Premonition of this Philosophy, this Poetics… Staffs 1996
We must have been studying Descartes’ Meditations… and I was still in the first full-blown emanations of ‘finding philosophy’ so I probably adhered to what Descartes’ thesis was attempting to teach us, to begin with. Or was it that I didn’t think this in any relation to Descartes’ at all? But that a spark had gone off?
One day, I remember going into the Student Union with the feeling that there was something unfailingly magnificent about the human condition, an overwhelming certainty that the entire intellectual establishment was irrefutably unaware, so ensconced in the worst kind of Heideggerisms and neo-liberal cultural-narratives that tended to dominate philosophy and literature courses of that time. With this wave of positivity came this feeling that, in my locality, and in all the prevailing media, was entirely ignorant of (England NEVER gets anywhere near the true trading of ideas in any organic and progressive sense; the nearest it gets is Radio 4’s “In Our Time” which is still often way off, given that it depends almost entirely on university sponsored opinion).
When I consider this now, that wave of feeling I experience seemed in contradistinction to almost everything I was studying at the time… the literature courses, bar a course in Russian Literature, were either poorly taught or were telling me things I already knew. Philosophy, however, was still new to me and a couple of courses kept my interest, anything that Robin Durie was lecturing in, and Peter Shott’s Schopenhauer… these, still, both suffered, though, from the usual laziness of those people gifted in a milieu of absence of enquiry. They tend to edutain themselves over taking their work to the next level; i.e, they don’t become their own intellectual measure, being in a circumstance of teaching introductory level philosophy, for that time, and not coming across any ‘free spirits’ in a Nietzschean sense. But, having said that, they may have been into a lot more than they were teaching, such is the self-censorship of the academy. In fact, Staffs was probably a lot more interesting, being an ex-Polytechnic at the time, and not having any posh friends it had to shake hands with on a regular basis.
Durie was obviously the brightest spark in the group but, unfortunately, knew it too much to receive much warmth from students, so desperate were we, in England, to encourage in each other unique lows in oh-so-democratic neo-liberal mediocrity (and Shott was too much a Darwinian for me ever to find much common ground with, despite doing an excellent job of drawing me into Schopenhauer’s unique net of genius. My dissertation title was: Genius and Madness in the Aesthetics of Arthur Schopenhauer… and, I remember, had a quote from Baudelaire’s The Albatross, at the front of it… and was the only piece of work I handed in early, in all my time at university… I’m not sure if Shott really knew what I was going on about; it was basically a comparison between psychologies of madness and badly written sub-par-neoplatonism through Schopenhauer).
There was one other course in European drama that, without much direction or intrigue, still brought me into contact with Artaud for the first time (I had read all the novels of Genet by that time, so this stood me in good stead… none of the students on that course had any kind of a handle on Genet OR Artaud, despite my presentation of a rather long and impassioned presentation on a Shakespeare/Artaudian Le Theatre et Son Double parabola I was nursing at the time, either badly-argued and abstruse-seeming as it may have seemed to all of us at the time, regardless, the magnetism of Artaud manifested there).
But that wave; what was it?? I realize that I wasn’t really responding to Descartes’ text in any cognitive sense. I was entirely re-envisioning him for my own reasons, or the reasons that this wave of feeling somehow engendered in me? And, I’m sure, it wouldn’t have been felt in my university work on The Meditations at the time, in essays or whatever… it felt entirely of an orbit that was intensely more subtle thn anything I was being taught (kind of like reading a page of Finnegans Wake, it hits you on a level that is absolutely Other to cognition, or academic training, if I’d have framed it on any level, then, I was saying that it didn’t conform to the impersonality of general western philosophizing etc, the anchor being mostly Germanic, individually focussed, and abstract; the great failure of our philosophy being that it doesn’t embrace myth, parable, and the anecdotal, as Eastern philosophy does, eventually; and for this to be Encouraged with a kind of syncretic gnosis as the real aim for any real future for philosophy).
Later I wrote a letter to my friend Mark Swannell, explaining this wave of positivity that had been thrown over me that afternoon. In retrospect I related it to Descartes but, as I say, this reading of The Meditations was simply both a connected, and unconnected, prelude to that wave of feeling. I say this while also considering McKenna’s thesis that Descartes’ project for philosophy was spurred on by a dream experience where McKenna claims a ‘spirit’, of some order, spoke to him, and revealed to him that the future of philosophy would come from an emphasis on number, and on mathematics (notice, in an oppositional sense, how both Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell come out of mathematics as the cultural narrative of the 19th century is thrown into the bloodiness of the 20th, with only Wittgenstein being vomited up and considered within anything that could be construed as mainstream philosophy.
