“We are all intoxicated. We were born into an insane asylum, a world crazy-making. We believe what we say and hear. The real myth is the myth of sanity, of rationality: it’s a disease that is eating away at the earth. All the poisons flow from our denial. We deny our madness, we forget our crimes, we dismember the corpse, we imprison our children. We need poison to poison the poison, to remember the sacred nature of intoxication, the green body of the young god.”
“Laughter is a communion with the dead, since death is not the object of laughter: it is death itself that finds a voice when we laugh. Laughter is that which is lost to discourse, the haemorrhaging of pragmatics into excitation and filth.”
— Nick Land, The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism (via foxesinbreeches)
There he goes, into the dusk, looking up at the flickering Victorian street lamps, daydreaming a new nightmare, condoning the gentle hum of traffic. Something in that gentleman’s poetry, the Rhapsody of a Windy Night, it spoke of certain exits from the delirium of the night, windswept and cloaked figures clutching for keys that did not yet exist, yet dreaming them into being. Yes, the elegant T. S. Eliot, unfolding himself from his outdoor coat, and unstiffening from evening’s deathly pallor, the lewd gestures from windowsills, and the desire to remove oneself from that exchange of petty libido, stifling desire immersed in itself, failing to be selective, holding nothing back.
O, that thick night, the foggy delirium of London streets, cobbles that would make the teeth chatter and the mind go off in countless directions until finally swaying into the familiar balance. These poets, long gone from our understanding, who would witness the way that appearances, the assertion or correctness, of a familiar order, fell into disarray at the merest sign of overseas violence, the tumult caused by a foreign war, by the sheer cutting through of the railway system, the very false hopes engendered by the triumphs of industry. How unkempt and desperate those very neat individuals would become, enamored of bold movement, unable to discern certain subtleties.
And, then, how to preserve that diminishing soul, as we convince ourselves of the certainty of physical, as we overshadow the mystical as so that the keys recede further and further into dusk and oblivion.
Now one may say all true freedom is dark, infallibly identified with sexual freedom, also dark, without knowing exactly why. For the Platonic Eros, the reproductive impulse, the freedom of life, disappeared long ago beneath the turbid surface of the Libido which we associate with everything sullied, despicable and ignominious in the fact of living, the headlong rush with our customary, impure vitality, with constantly renewed strength, in the direction of life.
Thus all great Myths are dark and one cannot imagine all the great Fables aside from a mood of slaughter, torture and bloodshed, telling the masses about the original division of the sexes and the slaughter of essences that came with creation.
Theatre, like the plague, is made in the image of this slaughter, this essential division. It unravels conflicts, liberates powers, releases potential and if these and the powers are dark, this is not the fault of the plague or theatre, but life.
We do not see that life as it stands and as it has been made offers us much cause for exaltation. It seems as though a colossal abscess, ethical as much as social, is drained by the plague. And like the plague, theatre is collectively made to drain abscesses.
It may be true that the poison of theatre, when injected into the body of society, destroys it, as St Augustine asserted, but it does so as a plague, a revenging scourge, a redeeming epidemic when credulous ages were convinced they saw God’s hand in it, while it was nothing more than a natural law applied, where all gestures were offset by another gesture, every action by a reaction.
Like the plague, theatre is a crisis resolved either by death or cure. The plague is a superior disease because it is an absolute crisis after which there is nothing left except death or drastic purification. In the same way, theatre is a disease because it is a final balance that cannot be obtained without destruction. It urges the mind on to delirium which intensifies its energy. And finally from a human viewpoint we can see that the effect of the theatre is as beneficial as the plague, impelling us to see ourselves as we are, making the masks fall and divulging our world’s lies, aimlessness, meanness and even two-facedness. It shakes off stifling material dullness which even overcomes the senses’ clearest testimony, and collectively reveals their dark powers and hidden strength to men, urging them to take a nobler, more heroic stand in the face of destiny than they would have assumed without it.
And the question we must now ask ourselves is to know whether in this world that is slipping away, committing suicide without realizing it, a nucleus of men can be found to impress this higher idea of theatre on the world, to bring to all of us a natural, occult equivalent of the dogma we no longer believe
— Antonin Artaud — from The Theatre and Its Double trans. Victor Corti (via slothnorentropy)
"History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” ― James Joyce, Ulysses
It will be more arduous to speak sincerely, at first, and then when the words have come, we might live in a world that is our own, not rendered out of some casual historicism, some transplanted way of seeing picked up from the debris of the past. Somewhere in Ulysses, between the onanism of Bloom and the sslk, ssslk of the printing machines, and deep, homely gulping of milk in the chamber of Daedalus’ kitchen, there is the spilling over of all of that savoury experience, the flatulent desire, desire that wants itself; the absurdity of that kind of pleasure in those final comic pleas: Yes, yes, yes. To believe that James Joyce had the sincere wish of portraying this socius as something to be loved, something that might have meant anything at all, would have been to see order in his ephoric transcription of Dublin’s single, both morbid and ecstatic day. No doubt it would have been to render the whole in all of its convoluted noise, its eruptions and seething, the sounds and personifications of machinery clipping its way through human thoughts. All we have is a picture of Bloom pacing around inside of his thoughts and outside of the bar, drifting into upper regions, carried above the streets and dreaming of another, less meaty place. He casts his savory dinner to the ground in debauched gravitas, halfway between clinging on and the other half willing himself to find that retreat somewhere. Into the night, the ladies of the night vampiric and casting doubts inside of desire; the world is not a celebration but rather a diseased whore, a butcher’s prose, genuflecting into the night with creepy intent. Yes, “Dracula’s night out”, indeed, and the lusty gentlemen in bars comparing themselves to masters of Thebes, mirroring bleakly the old tales, the edifices that will no longer stand after this meaning has been broken. Joyce’s prose, somehow peeling back the mildewed curtain, the stale wallpaper, between industrial highs, about to be brought low, almost underground in this, the milky-eyed, savory night-time of Dublin. Call it an introspective shelling, the neversleeping cannonade of a writer fueled by regret, to have consumed so indelicately the words of writers been and gone. Only thing left: to arrange, to press so ceaselessly meanings, wordplay, inside this horrific chaos, this mire of humanity, so utterly unaware of its own cannibalism, culturally eating itself away, repeating itself. Finding new ways to forget, new ways to invent something tragic. Joyce’s invitation to bring the old world down low, and cut away its clinging sinews, if only to invent something new, something that does not simply end where it begins.
