obliviating the source of it all

Tue, 21 Jun 1994 01:00:44 EDT

child-stealing in Guatemala in relation to the Blood Libel, &c. to check out
whether my suggested consideration of social revolution in the socially
constructed past as an analogue of Repressed Material in Clinical Shrinkage
would meet with anticipated nonreception. As it did. As a whole, the
contributors exhibited the attributes of the Undead Durkheim, the organism
and the Ism. Necessitating postponing my planned letter to Barbara Ruth
Campbell for purpose of steering her to my favorite Confucian philosopher,
Xunzi, who invented fullblown functionalism in the Third Century BC, possibly
because functionalism is so stupid that it's easily invented. (The Classical
Greeks, notably Plato and Aristotle, came up with dimmer, vaguer variants
of it, but nothing approaching Xunzi's sophistication.) The Ten Warning
Signs of Functionalism include *being in favor of religion* which, between
the reader (a state official) and the author (a "consultant" to hereditary
monarchs warring over who's to rule the unified Empire) is diddleswatch,
*yet promotes social integration*. The translation uses "harmony," but
I find that too "mystic-Eastish," [wisdom][fleshpots] of, ie Orientalist;
social integration is what is meant. We still do not know what "social
integration" is, except in that "social differentiation" and "social
integration" between them sound vaguely calculussy. [Note[1]: I am reminded
to go to the "bathroom," its called Among armenians and nacirema, to take
the derivative of my natural functions.][Note[2]: In every "Confucian temple"
there's, *there was*, a Hall of Harmonious Human Relationships. Try
"Hall of Socially Integrated Human Relationships."][Note[3]: Past tense
used in preceding [Note] due to destruction of many of these Thingies during
the Cultural Revolution in campaign against the Four Olds. It's unreasonable,
but false, to blame the vandalism and eradication of the former heritage in
favor of the more amenable heritage on some New Olds, the Cutlass Supreme,
for example.]

The other day I tried to refer to a book on the Blood Libel against the
Jews, but at that time could recall neither author nor title nor contents;
and even dropped a factoid on you which was Wrong. Excavation on the site
commenced. The book in question is R. Po-chia Hsia, The Myth of Ritual
Murder: Jews and Magic in Reformation Germany. New Haven CT: Yale University
Press, 1988. The factoid in error was the date of the first spectacular
Ritual Murder case; 1452 is wrong; correct date and place are 1470, at
Endigen, in the Breisgau. We are a bit far from the Rhineland here; most
spectacular or noteworthy incidents occurred in the Hereditary Habsburg
Lands, to the south and east. In the next century, this region would become
a hotbed of Protestantism, with converts to the Reformed religion common
in the nobility. The proximity of this area to Bohemia, the battleground
of the Hussite Wars (1419-1433) and graveyard of a sizable portion of
German chivalry due to Hussite[1] innovations in infantry, firearms, and
field fortifications, led to direct political union via political marriage
in the sixteenth century.[2]

Hussites were heretics. Their association with things diabolical was
underscored by the practice of burning them at the stake. Heretics both
denied the legitimacy of the Visible Church and maintained a parallel
"Pure" church, in numerous instances, with emissaries, proselytizers,
academic-caliber theologians &c., international in scope: Jan Hus himself
studied at Oxford, was the Research Assistant - in our terms - of John
Wyclif, theologian, translator of the Scripture into English, propounder
of doctrines pronounced heretical, and protege of Richard II (1377-1399).
Wyclif died in 1382; his followers, Lollards, maintained an underground
existence for centuries. (Permeating the masses, they provided ideologists
like John Ball in the English Peasant War, 1381 (aka Wat Tyler's Rebellion.)
Richard II married Anne of Bohemia, daughter of Wenceslas IV, King of
Bohemia (1378-1419) and Holy Roman Emperor (1378-1400; deposed; chronic
alcoholism). The international connections, despite distance and mutual
commercial irrelevance, which as in this situation could sprout from dynastic
unions reflected Latin Christianity's high-cultural homogeneity, and the
intense anticlericalism that appeared in most countries, notably following
the Black Death. The differences between the heresies of Wyclif and Hus were
greater than the similarities in points of doctrine; but the similarities
appeared in common sensitivity to disaffections in the mass of laity.

