Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Nothing New Under the Sun

More and more I am coming to see that it is a great foolishness on my part to imagine that anything I say or do will influence the world in its present course. It goes without saying that it is, no doubt foolishness at any time to imagine such a thing. I imagine no real poet ever penned a line with the marketplace in mind. Thoughts of glory and lasting remembrance may have intruded after the coitus but I suspect the muse has many suitors and knows the intimate heart of every one.

With enough money I could buy the attention of most anyone for a time. But not all the money in the world is enough to attract the attention of the one who wears the stars of heaven in her hair. I know that I have been guided and comforted and protected by the thoughts and words of those who have passed before me. I have been taught that my life is a small thing and best spent on that which is of greater importance; ideas, dreams in gestation, love- both romantic and that empowered with a wider grasp. Romantic love is not a bad start though it often ends badly; the furnace is not cost effective.

One more book within a Niagara of words cannot count for much unless its point precedes words and indicates what does precede words. Words, like clothes are designed with the body they conceal in mind. They may conceal it entirely or they may reveal everything but mystery. Since mystery remains, even in view of full nakedness, the draper’s art is a mighty one.

The hardest thing I am learning is that passionate thought alone will not give redress to the human condition. I’ve seen races come out of centuries of abuse, with eloquent speeches and visible change, into the hope of a new freedom only to be re-enslaved by a different means. I have seen races come out of great tragedy and oppression only to become as vicious as their former oppressors ever were. I have seen the tables turn over and over to find that the same people are still sitting there.

The stirring phrases of great orators and illustrators of the human condition continue to sound in the air around us to no evident avail; “business as usual” and “What have you done for me lately.” With all of the lessons of history at our fingertips the same lies are sung across the world as if they were the anthems and hymns of our essential nature; perhaps they are. There is an argument that human nature is basically corrupt, despite the occasional exceptions in every land and time.

The glaring lesson of Vietnam has no impact on the moment. Its now the playground of revisionists. “If only we had stayed the course we could have had peace with honor.” Ideas of universal brotherhood; the great legacies of inspired art and the clear transcendent teachings of illuminated souls do not disturb the appetites of the common herd. The shepherds are demagogues with an advertising budget. The intensifying press of bodies in vast cathedrals of junk raise their voices in hallelujahs to the new and improved.

Millions of lives are lived in poisoned boxes pressed closer and closer and higher and higher. Millions of cars and lorries steam back and forth on highways to nowhere. There is some end in sight but what it is no one can tell. The thin veneer of civilization can be stripped away in an hour. It only waits for the right provocation. No one has taught them anything deeper than looking out for number one. The peoples of the world are dancing in a fire trap with the exit doors locked. The fire marshals are counting their take. The bouncers are scanning the crowd. The alcohol commissioners are guarding against the influx of competitive product; especially anything eye-opening or non-guilt inducing.

With clear knowledge of the consequences the daily bread is beaten to death and leached of all nutrition. Only the poor have the luxury of a good diet if they had the sense to buy it, if they had the means.

More people, more disease, more profits for the mill; in smaller locations the privileged few live in the example of what is possible for you. The lottery winks, the tables call; risk everything and win it all.

I am seeing more clearly now that it is just an eternal process. Sometimes it is in a renaissance and sometimes it is in free fall. The soundtrack usually indicates the plot line. So what does a person do? As many options as there appear to be there are really only a few. You get yours. You help others get theirs. You are employed in whatever system is preeminent. You work to alter the system. You work to destroy the system. You live outside the system. You live inside the system. You think. You do not think. You feel. You do not feel.

As I have considered all of the possibilities for myself and as I have weighed them against one another I have concluded that it has very little to do with ‘here’ as long as ‘here’ is given to mean ‘there’; ‘now’ has value only as it is applied to ‘then’. It’s all about ‘later’ and ‘when’ and ‘if’.

Screaming at Bush and railing against injustice seems to have no effect. If he could have heard you, if he were inclined to listen, he would have heard you long ago. That model wasn’t designed with ears to hear or eyes to see; nor are any of the other C-432B replicants and spin-offs that operate in their spheres of influence the world over. Take the money and run or run from the money? Live large or live small; ...the seesaw baby.

