Wednesday, August 24, 2005

laughter: celestial and subterranean

an even older email, written not long after having re-read Book of Laughter and Forgetting...


So I have doing a lot of thinking about the laughter of devils and angels. You have Milan Kundera to thank for this. He describes life as a balance between the two, the laughter of angels being that laughter which fill us overwhelmingly as a celebration and recognition of the order and purpose of the world vs the laughter of devils being the laughter at the ridiculousness of it all and even more so at these cackling foolish angels. At their celebratory giggling, skipping through a field together and falling into the soft grass and laughing looking at one another deeply and lovingly, the only thing an onlooking devil can do is laugh at them.

I have been reflecting on this as much as my hung-over head would allow. And one thing that struck me was how cruel and ugly the laughter of angels can be. It is the horrible song that middle americunts are singing right now: we have to support our president, we are there to free the Iraqi people, our war is to protect our freedom, everything is in order. When the angels at the top are laughing it is also a sort of prayer that those further down the pyramid will join in as well and forget who is standing on their shoulders. And most of the people most of the time are only to glad to sing the song, just to be part of the singing.

And we know why angels sing this shit: they like their garden. Eat the fruit and it becomes unliveable. This is what being a devil means; living with knowing more than you are told to know. As soon as you start to recognize what is going on, you are a devil. When you question whether it all is perfect, it isn't eden anymore. I guess this is why the creationistas are so adamant about nothing being questionable or all being false. They are the fools who don't want to live in a garden if it isn't eden.

I guess you are finally a devil when you don't mind knowing that eden doesn't have to be perfect to be worth calling home. When you then figure out how to laugh at the angels running around trying to keep every leaf in place, you can actually begin to live. I never thought that knowing what was wrong with things was reason enough to be kicked out of the garden, and I guess I am finally realizing that it wasn't.

But I guess that is the devil's knowing. The angels know to keep devils out. If they don't, they know they will all become devils. I guess what really ends up happening is that no one lives in eden anyways and fools are fighting over sacred memories. And both sides end up missing pieces.

I guess I would rather be the devil in this kind of world. Austerity always struck me as more horrifying and torturous than anything else. Temptation never really seemed as dangerous as holiness. I think I find more security in the bungledness of the world. It is so much more livable than crisp sterile versions.

I was thinking earlier that the laughter of devils was also the laughter of children. Their laughter comes from seeing things piecemeal and out of context. Angels laugh at the perfect field they are playing in; children (devils) laugh at the turd someone stepped in.

I guess it all comes down to context. This is why they say the devil is in the details. Out of context heaven and hell can't happen. Until you get to tack some value judgement on things, you can do or say anything and it amounts to nothing more than what it is.

ok this could really take off and go on forever, but I can't write any more right now and if I save it to work on later it will take months to get any of it to you. So this is the first installment in an inquiry about angels and devilry.

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