Monumentalism (re-edited)

Not even my posterity shall be privy these certain wondrous and harrowing glories experienced between myself, our beloved Logos, and this fateful day.


Societal, cultural and civilizational evolution consolidates, accelerates and finally deteriorates according to the degree that its underlying language. that which serves as the conceptual bedrock and metaphysical soil of a people, amalgamates, matures, is refined and lastly specialized by a culture’s “greatest minds”; specialization which eventually fragments the unity and function of a language to such a degree that its divergent parts in time can no longer coherently communicate with their now-alien neighbors without an overt struggle for priority of rank; the silent, primordial and inexhaustible yearning for coherence and stability that will always render unsatisfying any other linguistic desire that the heart of man can conceive; the “will to order” that will eventually force the language and culture of a people to again re-amalgamate so as to establish a commonly-acknowledged set of civilizational terms and by it, spiritual values that might order and direct its energies towards a cohesive consensus; consensus which, once it undergoes the inescapable process of refinement, will again begin to splinter and set the whole chain of historical principles back into predictable motion.


At the highest, most euphoric and yet troubling “mystical” state that man is capable, the autonomic integration of one’s rational faculties – that which “manifests” as the near-unbreakable unity between the Subject and Object – does indeed begin to waver, weaken and finally collapse into opposing spheres of differentiated awareness that soon find themselves divided by a palpable (though temporary) boundary, one which, as the state matures to its crescendo, seems impossible and even dangerous to cross; the Subject which at last becomes tangible of its own subjectivity through the oft-impossible tangibility of the Object in its objectivity: God, heaven, and His Logos which “instantaneously” present themselves to the senses as ineffability by way of the complete and utter concretization of the subject’s perception of its own unique and unmovable personhood.

One might say that such a strange ontological state reverses the roles that typically predominate in rationality: the Objective which in ecstasy appears tangible, concrete and real, while the Subjective in its subjectivity not so much, if at all.

The Ecstasy of St Theresa, Francesco Fontebasso

The Ecstasy of St Theresa, Francesco Fontebasso


Unique to Western Man among all the peoples of the earth is not so much his perception or even expression of the individual subject “as such”, but his historical persistence in valuing it over and often at the expense of its “collective” opposite; valuation that, in the domain of art anyway, instinctively exchnages the exacting “will to perfection” (the kind demonstrated in the creative achievements of the Sino-Japanese) for the “will to constant change and endless motion”, never mind if such motion moves unproductively and for its own sake, devoid of a constructive, explicable and definitive cultural direction.


The inherent worth and surpassing value of the individual subject as is everywhere preached and morally preserved by Western Man, individualism that seems an inextricable thread of his metaphysical fabric, will, as long as he lives, ensure that the back and forth and up and down monumentalism witnessed not only throughout history but in the very unfoldment time itself will continue ad infinitum; monumentalism which both imbues human life with the necessary dynamism, impetus and “irritation” to grow, adapt and change, but also prevents the Western soul from ever finding an enduring peace and unconscious home in this world and among others insofar as the most abandoned or “thoughtless” expression of “home” and “others” always demands the prolonged suppression and self-abnegation of one’s own unique personality and voice; abnegation that would require such a one to remove the aforementioned thread and, through it, untie the entire metaphysical cloth that both founds and ensures his ontological endurance.

St Francis in Ecstasy, Giovanni Bellini

St Francis in Ecstasy, Giovanni Bellini