So sometimes it’s bad and sometimes it’s good; screen goddess in the first act and crack whore in the next. In this theater it’s always going to get better and it’s always going to get worse. It really does look like the thing is to get out of the theater; through the locked exit doors before the eventual fire and the newspaper headlines of the newspaper that needs the fire for the people who want some vicarious satisfaction, basking in the glow, in the rubbernecking crowd that got to be a bystander only because it was waiting in line and still waiting in line to be listed in the next headline; coming to a theater soon.

Although I know that there are other worlds where the sun is a tipped jar of honey, I begin to see that it only retards my progress to rail against the irreversible process of recycling personas forever inclined to the hot-blooded confusion of appetites in the buffet line. As long as it tastes good to you, who am I to argue? The whole point of the masquerade is about catching on. Some are meant to guide and we who can hear are improved by their witness. Some are meant to slip away on their own; maybe compassion or debt prevails upon them to return at a later date. For some reason some do come back again and again. I’ve heard them and their message is more powerful to me than the shine on the glass and the shimmer on the ass. The good news is that not all of the exits are locked. It’s just a matter of braving the dark for a short period of time. That’s not such an ordeal when you have been living in darkness all along.

The empire of the flesh is eternal in its place. The engines of the flesh will power on until the last morsel has been savored and consumed and no doubt beyond that. It is here that longing is refined and the aperture appears. Afterwards it dissolves into a sea of milk to contemplate beginning all over again. What a wonder.

Visible sings: Songwriter by Les Visible♫ And We Could All Be Free ♫
'And We Could All Be Free' is track no. 8 of 10 on Visible's 2006 album 'Songwriter'
Lyrics (pops up)

Songwriter by Les Visible


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, haunting and beautiful. The absence of rage lends power to the words.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I sense a lot from your beautiful essay.

To all that may read this...
Let all this dissappointment, and sorrow, and tears, and courage, and pain... be worn by you as an invisible badge - for the entire world to see.

We are one

qrswave said...

Les, each time I read one of your essays, I feel like 'I can't get any closer to your thoughts than I am now.'

And, each time you prove me wrong. Amazing. I think anonymous (above) nailed it on the head.

We are one. There is hope.

Anonymous said...

I have listened to that song over and over this night. You are something I cannot define. I am soaring because of you. This essay is so different from your others here. I know you have some anger and this is where you exercise it but like another has said. "The absence of rage lends power to the words." Thank you.


Anonymous said...

No no no no no no no!


Visible said...

Tony, You are too funny. Don't worry, this is my rant spot. Those who want the sweet and light or the deep and warm must needs spend your time at Visible Origami.

What happened was, I have started posting at BOTF (Best of the Fray) at slate.com (apollonius) and I had this and it sort of, kind of, fit here topically. Interestingly I am roundly disliked at that location by a collection of dust bunny minded latte drinkers and it can get vicious indeed; ironically softening my approach somewhat, otherwise it is like harpooning fat lazy fish in a barrel.


Anonymous said...

very nice.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Tony, don't go soft on us. I need that hard edge. I haven't found anyone else on the net that does it and you speak for me.


Anonymous said...

don't want to embarrass you but you remind me of a lot of pre-American Revolution French writers.

Different too as if Eliphas Levi and a little Baudrillard got into the mix. Keep carrying on here. I'm a devoted fan.

Anonymous said...

powerful words- keep them coming.

Anonymous said...

Historical libraries, artworks, buildings and monuments all over the world bear inscriptions and are there for a reason - study the past!

Caput Algol Medusae

Anonymous said...

All is found in history. Look at it this way: Through 8000 years of somewhat recorded history we've had only about 350 years of relative world-peace; 50 years during American hegemony after the second world war and approxmately 300 years during the Roman Empire.

We're not meant for peace because peace only happens when peace increases our individual chances of survival and accumulation of private property. In other words, Peace only works in times of abundance and this is easily proven by examening the reasoning behind all wars which is always the fear of a lowering of expected living standards (GOD = Gold, Oil, Drugs).

In fact, anything that challenges the Status Quo in a significant way will have us reaching for arms.

I hate to say this Visible, but there is no universal kindness or understanding or basic definition of right and wrong that we can wake up to. We're stuck on a hunk of rock wizzing around a ball of burning hydrogen and it's all empty and meaningless and we happened solely by luck and chaos.

There is freedom in this understanding, but not much hope I'm afraid :)

Like many philosophers have said in way or another:

"Life - Keep busy and try not to think about it."



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