But the psychological emphasis of Descartes’ ‘spirit visitation’ also has parallels in the rise of mesmerism, on into hypnosis and psycho-analysis. Was Descarte’s whole philosophical project a kind of pre-empting force for the psychic experience that occurs later on in history? This is what I’m beginning to call the Flaming Pie Syndrome (there are different hues to it but John Lennon’s dream-command of the man who visited him in a dream, with the message: ‘You will be called “Beetles” with an A’ seems totemic enough, as with Descartes’ visitation, to suggest that, mildly after Lawrence, we can conceive of a sub-historical psychological narrative dependent entirely on the unconscious; a historico-anthropology of Unconsciousness, if you will… a realm of being that entirely surrounds the politics of calendar time).
Joint Honours, Literature & Philosophy, Philosophy & Literature
Nietzsche falls away… Schopenhauer returns. Jazz… Classical. Chaos… Order. Free verse… Rhyme. Heraclitus… Parmenides.
Something just out of frame, not given due attention. The rooster crowing in someone else’s morning. But this time: drenched in ‘I…’
which seems very amusing. Like walking round a corner you’ve walked round every day of your life… and, yet, if someone were to ask you directions right now you wouldn’t be able to tell them where either of you are.
This is how ‘the arm’ is seen. It is very funny that the arm belongs to me. The dose taken brings on only subtle (and very pleasant) forms of disassociation, but enough to prove that I am not who I think I am. I am not ME… and just to make sure (absolutely sure!) I’ll need to rifle through enough books to pretty much prove to myself, over the following years, that, for the most part, metaphysics has been pretty much dead (bar the odd Spinoza, Blake or Schopenhauer) since John Scottus Eriugena passed over, in the late ninth century.
(Walking in the woods with Sam, age 6, he plays uncle to my nephew… is under the impression that that he has eyes ringing round the entire circumference of his head which no one else can see. And I believe him.
Life is the wrong shape. And our education system hasn’t figured it out yet. Under the auspices of the matrix we should really apply a certain pressure on each other so that the very young and the very old are the ones that teach and run the institutions, while those reaching into the desert-like impasse of middle age and adult politesse should be treated with the same condescension as the young and old are now. All the people who ‘know things’, ‘who want to apply policies’ etc. These people shouldn’t be able to get work anywhere. Their entire social existence should be governed by the need to be a combination of excessive child-like-ness or totally wise, reflective and curmudgeonly.
But that’s me being an adult again. Suffice to say I feel sad that his whole being has had to be crammed into corporea like a giant cumulonimbus cloud bathed in sunlight, packed into a hotdog container… which isn’t to demean the true reality of the body, but to symbolically show how little attention we’ve given the body in our institutions, as an outgrowth of earth and frequency).
But, to return to The Experiment… it is safe (or unsafe?) to infer that, if I am not me, then everyone else is not them Selves either. Which makes me want to laugh even louder. Then who is writing this??? Roland Barthes? And who is Roland Barthes anyway?
There are a multitude of other worlds hiding behind every familiar corner. There is a world in which I know who Roland Barthes is. And yet another, where myself and Roland Barthes are enjoying a short hiking holiday in Hokkaido.
Elvis is with us, of course, but he is slowing us down with his interminable forays into every nearest pharmacy, stammering broken katakana, and waving a Japanese phrase book around.
Absence of Time = Instant Prophecy = Random Planning
The god Kronos is spluttering to death in the corner of your dimly lit hotel room. All my selves have come out to play, and are dancing round a street-lamp thick with dense clouds of cheerful cherubim. Every angel is not necessarily terrifying, in this other world? A certain amount of careful discernment, if you please, in this roaming-round the realms of seraphic overlords and swarms of beatific light beings.
Science has proof. We have vision. Vision will out, and created science from the very start… while science (in its rogue druidic arrogance) imagines the historical steering wheel as having come about in exactly the opposite manner. A case of the children who refuse to admit their progenic sustenance… or that their parents exist, or that they ever had any. A godlessness entirely other to our experience of history, and of time.
