Notes on the paradox of fire

-Revolutionary destruction, cathartic orgies of death, or even the milder and more democratic desire to “throw the bastards out” etc. all testify to the same fundamental structure – that destruction is a new birth.

-Destruction being new birth is an instance of being as essentially good. Pan-destruction would be creation. To reduce everything to ashes would make it all clean.

-The symbol of all this is fire: chaotic, consuming, thrown down from the sky; and yet also leveling everything, clearing out the underbrush, and sending all back to the heavens.

-Hellfire is a perversion of fire: consumption and chaos without rebirth. This is not a critique of hellfire but an insight into the character of rebirth, which requires something being delivered up to the heavens.

-Smoke darkens, suffocates, blocks out the sun. The fire both returns it to the heavens and scatters it.

-The ambiguity that fire releases smoke. It both sets it loose upon the world and yet diffuses it.

-Hell has no chimney.



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