|Works||Series 1-Quest To Be Whole||Album 1-Predator|
The overall concept of this album is that evil exists. Further, that we are called to resist evil through Love and Spirit rather than claw and gun. People are evil's puppets. Our enemy is spiritual, and therein is the realm God has declared our battlefield.
Because of evil, the idea of a world order based on some brotherhood of man is a fairy story.
Note the reaction when President Reagan called the U.S.S.R. the evil empire. With the veil fallen from a laundry list of deeds like calculated long term irradiation of its own population and the Gulag system and tiny children being given 'athletic' drugs, how can such fail to deserve the label of "evil"? Yet it is doubtful the howls of outrage were directed at the use of the word "empire". It was said this kind of talk was not 'helpful'. Is it not the least bit odd that the truth is not helpful?
Original Sin did more than drive us from the Garden. It cut off communication, and produced existential isolation.
This isolation underlies the predator system by producing the stranger. Most attempts to understand this thing merely tack on more 'thing' attributes like safe, powerful, big, ugly, dangerous, etc. The moral standard for handling things is far lower than for dealing with people, so the predator has incentive to view their 'prey' by this base standard.
It does not require an earth-shaking event to drive these instruments down into despair.
Despair and fear seem to lead all too often into war, of which Vietnam was not the worst.
In our age, war has the power to take the entire world prey.
The worst up to now has been the Holocaust.
Though Red China is working hard to surpass the atrocities of the Nazis.
The Nazis will pale beside the coming rule of the Beast.
So what are we to do about evil? Battle in the spirit, where the real war is being waged.
The Dark Wall and Misasa Bridge and Sky of Smoke and Dragon's Claw deal with war and governmental power.
Art of Pantomime and Asylumthink deal with interpersonal isolation, the division between you & me.
Sky of Smoke and Finest Hour reference the Last Days.
Asylumthink, Sky of Smoke, Dragon's Claw, and Finest Hour deal with acceptance and rejection, and more specifically, dehumanization.
Misasa Bridge and Finest Hour reference the power technology has handed society, while Sky of Smoke, and Dragon's Claw, reference the type of things done with that power.
On one level or another, all the songs deal with acceptance and rejection, and more specifically, with dehumanization.
The album can be summarized as examining reification, represented by the predator turning a person into the thing labeled 'prey'. Conversely, Not Flesh & Blood, brings up the point that we must not humanize our foe. When the Bible says we wrestle against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, it is not talking about people.
A key to Predator is found early. "Asylumthink", calls it, "Names, labels, categories". Because evil exists, 'different' translates for us far more readily into 'danger' than into 'distinction'. This has been made more pronounced by modern media, which only cover murders and the like. The daily millions of normal interpersonal contacts are ignored.
The categories on this album had serious consequences. From the Forlorn Hope to soldiers to atomic bomb test devices to fodder for the furnace, categories were treated different than people. At the extreme, categories are used to demonize. If a despot can get the population to buy into his categorization of the selected victim minority, then he has a free hand. Note the importance governments place on propaganda and spin control. They know which category people choose for an event has great importance in how people will react to that event. Capture a person's vision and the rest of them will follow.
Songs 3 - 8 form a category progression. In "Donner Party & L.A. Riot", the category is 'abandoned'. Langford Hastings did not wait for the poor fools who left the long established normal route and followed his 'cut-off'. The rioters in L.A. felt, with high justification, abandoned by a society handing out Simi Valley justice. (1992)
In, "The Dark Wall", the category is 'soldier'. While only in the great travesty of war protesters persecuting soldiers has this category failed to received honor, the reality is they are being deliberately sent into harm's way: that on one level or another they are a price we are willing to pay.
In, "Misasa Bridge", the category has been reduced to 'enemy'. But worse, to mannequin, lab rat: to bomb target.
In, "Sky of Smoke", the category sinks to the bottom; 'vermin'. This category calls forth ruthless extermination, without any of what Nietzsche called a sin: pity.
In "Dragon's Claw", the category is state property. The infanticide is not bad enough. Being forced makes it a virtual form of rape as well. Yet Red China is treated as if it were a civilized nation.
In, "Finest Hour", the view is toward the future. Christianity has been abandoned by the rulers. It has largely been ignored for a century. Then to gain a 'greater good', Christianity was deemed expendable, and thrown out of school. By the way, Supreme Court, how is that working out?