But vision takes responsibility, which is why (after Mr. Yeats) it initially seems to come clothed as Fascism… it’s like riding a bike… the first few times are tricky. And if you want to bring Satan with you, and the whole crashing, bugling apocalyptic world… then know that I’ll have chosen to be elsewhere.
“Everything is entertainment,” Mr. Dylan wryly observed,
Oh… but I was so much older then,
I’m younger than that now / History,
Stephen said, is a nightmare
from which I am trying to awake.
Vision takes responsibility. One day you mentally will a friend over onto the wrong side of the tracks with a wallet full of hundred dollar bills, another day you’re an urban monk with connectivity frothing round your head and all the clouds descending towards you, as if in some form of extra-sacerdotal mystical observance.
But that day in Swansea? At the Dylan Thomas museum off The Mumbles, reading the account of Thomas’s death, in that hospital in New York (the same place Charles Olson died? Consult the internet oracle, Robin!)… the manuscript papers under glass.
Denise Levertov to Robert Duncan, “John Berryman is an evil man” paraphrased. Did Berryman kill Dylan Thomas?
Much of the New Criticism was funded by the CIA, The Kenyon Review, for sure? I must pick up that book.
“Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.”
How many bullets in Lennon’s back? I forget. Yoko Ono, in an interview:
“They killed him…” (They?
They??… You mean, HE,
Yoko, HE? Surely? Surely??)
We do not know yet? Or do we? Poor us! Waiting to know. Lucky us! Waiting to know. Wanting to know. One man’s investigating is another man’s waiting? Never rub another man’s rhubard.
“A label persisted. The past tense
implies it took place. The redness
in which the the implies there was some other
did not persist. He was not waiting long.”
[Jackson Mac Low, in a thing named 1983… divined, 1:45am 6th March 2012, Eternity]
What is true AND unnacceptable always arrives in the form of fiction.
Ezra Pound, to Eustace Mullins, regarding his thesis on the Federal Reserve: “You must write it like a detective novel”. William Paterson, the Medicis, Rome, Babylon… the whole financial shit storm; capstone of our emotional investment in the presiding mythos.
We allowed the Bank of England to be dreamed into existence, and it has been shafting us since 1694 (with Rome as its inspiration, as if a kind of skewed Shelley’s Prometheus). The shamanic ritual of the Tarahumaras and the rogue druidism of the stock market converge at the arse end of 2009 for your delectation. Some of us loathe Caliban, some loathe Margaret Thatcher (and Thatcher as Caliban to the techno-cultured Sioux, with his ipad oracle of his ancestor’s dream-time). Prospero’s magic books; giggling in the corner.
Just keep your hands on the wheel. Pay attention. Know that those are hands. That that is the wheel. That you’re sitting in a car. That it’s all going rather fast. That we are all in each other’s dreams. That we’d prefer not to kill each other. That love exists.
In all realms, polar… do both dissociation and association constitute the dimming of the authority of time. Happy sperm, wriggling into egg… compares with:
this short youtube clip of a veritable thicket of UFOs bobbing around in earth’s orbit. The NASA assistant is trying to find the Russian space station: Meer.
[A certain politesse]
Are you read-
ing me? Over…
Or Find me, find me,
find me. &
Fragments, & Inserts, from the Introduction to ‘Towards an Interdimensional Poetics’
…so I’m essentially uncomfortable with labels like “modernism” and “post-modernism”… in some way they represent an unnecessary ‘clinging’ of some order, an unnecessary faith; they are so very ‘cultural-narrative’ (that part of Emerson I dislike; the sudden elevation of Culture thrown into the 19th Century soup), and VERY analogous to Antonin Artaud, at another level, speaking of the symbolism of the cross in his notes on Pour en Finir Avec le Jugement de Dieu:
“La croix est le signe qu’il faut faire tomber.
Voilà 757 siècles que le mal s’y suspend et s’y accroche,
voilà 2 mille ans qu’il s’est servi de son coup d’arrêt pour l’homme et l’empêcher
voilà l’éternité elle-même qu’il bute les choses et qu’il les choses et qu’il les croise
pour les empêcher de circuler.”
Roughly: ”The cross is a sign that we must break down. / Here, these 757 centuries… and it hangs on and hangs on. / These 2000 years hooked on, to halt and prevent man from going forward, / Here is the eternity itself that is encountered in things, what passes to obstruct movement.”
