The Damnation of Bates
An Antepic1 of High Technology Labor
On hearing of the Damnation of Faust one day,
I started a consideration of things to say,
Destined to be not a heroic epic,
But th' imitation: an antepic.
So, O Muse, your light exposed my affairs
To the sunny rays of understanding's wares:
How 'tis wonderous when a thought becomes a jumble
And how so many come out in a tumble:
Of stolen souls, of wealth, of family gone,
Of international dateline unknown,
Of Sabbath lost and humanity dismissed
And idols worshipped and boundaries missed.
Then you ignite my mind with metaphors
Of dragons, tapestries, cacoons, and whores,
To organize the plethora of notions
Into an antepic of true emotions.
Enticed into the sacred world by you,
I organize the work by number clues
To give ancient, yet still current, meaning
For the discerning reader's soulful gleaming.
And as I put pen to pad yet more emerges
In details, ever tightening as the tale converges;
Each thought not forced, but by the power of prayer
Released into the poem's thoroughfare,
Until, anon, I'm free of the prophetic Fates
And we can see and hear the Damnation of Bates.3
But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore,
The deare remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweete sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead as liuing euer him ador'd:
And euer as he rode, his hart did earne
To proue his puissance in battell braue
Vpon his foe, and his new force to learne;
Vpon his foe, a Dragon horrible and stearne.
A louely Ladie rode him faire beside,
Vpon a lowly Asse more white then snow,
Yet she much whiter, but the same did hide
Vnder a vele, that wimpled was full low,
And ouer all a blacke stole she did throw,
As one that inly mournd: ...
Canto I, stanzas 2-4
Canto 1: Eternal Love4
Unfolding, one nephesh, enfleshéd soul
Entwined and interpenetrated one,
As body, mind, and psyche each in whole:
By love, that's always started, never done
Coheres in seamless, timeless implicon --
The root and wing when life and death unroll.
O Love, our Love, woven into a tapestry
Of pictures marching across our time:
the warp of soul and the woof of body
the warp of mind and the woof of brain
the warp of feeling and the woof of heart
Of walking with grandpa
of seeing a shooting star
of romance and dance.
Connections, when unbroken, lead through all,
From child to child through generations on,
Through parent's parents back to Saul and Gaul:
Of stardust are we made -- we're not our own --
Of common other, we're never alone,
And touched by each, for each we're given call.
Youthfully embraced -- all rolled up
You and I
Then unfurled in wings
For new threads
the warp and woof ever lengthening
We, the anima and animus of Bates,
Entangled helix, youthful lover's wedding --
Two necessary sides, ordained as mates;
Generative, creating mystery, threading
New narrative of moons, and færie heading
For the next and next, unlocked and opening gates.
Movement I: Anti-Christ: Careerism
Canto 1: Oblivion
Like a meteorite ascending slow
In the blue transparent endless sky
A streak, gleaming white,
Soars silently and straight
Across the International Date Line
-- heading East, heading Home
Its metal cocoon roars in the thin, high air
Air currents streaming over and under
its swept wings,
Above protecting ports, evenly spaced.
Behind the shielding of one port
A head bends over a laptop,
Oblivious to jet, IDL, and seatmate.
It is Bates tapping away, compiling notes and reports,
Enrapt by his career,
Unaware today's the Sabbath.
Canto 2: Too Open
Bates' stomach falls
-- unbidden, a memory, an indicting memory:
if it gets back to his boss ...
In his enthusiastic rush
in his absorption in the problem
in his pride of knowing the answer:
He mispoke to
revealing too much
exposing his company's intellectual property
(of his own creation) and ...
they were pleased.
Now they know the solution
to squeeze his out -- if they wish
Bates hopes nothing will come of it
-- but some day
some haunted day
his savior might rear its head
and breath fire upon him.
We are trolls -- he thought --
hidden away in our crystal towers,
blind to the Cosmos
unknown to the world
consuming each other
Out of the portal to the East,
Bates could see a small cloud --
Canto 3: Dragon
The dragon, its emerald scales inflated,
surveyed the world.
