Gjentagelsen

(On how love hides a multitude of sins)
2015

 

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

 

Three books are published in Copenhagen on October 16, 1843: Fear and Trembling, Repetition and Three Upbuilding Discourses. The three, written by three different authors, which are only one: Johannes de Silentio, Constantino Constaninus and Søren Kierkegaard; the first two, alias of the third. The three books are printed on the same press: Bianco Luno. Fear and Trembling and Repetition go on sale in CA Reitzel, a bookstore specialized, at the time, in fiction; while Three Upbuilding Discourses in PG Philipsen, dedicated to publish scientific and religious books.

Why Kierkegaard published three books on simultaneity on October 16, 1843?

 

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

  

One night, sitting at a long table at the Cosmos, I had the fortune to have Carlos Gomez at my side; I said, "Faith is rhythm," he, as an answer, told me that after working for a project in Magdalena River, he had to wait a very long time in front of the river, what he thought, "I been here so long that I've seen pass twice the same drop of water"; I found the sentence as good way to go beyond the statement of Heraclitus, one can cross the same river twice, just you have wait long enough. We continued talking: Sufi meditation of whirling dervishes, La Monte Young, the last concert of Frank Zappa, but I kept thinking: how much time you have to wait in order to see the same drop pass twice?

Fear and Trembling ends with a comment about the human need to go further –except in love and faith–, describes how Cratylus, a disciple of Heraclitus, moved by the desire of every disciple to go further than his master, added "even once" to the maxim of Heraclitus, "No man ever steps in the same river twice... not even once", going further, he contradicts the statement, he renounces Heraclitus for Parmenides, denies the motion and thus: denies time.

The Labyrinth of Crete, a text that Borges writes after getting lost in the labyrinth of Crete with Maria Kodama, consists of a single sentence that is repeated, and in each repetition adds a part, until the entire statement is completed, or at least, the completeness that Borges experienced that day:

 

This is the labyrinth of Crete. 

 

This is the labyrinth of Crete whose center was the Minotaur.

 

This is the labyrinth of Crete whose center was the Minotaur whom Dante imagined as a bull with a man’s head and in whose web countless generations were lost.

 

A static statement that thru repetition creates movement, creates time, while it reveals world. Zoom Out.

 

Among the various kinds of labyrinths, the labyrinth of Crete does not allow choice, there is only one path that leads from the outside to the center and vice versa, there is no way to physically get lost in it; the labyrinth of Crete is a system of walls that fragments the vision, that breaks reality in parts.

 

I imagine Borges anchored into a moment, discovering it by chunks, typing "This is the labyrinth of Crete", to realize at the end of the sentence that the described instant is more complex, that he has only walked a stretch of the labyrinth, that there are more many variables involved; "This is the labyrinth of Crete whose center was the Minotaur", another stretch, and so, repeating the words solves reality, decrypts the instant, crime of which we never know all the facts.

 

I imagine Borges anchored into an instant, unable to attempt the time of the world, the time of Bergson, the real time.

I imagine Borges anchored into a static instant, which moves in language, but not in time.

I imagine the second sighting of the drop that Carlos Gómez saw twice, the second vision will have been, as the Labyrinth of Crete, product of the analysis of an instant, perhaps Carlos Gomez is still deciphering the instant at Magdalena’s river when he saw the drop pass, and the night we talked in the Cosmos is an extremely complex analysis, an intricate part of that moment. Zeno and his arrow. Parmenides was right: Time does not exist.

 

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

  

In a conversation between La Monte Young and Richard Kostelanetz, Young says, "I noticed about 1956 that I really seemed more interested in listening to chords than in listening to melodies. In other words, I was more interested in concurrency or simultaneity than in sequence".

