Monday, February 7, 2011

Black Sabbath


I write to you of dread. A fear that I suspect is close to unknowable from your enlightened, future vantage. I need your ear, I need to recount my experience not for the sake of your intellectual curiosity, but in hopes that the retelling of what - already - feels more akin to the dream-imaginings of a fevered patient long past the point of no return, will help burdensome emotions dislodge from my thoughts, so that a narration might stabilize, overcome the senselessness that thins my blood. I do not write to you to save myself, I am already dead - no, it is worse than dead... I hope to trace the outline of horror, for the sake of your future, the future that so once repulsed me from your side. Furthermore, Brother, I have no one else to write to. Humor me this missive, let there have been at least some purpose to my madness.

I was wrong. I will concede this not to appeal to your pride (and take my word, as you did on that day, I never will return). I was wrong as you were also. Though I once scoffed at your mundane desires, blinded as they were by these newfangled 'mysteries of logic', for a life dictated by reason and causality, it is my path that has taken me to the precipice of nothingness instead. Far beyond my dreaming inspiration for an unnamed God- do you remember, our discussions? I remember every word.

How you said the ancient, green luminescence of sacral decrees, for whatever reason they came to be, has long been extinguished in the grey waters of history, there were nothing can by itself explain any other one thing. How it is now a burden -- no, a responsibility of the community of man to shape a common reality, where one light will shine from many sources to extinguish utterly, the shadows of unreason. I thought that future to be one of a different terror, a surgical one. Where the innards of the human being, dissected on the stone slab would dispel the grand mystery of life. A man and a woman separated only by their altered machines in their bellies, it disgusts me still, this idea, I hide it not. A world where one knows all and all know one, what occulted meaning can there hide? In what shadow can a secret garden flourish?

I have secrets. I did not find them easily but I didn't find them with great difficulty either. I did not plunge into the darkness with a light heart, but neither was I ready for what I found there. It is a song of irony then, that the resources I perused in my lorn path were made available by inventions of your future world. The printing press, brother, it changed everything. Words of masters of ancient wisdom... I did not have to kill a lord for a glimpse of them, I did not have to cross unknown lands for a fragile Alexandrian scroll, made incomprehensible by the ravages of entropy. In books, printed with a typeset perverted form its sacral function, mass-produced, brother. There I found plenty mysteries. And trust in me that what I did have to destroy for them will be missed by no one.

In the thirty years we have been strangers, I have pursued greater art, I have become a sorcerer whose dreams shape the dreams of others. You were right, brother, the worldly domain is made of marble that cannot be chipped with willpower alone, it is there, it is what it is and the analytical tools that you so fell enamored with can help in divining its purpose. It takes the might of many to move that will, I will concede you that. It is instead, in the hearts of men that mystery still lives, it is in the deepest crevice of sentience that no light will ever shine. Tell me brother, if you're brave, what do you know of a man's soul? How has your dissection of the brain informed your understanding of what it is to feel and experience? Has any of your 'philosophers of the light' anything to offer that would explain the atavist stench, the pull towards violence and lust? I am certain you feel it too, you know what experience drove us apart, you know what experience binds us still.

The light cannot guide you to the cathedral of the soul. Nothing can guide any of us there. Nothing can help us live in that darkness. Now I know.

It was no more than ten days ago, brother, though it feels a withered age instead. After the consumption of the sacred flower (do not pretend you do not understand me, surgeon!) and the utterance of prayers which you would not fathom even if every word were categorically defined for you in common language, I lay to sleep, much as I have done for decades. With certainty to dream of darkness. I do not know what it was that made my dream quest behind the walls of sleep different that night, it could be the ringing of the church bells, curse the mad monks and their perverted tastes for inversion, I never understood them: is it not enough to worship a warped reflection of the demiurge, do we have to flaunt it as well by striking the bell at the hour of the witch? It could have been the storm, Brother. No, it must have been the storm. Do you remember the oldest of our gods, thunder? It was at his command that I met the messenger.

Power over dreams is a bittersweet fruit. At once addictive for what one experiences in the mist is of the same potency as what resides in the killing light of your reason, you learn that well and certain, surgeon. But at once, there is the disappointment (and knowledge of further disappointment for those more experienced in the ways of darkness) of the waking; Though the power is real and what you feel is real, it is not forever. The sleeping village awakens. If there is a teaching I can impart on you is that, contrary to what your Aristotelian 'logic' would desire, the darkness must be tended to with the same reverence that the priests offer to their pity candles and incense to the Autocrat above. Darkness doesn't merely occur in the absence of light, no... that is instead, nothingness.

That is what I met, brother. Excuse my long road to this, I cannot bear to recount it. What I found in the mist of dreams this time was not what there I had left before me. My power words of flight could not take me to the castle in the skies at will, my power was robbed of me. Instead I lay grounded, crushed, to walk in a dead forest for what felt like two lifetimes. I grew so desperate, for you see, there is neither thirst nor hunger in dreams, and worst there is no tiredness to schedule time around. I walked forever, it seemed, my only beacon a fluttering black light in the distance. Before I reached it it reached me, it overtook me with a swiftness that your physical experience may not parse. It was there before I knew it, it felt like it was always there. A black shape with eyes of fire, it points at me. There is no scorn that your evangelists warned of, in the presence of the Lord below. There is only a smile and a question. What is it that I desire?

