Resurrection and Rejuvenation
The Machine Will Never Triumph, part thirty-seven
The new word
Shall I tell you again the new word
the new word of the unborn day?
It is Resurrection.
The resurrection of the flesh.
For our flesh is dead
only egoistically we assert ourselves.
And the new word means nothing to us,
it is such an old word,
till we admit how dead we are,
till we actually feel as blank as we really are.1
To really heal the world, to really have a new life, we don’t just need change, but resurrection. Resurrection not of the mind, for we are already too centered on the mind, but resurrection of the body to the sense of touch. To reawaken to the beauty of things and to come back into touch with the natural world is what we need. So long as we sit at computers and type on phones, we are just brains in bottles, and our bodies are the bottles. We have to escape from our cages and learn what it means to feel again! Everything changes, and in order to grow we too must change. Even the Gods change. If Apollo came down and spoke to you now, he would and would not be the same Apollo who walked on Mount Olympus. Both Gods and men contain the transient and permanent, but the permanent god-stuff, from the Fire at the base of all being, is a constant in flux. Death is not to be feared, since we all contain fire-infused souls. But, here, now, we must strive to be born again. We don’t need to wait until the final days for the resurrection; we can experience the resurrection now. As Lawrence writes:
Gods should be iridescent, like the rainbow in the storm. Man creates a god in his own image, and the god grows old along with the men that made him. But storms sway in heaven, and the god-stuff sweeps high and angry over our heads. Gods die with men who have conceived them. But the god-stuff roars eternally, like the sea, with too vast a sound to be heard. Like the sea in storm, that beats against the rocks of living, stiffened men, slowly to destroy them. Or like the sea of the glimmering, ethereal plasm of the world, that bathes the feet and the knees of men as earth-sap bathes the roots of trees.—Ye must be born again. Even the gods must be born again. We must be born again.2
We have been born again many times, and not always for the better. Our current society is the result of a deformed birth of our own doing. R. S. Thomas puts this poetically:
Did I see religion,
its hand in the machine’s,
trying to smile as the grip
tightened? Did I hear money
arguing out of the tree’s
the world, about the love
at its root? How beautiful
in a world like this
are the feet of the peace
makers upon the mountains
risen out of our own molehills?3
But, no matter how far we have gone down the wrong path, we can always turn around. The Gods are more powerful than men, so if we birthed this brave new world of ours, let it go to be reborn at the hands of the Gods. Even what is good in the world has degenerated. There once was much truth in the Catholic and Orthodox churches, and now the truth seems to be hidden and is much harder to find. “[E]verything human degenerates, from religion downwards, and must be renewed and revived.”4
Sun in me
A sun will rise in me
I shall slowly resurrect
already the whiteness of false dawn is on my inner ocean.
A sun in me.
And a sun in heaven.
And beyond that, the immense sun behind the sun,
the sun of immense distances, that fold themselves together
within the genitals of living space.
And further, the sun within the atom
which is god in the atom.5
Any man can become a sun-man. All one needs to do is to change his attitude and to look at the sun as a manifestation of the divine Fire. Once one comes into living contact with the sun, the sun’s fire flows through his veins, and he becomes powerful like one of the Gods. But this power, this strength, is not brute physical force. Lawrence describes the strength of the sun:
There are two strengths: the strength which is the strength of oxen and mules and iron, of machines and guns, and men who cannot get the second strength.
Then there is the second strength. It is the strength you want. And you can get it, whether you are small or big. It is the strength that comes from behind the sun. […] The strength that comes from back of the sun.6
Harry Crosby knew what it was like to have a sun resurrection:
I am the criminal whose chest is tattooed with a poniard above which are graven the words “mort aux bourgeois.” Let us each tattoo this on our hearts.
I am the soldier with a red mark on my nakedness—when in the frenzy of love the mark expands to spell Mad Queen. Let us each tattoo our Mad Queen on our heart.
I am the prophet from the land of the Sun whose back is tattooed in the design of a rising sun. Let us each tattoo a rising sun on our heart.7
He came from a family of bankers and lived a meaningless life until everything was shattered for him in the horrors of the first world war. Only through a direct experience of the Divine at the heart of the sun was he able to be reborn.
They are afraid of climbing down from this idiotic tin-pot heaven of
because they don’t know what they’ll find when they do get down.
They needn’t bother, most of them will never get down at all,
they’ve got to stay up.
And those that do descend have got to suffer a sense-change
into something new and strange.
Become aware as leaves are aware
and fine as flowers are fine
and fierce as fire is fierce
and subtle, silvery, tinkling and rippling
and still a man,
but a man re-born from the rigidity of fixed ideas
resurrected from the death of mechanical motion and emotion.8
As Lawrence writes in the preceding poem, we need to let go of an over-insistence on ideas. Fixed ideas turn us into lifeless automatons. Instead we should learn from the rivers, flowers, trees, birds, animals, and elements. Books won’t teach us how to be reborn, but a flower might. As Malcolm de Chazal writes: “All animals are experts, yet we use them merely as help. If only we knew how to get the best out of them—each in its special capacity—we would be infinitely more successful at holding off the machines that threaten us with creeping destruction.”9 The example of Christ teaches this, though many theologians have misinterpreted Christ’s message for much of the last two thousand years. Jesus’s resurrection was not away from life, but into life, a new, renewed life. Lawrence portrays the true nature of Christ:
If Jesus rose from the dead in triumph, a man on earth triumphant in renewed flesh, triumphant over the mechanical anti-life convention of Jewish priests, Roman despotism, and universal money-lust; triumphant above all over his own self-absorption, self-consciousness, self-importance; triumphant and free as a man in full flesh and full, final experience, even the accomplished acceptance of his own death; a man at last full and free in flesh and soul, a man at one with death: then he rose to become at one with life, to live the great life of the flesh and the soul together, as peonies or foxes do[.]10
Chazal, Malcolm de. Sens-Plastique. Translated by Irving Weiss. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Wakefield Press, 2021.
Crosby, Harry. Seeing with Eyes Closed. Edited by Gian Lombardo. Niantic: Quale Press, 2019.
Lawrence, D. H. Apocalypse. Edited by Mara Kalnins. London: Penguin Books, 1995.
———. Late Essays and Articles. Edited by James T. Boulton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
———. The Plumed Serpent. Edited by L. D. Clark. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
———. The Poems. Edited by Christopher Pollnitz. Vol. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Thomas, R. S. Collected Poems. London: Orion Books, 2000.
D. H. Lawrence, The Poems, ed. Christopher Pollnitz, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 445.
D. H. Lawrence, The Plumed Serpent, ed. L. D. Clark (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 58–59.
R. S. Thomas, Collected Poems (London: Orion Books, 2000), 515.
D. H. Lawrence, Apocalypse, ed. Mara Kalnins (London: Penguin Books, 1995), 136.
Lawrence, The Poems, 1:446.
Lawrence, The Plumed Serpent, 362.
Harry Crosby, Seeing with Eyes Closed, ed. Gian Lombardo (Niantic: Quale Press, 2019), 182.
Lawrence, The Poems, 1:576.
Malcolm de Chazal, Sens-Plastique, trans. Irving Weiss (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Wakefield Press, 2021), 69.
D. H. Lawrence, Late Essays and Articles, ed. James T. Boulton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 271.