Monday, November 07, 2005

Let the dead bury the living

This psychedelic site has some good PDF downloads. This weekend I read Alan Watts, The Book: The taboo on knowing who you are. Interesting, not as satisfying as something like Paul Brunton's The Secret Path, I prefer my wisdom to come from someone brave enough to confess a belief that human beings are space-travellers from Sirius. And then I read Maslow on Motivational Theory, cue jokes about having to promise myself Food at the end to get through the text. Actually, the essay doesn't pick up on what might motivate someone to read a 21 page psychology paper. My motivation was to pick up on the flow of human needs. In this regard, Hunger by Knut Hamsun, probably my favourite novel, is one long study in motivation.

I have never had much but contempt for those who have satisfied their needs, the comfortable, the bourgeoisie, the dinner-party set, those people who sit down and eat a meal that costs £200+ per head seemingly without remorse. For the overwhelming mass of humanity, from where I am drawn, all the pain and truth of experience is in a basic survival struggle, such as that of Kafka, Beckett, Burroughs, Fante, Hamsun, Bukowski, Huncke, Ballard. This is what unites these artists across time and culture. For myself, art can never simply be the pursuit of fame, wealth, and big dinners.

There will always be those refusing to admit this truth (funny, in the workplace, the prospect of being cutting off from income stream of regular employment serves as useful motivation ploy for employers. "Be careful not to price yourself out of a job." Once the working day is over, this is discarded, and the leisured self is escorted to Garden of Earthly Delights to hand back all coins earned). Two paychecks from being homeless, don't forget this fact, down there with bandaged hands, shivering to death like Hunger's narrator. Or the economy melts down, your savings only value as toilet paper. As Burroughs says, in Nova Express

"Bring together state of news - Inquire onward from state to doer -' Who monopolized Immortality? Who monopolized Cosmic Consciousness? Who monopolized Love Sex and Dream? Who monopolized Life Time and Fortune?

Who took from you what is yours? Now they will give it all back? Did they ever give anything away. for nothing? Did they ever give any more than they had to give? Did they not always take back what they gave when possible and it always was?

Listen: Their Garden Of Delights is a terminal sewer - I have been at some pains to map this area of terminal sewage in the so called pornographic sections of Naked Lunch and Soft Machine - Their Immortality Cosmic Consciousness and Love is second-run grade-B shit - Their drugs are poison designed to beam in Orgasm Death and Nova Ovens - Stay out of the Garden Of Delights - It is a man-eating trap that ends in green goo - Throw back their ersatz Immortality - It will fall apart before you can get out of The Big Store - Flush their drug kicks down the drain... All that they offer is a screen to cover retreat from the colony they have so disgracefully mismanaged. To cover travel arrangements so they will never have to pay the constituents they have betrayed and sold out. Once these arrangements are complete they will blow the place up behind them.

In turning away from the truth of our needs, we complete the work of corporations, the church, the state, all the control systems. Whenever we tell ourselves a comforting story to pacify ourselves, the higher purpose of writing is diverted. Convenient fictions worn as layers to repel experience, to deny reality that denial only renders more terrible, more painful. This is why Burroughs writings dwell on disease, terror, war, addiction, those scenarios that by force strip away complacency. Basic truth: We Are at War. And not with Osama Bin Laden. See Modern America if in any doubt at all of this fact, wholesale destruction of the middle class, outsourced jobs, huge hike in energy costs, spiralling health care costs.

Those who can practice conjuring trick of convincing their enemies that things are going great, that is Power. That is the Power of Marketing Department of corporate America. In this respect, I see Radical Islam as not having much to do with religion and everything to do with the forces of globalization, the greatest threat to global security being US corporations, ready to cut deals with governments and plunge entire populations into hopelessness and despair. Look at Azerbaijan, where elections are being held this month. Oil-rich, but those left to rot at the bottom of society, what are they turning to? Radical Islam, of course.

"Outside the capital Baku, hundreds of oil rigs are pumping Caspian crude.

There are billions of dollars worth of oil wealth in Azerbaijan, and a potentially prosperous future.

The officials here say that radical Islamic groups are trying to infiltrate from nearby Chechnya and Iran and that radicalism is a real threat.

But Mikheil, who lives in the small town of Nardaran just 40 minutes away from the capital, says it is poverty that is turning him and his family towards Islam.

"Here in Nardaran, faith is all we have left. That's the only thing that is helping us to survive," he said. "

Burroughs' writings are texts that destroy these happy lies, like acid burning through words of Harry Potter to the truth contained in body, biologic truth, as such, a bizarre strain of self-help literature. I mention them here as being preparatory to overcoming such fictions as "the common-sense view", "logic dictates", "as popularly understood", destroying the Harry Potter Worldview as basic prelude to more critical engagement with whatever materials are presented as "fact", "truth", etc, always look at WHO is pushing this Junk on you? Is it Rupert Murdoch? Is it the White House? Is it Tony Blair and his goons?

And now, to conclude, am reading a little Nietzche, who sounds very much a Buddhist when he talks about the moment. Here is one reason to dislike those of a conservative bent, this quote makes me see a giant PAUL JOHNSON, sat in a chair, dismissing everything in the world as shoddy and worthy only of nuclear annihilation.

"So they are knowledgeable about culture because they generally like to get rid of culture. They behave as if they were doctors, while basically they are only concerned with mixing poisons. Thus, they develop their languages and their taste, in order to explain in their discriminating way why they so persistently disapprove of all offerings of more nourishing cultural food. For they do not want greatness to arise. Their method is to say: "See greatness is already there!" In truth, this greatness that is already there is of as little concern to them as what arises out of it. Of that their life bears witness. Monumental history is the theatrical costume in which they pretend that their hate for the powerful and the great of their time is a fulfilling admiration for the strong and the great of past times. In this, through disguise they invert the real sense of that method of historical observation into its opposite. Whether they know it or not, they certainly act as if their motto were: let the dead bury the living." - Nietzche, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life


Blogger Unsane said...

I like Hamsun and Bukowski, too. Beckett, when read by a certain light (definitely non-bourgeois), is also fun.

5:00 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

Thank you. I can sometimes seem to be beating the drum against these fireside writers, characters with full bellies, driving their motorcars through the English countryside at high speed, before home for Rabbit Pie and some how's your father with the fairest of the maids, but it's TOTAL DEATH to let them go unheeded.

I see this class of literature, by and large, as being best represented by TOAD in Toad of Toad Hall.

when people criticise me for not taking each Oxbridge writer one by one in my criticisms i am reminded of Rene Girard's comment on the nature of tragedy, vis a vis the perspective of the participants and that of the observing gods.

"from the inside, only difference is visible, from the outside, only sameness."

6:46 PM  
Blogger Unsane said...

Living in Australia, I am under no such pressure to take British writers very seriously. I do consider myself fortunate indeed. The ones I have read tend to make much of a muchness about very subtle matters of personal and moral propriety. Howard's End, I remember something vaguely about -- but no lasting impact.

8:10 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

i do not take the writers seriously, only their crimes.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Unsane said...

Yes-- and sorry for my reference to Howard's bottom.

5:16 PM  

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