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MONDAY, JULY 04, 2011
Every day, as recommended by a prophet, I either try to find one new amazing piece of music, or work of text. The following was written by one, Adèle Venter, in response to the aforementioned title. I include it here, so you may enjoy the pithiness of her thoughts on the topic.

"I don't really consider a discussion around atheism as my topic (especially after arguing the necessity of religion through the works of Baudelaire and Eliot), but I believe the contemporary French poet Yves Bonnefoy has an interesting and rather beautiful theory in his oeuvre, notably in his poem "Les planches courbes". In the latter, he sets out his atheistic viewpoint with the help of a messianic analogy. He plays with the legend of Saint Christopher, the strong man who offered to carry the child across the river. the child, however, became almost unbearably heavy and when, almost sinking, Christopher asked the child why he was so heavy, the child answered that he carried all the sins of the world on his shoulders. Hence St. Christopher's conversion to Christianity, his exemplary life and ultimate canonisation. Interestingly, in art St. Christopher is always portrayed carrying a lamb on his shoulders.

Yves Bonnefoy's story is very much the same, with the exception that the heavy child pleads with his carrier to accept him as his child. (Both of them in a little rowing boat - with the obvious allusion to the passage to Hades - death ultimately awaiting us) At first, the man protests. But as the burden gets heavier and the urgency becomes greater, he accepts his responsibility and with difficulty brings the child to safety. The heavy child and father image represents the heavy burden of accepting responsibility for mankind, urging the individual to assume a paternal role in society with regards to his/her fellow human beings, because of the very urgency of life. Thus, not God the Messiah - but Man.

In essence of course, the message of the two stories is entirely the same, because the Christian legend makes the same demands, only with reference to the burden of God (the father) and his sacrifice. For Bonnefoy the urgency of life which brings us to the point of accepting responsibility is directly linked to the fact of our everpresent mortality. It is interesting to note that it is in this Christian tale that Bonnefoy searches for a humanistic, atheistic answer."

p.s. chicks who can construct sentences with more than 7 clauses are divine.

p.s.s. After reading this, don't you just want to rush out with a bag of bones of a loved one, hop on a boat, and befriend the first boatsmen you meet? I do.


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