Category Archives: ideas

Epigram of the day – my own

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Great art makes of a cosmos one simple droplet, by which the world is slaked of a thirst it never knew it had.

 

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Little bits, April

 

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^  My neighbourhood.  ^

  • “If science is not equipped to answer a question, that is all the more reason to keep asking it.” A. H. Richards
  •  “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” Ray Bradbury.
  •  “The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself… Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable.” H.L. Mencken, 1880 – 1956
  •  Dr. Who “Blink” episode: “What’s so good about sad? It’s happy, for deep people.”

 

  • “Your desires and will to accomplish are achievable through contentment. Do not manipulate others or battle with them. Do what is right for you with no sense of panic, and you will love others and yourself. The rest will follow.

The good, the creative will prevail. It will prevail in your own life and will alter you for the better every day. It will prevail over the evils and sadnesses of the world – even those you directly share in. Because there is nothing better or more beautiful and powerful in life than creative power.

This is the power of God, the Prime Mover, the Creative Breath, and cannot be bettered or denied. Gandhi, Joan of Arc, Muhammad Ali, D.H. Lawrence, Einstein, Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf : Scratch any genius or saint and you will see the gold of the covenant.

The covenant is with your inner self. It is your passion and your love, and settling yourself deep in your being brings it alive.” A. H. Richards

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The work of sorcery

Fiction is the art of persuasion through rhetorical magic. If, to the reader, it doesn’t feel like effortless magic, then it isn’t working. That’s what all the endless toil is about. That’s the why behind the weeks, months, years of solitary, mental grappling: the creation of dream-made-flesh.

Fiction is the giving birth to what is missing; that which was not noticed as missing until it arrived. It is the beautiful animal that lives around the corner you haven’t yet turned. It is the surprise of its necessity, which would never have been so, had the writer not dreamed it, and toiled out of love for its birth. It is the necessary, dreaming itself into loving being through the willing martyr, the writer.

Any art, be it writing, painting, dance, music or teaching, is the best martyrdom possible. It makes of a cosmos one simple droplet, by which the world is slaked of a thirst it never knew it had.

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February 25, 2014 · 1:05 am

Amurrican linguistix, yo!

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There is a thing in the U.S. termed a ‘primmer.’ I don’t know where it got that pronunciation, since it is spelled with one m, as in ‘primer,’ in which case, it should be pronounced as ‘prymer.’ But, it is pronounced ‘primmer.’ Can someone enlighten me? Why was it necessary to avoid a perfectly sensible, consensus rule of spelling and pronunciation which says that, before one consonant, any vowel is soft; and before two consonants, the vowel is hard? Hence, bitter, biter, primmer (as in more prim) and primer (as in, an introductory, elementary book on some subject or other). Have the Americans always been such a perverse combination of inferiority phobia and jingoistic orneriness that they simply had to tamper with words, spellings and pronunciations simply to have it so; and having it so, to say that this, then, becomes “American.”? This, to my mind, is the same kind of misinformed jingoism that would have an American schoolteacher (and this is absolutely true) insist that she was teaching American: not “American English,” which it actually is, just as truly as there is Canadian English and Australian English and New Zealand English, but “American,” as though it were a distinct language. American is not yet a distinct language, despite the wilful crippling, bastardization and pointless mangling and reshaping of the elements of the English language that it practices continually, and has done since its beginnings.We can thank modern America for such linguistic gems as zany, wacky, kwik, and bling…

I believe that American linguists and intellectuals (such as Webster) deliberately set out to re-shape the language of the English oppressor, so that their language became a revolt against the past, and an articulation of ‘difference.’ In this revolt, they did a lot of pointless, rather sophomoric things to the English language, simply due to an overweening desperation for self-assertion, for cobbling together and ‘celebrating’ a unique American identity.

(Please don’t confuse what I am saying with a commentary on the very natural development of unique idioms, pronunciations arising out of ethnicity, and the natural creation of absolutely new vocabulary: All of these are dynamic functions within a culture and language, and they grow organically.) What these Americans did to the English language as a result of insecurity on the one hand, and stubborn, ultimately pointless resistance to its assumed (and fictitious) tyranny, is well-nigh unnatural and perverse: Continually reinventing the linguistic wheel, in a micromanaging, paranoid kind of fashion. New ‘American’ spellings of words were ‘institutionalized’ in Noah Webster’s dictionaries, and those dictionaries became as much vehicles of propaganda as any political tract or manifesto. Thus, Americans, in fiddling with the language they already spoke – albeit in different dialects and accents – knitted together a type of English with its own ‘bias,’ if you will. Their mistake, which is an odd kind of hubris, is that they think they have actually created this distinct language called American, which they teach their children from kindergarten (German word) up. If you think saying zee rather than zed, writing color or  pronouncing buoy ‘boo-eee” is a necessary evolution into Amurrican rugged individualism, all power to you. But a new language, it ain’t, and never was, notwithstanding American (mostly white, English) pioneer egoism.

Perhaps when the language has morphed into some cretinous, deformed mating of what I call Webonics (a linguistic amalgamation of global dialects, foul English, ebonics and mainstream blather shared on the Internet), political non-speak and media gibberish, then there will be a true, distinct language its speakers can proudly call Amurrican. It won’t be fit as a foundation for complex or even elegant discourse: “STFU!” will be considered intelligent repartee, in the same way that Bill O’Reilly’s continually bellowed “SHUT UP!” to guests on his show is celebrated as a mark of honour, of victory. Discussion must be black and white; solutions and conclusions simplistic; and debate monosyllabic when at all possible. This is mainstream America, the home of “give me half an hour and I’ll save the planet.”

