Friday, August 1, 2014

Tell thy piteous heart there's no harm done.

(Prospero to Miranda, 'The Tempest' Act I scene ii.)
Mythopœia & dérèglement.
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Idle chitter chatter among the Dylan cognoscenti following 'Tempest' in 2012 around the obvious symmetries with Shakespeare's penultimate play which some say is 'one of his greatest works'. Maybe this is supposed to miraculously make Tempest into one of Dylan's greatest albums, or make Dylan into Shakespeare, or both. Sure. Why not?

Two film versions of the play: a 1980 BBC effort; and, Julie Taymor's from 2010. Observe the clever use of fire in the opening scenes - how very clever indeed. The bumph says it's some kind of solipsistic ouroboros settling of accounts, maybe so ... but except for Ariel's song it doesn't really touch me.

Olga Akhunova.Cyndia Sieden as Ariel.
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! Now I hear them:
Ding-dong, bell.

(The Tempest, Act I, Scene 2)
Julie Taymor casts her Prospero as Prospera and her Ariel as hermaphroditic (or possibly transsexual). All good. Julie Taymor is also very clever (as well as comercially successful, rich & dubiously stylish).

Ballard Street: Breadcrumbs.

The writing on the wall,
Come read it, come see what it say.

For the love of God,
Y'all take pity on yourselves.

(Thunder on the Mountain,
Bob Dylan, Modern Times.)

As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

(Concluding couplet of 'The Tempest'
by William Shakespeare.)

I was certain he would turn my way. He would look at me. He would flatten his ears. He would growl. In some such way, he would conclude our relationship. He did nothing of the sort. He only looked fixedly into the jungle. Then Richard Parker, companion of my torment, awful, fierce thing that kept me alive, moved forward and disappeared forever from my life.

(Yann Martel, Life of Pi, near the end.)

"She said nothing to me," he whispered. "Do you understand? She said nothing to me, nothing at all."

(King Lír, towards the end of 'The last Unicorn' by Peter Beagle.)

The general idea, however, seems to be that simple sense perception is not enough. We may be reminded of a well known bit of doggerel from Wordsworth:

                    A primrose by a river's brim
                    A yellow primrose was to him,
                    And it was nothing more.

Well, what more should it be? If I were a primrose by a river's brim, I should feel insulted.

Clearly a good deal depends on what is meant by 'more.' If it means something in addition to the perception of the primrose, we seem to be headed for some kind of deliberate program of disorganizing sense experience of a type later proposed by Rimbaud, who said that the poet wishing to be a visionary must go through a long and systematic unsettling (dérèglement) of sense experience. But there seems to be something unreliable about this program, if it had anything to do with the fact that one of the greatest of French poets stopped writing when he was barely out of his teens. If, on the other hand, Wordsworth is simply speaking of seeing the primrose itself with a greater intensity, that may be part of a 'more' stable and continuous process.

(Northrop Frye, The Double Vision of Nature, first paragraphs.)

Here are some more-or-less recent video lectures to watch if you're interested. Half a day or more in all, quite an investment - plus whatever time may be required to recover equanimity - but worth it I think.

Noam Chomsky: Surviving the 21st Century;

Chris Hedges: Strategy for Radical Change (Are all Green techies lame?);

Chris Hedges interviews Noam Chomsky (The central - and explicit - question: 'What to do?' remains unanswered after a spiritied game of intellectual ping-pong. Chris brings Hannah Arendt in with her idea of 'atomization'. I didn't know she might've originated that notion and I am pleased because it is one of the threads that I arrived at more-or-less independently.);

[Real News looks more and more like another fricken' Democracy Now energy drain - never providing details of when and where videos are made unless you go to the Facebook page or some shit.]

George Monbiot: The Pricing of Everything (Same central & explicit question.);

And finally George Lakoff: Moral Politics, 2005 & Retaking Political Discourse, 2011.

