The World To Come

1. The Muslim looks back to the past. Historical memory tells him of the time of the caliphate, the greatest moment of his religion and culture, when his empire was most expansive. For him the great moment of the earth has already happened and it is what he seeks to restore: a return to the future.
2. The Western man (secular) looks to an imagined future, to a perfection of democracy and technologically guided economy, in which everyone will have all the latest gadgets and live together in peace with little work, long lives, and never any pain. For him, the earth´s perfect moment is still to come and he need only teach other men to imagine it with him.
3. The Muslim, however, is without a belief in the perfection of life on earth. Perfection is only possible after death. This allows him to live with cruelty and slaughter and pain and loss. War and death are simply features of the earthly life. They put into starker relief the perfection and beauty of the world to come after death.
6. Secular Western man cringes at the cruelties and slaughters. All the world’s pain challenges his idea of the progress of his utopian democracy of consumption and happiness on earth. He has no answer for this challenge to progress. It does not seem possible to him. Without an afterlife, Western man is reduced to nothing if his worldview of progress is to fail.
8. Western man must imprison and declare war upon those who practice cruelty and slaughter. To protect his progress of peace and democracy and the values of consumption, he must practice in a more extreme and comprehensive way the brutality of his enemies. He must slaughter more thoroughly than his enemies. He must expand his surveillance, he must torture better, he must terrorize more efficiently so that the peace may last and consumption and democracy can take root.
11. Verily, the Muslim´s restoration of a once-existent caliphate is a more realistic and achievable objective than the globalizing of the entire earth under a secular democracy and consumption-based economy (never before realized historically). While both are totalitarian projects, the former is considerably more modest in scale. 
12. After Western man has had his idea of worldly progress destroyed, he will return to the idea of the afterlife and perfection and utopia in death. It will be too hard to live without belief in the midst of slaughter. He will need to become religious again. He will believe again and as fervently as the Muslim. He will relearn the longing for death and the life to come.


Scythes and Computers

24. New technology confirms and extends an idea of the world. The scythe allowed man to cut grass while comfortably standing so that more grass could be cut, more land could be brought under his control as a farmer. The subsequent innovations of the threshing machine, the mechanical reaper, the bailer and the combine harvester further demonstrated to man that there can be no alternative idea of the earth. Each new technology gives renewed confirmation to the rightness of agriculture.
28. The computer extends man´s infatuation with the television screen, allowing him to enter it and live inside it. No longer an observer, man becomes a participant. He now lives and plays among the flickering shadows on the cave wall.
29. The shadows are without smell or sound or touch. It is a worldview that privileges the visual. It begins in literacy and Plato´s forms and extends through Gutenberg´s mass production of text. The seated reader and observer has access to a truth beyond time. That he can now play in the computerized shadows becomes the truth of the world.
41. Progress: the periodic appearance of more efficient technologies that demonstrates the rightness of an idea. What he calls progress is the certainty of his worldview. With enough progress there can be no other ideas about the world.
77. The hawks that soar above the city, the tall old growth trees along the calles, that is all that interests me about Botogá.


Beyond The City

"We don't know who discovered water, but we're certain it wasn't a fish."
— John Culkin, quoted in They Became What They Beheld

"In the beginning was the Word, a spoken word, not the visual one of literate man, but a word which, when spoken, imposed form. This is true, as well, of the Eskimo, but with one significant difference: the Eskimo poet doesn't impose form, so much as reveal it. He transfigures and clarifies, and thus, sanctifies. As he speaks, form emerges, temporarily but clearly, ´on the threshold of my tongue.´ When he ceases to speak, form merges once more with unbounded reality." — Edmund Carpenter, Eskimo Realities

200. The great weakness of this age is that a man can speak of ¨picking¨ a religion; that he chooses to believe.

201. Mythology chooses men, not the other way around. Men are born into myth as they are born into a world. Myth lives on in the lives of men in how they comport themselves in the world. As men act, myth acts through them. It cannot be spoken of as something believed.
211. In a world torn apart by naming the gods are reduced and relegated, but so in equal measure are men.
227. Science is not the opposite of myth. As anything else it is nourished by its own mythical bed.

240. The great task awaiting men who have left the cities is to restore a world broken  apart through naming and categories: to see again as an illiterate child; to forget the accountant´s and scientist´s names for things; to see the world whole, where animals and humans, forests and rivers, gods and earth and sky dwell together.
246. If there is any such thing as freedom, it is that which a State cannot make an accounting of.
247. What appears to a citizen as irrefutable and unremarkable is likely what is most necessary to the sustenance of the city and the State.
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