A fortnight ago I hosted a conference call across southern Japan, it was only about six or seven people but we all did aside with the distance between us and did the improbable; we spoke to each other as though we were in the same room, a room that was nowhere and everywhere at the same time. In that call I had the chance to meet a young person who took a shine to me, saw me as someone they could talk to and feel safe sharing things with. They now speak to me every day, an out pouring of trivialities and nothings carefully wrapped around the occasional nugget of intensity. Last night they were telling me about the things they write about, wondering why so much of the things they write and never show to the world are the same. Always featuring the same themes, the same or similar details, acts. My response to them was something like ‘Writing lets us put those things into another place rather than keeping them inside our self. Eventually though, they build up again and we must either deal with them or put them in another container. Thus, you and I and others like you write pages and pages always about the same thing’. I wonder if non-mystically inclined people would see the mystical quality of these two things or not.
The word sacrifice is something that always makes Pagans and Heathen’s hum like ill-tempered yet amorous hornets. A buzz word you might say. More often than not it is spoken of in the sense of it being a sacred or good or otherwise non-bad thing; much is made from the relationship between sacred and sacrifice and a few people have likened sacrificing to being the process of making something sacred. What happens however when sacrifice becomes a non-good thing? Vulgar instead of sacred or hallow. I hope I am not the first person to say this, because it seems excruciatingly plain as day to me:
We talk about human sacrifice as though it were a thing of the past.
It is not.
Perhaps it’s because I am bitter, perhaps it’s because I work in a school but have to behave like a government official, and perhaps I’m bitter because I can’t be a teacher but have to be a public servant. More than likely it is none of these and something else entirely; the end result is the same – the people around me, the people I have known and know and will know are all working because they are told they have to. No lie of feeling fulfilled comforts them; no sense of self-sacrifice makes things worth it. We are all (not quite, but the mind boggling majority) literally giving our lives to the idea that if we work hard enough… Some Thing will happen. We’ve traded the sacrificial slab for a desk and the only difference is how quickly they kill us; the blade for the pen and now for the keyboard. The lives lost to war, poverty, preventable sickness, hunger – they are all dearth compared to the sacrifices willingly sitting at their slabs, the bodies of ‘drones’ piling up minute after minute; compared to the numbers who have gone and are still to come.
The most bloodthirsty temples of Central America may have been sopping with blood but the modern altar will drown the world thrice over with the blood deluging from its steps.
Those self-same People who prevaricate the morality of a just war, glorify human sacrifice with a far greater appetite than the Mayans or Aztecs – but much like the person who feels ashamed after sex or looking at erotica, there is a need to disguise the fact with distractions and elegant words or raw expressions styled to provoke blinding reactions and we become as a species entirely uncomfortable with the idea that fighting, violence and doing away with the thing that makes us sick can be the right thing.
How often does the rhetoric of war get thrown about without any significance?
We don’t even remember what a war looks like anymore.
We can’t see it for all the machines between us and what we fight.
How did something so visceral and forged in flesh become such a listless, greasy word?
You are what you eat I suppose.