Authenticity & WyrdPosted by VI
There’s no such thing as Authenticity, or being Real as opposed to fake. No static boundary to cross, no goal to make. To suggest that there is a quality, distinct and clear, is to misunderstand the fact that Being is continuous. This is not post modernism – on the contrary it is pre-modern in nature.
There’s a rushing sense to it, like trying to catch silver fish in a running river with your bare hands. The moment you grip it, the fish wriggles, changes. The water cascades around you. All the sensations impinge and impress upon you, but they are there one moment, and then gone the next, replaced by something new.
Authenticity always hearkens to the past, to the moment when you finally realise what a thing is – except by the time the realisation forms, what spurred it has gone.
The only solution to this problem, such as it is a problem at all, is to note that the Primordial exists as a kind of Never-Was.
Insofar as Never can be described as a specific species of negation, the Never-Was negates the past as fixity.Instead of fixity, we are presented with Fate that is not oriented futurewards – indeed, there is no futurity. There is only the Primordial, which itself is a mere label since there’s actually no numerical sense involved – no primary, secondary, tertiary etc.
But what manner of Fate are we describing, this thing which is apart from our notions of past, present and future? In this, we consider the premodern word
Urðr, from which we derive wyrd, and weird.
Wyrd is not past, present or future. Indeed, in old texts like Beowulf, it is said wyrd always goes as it must.
In this sense, wyrd, fate does not conform to past-present future – even when we factor in Verðandi (happening) and Skuld (debt/obligation/consequence) we are not experiencing the same tripartite structure.
Even gods are bound by wyrd – which is to say there is an inexorable process occupying what we might conceivably visualise as as a simultaneous Before-Between-After and yet permeating all events, too.
Therefore, there is no distinct Authenticity, there is only wyrd, and in considering this, we are faced with the possibility that our actions are not our own alone, but also the actions of every entity within the kosmos. Our actions may in fact be the description of negative space – our lives are like the air inside a lung, shaped by ‘outside’ forces and yet influencing those forces though the air seems apparently empty space.
In this, we approach again, the Nietzschean amor fati. If God is Dead (insofar as God is understood as a singular moral arbiter and guarantor of so-called explicit ‘order’, rather than some specific Abrahamic deity) then we are liberated from notions of linear progression. Instead of a single line, we are presented with a vast manifold, a cornucopia of options which, paradoxically to our modern minds, require deliberate intensity – wilful Dionysiac engagement with all events and occurrences, beyond all notions of so-called Good and Evil, Real and Fake.
And this is not easy. Indeed it is the hardest labour of all, to see all events as but Images, endless protean iterations of wyrd, each one a portal to all others – an entangled web gleaming with burnished illuminating darkness.
This does not mean that all things are equal – indeed it demands we engage with all these Images anew, differently each time, on a case by case basis. The seeming lack of guarantee of value does not, and never has, levelled the landscape of existence into a marketable, democratized form. Instead, we are driven to seek that value, as a people entering an unknown land must explore it in order to find those resources which will allow them to live, and live well.
By embracing this Terra Incognita, we face death, annihilation and loss. Our fears are our daemonic companions by which we might find the dragons we always dreamt of, unlocking ancient serpent wisdom – the knowing-of existence itself.
We would do well to consider the words of Philip K. Dick: “The symbols of the divine show up in our world initially at the trash stratum.”
The unwanted, excreted, exiled, the thrown-away, the impure and the monstrous – all these are cast out, and in that casting are imbued with a Beyondness, shot through with alien Outsiderness.
As exiles, they become messages and mediums carrying the previously unknown, the forgotten. They are the first place the Wyrd breaks through – as evidenced by the works of Jeffrey Kripal, Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal in particular
We ourselves are patchwork creatures – inheriting genes, speech patterns, beliefs and tastes in many different endlessly inventive iterations. If one were to slice our lives into pieces, it is doubtful each piece would recognise the other as itself,. All we have then, is the wyrd of it, the unutterable strangeness of our own existence, our own experience, which of course is not our own, but an Image composed of all the kosmos coming to be within the localised envelope of appearance we call life.
It is in this highly localised environment that the kosmos reveals itself, each moment brimming with daemonic creativity, mirthful tricksy divinity. that mocks and pokes fun at our dearly held notions of matter, space, time, morality and perception.
It is that wriggling silver fish, that rushing stream, the chill in your bones, the hunger that drove you to even try. It is the cry your mother made in the moments before your birth, the last rattle of your own breath as you die.
Vast, immeasurable and irrational, seeking to lead you on a wild goose-chase into the woods with the faeries. The fleeing deer who catches and kills its hunter with bloody velvet antlers covered in carven magic spells meant to bewitch so as the laughing god might have true, honoured sacrifice.
It’s the lights in the sky that dazzle the eye and violate the laws of physics with criminal intent, the old stone that writhes all mossy under your fingertips, the whorls and lines catching starlight in a net and letting it loose in bottomless pools wherein lie maidens waiting to drag you down to the underworld.
Strange and terrible charlatan magi in feathered cloaks and broad-brimmed hats howling barbarous words while birdheaded scribes stain stone with hieroglyphs that last for tens of centuries. Thieves, liars, illusionists, pariahs and poets.
And it’s wyrd, this raw strangeness, this sly and terrible hint, this cold-edged spine-burn of tear jerking, gulping joyous immensity. This vertiginous yawning gulf of momentary knowing which passes understanding and comes to bring sword-peace and pulsing, surging life.
Enough to wake the dead and have them climbing from their tombs and dancing, all foxfire-illumined in the cavernous starry gulfs. Look careful there, and you might just catch your own face amongst them, shorn of care, before you’re whirled and spun and struck by the awe of their ever-presence – sent madly careening through the fields of your own doubts, laughing all the while.
Then, chilled by the dew upon your skin, on the morning after the night before, cold grey comedown will make you wonder, make you reason, make you seek some rhyme and rhythm as it all recedes.
And that’s the way of it – rationality pours concrete over starry meadows. Day after day, you might be faced with that greyness, until one day, it seems that’s all there is. So that’s when you sit. When you seize the concrete, when you rake that plane with the sheer stress of your regard. Seize its pitting and its pattern, its grit and its surface, and then, as its imperfections swell, its brutalism cuts and bruises your heart, let yourself bleed. Let yourself mourn. Let yourself howl for the forgotten things you think you have lost.
Aye, and then, there’ll be that single, stunted, broken blade of grass, parched and browning. Exhausted, fallen, a crippled corpse severed from its fellows. Stabs deeper than a knife, that blade – delivers a mortal wound, so it does.
In the moment, its all too much. You die, or some part of you does. It falls away, crumbling away. Lies there, curled and brown, circling grass around some outcast dream that can no longer survive the desert of existence.
Except..where did that grass come from?
From whence sprang that tiny thing, in all this field of blankness and sharp edges?
Look again, and its gone. Look thrice though, and you’ll see it’s not alone. On the edges, in the neglected parts, there grows scrub, there grows weed and thorn. Raggedy, out-of-place, having no home here, no right to be present.
How in all hell does it survive, you might wonder?
Even weeds have roots. Beyond what is seen, down and down, they stretch into the earth. They are everywhere, and this is just a metaphor, an analogy. A story, a lie – and yet, well..