Where were you in 1945? Thoughts on the Gospel of Thomas, Vol 2, #2
The sky and all that lies in the dimensions above it will cease to exist. Logion 11a, GT
This is where you have to be, before we climb into our time machine, if you're going to take any of this seriously. This is the mental space you must inhabit, as we get aboard. Disillusioned with Trump Time, all may seem empty, hopelessly inside-out. The sky overhead has lost its meaning as pointing to a higher heavenly realm, a realm where truth and verity could not be messed with, where two and two still added up to four, a realm where some kind of God still sat enthroned, not to be messed with by the Fox News propaganda machine. Your old belief-systems no longer work. That lost idyllic world, that golden age of innocence has disappeared and you're wondering why. How could it ever have happened? Even your unity as a person is now broken. You are not the self you thought you were. You seem to harbor within you another false self. The beliefs you relied on have been turned inside out; you are no longer one but two…
So, then, when you emerge back into the Light, what will you do? When you come to realize your two-ness again, what will you do? Logion 11d, GT
Yes, what can I do? you say. Certainly not go along with you on some trip back in time, to 1945 did you say? No way. I thought you were pushing The Power of Now. Didn't you say the past and the future are both unreal, dangerous to dwell upon?
Only if it's producing within you feelings of guilt, regret, anxiety, or the like. As long as we still inhabit Time, we can learn from the past, though it may be too late.
When you consume that which is already dead, you are turning it back into life. Logion 11c, GT
Yes indeed, 1945 is long dead, but we're having it for lunch today, giving it a new life of sorts, see if we can learn anything. That's what I did in The Cosmic Lady Was Right, remember?
Let it be recorded, here and now: 1945 was a really big year, if not exactly A Very Good Year, and certainly no mint patty. In retrospect, it looks to me like the pivotal year of the century, a major watershed indeed, a portent of prodigious, even elephantine (and yes, pun intended: I do mean Republican) proportions, a promise of new and undreamed of insanities ahead for my streetcar America. Fifteen years old that day back in Akron, Ohio, I sniffed some of it already, but much went by us all in that heady atmosphere of swirling change. When we turned on our radios, we heard Gordon McRae singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning, some forty years before a man named Reagan would yammer away about it being “morning in America...” He got that wrong. The real morning was our year, now, 1945--but it wasn’t all that beautiful. At first it was, and we were caught up in the delirium of it all, but we couldn’t see that just over the horizon, ominous storm clouds were gathering.
True, there were great things happening this year, as well as others of dubious and debatable import: in April Adolf Hitler and his bride of one day, Eva Braun, crawled into a Berlin bunker and committed suicide, preamble to the surrender of Germany the very next month. On Easter Sunday Akron Baptist Temple, a proto 'mega-church,' had a great day, with 10,123 attending services and over eighty people 'accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior.' The most horrifying weapon of all time would make its debut this year, dropped brutally and inhumanely and prophetically on two Japanese cities, changing the world forever and ushering in the new Atomic Era; this event alone must surely suffice to make my case-but there’s more, much more.
It was a year of wild celebrations: VE Day, VJ day. The nightmare of World War ll ended at last, officially on the second day of September, after our other enemy the Japs (as we so innocently called them) had surrendered. The Andrews Sisters were on the radio singing Drinkin’ Rum and Coca Cola and The Voice of Firestone was on a rumored new medium called television, on which it was said you could actually see the show as well as hear it (a few of the very rich were said to already own sets) with Harvey S. Firestone’s famous Symphony Orchestra and echoing anew that great man’s rabid support of the brand-new United Nations, organized in San Francisco by Americans in October and officially ratified for US participation by a vote in the US Senate, 65 to 7. On December 27th twenty-eight nations signed an agreement creating the new World Bank. Anchors Aweigh was a big film this year, with Frank Sinatra in a sailor suit, hiding behind a grand piano and crooning his Academy Award winning song I Fall In Love Too Easily, and showcasing the unearthly beauty of Kathryn Grayson (what ever happened to her?). The first general purpose electronic computer, dubbed ENIAC, made its debut, with 1800 feet of floor space; the first set of calculations were run off.
Oh yes, and one more little item: this was the year that a disk jockey named Alan Freed came to Akron, having landed a job at WAKR, playing hot jazz and pop recordings. The world would never be the same, as we would shortly see.
