And many nations shall join themselves to the Eternal in that day

In the Holy Land the three monotheistic religions and their post-theistic secular equivalents collide at the speed of light, propelled by myth and contingency, compressed by the gravity of underlying unity, in black hole singularity. Every fascinated observer who transits the event horizon is doomed to disappear forever, to get religion and become inaccessible to Newtonian rescue, until the day of days that we have all fully sub- then re-emerged.

Prophecy precluded the Jewish recovery of a state prior to the messianic age.  We ourselves, everyone alive, are the realization of the ancient Hebraic prophecy, the materialization, the unthinkable annihilative universalization, of the concept of the Jew, but the Palestinians have returned the Jewish question, of the stateless people, as not yet answered after all.  The Palestinian project, resolving contradictory theocratic and secular imperatives to complete a transfigured national ideal, is thus also a Zionism, but a sequel, not a repetition.

The remnant of Israel had at last succumbed to the temptation to exist as the others, somewhere, finitely safe, rather than always as the other, anywhere, endangered.  The Jewish accession to the nation-state, the adoption of Israel by the world as a nation-state, assertion for the Jews of every people’s right of unlimited and eternal return to a home, in this present year and every year, not a perennial next year, occurred as the extinctive culmination of the nation-state as primary engine of history, and therefore as the announcement of common entry into the global era.  The Judaic messianic and prophetic mission became the objective mission of the world:  The “United Nations” was the name of the victorious alliance, the words having first been put to paper by the President of the United States at the outset of his approach to Armageddon, but they were echoes from the eternal past, of the sayings of a tribe among tribes envisioning entire enlightenment.  By prophetic logic, and therefore irrefutably, the advent of the United Nations of Earth ended Israel of the Book.  The sign, symbol, proof, replacement, and reincarnation of the Israelites would be Israel of the Land, a nation among the nations of the Earth until the end, or an end, of time.

Definitionally lacking in Israeli Zionism is therefore, above all, the Jew:  the “wandering,” “stateless,” “prophetic,” “suffering,” “messianic” Israelite, everyone’s other.  The existence of the state of Israel cancels the remnant of Israel as protectively isolated custodians of the universal.  What for the Jews was the oneness of life under one God is to be known by all – to whatever extent not known by all, not known.

The great earthly powers, habituated in triumph to sorting the lives and deaths and dispositions of millions by force of arms, their own millions of lives and deaths and dispositions and millions more of others, under the nearing prospect of extinction under another great test of might and right, endorsed whatever facilitative removal of the Palestinian Arabs, who were treated as negligible if not as collaborators, old defeated enemies implicated with newly defeated ones and then the new enemies, seriatim, once and again and again co-recipients of the pitilessness that victors have always been inclined to offer the defeated, like so many whores of the repulsed invader turned out in the historical street, heads shaved and thrashed, a relative mere handful new sacrifices to perceived necessity – as we mutely summoned from the Jews their last and greatest, but easiest, dispossession, of their last and cashiered claim to superiority, human rather than national morality, and the last opportunity for the world, which never accepted them as actual inferiors, self-defined superiors, to validate them as no better, even if because once better, now worse.

In a conflict with no apparent solution, the form of the conflict, its material expressions and their underlying ideological or subjective content, provide the outline of the actual solution – the solution already in hand, just not yet comprehended. Saying that there is no solution can only ever mean that we are not yet able to describe the situation satisfactorily. To stand by the claim of “no solution” would be the same as claiming that there is no problem – that the problem is no problem at all, but reality itself.  Yet the ideal, as yet unnameable resolutions draw closer to us in time, violence marking out the distance they still must travel.

Being human means being drawn to seek agreement and assent:  common ground, Holy Land, two names for the same thing.

