Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#49 / Against The Ruin Of The World

Against the ruin of the world, there is only one defense: The creative act.

The quote is from Rexroth's essay "Disengagement: The Art of the Beat Generation." 

I actually picked up this quote from an article on Judith Regan, published in the "Sunday Styles" section of The New York Times.

I hope we are all clear about the "ruin of the world." 

If it is the human-constructed world we are talking about, we can create a new one. We have recourse, always, to "the creative act."

If it is the World of Nature we are talking about, we are in a much different position. That is a world that we did not create ourselves. In that world, our creative acts avail us nothing.

We should be careful, thus, not to ruin the Natural World, upon which our own world, and all life, depends.

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  1. Yes, and in order to avoid ruining the Natural World, we must internalize it, make it us, make ourselves and our societies an integral part of the Natural World, such that ruining it ruins us.

    This is a creative act. This is a disaffiliation.

    In the creative act, we express that which cannot be expressed in words. We carry the Natural World back to the Unnatural World, in emotions, in thoughts, in perceptions, in the myriad ways we experience the Natural World as a thread in the Web of Life.

    In preliterate societies this was the role of the storyteller, the shaman, the Kooshdakhaa, the yurodivy, the one who traveled to the spirit world to intercede with the spirits on behalf of the humans. Sometimes this took the form of a raven, a whale, a seal, a sea mother, coyote, shapeshifters all who walked both sides of the human/natural world divide.

    We've lost our shapeshifters in the modern world, the overly human world. We have no one to travel to the natural world and intercede on our behalf, bring back the good tidings of our non-human brothers and sisters, with thanks for us for living a good life. We have no instructions on the Way of the Human Being, at least any that make sense in the modern material world.

    We need our own modern shamans to travel to the Natural World and put things right again.

  2. I don't understand the quote.

  3. Statements by poets are almost always susceptible of more than one interpretation. I personally think that Rexroth is talking about what scientists call "entropy," and what the existentialists thought of as "the absurd." Namely, everything we do falls to ruins, in the end. Seen as an inevitable reality of our life, this experience of "ruin" could be discouraging, and the only thing that we can use to defend ourselves against despair is a creative act, which brings something new into existence, and thus defies the death that otherwise seems to predominate.


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