Monday, January 10, 2011

A Helpful Message to Finish My Dissertation

Today I was reading up on John of Rupescissa. He was a fourteenth century Franciscan apocalyptic visionary. He believed that the Jews would convert and be saved in the end. He also, like seemingly every self respecting Franciscan of the period, got into trouble with the Church and spent the last years of his life in prison, (something to do with having very "un-Christian" ideas about Church poverty) from where he did most of his writings, ranging from the end of the world to alchemy. Tommaso Campanella, another Christian apocalyptic visionary I am studying, also spent over twenty years in prison for his part in a failed political revolution in Naples. (This was after he managed to convince the Inquisition he was insane by being tortured for two days straight.) He also used his time in prison to write productively and was released to spend the last few years of his life as a European court celebrity. Then there is the example of St. John of the Cross; my spiritual guide through depression. His inspiring poetry on life in a spiritual abyss, The Dark Night of the Soul, benefited from a year spent locked away against his will. (I could, of course, also mention Adolf Hitler, who managed to produce Mein Kempf during a year spent in prison, but he does not fit under medieval and early modern Christian thinkers.)  

I cannot help but feel that I am being sent a message, one that I would rather not hear. That the best place to write is not the office, the library or even on a couch with the TV on, but in prison doing hard time for treason and heresy. So I need to go to federal prison as a violent religious apocalyptic revolutionary. To do that I am going to need to start a violent religious apocalyptic movement. (All violent religious apocalyptic actions will of course be carried out by erring disciples who have distorted my teachings.) In order to learn how to start such a movement I will need to finish writing my dissertation. But of course, I cannot hope to finish my dissertation unless I go to prison.       

1 comment:

Clarissa said...

Thank you for making me laugh even when I'm on the brink of exhaustion. :-)

Of course, San Juan suffered in prison. But could he have survived grad school? I'm not so sure!