“Will you please tell him that I’ve been to paradise and I’m amazed that I survived”

Things do not of necessity or probability work out for the best.

Brecht once wrote, “Swimming from the sinking ship, You don’t seek the best island, but the nearest.” A respite from peril.

Walter Benjamin said (in a sentence I can be accused of being too fond of recalling) that the reality of resistance to social death and the attempt to make better collective destinies is that such moments consist, not so much necessarily in forward movement, as in “seizing the emergency break.” We lunge to stop the destruction, not knowing if we can.

Our most precarious selves precede our remade ones, I think. Like all relational experiences that deeply engage the one with the other, becoming that person-in-relation, for example a parent, is transformative. It rewires us, both adult and child.

“It could be said that with human beings there can be no separation, only a threat of separation.”  – D.W. Winnicott

Please think about that while we listen to one of the greatest love songs you’ve never heard: 

 Loose Diamond

Ridng high on the plains one night,
I saw a falling star so bright
It was falling so slow
I just followed it home to
Paradise, Kingdom Come, déjà vu
I’ve been here before, with you
Do you remember? I do.

How could I forget?
You were like broken glass
Embedded in my skin
And I walked to Alaska and back to begin
To forget you.

But I can’t forget what it was like
When I came inside your fire that night.
Like you were the diamond
In that wedding ring of mine.
Paradise, Kingdom Come, déjà vu
You passed me by, like a loose diamond
Falling through the night.

You meant nothing by it,
You were just falling
Like a loose diamond falls
Like it was your true calling
And the night was your dancehall.

Now I don’t know what that star means
Or what she wants from me
And I know God means well,
But could you please tell Him
That I’ve been to Paradise?
And I’m amazed that I survived
That loose diamond falling through the night.

Paradise, Kingdom Come, déjà vu
You passed me by
Like a loose diamond falling through the night.

Song by Jo Carol Pierce
Performed by David Halley

Rui Daddy Mornintg

The psychoanalyst Fairbairn regards object-seeking as innate (similar to Bowlby’s idea of attachment). Melanie Klein said that the infant / toddler feels deep appreciation for the loving object (the psychological parents) and intense regret – often enormous self-blaming and loss of self-love – at any damage to them that appears in his/ her reveries or imagination. This speaks to us:  the child’s love, need, and attachment are intensely powerful, and if broken, cause fears, anxieties, and long-lasting damage. Our task is to pull the emergency break – to seize back our loved ones from this threat in fear or see it deepen into a permanent wound. We urge our comrades to do this before it’s too late for them, although it may be too late for ourselves.

But hope, irrational as it is, remains.

In looking backward over our psychological histories we try to conceive of ways to tell the story of where things went wrong or where they went awry. Perhaps there is merit in the critical view that some limit of Freud’s thinking about this may have come from the scientific conventions of his time, which – still in the sway of Newton’s conceptions of causality in physics – proceeded on the belief that if it were possible to know every piece and variable, all subsequent events could conceivably be predicted; but I doubt this is the principal case. And it hardly excludes Freud from knowing to what an overwhelming extent the reverse was and is an at least equal, and generally more prevalent, truth.

Here’s Freud:

“So long as we trace the development from its final outcome backwards, the chain of events appears continuous, and we feel we have gained an insight which is completely satisfactory or even exhaustive. But if we proceed the reverse way, if we start from the premises inferred from the analysis and try to follow these up to the final result, then we no longer get the impression of an inevitable sequence of events which could not have been otherwise determined.” 

To analyze social and psychological facts is challenging; to synthesize with certainty, next to impossible.

I’m glad for all the sisters and brothers who still struggle, and who haven’t given up. We will chronicle their fight, and try to do our parts.

At the end of Marx’s 1847 riposte to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon‘s Philosophy of Poverty, which Marx mockingly called The Poverty of Philosophy, he talked about this need to look backwards in order to understand what caused our predicament and to conceive of what is coming. He recognized in this text that antagonistic relationships in society that trouble us are not easily avoided, as the weary reformers of his generation were desirous of doing.

At that moment in which Marx was finding his bearings with Engels and acquiring greater influence in the European working class movement, the recurrent repression imposed by the French and Prussian States demonstrated to the authors that urging gentleness and declaring the new Jerusalem of brotherhood and the kingdom of heaven on Earth were unlikely to help relieve the sufferers of social oppression; that political power, backed by and emergent from a social movement was required.

Do not say that social movement excludes political movement. There is never a political movement which is not at the same time social,” Marx wrote, urging his fellow strugglers to find common cause with the social movement of his day to seek a future order of things that would relieve them of the burdens of unequal agency and disadvantage. Citing George Sand, Marx wrote:

“Til then, on the eve of every general reshuffling of society, the last word of social science will always be: 

“Le combat ou la mort; la lutte sanguinere ou le neant.”

The struggle or death; the bloody fight or nothingness.

Video call snapshot 7BVideo call snapshot 8BBrian Rui Dad 2006

4 thoughts on ““Will you please tell him that I’ve been to paradise and I’m amazed that I survived”

  1. Oh Brian, the song is beautiful and I can only imagine how it resonates with you on this day and every preceding…
    Looking backwards takes a powerful psyche in reverse. Hoping for resolution and reunion. The ultimate epiphany.

    Liked by 1 person

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