By the third century of Islam, the idealization of Islam as a religion of reason had been sketched by al-Farabi, and the school of the Mu’tazalites.  It had been dreamt by the Sufis, whose intimations of universality took the form of all-embracing mystical ecstasy.   Simultaneously with this perfect peak of universal Islamism, which was Islamic-Judaic-Greek-and-Persian civilization, Christendom was at its nadir, under the popes of the Pornocracy, the Papacy of Whores, but the wheel could only turn, and, in the last and greatest debates of the Third Caliphate, al-Ghazali locked the “Gates of Ijitihad” shut – the limits of Islamic law and philosophy were now and, it was said, forever set – defeating Ibn Rushd’s reason as essence of the divine.  Before a spiritual counterattack could develop, the Mongol Holocaust de-populated the cultural and administrative center of Islam, though the Mongols themselves were absorbed into the afterthought they had shattered, and were in turn Islamized.  Ghazali’s triumph was frozen in time and carried in saddlebags across Asia, in a format more durable against history than the philosophical treatise. The attached social and hygienic determinations, defensive in the same way as were the Jewish Diaspora’s regime of sexual self-selection and cultural self-enclosure, suited a civilization already at the technologically and ideologically insuperable furthest extent ever of empire.  The Moghuls, the Islamized Mongols, attached one last physical and ideational vicinity to the Umma, dealing with resistance as per custom, but failing at the boundaries to a slogan that erupted in the gap between new and old:  “There is no Muslim, there is no Hindu.”  With these words the Sikhs assimilated present to the past and sketched the future, our present, but the true collaboration of those two great religions was mutual exhaustion, leaving their heirs exposed to the next invaders, who knew themselves as neither Muslim, nor Hindu, nor Sikh, but as destined to rule and profit.

There is no Christian, there is no Muslim, there is no American, there is no atheist, there is no Buddhist, there is no Hindu, there is no Sikh, there is no nihilist, there is no anyone else.

Under a symmetrical transposition of functionally equivalent terms, atheism affirms the oneness of life before one truth.  Christianity had sought one spirit within the bounds of the former Roman Empire, while asserting it as a negation of the material world in favor of the transcendent, the death of the living deity necessitating – allowing, requiring, summoning – the deification of the living in death.  Islam commanded the realization of the divine in human time, in the sacralized society, the Umma.  The New World set the same task before us as a great enterprise. The climax of the European Enlightenment, the political birth of secularism and modernity, “post-Christian” revolution, took not just the form but in every way that can matter the content of the same revelation, and called it “reason.”  The contact of the so-called Eastern religions with the emergent global community also re-forms them in the image of monotheism, dissolving inward totality into the empty objective, equating them absolutely. The particularism of the post-modern project, its insistence on exclusively local or finite meanings within an un-graspable infinitude of Being, likewise converts immediately into its opposite:  Assertion of the universal truth of the non-universality of truth, suspended in Nothingness, is no less a piety, and becomes formally indistinguishable from ideal monotheism with its parallel foundational paradoxes.

All proclaim the fully free subjectivity in the same way:  each individual’s self-authentication correlated with every other’s, objectively.

All justification of the ways of God to humanity is blasphemy against irreligion.  100 million murdered during the two-part half-century world war are a mere handful compared to eternity, but we have no use for the recognition that God and his correlate, ourselves, have always, without exception, seen fit in such ways to accompany, sooner or later have so accompanied, so prefaced or followed, so proved, all disposal of old, beloved, but merely particular ways of life, all preparation and commencement of new, unknown, more nearly universal ways of life.  Without God, there is of course no theodicy, so such justification is only self-justification, a logical profanity:  The name of God unspeakable, His ways not ways at all, the pointlessness of all our woe an obligatory precept, we must not in polite and secular conversation discuss purposes served, affirming that there would not be so much murder, like stupidity, if it had no uses, but now, with our own end to ourselves firmly in our own hands, we at last are compelled to work and fight to the rejection of that “always, without exception” as the true and final impossibility – to render “always” as the past, to give up the beloved, necessary, particular, in favor of every anything at all.


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38 comments on “And many nations shall join themselves to the Eternal in that day

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  1. It’s a wonder, how much you can get wrong when you put your mind to it, Judaism started in Mesopotamia, after a brief respite in Canaan, they end up in Egypt, then after the Exodus, there is that 40 year period of the wilderness. It is in Joshua, that the promise is made, of
    the contiguous Israel, which is much larger than is settled. in the fullness of times, Jerusalem falls again to Nebuchadnezzar, and later Persia

  2. To stand by the claim of “no solution” would be the same as claiming that there is no problem – that the problem is no problem at all, but reality itself.

    This MUST stop. It’s a problem.

  3. @ miguel cervantes:
    I think Hermann Cohen knew his Torah almost as well as you. He disagreed.

    The title of the post comes from Zechariah, and is a peak of messianic “transnationalism” from the period following the Babylonian exile (ca. 520 BC), but the sources go back to the origins of the origins, because they must: They are embedded within the logic of monotheism, and are not dependent on any particular historical-geographical snapshot.