Jan Hus, a popular member of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University
(discrimination against Czechs produced a German monopoly of the Theology
Faculty), attracted a devoted student following; and he led their demands
for reform of school governance whereby the German minority of students
was given majority representation and control. The preaching and pamphlets
- still hand-copied - of Hus and his followers exalted the Czech language,
hitherto marginaalized. Hus' burning by the Council of Constance, 1415,
brought the Czech nobility into revolt against the German dynasty; and the
King maintained shadowy authority only by giving Hus' followers and their
noble allies the run of the place. This ended with Wenceslas' death and
the succession of the Catholic and German Sigismund of Hungary. The nobles
caved in; the Prague bourgeoisie and peasant masses did not. For many years,
the Czechs fought for their national faith with the Chalice [depicted on
Hussite battleflags] in one hand and the Blade in the other.

In the Christian Mass, wine is the very blood of God, transsubstantiated
from its original components miraculously, as was the communion wafer into
the flesh of God. The Church had for centuries harnessed the ultimate
emotional zinger in religious ritual, human sacrifice, to its emotional
substrate by denying its absence by appeal to magical-miraculous powers
channelled through the clergy. (The Dogma of the Real Presence in the Host,
as well as that of the Sacrificial Character of the Mass, were clarified and
imposed once and for all on believing Catholics at the Council of Trent,
1559. Thereafter, you could get burned at the stake for denying that you
were *eating the Human-Sacrificed God*.)

This convulsion, humbling of German racist contempt for Slavs, and
decline in cities of mixed population (due to the Black Death which decimated
urban populations, most of them declining absolutely as they did as far away
as China, and replenished as usual by drawing migrants from the countryside)
exacerbated cultural crisis in a country which had already been a political
garbage dump for 200 years. The acceleration in malaise and dissidence, which
coincided with the Blood Libel against the Jews being revived for the first
time since the thirteenth century, as well as with Johann Sprenger's Malleus
Maleficorum witchhunter textbook, 1483, and exacerbating witchcraft hysteria,
were facilitated by the printing press (1450-1453).

It is safe to say that Satanism is an invention of the imagination of
Catholic authorities. The very unanimity with which evidence and confessions
piled up, in prosecutions of witches and Jews alike, reflects an inversion
of the hierarchical structure of the Visible Church to represent it opposed
to an entity, the Satanic host, organized hierarchically and monarchically
like itself. Jews and witches were both involved in the Satanic host's war
against the Heavenly host and the Visible Church on earth: The Jews, as
Hsia shows, were renowned for skill in magical practices and lore. In our
terms, the Jews had been rendering "technical assistance." The witches were
themselves the laity and lower clergy of the Satanic host.

Both Jews and witches subverted the Miracle of the Eucharist. Jews, the
Blood Libel ran, soaked the wafers in the blood of Christian children,
abducted from their parents and bled to death, in order to use the blood
in Passover *matzoth*, unleavened bread. The wafers used in the Eucharist
also were, of course, unleavened bread. At the Witches' Sabbat [=from Hebrew,
*shabbos*, Sabbath] the height of the ritual, other than the sex orgies
and copulations with the devil, was the profanation of the Host in the
Black Mass. The reported practice of kissing the devil above the anus was
reported, as mentioned in Moira Smith's post, in the charges the Inquisition
brought against the Knights of the Temple or Templars at the behest of King
Philip IV The Fair of France in 1307. (The real offense of the Templars was
having accumulated a fortune in valuables and property from international
banking and estate management over the period 1138-1307; Philip was broke
and wanted it.)

In a system of criminal justice/social control where all arrested are
invariably found guilty, and where there is not only no evidence, there
almost certainly was no crime, confession is required. [Note: In Japan,
where 99% of criminal defendants are found guilty, the courts likewise
rely on confession; though here, the accused perpetrator almost invariably
perpetrated the offense as charged.] The victims are interrogated by trained
staff, who crosscheck the interogee's story with the body of information
obtained from previous confesssions, especially, where popular, those of
members of the accused's social network. It is not necessary for the most
immense conspiracies to actually exist; and the actual beliefs of the
accused, as opposed to those attributed, decline in relevance to the
preestablished necessities (with optional extras) as to the contents
confessed to, the greater the intensity of violence against the victim
category. It follows that there are immense quantities of duplicated
material recurring across confessions. Also, that fairly simple basic
categories of case classification are readily constructed; that scholarly
research, theory, and even methodology with formidable foundations in
philosophical epistemology and theoretical demonology is formulated for
those Further Studies which shall always be found Necessary so long as it
is Obvious to all Informed personages that *more Information* is required.
Hugh Seton-Watson, in The European Witch-Craze of the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth Centuries, even seems to show the operation of Kuhnian "paradigm
shift" - still to be formulated by Kuhn when Seton-Watson wrote - in the
periodic reorganizations of this body of Knowledge, Learning, and Science:
The most formidable scientists of the day, Seton-Watson shows, subscribed
to the main points of the paradigm in the sixteenth century.