You can compare any of these with the lame dreck that comes out of the mouth of Christiana Figueres: Christiana Figueres: Building the Will for Action.

The recurring theme in all of them, even Figueres: WHAT TO DO? It comes down to mobilization and the connections people make with one another, and to the strength and resilience of those connections [and I am pleased to be hearing that too because I sure do agree].

I just wish I could see any evidence of it, anywhere. But I don't. If I thought it would do any good I'd lie about it.

Another related take on the subject can be found in 'The Conceptual Structure of Social Disputes': here (pdf).

Arthur Rimbaud, postage stamp.Arthur Rimbaud in Harar, 1883.

Laerte Coutinho's work is often seen on these pages; an interesting person as you can see in the (English) Wikipedia entry.

The translations are not great ... sorry.

Laerte: Caresses are disgusting.
In my country stroking someone's hair is considered a degrading and offensive gesture.
[Look, I'm going to ... Away!]
I don't know how it came about. Our culture sees it as an indignity.
[Hug = Natural, Caress = Unnatural]
It is not prohibited by law since it may be between consenting adults.
[They say she ... (?)]
Or obtained in fortuitous anonymous encounters, and paid for.

Laerte: God is deaf.
In my country we have God. He's the one who built everything around here.
He lives at 34 Doctor Americo Pezzoni Street.
He's deaf.

Laerte: Watched Pot.
The world is going to end.
It ended. You were advised.
I remembered a few things. For example, things that only cook when no one's watching.

Laerte: Torture & Judgement.
In my country torture is an acceptable way of treating a person in prison - or even just suspected.
There are well attended public interrogations.
In some cases torture is performed during the trial.

George Monbiot makes a passing reference in his lecture (above) to The Guardian. Lately I've been thinking about them too as they try to balance their books with corporate contributions. Imagine getting news on sustainable development in South Africa from AngloAmerican. You just have'ta laff ... and I would laugh, except for the scale of the tragedy at Marikana.

The examples below are subtler than that.

The Guardian: Global Development News by Bill Gates.

Better use of world’s existing cropland could feed 3 billion more people: study by Fiona Harvey & Bill Gates. (Oh really?!)

So ... We know who Bill Gates is (approximately). Who is Fiona Harvey? (Is she any relation to Harvey's Oil in St. John's I wonder?)

Fiona Harvey.Fiona Harvey.Fiona Harvey.Fiona Harvey.Fiona Harvey.Fiona Harvey.

A clue is that the scientific paper on which the article is based is not very well described; you can find it but you have to look: Leverage points for improving global food security (behind a $20US pay-wall).

The Guardian: Hosting Poverty Matters blog by Bill Gates.

GM scaremongering in Africa is disarming the fight against poverty by Rob Bailey & Bill Gates.

Scaremongering? Is that what it is d'you think?

Daniel Pudles: Bad choices on both sides.Our George Monbiot himself throws his support behind nuclear energy. See: here and here and here and here and here.

I'm not convinced, not moved in the slightest degree; not by George Monbiot nor by James Hansen who takes a comparable line if not so shrill (and most definitely not by the likes of that Gaia guy, wazzizname? ... James Lovelock). I don't see how we can dig ourselves out with a shovel that is so much the same as the one that dug us in? But ... desperate times breed some level of hysteria in all quarters so I don't hold a bit of wobbling against otherwise good heads.

There's no time for nuclear development anyway; I'd expect both of them to know that.

We should be repeating the successful Cuban experience ... everywhere. We're not. QED.

 :-)So ... the golden principle don't wash; nor does "home is where they have to take you in when you have to go there;" and, not Sonnet 116 ("But bears it out even to the edge of doom") neither. Oh my.

(Keeping always in mind the etymology of 'poet' which is 'maker'.)

The video around Dylan's 'Duquesne Whistle' is eloquent and unforgettable - I'll leave comparisons with our Will to others more qualified & competent.
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