  4. Well I’m kind of amateur at this, I admit, but to study real Christianity, you need to go to the roots in Judaism, the message is clear as a bell,
    and it’s not metaphorical

  5. miguel cervantes wrote:

    you need to go to the roots in Judaism, the message is clear as a bell, and it’s not metaphorical

    That is a mistake based on a misunderstanding of the nature of language, even and especially the language of revealed religion.

    If you want, as you say, to go to the roots of Judaism, but perhaps take a shortcut if you’re not fluent in Hebrew, you could do a lot worse than read Cohen’s last testament (still in the sidebar), since Cohen, credentialed as no one ever before or since, a Jew who had risen to lead the German philosophical establishment in the last moment before the historical squall overwhelmed all boats, took on the task of deriving that “message” from the prophetic sources.

  6. mrs fuster likes to look at shit. that and fingernails. she says that if she examines those things, she can get a pretty decent idea of the owner’s digestion and general health.

    I suspect that the Tsar could probably write a description of shit that would be good enough for her to work from.

    you surely can write.

  7. @ fuster:
    What would mrs fuster have to look at to help the Tsar on Comment #2? We take it as a general attack on dialecticalness. But maybe the frog was joking, or maybe the frog had something else in mind, or both.

  8. @ CK MacLeod:

    The Tsar, as he’s been several times advised, needs to cut back on some of his bad influences.

    when actual human beings actually say ‘no solution’ to a problem, they usually mean that there is a problem and that any of the possible contemplated solutions for it is not non-existent, but merely far from hand.

    sorta like when you’re scuba diving and really want a cigarette.

    the reality is that you can have one, and you can even smoke it, but it’s just not gonna happen real soon.

  9. @ fuster:
    This could get into some peculiar and abstruse semantic issues – my favorite thing. But let’s take the real world example I most had in mind: Israel and the Pals.

    An MWer in good standing and not one of the crazier ones, Shmuel, believes that there’s no solution, and says as much. Therefore, he says, solidaritarians should focus on supporting Pal rights and ameliorating their conditions. In short, though he doesn’t say so, what we see is what we’ve got and all we’re going to get. The supposed “problem” – Palestinian statelessness – is in principle solved, and therefore isn’t a problem at all. They won’t get full citizenship in a state they can call their own, or even in anyone else’s, and that’s the reality that we must adjust to. What he doesn’t acknowledge is that the only real difference between him and Arnon Soffer is that Arnon Soffer declines to look away from what, given human nature and history, that really means – and is a heartless drama queen.

    Similarly, if you’re scuba-diving, and have gone too deep, and are out of air, that you’re going to die isn’t a problem, it’s a fact. The problem isn’t getting air. The reality is you have no air. The problem is what part of your long misspent life to look back on in your last moments.

    I think my definition was sound. What “real people” say isn’t exactly immaterial, but is often sloppy. We’d like to visit other stars, but the fact that we can’t travel faster than the speed of light presents a “problem.” But the problem isn’t a real problem, it’s a postulate specifically meant to define a fundamental aspect of physical reality itself. The reality, according to physics, is that traveling faster than the speed of light is impossible. FTL is not a “problem.” Its absence is what is.

  10. Wow. I know you didn’t have hatha yoga in mind, but as you can understand in retrospect, what you wrote parallels what I believe to be Yogic evolution. Finally, we get to “…in favor of every anything at all.” But as you make clear, that is not the same as “anything goes.” Everything and anything doesn’t go. It just means we evolve to the point that what happens is happening in favor of everything anything at all. There has been one fully sub- and re-merged thing after another until we come to everything anything at all. That wasn’t true until now, and now, for the first time, right at the point when it changes everything and can’t change anything, we have a yoga that expresses everything anything at all.

  11. @ Scott Miller:
    As you know, I kind of know why it isn’t just a parochial assertion on your part that your particular thing is also part of the universal thing. “Yoga” would be another name for the depiction of the Holy Land that I started with, and so I’m going to see if I can find the right place for the word and concept.

    The messianic idea is a yogic (unifying) idea, I think, since it insists on the absolute interdependence and therefore fundamental union of the individual adept and the collective. I interpret your yogic history as an attempt to join yoga to a messianic progressive history. (Cohen proves that prophetic messianism is the birth of “progress” and “history” in the full sense, history as the movement of humanity in development toward the future rather than merely the representation of the past.)

