ABOUT DAMIEN TAVIS TOMAN
A native of Oklahoma and lifelong resident of New York’s Hudson Valley, Damien Tavis Toman spent a solitary youth playing punk rock and heavy metal, before emerging as a solo singer-songwriter in the first years of the second millennium. Preferring the doom of obscurity to the agony of self-aggrandizement, he quietly created and released around 40 albums of original material between 2003 and 2012, only about half of which remains available to the public. During this prolific decade, Damien also produced a goodly amount of writing, in the form of private essays, occasional meditations, poetic excursions, and heady correspondences, out which were assembled the contents of several books, released after the fashion of his musical works–silently, and into a void.
Raised in seclusion by ardent Evangelical Christians, Damien spent many years exploring innumerable religious traditions, and was for some time an outspoken (even militant) satanist, before being confronted with the inescapable reality that all spiritual paths diverge from the same original source, and that is death. It is man’s knowledge of his own mortality, Damien realized, that makes him spiritual, and his insignificance in the face of the absolute and unknowable that makes him idolatrous. In attempting to clear away the detritus of thousands of years and expose the primeval root–the naked bone–of humanity’s religious, philosophical, and artistic impulses, Damien conceived of the Memorial Society: an institution devoted to two principle purposes. The first of these is to return death to its former place at the forefront of all human considerations–not as an afterthought, but as the only thought. The Society’s second purpose is to preserve for posterity the work and memory of its founder.
ABOUT THE MEMORIAL SOCIETY
The Memorial Society believes only in Death. This is our creed, and we hold no other. To be a Memorialist is to love, trust in, and meditate upon The Death that Is Your Own. That is not to say, “death” as an abstract principle, force, or phenomenon, for there is no such thing. Death can only be one’s very own, and indeed, one can own nothing else.
Damien Tavis Toman arrived at this revelatory conclusion near upon his 30th year, after decades of restless probing into every corner of the myriad Western and Eastern religious, philosophical, and metaphysical traditions. He might have dispensed with the search, for the answer was always already before him, in the churchyards and cemeteries he roamed in his leisure; but that is just the way with Death. Being always before us, it is the last thing we see.
When we speak of Death, we do not speak of dying; for to speak of dying is merely to speak of living–the two being the same. Life is conditional, variable, arbitrary, ephemeral, a bad dream owed to the indigestion of a self-consuming universe. Only Death is absolute: it alone is willing, waiting, wishing to be known and knowing that it will be. There is nothing but Death that we can know, and yet we hold it to be the greatest, deepest, most terrible and impenetrable of mysteries. To be known by death is to know being. Morior ergo sum. My only identity is in Death.
It was the work of Damien Tavis Toman’s life to suffer, and it is through his works–many of which are made available on this site–that his suffering was expressed. Suffering, however, was merely the way that he followed to the consummation of his being. Suffering points us to Death; it is what makes us love and desire Death as Death loves and desires us–though, like a concubine, we are Death’s already, and thus desired above all: the favorite. Joy, too, points us to Death, in the rapidity of its fading. Love points us to Death with its impossibility. Hope points us to Death because there is nothing else to hope for. Life points us to Death because there is nothing else to live for.
The Memorial Society believes only in Death. To be a Memorialist is to seek and serve The Death that is Your Own.