Donnerstag, 30. April 2015

A thing for escapism - More thoughts on the film "Mara und der Feuerbringer" and a resolve

Okay, so you all know it. We all are faced with a world full of war and greed and hate, and there seems to be not much hope at all left. Every day in the media, in the web, we are faced with new catastrophes and new forces of Evil trying to take the oh-so-superior Western civilisation to hell. If you read the newspaper, you have to hold it straight up to keep the blood from dropping out of the lines. Once the communist regimes of Russia (and the Russian people) were the personification of Satan, and we were told to hate them, now it´s the Muslims. Good jobs are scarce, and if you don´t have one, you are subject to exploit and abuse or even worse. Kids should not play, but learn in order to get a good career going in order to "survive". Survival is estimated by income. The middle class is practically non - existent. You are either upper class or antisocial (a quote from a head of corporation I had the doubtful pleasure to meet). Bad news pepper your mind every day, every minute, every second. It is not a place for dreams, this world, isn´t it? Is it really?

A very strange thought occurred to me, and a very strange observation I have made. I meet many people from the "upper class". In fact, many of my former mountainbike team are actually members of the upper class. At work, I work with upper and middle management people in business promotion. I noticed something very strange. Many of them get dumb.

What I mean is, those people should be well educated and sharp - witted, and they actually were once. But many of them seem to degenerate, to a degree that some of them are not even able to fulfil  the least requirements of social structures. They are still able to maintain their life, because they live in a structure that degenerates with them, but, judging from an outside point of view, their intellectual capacity is deteriorating fast. This observation is not even exclusive to myself. I would be glad to pass it off as a hallucination of a guy that encounters a bit of a hardship sometimes and has many things in his mind to work on, to be diplomatic;-). But this observation has a strong backing in scientific research, so much in fact that it is a commonplace. It is a well-used theory that our intensive use of computer aids and comfort add to this degeneration of our mind. Now this could be just another kind of bad news, and many might get into bed, draw the blanket over their eyes and not get up again, and I´d be lying if I said I could not understand them.

But I also made another observation. For I met other people also. Different people. Often people who have to work extremely hard to just so make a living for themselves and their families. They don´t have a good career, or maybe some of them actually do, for this observation is not exclusive to people without a decent job. But they have something in common. They are sharp of wits, socially and intellectually competent, and many of them are what many so - called heads of society would call a hazy-eyed dreamer.

 Reenactors, artists - mostly deviant artists - bushcrafters, preppers, Pagans, Christians, Muslims. People who call themselves druids or heroes. Musicians living just so from the extraordinary music they make with a guitar consisting mainly of holes, duct tape and splintered wood. I think of Rhobynn Byrdd, a ranger and druid and musician the magic troll and I met once in Marburg. He sat there, all clad in green, barefoot with the aforementioned guitar and his clothes and the shoes standing near his battered backpack held together with twine. Everything he had was beaten, used and battered, he took a swig from abottle of cheap beer, and yet he did not look like a bum. On his guitar case there was a silver badge of the tree of life, and when he sang, he transformed the hallway into a concert hall, or better yet, the Golden Halls of Lothlórien or the halls of Rivendell. We bought a CD from him, and he traded in some dreams and weird tales and we talked a huge pile of shit. But that wasn´t all of it. When I first read the "Lord Of The Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien, I had the same impression getting to know him when  the author described the first encounter of the wayfaring hobbits with Aragorn, Arathorn´s son. I am well aware that Rhobynn´s life is not at all romantic. And this is the dimension of truth behind it all: For if you really try to FEEL the figure of Aragorn, Arathorn´s son, you notice that he isn´t romantic, either. And Rhobynn is not a figure in a book. He is not a fantasy novel. But he refuses to give up his hope and dream. He stubbornly clings to being a "ranger". He stubbornly clings to his dream, even in a damp tent in a November rain with little to eat and no warmth at all. And this makes him a real - world hero. He fights enemies of mankind we cannot even agnize and that would "make our hearts freeze" could we take them for real. Rhobynn´s art and prowess are extraordinary. He is a story become true.

He lives in a dream.

I have met many people like him in the last few years. Many of these experiences I made with the love of my life by my side, and I cannot tell how grateful I am for that. And, talking of which, I have realized that we are like them. We are dreamers, yap. We care about all those people suffering in Nepal now, but then we know that the elders of the Inuit tell the hunting grounds become strange. The North pole has shifted, so they say. Shamans and dreamers report that something is changing, and many of them tell of something very grey and dark on the rise. Sounds like a fantasy novel? They also say the earth will shift. Nepali Bön priests tell of the serpent that is preparing either for war or shifting in its sleep. Maya and Aztec astronomers announced the rise of the winged serpent. Myth. Magic. Hazy-eyed dreams. But we ask, why has the earth trembled? In what direction has it risen or fallen? We ask the signs, and many call us cold - hearted to ask these questions. But we ask because we want to know how to give hope the way Rhobynn gave us. We are druids and tellers of stories.

There are many like us, and please forgive me if I cannot be too objective. It is just a feeling I have. I see the children of reenactors, and I work with the  children of the middle management. The  middle management kids often are to be called as bad an attribute as retarded.