Its long, powerful, arrow shaped tail
wrapped around its belly.
Its wings fluttered in impatience.
Its nostrils flared and breathed smoky fog
across the landscape.
Its multitudinous heads swayed:
some snapping and biting at each other,
some embracing, necks wrapped around each other,
at other times embracing and biting.5
The landscape was ripe for the pickings
inhabited by priests and serfs
filled with gold, platinum, rubies, and diamonds
euros, rubles, rands, and dollars
One head of the dragon surveyed the sky.
Bates caught its eye
-- an acrolyte destined for priesthood.
Canto 2: Alienation
O animus, you push me back, your twin.
Something seduces you away from me.
For what curvaceous beauty do you yearn?
Beyond I see the gleam of the falsely free,
Of dragon's gleaming hoard and cries of glee;
For this I dread, my love, our love you'll spurn.
O Love, our Love is shredding;
the warp and woof are pulling apart;
the ends are frayed
-- no longer new weaves are woven,
-- no longer new leaves are sprouted.
Today's scenes are black and white
routine & repetitious,
O Love, wherefore are you? whene'er are you?
No helix any longer is our laying.
You are distracted, drifting right on cue --
O Bates can you not hear what I am saying!
Your anima is reaching for you, staying
Whatever and whose ever line you hew.
O Love, we are separating:
our warp and woof no longer interwoven
our arms no longer embracing.
You are deaf and mute.
I reach out, but you do not reach back.
O like a wooden block that's split asunder,
Our animus and anima are axed
Apart ascreaming -- our endurance taxed:
You have been lured by luminescent plunder
Whose lightening amidst resounding thunder
Sear-brands us and our splitting is climaxed.
Canto 4: The Commute
Bates' neighbor turns to speak:
"Did you see that magnificient surf!
Deep blue. The beach pure white!
What an experience of summer in winter!"
Yes, Bates' thought, its confusing changing seasons.
He smiled, "I was in business meetings."
From touchdown to conference
to take off
All just the same as at home:
From commute to office to commute,
One land is the same as another.
He needs to get this report done.
His boss wants it as soon as he lands.
And its important so to move to the next step.
From touchdown to conference
to take off.
Canto 5: Promotion
Bates' hopes rise:
If this pans out, he's promoted
For years he's been working above his level
-- he knows it, though never spoken.
Now his boss promises
-- if just this one more effort pans out.
For all of the criticism
all the humiliation
all the unforgiveness
that will make up for it,
A promotion will secure his place:
will set him on the road to
Bates' fears converge:
What if his boss self-destructs?
-- he's out of control
What if he's chewed up in all of this?
Through his portal:
The East grows darker.
Bates can see the silent white sparks
of Ouranos' flashing eyes
and the faint rumble of conquering hoofbeats.11
Canto 6: In the Belly of the Beast
The Temple of Treasured Wisdom sparkled in the færie light:
Its romanesque columns stretched above the sky;
Its double doors, golden metalic, swing open.
Beyond the locked gratings:
The treasure of the world:
And outside, the emerald dragon laid,
serene smiles along its snouts.
It is the guardian
and they have fed him.
The dragon licks its chops.
In its belly
one more "career man" being
digested and consumed.
The fire in its belly ignites
contentedly he breathes smoke and steam.
This meal was tasty;
this one will help satisfy my endless hunger
and give me strength.
The dragon keeps vigilant
for the next morsel
approaching the Temple of Treasured Wisdom,
gaining strength for the assault.
Canto 3: Lost Souls
Where have you gone?
Our tapestry is ripped
And you have fallen through its gapping holes.
I can no longer hang onto you.
Like free-fall, I go after you ...
What place is this? There's brilliance, yet its dark:
The trees are sparkling green, but flat and thin,
Just two dimensional, a paper lark
And cardboard clouds, a living manikin --
A picture really, life ungenuine:
Their plots and plans bereft of living spark.
I wander the plastic streets looking for you.
