Saturday, November 29, 2008

revision to "Judgement in the Divine Court", 2

As I mentioned in my previous post, here is the first normspell translation of the poem, II. Juj Men in the Divvine Korten. Really, normspell and stevespell are old terms that don’t do justice to the transformation of language going on in my current poetry. I am not merely altering words and grammar and spelling for their own effect. I am composing, in one text, multiple statements with divergent meanings embedded into each other.

I am not aware that anyone else is doing anything even remotely similar in English. I do not say that with arrogance. What I am doing may be a total waste of your time. Even so, my experience in writing it has a unique and elevating quality to it. It seems to be forcing me to understand the world in an entirely new way.

You know that “new way.” You’ve heard it a thousand times before, but not quite like this. We must learn to see the world from multiple perspectives. But I’m not saying that we merely need to see the multiplicity. We must integrate those perspectives, allowing mutual admissibility, not just of what is compatible, but of what is contradictory. I am not talking about juxtaposition. Juxtaposition does not require integration. Nor does it require moral judgment. We juxtapose and we pick and choose. We juxtapose and we become relativists.

I am talking about formulating an intellectual and spiritual foundation for a diverse society, that is able to draw the borders between acceptable individualism, and the depredations of extremism. To achieve this, we must restructure the way we think. It is not enough to be well-read. Bigots can be well-read. It is not enough to be open-minded. Naive fools can be open-minded. We must see broadly, and then process what we see in a more integrated and critical/self-critical fashion.

I offer this writing as a possible model. Perhaps it is a good one; perhaps not. Well, what of it? But if Western society does not succeed in this venture, the great experiment of democracy and individualism will fail. And the likes of the 10 men in Mumbai that murdered hundreds will usher in our new world.

II. Judgement of our Divine Courtship

From their heavenly realms the Prophets of the Ancient of Days
Observe the worlds that they have bestirred.

Moses and his sanhedrin of disciples sit;
They, the human generation of Adonai.
From Yehoshua and Shmuel to Ezra and Malachi
Their court dictates through Israel, God’s beloved.
Tremulous, the people try to obey,
But even though their Soul is of the Messiah,
Its presence whispers so nebulously,
And this earth is so brash. What can they hear?
     Accept Israel for the sake of unity,
     And their word will extinguish the interfering worlds!

And into visionary fields, fallow and fertile,
In scorn, men went from the Temple to plow;
These two in caustic soil up to their teeth:

Jesus, his lone and enchanting voice,
Bits of abstract tales in a language unknown.
But his minions imagine his words are clear,
That he speaks a language that corresponds to what they hear.
They trample and stampede in their dreamlike hearing,
But when they will wake, they won’t believe a word.

From his tome of God-war comes the echos of Muhammed
Repenting. Hear his terrible groans,
His twisting and shaking from hate-full wisdom:
     “By my faith I have bred a house of pollution.
     “My book is a plan to build warrens of hate.
     “The jihad verses see a world so corrupt –
     “What a dim view of the holy Soul.
     “To carve into my children a realm of peace,*
                                                  *“Dar el Islam
     “Behold the bloody knife that I bear!
     “Islam itself is the Dar el Harb.*
                                                  *”region of war”
     “To my Lord I have drawn them in brutish garb.”
Muhammed has turned his back on the soul
Of his generations. Till their will is broken,
He will intercede, that their work will fail.

Friday, November 28, 2008

revision to "Judgement in the Divine Court"

Working on the translation of the poem I posted on 11/19/08, II. Juj Men in the Divvine Korten, I could clearly see that parts of the stevespell version needed significant revisions. Here is the poem with those revision. Tomorrow, 11/29, I will post the first of the 2 translations I made into normspell. I expect to follow that with the second translation on 11/30.

II. Juj Men in the Divvine Korten

In thaer hevvenz the Proffets ov the Aenshent Day
Obzerven the werlz that thay ar be ster.

