Tag Archives: civilization

selections from In the Sierra: Mountain Writings by Kenneth Rexroth

The question is not
Does being have meaning,
But does meaning have being. Continue reading

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selections from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

‘I think,’ said Anna, toying with the glove she had taken off, ‘I think . . . if there are as many minds as there are men, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.’ Continue reading

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selections from Sadhana: The Classic of Indian Spirituality by Rabindranath Tagore

Mind can never know Brahma, words can never describe him; he can only be known by our soul, by her joy in him, by her love. Continue reading

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selections from The Pearl by John Steinbeck

“Because the story has been told so often, it has taken root in every man’s mind. And, as with all retold tales that are in people’s hearts, there are only good and bad things and black and white things and good and evil things and no in-between anywhere.” (0) Continue reading

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selections from The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

clock-jobber (n.) clock repairman. At four o’clock, when it was fairly dark and Mrs. Hall was screwing up her courage to go in and ask her visitor if he would take some tea, Teddy Henfrey, the clock-jobber, came into the … Continue reading

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selections from The San Francisco Poets by David Meltzer

The DNA molecule is the memory. It is the memory of the meat. Four billion years of memory telling you to be a mammal. (274) Continue reading

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selections from the second volume of Parerga and Paralipomena by Arthur Schopenhauer

SCHOPENHAUER. Essays and Aphorisms. Penguin Classics. Translated with an introduction by R. J. HOLLINGDALE. Continue reading

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notes from 2012: The Return of Quetzacoatl by Daniel Pinchbeck

“Love never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” — 1 Corinthians 13:8 Continue reading

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Silent Shout [archive]

i’m having a pretty hard time finding my own words these days. so i’ll let Calvin do the talking again:

Continue reading

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when my soul starts growling [archive]

everything’s so crazy. i’ve just been rethinking more intensely than i have for awhile that i’m actually in Athens. i guess i stopped thinking about it as i settled in more, but the arrival of my family (minus danny) on sunday really just brought it all back.

following two days of awesome class trips (but also early class trips), i thought i’d take advantage of saturday night and get tanked. Elaina, Hannah, Sam and i taxied up to the Maddy-Xanthe-Caitlin place where we all had a little whiskey, a little vodka, a little tequila, before heading out to monastiraki. i don’t remember what the original plans were, but the revised plans involved this place called spirit. thank god i had drunk myself into at least a hint of aggression and said Fuck. No. We are going to the dirty alley.

oh, the dirty alley. monastiraki bustles with night life, but there’s this one dirty little sketch alley that intrigued me from week one in this ancient city, but i’d only gone there once, when andreas’ friend took me. so we went. and it rocked. a small bar, rock & roll, cool people, and enough girls to make me think i found a lesbian bar (it wasn’t). a few minutes after arriving, i get a call from my dad saying he just landed at the airport. ! i had no idea, i thought they were coming sunday afternoon. i tell him where i’m at and to give me a call when he gets to his hotel, a five minute walk from the bar we’re at.

a couple drinks later i get the call and billy and my dad come down to meet us. i’m still pretty trashed and it blows my mind to see people i associate with a different half of the world. anyway, they came back to the bar we had all been at, it’s blasting music still, and my dad buys me and my six friends a round of drinks. he has a cigar with a beer and looks sooooooooooo cool. i go between talking (yelling) with them and dancing with the girls. crazy weird funny great night.

on sunday i woke up early (10am) to meet the family by 11. i tried to be a good tour guide, but i haven’t even done half this stuff myself. and this is actually the reason. i know i’m going to have many opportunities to visit the Acropolis, so why bother doing it until the super-tourists come? we saw the beauty that is 2500 years of decay, walked through the ancient Agora and then the new one, where they have a ruckus of selling instead of ruins. we got some delicious lunch, lazied around in their hotel, walked through the National Gardens to my apartment, where we lazied around some more before visiting a local cafe and enjoying life. everyone napped and we met later (i brought Elaina) for dinner in psiri.

today i fucking aced my mythology midterm. maybe i really should stop being so cocky about it. i might end up being severely disappointed. in lit, we’re back to poetry. we’re reading Giorgos Seferis, one of the most important modern Greek poets, greatly influenced by Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, among others. i hope you’re ready for some excerpts. from The King of Asini:

And the poet lingers, looking at the stones, and asks himself
does there really exist
among these ruined lines, edges, points, hollows and curves
does there really exist
here where one meets the path of rain, wind and ruin
does there exist the movement of the face, shape of the tenderness
of those who’ve waned so strangely in our lives,
those who remained the shadow of waves and thoughts with the sea’s boundlessness
or perhaps no, nothing is left but the weight
the nostalgia for the weight of a living existence
there where we now remain unsubstantial, bending
like the branches of a terrible willow tree heaped in unremitting despair
while the yellow current slowly carries down rushes uprooted in the mud
image of a form that the sentence to everlasting bitterness has turned to stone:
the poet a void.

i’ve been really fascinated reading this stuff, because of the references made to ancient Greek mythology. you find the references throughout all the famous literature of the world, but it’s different here. it’s like the poets are grasping with how they should identify with their, if not blood ancestors, then at least their geographical ancestors. decay of great civilizations, everything to nothing, who am i? from Helen:

Nightingale nightingale nightingale,
what is a god? What is not a god? And what is there in
between them?

man? man, from Last Stop:

‘The same thing over and over again,’ you’ll tell me, friend.
But the thinking of a refugee, the thinking of a prisoner, the thinking
of a person when he too has become a commodity —
try to change it; you can’t.
Maybe he would have liked to stay king of the cannibals
wasting strength that nobody buys,
to promenade in fields of agapanthi
to hear the drums with bamboo overhead,
as courtiers dance with prodigious masks.
But the country they’re chopping up and burning like a pine tree — you see it
either in the dark train, without water, the windows broken, night after night
or in the burning ship that according to the statistics is bound to sink —
this is rooted in the mind and doesn’t change
this has planted images like those trees
that cast their branches in virgin forests
so that they rivet themselves in the earth and sprout again;
they cast their branches that sprout again, striding mile after mile;
our mind’s a virgin forest of murdered friends.
And if I talk to you in fables and parables
it’s because it’s more gentle for you that way; and horror
really can’t be talked about because it’s alive,
because it’s mute and goes on growing:
memory-wounding pain
drips by day drips in sleep.

i think this has actually been my favorite poet so far. maybe it’s because he often uses words like “abyss” and “everywhere.” i like that. on wednesday i have to present on his other poems in relation to the Wasteland, by Eliot. wish me luck.

want to know something funny? i’m already working on a mix for the summer. i love you, Adam, for starting this last summer. i am already so pumped: i’ve got 5 songs, 16:40, 2007/1970/1971/2009/1981, electronic/rock/reggae. i hope you’re all as excited as i am.

by the way, they are teaching robots to love. how does it feel to be human? Continue reading

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