  

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

 

Repetition starts knowing the end of Fear and Trembling, in the first lines Constatinus Constantine writes how Diogenes, just walking, showed to the Eleatics that the movement does exist. Lets trust on Kierkegaard, that the two books were written by different authors, then how could Constatinus knows the end of Fear and Trembling if it was published simultaneously to Repetition? Even walking, Diogenes is wrong, time does not exist. Repetition not only discusses the end of Fear and Trembling, the last letter in the book, the one in which Constatinus speaks to us, their real readers, solves the dilemma of Abraham, writing briefly, what Johannes de Silentio develops in Fear and Trembling: 

“He would, with religious fear and trembling, but also with faith and confidence, understand what he had done from the beginning, and what he was as a result obligated to do later, even if this obligation occasioned something strange.”

Repetition is about the dilemma of a young lover who separates himself from his beloved; Fear and Trembling about the dilemma of Abraham when God asks to kill his son. The stories of Abraham and the young lover accompanied each other, discussed to each other; the story of Abraham happens in silence, -Silentio as its author-, the young lover’s one is full of noise. Both Fear and Trembling and Repetition are about the pause in front of the possibility, the moment of decision, are published in simultaneity because happen in simultaneity, either/or, a look that stares at your lips waiting for an answer, anything is possible until it is not.

  

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

 

There remains a third book published on October 16, 1843 simultaneously with Fear and Trembling and Repetition: Three Upbuilding Discourses, the shortest one, the most honest, the only signed by Kierkegaard. Between 1843 and 1844, Kierkegaard wrote 18 upbuilding discourses published symmetrically: first two, then three, then four, then two, then three, then four. All have the same beginning: "Although this little book (which is called "discourses," not sermons, because its author does not have authority to preach,"upbuilding discourses," not discourses for upbuilding,' because the speaker by no means claims to be a teacher)…” See them all together, happens what happens in The Labyrinth of Crete, a rhythmic repetition of the same instant, 2-3-4, 2-3-4, after that it develops, first thinking how those instant will goes, with joy and gratitude, to his reader, and then he analyzes different biblical passages. All the books in which are published the upbuilding discourses were dedicated to his father, who was a clothing merchant in that city, all but one, as the children taken by the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the Three Upbuilding Discourses of 1844 had no written dedication.

Love Will Hide a Multitude of Sins, is the title of the first and second speech published on October 16, 1843. Love Will Hide a Multitude of Sins, Kierkegaard, in one way or another, repeats the phrase more than thirty times:

 

1. Love will hide a multitude of sins

2. How love hides a multitude of sins

3. Love has the power to make the miracle to hide the multitude of sins

4. Love will hide a multitude of sins

5. The love that hides a multitude of sins

6. Love hides a multitude of sins

7. The love that hides a multitude of sins

8. The love that hides a multitude of sins

9. Love hides a multitude of sin

10. Love hides a multitude of sin

11. Love hides a multitude of sins

12. The love that hides a multitude of sins

13. Love begins to hide the multitude of sins

14. The love that hides a multitude of sins

15. The love that hides a multitude of sins

16. The love that hides a multitude of sins

17. Love will hide a multitude of sins

18. Will the love really hide the multitude of sins

19. Love hides thereby the multitude of sins

20. It is beautiful and kindly that love wants to hide the multitude of sins and change the course of world

21. Love hides a multitude of sins

22. Blessed is the love that hides a multitude of sins

23. The power of love to hide the multitude of sins

24. Love hides a multitude of sins

25. Love hides a multitude of sins

26. Love hides a multitude of sins

27. Love will hide a multitude of sins

28. Love will hide a multitude of sins

29. Love will hide a multitude of sins

30. In the same heart where is a multitude of sins, can inhabit love, and this love has the power to hide the multitude

31. How love hides a multitude of sins

32. A blessed awakening to love, which hides a multitude of sins

33. He who finds love hides a multitude of sins

34. Love hides a multitude of sins

35. The same love that for a man hid a multitude of sins is not the same love that hides for love a multitude of sins?

36. The Day of Judgment love will come to the aid of his love, to expel the fear and hide a multitude of sins

37. Love hides a multitude of sins

 

Love: singular; hides a multitude of sins: plural. Love: the instant; time: sin. The story is known but I briefly write the facts so that once again the two names will appear together: Søren and Regina, and thus confirm the Kierkegaard’s bet, to give up a love in time by one in no-time.