(–Dossier de Pour en Finir Avec le Jugement de Dieu (1948), Œuvres Complètes, Tome XIII, Antonin Artaud)
“Every human being has an archetype that emanates from the pineal gland that projects into his/her personal energetic web, or “aura”. This archetype, called a “T-bar” is a function of genetics, working to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. [It] can look like a “T”, a cross, or an ankh”
—The Hyperspace Helper (2004), Stewart A. Swerdlow and Janet D. Swerdlow
I haven’t concluded (do I even need to?) on whether the ‘T-Bar’, ‘cross’ or ‘ankh’ from Stewart and Janet Swerdlow’s books is a psychic corollary of the more religious iconography Artaud is refering to. Regardless of detailed conclusions it should not come as any surprise that the cross of modern religions is an emanation, or variation on, a more psychological phenomenon. Could the cross of religious iconography represent a usurping of something that naturally occurs in the brain, as an emanation of the pineal gland? It’s entirely possible:
…from this perspective we see a subtle battle against consciousness (would we term this the totality-of-field of the true body, beyond corporeality?) running through all human history, a mental imprisonment that spans across the ages, at the sociological and religious levels, all the way up to higher forms of imagining (with imagination, then, pushing hard against the walls of the communal and corporeal Known, to, ultimately be transcended, also?) This is important in reference to symbology and shamanism. We shall come to see that symbol and image are part of a consistent suppression of human potentiality (one need only look into the internet presentations Michael Tsarion has given on occult symbology) which can be, and have been, used in many different ways… this is not to say that these things have not been, and cannot be, used in a more nurturing manner, also).
(and is this what I intend, in my own haphazard way, to unravel in this text? and what I have generally termed ‘lockdowns’? The lockdowns, themselves, though, adhere to cultural narrative in that they deconstruct it… is this where The Cantos leave off and The Wake enters? The Cantos, as Blakean ‘horses of instruction’, subvert cultural narrative to their own ends (and, obviously, explore new areas of knowledge, as far as the western milieu is concerned… and yet are not the rules originating there? The template? With the L.A.N.G.U.A.G.E poetry-spillage, and de-constructionism, as end-result?) Sometimes I think deconstructionism is just badly interpreted late Artaud (without mistakenly dismissing all of it, as, say, a Harold Bloom does).
And Artaud, then? Andrew? Essentially Greek? Possibly… Nalpas. Hmm. A Greek reincarnated-injection into the 20th-Century-Mode so as to put a ragged face on the politesse of a Wallace Stevens? There will have to be a chapter on reincarnational identities for the reader to see this properly teased out, and it must answer the question: What is reincarnation given that time and space are irreal, and a construct of the mind.
Crane Parabolas, Bloomian Originations, Cosmological Energies…
The letters of Hart Crane fascinate me. They veer between incredibly insightful slices of poetry-vision and rather mundane everyday observances (still exciting, in a way, due to the tensions between his father, mother and himself, and how the poetry functions in relation to it). But try this out:
“…there are certain basically mythical factors in our Western world which literally cry for embodiment. Oddly, as I see it, they cannot be presented completely (any one of them) in isolated order, but in order to appear in their true, luminous reality must be presented in chronological and organic order, out of which you get a kind of bridge, the quest of which bridge is— nothing less ambitious than the annihilation of time and space, the prime myth of the modern world.”
–Letter to Yvor Winters, Nov 15th, 1926
Modern criticism has never really put together Crane’s poetics under any kind of passionate banner for metaphysics. That’s essentially how I see it. Yet, from this distance, I find the poems themselves more appealing invitations into that field than anything Crane was conscious of, and could explain coherently in the letters (the quote above is one of his more searing attempts).
Crane, at the conscious level, seems to inherit Whitman, as is probably well-established. But, another letter of Crane’s, to Yvor Winters again… before we get to Walt:
“The “New Metaphysics” that Whitman proclaimed in Democratic Vistas here and there in America today. I feel it in your work and I think I can sense it in some of my own work. (Probably Whitman wouldn’t recognize it in either of us, but no matter)”
An acceptance, here, of Harold Bloom’s misreadings theory, at the end there? (to be found in Bloom’s well known book The Anxiety of Influence). In this way we have:
Succession / Cessation
Son sez to father:
“How is it done?”
“Like this… y’see?”
replies father. (& yet,
displeased? is he?…
that the son’s
done can never be
the father’s done.