Moesheh and hiz sanhedrin ov dessipelz sit;
Thay, the hewman jenome ov Uddoniy.
Frum Yehhoeshuwa and Shmuwel tu Ezra and Mallakhee
This korten diktate in the pepel Yisroyel.*
                    * utherz say “Yesherrun”

All trembelz, the pepel try tu obay
But thaer Messiya Seel so nebbulen a wisp,
And Ertha so brash. Wut ken thay heer?
Eksept Yisroyel tu be yewnaffiyd
The innerfeeree werl thaer Werd will exteengwish.

And intu vizhen feelz, fallo an fertel,
Askorn men went owt the Tempel aplowwen;
Theze 2 in soyel kostek tu thaer teeth:

Yeshuwa, hiz lone and chantee vois
Bit ov abstrak taelz in a langwij unknowen.
But hiz minyenz immajjin hiz werd iz kleer,
That he speek in a ling that korrespon tu heer.
Thay trampen, a stampeen in tromma thaer herd.
In thaer waken, hu ken beleev a werd?

Frum iz tuemz the Lor Worz ekko Muhommed.
Repaenten he, all the terrabbelz groen
Frum wizdemz twisten by haetfallen shaeks.
     “My faet in brooden a hows ov polute
     “My bouk iz a plaen ov worren a hate.
     “The jehod versez a werld so kerrupt,
     “My dimma vew ov the holee Seel.
     “Tu karv owt my chieldz a relm a pees;
     “Behoeld the bluddee nife that I bare!
     “Islom it sellz the Dar el Herd.
     “Tu this Lor I am drawn in brutish werd.”
And Mohommed iz tern hiz bak on theze Seelz
In hiz jennerratenz, till strikken thaer will.
Thaer worken he innerseed that it fael.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

new work for Pardaes Dokkumen, 4

Continuing with the stevespell version of the poem of 11/10/08, which I have renamed I. A Frakten Targoum in Owwer Divvine Korten, and which I have translated into 2 normspell versions on 11/11 and 11/12, this:

II. Juj Men in the Divvine Korten

In thaer hevvenz the Proffets ov the Aenshent Day
Obzerven the werlz that thay ar be ster.

Moesheh and hiz sanhedrin ov dessipelz sit;
Thay, the hewman jenome ov Uddoniy.
Frum Yehhoeshuwa and Shmuwel tu Ezra and Mallakhee
This korten diktate in the pepel Yisroyel.*
               * utherz say “Yesherrun”
All trembelz, the pepel try tu obay
But thaer Messiya Seel so nebbulen a wisp,
And Ertha so brash. Wut kan thay heer?
Exsept Yisroyel be yewnaffiyd
The rebbellen werl will exteengwish thaer Werd.

And thoze hu brake raenk, Yesh and Muhom:

Yeshuwa, hiz lone and chantee vois
Telling abstrak taelz in a langwij unknone.
But hiz minyenz immajjin hiz werd iz kleer,
That he speek in a ling that korrespon tu heer.
Owt thay trampen in a stampeed herd
And behiend them, hu kan beleev a werd?

And up in hiz plase sits the Proffet Muhommad
Ash on hiz hed and a terrabbel moen.
So perverten hiz wizdem the haetfill immom.
     “My bouk iz now a breeder ov slum.
     “My gran dezine iz a worren a hate.
     “But now I See the evel a jeehod,
     “And the dimma so dim and korrupt a law.
     “Behoeld! I sot for the relm a pees
     “And see it iz ware Izlom haz no reech.
     “And Izlom itself be the Dar el Herd.
     “Fals and unfaethfill my rath ov werd.
And Mohommed iz tern hiz bak on the Seelz
That he iz kallen forth, till brake he thaer will.
Thaer worken he innerseed that it fael.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

new work for Pardaes Dokkumen, 3

And here is the 2nd translation of the poem I. Tranzskripten the Divvine Kort, which was originally posted on 11/10/08. See my notes on 11/11/08 that preface the first translation.

