I must be mad

View of Sky Poetry

Everything you do
begins with a silence

you can traverse
the distances
that keep you away
from the divine
but you look back
and the starting point
is blurred
I have been pilgrimage
traveled far,
but
in relation to what?

all is opinion
the poet is a collector
of fragments
the pieces of modernity
scattered mercilessly
over the ruins of decay

the theory emerges
the broken data
a human heart
halfway down the
spear
I threw to infinity

an attempt to coexist
with the rational
and the irrational

landscapes of words
not yet
conceived

I give you the stars
for the constellations
you’ll hang
over the lake
of your
core.

 

 

nihilistic poetry

The necessity of madness

 

That the world is coming to a dramatic end, there is no doubt. The senseless habits that occupy our days and the recurrent suffering that strikes our hearts are nothing less than signs of an exhausted species, a moribund creature. We are hanging from a crystal thread that will snap as soon as we begin trembling too much; and it is bound to happen for panic and fear are the approaching certainties in our uncertain world. The feigned order we see in this world is accomplished only by the most ailing methods. The structure of our societies, politics and ideals are childish mirages that are sickening our marrow; from the hopeless effort to create a functioning world will sprout the most disastrous consequences. As long as we quietly consent to the monotony of capitalism, the guardian role of politicians and the greed of our material dreams, the monster inside will grow more impatient, more violent, more desperate and will soon rise to devastate the utopia of a frightened race.

The problem begins by avoidance. We have avoided very skillfully the mysterious circumstance of being flesh and blood machines wandering through a colossal void in uncharted space. We have avoided awareness in order to just act out a scheme that is blind and absurd. We are doubly cursed for being an animal that thinks. Animals are innocent of our sin because they have no prolonged awareness of their circumstances, they can only act and remain in their true state. Our role would have been the same if the spark of damned consciousness would not have arisen in us, making us slaves not only to action but also to unnecessary thinking. The problem as it stands nowadays is that we cannot escape our second function, and the need to think is something we cannot avoid but must bear it as a sickly appendage. As soon as we start thinking the world becomes complicated and conflictive. It is too late for us to return to the blissful ignorance of animals and plants; we must bear the seal of our punishment and fulfill it to the end.

The tension begins when we have to conjure up all the rational bits that create a human moment and its interpretation. Memory explains the present by that which we learned and saw in the past. Both in normal life and in intellectual activities the memory functions as the glue that unites pieces of the fluctuating flux, trying to create a rational and understandable structure. Memory is a kind of discourse, a narrative we must have at hand to make rational sense of the world. The frontiers of our mind and its ability to shape and transform the external world are limitless. The 21st century has inherited a vast wealth of experience and knowledge that has enabled any one member of our species to access any kind of information within seconds. What seemed like an advantage in the natural world has now become an omnipotent weapon, able to pierce history to the beginning of time and reach the slumbering interiors of molecules and atoms. That capacity is out there as we live our day to day and ignoring our potential will only feed the anarchy that is to be born. Yet this potential is unattainable and misleading because our tools are inadequate. We cannot grasp an irrational universe through the rational thought of a human being. This assertion is not meaningless; it is as accurate as saying that you cannot contain water inside a strainer. The world is water and our intellect is a punctured container. Some things are not meant to be. The paradox is clear: we act as blind uncaring weaklings but carry the rage of a powerful intellect inside. Our power overwhelms us, we succumb to its ferocity. It tells us that things are not right but we wish not listen to that prophetic voice.

We are speaking here of the dream of a coming apocalypse. Such a view should not be taken literally. Humans will live much longer but blood and despair will taint future’s sky. Look at the hysteria of our age. We have reached the utmost tension of this struggle. The mind has rebelled against the Herculean responsibility that was appointed to it: to maintain order in a disorderly world. At this very point, when centuries of illusion are challenged and we cannot no longer continue as hypocrites of a corrupt world; exactly when we give up on our young hopes and reveal the frailty of our fragile world, then we will cross the threshold of madness. That is to say, we will enter a perceptual world in which reasons and rules break down and only the spontaneity of the moment reigns. A deliberate jump into chaos— a word that will one day signify liberation, release, realization. To have renounced the artificial laws and codes, the shackles of money and possessions, the sterility of reason; a day in which freedom will be here but will reveal how atrocious and belligerent we really are. Strife and conflict will prevail in direct proportion to our greed and neurosis. Only when we have erased the inherited layers of insanity may we return to a harmonious relationship with nature. The approaching sorrows will serve as our Purgatory – a redemption that will only be possible, alas, as we journey through madnes

Return to Beyond Language

An Attack on Science

 

Science is based on an unscientific judgment of value. Science and its followers claim that knowledge and truth about the world are only possible through the scrutiny of the scientific method. Therefore, all other sources of knowledge are doubtful, if not, downright mistaken. It eradicated subjectivity from its grand representation of the universe and claims to speak as matter-of-fact and objective as possible.  However, the scientific enterprise has still to prove why we should deal with the cosmos as a problem to be solved; it has yet to answer why knowing is much more important than any other human activity. The great technological benefits we enjoy today are not at all essential; we clearly see the animal world enduring without vehicles or television, or notions such as gravity and entropy, such ‘animals’ even have very complex societies or innate flying abilities. Therefore science cannot claim to be the ultimate route to a better and wiser life, it is a historical phenomenon existing only for the past few centuries and not necessary to life on this planet. In this sense science is morally unscientific; it cannot provide evidence for why a scientific attitude is more preferable than, for example, an aesthetic or nihilistic one. This is simply because science has not been able to predict human emotions or chart our future decisions, it has nothing to say about what we should do; it merely states what is not what should be. 

