Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One Body

"It must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. If it were not so...all things must needs be a compound in one: wherefore if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having neither life nor death."

"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of parturition between us...for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace...From whom the whole body fitly joined together, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

Lehi and Paul both speak of the idea of "one body," but while Lehi's vision is of an undead zombie-like being, Paul praises the peace and perfection, the edification in love. Why are they so different?

Originally, we are one body but to stay that way is a dead end. This is the body Lehi speaks of, our premortal formlessness where we are everything and nothing, where light and dark mush together and all is fuzzy. The endless, unified ocean of precreation. We must break free from this infantile urobouros and enter the world of opposition in order to come to know ourselves and to grow.

In this world of opposition that Lehi sketches, everything is fragmented and alienated. We are broken to bits by this world, divided from God, from others, from ourselves. It is a painful process, but it's through this that we come to know who we are, who we were, to discover all that was undifferentiated in us before and bring it to light. We go through life and come upon moments of recognition, when we realize that we've discovered something that we never knew was lost until we found it. People, places, art, music, poems, animals, anything can trigger these startling recognitions, and give us a glimpse of a piece of ourselves.

And so we wander through the world, gathering ourselves back together, like Egyptian Isis painstakingly gathering up the body parts of her dismembered husband. And as we piece these fragments back together we become whole again, a whole body, the twain made one. This is the redeemed body that Paul speaks of. We restore the original unity, not through a regression into comforting oblivion, but through the active union of the parts of ourselves we have discovered and reorganized. William Blake called it Organized Innocence--the edenic, golden innocence of infancy is lost to us forever, and for good reason. The new Innocence is achieved through gathering, loving, recognizing, seeking, organizing, creating.

The life-in-death and death-in-life body of Lehi is our unsustainable past; the reintegrated, self-aware Body of Paul is our possibility.

Friday, January 22, 2010


His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters
-Doctrine & Covenants 110:3

In Joseph Smith's vision of God, God is depicted like a snow-capped mountain in spring. His head, His mind, contains stored energy, snow, frozen thought, heated by the fires of the sun and melted, transformed into the mighty rushing of great waters that is His voice. He is the God of nature. The God of eternal stasis (immovability of the mountain) and eternal mutability (ever-changing seasons, water cycles, etc.), the interplay of which creates Eternal Life. The Fountain of Living Waters. Stillness, frigidity, and warmth, combine to create energy, eternal delight. The voice of the Lord is action and a source of eternal satisfaction for our thirst, for our longing.
The Lord contains opposites, and created a world of opposition. It's the tension between opposites that produces the energy of creation, the movement of Life.The Lord is still at His center, moving and spinning quickly in His actions and exterior.

Moses sees the Lord as a mountain shrouded in clouds, when he appears on Sinai. The certainty of the mountain and the nebulous unknown of the clouds.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Top 30 Movies of the Decade!

In no particular order, my 30 favorite films of the decade.

Subject to change without notice.

Spirited Away/Ponyo

Let the Right One In

No Country For Old Men

Where the Wild Things Are

Pan’s Labyrinth

Bee Season

Synecdoche, New York

Little Otik

Grizzly Man


Sita Sings the Blues

The Fountain

Big Fish

My Winnipeg

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The Fall

The Hurt Locker


The Departed


Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

 Hot Fuzz

Gran Torino

Happiness of the Katakuris/Gozu


The Proposition

Assassination of Jesse James


There Will Be Blood

Blood Tea and Red String

Fantastic Mr. Fox