The morning after my near-death experience while photographing the sea during the hurricane Synne, the forest was flooded. I was wandering the Islands outside of Kragerø, facing Denmark. My supraspinatus was inflamed after my shoulder nearly disjointed and I followed the rivers deeper into the forest.
The Sumerian precursor to the Noah myth was Atra-hasis. After auspices from the sea god Enki to dismantle his house and build a boat, he escaped the flood planned by the wind god Enlil, with his family and animals. After traversing the Euphrates for seven days the flood ended. The maritime god’s warning herald’s the life preserving nature of the sea.
In the Comédie humaine of history, the sea is surely the stage and we are not the only actors on it, the word actants should be used. The mise-en-scène has become alive and the ramifications of human activity on this earth are forces that are no longer merely “of nature”. The Nature/Culture divide has become redundant as we witness the monstrous ecological mutation named the Anthropocene.
I followed the now indiscernible Holzwege(wood roads) and saw the grey tracts of heaven reflected in the rivulet forest-clearings. The ground was striated, the sand was unconcealing the blackest earth. As I walked, grooves of vertical horizons revealed ever greater depths. My gaze pierced the earth to visualize the sediments, plastic, basalt, igneous, metamorphic zones of human and “natural” activity. This heaven-gorge, embraced by the rushing streams with spots of sky glaring up the dark continents.
In Bwiti mythology the forest pool mirrors the cosmic structure of heaven and earth(above/below) and is essentially a spirit pool connected with cosmological events. It’s associated with images such as the raindrop clinging to a forest tree, suspended between height and depth generating traction. In Equatorial forests, water is universally an organizing signifier. In Sumerian mythology the abzu is a mysterious water source that can manifest everywhere, like in Faust, Mephistopheles makes various wines run from bored holes in the table. Liquid here is symbolic of revitalization and the collective unconscious.
My ambulation along the intertwining of earth and rising ocean levels disclosed a concern with mans situatedness. Peter Sloterdijk inquires into the living-conditions within our world-sphere, the foam of our cramped apartments, how is the air-condition system in this world-house? It would be no exaggeration to claim the air-condition system “out of joint” like Hamlet said of time. Increasing heat migrates to even out irregularities in the atmosphere which causes storms and increasing wind(like in the Atra-hasis myth).
Visually it seemed to me that an anthropology today would be like tracing nudes in this telluric mirror subject to evolutionary streams. Human activity dialectically reconciled with it’s sedimented ground unconscious as we wake up in fright after encountering the dream’s navel.
For Henri Bergson the past could not be found in brain or body, mind or matter. Memories were complex states of space, in which things and materials were held in an order imposed by mind. The hard problem of consciousness, the ghost in the machine.