“The greatest sum is no sum at all. It isn’t the addition of facts or numbers. There are mythic qualities in existence that come from us…myths greater than machines…and in order to give voice to the myths we need to go where poets go. We need to go there badly. For our own sake, we have to put that peculiar precision that splits a tiny particle into smaller and smaller pieces on the shelf…” (The Magician Awakes)
These days, people are rightly concerned about spying, snooping, tracking, hacking, profiling. The battle of privacy versus intrusion. The systems that look at other systems.
What kind of language is involved in computer spying and counter-spying and protection? You don’t have to be an expert to see it’s the language of the machine. It’s delineated in fine, very fine, and extra-fine shavings of detail. The Trojan Horse is now algorithmic.
The people who enter and work in that universe are committed to a meticulous process of move and counter-move. Programs above other programs. Look-ins which are processing the strategies of other look-ins.
The past, present, and future of language is involved. A civilization, to a significant extent, rides on what happens to words—not as detached entities, but as the expression of what we invent ourselves to be.
“It does not need that a poem should be long. Every word was once a poem.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
If freedom is placed in a modern context of privacy vs. no-privacy, the war is going to embroil us in a language of the machine. We’re going to touch that language, rub up against it in one way or another, use it, oppose some piece of it with another piece of it.
Children are going to grow up learning it and swimming in it and its effects.
In that way, the creeks and streams and rivers and oceans of machine interaction are going to power human thinking.
“…it is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there…” (William Carlos Williams)
Here’s a strange example. People will take a paragraph out of an author’s novel, extract every key word, and track down their possible references—and then try to reconstitute the paragraph as if it were lines of secret code. They’ll rebuild it by welding together those references.
Because mathematics consists of symbol-manipulation, and the symbols have very specific and tight meanings, there is a growing tendency to assume all language works this way.
Poetry doesn’t. But the poet, who was already on the far edge of credibility, is reintroduced as a symbol maker, a mathematician slipping a coded revolution into the matrix.
That might make an entertaining science fiction novel, but it has nothing to do with the energy or intent of a poem.
Poets may be unearthing hidden treasure, but the spoils of their war are everything mathematics isn’t. Every great poet destroys the old order. It’s for the reader to discover and see that, if he can.
The old order, which is always and forever fascism dressed up as “greatest good,” keeps resurfacing in the same pool of decay.
It’s the poets who know how to climb down into the muck and also fly above it, waking the dead parts of the psyche.
Whoever rules the dead, and with what royal purpose, remains constant: he rejects poetic consciousness that can fully restore the human being to life.
Poetry does more than reorder reality. It creates it from the beginning, from the first line on the page of the future.
Society, as it has been shaped, is the sum of illusions that prevent the individual from hearing the first line, even as it echoes in his mind.
This repression is a cooperative exchange in the marketplace. The individual agrees to deafen himself, in order to placate his inner forces.
“Time let me hail and climb, Golden in the heydays of his eyes. And honoured among wagons, I was prince of the apple towns, And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves Trail with daisies and barley Down the rivers of the windfall light.”
“Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table…”
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis…”
These aren’t instructions or code or habits to be performed, or political improvements. They’re grand intrusions on the commonplace labyrinth. They come in and explode.
As the consciousness of these things dwindles in the era of the machine and all its complications, as the matrix expands to include language-calculations designed to describe what the individual is and isn’t, a sea of metrics forms the illusion of progress.
Caught in nests of symbolic relation, we wait, “till human voices wake us and we drown.”
To the extent the poet is merely taken to be crazy, doom is settling like a shroud around our shoulders.
“…the willingness to give the response to the heroic…gets weaker and weaker in every democracy, as time goes on. Then men turn against the heroic appeal, with a sort of venom. They will only listen to the call of mediocrity wielding the insentient bullying power of mediocrity: which is evil.” (DH Lawrence)
But poets always come. They see doom and they use it as fuel for a new fire that ends one epoch and begins another. Who hears them? That is always the open question. We are already living in a new time, if we would recognize it.