I. From the Transcriptions of the Divine Court

Seeing heavenly signs, those that await
The great Tekoun*, prepare their bodies          * Repair/Redemption
In prayerful meditations. Then courage arises,
And they ascend in their enthroning Lore.
With present evidence and clarifications,
They conclude,
     “I am ready to descend and instill a divine will.”

Those committed to living as Jews declare,
     “I am like Messiah, to inherit redemption.”
And thus descend they, and only 8 days later
Cry out their parents, “circumcise, circumcise,
     “For this is the first rite to prepare for Messiah.”
Oh their sadness and sorrows as they confront the marble walls
The inflexible genetics that seal the body.

And those that would be Christian, cry they out,
     “I take upon myself to manage the Lore,
     “What we see as heaven is shaped by earth.”
Ah, how torn and how forgetful
Our life in the fetters of earth’s contradictions.

And those that would be Muslim, they cry out,
     “Send me down in the spirit of war,
     “To the earth, corrupt with harlot and thug.
     “There will I force compassion and peace.”
Promptly they abandon their premise and their Lore,
And revel in war, most angry and cruel.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

new work for Pardaes Dokkumen, 2

As promised, here is my first translation (normspell version) of I. Tranzskripten the Divvine Kort, posted on 11/10/08. This is not just simply the same poem, spelled “normally,” since many of the words in the original, stevespell version have no simple corollary in standard English. They are words presenting a fusion of multiple words and ideas, or they are noun-verbs, a grammatical form that embodies both object and action at the same time. Thus, in this translation, I try to capture one interpretive version of the poem. You will see, when I post my second translation, another interpreted version. Superimposed, the 2 translations will approach the stevespell original.

I. Transcriptions of the Divine Court

From heaven the Souls of those awaiting
The great Tekoun,* prepare themselves          * Repair/Redemption
With prayer and meditation. When their courage arises,
They approach the Throne of the Lord.
Present they evidence of their clarity,
Their conclusion being:
     “I am ready to descend and instill God’s will.”

Each Soul that would live as a Jew declares,
     “I am as a Messiah. All my will is to redeem...”
And thus descend they, and after 8 days there
Cry out to their Parent, “circumcise, circumcise,
     “For this is will be Your writing on me as Messiah.”
Oh their sadness and sorrow as they confront the marble walls
Of this inflexible psyche that embodies the Soul.

And those Souls that would live as Christians, cry they out,
     “I take upon my psyche the yoke of the Lord
     “To understand heaven in the ways of the earth.”
Ah, their tears at all that they forget
When they experience earth’s resistance to knowledge.

And those Souls that would live as Muslims, they cry out,
     “Send me down to the warrens of the spirit,
     “To the slums on earth, harlots and thugs.
     “There I'll enforce compassion and peace.”
Promptly they abandon their promise to the Lord,
To revel in those warrens, angry and cruel.

Monday, November 10, 2008

new work for Pardaes Dokkumen

I have been counseled for many years now, that I ought not to write in altered English (stevespell), or that I ought to at least include a translation into normal English (normspell). This latter advice, recently repeated, I am now trying. Thank you David.

What follows is part of a work in progress called The Pardaes Dokkumen. “Pardaes” is a kabbalistic term with multiple meanings, including: “paradise,” “the garden of Eden,” and the 4 levels of spiritual consciousness. Today I am uploading the stevespell version of the poem, entitled Tranzskripten the Divvine Kort. It is still pretty raw, indeed only a few days old. In subsequent days I will upload 2 normspell translations that converge and diverge as the poem winds its wandering way. You can compare the 3 versions and decide for yourself about their worth.

I. Tranzskripten the Divvine Kort

Frum hevvenz the Seelz ov thoze awwaten
The grate Tekoun*, prepare themsellz          * Repair/Redemption
In praerz a meddattatenz. Then wen kerrij arrize,
Thay make ulleya* tu the Throenz ov Lor.          * a spiritual ascent
Prezent thay evvaddens ov thaer klaratteez,
     “I am reddee tu dessend and instill Hem willz.”

