Illustration for RAW's "Serpent Power" article.
(This week: Page 224, "Carlo put the gun on the table between us," to page 234, "six million people had died.")
Apparently it is easier to murder people if you dehumanize them. That applies to armies killing whole groups of people, but also to individuals, as Shea and Wilson show.
When George Dorn, stung by the accusation that he is not a real revolutionary, follows the police officer, intending to kill him, he reminds himself that the officer is not a real human being. "I followed the cop -- the pig, I corrected myself -- out the cafeteria .... I let the cop -- the pig -- get half a block ahead, and reached in my pocket for the revolver." (page 228.)
But did you remember who the police officer was? Shea and Wilson already have identified him: "and George Dorn, who once wanted to shoot him, is still screaming" (page 13.) And Shea and Wilson, on the same page, had taken care to humanize him: "His name is James Patrick Hennessy and he's been on the Force for three years. He doesn't come back into this story at all. He had a five-year-old retarded son whom he loved helplessly; you see a thousand faces like his on the street every day and never guess how well they are carrying their tragedies."
Note that the God's Lightning folks in this passage are not capable of seeing the demonstrators as human beings. (They also know nothing about their supposed religion. A more darkly ironic method of killing and injuring people cannot be imagined than using crosses; the incident with the money changers excepted, Jesus is usually described in the New Testament as a pacifist.)
Along with violence in this 10-page section of the novel, there is also sex, or rather sex magick, the Illuminati secret that RAW discusses in Cosmic Trigger I. "And the real symbolism of the pyramid is alchemical of course," Simon says on page 226, explaining the matter to Joe Malik. The passage refers to "eternal serpent power." For more on serpent power, see this PDF of RAW's article for Chicago Seed. (I am still very pleased that I tracked that down back in 2011 and bought a digital copy to share with you; it's one of RAW's better articles.) For more on the symbolism of the eye in the triangle, see page 778 in the appendix.
A few notes:
"Don't you read your Mao, George? Enemy attacks, we retreat." (Page 228). Mao Tse Tung's famous description of how to fight guerilla warfare: "The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue."
"I pull the trigger and fall, with the explosion, into blackness." (Page 229.) Reminiscent of RAW's attempted suicide on the Brooklyn Bridge, described in Cosmic Trigger II, in which he is saved by a different fluke -- he pauses to read an incription and realizes the mistake he is making.
"An author, Ben Hecht, then placed an ad." page 233. He actually did a series of ads; more here.
(Next week: "That's what we call a Bavarian fire drill," page 234, to "We'll show you how to pilot the second stage," page 242.)