It’s the depressive’s compass, as a matter of fact. The evening with Sylvia Plath, soaked up in overabundance and the fish-net secretaries preening as the make their way out for another bovine parade. That’s the materialistic side of us, all curves, mammary glands and outpourings of maternal care-turned- sexual drive. It’s a form of territorialization, no doubt, and turns us beings, so mammalian, so materially abundant, into the objects of sexual promisicuity. For me, even the neatest layers of skin are a fiber so pent-up with longing and need-for-wish-fulfillment, it becomes almost ominous, the sorts of materials with which we are hemmed in. Structures folded for purpose, inverted towards desire, celebration, quick succession of territories and promiscuity. It was in an afternoon I discussed this promiscuous desire, so willing to celebrate appearance itself, that I realize that the world of matter, or the visceral, has such ready release unless one understands the importance of sacrifice; ongoing sacrifice and perpetual renewal which we have, in rising from habitual suffering, managed to postpone. And yet, is this not integral, even natural to us? As a spiritual filter, our bodies are ineffectual vessels, made only for the purpose of speaking, threadings, remembering integrally the voices of the spirit, somehow made to speak amidst the raving chatter of a diseased and infilitrated world. Yes, the compass is steady, and resits much the delusions of the overly material. It points to wherever there rests a sense of gravitas, interior becoming, of potent unfoldings within the meekest gesture.
You whittle and the wind moans under the creaking balcony. Let the crippled twilight creep over the night, soft spoken reminiscence through fractured memory. Blood meridian, rich obsidian hues carried in faint echoes across the Atlantic. The harder I try the more broken I seem, the more fervent blood bristling voice crackling with new sounds, plaintive vocal sighs carry your sighs and weeping tide about my midriff, Latin dancing and the cactus clarity, texture You’re a stateless Joyce & will write tonight how will balance be brought Single handedly remark about time, midriff is such a supple word libido, libido released through celestial clarity break tide whimper blackness is the New light, now speak like a madman and close the gesture Tonight! tonight! Four years of exile only demand the rich temperate barley, soaked night, and we are only so young as we have not trodden the stiles the wet climate, Find that you are clutching your heart against the stars and moonlight
“The Angel of realisation will be the will to bring every world back to the chaos that is its truth, to bring every community back to its essential dispersal, to dissolve every tie [lien] beginning with that tie by which a body is a body. The background against which this Angel detaches the liberation of the subject from any relation of authority is nothing other than the ruin of relation in general. Like the Terror as described by Hegel, its politics is a politics of absolute freedom, that is to say, of death. And since, when all is said and done, this Angel will associate only with these dismembered bodies, I will call it the Cannibal Angel.”
“We bear within us the seeds of all the gods,
the gene of death and the gene of love—
who separated them, the words and things,
who blended them, the torments and the place where they come to an end,
the few boards and the floods of tears,
home for a few wretched hours.”
— Gottfried Benn, from “Can Be No Sorrow,” trans. Michael Hofmann, Poetry (March 2011)
“We’ll never come here again,” he thought it, but never said anything. He used to look at the palms of his hands and the way different light would affect the surfaces, and each callous had a location in time, so often apparent in the world, so invisible in himself. This was two worlds, the world that drifted by, and the world within that seemed to gather in silent intensity, more articulate, clearer and more serene as time went on. And within the ripples on the bank, the cool blades of grass that swept us inside for just moments, it seemed that these worlds began to imperceptibly coincide. That a life might even be spent simply remembering, in the cool drift of the sky, the river that, though moving, had a transparency and recurrent intensity that us living beings pursue and never utter, that we could not for a moment breathe for the heated breath, the accumulation of unspoken desire. That life were to be like a river, that it may even in fact be, was a significant promise that spoke itself in the smallest ripple, and he was serene.
Bergamot oils, citrus, lemon and lime, caramel and orange, the drift of time and recognition through scent steadying the pages with one hand neatly folding for tomorrow, moon subduing the nightsky. The keen whisper of someone: Tomorrow.