novel. If he was sane, brother, I do not want to know sanity...
Led by the powerful US National Institute of Mental Health, practitioners across the world are in open revolt, demanding that the practice be brought into the modern world and be anchored not in conjecture but in contemporary science.
‘There are many practitioners, including psychiatrists, who wonder about the sanity and the soundness of the enterprise in general,’ says Dr Gary Greenberg, a practicing psychotherapist and trenchant critic.
The essential problem with traditional psychiatric practice, according to its detractors, is its over reliance on ‘symptom-based’ diagnosis. That is, the diagnosis of psychiatric conditions based almost exclusively on clinical observations.
However, critics charge that treating people according to their mental health symptoms makes as much sense as a physician prescribing the same medication to everyone with chest pain, regardless of whether that pain is the result of heartburn, a simple muscle spasm or the beginnings of a massive myocardial infarction.
In other words, it makes no sense at all. The symptom doesn't necessarily tell you anything about the specifics of the underlying cause.
Now you have it: Insanity has CAUSES as well as symptoms. What?...
And this has been the central subject of my big book on depression. The causes of most mental illness can be in the hardware (the brain is faulty) or in the software (what we learn is "stupid" —leading us towards unsafe survival) and/or a combination of both as we soon become creatures of ingrained habits (The hardware rewires to "accept" software madness)...
This shift mostly stems from our "evolution in which deceit was the prime tool of our survival — considering humans have been (and is) a weak species in the natural world" end Gus' quote of his fifth theorem about social behaviour and human defects. Socio-psychopathy — also known here as psycho-sociopathy — is a derivative of this.
Most people, at most time, are in a happy balance of dealing with small traumas to reach for happiness, without having to be sociopaths (sociopath: basically, not caring about others).
At the other end of the "caring" scale, you get conservative-led charities which pat themselves on the back for serving more and more meals than ever before (YIPPEE!!!!) — not taking to account that their Liberal (CONservatives) mates ("Team Australia" Tony) in government are twiddling the economic knobs to increase the numbers of unemployed while reducing the dishing out of the dole. It's an UGLY destruction of the social fabric denoted by the number of meals served by charitable organisations!!!!
This deceit tool is mostly a learnt social skill grafted upon basic human instinct of pain and contentment. Management of this deceit is STILL IN PROGRESS at social and personal levels. Many of our leaders are masters of deceit — say Tony Abbott to name him again in particular — because in order to get where they are, these bad monkeys use deceit (dishonesty) as their main tool not to care about others, while passing the buck. They are borderline psychos who stretch our gullible-self to the limit then give a bit of slack and tension the rope some more... We're mugs to believe them. Actually, we're also deceitful should we accept that this level of deceit is normal. Haha...
By the way, I believe Australians have to give up on their rich multi-cultural heritage since Tony Abbott has declared all flags illegal — except the Aussie flag and "corporate" flags... NO! I AM NOT KIDDING!!!!
Yes, if you're a homosexual Aborigine, you cannot fly the rainbow flag nor that one with the yellow dot on a sky of black above the red earth, anymore... One has to now consider that Tony Abbott is getting madder by the day, covering his tracks like young Tarwater by burning the place down. Unfortunately, Tony thinks he is also an economic prophet as well as a religious motivated idiot... No decent mental asylum would take him in such a disgraceful state. He's even stopped listening to himself long ago.
Look, when the 40 applications and 40 rejections of employment for people to get the dole, day in day out per month was chosen by his team of lunatics in this fair country (mostly fair, apart from the Abbott unfair regime and the unfair merde-och press), it was done WITH religiosity in mind... They did not plucked say 30 days in a month and say that shall do... No-no, they had to go to the majick number of the bible: 40.
As mentioned on this site, god flooded the place for 40 days and 40 nights, and, should you know your babble-bible-bits as much as I do, you would know that Elijah who slained the FALSE prophets (here we go again) of Baal was so depressed he ask god for him to die since he did feel unworthy of the whatever I've no idea about... In response, god send him an angel to twice feed him, so, you've guessed it, he could wander for 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS on Horeb, the Mount of God... Blimey... This is silly and frighteningly close to the bone at the same time...
Kings and Queens have been master of the art form of deceit and we accept this condition because of "traditions" with pomps. But it is sheer madness to accept this kind of rule that has nothing to do with reality of whom we are as a species, just as to who stole the loot in the early days.
Theologians push the same barrow of control with different coloured bricks in them...
"Go warn the children of God of the terrible speed of mercy."
Repent and bow!... You miserable worm, you need to submit, so you can go to heaven... What a lot of crap! It's mostly designed to pinch the cash in your pockets and to stop you from thinking for yourself — and of course to raise armies, with thoughtless indoctrinated fodder...
And some clever christian morons push the concept on the internet, that the Australian Constitution was created at the time of Moses and his tablets, plus an unfortunate revision with the Magna Carta that gave rights of common law to the people because one of the pommy kings was loopy. Thus our rights are supervised by a constitutional monarchy... and stuff the Aussie republicans and, especially, that really nasty Family Court.... Ugly. Meanwhile, "they" spy on us like you would not believe...
It is possible, though I don't know, that O'Connor based her story on actual events and coloured it with the Catholic spectra to show some "redemptive" features at the end — though the young Tarwater should have ended up in jail — and to also show, as a devoted christian, she wanted us to know that all secularists are like Rayber — conveniently failing to deliver a single good idea.
These days, in the south and the mid-west of the US, they shoot people for wearing the wrong clothes... In "them" Tarwater days, they hanged people because they had to find a culprit — and more often "that" culprit had to be black...
I must say, I have met a few younger versions of Tarwater when I was in the US around 1994. White, religious, armed with guns to shoot "black crows" and still below the age of reason... Mad as their own dads and living in the swamps south of Lafayette... Could not drive out fast enough.
..."anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic."
So there is something "grotesque" in this and in a lot of what is happening in the world in the name of religion... The barbaric Isis ( I have succumbed to the new "up and lower case spelling" — ISIS is a scientific programme of quantum mechanics which I am restudying at the moment to get back up to light speed on the latest of this very complex subject) is still anchored in the middle ages, which were illustrated similarly by the savagery of the Catholic Church back then in the inquisition bad days of the middle ages.
The meaning of "grotesque" has evolved from being a benign word about the description of a grotto to mean the demons inhabiting the grotto itself, distorted ugly angry beings lurking in the dark corners, then to such ugly demons without the grotto... which of course decent people don't believe in thus the word "grotesque" had a lunge into satire... In writing, grotesque is thus sometimes defined as satirical "genuine antibourgeois style" that I believe is designed to interest the readers in painful visions out of their comfort zone with less and less laughter, like in an "Arnie action mofie"... with redemption at the end, of course...
The last thought should may be go to O'Connor herself:
"When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathé News. I was in it too with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been an anticlimax."