You know the feeling; you’ve read a damn-good book and then the film comes out. What do you do? Do you watch some chump mash up a perfect story or do you give it a chance?
That’s how I’m feeling about ‘High Rise.’ I love JGB’s book, and yes, I’ve bought the film on Blu ray. But, I haven’t watched it yet.
The story is compelling in the sense that the characters choose the hell they end up living in – Ballard’s ‘elective psychopathy’.
Maybe we all choose our own hell and rationalise it by claiming it is paradise. Whether we will to Certainty, to Negation, to Despair or to Sensation, those tentacles are wrapped around our ankles pulling us into the Sarlac’s pit.
All I know is that we can choose otherwise. And there is help there if we ask for it. The opposite of negation is mercy and mourning, the opposite of sensation is peace and a healthy heart, the opposite of despair is humility and trust, the opposite of certainty is doing what were supposed to do and not stopping when we take a beating for our troubles.
Evil is a poison, a disease, infectious and spreading.
I recommend the serum of the Mount.
Lewis’s ‘Screwtape’, Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, Blake’s ‘Marriage of Heaven and Hell’ and the Book of Job all take the point of view of Satan, the Enemy, and use it to reflect the point the author is looking to make.
The great difficulty with staring into the abyss is the point that Nietzsche makes, namely that the abyss can stare right back into us.
But then that is reality, we live that every day, choosing the Will to Love or the Will to Power. We choose to become a cancer cell, or one that is alive.
But existential prevarications are meaningless in the face of life’s stresses and strains aren’t they? Human beings evolved to become nature’s greatest killers because we faced down starvation and fearsome predators and took the Earth and all that is in it. Without the Will to Power we would have become extinct in the Rift Valley. Evil is our greatest good. Would we stand back and let our loved ones die, turn the other cheek, or would we fight back?
Where is God in all the suffering and pain?
And yet, what is our purpose amidst all of this? Is it to die fighting, to win the world like Thomas Shelby, or is it to die alive and loving?
Enough questions. For all is vanity and striving after the wind.
‘The Abyss That Laughs At Creation’ is an illuminated book. I had the privilege to see some of William Blake’s original books in the John Rylands Library in Manchester last year. We live in time of crisis, change, revolution and uncertainty, as did Blake. My own country voted this week to exit the EU. I voted to stay, my parents voted out. We are a nation divided, a family divided and as Blake and Milton illustrated, we are people divided. It is intra-personal conflict that interests me, that led me to create this book.
Abyss is inspired by my heros: Alan Moore, Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, Montaigne, PKD, Massive Attack, John Foxx, Dylan, Goya, Joy Division, Hoffer, Spencer, Nietzche, JGB, Camus, Jean Grenier, Norman Maclean, JKR, and many others. The story is 120 pages long, circa 8,000 words-ish I think, and then you’ve got my Wacom inspired doodles instead of WB’s genius. The central character is John Walsh, no it isn’t, the central character is the Will to Negation… To misquote Neil Young, a little part of it in everyone.
As Saint Paul of Tallaght says in ‘Wake Up Dead Man’ Jesus help me, I’m alone in this world and a fucked up world it is too…. If you like ‘Abyss’ please do review and rate it. If you hate it, please do review and rate it.