Each perfecting a
in the same object).
This b metaphor as
law of universe, brute
(& talent being proximity in sensible appearance… the place from which all appearance comes – and which is the mark of origination, of misreading – is the birth place of poetic vision, and poetic vision; not dependant whatsoever on experience… and yet we still have a translation problem here: vision, in English, still implies cornea, cortex, visua etc. And, yes, Of-This IS its being, in language… but not coming-from until now, why Joyce re-makes grammar and language so as to to sit closer to vision’s hearth? When Eliot, in The Waste Land, says “that is not it at all” we see the essential misreading at work, and belong to, for at least an instant, something other than the stranglehold of space and time). But, let’s turn to Democratic Vistas, and see where Crane was at:
“We see that almost everything that has been written, sung, or stated, of old, with reference to humanity under the feudal and oriental institutes, religions, and for other lands, needs to be re-written, re-sung, re-stated, in terms consistent with the institution of these States, and to come in range and obedient uniformity with them.
We see, as in the universes of the material kosmos, after meteorological, vegetable, and animal cycles, man at last arises, born through them, to prove them, concentrate them, to turn upon them with wonder and love — to command them, adorn them, and carry them upward into superior realms —so, out of the series of the preceding social and and political universes, now arise these States. We see that while many were supposing things established and completed, really my grandest things always remain; and discover that the work of the New World is not ended, but only fairly begun.”
-Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas
The emphasis, then, is on the metaphysical and the cosmological. From Whitman all the way through Ginsberg we have the reiteration of these States (and by Ginsberg’s time its lost much of its sociological currency… I’m drawn to it more in an energetic sense; ‘states of wonder’, ‘states of being’ etc).
It seems almost as if the ideology Whitman urged on America in his time, transcended its own definition as we look back (or through?) the 20th century and all the blood shed in the name of democracy, or ideology more generally. All births are intended to transcend their own language game, their own sphere of reference (as Manly P. Hall mentioned many moons ago).
Crane intuited this, though, and attempted to follow Whitman, at least on a metaphysical and cosmological level (and I’ve pontificated a little on the results in a previous section of the book). The dark end of this methodology comes in the more Emersonian characterisations of culture, as transcendant. Again, a term that has slithered past the usefulness of its achievements. The idea of being in service to culture is incredibly odious to me, particularly as we conceive of any function for the arts. This is why genius in the arts is hardly ever rewarded (why would you pay someone to not do any Thing for you, and that is exactly what the true artist does, fixedly lost in his or her abject creationism rather than being the goal of an individual or communal conception, true art being the total absence of the utilitarian). But Crane, in many ways, instead of naming or re-naming that Whitmanian cosmology in any ideological sense (if only Ginsberg had deigned to do the same!) he, perhaps in spite of himself, danced around the mystery and so brought the entire project forward (in a way that Eliot, slave of the cultural paradigm… and, as a foreigner in service to a kind of Old World historicism, didn’t). Joyce (in silence, exile and cunning) escaped this entirely. Pound, only partially. (His escape was the ideological Other, and so; an insincere escape).
Wasn’t the problem of Whitman’s democratic cosmology essentially one of self-orientation, while still having a certain veracity and usefulness for the nationhood of his own time?
Yet, once the ideological goal is asserted human thinking fails to get there; this is the snag of fallen man, is it not? Repetitious egoism disguised as progress. Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence, not as cosmic warning but actual statement, to be taken literally, regarding the repetitious nature of history. Would it help to revise that ‘in back of’ of Duncan in this context? Communal goal, conceived of in the individual, then projected outwards, tends to proceed outward as ‘instruction’, and cannot ever be fulfilled given simply the variousness of each individuated human soul… it is the goal that hinders. Communal ‘agreement’ (or more acutely; the similarity found in variousness when immediate experience is valued over the filter of ‘people’ as seen through the immediate experience) is discovered, or comes about, exactly when it is not searched-for. Any amendation to the world conceived of, as goal, can only successfully effected in the individual. This is why the political realm exists in a kind of self-perpetuating trauma… it is obsessed with remedy, just as fundamentalism is. True engagement involves itself with immediacy of interest, and is negligent of mass viewpoint or argument. This is a horrific notion to fallen man (I’m beginning to like this term better than ‘inauthentic man’ since it has the necessary shades of Julian Jaynes and Milton that I believe are necessary; that Nietzsche’s ‘Ubermensch’ and Whitehead’s ‘superject’ are forms of intuiting the incredible power of the human before The Fall etc).
