Against the Archons

abraxas_2Surrealism has been described as a “magic materialism” and Breton associates it with “a certain philosophy of immanence”.  As such,  it sets its face against idealism, against religion and the very idea of God.  At the same time it also shows itself to be against the narrow and reductive version of materialism, impoverished versions of Darwinism, naȉve Marxism, knee-jerk Behaviourism, that would have us consider the human to be no more than a mechanism, something that neither Marx nor Darwin would have approved of.  For us the difference between our “magic materialism” and that leaden materialism is the idea of freedom.

It is impossible to deny that we are conditioned at every level, genetic, biological, cultural, psychological, but at the same time there is an excess, a something more that is a source of mental light.

Idealist philosophies, in tending to return all things back towards God, would do the same with this mental light.  If it were God’s then it must either be a gift or brought, somehow, to earth.  In the myth of Prometheus he steals the fire from heaven to give it to men and is consequently punished by Zeus.  In considering this fire to be our mental light, whether we think of it as the illumination of logic or of poetic insight (or even a synthesis of both) we need to rethink that myth in order to gain a proper and materialist understanding of it.

In another myth, this time Gnostic, the true god has withdrawn and the universe is in the hands of the Demiurge, Ialdaboth.  Part dictator, part mafia don, he is a “jealous god” and he and his pantheon of Archons rule the heavens and earth.  The Gnostics believed that divine light had descended and must be gathered up and must ascend beyond the reach of the Archons, cruel usurpers, in order to return to the true god.

Surrealism, considered as a materialism, must invert these myths in order to arrive at their true meaning.  As the idea of god is abolished there can be no true god, only the false image of the Archons.  The divine light is actually a human light that has been stolen, not from the gods, but from us by religion.  Thus Prometheus returns to us what is ours.  Our earthlight must return to earth and illuminate human eyes.

Stuart Inman

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One Response to Against the Archons

  1. Pingback: The Star in the East | The Haunted Shoreline

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