Nightmares of Time

“…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!

– Baudelaire

“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


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