Exclusive: Defining True Martyrdom by Rocket Kirchner

this tank will move, over my dead body

Image by ARK 88 via Flickr

by Rocket Kirchner
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Rocket Kirchner (blog)
Rocket Kirchner (youtube channel)
November 16, 2015

Be it the recent bombings of Beirut or Paris, and all subsequent violence since the world began in the name of this, that, and the other, those doing it are not martyrs. There is no religion here. There is no secularity here. All ideologies are a smokescreen as to what is really going on. For what is really going on is that there is the deep inward violent activity of self-loathing individuals projecting out that violence upon individual victims like casting a shadow up against the sun.

News reporting is all superficial and never gets around to explaining the root of the problem because their only goal is to profit from shock. News reporting is and has always been free snuff movies capturing a curious public for ratings that result in those networks getting richer through what Marx called “Forced Consciousness.” Amidst all this confusion the term martyr gets thrown around and mixed with the word suicide. We hear the term suicide bombers everyday as if they are martyrs when G. K. Chesterton clearly states that, “The suicide denies all life, while the martyr affirms it.”

So exactly what is true martyrdom? It is this: causing no one violence in the process of being peace itself, and paying for it with your life. The martyr cannot carry in his or herself any cognitive dissonance whatsoever. They cannot be onward Christian soldiers, suicide bombers, secular revolutionaries, or any other cause oriented ideological zealots. The martyr’s cause is to renounce cause itself and be peace and the hero of hostility by resisting all violence both from without and from within. And it must start from within first.

A great example in the Ancient world would be what Tertullian describes in Pre-Constantinian Christianity as, “The Church was built upon the blood of the Saints and the Martyrs.” In modern times it would be the killing of Gandhi. Today it would be the Human Shield Movement from those who have chosen to lay themselves on the line to protect others without taking a life to do it. There are many more examples throughout history as laid out in Fox’s Book of Martyrs.

The whole point in all of this is that we must recognize that those who do violence to others are projecting the level of hate they have in themselves. It is not anymore complicated than that. That is the microcosmic level. When enough individuals refuse to deal with their hate it turns into a collective violence on the macrocosmic level and gets bigger news, which in turn sells more advertising. Meanwhile, the word terrorist is thrown around as red herring bait to stir up the pot, all the while ignoring what Pat Buchanan said has caused the problem in the first place which is, “United States intervention is the incubator for terrorism.”

Even to those who agree with Buchanan’s premise may miss the root of the problem. We are the problem. That problem is expressed in the public policy of the American Empire. Even those of us who are innocent of innocent blood, can still be guilty by the sin of omission of doing nothing to be human shields. Which all begs the question as to what martyrs are made of. Oh yes we can agree that violence is wrong and still miss the issue of the violence we carry around in us that contributes to a lethal atmosphere that can explode into self-loathing projection at any moment.

The danger in all of this is that we live in a perpetual state of denial by refusing to point the finger at ourselves and begin the process of healing. We just won’t do it. No Sir! We are too damn proud. And so the parade of blood and tears continues and we miss the greatest opportunity of all, and that is to actually be a martyr both in life and death enveloped in love for others that is an ecstasy beyond compare.

from the archives:

We Are In Pitiless Times by Vijay Prashad + Beirut Bombings

The Cult of the Suicide Bomber By Robert Fisk

Riz Khan – Mind of a ‘terrorist’

21 responses to “Exclusive: Defining True Martyrdom by Rocket Kirchner

  1. We’ve exhausted the reply options, so I’ll try to be brief.

    I have read your piece a couple of times, but I find it impossible to follow, because it is an argument for a principle that is unsupportable except as an apology for subjective belief.

    You say of Platonic beauty and truth that “Martyrdom releases both into a very dark and false and ugly world….” Why? What if the inverse is actually the case. That the Beautific vision of God is the original Nature of the Godhead uncorrupted by the theology of sacrifice? That Nature does not require redemption if there is no original sin. Nature is not ugly and dark and false ~ that misdirection is man’s dark handiwork, particularly exemplified by the diabolisms of dogmatic priestcraft, for what they are really cursing is womankind, the great deceiver.

