Better to Rule in Hell

By Larry Fyffe

Metonymy,  a hallmark of Post Modernism, is a figure of speech whereby a broader matter is represented by an associated part thereof.

Say, for example, when the picture of the King of Diamonds on a playing card stands-in for material wealth, and power.

Diamonds are associated with being rich, and the axe held by the King of Diamonds represents the power that comes with that richness.

What’s more, the monarch is depicted standing on his feet as well as standing on his head.

Karl Marx turns Friedrich Hegel, King of the spiritualistic Romantics, on his head, prophesizing that the material wealth and power held by the few will be turned upside down, and the axe placed into the hands of the members of the larger working class.

From the point of view of the rulers, and their supporters, the liberation of the working class from the woes of economic and religious establishment would  be hell, not just for the capitalist rulers but for everybody, including the workers so lovingly cared for by the rulers and by the religious leaders of the status quo.

A heavenly circus run by Satan:

Step right into the burning hell
Where some of the best-known enemies of mankind dwell
Mr. Freud with his dreams, Mr. Marx with his axe
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

On the other hand, Friedrich Nietzsche asserts that the powerless have a ‘slave mentality’ engendered by the Christian religion with the promise of happiness in the Afterlife for the workers if they obey their masters.

There’ll be no need for the ruling class to bring the axe down on the workers if they behave themselves.

A hellish circus run by God:

See the rawhide lash rip the skin off their backs
Got the right spirit, you can feel it, you can see it
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

Which side are you on?

The narrator in the song above seeks to balance the scales for the benefit of all mankind, to tread a middle path between the two conflicting views.

The solution ~ sing some songs to soothe the passengers when the ship goes down:

I'm gonna make you play the piano like Leon Russell
Like Liberace, like St. John the Apostle
I'll play every number that I can play
I'll see you maybe on judgment day
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

An option is to go and ask Alice ~

I think she can tell you what it means to be or not to be.


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