Monday, March 31, 2008

V for Vendetta

There is nothing more beautiful in the world than the triumph of an idea.

It would never happen in real life. The crowds of people, all wearing the Guy Fawkes mask and wigs, would not dare to approach Parliament while all was in a state of lockdown, to risk their very lives and pit their fates against the might and force of armed men. You would never have an entire country strong enough to do this, to all stand up for what is right in the face of fear-mongering hate.

But you would have the individuals, the ones who would show others the way, who would allow them to choose their own destiny...who would give them the ability to create their own future. You would have the people with a sense of vision, the ones who were willing to rebuild and recreate, to continue, the ones who would exist behind the scenes and forego all glory for the creation of something beautiful and true, something that existed beyond good and evil, for none could know the meaning of nobility anymore, unless it exist in the dignified face of man realized, his potential actualized.

This is the man who lies within us; it rests upon us to bring him out, to allow him access to a world which creates him. It is our pain that creates us, and from the fires we are forged, so that our skin is crisp and blackened, our faces' muscles that do not describe us. We exist as ideas and therefore as fantasies, far beyond the world that others know. I am first and foremost an idea, and only afterwards the name is immaterial, so much as what I stand for. It is upon me to create a life worth living, and therefore to create a life that holds that meaning, a life that I am proud to live because it features me, not as the mere human that I am, but as one who is greater than that, for I represent what is most true and pure in the very fabric of my being.

There can be nothing that exists without pain. It is pain that creates us and forges us; the monster is created through his enemy, and it is that very creation that gives him the strength to continue. It is not merely his quest for vengeance, but his quest for a new reality, not merely his desire to shatter the old, but his desire to rebuild the future. For this reason he needs an accomplice, a helper, someone fresh and new and young, to rebuild the future even as he destroys the past. And so it is that his life is not truly an offering, but a fulfillment, for it is in this ending that he himself exists, most wholly and most totally, for it is the true creation of himself, and all that he is.

An apology is never meaningless, and there is no death without desire. Did I create myself so much as I was created by others? Could I exist did they not exist first, to harm me and to heal me, to give me the strength that was necessary through their tortures? We speak often of the iron furnace into which our people were cast, and yet we do not wholly understand it. But V understood it. For you see, V stood within that iron furnace, and there he was not only tested, but created, for those who are strongest among us are those who are forged, who withstand all that there is in order to triumph, and to do so anonymously, without grandeur or glory, under the cover of a mask, theatrical and at once unrevealing, so that you may never know us even as we claim to undress our feelings before your naked eye.

And so V continues every idea or creation, in every man who desires to be more than the flesh which binds him to all the rest in humanity, to all who recognize the power of a soul, because V is not only a part of us but we all have the potential to be him. We are not all cast into the pits of the Larkhill Facility, but there are iron furnaces nonetheless. And perhaps this is when we begin to understand Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who knew no fear and were cast into the depths of just such a furnace. And who is to say that these fires ever existed? Are we not all cast into fires; is that not the metaphor for our lives, for our very existence? The question is whether we are thrown into the kiln or whether we walk inside, proudly, our heads held high, "Thank you, but I'd rather die behind the chemical sheds..."

How proud a nation and society we could be if only we were all inculcated with that courage, if more of us had the strength to torture others in order to show them what they could be, to hold their heads beneath the water in order to allow them to discover the strength of will that was truly theirs. But how many of them would show it; how many of them would not break? This depends on you yourself and how stubborn you are, how firmly rooted, the way in which you would learn to hold your head as you spoke, to act and to be. There is a kind of strength within us all, only very few of us are placed under the extreme pressures necessary to transform carbon to diamond, and those of us who are do not willingly undergo such would be impossible for a man to choose this; it must initially be forced upon him. And if afterwards he achieves the ability to desire it for himself, to walk deliberately into the lion's den, to pray with the knowledge of what it means and what it will cost, that is a sacrifice that one cannot fathom...

This is what it means to be raised in silence so that one will become a tzaddik, to be tortured so that one might understand the meaning of one's reflection in the mirror. It takes a sadist or a lover to inflict so cruel a punishment upon another, but if a lover, then how great the reward! Simply for that look of agonizing beauty, an anguished kind of sorrow and understanding as one raises one's hands in the air and cries out for the beauty of the rain...and one walks through fire and water and is reborn, for there is nothing left to fear, and no one who remains to hurt you.

There is a kind of beauty that we might all achieve, could we only conceive of it, but it is one that we could never must be forced, for no loving being could perform it upon another. We walk through fire because we were placed there, but then, created by the fire, burned and scarred by it irreperably, we create our own, for we are the cure to our own pain; we were created in order to save ourselves. And this is the deepest and greatest irony of all, that the one who tortures creates his own nemesis, the monster who becomes his greatest and purest creation. The Egyptians created Moses; he was raised within their ranks, saved by their princess, forced to flee and to encounter God due to their rules. This is the irony- that the cure is created by the torture. And so it has proceeded throughout history, that the very regime that rules creates the man who will overthrow them; it is through that very process that they are undone...and so it is the same by V, whose name is everything and nothing in the same blinding instant.

If we realize that we are the sum total of our sufferings, and that every trial creates us as the antidote, that we exist in order to remedy and rectify the very pains that were forced upon us, and that this is the only way in which we could come into being, that were there another way God would have granted it to us...why, then we know no more fear, for there is no one who can hurt us. We are safe in the impenetrable understanding that this is our sole and total purpose- this and no other- and that man matters not or little, for we are the ideas that conquer our world. I am an idea, you see- and so are you- we are the ideas that arose out of the pain inflicted upon us. And that is the only way in which we could have been created, for that is the only way in which we would know what we were born to fight against, and what to conquer and overthrow...