We need to understand that chaos, the thing that scares fallen ‘historical’ man most, exists as another’s order, and vice versa… this is what might be termed as a brand of connectivizing perspectivism, not to be mistaken with logical positivism because it is aware of the illusion of common sense as well as (in the same moment) the necessity of communal poles of opinion (Blakean corollaries), in one form or another, of psychological acceptance, on behalf of any given community. Chaos is simply something that exists beyond the boundaries of ANY given order (at their poles they actually absorb each other in meaning, in the periphera of the cultural gaze).
In the same way, then, understand that Whitman’s democracy is not the form of government or self-government trumpeted through the 20th Century? The only straggling point left here would be to throw Freud at the leftovers of Whitman (Crane’s poetic vision, the focus for me here) and see what sticks. Is there any form of psychological democracy, an inner democracy worth pursing? Something closer to the dao than the sham of party politics? Or those terms, themselves, as central ‘back-ofs’ from which, also, to leap. I’ll leave a larger discussion of this… for another chapter, while finding resonance in the specific examples of
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, Time & Gnosticism, Vortex & Word, God & Matrix…
Any particular cosmology that advances newness must have to have the idea of how we experience time as its eminent badge of ultimate investigation. This would be something required in any poetics wishing to further the Whitman – Crane line (with Blake as godfather presence?)
With regard to Time, and in McKenna’s words the simple command ‘read À la recherche du temps perdu’ by Proust is offered. A particularly appealing comparison then (to move on a little) occurs, in attempting a re-envisioning of Whitman’s cosmology through Crane, when reading The Exegesis of Philip K.Dick (and both Ubermensch and superject, as mentioned before, could form useful parallels when reading Dick’s intriguing brand of Gnostic metaphysics).
The Beast of my earlier pieces becomes confirmed in what Dick is writing about through the mid-seventies and early eighties. Specifically, it seems parallel to what he calls the Black Iron Prison (the metaphysical matrix which has forged and shaped our reality, and given birth to the arch-totalitarianism we know today, as manifested under different monikers in the conspiracy field, namely things like The Illuminati, Secret Government, and all those related to the cabal related to the Federal Reserve and the Banks of Europe). However, this isn’t, pertinently, my interest (insofar as there is a lot of information already out on the internet now, that pertains to this) but seems also of a piece with a statement McKenna makes on the notion that a time matrix came into play that was closely connected to Rome of between 100-300 A.D, a kind of overlay onto our current reality. Where they diverge is in their specific placements within the 20th Century (McKenna has them overlaid in the 1910s and Dick holds to their convergence with his ‘spiritual awakening’ of early 1974). The origin of that matrix, insofar as it relates to global politics, tugs at me a little more…
What interests me most, however, is not the Black Iron Prison but its opposing force… which seems much more sophisticated and subtle. Dick names it ‘Zebra’ and it very much adheres to the sum of all immediate experience on earth, Jungian synchronicities, other-world experiences etc, and dream visitation. There is also an air of true-science formality in it that recalls the philosophy of Alan Watts, particularly in Dick’s reflection on the universe as functioning like a gigantic brain, but here, with a definite gnostic twist:
“[…] what it is is that a brain exists, feeding us a spurious reality which it grows and develops, and we’re cells in it subliminally governed and integrated into it. The spurious reality is to keep us from going nuts from sense-deprivation, and is a 3-D hologram matrix through which info passes; its thoughts, instructions and info.
It’s all certainly for a benign purpose: the brain is negentropic, the life of the universe, “the final bulwark against non being,” […] As cells, we are born, function, live, age, die. and are replaced; the brain is immortal. What we accomplish in our lifetimes is made eternal as bits of the brain’s evolving structure, especially if it deals with info, the very substance of the brain.”
Words and language, in Dick’s conception, as units of sound, are organic structures of all ultimate creation, but not representative of materiality in any conventional sense. Language, inherantly contains its own Orphism, as in Charles Olson’s well known claim:
“To build out of sound the walls of the city
And display in one flower the wunderworld so that
By such means the unique stand forth
Clear itself shall be made known.”
…now, we’ll get back to this, particularly in relation to ancient Greece, mythological archetypes, and the beginnings of a true science (that relates to Eriugena and the ancient Irish symbol of the triskellion) that exists as an exploitation of the creation of world by vocality, as a form of energy, in the Blakean sense.