It all happened here, folks, back in our year, 1945. The good stuff died, and the new junk was born. One exception, though: the best thing of all was to happen this year. Hang on.
You think 1945 was not so big? Not yet convinced? Let me show you then a vignette, a moment in time, amplified slightly by synchronics adjusted only infinitesimally: Bing Crosby is warbling You Belong to My Heart, Xavier Cugat’s big Latin sound behind him, little Marshall Motz is on the streetcar going to Barberton, and in the far-off land of Egypt, three hundred miles south of Cairo, at a place where the Nile flows from east to west, another lad of fifteen tender years named Abu al-Majd, is rooting in the soil looking for fertilizer, wondering what this jar he’s just dug up is all about. His big brother, Muhammad Ali, smashes the jar, and out fly the Nag Hammadi Manuscripts--quite simply one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever (two years before the Dead Sea Scrolls), some fifty-plus ancient manuscripts, among them The Gospel of Thomas with its purported new sayings of Jesus. The significance of this, like that of Quantum Physics, is yet to be realized... But the real Jesus, at long last, may well have emerged in 1945, a Wisdom Teacher instead of a saviour---but we're having none of it, sad to say.
But I have yet to drop my biggest bomb here, in making the case for 1945 as the most significant year in American History, the axial year, the one big pivot year, the year in which democracy died. I refer to another event we haven’t yet mentioned: the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the twelfth day of the month of April.
April is the cruelest month...
We grieved, true, wept for days, openly in the streets, all of us. Or almost all... But no president was ever loved as was this one. But why do I say that his presidency was this great turning point, this moment of incomparable significance? Is this not simply another example of MM’s sentimentalism, his narcissistic nostalgia for his glorious childhood years, his chauvinistic loyalty to all his own politics, his own precious memories? What evidence can I present for my claim? Simply this, for starters: for the rest of the century and right up to now, it's been one long campaign on the part of our greedy neanderthals to undo him, to delete him. That’s how I know he was so big, because he got all this attention. He stood at the center of the century I lived through, and he defined its struggle. He had for some four terms in office managed to re-define America in terms of its people, a hiatus in an otherwise unbroken parade of those who saw the nation’s significance as limited to property and products. Everything previous to this man was preamble, and after him: denouement. His moment in time was Judgment Day for America. That moment was really the only humane interlude in our history, the only time when the juggernaut of rapacious acquisitive consumerism, the American Empire, was put on hold, our only breathing spell.
For before him and after him, America was a race to get rich. That’s it, folks. Work your butt off so you can buy more toys. Roosevelt showed us a way out of this cage, at least for a few brief years, and gave us back our souls. Many of the disinherited came to life again, caught a new vision and were given a home of their own, got introduced to their humanity and caught a vision of the long yellow brick road that might just lead to Wisdom, everybody’s rightful goal., more important even than Universal Health Care. And in the doing of this incredible deed, FDR put a few checks and balances in place, a firewall in effect, to fend off or at least slow down, the marauders who wanted to march ruthlessly over us commoners, put us back in our cage, exploit us financially, drain our very blood for their own profit, keep us dumbed-down. Class warfare? You bet, it’s always been just that in America--except that we the people didn’t start it, and we had no weapons with which to respond to the ongoing attacks on us. For a time, though, we had a champion. In 1945, he left us defenseless again.
And yes, now’s the time to admit it: Marshall Motz would have been impossible without FDR. I’m sitting here in my latter days, writing my memoirs courtesy of his pet project Social Security, after a life spent searching for The Truth. I should have been long since dead, or eating from dumpsters, as “old folks” used to do, before him--and most likely will do again, coming up shortly. Or I might have spent my days as a slave, working around the clock just to stay alive--no time for philosophy. This is the way we’re going, folks; we’re being hustled out of our spirituality--and offered in its place an ersatz version, a non-life (courtesy of the pro-lifers!) allied unwittingly to the capitalist monster, Trump's Corporate America. No, I’m no communist! Just making my case here for giving us back our lives, our minds, our dignity. Mr. Roosevelt made a down payment on that package, but the contract has been canceled.
Perhaps we never deserved him.
Perhaps we never deserved America.
Don’t look now, but America ended this very year, in 1945...
But when you come to realize your two-ness again, what will you do?