“Poetry is the mother tongue of the human race.” (Johann Georg Hamann)
“[Poetry:] Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.” (Thomas Gray)
Imagine there were a million new and unknown languages waiting to be discovered. These tongues wouldn’t make things simpler. They wouldn’t make machines run more smoothly. They would lead us into worlds that had remained in the shadows because we had no way to express our perception of them. They would light up whole geographies of consciousness that had been dormant. Every compromise with reality would be exposed as a blatant enormous lie.
Every “thought-machine” would crumble. The absurdity of building bigger and bigger organizations as the grand solution to conflict would reveal itself so clearly, even android-humans would see it and wake up from their trance.
Here’s an excerpt from my unfinished manuscript, The Magician Awakes:
You sit there and tell me about your life, but after a while it occurs to you you’re talking in a blind language. You’re moving below other words you don’t give voice to.
You vaguely think, from time to time, the other words might be in Nature. But Nature is just one part of that expression. There are thousands of other Natures. And each one has a language that unlocks it and spreads it out in a different space and time.
Would you rather pull back in and settle on the words you use every day? Would you rather become an expert in those words, a king of those words, a ruler in that small place? Is that the beginning and end of what you want and where you’re going?
Because if it is, then we can end this discussion and all discussions. We can please ourselves with what we have. We can dodge and duck. We can inject ourselves with a satisfaction-drug and say there’s nothing else to do.
This is how a circumscribed life happens: through a story a person tells himself.
There is really only one universal solvent that will wash away that story: imagination.
The ultimate basis of all mind control is: whatever it takes to deny the true power of imagination.
The exact same thing can be said about the ultimate aim of political repression.
To understand, to get an idea about what imagination is capable of, you need to go to ART.
The creative center of the world.
“After the final no there comes a yes and on that yes the future of the world hangs.” Wallace Stevens
What would happen if the world were enveloped by art? And if we were the artists? And if we owed nothing to any hierarchy or external authority?
Art is a word that should be oceanic. It should shake and blow apart the boredom of the soul.
Art is what the individual invents when he is on fire and doesn’t care about concealing it. It’s what the individual does when he has thrown off the false front that is slowly strangling him.
Art is the end of mindless postponement. It’s what happens when you burn up the pretty and petty little obsessions. It emerges from the empty suit and empty machine of society that goes around and around and sucks away the vital bloodstream.
Art destroys the old order and the new order and the present order, with a glance.
Art spears the old apple on the point of a glittering sword and opens up the whole rotting crust that has attached itself to the tree of life.
It shrugs off the fake harmony of the living dead.
Fueled by liberated imagination, it is the revolution the psyche has been asking for.
Art unchained becomes titanic.
There are artists like Stravinsky, like Gaudi, like the composer Edgar Varese, like the often-reviled American writer Henry Miller, like Walt Whitman (who has been grotesquely co-opted into a Norman Rockwell-like prefect), like the several great Mexican muralists—Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros—all of whom transmit the oceanic quality.
As in, The Flood.
There is a fear that, if such artists were unleashed to produce their work on a grand scale, they would indeed take over the world.
Our world, contrary to all consensus, is meant to be revolutionized by art, by imagination, right down to its core.
That this has not happened is no sign that the process is irrelevant. It is only a testament to the collective resistance.
Who knows how many such revolutions have been shunted aside and rejected, in favor of the consensus-shape we now think of as central and eternal?
We are living in a default structure, the one that has been left over after all the prior revolutions have been put to sleep.
But creation is not neutral.
It flows out into the atmosphere with all its subjective force.
It is the transformation we have been unconsciously hoping for, the revolution that would relentlessly make society over, that would eventually shatter the influence of all cartels and monopolies of physical and emotional and mental and spiritual experience.
Not because we wished it were so, but because we made it happen.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Prometheus, the artist who unchained humanity…
Through what mirror are we looking at ourselves in these ancient tales?
The Prometheus story makes absolutely no sense unless we acknowledge there is a reason for rebellion. But not just any rebellion. One man assaulting the supernatural mountain of the Olympians to steal fire, escape, and bring it back to man is more than audacious, if the Greek poets invented the pantheon of gods and their aerie in the first place.
