Sunday, 7 February 2010

Horror and the European

Well it's been quite a while since I posted here, having been concentrating on my other blog. One issue I thought about though while Israel was race. Of course, this was prompted by the writings and thoughts of the African Hebrew Israelite Community. Ben Ammi's typifying of 'Euro-Gentile' culture, stemming from Greco-Roman culture and being essentially corrupt, damaging to the human spirit, in contrast to their own very positive and forward-thinking (and essentially holistic) lifestyle made me contemplate whether there are indeed any essential differences between white and black or European and African patterns of thought and approaches to the world. I wouldn't want to make any such statement myself (because such massive generalities would be intrinsically false and bound only to mislead) but while at Neot Semadar I had the time to read Collapse IV, the first article of which is George Sieg's article on the self-referentiality of horror. In this he analyses Zoroastrian traditions and HP Lovecraft to argue that horror is inseparable from the Aryan racist drive to purity. This article struck some chord with the thoughts I'd been incubating for the previous month. I'll record here what I wrote in my journal for posterity, not as a statement of any formulated belief or position I'd necessarily want to be associated with - just as an example of where some ideas can lead.

Horror, Sieg argues, is fundamentally dependent on reason: its emotional power depends on fixation upon more than what is currently present. In this it is an abject suffering based on the possibility of thinking beyond the immediate. It depends on concept-thought, on the capacity to abstract. Animals, he argues, cannot be horrified, only terrified. Horror, as the film genre can best suggest, is based on that which is not present but implied.

It occured to me while reading this that European culture could be typified by these qualities: the drive to abstraction, to concept-thought over and above contextualised or humanised thought. Ever since Greek times, Europeans have automatically strived to disassociate thought from matter; divine from life; pure from impure. This is precisely what Ben Ammi and his followers set out to address. Their lifestyle firmly relocates thought and holiness within the world and life as lived. Separation is the crime which European society has created. In religious studies we call this immanence.

In the dark pagan underbelly of western, Aryan-caucasian society, we have always had a clear and vivid conception of the horrific, of evil. Often this has been projected onto other humans, and has allowed us to treat other humans in ways unthinkably evil and horrifying. In our fear of other cultures, the unknown, the other, we have objectified them and sought to cartharise our fear onto them.

If the Aryan-caucasian is defined by abstraction, by logic and intellect divorced from the world and life, our capacity to feel, intuit and create horror is a part of our racial make-up, inseparable from our minds and thought-processes. To objectify the world, to think in terms of death - the Living God compartmentalised, boxed out of existence as the Shi'ur Qomah tradition (a Jewish one, oddly enough - though Bem Ammi would argue not Hebrew) does so beautifully. The holistic world disappears, that of life and action and emotion, surrendered for a thousand classifications, philosophy, science and reason, new methods to kill either physically or intellectually. In our science, life itself becomes an accident; consciousness an illusion and free will and morality anachronistic dreams from a long forgotten adolescent innocence.

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