This evolving Amurrican, developing in tandem with an infantile media lexicon and reading level, and with a culture which (often violently) celebrates winning at all costs, will result in the New Prehistoria, the total triumph of bovine, aggressive stupidity at all levels of public and private discourse. Tellingly, I predict, the very word discourse will no longer be applied to this exercise in civilized communication and debate, simply because this new, anti-intellectual fascism (and anti-intellectualism is one of the foundations of fascism) will long before have shamed away any use of words longer than two syllables, or reminiscent of a more intellectual culture. ‘Discourse,’ and other words like redolent, notwithstanding, or, say xenophobia, will be anathema. They will wither and die from misuse, or be attacked, chopped from the vine by the contemporary cultural Cro-Magnons who prefer the down-home charm of “Yo, bitch!” or the witty repartee of “Y’all go fuck y’all,” or the romantic “I goes ‘man’! It was like, you know, wow!”

Today, in America, a person with an extensive vocabulary and the ability to carry on complicated discourse, with self or others, is already a freak. Some, like Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens, Janice Stein or Naomi Klein, are celebrities, but freakish ones, who inhabit rarefied climes. They are herded up, so much intellectual cattle, to chew the cud and ruminate on PBS and Canada’s TVO. They are neither trusted nor liked – if even known – by the mainstream. They, like myself, are a dying breed.

I have just ruminated. I wonder if any single person will read right through this musing, and care to make a thoughtful comment. I’m betting not.

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The Anachronistic Romantic

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Romantics are out of place. There is nothing to be done for them. They are not hopeless, just mad. Hallmark, everyday romantics are not in the running. They do not count. The real romantics are the equivalent of the early Christian martyrs. They know they are bound to die. And that is an acceptable situation. True romantics would rather die than renounce their faith in their special insanity. So die they do, by the numbers, one might suspect.

There is trouble with them; it comes off them like a fog. It is a fine and subtle disease, and once  you have caught it… Well, let’s say this: one cannot catch it, because one already has it. The romantic is born with this exquisite sickness, and must live a life in which that sickness fogs, then illuminates life, by turns.

It is a nostalgic longing for something never before experienced, which should, then, be a lie. But it is not a lie, not a bit of it. It is the very essence of romanticism (if we can call it an ism at all), which is a deep impulse, a killing longing for something transcendent and at the same time sensual, sexual, demanding, hungry. It is the transcendent rooted in the fevered now of desire; an almost impossible combination. And yet we continue to live for it, to love it, to become drunken, misshapen, feckless, hopeless, musical, suicidal, prayerful, for a taste of its reification, in which it dies.

Romanticism, though not an ism, is a highly political, but subterranean state of being. The romantic lives for the realization of deep love married to deep loss. The romantic acknowledges the almost, imperceptible, finality of loss and failure as it encroaches on every breath. The romantic continues to breathe and live for the impossible despite the facts, the sickness, the palpable death and abusive absurdity of living in human society. And it is political by making politics vanish altogether from the equation. As such, it is anarchic.

The romantic craves the society which kills the possibility of realizing such magnificent, suiciding, desire; because it is only in the society of other humans that this romanticism becomes possible, and at the same time virtually impossible. It lives through, is nourished by, nothing else but the devouring desire of another partner romantic. Is that its root then? To be an inherent, tragic contradiction? A pairing of annihilating realities?

Romance desires transcendence on the superhuman scale, but is forced to live it out in human, all-too-human pettiness. This is the root, the very key to romanticism. It must love passionately, and die in so doing. It can never realize what it so desires. It is a kiss suspended, a sexual coupling given beautiful flesh but bound, almost sundered, by the anatomical mechanics of lust in motion. In this, the deepest of inter-human knowing, the romantic wants sex to be a prayer. And since so few know how to wed prayer and fuck, then we fail; and the romantic celebrates that failure by dying, through martyrdom to this, our first psycho-biological failure. That first failure is the effort to render the primal ooze lyrical, idyllic and palpably beautiful.        

The romantic cannot do so, in much the same way that it cannot render the mundane battleground and furniture of petty life into something akin to prayer and orgasm. They seem forever separate, and it is that failure inherent between the human individual and the societal cipher, which romanticism always laments, and rises up to solve by the alchemy of sex, death and eternal hunger.

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Animals?

People talk of the animal side of humans, and think of it as chaotic and depraved. The idea is that if humans showed their animal side, we would all set upon each other, in war and slaughter and orgies of animalistic lust. But this is not the way animals behave. Animals don’t embrace chaos, and do not fight tooth and nail. Animals hunt, or forage, as needed for survival. The rest of the time they avoid injury or fighting – except for the testosterone battles between males of certain species. The kind of chaos we envision, and fear, is utter depravity, the lust for battle, the psychopathy of the human murderer.

This is not animalistic. Just as we are gifted with brains and vision to an extent unknown to animals, we also act through lust, passion and mental/chemical drives that are on a plane completely set apart from the animal. In this respect, we do not fit with nature. This is the central truth of our lives, our beings, on the most primordial level. And yet, even the primordial drive that is in us, is more than biology, is more than animal. We are supernatural.

As the saying goes… ‘Be careful what you wish for.’

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Junklit

What is the speed of time?
Does a second take exactly a second to pass?

The love of evil is the root of all money: You live a completely different life when you’re bartering chickens for mittens.

He passed the point of no return, then he came back.

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