Some random musings:
I learned more about human nature from a serendipitous and careful reading of interesting poetry and novels than from 4 semesters of undergrad psychology survey courses. History books are as useful as novels here, but there is something about the novel that lays bare human motives yearnings and dreams.
Aldous Huxleyonce wrote: “The poet is, etymologically, the maker. Like all makers, he requires a stock of raw materials — in his case, experience. Now experience is not a matter of having actually swum the Hellespont, or danced with the dervishes, or slept in a doss-house. It is a matter of sensibility and intuition, of seeing and hearing the significant things, of paying attention at the right moments, of understanding and co-ordinating.”
I think that it is this gathering of deep ‘experience‘ through perception, intuition, observation, and lived experiences, that makes literature, poetry and in particular the novel such an interesting and useful distillation of the human condition, and what makes studying other people’s poetry stories and novels a very important stage. You don’t have to drown in the crap, and you should read a bit distanced and removed – for every writer has an agenda on some level, and you should be able to fairly evaluate that agenda and weight it without being sucked into it by the force of their words alone – but at some level if you don’t read some literature you may find yourself at a disadvantage in dealing with other people.
If you read too much of it, you risk becoming a schmuck…
Oswald Mosley; So now that we are talking about Huxley, let’s consider Mosley. Oswald Mosley was a more complex man than he’s made out to be. This is often the case in history. He’s lambasted as a fascist and he was indeed, but there is no comparing the thugs of the modern EDL to a man like Mosley.
Nuances should never be lost sight of
–On that note; consider John Cleese for US President 2012 – it may not be constitutional… but it sure as hell would be funny !
Farces should be made open in our age today, modern politics are a farce, then let it be an open farce. Cleese is a rather erudite man and he’s tall enough to be presidential material anyway..
–Diversions; the idea of purposeless fun, enjoyment, and pleasure, is a specific mode of cultural indoctrination. In reality it doesn’t exist.
Indeed most “purposeless” fun in our society is quite purposeful – for marketing agencies. A distaste for enlightenment era crass utilitarianism can prevent us from intuiting the deep purposefulness of enjoyment in human lives.
No one does anything for fun’s sake alone, even if we think we are. Rather we are fulfilling deeper needs and purposes, conscious or not, in healthy ways or unhealthy ways, and being unconscious of deeper purpose can be very unhealthy.
Those things which in human lives that yield authentic, real enjoyable .. jouissance.. are typically purposeful. In fact the 3 most base and yet enjoyable ‘fun’ things in human existence (sleeping, eating, and sex) are deeply purposeful and have specific teleologies (some obvious, others subtle) that are impossible to deny.
I mean we could deny the usefulness and purpose of sleeping or eating, but we would sound like asses. As for sex, current cultural indoctrination typically has people denying its purposeful and useful nature and guess what, it makes otherwise intelligent people sound a bit like blithering asses also.