civilization

civilization

ALLRIGHT, YES

you heard the extra elle

let’s get down to the facts.

There’s this thing, civilization.
Outcome of humanity. Yes,

Humanity. If it could speak collectively,

it would say, ‘yes, it was moi, I made

civilization out of my disposal to progress

in my creative adaptation’ but let’s re-examine

that posture (not to mention that cosmolomania,

if moi, the poet, can coin a neologism).

That anthropogenic posture that humanity,

or little clusters of near-humans, created

civilization is far-fetched indeed and in deed.

The modern individual does not take into account

what s/he means by the word ‘individual’,

which is fundamental to the concept of humanity,

especially when it comes to the ‘feats’

humanity has achieved. The individual of today

will have you believe that s/he has been,

to some degree, in control of their personality

(the exact age is imprecise, perhaps inaccessible,

but they will say something between the ages of 7

and 10), that this awareness of theirs has been

the same entity carried through time, up to the present

moment, of which they are the agglomeration

of any events, reactions, decisions and postures

taken in that period of time. Wonderful, I say.
But there is this assumption of control, you see.
Humans today assume they are to some degree

in control of their personalities. Whereas, through

introspection and plain observation, we can become

aware that we’re in no way conscious of many processes

that enable (that allow) our personality to subsist.
For example. The learning process or method. We

learn things, yes. We memorize things, yes. But these

so-call feats are generated effortlessly by our

own cognitive substratum. Let’s not get too complex.

I said up there, let’s get down to the facts.
The facts are, as far as one can be honest, there are

abilities or capabilities that enable us to do the things we do,

and we don’t know how we do them. Things such

as memory, imagination, learning, poetizing;

that are not in our direct conscious control. In fact, they

operate without our consent. In a way, we are the

outcome of these underground mechanisms that

dictate our perceptions, actions and philosophies.
So, we have this thing. Civilization.
Expressing itself and we’re its own audience and stage.
Just playing around, for a while it seems.

And it’s not really our doing. It arose from the interaction

of so many intertwined factors that it’s not computable. Oh

I can already hear the technologist of infinite progress

shrieking in dismay. But that’s my story folks. As they say

in these lands. Skål!

Art in the 21st century

“Despite all its powers, society cannot sustain the artist if
it is impervious to the vision of the artist.” – Henry Miller

What is art today? More precisely, what does art convey? Art has become an adornment, mere embellishment to our mechanical society. It is what you hang behind an office desk, in the hallway of a bank, in the solitary confines of a museum. It is what is read while we travel between two points, what is listened to while we drive to work, what we assist to in moments of laziness and passive submission to entertainment. It is that which is viewed askance, situated in the periphery, unobtrusive to the real function of society: business.

Art is no longer an expression of a deeper vision of reality; and if it is, we, at least, no longer perceive it as such. It is aesthetic, no doubt. But it is not beautiful enough to secure a prominent role in our routines. As far as we are concerned, it is pastime, an elegant but inferior activity in life. It conveys no truth or doubt to the spectator. Life is predetermined and already decided; art is solely an amusement, even if it constantly fights against modern life. It exists as a hallucination, a sort of intoxication that can easily be dismissed as unreal and irrelevant. The serious business of life cannot be questioned; it has no room for the artist and his or her artwork that challenges the unconsciousness of its drives.

And yet some artists do become idols in this culture and their art known universally, but is their artwork studied as profoundly as we study engineering or business administration? The artists’ message, their restructuring of our understanding of reality, their incessant re-questioning of our basic assumptions, remain quite below the general level of public attention. We all recognize the dripping clock of Dali or the visual massacre of the Guernica, some will recognize the dreamy seascape of La Mer or the cavernous sorrow of the Adagio for Strings, the name of Humbert Humbert or Harry Hope may be familiar to a few, a minority will recall The Waste Land or a Season in Hell; but what is noteworthy here is that recognizing these works of art by their name is no sign that we have delved in them and studied them profoundly. We care only superficially of what they imply, what the message is all about. There is no understanding that an artist is a transformation of the human being and is attempting a redefinition of what is to be alive in a mysterious universe. We assume art as a gift to culture by one and the same kind of individual that already lives in that culture.