    It is all question of how we see things. To one with a pure heart the “supreme harlot” may be their High Priestess. If the root of suffering is deviation or “sin,” that is ignorance as Gautama taught, why perpetuate it?

    Who has clear enough vision to see the true “countenance of the Martyr?”

  2. Did anyone read the article in the Telegraph on the Human Shield Movement that is linked in Rocket’s article?


  3. Don , if I catch your drift here ..maybe what you just posted is that nature and social Darwinianism is THE problem and that if not combated properly will just drone on . ..and keep destroying .

    if so , then you have , ( correct me if I am wrong ) , just proven my point for the need for us to go beyond nature not by some UberMench Neitzchian thrust , but the opposite approach of humility and sacrifice .

    Nature as seen in Carnot’s Second Law of Thermodynamics shows that Entropy is gonna burn the whole thing down in the end anyway . in the meanwhile , there is love that can be acted out to fight against and shield others that I call True Martyrdom .

  4. “The danger in all of this is that we live in a perpetual state of denial by refusing to point the finger at ourselves and begin the process of healing. We just won’t do it. No Sir! We are too damn proud. And so the parade of blood and tears continues and we miss the greatest opportunity of all, and that is to actually be a martyr both in life and death enveloped in love for others that is an ecstasy beyond compare.”

    After reading your last paragraph, Rocket, it became somewhat disappointing because the piece seemed only beginning to get real. …Like those movie endings where your reaction is “is that it?” :) This last paragraph deserves a 4-5,000 word, lengthy exploration of perpetual denial, healing, missed opportunity, life and death, and the meaning of love for humanity. These essential philosophical topics represent the spiritual direction/road humanity must travel to establish peace.

    • Jerry , that is why I am a songwriter and performer …I can penetrate more into the human condition that way . But I think we are on the same page. Without the space to write War and Peace here , please let me say that the only enemy we have is ourself .

      our battle is not on someone elses street , it is all within . Martyrs remind us of that in a very uncomfortable but needed way . Soul work is where the action is .

    • Jerry — ”Crime and Punishment ”by Dostoevsky nails self righteousness , blame-shifting , and denial for me in a novel form . and healing at the end .

  5. I question the ideology that violence is evil? for example Indonesia fight for independence came with great loss of life of Indonesian’s I once read as many as two hundred thousand lives, if any credence is left in the Jesus story, he would have to up their in martyrdom, whether he is a myth or not demonstrates the the possibility of sacrificing ones life for a nobler cause?
    To return to Paris, surely even if you were given a promissory note of what? 72 virgins when you go to heaven, would these days be suspect to most minds today, surely the fact that 100 European lives lost is small change compared with the loss of life in the Middle East? what ever the challenge of the so called atrocities were the identification of us versus them is contradictory in terms of publicity and the cry of the public’s outrage that the same loss of life in say Syria on a daily basis would not even be worthy of news here in the Western hemisphere?
    If their is no question of interference from exterior sources such as Assad being aligned to Iran and possible Hezbollah? if so Hezbollah is committed to fighting Isis, if it were not for the Western Hemisphere aligned to Israel and having a commitment to this culture and also Western interests in the Suez staying open and oil, and issues such as arms supplies by Britain and other Imperialist nations to Saudi Arabia whom is a transgressor of human rights, could be said the West is innocent?
    The fact that we as individuals live in colonist countries having a history of deviancy can now become the moral right is a anomaly? and now able to lecture the right and wrong to the rest of the world is a peculiar position taking into account we are still benefactors of exploiters of the third world.
    It is some misfortune we having decided to put our energy into arms of destruction rather than peaceful cooperation such as building the infrastructure of the Middle East and if that is to hard to get our head around we look back to Germany who were given aid after WW2?
    Diverting somewhat from the tangled situation I having outlined I suggest that not all do describe death as a end in itself, as we know when photons come into existence from apparently nothing are usually destroyed by anti matter see more of this phenomena on appropriate sites? as far as I know the matter of our Universe is apparently from nothing starting from matter that is infinitely small? as I understand it the Universe should not be here as a result of annihilation through anti matter? if nothingness is nothing this puts a problem as to what death is? I am saying that no account of death to me is a summary of what it is? and if we as said in some commentaries death is the end what ever means the end? is we seem to have a peculir obsession in the remains of people such as small bits of flesh subject to DNA tests for relatives as in the plane brought down in Ukraine? why is death so much a riddle if we are so sure of what the meaning is? I am not proposing the idea of the 72 virgin ideology here.
    To summarize if the the terrorists of Paris did become a force that began the destruction of Western civilization as we know it, which is a possibility, this would possible mean the use of violence such as the French retaliation of 20 bombs dropped in Syria on so called terrorists sites, may introduce the likely limitations of force and violence being a issue that now is a redundant method of conquest? for those with all powerful means of violence? such as America, Britain and France becoming yesterdays man and now a pensioner.