They know each other in the spring of 1837, she is 14, he 24, he seeks her, he woo her, they frequent each other, three years later, on September 8, 1840, while she plays the piano, he declares his love, he ask for her hand, they engage and in less than a year, he breaks the engagement through a letter, finally they meet on October 11, 1841 to effectively put an end to their relationship. Two weeks later, on October 24, he goes to Berlin.

  

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

  

The mind of an old man, his senile memory; time overrides time, memories come together, years overlap, faces disappear and those that remain are spliced. Every week I talk with my grandmother, Odette, every week the same story, every week is different, the death of my grandfather: once he is a leg of pork that, when is frying, jump out the window and till there, never saw him again; other time, he is with his brother, saying goodbye, about to catch a plane and till there, never saw him again; other time he is on a boat, going away, going out to sea and till there, never saw him again; other time, he is in the hospital, getting a bath before being cremated and till there, never saw him again; and till there, never saw him again repeats my grandmother each time she tells a story, the same story: the separation.

  

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

 

Søren returns to Copenhagen in March 1843, meet Regina, she is engaged, she marries. The next twelve years both live in the same city, so the chance, Sunday mass and the size of Copenhagen provokes that sometimes they meet each other, however never speak; the biggest approach happens when he turns 39 and she walks outside from his house to give him a smile.

Those are the facts that occurred between Regina and Søren that compliments each word written by Kierkegaard throughout his life; each of his books, with and without pseudonym, seems an attempt to explain this set of events. Even if seems composed by chapters that follow, for episodes distributed over time, all their time together is the same instant; the time that sweeps me along, the time that destroys me, the time that consumes me, is the time of separation. Love, for them, hides a multitude of sins.

 

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

  

When Kierkegaard breaks her engagement with Regina, she returns the ring, a ring with five diamonds online that Søren takes to a jeweler to modify its form, he transforms the line of diamonds into a cross, three diamonds stays under the direction of the ring and the remaining two intersecting it. All Kierkegaard's biographers agree that this gesture shows their commitment to God, but perhaps, Kierkegaard does this to mark a point on the circumference of the ring, to mark an instant.

"Strictly speaking, the duration of the life of a living being is exceedingly brief, lasting only while a thought last. Just as a chariot wheel in rolling rolls only at one point of the tire, and in resting rest only at one point; in exactly the same way the life of a living being last only for the period of one thought.” (Radhakrishman: Indian Philosophy, I, 373).

 

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

  

Months before publishing three books simultaneously, on May 5, 1843 he published Two Upbuilding Discourses, the first of all his upbuilding discourses. In his diary he writes that the date of publication and dedication are for his father, he chooses to publish his firsts religious writings on May 5, day of his birthday, as a symbolic gesture that suggests a spiritual rebirth. If he considers the date of publication as part of the firsts discourses, then why would he publish three books on simultaneity on October 16, 1843? In which labyrinth Kierkegaard was lost that day? There is no birth or death in his family with this date, no entry in his diary that suggests something, any event with Regina, is not the day that born Goethe, or in which Hegel publishes The Phenomenology of Spirit. Maybe he chooses October 16 to commemorate the victory of the Battle of Svenstrup, last victory of Catholicism before the Protestant religion was established in Denmark; or was a subtle rebuke to Regina for marrying, publish them on the same day that Marie Antoinette was guillotined with charges of high betrayal; perhaps, as the preface of the first Two Upbuilding Discourses, the choose of the date is "a humble little flower hidden in the great forest, not sought out either for its beauty, or for its scent, or because it was nourishing", a private date not shared in his diary; for example, the day he first heard Sonnet XVIII of Louise Labe in which she repeatedly asks for a kiss, "Kiss me again, rekiss me and kiss me", or the memory of Regina’s lips saying "I love you" on a rainy Saturday evening of October; perhaps all time are in every instant and there is not need to point out one, happy unbirthday, not like the instant of Fausto, so beautiful that we want to stop it, the instant of Kierkegaard is just an instant, is the instant captured in the Blow up’s photography, which, to amplify it, to expand it, discovers a murder where there were only two lovers at first; multum in parvo; Bruce Lee: "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” ten thousand hits in one hit; multum in parvo; a magic trick: the magician has five glasses, all different sizes, are arranged in ascending order, each glass seems to double in volume to one before; the smallest glass is full of milk, the others are empty; milk goes from the smallest glass to the one which follows in size, and although the volume of the glass in which the milk is poured is twice as bigger than the one who is pouring, the milk expands and fills the glass; again, the magician pours the milk from the second to third glass, and again, although the third glass doubles in volume to the second, it is filled. The same thing happen when he pours the milk from third to fourth glass and from the fourth to the fifth; the largest glass, five times larger than the first, has been filled with the milk of the first glass. A glass that became many glasses, the multiplication of milk, a glass that expands itself.

