David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

17 October 2008

'...and fear that the instrumental logic of machines conceals a void of meaning.' (5) Factory for the Absolute


"The Absolute at Large (Továrna na absolutno in the original Czech) [printed in translation as 'the Factory for the Absolute' (PT)] is a science fiction novel written by Czech author Karel Čapek in 1922.

The story centers on the invention of a reactor that can annihilate matter to produce cheap and abundant energy. Unfortunately, it produces something else as a by-product, the absolute. The absolute is a spiritual essence that according to some religious philosophies allegedly permeates all matter. It is associated with human religious experience, as the unsuspecting humanity is to find out all too soon in the story. The widespread adoption of the reactors cause an enormous outpouring of pure absolute into the world. This leads to an outburst of religious and nationalist fervor, causing the greatest, most global war in history... "

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