  12. @ CK MacLeod:
    I’m cool with all that. I wish you could remember the knitted paintless painting I made with your help, using the letters SSM knitted out in different ways to play with some messianic ideas of ours. I mentioned it a few months back, but you didn’t remember. This was in the 80s. It became part of a whole installation that was in the living room of the house near the Beverly Center. The room had white cork walls and I put up hundreds of photos around a circular wood painted table that had a high-holiday type plate some Rabbi gave me. Remember?

  13. @ Scott Miller:
    No – sorry – are you absolutely sure that I ever saw it? I have a pretty good memory for unusual works of art. I only ever visited that house a handful of times, and I am not Jim. If I did see it, I was probably either too stoned that day or too self-involved or both… or maybe struggling to look cool (my imitation of it) while trying to figure out how to impress some friend of yours and Danielle’s…

  14. @ CK MacLeod:
    I know you not only saw the piece, but helped me with it. It was the same day you suggested that I make another piece made up of staples. It’s okay. You might be right that maybe you missed the actual installation put together. Another of it’s central parts was a bunch of shaped canvases that formed a fish. The fish symbol related to the whole Christ thing, of course, and sometimes I put some Gifilte fish on the high-holiday dish. There was a place for an egg, and some other things which went along with a ceremony I can’t remember.

  15. Also, it couldn’t have been Jim. The SSM was played with in rows and columns. SSM SMM MSS
    SMS MSS SMM
    You helped me with it so that it related to some Yiddish or Hebrew something or other. Jim would have been no help. It’s kind of funny thinking of him helping with it, given his dyslexia.

  16. There is no Christian, there is no Muslim, there is no American, there is no atheist, there is no Buddhist, there is no Hindu, there is no Sikh, there is no nihilist, there is no anyone else.

    Most anyone else would say otherwise.

    In NYC, we used to have a melting pot till we got a beautiful mosiac that we tire of re-tiling and cover with a crazy quilt.

  17. fuster wrote:

    Most anyone else would say otherwise.

    Lots of Buddhists recognize that it is profoundly un-Buddhist to think of themselves as Buddhists, and Mark Twain said, “There has only been one real Christian–and they got to him early.”
    Not that any of that has to do with CK’s point.

  18. @ fuster:
    If there is no point, then there is no Christian, there is no Muslim, there is no American, there is no atheist, there is no Buddhist, there is no Hindu, there is no Sikh, there is no nihilist, there is no anyone else.

    When the Sikhs said “there is no Muslim, there is no Hindu,” they weren’t denying that a whole bunch of people were running around with swords and holy books calling themselves either Muslim or Hindu and making all sorts of trouble about it. If not for the latter condition, they wouldn’t have needed to defy it. They were denying that the supposed fundamental determinations of identity were fundamental. Rosensweig made the same argument in regard to Christianity and Judaism specifically that Scott’s Buddhists make regarding Buddhism, I think, and that you make when you affirm the “mosaic and quilt.”

    Let’s assume you consider yourself a Jew by belief and heritage but also someone who approves of the mosaic and quilt. Which is really your deeper belief, the one that you’d live and die for, and in? Or are they somehow the same belief or both ways of pointing to the further development – the same destination that from the messianic perspective draws both forward? (Prophecy points to the superfluousness of the Jewish law in the messianic age, since the Eternal will already be on everyone’s lips.)

    Each religion proposes a complete-in-itself perspective on totality. If you’re a believing Christian, Christianity isn’t your belief system or your ideology, it’s the truth. It doesn’t compete with the others, it’s the ground of all, and every divergence from the Christian truth is error, ignorance, heresy, un-belief, or damnation. That means either that all of the others preach untruth or that it’s possible to seek the same truth through different outward forms or with different starting points. Americanism doesn’t say the latter, but its coherence depends upon it as a fundamental assumption. I’ve referred to that perspective before as the negatively syncretic character of Americanism.