    • Interesting comment dw.

      Al Jazeera recently put out a 97 minute composite narrative documentary entitled Enemy of Enemies: the Rise of ISIL that is worth absorbing.

      • Thank you David, one other point that worries me I missed and worth mentioning is if seven individuals can wage war upon a country of huge resources such as France, either the Allies are vulnerable or putting out the message to whom say Isis? would this not be a encouraging incentive to work and carry on in this direction? think what propaganda value?

        • Thanks dw for your response below. Yes you are right. What I would characterise as the most accurate accounts of this maelstrom all agree, that state sponsored terror is the problem; Daesh is a reactive & reactionary phenomenon manipulated through covert funds. What is addressed as “radicalism” is a manufactured tactic to provoke instability.

          The Mid-east has been transformed into a “sacrifice zone” by proxy interests (we all know who they are) it is a killing field and desperate criminal opportunity to grab resources; while exploiting the chance to demonstrate the advanced weapons technologies of corporate murderers.

          Religion or science has very little to do with it, unless you credit “christist-zionism” as a religion & genocide as a rational methodology. Sick corporate interests and ideological psychopathy are the drivers. The neocons are worse than nazis.

          We are now witnessing the consequences for Europe of this opportunistic short-termism as the inevitably catastrophic humanitarian migrant situation, that threatens to undermine institutions of governance that are already under methodical attack by US-led oligopolist financiers. The world is a writhing horrendous mess because of greed, existential cowardice, guilt and privileged ignorance.

          If Rocket thinks “martyrdom” is the solution, I beg to differ. This state-engineered screaming abyss of horror is just about sacrificing life indiscriminately ~ as Hedges has remarked, in the grip of thanatos; when we as stewards of the sacred should be prospering life! in all its cultural and biological diversity, and most importantly ~ through our spiritually motivated imaginal integrity….

    • Don , well mmm… let me think here . You are introducing Cosmology, Christology, and Quantification into the discussion here . That is not where i intended to go .

      also , i dont see the bombers in Paris or Beirut as Terrorists . They are people who carry deep within them undealt with self loathing . This hatred is projected out becuase it has no place else to go or they would implode. For as i said , this not about religion, ideology, or non religion . the 72 Virgins has nothing to do with the Why .

      The word Radix in Latin means ”Root”. i am seeking to get to the root of what is really going on amidst the human condition . And i am maimly seeking to clarify that THIS IS NOT MARTYRDOM . Martyrs are not selfish. Projecting hate in any form into the outside world is supreme selfishness . it must be dealt with or the cycle will continue .

      after i wrote this i had sort of a cool thought . i thought it would be really hip if somehow in the middle of all of this planetary violence and hate and strife that all of a sudden everyone would just STOP. but not just stop , but stop and behold how wonderful the Earth and Sky and each other are . Like all of in awe looking at say The Grand Canyon .

      then i thought ..there would be this hush . this peace. i mean in the whole world . This sense of the sacred. then i my next thought is …i have to write a whole record about it muscially words and all.

