|Pix Credit HERE
|Eyo Olokun masquerades at the Eyo Festival in Lagos, Nigeria
For the last several years, and with no particular purpose other than a desire to meander through reflection, I have taken the period between Christmas and New Years Eve to produce a s summary of the slice of the year to which I paid attention through epigrams and aphorisms. It follows an end of year tradition I started in 2016 (for those see here), 2017 (for these see here), 2018 (for those see here), 2019 (for those see here); and 2020 (for those see here).
At the start of this year I noted, in passing on the Annual Oracle of the Ifa practitioners of Cuba, that this was to be the year of Olokun (The Orishas Speak: The 2021 Letter of the Yoruba Association of Cuba (Letra del Año para el 2021 de la Asociación Yoruba de Cuba) and My Preliminary Interpretation).
"Awa ntoro ilosiwaju lowo Olokun" (We seek prosperity from Olokun); and this year it is not coming.
And, indeed, the year proved to be just that, a year of longing for things that could not be, of of rage for the things that had befallen. This was a year of submerged and violent temper, of the breaking of things, and people, and of the fluidity of people, places, things, and events. That rage proceeded from the top as well as form the bottom. It was a year of confinement--and of passion. It is the spirit of the oceans and the subconscious--and also the year that plague became institutionalized and its practices deeply embedded in the consciousness and practices of social ordering. That that produced rage--submerged for the most part, but rage all the same --chained and unchained, and of storms and tempests. But it was also a year of binding. Populations confined, economies bound, and for those willing to bear its chains, the great wealth of the oceans, expressed not just in the fabulously expensive boats of those who managed to profit through global confinement, but those as well who forge and maintain the chains that now bind those who produce their wealth (material wealth, as well as the wealth flowing to those weave the narratives that bind collectives). And around all of it--rage.And it is in that spirit, the spirits of 2021, that the epigrams and aphorisms that follow are offered. In this part5 one looks at the way that the body has become the incarnation of the symbolic. It is an interesting inversion--in the name of purity mostly. Human bodies have ceased to be themselves, but they have become a physical object on which symbols are inscribed. The body is a collection of data; but it is also its own symbolic language--of faith, of belonging, of community, of rebellion, of conformity and of productivity. The year 2021 was especially notable for the way that meaning was extracted form the bodies of people; in this sense there was a certain element of the cult worship. Where peole are defioned as the measure of all things, then their bodies are the instruments of that measure. And instruments must be protected form corruption. But the reverse is true as well--in a world culture in which bodies are the measure of all things, and all things become bodies. We reach here, at the end of 2021, the core of the semiotics of 2021.