IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD
~ In the Court of the Crimson King ~
- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Intro: The Schizoid Man
pg. 2 - Night Sounds
pg. 3 - Welcome to the Machine
pg. 4 - The Laboratory
pg. 5 - Agamemnon
pg. 6 - Prometheus
pg. 7 - Paranoia's Poison Door
pg. 8 - Projective Identification
pg. 9 - The Promethean Rebel
pg. 10 - Aries and the Emperor
pg. 11 - Mirrors
pg. 12 - In the Beginning was the Word
pg. 13 - Death Seed
pg. 14 - I Talk to the Wind
pg. 15 - Said the Straight Man to the Late Man
| pg. 16 - Epitaph
pg. 17 - Apollo
pg. 18 - The Fate of All Mankind
pg. 19 - Malkuth
- page index -
The Instruments of Death
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including March for no Reason and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
"And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven."
- Genesis 1:20
"The ragged, thread-bare experiential fabric of modernity is blighted by a thirst for wholeness, a hardly tolerable waiting for the spiritual desert to be watered by a sudden cloudburst and burst into radiant blossoms of significance."
- Rebirthing the West: Time, Modernity and Fascism
As our narrator's ego defenses weaken and he moves ever closer to the inevitable confrontation with the other, the cool detachment of
I Talk to the Wind
gives way to the operatic despair of
. The individual is at another crisis point, very unsure that we/he can make it on the strength of knowledge (the Thinking function) alone.
"The wall on which the prophets wrote
Is cracking at the seams."
The "wall" represents the foundation of belief.
"Heidegger found temporary accommodation in medieval theology, but by 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War when the very edifice of Western civilization itself seemed to many to be collapsing, he became increasingly concerned in his lectures with the consequences of the shattering of the cosmological unity of the Middle Ages by the Renaissance, since which, in his words, ‘the old heaven has fallen.
The term ‘modernity’ is a concept which implies the qualitative change in the cultural habitat of the Europeanized world which gradually came about once the relative unity, coherence, and self-evidence of Christian cosmology started breaking down. In the process the West for the first time drifted itself irrevocably apart from all ‘traditional societies’, as if movements of tectonic plates had torn a vast continent from the primordial landmass of Gaia. Already the breakdown of the earth-centred view of the world under the influence of heliocentric theories had caused the 17th century poet John Donne to lament in his An Anatomie of the World the shattering of a homogeneous and shared cosmology in terms of spiritual confusion and the collapse of the social order."
- Rebirthing the West: Time, Modernity and Fascism
The "wall" is also a dam holding back the instincts, Eros, the unconscious.
"The living subject is relegated to the background, to the unconscious, from whence it can only "speak" through gaps or cracks in the ego's totalitarian control apparatus--that is, through the lapses known as Freudian slips, or dreams, or symptoms."
- Fairbarn and the Origin of Object Relations
The song begins with a drum roll, suggesting the thunder preceding a storm or the momentum of building flood waters. As the wall of dogma (external control) "cracks at the seams" a vast torrent of feeling is released from its prison. Like the rain in the biblical story of the flood, in
the mellotron, representing water, appears for the first time.
Upon the "wall" is written the prophet's words, the Logos.
"Far too little attention has been paid to the fact that, for all our irreligiousness, the distinguishing mark of the Christian epoch, its highest achievement, has become the congenital vice of our age: the supremacy of the word , of the Logos."
- The Essential Jung
And here again we are confronted with man's fundamental flaw, his "Fall": confusing the symbol (Word) for the thing itself.
"But of all other stupendous inventions, what sublimity of mind must have been his who conceived how to communicate his most secret thoughts to any other person, though very far distant, either in time or place? And with no greater difficulty than the various arrangement of two dozen little signs upon paper? Let this be the seal of all the admirable inventions of man."
"Because in our brief lives, we catch so little of the vastness of history, we tend too much to think of language as being solid as a dictionary, with granite-like permanence, rather than as the rampant restless sea of metaphor that it is."
- Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
"The fallen world is the object of language. It follows that our being in language is our being in sin. This does not mean that we can live other than in language, but rather means that we must live in language so as least to miss the mark. The poet's work is revelation of the divine. The poet allows us to live in language so that we may least miss the mark. The poet forms language so that it is the closest to nonlanguage. The poet makes use of, and perfects, those elements in language that are not of language. There is a possible accumulation in language, a materiality, a hard rhythm at the heart of language that is heard best by the poet. The poet follows this rhythm until language breaks and cracks, having reached the top or the bottom, the left or the right, the backwards or the forwards, the inside or the outside, or the temple or the frontier of its range. Our salvation through language comes from the heart of language, but the heart of language beats outside of language. This is the hardest truth to really understand. Poetry is an art, as is carpentry. The poet is in service to revelation. How do we know that we have fallen? Poets have taught us so. For poets follow the most holy and the most sinister of callings. We know that we have fallen because of the revelations that reveal the heights from which we have fallen. Revelation allows us a glimpse of unfallen materiality, of the sacred body of Adam and Eve before the Fall. We know of the Fall only because we have glimpsed at least something of the height from which we have fallen."
- Eric Mader-Lin, The Clay Testament
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"Upon the instruments of death
The sunlight brightly gleams."
The sun as consciousness. The harsh glare of logic. The dominance of the Thinking function implicated in the tendency to wage modern war and in the "death" of the Self (the disunion of the four functions).
"Each character, prop, and event in the tarot --traditional or contemporary-- is a symbol of something else, something deeper and more profound than the obvious pictograph... The sword, which certainly looks like a Medieval prop, is also read as Intellect, which like the sword is a dangerous tool that cuts both ways."
- Tarot: A brief history
"When every man is torn apart
With nightmares and with dreams,"
"...if you want to complain about feeling torn apart, then you would do better to lament the fact that the world itself has been rent in two. Since the heart of the poet is the centre point of the world, in the present age it has been reduced to a pitiful state. Anyone who boasts that his heart has stayed whole, is only confessing that he has a prosaic heart tucked away in a corner out of harm’s way. My heart was torn apart by the great rip in the fabric of the world, and it is precisely for this reason that the great gods have bestowed their favour on me before many others, and considered me worthy of the martyrdom of the poet."
- Heinrich Heine, 1828
"Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity; for this he was punished with an eternity of torture. When Rimbaud describes the poet as a thief of fire, he means that the poet is a martyr, sacrificing himself to give humanity magical power. Somehow, he seems to imply, the reader of the poetry can experience a bit of divine magic, without the anguish of stealing it from the land of the gods. To put it more concretely, the poetry can loosen the bonds of language and perception, of consensus reality, on the mind. The poetry is not a static artifact but an active, dynamic process; and once it enters the mind it sets to work at changing it."
- Unification of Science and Spirit
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