I’m super, super tired from last night’s incredible insomnia so bear with me if this seems disjointed.
Previously I wrote about how Jesus was “an anarcho-primitivist dropout and a memetic mutation,” which he definitely was, but I have long thought that there must be something fundamental to the Christ story beyond his having been a religious and political dissident extraordinaire. I’ve had the worst time trying to put my finger on that until just the other day, when an image about this formed unbidden in my head.
I was contemplating the stark contrast between pantheistic-agricultural cyclical time, versus the Elohim-linear concept of linear time kicked off by the Genesis story of woman being made from man’s rib. I pictured a straight line moving forward, passing by a spinning wheel; it occurred to me that these are separate, representing the separation between nature (Elohim-linear) and city (pantheistic-circular); it next occurred to me that the wedding imagery in Revelation speaks to the marriage of nature and city/civilization. The line and the spinning wheel would have to be “married.”
What do you get when you combine a line and a spinning wheel? A spiral; a coil; a helix. What is the shape of a helix? It dips down, then comes back up in a new place.
Just like Jesus’ crucifixion, descent to the underworld, resurrection and transcendence.
The significance of the Christ figure is that he merged linear and cyclical together in his person. His story embodies the “marriage” of nature and civilization, material and spirit, self and other, good and evil.
Jesus was a Jew, a culture that sought to keep itself separate in parallel (read: linear) with the civilizations around them, and which originally recorded the Genesis stories of Elohim, Adam’s rib, etc. His lineage (read: linear) was very important, and is detailed in the Gospels. Jesus’ heritage was linearity. But with the resurrection, he brought the central element of cyclical mythologies into his story. He was not reborn — he maintained his adult age when he reappeared — but he did indeed (mythologically speaking) go into the Earth, dead, travel to the underworld, and come back again — but he only did it once. In this way he maintained the integrity of both time-shape mythologies while merging them together.
Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb again and be born?
What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not [do not be surprised, astonished] at My telling you, You must all be born anew (from above). The wind blows (breathes) where it wills; and though you hear its sound, yet you neither know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
I’m sure everyone recognizes this as the brick bad Christians use to beat people over the head until they “get saved” and get “born again.” Most assuredly that is not what it means.
Rather, if being born in “original sin” means being born into civilization, then being “born again” — “born of the Spirit” in the above quote — would be a personal anti-civ event. I believe the moment of “born again” occurs when you take a hard look around and realize: this culture is completely fucked up bullshit and I can’t do it anymore.
This, too, follows the helix shape, because almost no one comes to this realization without some type of crisis, even if that crisis is entirely internal and not especially nerve-wracking. It still produces a kind of “death” to our culture; followed by a period of searching, which mirrors the underworld descent; and resurrection, at which point the person has constructed a new worldview. The process may take a lifetime, or it may happen in a flash. The shape remains the same.
For lots of us on this track, our anti-civ born-again event leaves us with a deep and abiding desire to reunite with nature, to be “one flesh” with the natural world and with Elohim (Source, the Tao, Wakan-Tanka) as were Adam and Eve prior to the Fall. That can’t happen as long as Western civilization, in its current form, continues unabated; however, it is breathing its last, and the very fact that a critical mass of people wish to build a truly sustainable society in homeostasis with the natural world means that possibility exists beyond collapse.
That sustainable society reflects the “New Jerusalem” of Revelation, the eternal city — eternal because it is genuinely sustainable. The process of getting there also follows the helix shape: stability at one level, descent into hellish collapse, then resuscitation and transcendence of the empire paradigm.
This helix shape — level, dip, rise-to-a-different-level — runs completely through the entire Judeo-Christian mythology and scales from the micro, personal level to the macro, cosmic level. It’s the fundamental fractal that reproduces itself throughout the Western civilizational pattern. It represents the ultimate marriage of city and nature. And we would not have it without the peculiar resurrection mythology of the Christ figure.