I start in the middle of a sentence and move both directions at once.
– John Coltrane, describing his style of playing.
“This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway.” – Bob Dylan
A linear path might appear to be a more expedient method of arriving at a location. But experience and knowledge will be forsaken, due to a curtailment of diversion and happenstance – all for the sake of mere expedience. Will not the unfolding of Fate itself be circumvented?
Has the fate of the human species been sealed by the tyrannies, large and small, personal and collective, of the monomaniacal, bottom line-obsessive, crackpot reductionism inherent to global-wide, neoliberal capitalism? It appears so.
“Americans have dissipated their racial energy in an orgy of stone breaking. In their few years they have broken more stones than did centuries of Egyptians. And they have done their work hysterically, desperately, almost as if they knew that the stones would some day break them.”
– Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts
Our desperate, manic, greed-deranged agendas have broken not only ourselves but also the Earth’s oceans and weather. Our trajectory must be halted; it is crucial that we become waylaid by the pull of a force larger than ourselves – or, at least, greater than our present conception of ourselves, our culture, and the world/cosmos beyond.
“I am learning to see. I don’t know why it is, but everything enters me more deeply and doesn’t stop where it once used to. I have an interior that I never knew of. Everything passes into it now. I don’t know what happens there.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
Yes. Learning to see. And learning to see… requires acceptance of the unseen. Dogma will not do. Reductionism will not rouse the heart. Templates construct a prison. In contrast, a tolerance for mystery is mandatory. May the Moira be kind to us as we proceed.
Or more precisely: not proceed. We need to cease engaging in obsessive pursuits and perpetual distractions, sit upon the Earth, and become attuned to her torments. Her humankind-inflicted agonies should evoke lamentation. We should be rendered damn miserable. Only then can we rise and compose an honest song.
“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”
– Blaise Pascal
Illustration by Dan Booth. Not to be reproduced without express prior permission. Typerwriter photo by Unsplash
Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City.
Yet a bio amounts to dharma for dimwits: It defines a human being in the same manner and degree of veracity as a restaurant menu describes the various slabs of meat offered … commodified things that were once living beings.