  6. Well said Rocket. I agree totally with Buchanan’s summary, nutshell precision.

    All I can say in brief, is that esoteric doctrines teach us that true sacrifice is the conscious martyrdom of the illusion of self. That is the heart of both emergent Abrahamic traditions, indeed all spiritual traditions when interrogated thoroughly.

    Difficulties arise when inherited mystical and metaphysical realities are taken too literally or enforced under profane threat or the false promise of some illusory divine reward. To die literally for a cause is to waste a life that could have been lived wisely, to die spiritually is to prosper the limitless integrity of the soul so that life itself triumphs; for that is all there is.

    • David , well you see .. life is lived and died literally . this is no metaphor or symbol . This is where the Docetist and other Gnostic groups like the Manicheans miss it . That was the tipping point for Augustine before his conversion when he debated Ambrose . Ambrose moved him away from his Manichean/Hedonism mind split and showed him that a duality like that keeps the self fragmented. Interior wholeness is the fruit of the literal.

      The Divine reward is not an illusion . It is built in to the act of sacrifice itself . The act itself brings about or should i say ”jump starts ” The Reward. why ? becuase it emits into the world Divinity itself . this is not to be confused with suicide or self immolation of the Burning Buddhist who lit himself on fire to protest the Vietnam War.

      This act is the only thing that i can see that will once and for all stop all the vilolence in the world . my article is not political but Martyrdom has political ramifications seeing that we live in a politcial world . In fact , i dare say that it is only Martyrdom what can break the bonds and change the hearts of the onlookers, because talk sure aint doing it .

      to not live and die literally on the contrary is to waste a life that could have been fully self realized , for as Cicero said ”this is the sum of all Philosophy: to learn how to die ‘. So , life itself in the biological sense is that we live and die . in the Spiritual sense it is choosing how we live and die . There is nothing esoteric about either.

      • Thanks Rocket, as always, a full response. I think we differ here.

        My view is that small “s” self-sacrifice is the mystical point, not capital “S” Suicide. That is why I am not a literal believer. To my way of understanding, to surrender the physical vehicle in an act of personal immolation, is crazy.

        To abandon our primary means of conscious realization, wastes the opportunity to overcome the fear of dissolution; whatever may be the ethical conviction. In short it is a dangerous delusion based on a dogmatic misreading of purpose, an ersatz intent that does not dispel, but feeds the cycle of victim/perpetrator. Moreover I do not see how death can solve or achieve anything when all there is, is life.

        Life is the opportunity; life is the challenge and the answer. The drama of death is a hallucination. Spectacular displays of defiant courage are indeed heroic, but are seldom motivated by the determination to die, but to overcome an existential obstacle. What distinguishes us from an insect swarm, is the capacity to internalise the world psychologically, and thus we have choice ~ we can discriminate and therefore evolve spiritually.

        I disagree with Cicero, unless his dictum is read as an allegory of ecological transcendence. The sum of all philosophy is to learn how to live.

        • David , Martyrdom is not a one time thing . it is indeed living as if the old self is dead and a new one emerges. When Christ said ”You shall be my witnesses , that word translates from martyrs. you shall be my martyrs .

          giving oneself over to the Messianic kingdom within is living martyrdom . So , if and or when one is faced with choosing to bow to Caesar or have ones life taken , there is no life to take because it has already been handed over . so the actual act itself in that moment is the culmination of a life lived martyred already .

          literally martyrdom itself can emit divine light into the world as a ”sign of contradiction ” to the false values of the world . Where Cicero comes in is that I think that he gets as a Stoic that integrity and accumulative factor . The Markan account of the Roman Soldier who was a Stoic looking up at Jesus on the cross says ”and by the way in which he died ….. Truly This Was the Son of God ”.

          something was emitted of such profound ness that here is a Roman Centurion that sees and orders and does daily crucifies men , and there is a unique factor here for him to commit treason by stating that this man condemned by the Empire could be the real Son of God instead of the leader of the Empire , as seen on every Roman coin , cup, you name it .

          there is no place in the gospel of Mark where Jesus says he is the Son of God . Mark in his genius uses a literary device and puts it into the mouth of this soldier . that is the climax of the whole gospel . that is why all you have is an empty tomb . to add anything more after 16:8 would have been anticlimactic .