Scientific-minded people believe themselves to be the most rational minds today. They have associated rationality with one method of inquiry (i.e. scientific method) and have abolished all other sources of data and knowledge. This seems to me more like a limitation than an advantage, precisely because science cannot deal with the whole spectrum of our experience. It works simply on the observable external phenomena and has yet to contribute to an understanding of human consciousness. It pretended for many centuries to get rid of this uncomfortable fact but the shadow of consciousness has crept into modern physics and it is now clear that even basic physical concepts such as mass, distance, velocity, time, are dependent on an observer. In a broader sense, rationality should encompass more than just science and its mother logic, considering that science is narrowly limited by its inability to connect with our whole experience of life. In other words, we are aware of things that the analytic mind cannot formulate. The rational discourse of science is incomplete; it cannot be the entire picture since it lacks insight into our inner life which is as real and undeniable as the external world. For this reason we can learn about life equally as much from a scientific treatise as from a novel, a poem, a kiss or a beautiful landscape. 

(This is not an attempt to invalidate science but simply a reminder that the powerful mystery of life cannot be grasped from one perspective. Those that are dedicated to the exploration of existence must remember: there are no official paradigms; we alone bestow authority to whatever we choose to believe. We cannot limit the cosmos to certain aspects of itself, it is beyond our attempts to reduce it to one knowable thing.)

Modern Mythology

What’s commonly regarded as the religious sentiment will always find expression in the human realm. Even in our time when the theology of the great religions of the West have been reduced to mythologies, since they have been outsmarted archeologically (bones have been found of human ancestors from nearly two million years ago, long before any Adam or Eve), anthropologically (the themes of the Scriptures are common motifs found in many earlier human cultures), and cosmologically (the view of the earth as middle of the universe has been sufficiently refuted by modern astronomy); even in this time when a literal meaning of the symbols of Christianity, Judaism and Islam are no longer reasonable, there will be an urge to fulfill the role of religion in the hearts of the skeptic modern human being. Even men and women that find the universe absurd, meaningless, godless and pointless have a general sensation that life is too powerful to bear (expressed in their despair), and from that sensation arises a NEED to express this overwhelming power. In some cases such men and women finding no meaning in their lives produce the most striking works in art, literature and music because even the act of expressing one’s own disillusionment with the world turns into a life-guiding and therapeutic activity.

In this new and unprecedented age in the course of human history when all authoritative divine guides to our lives are lost, we still share a common heritage that has shaped and is shaping our lives as a living species. By this I mean the process of development from the womb to a self conscious adult organism. This individual history is shared by all and our minds have been deeply impressed with this organic development which finds expression in our adult life through dreams and symbols (see Freud and Jung). Through symbols we find the surest way to express the non-discursive knowledge of our subconscious minds, a reality everyone holds within his or her own mind. What these symbols seem to be pointing at is a reunification with a totality we have lost. In biological and psychological terms this can be viewed as the separation of the baby from the mother’s womb at the moment of birth and later as the baby develops self-consciousness in its first years, creating the identity of the ego and the external (not-me) world. Some psychologists suggest (like Fromm) that this is the cause of our need to love, to be reunited with the blissful TOTALITY we experienced as infants. I think, perhaps, because of this common experience we all share as infant human beings, mythology and religion arise as a path to find this reunification with what we once belonged to.

Now, throughout history religion has most aptly been expressed in the symbolism of poetry since the symbols of the aesthetic are open to more than just a rational way of thinking. The entire mind is engaged in the apprehension of symbols, providing a more complete entrance to the individual’s inner life. Perhaps this is why science is received coldly by many today because it cannot fulfill the role of a rich mythology addressing not only what is rational in the human being but also what is intuitive, emotional and the like.

The human need to find expression of his intimate experience of the cosmos is not a theory since history supplies us with sufficient proof that this has been a solid fact. Virtually every society and civilization that this planet has harbored believed in some mythological view of the universe.

The question now lies in what form will the new mythology take shape? How will the modern human express his undeniable connection to this powerful universe in terms that are accepted by our current intellectual standards, based on skepticism, pragmatism and scientific inquiry?

The answer will not be hard to find since we share with former times, if not more vehemently, the wonder for existence as such, now that science is exponentially revealing the scope and depth of this universe and the miraculous operations of the human body and mind. The task will be for people to appreciate these facts not only in a dry rationalistic way but in a more engaging relationship with the deeper mystery all these facts are uncovering.

 

 

(This short-essay has been strongly inspired by Joseph Campbell’s insightful gem of a book: Myths to live by)