And this is what I must work for, and you- each to address and redress the personal suffering that has been brought on him- to incinerate and demolish the Parliament of our times- to create a new world order- and to fade away into anonymity once our task is played out. Yes, we may enjoy our theatrics, but that is only so long as we realize that no one truly sees our face...that we are all actors and actresses on a vast stage, and that very few comprehend the roles that we must take. But they were planned out from the very beginning, for that is the irony of the entire play- and it is the way in which we shall work, exposed and yet hidden- so that everyone may see our face on every television screen, and yet know nothing of us. For we are, and yet we are not. We are souls, you see, figments, more than human and yet not man- for we are ideas, ideas so pure and noble that they shine and illuminate our faces with a radiance and brilliance that is too bright for man to bear. And so we must cover our faces with Moses once did, who was created by the very man who sought most to destroy him. And as I shall do, who was created by the system that sought to destroy me.


a grateful friend said...

this is a well-written and a powerful piece. You have risen above and beyond the incredible hurt the system inflicted upon you.You are changing things one day at a time/influencing positively one person at a time-and these are incredible things of you to do. What a tremendous asset you are for all those who have been FORCED into the darkness with no hope.....You are a remarkable young lady and I truly admire your strength and commitment to Judaism and those who are in need.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Our masks are grow from our deep sub-conscious fear will see our inner selfs, which sub-conscious tells us there is still what to hide. Judge me for who I want to be, not for who I am.

Anonymous said...

Our fear that others wont accept the bad faults along with our good. Only we see our faults fitting into our bigger picture, only we see our faults complimenting our total personality, rather than a tick in an otherwise beautiful picture.

We feel too vulnerable exposing our true selfs, that why we parade with masks.

Anonymous said...

While we may consider the radiance of our faults too bright for other to appreciate, we are not afraid of blinding them, we are afraid of getting burnt.

Anonymous said...

Nothing can damper an ideal message more than less-than-ideal actions. See the message, not the messenger.

Anonymous said...

"You would never have an entire country strong enough to do this, to all stand up for what is right in the face of fear-mongering hate."

Incorrect: See, e.g.,

G said...

I could not disagree more.

aaronswish said...

:-} Such a fascinating read on V for Vendetta! I confess I felt so terribly disappointed by the movie the first time I saw it. Knowing that it was from the Wachowski brothers (creators of the incomparable Matrix) I was expecting so much more. I enormously enjoyed the idea of V for Vendetta (the trailers were deeply engaging) which is why I saw it in the first place. Afterwards I felt that the translation from comic book / graphic art into a motion picture had been handled poorly. (Perhaps that's an inherent limitation of the media involved).

But you seem to have penetrated to a more fundamental level of understanding V than I did. What's notable in terms of your analysis is that V was not thankful in the least for what had been done to him. Through the movie he practically bears a residue everywhere he goes that evinces his desire to escape from the world, from life....from himself. V was horribly injured by what had been done to him, so much so that he was uneasy in his own damaged skin and undoubtedly convinced that there was nobody left in the world who could understand him or connect to him. V had no gratitude for his experience or his history. He understood the necessity of annihilating the evil that had assaulted him. He driven forward madly by that understanding.

The mask helped to formalize the raw aloneness that he was certain was his remaining lot. The mask attenuated that pain, slightly, insofar as the particular form of outward manifestation his loneliness would take was the only decision still within his power.

Evey (Eve! The mother of all life!) practically against her own will convinced him otherwise. Or maybe V realized it himself. In the end--the very end--perhaps Evey is grateful for what V did to her. She certainly did discover a side to herself that would never have developed otherwise. But the process V put her through was only a simulation. V himself experienced the real thing -- the polished but unmoderated evil that can be committed when life itself is not a value. Did he ever really recover from that?

On the other hand -- it is only that experience that ultimately connected him to Evey, and so brought out a side of him that would never have existed either.

"But how many of them would show it; how many of them would not break?" .... Indeed. (sigh.....) What answer can there ever be to that question? One takes a very unhappy risk either way. But only one of the ways feels risky...

Aaronswish said...

You are one of the most fortunate. The system that sought to destroy you has in fact destroyed others.

If you have such a powerful, painful, even ineradicable understanding of the hostility and malice of that system.... what can your response be?

V in the movie is something of an unperson (the fate of all who dissent from totalitarianism systems). A man with no face, no name and seemingly no history. We know nothing about who V was before the evil of the system attacked him. We know nothing about who we wanted to become.... who he was supposed to become.... who he would have become. We know nothing about who he loved..... and who loved him. We only know about Valerie.... a woman whose identity V preserves almost as if it were his own. But he seems only to know about her because of the quirks of fate generated by the system's evil.

Do you know who you were before you were attacked? Do you ever wish to go back there? Can you still become who you wanted to become.... or has something changed? Or are the new possibilities better in some way than the original ones? Does it matter? Or is life capable of branching off into 100 million different forks at every moment anyway....and so perhaps we needn't worry too deeply about the forks....even the evil ones....?

V, in any event, was not willing to "move on" or forgive and forget. Was he right.... or is pursuing a vendetta against one's abusers a sign of weakness? Or perhaps just not healthy? Do we need to forgive to move on to a good life?

Eliya said...

I actually do love you

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