In that case, the theft of fire is an acknowledgment that power is returned home.
“We invented the gods. Now we re-invent ourselves.”
Religion is frozen poetry. The poets began by writing outside the boundaries of the tribe, and the priests appointed themselves the sacking editors.
They hammered and cut and polished the wild free poems into tablets and catechisms and manuals of stern disapproval. They gathered up workers to build the temples where the new laws would be preached and taught. They established the penalties for defection. They staked an exclusive claim to revelation.
They established the false and synthetic universal centrality of myth disguised as revelation, and they sold it, and they enforced it, and they prepared a list of enemies who were threatening the Law of Laws.
And all that raw material, which they stole? It came from the poets. It came from the free and boundless creation of artists.
So Prometheus was setting the record straight. He was cracking the system like an egg. He was bringing imagination back where it belonged.
Of course, in the ancient myth, he paid a high price for his actions. But that’s merely more propaganda. The high priests write that retribution-ending on every story springing from freedom. They call the punishment by various names, and they naturally claim it is brought down by hammer from the Highest Authority. They work this angle with desperate devotion.
Prometheus was the liberator. He was the Chinese painters of the Dun Huang, the Yoruba bead artists, the Michelangelo of David, the Piero della Francesca of Legend of the True Cross, the Velazquez of The Maids of Honour, the Van Gogh of Irises and lamp-lit Arles, the Yeats of Song of the Wandering Aengus, the Dylan Thomas of Fern Hill, the Walt Whitman of The Open Road, the Henry Miller of Remember to Remember, the Orson Welles of Citizen Kane, the Lawrence Durrell of The Alexandria Quartet, the de Kooning of Gotham News.
He was Tesla and Rife.
Wherever individual human imagination was launched as the fire, Prometheus was there.
Of course, he wasn’t. He was the story we told ourselves about what we could do. That story is meant to remind us that all collective vision is a fraud. It may not begin that way, but sooner or later, it becomes a gargantuan slippage into narcosis of the soul.
Prometheus is the story we tell ourselves to remember the line between what the individual can learn and what he can create, and how many horses have been pulled up to that line and refuse to cross it and drink from the wells of imagination.
Prometheus is the story of a recapture of what we are. We may have buried the understanding deep in our psyches, but it is there. How many ways we try to refuse it!
We huddle in groups and pretend all progress flows from the mass. We diddle and fiddle with this limit and that limit. We adjust and make more room for the Average. We build machines to think at a higher level than we can. We watch theatrical spectacles of “new hybrid humans.” We proclaim healing virtues and forget about what the healing of the spirit might actually entail, what revolution, what vital energies, what leaps of imagination, what assertions of our inherent power.
We keep thinking of peace, when peace means, as defined by the “wise ones,” a death. Their peace is what is left over after the war of the creative human has been surrendered.
Their peace is syrup. Their peace is submission to some Glob of “universal consciousness.” Their peace is a column of grinning idiots guarding a self-appointed tower of learning. Their peace is the survival and organization of damaged goods. Their peace is: “if it is meant to happen, it will.” Their peace is: the universe decides, we oblige. Their peace is a cosmic junk-heap.
From this mob of castrati, Prometheus emerged, untangling himself from wet strands of delusion, resignation, and fear. He soared. He advanced. He took back our basic and vital character. He breathed crackling energy into bloodstreams.
From the Promethean perspective, Reality is waiting for imagination to revolutionize it down to its core.
Beyond systems. Beyond structures.
Energies churn in subterranean caverns. Where will those rivers run for the next thousand years or thousand incarnations?
What would create an internal revolution?
What would start the water wheels spinning and the torrents surfacing?
How would creation begin?
On that Promethean question rests the fate of every civilization, past, present, and future.
Every thread, atom, quark, and wavicle of this Reality is posturing, is imbued with the impression that “what already exists” is superior to what the individual can now invent. The causal chains of history seem to produce the present and the present seems to produce the future.
These are the grand deceptions. These are the illusions…
(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, click here.)
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.