The sun came through my window this morning and illuminated the sunflowers resting in a vase on my table giving me the moment of dark and light in which I snapped this photo. Until then (over breakfast) I had been immersed in Fear and Trembling – one of the early existential works by Soren Kierkegaard in which he explores the nature of faith through the story of Abraham – his writing is fluid, poetic and profound on this subject and his words are carved into the stones of the road on which I am traveling. Feeling my way by text and memory, I am not able to articulate much beyond some small practices which have brought me respite during this time shot through with difficulty.
Somewhere else Kierkegaard said “faith requires nothing more than a non-rational leap into the arms of God” (a poor paraphrase I’m sure) and it was because this quote resonated so strongly that I sought out Fear and Trembling. A concept with which I have difficulty until I am reminded that the project of revolutionary anarchism or socialism is really no different, is really a blind faith of its own. As much as politics likes to dress itself in rationality and materialism, the belief that “this revolution is going to be different” is about as hopeful (and unrealistic) a proposition as they come given what we know of the histories of conflict. Not to mention observed human behaviour. And yet we make the faithful leap into the arms of Bakunin and Marx and Bookchin and Luxemburg with eyes wide, because at least we have proof of their lives and their works, no matter how frail their premises were.
This post is no declaration of one loyalty switched for another, for what matters to me now has always mattered. Reminded of this over the weekend as I ate and sipped gin with my oldest friends around a fire – I am assured of my place in the world by small moments. If only they were *all* moments, which perhaps is the real struggle here. A sustained belief rather than one in glimpses and starts. These are the only fragments I can elicit right now – bits and pieces of transitional thought.
I leave you here a passage from this morning’s reading, because it caught me in the throat when I read it:
If a consciousness of the eternal were not implanted in man; if the basis of all that exists were but a confusedly fermenting element which, convulsed by obscure passions, Produced all, both the great and the insignificant; if under everything there lay a bottomless void never to be filled what else were life but despair? If it were thus, and if there were no sacred bonds between man and man; if one generation arose after another, as in the forest the leaves of one season succeed the leaves of another, or like the songs of birds which are taken up one after another; if the generations of man passed through the world like a ship passing through the sea and the wind over the desert—a fruitless and a vain thing; if eternal oblivion were ever greedily watching for its prey and there existed no power strong enough to wrest it from its clutches—how empty were life then, and how dismal!