    This would be another example of a resolution that is in hand, but not yet comprehended, and it implies at a minimum that Buddhists today (today = the epoch of negatively syncretic Americanism/globalism/materialism within the era of the modern, thought and the universal) and in the light of eternity are also Christians, Muslims are also nihilists. In a shared and non-competitive development from unity toward a higher unity, “there is no Buddhist, there is no Jew” means that individuality, as a co-construction and correlate of universality, cannot be strictly or merely Buddhist or only Jew. “Jew” designates a transitory perspective, an accent or a moment, along on the way to universalization and idealization – and within Judaism itself that goal – all the nations joining the Eternal – is explicit. So when we call someone a Jew, or a Christian, or Buddhist, we are reifying and reducing her, separating her from the whole. The Christian is not “the concept that is there,” but a partial reflection, a backwards-looking refraction, a treason, a human being as objectified part-ideology.

    That’s all I was trying to say.

  19. @ Scott Miller:
    I think that’s it: I consulted with you on it once, you overrated my contribution, I never saw the finished piece. Jim might have. Probably you were forced to take it down for one reason or another before I ever could shamble over there.

  20. @ CK MacLeod:
    Yes, that’s it.
    I also agree with the “That’s all I was trying to say” comment. I knew that’s what you were getting at and while you explain it in your own inimitable way, it’s a common mystical perspective. Maybe even all mystics say the same thing.
    Thanks for the Dr. John CC cc, Fuster.

  21. @ Scott Miller:
    Franz Rosensweig, focusing on Christianity and Judaism, described “religion” as a kind of degraded specialization in comparison to the “original” element of faith. For him, Judaism (or what Judaism was really about) was a “fact” and Christianity an “event.” Implicitly, what was authentic was the capacity “to free themselves from… religiosity,” and emerge “from out of their specialization and self-enclosure behind walls… back again to the open field of reality.”

    Which is what’s different about this perspective from John Lennon “Imagine”-ism, though I think it’s what Lennon is taken or felt to be singing about – why the song is an anthem for an almost childlike New Age positive than a savage attack on anything. When he sings “no religion” he means no false exclusionary determinations, though his words taken literally would be exclusionary and merely negative, and are taken that way by conservatives.

  22. @ fuster:
    I understood that you understood, or thought I did. Figgered you were giving a “reasonable” reaction, and an opportunity for me to expand upon the pointless point. So I took it.

  23. there was no opportunity , you auto-opportunist!

    I look at all you human beings and while you may all look alike, you smell different and make different croaking sounds, nest in differently decorated places, and are generally stupid enough to act in such madcap manner as to give great meaning to the idea that there are major differences.

    there are few things as powerful as a really unreal idea.

    see Art, Sacreligious

  24. fuster wrote:

    I understood what you said and what you meant.

    I retract my song. But check it out. When the harmonica starts and Plant is singing I just want a piece of your custard pie, sing I just don’t understand your mystic mind instead.

  25. @ fuster:
    Interesting article WH, WM. There’s something similar going on in LA now, in connection with a beating of a Giant hat wearing family guy that took place at Dodger stadium. Before the season started, my wife and I attended an Angel game in Arizona. I was wearing a Giant hat–she an Angel hat. After a couple beers, I got an idea. We’re in Arizona, over half of the players on both sides are Latino. Let’s stand up and chant, “Amamos Latinos, amamos Latinos!” We did. The only person we could get to join in was a drunk Canadian. Even a couple of Spanish speaking people near us didn’t stand up. They were embarrassed. Any normal people would have been shamed. Being freaks, we just kept chanting until the crowd was at least impressed with our hutzpah.

5 Pings/Trackbacks for "And many nations shall join themselves to the Eternal in that day"
  1. […] message and promise – but the same is true for ideological Americanism as well as Christianity. They may even be the same transnational message, with contemporary Christian Zionism being the bonsai version of something actually quite essential […]

  2. […] Jewish state. To legions of would-be interpreters of the Bible, these and related events seemed to resonate with or to fulfill theo-political prophecies from both Testaments, providing a background for further providential interpretation of […]

  3. […] hours ago via TweetDeckReplyRetweetFavorite@mattdussMatt Duss That a question – for instance, regarding the phenomenal forms of co-developing Americanist and Judaic concepts in and as world hist… – is easily polemicized is a sure sign that it is too deep for polemics, or for political […]

  4. […] always been the abiding or underlying or natural concept of human life on Earth – see, e.g., “…and many nations shall join themselves to the Eternal in that day”. […]

  5. […] reach this Inside, to “come home” in this way, is to lose touch with the prophetic tradition that prophesied the selfsame homecoming. The new identity replaces the old one, and, where it does not appear as an amalgam of […]

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