Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time Jesum Transeumtum Et Non Rivertentum

While recently working on a CD review for "Songs in the Key of X", and while appreciating Nick Cave’s contributions, I came across an astonishing piece of video media. Someone had compiled a piece for "Dread the Passage of Jesus, For He Will Not Return." or "Time Jesum Transeumtum Et Non Rivertentum". While I don’t agree with some of the visual selections, as I feel they are misleading, and complicate the interpretation. This musical tone poem isn’t a celebration of faith, or resurrection, but a lament, but it is unclear what it is a lament of.

The origin of the line: "Dread the Passage of Jesus, For He Will Not Return" was a line repeated by Monks in the middle ages, and interpreted to mean that when Jesus comes, you need to seek the chance, as well as a reference to a comment from St. Augustine. But the line is spoken by Demon’s, and so it could be interpreted as a warning to not be fooled by the Demon’s deception. One way of interpreting Nick Cave’s recital - and one more in line with the intent of the piece - is that this is a Lament over our disconnect with the universe, or our disconnect with spirituality. Dogmatic religions will often complain about our secular society, yet it is often driven by their own agenda, perhaps the complaint really should be about our disconnect with spirituality.

A friend recently commented to me that one can consider themselves 'Religious', yet that doesn’t necessarily mean they are 'spiritual'. This disconnect with the universe was a fairly regular, implicit, theme within The X-Files, and Millennium. The music manages to be full of implication, as well as Nick Cave’s reading, to support the idea of a lament. Our modern crisis, might have to do with this spiritual disconnect, and I don’t mean within any kind of religious dogma, but a disconnect nevertheless, from what ancient civilizations understood, that all things are indeed connected, and that we are connected to everything and each other. By the season final of Millennium in the third season, Jordan Black points out that ‘we are all shepherds’, and perhaps, by extension, we all are shepherds in our relationship to the Universe. It should be noted that the track is open to all kinds of interpretations.

Chris Carter, at one point, promised that the tracks off of "Songs In the Key of X" would make an appearance on the show. It is indeed a shame that this track never made an appearance on either The X-Files or Millennium, as it would have fitted in well.

1 comment:

Kimon said...

Haunting and very beautiful song indeed!

Here are the lyrics, for completeness' sake:

We were called to the forest and we went down.
A wind blew warm and eloquent
We were searching for the secrets of the universe
and we rounded up demons and forced them to tell us what it all meant
We tied ‘em to trees and broke them down one by one
And on a scrap of paper, they wrote these words;
and as we read them, the sun broke through the trees:
“Dread the passage of Jesus, for he will not return.”

Then we headed back to our world and left the forest behind,
our hearts singin’ with all the knowledge of love.
Then somewhere, somehow, we lost the message along the way.
And when we got home, we bought ourselves a house.
And we bought a car that we did not use.
And we bought a cage and two singing birds.
And at night we’d sit and listen to the canary’s song.
For we’d both run right out of words.

Now the stars, they are all angled wrong
and the sun and the moon refuse to burn.
But I remember a message in a demon’s hand
“Dread the passage of Jesus for he does not return.”
He does not return.

It can be interpreted in many ways indeed. One of them is that the demons (=evil) deliver a message that is misleading: "fear the death of Jesus, for he will not resurrect" can be one way to read the message. Hence a loss of faith.
The loss of spirituality in occidental societies like you said is a subtly underlying theme of Carter's entire body of work, and can be seen in "IWTB" as well.

Another way it can be interpreted is that the demons, who in their non-strictly Christian definition are just spirits devoid of good or evil categorization, deliver the message "Jesus will return for the Judgement Day and since you are sinners, you should be afraid (dread)". Materialistic lifestyle (buying a house, a car, pets) is seen as a sinful life.

It remains an excellent song! I still can't figure out how they managed to put it as "track 0" with 1990s CD technology... Thank you for this post!