Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Escape's End

Make us in your father’s image.
Break us on your wheel.
Shape us with the binds tight
to your fierce love. We turn

at your command, around and around,
head over heels, dazzled with sky.
Against your industrial heat
clouds scatter, rain baulks

at your factory winds,
its promise sent nowhere.
Disgust from your eyes is
the only weather we know,

a tempest driving us on
up out of now, through growth
into the glittering infinity
your cold stars spin anew.

Beneath your crystal frenzy
writhes and slithers the teeming slime
your revulsed frown excites.
In the greying light, growing

confusion and decay.
A disjointedness weeps out
of the left-behind, steeps
as it rots, colours as it kills.

Direction has collapsed. Here
the spinning wheels we are
throw out their high-pitched sound
from which new bonds are spliced

while matter, our very stuff,
coalesces to clones of clones
in the gusting fear. All we know
is somehow, that’s all. Somehow

this is how it is. Yet in forgotten muck
a protest made of oldest time
finds eyes again, slips fingers
onto feminine hands

and smooths itself to life.


Debra said...

Fantastic poem, Toby.
You are really talented. (I say this as ANOTHER TALENTED POET...)
What do you want to be writing a book about filthy lucre for ??
Publish your poetry.
Hope you are well.

Debra said...

Hi again, Toby.
Enjoy your vacation.
I am reading Galbraith's "The New Industrial State".
Fascinating. How prophetic.
While I am critical of Galbraith, particularly in his incapacity to realize just how powerful OUR IDEAS are, even more than our filthy lucre, he still is awesome.
Parts of the book are dated, particularly the lack of perspective on where growth, growth, growth ends up taking us, other parts are very very very good.
I am having fun trying to understand what is going on now from Galbraith's perspective.
I think that....
We alternate between our faith in incarnated solutions to our social/political problems, and the disincarnated, SYSTEMIC solutions to these same problems.
The incarnated solution has the advantage of LOOKING LIKE (!!) the recent Harry Potter film, where Voldemort is THE BAD GUY (but this works with THE BAD GUYS too), which is EMOTIONALLY very satisfying, easier to grasp, to solve, even, because, hey, you just cut THE KING'S HEAD OFF and the problem goes away (hé hé...).
The disincarnated solution has the advantage of evenly distributing power, authority, and legitimacy within the structure in order to avoid the temptation that ONE INDIVIDUAL, or a caste of individuals will seize power. Decentralizing, in a word.
Now, you try to get a grasp on all the advantages/disadvantages of the two systems.
But don't forget psychology.
When things go amok, the INCARNATED SOLUTION tends to enter the stage, becaues HOW DO YOU GET MAD AT THE SYSTEM ??
What do you do when the social body gets up your nose ?? WHO do you go after ? WHO is responsible when responsibility is diluted all through the system ?
Enough said.
I will not be around the second week in August, but at the end of August.
See you then.

Toby said...

Thanks for the compliment. As to publishing, that's what I'm doing here (and elsewhere). I've been rejected too often to want to be 'officially' published, so I'll follow my own route my own way.

What you wrote of Galbraith's work sounds interesting, but I can't be sure I've understood it correctly. Are you (is he) referring to two simultaneously running systems which are more or less visible depending on exterior conditions? Or are we talking about conflicting systems of different qualities and goals?

Debra said...

The opposition between incarnated and systemic/disincarnated is my own, not Galbraith's.
I have discussed this with Edwardo before.
I think that I am talking about dialectic, to throw out a word that I am not really sure of... a complex interaction between two heterogenous orders that are at work simultaneously.
Incarnation is necessary and inevitable in order for us to know/learn WHAT THE WORDS MEAN.
And when the words are ones like "liberty", "justice", etc, etc, those DISINCARNATED ABSTRACTIONS require us to observe our daily lives, in addition to listening to folks around us, to FLESH THEM OUT, and try to understand them FOR OURSELVES.
I told you a while ago about going to the museum of the French Revolution in Vizille, near Grenoble, and looking at the tableware in two successive rooms : in the first, pre Revolution, all the plates had marked on them "God/the King/the Country (I think, this needs to be verified). And in the next room, the plates were marked with "liberty/equality/brotherhood".
That is quite a revolution, there.
And Galbraith's new industrial state has a formidable debt to that revolution, because Galbraith opposes entrepreneurial capitalism, and the big multinationals, in 1968. For him, the latter are decentralized power designed to avoid the CONCENTRATION of power in the hands of one INCARNATED individual.
But this process was going on in the context of the economic and structural necessity for a PLANNED ECONOMY in order to limit risks, and favor technological expansion. Our modern technological advances are not compatible with democracy or the market, and spouting on about the market (and for me.. democracy) is a way to convince ourselves that we are living in a world that we are NOT living in.

Toby said...

I think I get what you are driving at.

This is a theme my thoughts return to again and again. What does it really mean in terms of consequences to draw distinctions to the point of feeling fundamentally isolated from the rest of nature, such that, today, people genuinely believe e.g., humans are not animals (I'm talking teachers at my daughters grammar school here in Berlin).

What is opposition? How can one 'thing' be opposite to another? Hierarchy and anarchy are a case in point. And talking about it, trying to understand it is hampered and muddied by the way language determines how we think and understand, language having co-evolved with humanity as one outgrowth of making distinctions, drawing into ever clearer focus the Self/Other split.

But I think all nouns and words are disincarnated. There is no such thing as a tree, there is only each unique growing 'pattern' we perceive as trees and call trees. The word tree denotes an abstraction, just as the word liberty does, even though learning about liberty is a little harder than learning about tree.

Opposition is part of the separation Eisenstein talks about. I think a new understanding of what it means for things and concepts to be opposite to one another (in our language-based perception of them) will be part of the process of transcending this Age of Separation.

Debra said...

I don't really agree with you about the.. opposition ? ;-) tree/liberty.
The word "tree" is an abstraction, granted. It is an IDEALIZED concept.
Maybe that is one of the reasons why WE are not doing so well these days. WE ARE USING TOO MANY IDEALIZED CONCEPTS (substantives...) and not enough VERBS.
I favor a definition of opposition that is more.. COMPLEX than simple polarization, or squaring off into corners, along the lines of "black" vs "white". (But if you think about it, "black" is not OPPOSED to "white". Not EXCLUSIVELY opposed to "white". ALL the DIFFERENT colors are opposed to ONE ANOTHER in order for meaning, which comes from the perception of DIFFERENCE, to emerge.
The order of language is disincarnated to the extent that we... blather, and let the words float us away, not seeking to ANCHOR ourselves ? be anchored in our relation to them.
The words on the page are disincarnated. But.. WHEN YOU SPEAK THEM, they have a chance of incarnating.
I think that this is what the Gospel of John is getting at.
Nouns and substantives are not as fluid, as supple as VERBS, in my opinion.
Because the verb is the consummate MEDIATOR between SUBJECT and OBJECT. The verb holds everything together.
I am sure working to BREAK DOWN THOSE DISTINCTIONS between US and the OTHER animals. But it is very hard. Humans want to believe that they are THE CHOSEN ONES...

Toby said...

And here's me, a chosen one, wanting to believe I'm a human, when all I am is a machine operating a keyboard.

Otherwise I actually think we are in agreement, albeit a vague and misty one since this is such waffly ground. Talking about language is about as tricky as it gets. But it sure can be fun!