The Seelz hu woud liv az a Jew deklare,
     “I am az Messiya. All my will tu redeem...”
And thus dessend thay, and but 8 dayz thare
Kry owt tu thaer Parenz, “serkumsize, serkumsize,
     “For this iz the ferst riten ov Messiya.”
O thaer sadness and sarroez az thay konfront the marbel wallz
Ov this inflexxen jenome, this boddee a Seel.

And thoze Seel that woud be Kristyen, kry thay owt,
     “I take uppon mysellz the yoken ov Lor
     “Tu see the hevvenz in erthaz sway.”
Ah, thaer teeren and all thaer forgettenz
Wen thay klap on the fetterz ov Erthaz kontra diktenz.

And thoze Seelz tu be Muzlim, thay kry owt,
     “Send me down tu the worren ov speerz,
     “Tu the slummen Ertha, harlot and thug.
     “Thare tu enforser kompashen and pees.”
Promplee abbanden thay prommis tu the Lor,
But revvel in the worren, anger and kruel.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hans Jonas: The Imperative of Responsibility

The following link is, in my opinion, essential reading. It is a review of the book Memoirs: Hans Jonas. As discussed in the review, and as is obvious to any educated human, the twentieth century saw the dismantling of ethics from philosophy, art, literature, and science. And in the process Hitler killed his 11 million, Stalin his 20 million, Mao his 70 million. Genocide persists from Cambodia to Darfur. Yet the arts, philosophy, and science have blinked and turned away, saying ethics are relative; there is no God; this is not our topic.

The core idea of this review is that we can not, must not abdicate our commitment to establishing, and living out, a set of values and moral responsibilities that create dignity and respect for all human beings. And as far as I’m concerned, at least when it comes to art and literature, any other topic is an utter waste of time.

From Powell’s Books, Review-a-Day for Thu, Nov 6: Memoirs: Hans Jonas (Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry:

The following is a juicy excerpt:
In his Memoirs, Jonas dismisses his early work on Gnosticism as a "journeyman's project," and prefers to stress the philosophical biology of his later years, but elsewhere in his work there is plenty of evidence for an intimate interrelation between the two. In "Gnosticism, Existentialism, and Nihilism," an essay that he published in 1952, Jonas suggested that the alienation of the ancient Gnostic from the created world was similar to that of the modern nihilist, with this difference: whereas the Gnostic creation had at least a negative transcendence, the modern one is completely indifferent, utterly wanting in the possibility of any and all transcendence, and therefore more terrifying. Already in the seventeenth century, with God not yet dead but increasingly non-interventionist in his creation, Pascal was getting scared: "Cast into the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I am frightened." But the terror of scientific modernity, entirely stripped of any teleological view of nature, is much worse. "That nature does not care, one way or the other, is the true abyss," Jonas declared. "That only man cares, in his finitude facing nothing but death, alone with his contingency and the objective meaninglessness of his projecting meanings, is a truly unprecedented situation."

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Time is Illusion

As Rovelli explains it, in quantum mechanics all particles of matter and energy can also be described as waves. And waves have an unusual property: An infinite number of them can exist in the same location. If time and space are one day shown to consist of quanta, the quanta could all exist piled together in a single dimensionless point. "Space and time in some sense melt in this picture," says Rovelli. "There is no space anymore. There are just quanta kind of living on top of one another without being immersed in a space."...

Einstein, for one, found solace in his revolutionary sense of time. In March 1955, when his lifelong friend Michele Besso died, he wrote a letter consoling Besso's family: "Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."

The rabbis concur in their biblical exegesis. "There is no past or future in Torah," they teach. Therefore they are not bound by the vector of time and its inherent causality. Thus Abraham is bound by the laws of Kashrut (keeping kosher) even tho those laws were received "historically" 400 or more years after Abraham died, and Jacob studied in a Yeshiva (a school of Jewish learning, especially Talmud) even tho Talmud was not compiled until about 500 CE, or about 2400 years after Jacob died! From a historian's point of view, this kind of exegesis sounds like mere foolishness. From the point of view of quantum mechanics, the rabbis were brilliantly prescient.