Thursday, 11 October 2012

Exege(ne)sis - Friday Flash


In the beginning was the word and the word was God
In the beginning was the wor(l)d and the word/world was go(o)d

In the beginning was not the world, because God was supposed to have created it. Not in any procreative, progenerative way, since there was no conjoining of the sexes in reproduction, unless you buy into the male-female polarities of light/darkness, earth/sea, sky/ground.

The word or the world could not be good, since there was no other moral being yet extant to judge and pronounce upon it thus. If the Divinity is pronouncing his own work as good, it's a little unbecomingly arrogant of such a numinous Being to do so. Blowing his own trumpet as it were and we all know where trumpets and the number seven can lead don't we Jerichoans?

In similar vein there could not have been the word in the beginning, sine there was no one around to utter it (other than the Divinity uttering a 'shezam' or similar conjuration word). In certain Far Eastern theologies, there is a primordial sound, the moment of its first striking being the act of creation itself, from which all life and energies with their vibrations stem.

And God said, Let the earth bring the living soul after its kind; the beast and the thing moving itself and the wild animal of the earth after its kind; and it was so.

There is no capitalisation of 'earth' gainsaying the investing of gender in the manner of a Gaia and yet this is followed by an immediate polarity of the (higher) living soul and the (base) beast. 'After its kind' suggests the generations reproduced through sexual procreation and this is of course the (spare) bone of contention in The Garden Of Eden.

The word 'after' has been interpreted as 'according', that is within its delineated phylum, genus and species type. Genetic groupings are demarcated, yet allowing for theological prohibitions on 'pure' and 'unclean' animals that seem to cross several classificatory elements and forms the basis of the Jews' Kashrut dietary laws. They wouldn't eat animals that seemed to diverge from recognised groups in no matter how superficial a manner.

'The thing moving itself' undermines its own theological dialectic. One interpretation has this being worms and other legless creatures crawling along the ground (the snake of course was not thus shaped until God ripped its legs away in Eden). Modern science also suggests the primary existence of single cell creatures, clustering together into slightly larger aggregates. So something that superficially resembled an eye, though of course lacked for a developed retina and cortical and synaptic brain to function as oracular, clumped together with some cells that provided a degree of locomotion across the ground. Incrementally in time, the aggregation grew in sophistication and the eye was able to link up to specialist cells to facilitate it to 'see', the brain and central nervous system wired up the muscles so that the animal could walk and the rest is Natural History.

But what of language? That first word? In the beginning was the word and the word was Gravity. G-Force.

Of course the first enunciated word was nothing as complex and intricate as 'gravity'. Yet without gravity there would in all likelihood have been no first language, no opening gambit, no referential system at all. For as mankind evolved in among that confusing welter of sense experiences in his environment, there were a few things he noticed followed rigid patterns.

rain always fell down on their heads
mountains always pointed upwards
their spears and rocks would always eventually touch down on the ground
as would their urine (men only)
trees grew vertically
while their shed leaves tumbled back down to earth
birds flew higher than men's heads
scorpions crawled at men's feet
avalanches and waterfalls crashed deafeningly descendently
volcanoes belched their fire and smoke ascendantly

Ergo a brace of things man could stake his tongue with. Up was skywards and down was plunging towards their feet. From this they were able to extrapolate words such as here, there, right, left, near, far, under, over. Me and you as in a spatial configuration. Us an them. "My God good, your god no good". Heaven and the abyss. They didn't just admire mountains, now they scaled them through shared language enabling co-operation and teamwork and preparation of resources. Upwards ever upwards. Eventually they would tunnel and mine beneath the earth and quarry metals and powering fuels. And all thanks to gravity establishing a few regular ground rules.

In the beginning was the logos and the logos was G-d.

If the Greek word 'logos' means the unifying principle of the world, then it cannot truly be translated as 'Word'. For words partition, categorise and define. Words undermine the monistic, the belief in the one, for they introduce and encourage relativism.

In the beginning was the end of the world. And the world was begun (conceived) and ended (divided and dissevered) by the word.

10 comments:

John Wiswell said...

I get in headspaces like this remixing and extrapolating Genesis or the opening of the Gospel of John whenever I poke back through them. It's hardy stuff.

elizabethditty.com said...

I've always thought Genesis 1 was a lovely treatise on the power of language. By speech, we alter the world, thus creating a new one each time. Thus it's good to be careful with what we say. Nice work here. Certainly made me think!

L.G. Keltner said...

Fascinating. This will have me thinking for the rest of the night.

Icy Sedgwick said...

I love the way that you investigate these things, and almost 'explode' them like those old diagrams that explain how things work. Marvellous stuff.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

I love the image of a creator saying, "shezam."

Cindy Vaskova said...

Mind blown! This is a serious diagnosis and literal dissection of the Creation. Great stuff!

Katherine Hajer said...

"In the beginning was the wor(l)d and the word/world was go(o)d"

And two letters were removed, forming the word "lo".

And lo, many more intrinsic contradictory bits were elucidated.

Nice job, and I liked how the wordplay with the fonts reflected back on the signified.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Holy moly! Or should I just say holy!
Nah, this was really quite go(o)d, so I'll throw in the moly.

Brinda said...

Loved all the wordplay, and imagery:
In the end 'And the world was begun (conceived) and ended (divided and dissevered) by the word.'and begun again, right?

Adam B said...

I want to see this as an animated short film. Lovely exploration of language spoken and thought. Brilliant as always.
Adam B @revhappiness