Art has now been banalized, it has become a career and today there are flocks of artists that operate as businesses, as factories manufacturing objects to be bought and superficially enjoyed. The true artist is rare these days, he or she is muted and oppressed by this contradiction. How to bring forth a genuine work of art in this spurious world that is driven by money? The voice of art is being drowned by the roar of commerce and trivial entertainment. Society has absorbed art; and the artist has docilely submitted to his or her new harrowing role of ornamentalist. The commandments of art are now thus: you shall entertain, you shall impress, you shall produce the beautiful, you shall be famous, but under no circumstance should you dishonor your loving parent: society. Society does not want individuals to think and act differently, to produce controversies that may outstrip the authority of the status quo. Art may produce change insofar as it remains within the parameters of the socially digestible.

The artist is no longer an artist. He or she has forgotten that divine calling of making of life an experiment. The artist must suffer eternally, must wrestle with the incongruities and absurdities of living and dying, must explore the unknown realm of the spirit and  (in the words of Rimbaud)become a seer. The work produced thereafter will be only an inkling, an announcement of vaster realms accessible to all, it is an opening at the roof of an abyss for those who dare plunge into it. The experiential adventure of consciousness is now going extinct, there are few enthusiasts left. It is a form of wisdom that society ignores and lumps together under the heading “esoteric mumbo-jumbo”, or more spitefully, “madness”. (Hasn’t history shown that many great artists were deemed mad in their time, only later to be proclaimed visionaries?). And yet this wisdom is no particular statement or philosophy; it is an active engagement with the mystery of creation, what once was the domain of the artist and religious fervent. Today art as well as religion is downplayed as historical curiosity, still operating as long as they leave intact, and even follow, the new order created by the God of modern civilization: money.

the great civilization

The Great Civilization

where’s the off switch
for all
endeavors

the icicle of reason
has melted
leaving a small puddle
of fictions
at my feet

and we will build
and build
assemble great systems
to the outer edge of the milky way
and back

the civilizations, the civilizations
with its civilians hooraying
     their democracies pushing
the sciences inventing
         the artworks embellishing
the museums and the highways accelerating
     the capital erecting
              the monuments
of the great laughter of achievement

while the black smoke of reality
swirls
into nothingness dreamt.

 

 

 

Nihilistic Poetry

indictments

Modernity as madness

It is no accident
that we grew civilizations
like beards
on the first day
we became pubescent
instigators of chaos

the profligate erosion
sculpting heedless
landscapes on the arc
of this catastrophic planet
was not
enough for
the erotic sapiens
          complexity as fetish

how the tables have turned
dread
served in Smörgåsbord style
for queuing prole
while the offices are
pulpit for the priesthood
of the abstract totem – $

and the day comes
carcass-congested rivers
clearing the malaise of cogito
the terrible sunshine of noon
falling on the
unadulterated
                        playground of the earth.

 

 

Modern Poetry

Trapped in today

 

Since these are all eyes pouncing upon their own light

      since these words are still in the air we breathe

nobody has yet seen the cruelty of today

                 nobody has measured the necessity of crying

to be sick and living 

       asphyxiated with desires, unclothed by opinion

the taste is in my mouth:

      progress has vomited a sickly herd.

Liberation

Free wanderers of the spirit, you astronauts in the lost space of indecision, all of us that have noticed and condemned the irrationality of our age, yes, you passionate survivor that in the mist of these nonsensical years battle through the current of conformity in search of a justification, a raison d’etre, a simple satisfaction that will overshadow the ever-lasting presence of frustration.
 
We are the inheritors of a struggle that has pervaded all of history. Our efforts so essential in the field of human potential must never come to an end. In these complex societies that require even more complex solutions to cure the collective madness, our perseverance must not wane. Even if most attempts to heal the wound of civilization have failed throughout history, the spirit of the rebel will live on as a child of that irrepressible force that commands human existence: an energy that will ask of us to emancipate man from his self-imposed shackles.
 
Our mistrust in human conventions, ideologies, and reforms should not stop our search for an immediate liberation, a source of enlightenment, a spring of contentment. In peeling off all boundaries we still have a chance of finding a secret treasure in nature, beauty, art, brotherhood, work, love, poetry, even in the darkness of suffering or the maniacal passion of a philosopher, somewhere within these and all inspiring things we may stumble across a beautiful sensation of peace, a harmonious agreement with what is most essential in life.
 
But what is the most essential?
 
This each wondering mind must seek but I am sure that with sufficient honesty and perseverance we can find that basic need and satisfy it sanely. Then we may watch our torments wither away and vanish as our reality elevates itself into a more exciting and promising realm.
 
Allow this vision to settle in:
 
Long, unanimous cries and shouts into the open sky, not from another fascist’s Holocaust but from an inexplicable mad ecstasy, the long-awaited contact with pure joy.