 

A Tasmanian devil into a room lit by strobes.

 

The Tasmanian Devil appeared for the first time next to Bugs Bunny in a short film from 1954 entitled Devil May Hare, in the opening scene Bugs tranquilly leaves its hole when it pass fast a bird, a deer, followed by a stampede composed by a lion, an elk, a turtle, a yellow bear, an ostrich, a monkey, a goat, a dog, all running from left to right, escaping from the Tasmanian devil whom appears from the bottom of the screen. Unlike other animals, the Tasmanian Devil does not move in a straight line, the line that draws its path is imprecise, rugged, because the devil does not run, spin, spin as dervish, spins like dust devils that form in the plains of La Mancha and the Martian desert, spin and every moment he perceives all, he see all, he assimilates all, he tear it all, he shreds it all, Tasmanian demon, demon of Laplace.

 

I spin, I spiral, and I splatter

Hand of God, I feel the finger,

Hand of God, and I start to whirl

And I whirl, and I whirl,

Do not get dizzy, do not fall now,

Turn, God, God (strange)

Go, go on, go like a dervish,

Turn, God, (strange) make a move

Turn, Lord, (strange)

I do not get nervous

Oh I just move in another dimension

Come move in another dimension

Come move in another dimension

Come move in another dimension oh oh oh

Strange strange

 

Throughout the episode Taz chases Bugs, and although sometimes Bugs ensnares Taz, tricks him by feeding him with false animals, the Tasmanian devil keeps on spinning, spinning the square becomes circle, spinning, spinning like a dervish, spinning like a tornado, spinning, devouring everything. The only way Bugs stops Taz is presenting a female Tasmanian devil, she comes spinning, and when they meet, she stops spinning and stops spinning he, Freeze frame, from them is held the thread that supports the weight that allows to swing the Foucault’s pendulum, unique static point in the universe where love hide a multitude of sins.

Freeze frame. Bodhisattva, Sokushinbutsu, in 1927, at the age of 75, Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov, hierarch of Russian Buddhism, died sitting in lotus position while meditating, his body was placed in a pine box and buried, 28 years later, in 1955 was exhumed by the monks of his congregation who discovered that Itigilov remained in lotus position, meditating, uncorrupted, to not interrupt his meditation, the monks re-buried him; 18 years later, in 1973, they opened up the box and Itigilov remained in lotus position, meditating, uncorrupted, once again, to not interrupt his meditation the monks re-buried him; in 2002, having spend 75 years dead, same years he was alive, a life to meditate about a life, they reopened the box and Itigilov remained in lotus position, meditating, uncorrupted, he was taken to Ivolginsky Datsan, a Buddhist temple in which, until today Itigilov is still meditating. Sokushinbutsu, Bodhisattva. Freeze frame. In 2007, on the outskirts of Mantua, Italy, a Neolithic tomb of six thousand years old was found, with the corpses of two bodies, a man and a woman, died at about 20 years old, with their skulls facing each other, and his arms and legs intertwined, the lovers of Valdaro. Freeze frame. A long meditation, a frozen body; a long embrace, a frozen embrace. In 1855 Regina must leave Denmark, before boarding her boat, she looks for Kierkegaard and breaking fourteen years of silence, she says: "God bless you, may good things come your way." She leaves, he dies. From there, from here to eternity.

 

A pair of Tasmanian devils in a room lit by strobes.