arts / Religion / writing

June 15: Iain M. Banks enters Heaven

“[R]eally, it’s not about you. It’s what religion does with this drive for acknowledgement of self-importance that really gets up my nose. ‘Yeah, yeah, your individual consciousness is so important to the universe that it must be preserved at all costs’ – oh, please. Do try to get a grip of something other than your self-obsession. How Californian. The idea that at all costs, no matter what, it always has to be all about you. Well, I think not.”

Iain Banks, the last interview (Guardian, June 15, 2013)

Ye seem surprised, said St Peter, as well ye might.
Where’s the Great Darkness ye looked forward to, eh?
Well, it’s here if ye want it.

All things are possible, including a Culture of Great Minds acting together in unison, as ye conceived it.
Man, did ye not think we’d read your writings with a sort of perplexed joy?
How could ye see so much in outer space and not see it in your own universe?
Not from your own fourteenth century to a mere nine centuries into your own peoples’ future, but for all eternity, where time means nothing.

Could ye not see that just as language influences thought, so what ye think can only be what might be?
And what might be is all things, including your own survival.
We love your humility, seeing yourself as just a speck in the eye of the Universe.
But he who numbers all the feathers on a sparrow, even the sands by all the seas in Creation, loves all things, including your own canny mind, and your way of speaking.

Yes, yes, I speak to ye in the Doric, your own tongue, for I’m commanded to be all things to all men – and women, too, ye ken. I mind ye were a great one for the lassies, betimes, and none the worse for that, for all the bigots would stone ye for it.
‘Tis a great way of the speaking, as your kinsman, that Borders makar, Grieve*, perceived. Did ye think there were not Scots who heard us that day, when we spoke in all the tongues of earth – yes, and all the planets too – the Holy Fire emblazing us?

Will ye and yours not all hear the blast of the final trumpet, in tonal systems your own bonny melodies encompass, and beyond them to ways of hearing even ye could not conceive of?

Enough blether. Will ye come in or no? It’s yours to decide.
Aye man, you’re welcome. We’ve need of more tale tellers, so sit ye down and prepare yourself. As yon Englishman, Shakespeare tells it, now’s the time for sad stories of the death of kings. And their lives forbye.

June 18, 2013

* GRIEVE: The Scots poet, Christopher Grieve, who wrote under the pseudonum, Hugh MacDiarmid.


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