One 9 - year -old I worked with and who was absolutely normal according to the interview I did with the parents was not only far too small for the age (I first mistook him for a 4-year-old), but severely motorically challenged, so far in fact that he was not able to distinguish his hammer from his arms, had difficulties of hitting the anvil in front of him and could not tell left from right. I had to "anchor" him by touching the body part he had to move just in order to make him step up the step ladder in order to achieve the proper working height over the anvil. He visited a private school, a gymnasium of a very good reputation. But also his abstraction capabilities and intellectual capability was not "adequate" (I hope you know that I do not mean a disqualification by this, but refer to the system valid in the society of five years ago.) in a degree that terrified me. And the examples are legion. There is two kids of thirty maybe coming to the smithy not acting severely socially inadequate, and I mean it, when I say. I am not talking swear words or a bit of testing borders, but trying to swing a hammer full -tilt at the face of their fellows just to see what happens.

Now enter the encampment area of a re-enactment fair. Escapists and dreamers are gathered there, not being able to stand reality and dressing up like characters from a fantasy film. Some of them can be respected by the so-called normal and socially relevant people by doing actual living history and re-enacting the Viking age in a human zoo, but most of them actually do not put a mask on, but a mask off on the weekend. There are some middle management types, good people, bad people, and people in general. People from many social classes. But take a look at the kids. Often sooty, dirty, barefoot, and some even wear sharpened seaxes. They treat each other a bit rough often. But they act responsibly around the fire and the weapons and gladly accept responsibilities such as chopping wood and fetching water. And I have never in the roundabout 25 years of re-enactment seen a reenactor´s child kicking or beating anyone who had fallen to the ground, with the exception of an observed martial arts contest.

Dreamers like Petr and his son. Escapists. How come now that those escapists seem to be more capable than the "Herrenmenschen", the masters of virtual and economy? How come that those apparent outcasts are socially more capable, more intelligent and more virile?

I could bore you with scientific studies and sociological research. But I am a dreamer, so I´d try to answer the question with a dream.

In "Mara und der Feuerbringer" the protagonist, 14-year-old Mara Lorbeer has to face the "Feuerbringer" a demonic would-be god that was born out of a demon, a wrong translation - and, as I interpret it- psychological neglect. One could learn that there also is more to the dubious Dr. Thurisaz mentioned in the film, obviously making a big business out of selling esoteric seminars. But there is more to the seemingly superficial seminars. I a second part of the film we COULD learn, why the firebringer gains his power and whereof he is made. Mara is not done with him in the least, and the second book and the third (and I guess the fourth, which is currently in the making) will offer a lot of insight into the mythological world which is courtesy of Tommy as well as the Vikings themselves. And here is where the rubber hits the road and myth and magic meet the so - called actual world. The film was made with two big - term corporations. It was considered as recommendable by objective and independent institutes in Germany, and yet by active ignorance became subject to sabotage. But I do not want to rant on endlessly about that fact.

There was a growing community of people with a dream centering around Tommy and his achievement. Reenactors, poets, students and professors of Old Norse literature as well as druids and storytellers, musicians and lovers of fantasy and science fiction. How I am informed did they fight the sabotage and even managed a small victory in that smaller cinemas now boycott this abominable Marvel Avenger cartoon novel trash film in favour of a great movie made with heartfelt love. It was love that created this victory, and you can take for granted that I do not advertise this film because I get money or any other advantage from it than the dream coming to life. For if you look closely at how the topic of the movie and the adventures of Mara Lorbeer interfere with reality you notice something weird and wonderful: That where the story ends, another begins. And this latter story is deeply rooted in our prosaic everyday life, a life we thought was bereft of any wonders and cleaned and sanitized from all magic.

There is a loving community now. Dreamers, for sure. Escapists.

But escapists with teeth and nails. And as Mara Lorbeer faces the deity that wants to doom the world, with a little help by the professor and the Gods, the real story happening alongside it in the so - called real world coincides.

We all are faced with doom. It is reality. And a dark and unholy shadow is lurking in the sunshine of a world we thought was ours to take and shape. And it was all of us who invocated the shadow by forgetting to dream and love and tell our children wonderful stories. It is quite unhelpful to sit back and grin and look forward to the Apokalypse, as many monotheistic fanatics do. This attitude helped pave the road for the Evil that has befallen our world, the cynical grey god of a machinery human.

This cyborg human subspecies is thrice blessed and thrice cursed. First, it seems overly powerful and almighty. It has no dreams and thus no fear. It has not feelings but lust, greed and hate. It has everything it could want for and yet will always hunger for more, until it has eaten the world and all of its dreams. It feeds on all things colourful and turns it into a hopeless grey.

Am I wrong? Read the newspaper, watch the TV, browse the internet. And find your own opinion.

I am a dreamer. I guess I am a bit like Tommy, and Jonny, and Rhobynn. I am frightened, and cold, and I often have no hope left in the November rain.

But there is the love of my life by my side. I do not know how I will survive or fare. But I know there´s always help. As long as you stubbornly believe in your dream, and if you can´t do it, stubbornly believe you could, I guess there´d always be a way.

We will walk into the woods, into the night, along the stems of moss and tree into the golden twilight where both worlds meet. There it will be we will be clothed. There it will be we will find our weapons. There will be the place of our feasting and our fighting.

Death to the Maggot of Grey!

Marihar Iala Makija!

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