I risk the deep chaos in this shallow world.
I wander this void
and you are not there.
I cry upon the breeze:
I shout upon the storm:
who knows where you are?
From behind the trees, the manikins and clouds,
From the lightless world, where 2 by 2 is not four,
From a world of wondering, colliding shrouds,
There steps on holy quest to Nevermore,
Another anima in dragon lore
To seek her animus in pointless crowds.
So you, too, are looking for yours
fallen through your tapestry,
speeding past God's creation?
Together we wander the alleys of the void
and risk the chaos.
So side by side we trot along the road,
Vanquishing preaching trolls and empty knights6
And exposing cryptic, ruling cybercode7:
Answer each to th' last dare
And become a millionaire,
Then marry a millionaire
Right then and there.8
Our purifying swords relieve the plights
Of th' innocent like blinding glare of brights9
And lead them all into a faire abode.
Now we stand before the dragon's lair:
The Temple of Treasured Wisdom.
The guardian's heat blasting us;
The dragon's stench choking us.
The marble columns, white and Roman, rise
Through foggy, swirling, damp and filthy air.
Alcoves around the gallery advertize
The spirit looting, radiating glare
Of spoils of a successful trillionaire:
Out of which lead and gold materialize.
Movement II: Anti-Spirit: Consumerism
Canto 1: Paper Millionaire
Bates pulls up his spreadsheet.
There he was a millionaire:
all those great performing stocks;
a few he needed to sell off;
but a few more trades
and his value will go up 40%10 or more.
The company stock was dynamic.
The high tech stuff exciting
-- part of the growing millennium.
If this opportunity works out,
Bates could look forward
-- to stock options
tied to the company's future.
Image Bates with Gates!
Canto 2: Homeless
What he could do with all of that?
He could move his family to the country
-- to a mansion
along the lake
with a deck hanging over the beach
and a view
with two BMWs.
When he took a vacation
they could travel anywhere -- around the world
And send his kids to the finest universities.
Bates' heart skipped a beat:
The day he left returned to his psyche:
His wife was tired of his leaving
-- and leaving
-- and coming.
She was a single parent
If he went, he need not come home.
The mansion dissolved
and in its place resolved
a flash of dark, dank cave of stench
then resolved into the home he knew best:
his office in the company HQ
in the Temple of Treasured Wisdom.
Through his portal,
the darkness thickened across the East.
The clouds flashed red with Ouranos' angry eyes
and thundered with restive hoofbeats.12
Canto 3: Ouroboros
The dragon gloated in the Temple,
bright and clear around
the dark and dank dragon
filled with rubies and emeralds
sparkling in the light of dragon's fire
with gold and silver
with shares and options.
The dragon's belly was full
of wizards and
crystal balls and
The dragon's belly growled:
hungry eternally, insatiable.
The dragon curved around its treasures
and swallowed its tail.
Canto 4: Stolen Souls
They stand in the Temple's lobby:
before locked gates
awash in harsh light
surrounded by moving numeric lights
An uniformed troll sits at a desk.
My love, you of a sudden disappeared,
Enticed away from me, your name was called
By strangish voices into worlds so weird.
The dragon bit by bit our soul enthralled
And then demanded and overhauled
You threatening your home thus engineered.
There, there beyond the gate!
Do you see through the crystal?
My soul! My love!
Oh! They are there, in th' Temple's sacred place --
O friend, in earthy Wisdom's sacred time --
In gilded prisons locked by their own grace.
Condemned eternally are they to climb
Each step upward e'er narrowing to prime
As one over one is sorted in the race.
The troll speaks for the dragon
deep, resonant, reverberating:
It is mine.
It serves me.
Its time -- all of it -- is mine.
Its genius is mine.
My needs are its most important priority.
Among my riches,
it is the most glittering.
O look, that one with a pocket full of pens
And with his internetted fruit of Eden,13
How he surpasses all the busy dens
And walks right past those trolls14 and wizards needing
To work unceasing towards the dragon's feeding
Goes out returning after his amens.
