Archive for June 2009

Ministry of Truth

June 21, 2009


Hitler in his bunker compares to Captain Nemo in the Nautilus. Both chose murder as the proper way to enact utopia, and both used the mystery and power of  subsurface space: one submarine, one subterranean. As a submarine is a moveable grotto, the Führerbunker was a cave that moved through time; both were grotesque pockets of oxygen that surfaced without warning to devour the innocent by the dozens or the millions.

In Daumal’s Mount Analogue, there are machines, or spirits, or physical beings, it’s hard to remember which, that move through solid rock as easily as a stone moves through water. Let me allow my memory to be even more defective, or embroidering, and allow them to be vehicles — subterraneans that carry their passengers through various igneous and sedimentary dimensions.

In the case of the Führerbunker, the question to ask is whether it still moves. There lie the fragments of it, decade after decade, buried under a Berlin parking lot now, but forever in the moment (in this case, by way of an explanatory plaque), while history slides past, perhaps because when it was first excavated it was already moving away, already anachronistic, an aristocratic grotto in a post revolutionary world. In a science fiction future, located not under a parking lot but under, say, a space port, or a Minitrue, the Führerbunker remains, simultaneously sliding  backward and forward, always already canceled, already coming up.