No Center (1969)
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No Center The winds of change are blowing. Harder. Stronger. Gusts up to twenty, thirty, forty miles per hour. Gale warnings all up and down the coast. Tornados and hurricanes; maybe. Tidal waves, too. It's getting so you can hardly stand on your own two feet without holding onto something or somebody. Borman, Lovell, and Anders are in orbit around the moon. They just brought the men from the Pueblo back to the States. The Paris talks are getting nowhere. Fast. Columbia. Berkeley. Martin Luther King. Robert Kennedy. Black. White. Yellow. Brown. Red. There's a revolution going on. All over. Students and workers. There's a New Left. There's a New Right. There's also a new President. Borman, Lovell, and Anders are orbiting the moon. They'll be home on Friday. With luck. After that the winds will blow even harder. Art and Life. Life and Art. They've gotten all mixed up. And no one can really tell the difference anymore. It's causing terrific confusion. Look at the theater. You can't tell the difference anymore between the actors and the audience. Participatory Theater: like Participatory Politics (Clean for 'Gene) and Participatory Democracy. Group grope. Love thy neighbor, all your neighbors. "Talk to me naked." They want to erase all the old differences, all the old distinctions. Tabula Rasa. The "Now." Feel; don't think. Burn; don't create. Take over the university . No more classes. The winds of change are blowing. Harder. Stronger. Gale warnings up and down the coast. If I were Black, I'd join the Black Militants, not because they're right but because I couldn't help myself. Burn, Baby, Burn. Open wide the Doors of Perception. Acid, Pot. The Electric Circus is short-circuiting the Central Nervous System. The neurobiologists and biogeneticists are about to invade the CNS. RNA. DNA. Everybody look alike, sound alike, act alike. Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky, Stormy Weather. Let's make special people for special tasks. Let's change the world. Cybernetics, computers, servo-mechanics, loops, input/output, feedback , Brave New World. Soma holiday. Reentry. Dangers of. I must create a system of my own or else be enslav'd by another man's. My business is not to reason and compare My business is to Create. (Blake) 129 130 THE AESTHETICS OF SURVIVAL Malcolm Lowry said: "Never trust a writer who doesn't burn." Our business is to create, not to reason and compare. We are in the business of Poetry. "Intelligence," said Jorge Luis Borges when he was interviewed by Ronald Christ, "has little to do with poetry. Poetry springs from something deeper; it's beyond intelligence." What's our problem? Syntax? Semantics? The trouble with Varese's music is Varese. Every man has his own deserts. What are you doing to fill your existential vacuum? I'm trying to correlate everything I ever learned with everything I ever experienced. Metaphors. Correspondences. Analogies. Hallucinations of artistic vision. Plurality of sensibilities. Multiplicity. Simultaneity. Eternal Recurrence . Cyclical Return. The Eternal Present Eternally. Blake's "contraries" appeal more to me than Aristotle's "unities." Unity of Varieties vs. Variety in Unity. In the same interview Borges said something about style which reminded me of Ives's remark about Substance and Manner. He remembered that Bernard Shaw had said that "as to style, a writer has as much style as his conviction will give him and not more." Then Borges went on to say, "If a writer disbelieves what he is writing, then he can hardly expect his readers to believe it." Our business is not to reason and compare-but to create-and burnand make poetry, each in his own way-whatever way that is. Rilke-war letter, June 28, 1915: "The whole sad man-made complication of this provoked Fate, that exactly this incurably bad condition of things was necessary to force out evidences of wholehearted courage, devotion and bigness . While we, the arts, the theater, called nothing forth in these very same people, brought nothing to rise and flower, were unable to change anyone." Norman Mailer. Why Are We in Vietnam. Four-letter words of the whole sad man-made complication of this provoked Fate. The Language of Despair. The Obscenities of human suffering and Pain. The saddest confession of all: "We ... were unable to change anyone." Man only learns, if indeed he learns at all, from living, not from the example of Art...