You will laugh from your ivory tower brother, but you know well what I asked for once I recovered my wits like a good sorcerer. It is what you would have as well. Knowledge. Awareness. Truth. I longed to write to you with absolute certainty a different letter, one where I would in perfect speech convey the supremacy of the inner world against the outer. I wished you would wield to the inexorable conclusion and perhaps then brother, we could be brothers again, I cannot lie on this, not with my last breath. My lust, displaced as you well know from the flesh of women for decades now, towards this higher goal of awareness, it drove me to this hubris. The messenger paused for an eternity, then made it known me that this knowledge is forbidden, it told me that what I seek is what tore the world apart in the beginning of time, not between 'above' and 'below' but between inside and outside. Yet it did not scold me, there was no grandeur to its mist shape at all. Only onyx flame, raising ever higher, waiting for my impossible desire. I still wanted to know what prizes lay hidden in the darkness. And it is in this way that I learned the only truth there is, brother. I cannot impart to you its realization, only in common words describe it and I know it is meaningless, worthless. You will not understand it, you cannot understand it, it is better that you never do. Bear it even so.

The truth is there is nothing. Nothing exists, nothing has ever existed. Nothing has lived, nothing has died. We have never lived, we haven't died. We never existed. Dreams is all there ever was, and the dreams may pass. There is no romance to the Earth, brother, no higher beauty to the animals or stones. There is no idol that a god might reside in, even for a time. There is no idea, there is no hope, there is nothing. Nothing at all.

And yet I hope, as I am sure you have divined by the purpose of this missive, still. I hope to dissuade you and more importantly your children from ever seeking the truth in darkness. The cruel joke is on me, your light is a lie, but it's a useful one. Let not your children seek the darkness, it will, if they are strong, and I know our blood is strong, lead only to something worse than their death. Oblivion. If you can, destroy the power of Art over man, make it an entertainment, a consumption safe, robbed of its eldritch potency. Parlor magics for a generation drowning in luxury. They will be unhappy but at least they will continue to be. In your future world, make the pursuit of Great Art a masturbation intended for fools and narcissists alone. Neuter all talk of souls and Gods, they are useless to us, they are only a symbol of our own inexistence. Where there is beauty, hide it behind reason. Where there is force, pretend it belongs to the many. Where there is hope, cling to it, appropriate it, enforce it with your ethics and social programming, enforce the desire for man to exist, to never understand he has never existed.

As I write this I feel my will extinguishing, my last hope is fading, as I am fading too. My hands are neither old nor young, my knowledge spectral. My severed head is bloodless white with eyes silver, blind.


  1. Still working through this. I need to chew a single paragraph over a week to digest properly. I am weak. But you knew that already.

  2. Truly a great piece this one! As for the album I like it but I also have some mixed feelings about it. I'm still undecided on which album's the best one for me from the band's Ozzy-period.

  3. Stewart: you know everything that this text is about. Thank you for showing me the trust and going through it until you realize, but I'm certain there are no mysteries here for you.

    Nekromantis: thank you. I realize this piece is probably the easiest to mock from what I've written so far, but there's absolutely no way I would discuss the beginning of Heavy Metal and talk about who played on this record when and how and other pedestrian shit that everybody knows.

  4. It's a brave thing to put something like this out in the open for everyone to pick on but I think it succeeds in saying a lot without actually saying it. The prose gets more confident and better the longer it goes on and in my opinion is armed well enough for cheap mocking..

    I could argue how ever that there is much beauty in what drives men to look for the answers by trusting in scientific method and to reason world around us. There is magic and artistry science also, it depends much of how you look at things. Carl Sagan was a hardcore skeptic science guy all the way but he saw miracles everywhere. In the nature, complexity of all organisms and in the cosmos. His enthusiastic rambling about science and the universe reminds more of an artistic passion or an religious religious ecstacy than a cold, clinical logic. I don't know if that kind of thing has a place in Heavy Metal (maybe in some of the more modernist forms like progressive metal) but that's just something that popped in my mind today.

  5. Most scientists themselves have a very different standpoint towards the positive sciences than laymen do. My issue, if it could be called that really, is not with them, or with the scientific vantage itself at all.

    Most people who trust scientific data are not scientists themselves. They've replaced a system of faith with another. That makes them intellectually less curious than is good for human beings. It's better to search for answers yourself and come up with weird ones than to adopt robust, correct answers that you do not understand completely.

  6. If you have been broken by the modern world of infinite wonders as I have, then all we can do is continue to fall further into dreams and forget about the hopelessness of truth. Affirm the endless dreamscapes opposed to your "better" logical judgment. Throw blind faith into the fantasy, if for no other reason than to make the suffering dignified, or possibly beautiful, until one dies and rejoins with eternity.