“…there was absolutely naught. Naught was, neither matter, nor substance, nor voidness of substance, nor simplicity, nor impossibility of composition, nor inconceptibility, imperceptibility, neither man, nor angel, nor God ; in fine, anything at all for which man has ever found a name. It is nameless…”
-Basilides, The Revanant
“Whoever concocted the world did so under the influence of monsters, incarnations sired from states of self-reflexive revulsion. Reality is horror – it eats people like a carnivorous fog – a construct so diabolical that man has been unwittingly cajoled into adorning the effervescence of his dreams and his fantasies with costumes of malleable terror: ghouls, hybrid creatures, fused entities, seditious organs and limbs, malignant slimes, mythic decapitations, supernatural possession, psychotropic pestilence, brains worm-eaten with paranoia (insanities of truth)… myriad extremities of man’s dull fug.”
– Gary J. Shipley, The Necrology Interview
A pure variant of Ophidian gnosis with the Archons installed as both victors and victims… or, as P.K. Dick once said it: We’re all in the Iron Prison now and the maker threw the keys away long ago, exiled himself, and want be returning this side of eternity. We’ve been left to our own devices, and their not pretty. Caged in a hellish paradise, a funhouse for the mad and insane, we’ve built temporal zones of insipidity and structures of corruption to wile away the infinity of our dark imprisonment in Time.
A bitter truth is that which draws the voyager on! The world, monotonous and petty today, yesterday, tomorrow and forever, makes us see ourselves as an oasis of horror in a desert of ennui!
“And those of the corruption will be taken to the place of bones where there is no repentance, and will be kept for the day on which those who have blasphemed the demon will be tortured, and will be punished with eternal life and light, condemned to all eternity to wander the abyss of times and times without end.”
– The Lost Books of Basilides the Dammed
We are those fallen, we are the brotherhood of death… this is eternity! Every sacrifice is a reenactment of the first sacrifice, the death of the demon god… all sacrifices repeat the vein gesture of love and catastrophe.
In about 1923, in Geneva, I came across some heresiological book in German, and I realized that the fateful drawing represented a certain miscellaneous god that was horribly worshiped by the very same Basilides. I also learned what desperate and
admirable men the Gnostics were, and I began to study their passionate speculations.
-Jorge-Luis Borges, On Basilides
Welcome to the wars of Love, rather than univocal conveyance and the comedy of sociality, the sacrificial gesture begins in utter catastrophic dismemberment and ecstatic horror. “To those who have followed me thus far I owe a full explanation. I offer an inhuman image of man, and I know that the air about me grows irrespirable. In saying that the bloody fantasies of sacrifice had meaning, I have justified our Molochs at their darkest.” (Bataille, Sacrifice)
We are not offering a renewal of holocausts, of vast immolations in a heap of skulls, far from it, rather an acknowledgement of the inhuman core of our being, a revelation of the monstrous life at the heart of existence. “I am of that number who pledge men to something other than a constant increase of production, and who provoke men to sacred horror. And this demand, in conflict with common sense, must be justified by something more than vague notions about the stars.” (Bataille, Sacrifice)
Salvation, for this disillusioned heresy, involves a mnemotechnical effort by the dead, much as the torment of the Savior is an optical illusion… -Jorge-Luis Borges, On Basilides
A disquieting question still offers itself up to us: How was it that everywhere men found themselves, with no prior mutual agreement, in accord on an enigmatic act, they all felt the need or the obligation to put living beings ritually to death? (Bataille) Even now, at this late date, when we seem to have ended the sacrificial offering and bloodletting we look around us and see it under a new guise, a world of plunder and mayhem, of death and rapture, of throngs ready to obliterate, terrorize, dismember each other and tear the fleshly life of the social body into ruination. We need the dead as much as they need us, without the sacrifice to the dead we stop the world and time: remaining in a vacuum without outlet, cut off from the living and the dead we are ghosts wandering the abyss of frozen time.
Bataille would link the quiet man, the man who lives out his life in the Human Security System, protected and working, raising children, performing his civic duty in the shadows never harboring anything but the utilitarian vision of his country. Bataille would link this quiet man with death, tragic terror, and sacred ecstasy; say of him that living in this world of denial, this false semblance of civilization, this artificial paradise against the truth of cosmic horror he remains ignorant of who and what he is. Ignorant of the inhuman beast lurking in the shadows like a dark force for destruction, awaiting its moment to be set loose upon the world.
The philosophers will not help us, the sociologists know nothing of such terrible worlds. “Discourse on being, metaphysics, is meaningless if it ignores life’s necessary game with death.” (Bataille) He will come upon a truth: It is in the satiety of knowledge
that a man comes to recognize himself in his distant ancestors. It is to the burden of the dead we return to again and again, the dead must be offered sacrifice by the living, the eternal round – the game of death begins and ends in self-immolation. The laughter begins in anguish…
“…the participant in a sacrifice communicates only the anguish itself to me, without lifting it. The performer of sacrifice and its witnesses behave as though there were only one meaningful value, only one that possibly matters: anguish. This anguish of sacrifice may be weak; all things considered, it is really the strongest possible, so strong that were it to be slightly more so, the onlookers could no longer be gathered, the sacrifice would have no further meaning, would not take place. Anguish is maintained at varying levels of tolerance; sacrifice being the communication of anguish (as laughter is the communication of its dispersion), the sum of anguish communicated theoretically approaches the sum of communicable anguish.” (Bataille)
One remembers the substitution, the symbolic gesture, the memory of the act of sacrifice, the burden of communion:
Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.” In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Darkness begets darkness and the demons abound, the eating of bodies, the drinking of blood… the sacrifice, the anguish, the laughter, the dispersion… the delirium:
Man makes his appearance on the surface of a celestial body in an existence commingled with that of plants and of other animals. This celestial body appears at some point of empty space, in that immensity revealed at night, driven by a complex movement of dizzying speed… (Bataille, Celestial Bodies)
Only one sacrifice remains… “Through loss man can regain the free movement of the universe, he can dance and swirl in the full rapture of those great swarms of stars. But he must, in the violent expenditure of self, perceive that he breathes in the power of death.” (Bataille) Death, death alone is our savior, our god, for he is the inexistent, the nameless force of life itself in its necessity – the fatalism of the eternal return. We are dead, this is life.; there is no other… there is no there is. This has happened before, it will happen again. This is the anguish turned laughter in the cosmic funhouse of eternity…
In the first centuries of our era, the Gnostics disputed with the Christians. They were annihilated, but we can imagine their possible victory. Had Alexandria triumphed and not Rome, the bizarre and confused stories that I have summarized would be coherent, majestic, and ordinary. Lines such as Novalis’ “Life is a sickness of the spirit,” or Rimbaud’s despairing “True life is absent; we are not in the world,” would fulminate from the canonical books.
-Jorge-Luis Borges, On Basilides