          I don’t bring this up to seek to prove or disprove ancient texts . I bring this up as an example of and might I add to that the whole first century Church ..the singing martyrs were followers of the condemned man in Divine humility . you wont find too many martyred Gnostics then . You will find martyred followers of what Tacitus calls ”the followers of Christus , condemned by Pontius Pilate.

          those singing martyrs under Nero should be the template of Empire resistance thru transcendence in full public view . it is going on with the Coptics now.

        • I guess I’m on another track altogether Rocket.

          I don’t want to see any more martyrs, murdered children, or ruined ecosystems. If martyrdom is your thing then you need look no further than Daesh. They are the epitome of retrograde sickness incarnate. We have had more than enough human sacrifice for despicable “gods” of old. A god, any god, is only an idea ~ of power, a force to invoke.

          These old rituals are reflexive evil. Every genocide is sanctioned in the name of some ideological insanity or other. Blindly received dogmatic legacies restrict the spiritual imagination and corrupt the soul.

          If it does not introduce more beauty, wisdom and truth into the world ~ whatever it purports to be or represent in word or deed ~ I don’t want it.

          We need to look no further than the power of Nature itself as the pure manifestation of an infinite cosmos, the Sun as divine energy, the procreative force as sacred, planetary life as a holy mystery.

        • Thanks David, however, I think you may wish to re-read Rocket’s article.

        • The main point I wish to make David is not what I am starting with but to digress? I would like to look closer at nature and naturalness in reference to your last paragraph, someone said to Jackson Pollack but its not natural! in reference to his style of painting? from memory He said I am nature? nature is a problem as you know inasmuch as we now interfere with biological functions such as the pill? and artificially inseminate and so on, when Darwin states the survival of the fittest? as you would also know he did not say that but the inference is there, or lets say adaption then? the fact that many of us are ill adapted to this world as we know it including you David is the problem that species such as say the crocodile is perfectly adapted to its environment that it is incapable of evolution and has remained in the same condition for millions of years?
          All the same most understand concepts such as truth and wisdom meaning that most do not understand this idea but for arguments sake here at this letter we do understand? The second main point I am on about is the militaristic intervention of the Western Alliance such as Iraq and the hidden mass destruction arms was a lie? this gave the Allies a excuse to destroy much of Iraq, and going of from there the rest of the Middle East became a battle ground? I am saying that when we bomb from distances such as aerial bombing the magnitude of suffering is beyond the ability of most Westerners to comprehend other than if you have been in a war zone, my question to you David is it is all very well to talk about Queensberry rules but once you get into the level of where we are now at? is it surprising we are now in a existential quagmire that has been in the main instigated by Western aggression? and as a result of this terrorism has become a natural outcome?

        • Beauty and Truth as Plato says are the 2 consistences. Martyrdom releases both into a very dark and false and ugly world . The Beautific vision of God the full Godhead is seen in the countenance of the Martyr .

          God Eternal , not created Nature . The fact is is that we DO need to look further than nature . this is the paradox of both Divine transcendence and Divine immanence . This is Incarnational thinking .

          Did you even really read my article ? this is not about Genocide , or Suicide , but about those who CHOSE to combat darkness with light . I take it that you have no respect for the Human Shields movement . This defines real martyrdom .

          you want the Sacred , this is it . living and dying that way transforms human nature from caterpillar to butterfly . It is transformative . it is transcendent . it is an ”Embodied Apologetic ” without words .

        • Let me see David if I can put it in Hindu terms for you . Oppenheimer said after the Bomb went off ”I have become Shiva , the destroyer of Worlds ”.

          Now the antithesis of Shiva is Vishnu ( preserver of life ) . What we have seen thru history and are seeing today with the Shield movement is a handful of Mahavishnus –Great Preservers.

          if you oppose the Vishnu mentality in the name of some form of philosophical Naturalism what do you offer In return to combat violence ? more violence ? Someone in the Square has to stand in front of that tank with their hand up as in China and say ”Halt ”.

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