After that watershed, the issues of abortion and homosexual rights have arisen. On these two issues in particular no Christianity worthy of the name can compromise. (By the way, how can liberalism square innocent babies being denied even the most basic right, life, while advocating privileged protection rights for some guy because he chooses to have what passes for sex with some other man? There is justice for you.) Due to our resolute condemnation of these and other anti-Scriptural practices, Christianity has been declared by many to be an enemy. Yet the Last Age has only begun. In time, the 'radical right' will accumulate more enemies by refusing to 'be reasonable' about further issues. As the syphilitic insanity of the world reaches its peak, our status will sink from 'enemy' to 'vermin'. A paranoid delusion? To me it is rather an inevitability. Time will tell.
Faced with persecution, the natural reaction is to fight. In, "Not Flesh & Blood", the follower's of Christ must remember the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. This does not mean to flee the public square, but rather to remember our true enemy. Remember, we must not humanize our foe. We must avoid reverse reification.
Predator's organization can be seen from the standpoint of a rhetoric argument. "Art of Pantomime" is the initial assumption; in this case existential isolation. "Asylumthink" is the proposition; namely that we tend to act toward categories rather than toward people. The next five songs then form a progression of consequences of reification. This progression projects a trend into the future in support of the conclusion, "Finest Hour". One day the category of 'Christian' will be what 'Jew' was in Nazi Germany. What 'Christian' is in Red China today. "Not Flesh & Blood" is the recommendation. The battle is not to be an armed struggle of violence. As many have learned, violence will pollute the desired outcome of good people. If you seek a Stalin, violent revolution will lead you to him. Should you desire as much peace and justice as this world is going to see, the road of Gandhi and King has a much better track record.
The progression represented by the five central songs - ignored, expendable, enemy, vermin, property – represent the stages through which the categorization of Christianity will pass on the road to the Beast. But the world cannot grasp a counterattack of love and spirit. "Love your enemies," is the radical command. Where religion seeks a journey to the center, Jesus is radical, Jesus demands we lay everything aside for Him; including and especially our right to personal grievance. Love takes no notice of a suffered wrong. They persecuted the Master. How much less will they persecute His followers? In truth, we are to rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for the Gospel and our Lord.
It would also be wise for any man on the street to clearly see Christians reach out with love to their enemies while so much of Islam murders its foes. Overblown? Remember that in Afghanistan, for example, it is a death penalty crime to convert from Islam to Christianity.
The first two songs form the backdrop of the album, and the series. They represent what drives the human condition as a result of sin. Existential isolation opens the door to reification, to thinking of people as things. Reification soon leads to seeing these 'things' as objects to be plundered.
"Art of Pantomime" - Isolation, which is a predator prerequisite, because now people are things. Separation from God. Now the identity of others is out of our direct view.
"Asylumthink" - People as things extended to people as things to be exploited.
The bulk of the album deals with more or less specific consequences of reification. In the first song, the victims are not entirely without blame and certainly exhibited high levels of depravity. War is next because, even if necessary, it is a horrible loss, and in this instance its necessity is still the subject of great debate. War certainly led us across a crucial divide. The Holocaust is next because of the incredible level of depravity. But such depravity does not lie only in the past. The Beast closes this section because this is not only evil personified, but because he will bring about the death of a nearly unimaginable multitude of people.
"Donner Party & L.A. Riot" - have/have-not division yields to despair. This lack of regard for a one's individual worth can be seen in the despair of the disenfranchised, but the process does not end here. In the most grisly sense, reification produced seeing people as food.
"The Dark Wall" - the war predator. We consider some people obstacles, and will go so far as to risk the sacrifice our own children to attack them. Yet this too is not the end. Reification here led to seeing people as weapons.
"Misasa Bridge" - the war predator given incredible power. Yet even this level of violence is not the end. Reification here led to seeing people as lab animals.
"Sky of Smoke" - the great human depravity, evil preying upon an entire race. Some people we hate, try to exterminate, but even this is not the end. Reification here led to seeing people as vermin.
"Dragon's Claw" - the horror of Red China's forced abortions is that this is being done today, not in some semi-distant historical period of black and white photography. This song serves as the bridge between the historic setting of the previous four songs and the future setting of the next song.
"Finest Hour" - the ultimate predator, shedding blood across the entire world. Satan hates humanity because we carry God's image, and wants not only to snuff out all life, but the added revenge of talking us into doing that work for him, destroying ourselves.
The close represents the Christian response to the human condition. We are to fight sin, not sinners, for whom Jesus died.
"Not Flesh & Blood" - What are we to do about the predatory fractured world? Know your enemy. And combat him with love and forgiveness.
|Works||Series 1-Quest To Be Whole||Album 1-Predator|