Slimy Wet Darkness
Theology at the Edge of Existence With Majical Cloudz
By Jay McDaniel
Magical Cloudz Website: http://majicalcloudz.com/#/bugs
Gordon Von Steiner Website: http://gordonvonsteiner.com/
National Public Radio Music Website: http://www.npr.org/music/
* Robin Hilton from National Public Radio. For more, Click here.
* * From Wikipedia.
Want to hear Leonard Cohen's Suzanne? Click here.
Wait with me in slimy wet darkness,
I'll be right beside you my love.
Bugs don't buzz when their time approaches.
We'll be just like the roaches, my love.
It pays to be on the edge of existence,
Just riding surface my love.
Slimy Wet Darkness
Julia: Why in the world does anyone like this video?
Sophia: Some say it's a guy thing.
Julia: But what's the attraction?
Sophia: The slimy wet darkness.
"I won't lie to you. The new video from Majical Cloudz, for the Canadian electro-pop duo's song "Bugs Don't Buzz," is kinda gross. There are scenes so strange and slimy, I'm not even sure what's going on. But, set to what is an undeniably gorgeous, if plaintive love song, the imagery from director Gordon von Steiner is strangely transfixing. I couldn't stop watching." ---Robin Hilton for NPR *
Julia: But what about the fire and death imagery?
Sophia: It's another guy thing. They like images of apocalypse. Think about it. It's mostly guys who get into explosions.
"Apocalypse (Ἀποκάλυψις): a Greek word meaning revelation and refers to an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling. " **
Julia: So what is unveiled?
Sophia: The edge of existence, where sadness reigns and everything perishes, where death and disease have a kind of finality, and where we humans stand naked in the presence of an indifferent and alien world.
Julia: Is that all?
Sophia: No. One value of apocalyptic imagery is that it undercuts our human pretensions to being the center of things. There's something spiritually wise about this. It means that we need not and cannot carry the weight of the world on our shoulders.
Julia: What is anthropolatry?
Sophia: It means making a god - an idol - of human life. Human beings think that it's good to make a god of human life, but actually it is enslaving. It's better to accept our place in the larger ecology of life, bugs included.
Julia: But isn't a preoccupation with this side of life just a little dangerous?
Sophia: Yes. When people are preoccupied with this side of life, they can become obsessive. They become infatuated with decay.
Julia: What happens then?
Sophia: They end up creating more decay in their lives and harming others in the process. And they become obsessive about purity as well. It's hard to know which is more dangerous in life: obsessions with decay or obsession with purity.
The key is to look at the bright side of life and the slimy side of life with an open, non-clinging heart. It's kind of Buddhist.
Garbage and the Flowers
Julia: Why look at the slimy side of life at all? Why not just focus on the positive?
Sophia: Well let's get clear about one thing first. Pollyanna was much more open to the dark side than people recognize. Take a look at Patricia Adams Farmer's essay in JJB: Pollyanna: I Dare You to Read This.
Julia: OK. OK. But still, why look at the dark side at all?
Sophia: Because it is real and, if we look carefully, love can come from it. It's like compost. As Leonard Cohen says in his song Suzanne; we need to look at the flowers and the garbage. Suzanne can help.
Julia: I know that flowers can come out of garbage but isn't this saying that garbage comes from flowers?
Sophia: Yes, and that's true, too. We humans like to say that resurrection follows death but it is also true that death follows resurrection. Think of Jesus and his healings. It is true that he healed people, but also true that everyone he healed ended up dying.
Julia: So you are saying that in some ways the garbage is ultimate, too?
Julia: Is there a name for this?
Sophia: Yes, it's called entropy.
The Shadow Side of Life
Julia: So how do you find peace?
Sophia: You have to own the shadow side of life, too. You have to cast your eye on life and death. You have to see take heed of the flowers and the finality. Sorry for all the clichés.
Julia: Is there wholeness in that?
Sophia: Yes, but it's hard to understand, because it's not tidy and clean. It's darker and more mysterious; it's more creative and compassionate. It's apophatic.
Julia: What does apophatic mean?
Sophia: It is a fancy word for saying that God is what remains when all concepts fall away. Concepts like tidiness and purity and cleanliness.
Julia: Do you mean that God is not just about order and purity?
Sophia: That's how it seems to me. God is a kind of love who embraces the flowers and the garbage, holding them with a love that can only be sung in a love song. "Wait for me in the slimy wet darkness." I can hear God saying that, too.
Julia: Who would God say it to?
Sophia: God would say it to all living beings on any planet anywhere, including you and me. And to the winged ones and the creeping ones, the visible ones and the invisible ones.
Julia: How about the mountains and rivers?
Sophia: Yes, all are included.