Hermes Mercury stands for the marketization of all social relations By the

Hermes mercury stands for the marketization of all

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Hermes / Mercury stands for the marketization of all social relations. By the Mercurial power of the market everything is dissolved and liquidated into cash value in a process of reverse transubstantiation. Whereas Hestia represents the transubstantiation of material necessities into ideal forms that have normative power – the family, the community, and the society constituted and reproduced by the gift relation mediated through the maternal household - Hermes stands for de-sublimation, from Ideal to material; the liquefaction of ideals into commodities. The market is “the frightful leveler”; it annihilates and liquefies every social institution with which it comes into contact, so that all values “float with the same specific gravity in the constantly moving stream of money” (Simmel, 1997; 178) The free market of Hermes the Trickster is the source of the nihilism that has been at the heart / hearth of Celtic Tiger Ireland. The Trickster, whether ancient or neo-liberal, is born out of chaos, he dwells in chaos, and his actions, while exciting, and - sometimes, for some people - beneficial in the short term, always and invariably end in more chaos. We are now living through catastrophic market failure caused by financial wizardry and bankers’ tricky deals and pyramid housing schemes, and some of our local tricksters, Charlie, Bertie & their developer friends, have, as Trickster typically does, slipped away quietly from the scene of disaster. If we are to exorcise the haunted houses of Ireland’s landscape it is more than a matter of helping spirits to pass over, mourning the past, laying certain things to rest, making atonement with those who suffered under the old order and coming to terms with our collective memories, both beautiful and shameful, in the wake of the death of the collective motherland. Waking the dead is also a vigil. It means being awake and watchful to the new dangers that present themselves in liminal periods of historical metempsychosis: it means protecting the present and taking responsibility for the future: it means preventing evil spirits from breaking through and taking possession of our souls, and insofar as these Mercurial spirits are already amongst us, it means grappling with them and governing them. In Yeats’ poetic geometry of the historical process, the inverted cones of the spiraling gyre are drawing apart from one another; they have reached the very point of separation, and at that moment of rupture things are in danger of falling apart, unleashing “the blood dimmed tide” ( 1996: 1091 ) . Let us try to look in the eye of the “rough beast” that is coming - he 8
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has in fact been amongst us for some time already - and see what holy charms we might use to repel or at least to contain him – for as Benjamin (1992: 254) tells us in his theses on the philosophy of history, ‘ even the dead will not be safe’ from the historical forces of darkness, and we are dealing now with ‘an enemy who has not ceased to be victorious.’ The most sinister and uncanny thing about how the antichrist works is that rather than coming from the outside, as an alien malevolent Other, the beast is already within. It is commonplace for
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