After Urban, After Babel

Text and Time 61, oil on canvas, 70x100 cm, 2007

What could come AFTER URBAN? Maybe ALL IS URBAN, an approach very fitted to rebuild Babel’s Tower in the epoch of Virtual Reality’s Tower, starting from a new pullback, a higher perspective opened to the search for a true unity.

Many thinkers wondered why God has punished the builders of the ancient Babel’s Tower, though they seemed to be united for a good and amazing purpose. Maybe this could be an answer: ”a unity that is based on being better than and against others is a unity that will implode when each individual moves on to try and best their neighbor. The attitude behind their unity was destined to undermine that very togetherness, and could not be tolerated.”(Judah Dardik). Even the mistery of the division of languages (over 5,000 and we have to add more than 5,000 dead languages!) is a Divine gift, because there’s still a common pattern for all languages. After Babel the rich variety and splendor of the human communication proved to be vigurous, dynamic and creative for our identity and spiritual ascension. After Babel the language of art, the translators and the language of science/technology (essential contributors for the projection of the human being in his body language) offered mankind the chance to share a kind of ”lingua universalis.” God remembered us that the essence of the language is the relationship with the Other.

”We dig the hole of Babel’s Tower”, asserted Kafka. After Babel we dig the emptiness and the immateriality of the language, to reach the ruins of the originary self and identity through these alien things which are ”words of some strange tongue”(Borges). The dialectic and symbolic nature, both unifying and separating, of the language, with its beauty and chymeric potentiality, is too faraway of the way of being of reality. A huge hole of Virtual Reality, like a dream ziggurat, composed of layers without end, rising upward and losing themselves in the infinite.

In contemporary world, every major city became a Babel’s Tower, that’s why we have to know the significance of this alive myth described by Genesis, to perceive the dangers if we continue to neglect the moral laws and the truth. Once history was ”the mother of truth”(P. Menard), but in our age it seems to be the mother of Babel-izing the truth! After Babel, reality itself is going to look like a Babel’s Tower, if the stress is put on the arrogance, the search for fame with any price and the deniance of God. Unfortunately, many people in the large cities still experience the Babel-izing of the Truth, Beautiful and Good.

We have to enter the ”Gate of Gods” (the old name of Babylon) with the strong belief that rebuilding the Babel’s Tower is not possible without an effort to understand differences, the inner connection between language and truth and moral universe, and even our liberty, in order to replace an assault against heaven with a harmonic Jacob’s scale.

About Constantin Severin

Constantin Severin ( is a Romanian writer and, as a visual artist, the founder and promoter of the award-winning concept known as archetypal expressionism. He is the author of eight books of poetry, essays, and novels, and his poems have been published by major Romanian and international literary magazines. He is one of the editors of the French cultural magazine Levure littéraire.
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