Canto 4: High Tech Toys
Wireless and battery driven.
What a laptop!
Very high density bandwidth
through RF scattering and infrared;
Super high capacity bandwidth
24 hours of uptime.
Bates admired his laptop:
He could surf the net without any wires!
Ether connection, invisible, unseen, untouchable:
Like his life.
Bates admired his laptop:
with fractal storage,
and 366 GHz speed,
He could pack nearly infinite information into it!
Information is power,
the more the more powerful:
Consumable and usable.
Canto 5: Human Commodities
I'm just a commodity.
-- just a resource
-- a human resource
along with hardware resources of disk space, servers, and capacity
and software resources of functions and capabilities.
I'm just an entry in a ledger:
time to schedule
competency to use
interchangable with equal time and competancy.
If I go, I'm replaceable;
If I stay, I'm replaceable.
No soul or feeling or vision --
only a classification and paygrade.
Though his portal,
a great black wall charged with flashing lightening
-- solid, rumbling, trembling consuming hoofbeats
-- races towards Bates.15
Canto 6: Pimps & Prostitution
All you have sold to me.
They are mine to barter.
You are to do whatever I say,
work at whatever I command.
are in service to me.
I am the Dragon.
Canto 5: Raped Souls16
O what an alternate reality!
A zone between the night and the day transfixed;
A self-advancing principality.
By caustic poison privily intermixed
In its spirit our humanity is nixed:
Our mail dissolves in amorality.
Do you smell that stench?
Do you hear the crackling?
Do you feel the heat?
In the dark of the world,
we are being stalked --
as alone and disconnected as my Bates,
despite our sight.
The morality of merit: striving, straining
Beyond the pacesetter against the odds:
More power, prestige, career and wealth attaining,
Defiant, self-contained the world's new gods
Who follow where'er the dragon trods,
On work relying, from the Sabbath abstaining.
To beat out the competition, the customer is god!
As loyal subjects we will do anything for our god:
burn the midnight oil
obliterate the Sabbath
put family on hold
And we will be successful! For we are the best!
The competition responds
and we repartee
And we succeed!
We are the phantom servants of the Dragon!
On the shore of those 3 seas,
surrounded by 3 corn stalks
Stretched across 2 crosses and 3 stakes
A dry IV hanging from his arm,17
A writer! See the pen in his hand!
And the Apple fallen from the other!
On the screen,
"I declare a Sabbath for all!"
We must turn away
before it is too late!
Run while you can!
Oh the pain!
O get it out of me! I'm stripped of power!
My sword against the dragon's scales is shattered
Intruding, ripping, my esteem devoured.18
Eat! Eat! You will eat!
You are too fat! Lose weight!
Dress in my dress or you are worthless!
Join the chat group or be left out!
Consume! Eat! Take!
Nothing is left to me ...
wrapped in the tattered remains of our tapestry.
I am spoiled, damaged, consumed and consuming.
Movement III: Anti-God: Idolatry
Canto 1: Start Up
Bates booted his laptop again.
How were his financials?
How were his contacts?
How were his skills?
Each spread across his multi-colored GUI.
His finances, time, and competency
were excellant to grow beyond the company
(If I go, there would be no weeping or gnashing of teeth
just in a day's overcommitted tasks --
one more task to replace him.
If he takes a couple of customers,
well -- that's business.
We are all whores!)
Maybe, he'll start his own company:
all his slips and imperfections
would not jump out at him;
he could be in control ...
And join Gates ... and unite19 with the Dragon --
Canto 2: Hollowed Out
Bates dozed ...
... and fell
a shed exoskeleton
only mammon ...
and the next product
Through his portal,
the shaking jet yawed and pitched
in the sea of greenish darkness
lightening bolts flashed all around
echoing hoofbeats of pestilence,
the tears of Ouranos pelts the portal
as the jet nosed up to escape the dark anger.20
Canto 3: Mammon
In the Temple, the dragon blew a fiery stream.
