Interpretive Analysis of D.H. Lawrence’s “Apocalypse”

423330767_1197ac5b52_zIn Apocalypse, D.H. Lawrence conveys an analysis that is, through interpretation, ultimately spiritual yet anti-religious, anti-state, and pro-destruction. He remains highly critical of the scientific conception of the world, or in his words, the cosmos. The very naming, or reduction of the sun or moon, for example, to its physical attributes, and nothing else, results in the disenchantment of them, and thus of the natural world as a whole. As this effect accumulates, the human species becomes increasingly distant from its context, until totally metaphysically, or spiritually, disconnected. When our world holds no value in and of itself, or for itself, it can only be seen as a resource – its only value being monetary value, extracted value, death value. Lawrence’s words are poetic at best, and explaining my interpretation of it will result in the retention of some poetic language, while (hopefully) avoiding complete incomprehensibility. 

With that said, many ideas within the text remain questionably articulated, to the point of confusion, simply because the terminology he uses has common definitions today that are at odds with his own. The rejection of the “individual” can be particularly discouraging, considering the importance many anarchists typically invest in the word, but the individual that Lawrence elaborates upon is attributed to a less than conventional understanding and therefore usage of the world. The individual as Lawrence calls it, is the isolated subject, who must prove themself in their independence, actively denying their agency within a group. The polar opposite position is what he calls love. By love, D. H. Lawrence means the recognition of someone other than yourself that occurs when one loves, or gives love. His phrasing is atypical, but not without intention. I wouldn’t personally suggest replicating his words, but instead consider what he was saying and rephrasing it accordingly. The subject of the CITIZEN, is one of independent survival within a STATE, only branching out in terms of ownership (the nuclear family, social capital, etc.). When one acknowledges the cosmos in the metaphysical sense conveyed in Apocalypse, restoring value to the stars and earth and sky, it is to relinquish power from the individual-as-center and the State-as-center towards those things. According to Lawrence, when one does this, they’re immediate next action must be to return immediately to the status of CITIZEN, revoking the love given, or giving in completely to a world of myth, cosmic force, and phenomena. These polarities are in constant tension, and to acknowledge the latter, or embody it, leads to nothing other than the negation of the State, or the necessity of such a goal, as it reproduces the CITIZEN subject continually and thoroughly unless otherwise interrupted.

Christianity evades spirituality by reinforcing the individual, as with the State, therefore precluding said “love” entirely, transplanting the deification of nonhumans (earthly or cosmic) to humans, particularly rulers. The creation of martyr-humans, to Lawrence, is the creation of hierarchy and likewise the worship of those in power.  This lies at the crux of his critique of Christianity, and seemingly all civilized religious institutions.

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