6.14.2005

other people's words seem much more interesting 'cause they ain't mine

feeling a quiet escape in the post-thesis state of decompression, i have been happy to read the wisdom of others -- this quote is from the wisdom of the heart, by henry miller:

(talking about Erich Gutkind's The Absolute Collective: A Philosophical Attempt to overcome our broken state)

"The man of today, the man of the transition period, split and straddled as he is between two worlds, pregnant with the germ of the future, is veritably crucified by his duality...The climate of this opus is a sort of spiritual equinox in which life and death are seen to be at balance. Is it necessary to add that it is precisely at such moments that the miraculous nature of life reveals itself, at just such moments that the whole order of life can be reversed, or transcended?

...We stand at the threshold of a new way of life, one in which MAN is about to be realized. The disturbances which characterize this age of transition indicate clearly the beginnings of a new climate, a spiritual climate in which the body will no longer be denied, in which, on the contrary, the body of man will find its proper pace in the world...

Thus, the complete destruction of our cultural world...The old grooves of race, religion and nationality are destined to go, and in their place we shall see, for the first time in the history of man, a community of interest based not on the animal in him but on the human being which he has so long denied. The fight is between the death instinct and the life instinct. It has nothing to do with culture, or bread, or ideology, or peace or security. The schism has grown so wide that it is either self-destruction or a totality never before imagined. With each new conflict one is made increasingly aware of the real battle, which is inner, and which is nothing but a warfare between the real and the ideal man."

Though this was published in 1941 (and Gutkind's essay in 1932), Miller's approach to the binary of inner versus outer, real versus ideal, is akin to the negoitations of polarities that, to me, are becoming much more pressing in importance. Increasingly, self-definition mirrors a list of categories one ascribes to and feels membership with, both constructed by and for systems of organization such as demographic groups for marketing purposes, inner office politics, and online systems of identity management using metadata. As the outside informs more and more of what the inside feels, the inner conflict will seep out of the pores and manifest in verbal violence, frantic gestures, and worse, large-scale community deterioration, civil warfare, and inter-continental apathy. With so many mechanisms for distraction in everyday life (personal technology, adrenline-addicted dramas, the cacophony of over-abundant communication), little space and time is carved out for quiet, for reflection, for thoughtfully mediated exchange between individuals, and for true renderings of the aftermath of experience (digestion).

So, it's a little blank here these days. Deliberately so. Pages are sometimes best left unmarked, empty terrian.

A single note can affect a multitude of sounds if given the chance to ring long enough, and alone.

3 comments:

Bruce said...

How very true and how very well put.

My personal favourite times for 'digestion' are after I have put my book down and rolled over to assume slumber position #49 and then when my eyelids have finally complied with my intention and I prepare to alight from the bed. The beginning and the end of the day can make all the difference to the 'stool' of said 'digestion.' Sometimes ruminating on the same subject at either ends of the day can make the product perhaps tasteful or maybe unpleasant.

I decided not to hold my breath waiting for that tastfeully nude shot of you alighting under a willow tree by the river in the golden bask of the evening sun. I feel confident I will live longer this way.

Keep up the good words.

Bruce said...

erm, that would be 'lying'. The very idea of it has me all a-fluster!

joemama said...
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