And the whore rose to mammon
on a black, sooty pillar:
You give me
gives me more surety.
The more the more I am safe
the more I am worthy
More, give me more
and more whores I will give you
and more johns I will give you."
That old tempter took to the air
surveying the landscape:
looking at 2 o'clock, then at 5 o'clock, then at 8 o'clock;21
for persons hollowed out
needing to be filled.
That old tempter held out its treasures:
that vanished the instant they were touched,
but left a greater hunger
for yet more
That old scourge
left a plague of starvation
in the midst of satiation
-- gluttonous emaciation
Canto 6: The Dragon Chained
I cringe and shrink, my life and soul are battered,
Refusing mammon, unseduced I'm scattered
Among the outcast22 under the dragon's glower.
The dragon cornered them
shedding ashes ...
"You are mine too!
Give me your treasure!"
It swallows and chews Shaw's anima
And turns towards Bates anima.
O love, my love, depart th' absymal caves.
Alone, in there, detached, there's no affection
And nothing of whate'er our being craves.
Distraught and damaged, for an insurrection
I crave and pray there comes a resurrection:
For truly somewhere there is one who saves.
Out of the shadows,
Riding upon the 'net,
Steps the writer
With golden pen.
The dragon turns and hovers in the air,
snapping at the writer.
The writer waves the pen and exposes the dragon.
The dragon crumples and falls to the ground.
Reaching out, the writer takes Love's torn tapestry
and nooses it around the dragon --
Then hands it to Love
who leads the dragon through the streets,
"The Rebellion has begun!"
Canto 4: Speeding Car
Falling, falling into bottomless darkness:
Darker shadows grabbing for him:
Bates wakes with a start:
the vague fear and depression of half-sleep.
Then Bates looks out of the portal of his cocoon
To the world beyond:
Up in the dark sky the morning star glows,
A sliver of pink glows on the horizon --
Venus leading Aurora:
New life following love
Above the lowing clouds, the sky quickly brightens.
Bates stomach sinks.
The jet throttles back and dives into the driving rain;
Below, the metro area enlarges;
The traffic veins stretch in all directions.
Bates sees a BMW weaving, speeding through the traffic ...
Below in her car, Shaw, one hand on the steering wheel
talks rapidly into her cell phone:
Work can't wait.
She cuts minutes off her valuable schedule --
weaving in and out
late -- as usual --
to an early meeting.
A car glides into her lane,
she drops her cell phone to grab the wheel ...
Today is Monday ...
Yesterday was Sunday.
When did she visit God last?
Canto 5: Opening Up
The shell cracks open
The city below,
All step out.
For an instant,
a fleeting moment,
Bates sees all the world
And is one with it.
Then he is alone.
Through his portal,
Bates could see above him
the lowing, thick, flashing clouds, rumbling and trembling,
hanging over the world.
Canto 6: Power Dissolved
In the town square,
the dragon chained
roars and twists
ignored by the town folk
Bates stepped out of his cocoon
and walked along the umbilicus.
He'll go home to his wife and kids
And suggest they do a Millard Fuller.
Canto 7: "Be It Resolved"
"Be it resolved ...
that each laborer
is entitled to a Sabbath
every week of days
held sacred and inviolable
and career comes after
the Sabbath, the family, and service.23
"Be it resolved ...
that each person's
value is intrinsic
and not dependent on created things ..."24
"Be it resolved ...
that each laborer's
time and skills are on loan from God
and are not owned by the employer ...25
O may these mythic words be outward bound
And be creative, challenging old ground,
So that a new event, a new horizon
Shall soon emerge from our Kyrie eleison:
Now that we know about our brother Bates,
What now to act upon the prophetic Fates?
What Spirit must we call on to redeem
Our twin into a healthy cosmic theme?
It is the Spirit Other, Lord of Fools,
Whom Love, affirming and open, Rules,
That calls us into faithful, daring risk,
So the powers strong of damnation to resist.
Let us go and let not the word return
Until fulfilled is our Sabbath concern!
