Alles Vergängliche ist nur ein Gleichnis;
Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan.
All that is perishable is but an allegory;
The Eternal Feminine draws us on.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, Act 5, “Heaven.” Final lines of the play.)
I interpret that to mean this: The things of men’s making that fade and grow dusty and entropically fall into disuse and destroy themselves in time are not to be worried over in their passing because they were never intended as anything but pictures to make us understand the continually Creative beyond that awaits, endlessly pouring out life, when we follow our dead objects to the grave.
Photograph by Michael Demeo.
I have contemplated it for about thirty seconds and I think I really dig this dynamic vision of Heaven suggested in the final lines of Faust. It is more exotic and vibrant than the tired old “flights of angels/peaceful rest” saw, yes? Like you are expecting to alight on some pastel cloud and hear harp-arrangments of soothing Bach chorales while you kick back with a lemonade, and instead someone shoves crazily-bubbling champagne at you, a tall fancy neverending flute for each hand, and the invisible stereo plays only ODE TO JOY, the good part, OVER AND OVER, forever and instead of the pastel cloud you are instantly transported to the front row of an endless big bang!, watching the universe eternally fling fire and stars at itself! for all time.
Turns out heaven is a hell of a party and all your friends are there and your dead pets are live again and in their prime waiting to play whenever you like only they don’t shed anymore and your family all get along great and you can finally tell all the people you liked in your life but never told about your true feelings for fear you’d look like an idiot that you always liked them so much and they are all great with that and like you back and no one is bothered about sharing. And you are holding a sparkler. On a rearing t-rex.
“Fuck, yeah, Heaven!”