Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Distant Voices: Jack Kerouac

Give me another slug of that jug. How! Ho! Hoo! I've been reading Whitman, know what he says, cheer up slaves, and horrify foreign despots, he means that's the attitude for the Bard, the Zen Lunacy bards of old desert paths, see the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn't really want anyway [...] I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young people wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures.

- Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, chapter 13

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Part Won-Siks

"Don't worry chief, it will be alright."
last words of Rudolph Valentino, actor, died August 23, 1926.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Part Won-Fore

My thoughts tonight are with John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Saint Robert Southwell, Thomas Traherne, Henry Vaughan, George Chapman, Abraham Cowley, Richard Crashaw, Edward Herbert (1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury), Katherine Philips and Edward Taylor.

These people were a loose group of British poets in the 17th century, who shared an interest in metaphysical concerns. They were not part of a group or school, most of them didn't even know or read each other. They were just looking beyond the palpable and in them they all had a foreshadowing form of existentialism. As Georg Lukács, the Hungarian Marxist aesthetist, said: 'They were attempting to erase one's own image from the mirror in front so that it should reflect the not-now and not-here.'

They asked questions, that's what I like about them.

Does everything have a mind? Does everything exist in a mind? Can you step into the same river twice? Is space meaningless? Is there a God? Are there many Gods? Is it possible to know if there is a God? Does the Divine intervene directly in the world, or is its sole function to be the first cause of the universe? Are God and the World different or are they identical? It is impossible that the same quality should both belong and not belong to the same? Is there a free will? Are all things determined? What is the origin of the Universe? What is its first cause? Is its existence necessary? What are the ultimate material components of the Universe? What is the ultimate reason for the existence of the Universe? Does the cosmos have a purpose? Are we a futile bunch of poets and overly vague, or of no use entirely? Why am I writing this down in the first place?

You know, things we think about. I'm sort of obsessing over them and thinking about writing a very very long essay about them. Of course, overly vague and of no use entirely.