©2000, John A. Mills
The poem is an antepic. An epic is a poem of the downfall
and rise of heros; of great battles and adventures.
But this poem is about the fall of our hero in a slow,
grinding down in a consumerist, materialistic, idolatrous
world; his rise and redemption is only prophesied.
Thus, this is an anti-epic, an antepic.
The prolog describes the creative process that I experienced.
The poem is structured in sacred numbers:
There are 3 movements + one more (a 4th movement).
Each of the 3 movements represent one person in the anti-trinity
of Careerism (anti-savior); Consummerism (anti-spirit)
and Idolatry (anti-god).
Each movement consists of 6 cantos. Therefore, there are
6 6 6 cantos, the number of the beast.
The fourth movement is the movement of prophecy, and
establishes a counter to the anti-trinity.
Four is completeness and represents Jung's quaterity.
It has 7 movements: the number of completeness.
It's theme is St. George and the Dragon (the beast).
Here, St. George is a writer -- a modern day prophet.
Bate's soul is the lady to be rescued.
The high technology powers and principalities are the dragon.
The dragon is multi-headed: there are many high tech
corporations, but like the single body they act in
This canto opens the understanding that the person
is intended to be whole: body and soul together: nephesh.
Together the person is creative and loving.
The person, an explication, unfolds from the implicate order;
the body being its manifestation, but tightly tied to the soul.
It is possible to become so self-alienated that
the masculine side (animus) and the feminine side (anima)
are torn apart; the explicated body and the soul
become lost (as we will describe in subsequent cantos).
Then the anima-person wanders, not unfolded and
not enfolded -- but lost and alienated. The person,
reduced to a animus-person, more body than soul
and a wandering anima-person, more soul than body
becomes restless and confused.
The dragon is the collective spirit of the high tech
industry. Each head is a competitor, sometimes competing,
sometimes cooperating and sometimes both.
Serfs are consumers tied to the high tech "land"
of every new gadget. Priests are its supporters,
such as engineers, hackers, etc.
the agents of high tech who do not or cannot
see the whole world and who push high tech
to society's highest priority.
the captains of high tech who value only
their business needs and do not value other needs.
They are hallow.
Cybercode: the Internet, mysterious to most,
dominating even the lives of non-users.
S. Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?
15 February 2000, Fox Broadcasting,
They are innocent in the sense of blissfully ignorant of reality.
40 = a lot; 40 days in the desert
The First Horse of the Apocalypse:
white and conquest (s. Rev. 6:1-2).
Second horse of the Apocalypse:
red = civil unrest (s. Rev. 6:3-4).
Apple iMac: an alternative to the PC and
a non-industrial tool. Think different!
S. http://library.thinkquest.org/12924/ and
blind and hate the daylight turning to stone in the daylight;
cannibals, according to Tolkien; and
rarely seen as if invisible
These are high tech engineers who society at large
hardly know about, who work in their cubicles --
beyond the sun -- around the clock, and in the intense
competition, consume each other.
The Third Horse of the Apocalyse:
black = economic exploitation, see Rev. 6:5-6
Here the writer (St. Geo.) is introduced as slained.
St. Geo. was martyred (according to tradition) on 23 Apr 303.
Later his legend develops that he survives death and goes
on the slay the dragon. Thus the next Movement 4 canto
(canto 6) describes the subjugation of the dragon.
St. George was martyred 23 April 303 = XXIII IV CCCIII;
hence, 2 crosses, 3 corn stakes, an IV, 3 seas and
3 corn stalks: George is Greek for farmer.
Sword = strength of resolve;
dragon's scales = hi tech's intrusive and
uncontrolled power: ubiquitous internet, computers, etc.
The ultimate mystical experience: union with God
Fourth Horse of the Apocalypse:
pale green = pestilence and famine, s. Rev. 6:7-8
60 degrees around the compass = 3 even stops.
Outcast = those who cannot participate in the fruits
of hi tech, but are constantly bombarded by its promise.
The antidote to careerism.
The antidote to consumerism.
The antidote to idolatry.