And this is where, closest to us in timely terms, Pound’s vorticism, Blake, and Olson all merge, with Dick’s musings, here, following on from this excerpt from Pound’s statements on vorticism:
“Every concept, every emotion presents itself to the vivid consciousness in some primary form. It belongs to the art of this image, to poetry; form, to design; colour in position, to painting; form or design in three planes, to sculpture; movement, to the dance or to the rhythm of music or verses.”
-Ezra Pound, Blast #1 (June 1914)
“Words, bursting through the material world, are in fact ‘real’ universe (noös) penetrating a (mere) holographic projection […] God ‘says’ “Let there be light,” there is light; he creates by ‘saying’ (thinking) (cf. Bishop Berkeley) […]
The “other universe” is an intelligent, thinking mind, and so when it impinges on our material universe, these “impregnations” take the form of written or audible information (words) […] The term for this impinging information is “word” or Logos!”
-Philip K.Dick, The Exegesis of Philip K.Dick
If that word-hoard, as creator, or creative energy, imagined in human orality (with breath as origin? If we give credence to anything written in The Upanishads), infects Dick’s Black Iron Prison then, for Artaud, we see, in materiality, an opposed evil force, or matrix, in a similar sense (veiled in Artaud’s characteristic vatic anger)… an announcement that compares to Dick’s injected Gnosticism:
“On voit Dieu quand on le veut bien, et voir Dieu c’est ne pas être satisfait de la petite enclave des sensations terrestres qui n’ont jamais fait que d’un peu plus ouvrir la faim d’un moi et d’une conscience entière, que ce monde ne cesse pas d’assassiner et de tromper.”
(“One sees God when one really wants to, and to see God is to be dissatisfied with the little enclave of terrestrial sensations which have never done anything but slightly increase the hunger for a self and for a consciousness which the world does not cease to murder and betray”)
-Antonin Artaud, Supplément au Voyage au Pays des Tarahumaras [trans. Helen Weaver]
God, then, is realm-ified (or field-ified, in the terminology of Robert Duncan) with the goal of the church being to nail it into material inertia so as to be worshipped en masse (in mass?) rather than by a connection to the divinity of the muse’s permissions. How, then, to access that energy of the muse through material means? Is this not the impossible tension also witnessed in Dante’s Convivio, this time with the drama being symbolised by the visioning of the immortal soul in relation to empirical world…
“…the soul united with the body is in truth its effect; for the soul which is parted endureth perpetually in a nature more than human. And so is the problem solved […] But inasmuch as the immortality of the soul has here been touched upon […] for, if we turn over all the scriptures both of the philosophers and of the other sage writers, all agree in this that within us there is a certain part that endures. […] Further we witness unbroken experience of our immortality in the divinations of our dreams, which might not be if there were not some immortal part of us; inasmuch as the revealer, whether corporeal or incorporeal, must needs be immortal if we think it out subtly”
Alighieri, popped up into twentieth century, and dressed as Sigmund Freud, while reciting John Scottus Eriugena through a man named Augustine, kneeling in front of the emanation of Jesus Christ, who was a man named Jmannuel , buried in the Himalayas, under the symbol of the sacred heart of Shiva, and the breasts of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s mother, read into, and to, the words of a poem of Rome; the church of Saturn…
“A spegnere col giorno la vacanza
sono dei colpi invasati e nudi,
l’angelus del quartiere consumato,
col giorno da peccati d’ignoranza
puerile e incallita in cuori sordid
alla campanella che scandisce
a colpi ciechi il senso della notte”
(with the extinguished day emptied, / faults are potted and bare, / The Angelus of the neighbourhood exhausted, / the day of sins, of ignorance, of / what’s puerile and callous within sordid hearts… / there, at the bell that sounds out / at blind error, into the meaning of the night.)
-Pier Paolo Pasolini, from Dal Diario 1943-1953,
the cold war coming (the tangles of its illusory germination…) and the invisible war now, then?
-Andrew O’Donnell, March 2012 (draft version)
NOTE: For a more in-depth look at Harold Bloom’s criticism this celebrated essay, from Sulphur magazine, acts as a good introduction:
*For more information on the author please see the bio entry at the bottom of the first part of ‘Towards an Interdimensional Poetics’ or the ‘About’ page of this site.