To review thus far, the Hussite Wars added to material German ruin the
stain of defeat; and lawlessness had already been endemic since the Bubonic
Plague. The Church's legitimacy was plummeeting. The Jews were linked in
popular belief with magic and relations with the devil. (See also Joshua
B. Trachtenberg, The Devil And The Jews.) They were linked via the Blood
Libel with killing Christian children to obtain blood. The victims of witches
were diverse; but children who died young were very commonplace due to older
and more recent epidemic disease. Infertility and impotence were blamed on
witches, especially given the labor shortage which magnified the importance
of family workers. Children were also tempted by lures of city life and
lucrative occupations as disease-ridden towns recruited replacements for
the dead again and again.

The social sources of an obsession with child murder in the Reformation
period were almost, then, self-evident.

The causal relationships in fifteenth and sixteenth century history do
not apply to:
(a) The Phoenician-Carthaginian cult of the deity Tanit: Excavations
and other evidence from or about Carthage (founded circa 814 BC?; destroyed
in Third Punic War, 146 BC) tells us that in grave societal emergency, the
elite families offered children for sacrifice to bring divine intercession.
Over time, demands of the upwardly mobile for recognition generated cravings
by excluded families to get included in the select circles where they would
be honored by having their own children killed. Snob appeal will always take
a determinate form.
(b) Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac: Safe bet the ending of the story was
tampered with.
***(c) Contemporary satanism, child abuse, and religious or sex-perversion
terrors inflicted on children in the US today (also, on adult members of
fringe sects in both Fundamentalist Protestant Christianity (People's Temple,
Branch Davidians) and New Age Religion (Church of Satan founded by Anton
Szandor LaVey and less amusing entities). The mass suicides of certain
sectarians merely reflect commitment to self-immolation if options are
blocked, and strong enough faith in the Afterlife to countenance involuntary
participation by children in the parents' own death. The Church of Satan
is a comical celebration of hedonism and crass materialism.

Where the trouble comes in is in the rituals, often of a disgusting
character, invented by teenagers in fits of participatory madness where
suicide pacts are also possible. (It is believed by employees of the
Stony Brook Seven-Eleven convenience store that more young people killed
themselves on the Long Island railroad tracks across the street from the
store (and University) than were reported in the media (two in December,
one in May). Extreme feelings of futility and blocked options increasingly,
or so it seems from media coverage, conduced to spectacularly horrible or
bizarre acts. Donna Gaines, Teenage Wasteland, 1991.

Any historical connection with imaginary Medieval Satanic rites is out
of the question, though where convenient, a subterranean "Tradition" of
survival of Witches, Druids, Great Green Goddess of the Cretins, or whatever
the flakier odds and ends of New Age spirituality happen to believe in, or
my name isn't Joe Kurgan. (The archeological findings of Dr Stella Chrysopo-
lous that Middle Minoan II Crete (the Old Palace period) was run like a
concentration camp hasn't got much airplay.) Much of this New Age religion
is either harmless or benign or actually beneficial as conducive, one hopes,
to ease of cultural creation when the next social upheaval shall ocur. By
measures of riot deaths, for example, it may well be underway.

Prefigurative cultural change *anticipates* social-conflict upheavals.
The upheavals themselves, on the other hand, are accompanied by cultural
innovation, with mass appeal, far more formidable than the prefigurative
changes. What is going on is New, and it is made in the USA for reasons
poorly understood or unknown at this time, *where the unknowing is motivated*.
If you don't like it now, people, just wait a bit. Remember, back in
1992, I Descended to Earth in my parachute, which was Pink with Green Spots,
"What color is your parachute" is something I remember infallibly, and told
you Something Is Wrong, get busy, find out what it was. Oh, no, I was called
137 different kinds of crackpot and psycho, which may have understated the
truth. Now we are all agreed that Something Is Very Seriously Wrong, but:
"A new day has dawned.
It is Tuesday.
godz give us the strength to get through it at all costs.
But if ye cannot give us the strength o godz,
We pray thee o godz, give us the *drugs*!" - Trad. (ie daf, 1968)

Daniel A. Foss