quinta-feira, novembro 24, 2005

Ideology & Compassion, Mediocrity

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I went to the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Houston and all I got was this picture and these few thoughts ...

Ideology: The science of ideas; that department of philosophy or psychology which deals with the origin and nature of ideas.

The study of the way in which ideas are expressed in language.

Ideal or abstract speculation; in a depreciatory sense, unpractical or visionary theorizing or speculation.

A systematic scheme of ideas, usually relating to politics or society, or to the conduct of a class or group, and regarded as justifying actions, especially one that is held implicitly or adopted as a whole and maintained regardless of the course of events.

"Ideology, by which nickname the French ruler Bonaparte used to distinguish every species of theory, which, resting in no respect upon the basis of self-interest, could, he thought, prevail with none save hot-brained boys and crazed enthusiasts."

"It is despair at finding a solution to this problem which is responsible for much of the success of Fascist blood-and-soil ideology."

Compassion: Suffering together with another, participation in suffering; fellow-feeling, sympathy.

The feeling or emotion, when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another, and by the desire to relieve it; pity that inclines one to spare or to succour.

Also as a verb.

O heavens, can you hear a good man groan,
And not relent, or not compassion him?
Marcus, attend him in his ecstasy,
That hath more scars of sorrow in his heart
Than foemen's marks upon his batter'd shield;
But yet so just that he will not revenge.
(Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus)

The OED definitions of ideology recapitulate a spiral development it seems to me, from thought through language to mere correctitude. A spiral and yet still at the crossing - at the intersection where reality springs upon us and choices are made. At the meeting of Jacob's ladder and the Interstate Highway horizon. In the trumpet moment, in the twinkling. When that steamboat whistle blows, I'm gonna give you all I got to give. Or you may walk away, and find the moment again, later on, have it find you.

And yes, the intersections are a jam of 'hot-brained boys and crazed enthusiasts', hot brained girls too these days. They are bound to collect there, sea wrack, fetching up where the currents carry them.

Robert Johnson - Cross Road Blues

I went down to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went down to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above
Have mercy now - save poor Bob if you please

Standin' at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride
Standin' at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride
Didn't nobody seem to know me - everybody passed me by

Standin' at the crossroad babe, risin' sun goin' down
Standin' at the crossroad babe, risin' sun goin' down
I believe to my soul now, poor Bob is sinkin down

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the croosroad blues this mornin' - I believe I'm sinkin' down

And I went to the crossroad mama, I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad yeah, I looked east and west
Lord, I didn't have no sweet woman - oh yes, in my distress

Who Killed Cock Robin?

Who Killed Cock Robin?
I, said the Sparrow,
With my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin.

Who Saw him Die?
I, said the Fly,
With my little eye,
I saw him die.

Who Caught his Blood?
I, said the Fish,
With my little dish,
I caught his blood.

Who'll Make his Shroud?
I, said the Beetle,
With my thread and needle,
I'll make his shroud.

Who'll Dig his Grave?
I, said the Owl,
With my spade and trowel,
I'll dig his grave.

Who'll Bear the Torch?
I, said the Linnet,
Will come in a minute,
I'll bear the torch.

Who'll be the Parson?
I, said the Rook,
With my little book,
I'll be the Parson.

Who'll be the Clerk?
I, said the Lark,
I'll say amen in the dark,
I'll be the Clerk.

Who'll be Chief Mourner?
I, said the Dove,
I mourn for my love,
I'll be Chief Mourner.

Who'll Sing the Dirge?
I, said the Thrush,
As I sing in the bush,
I'll sing the dirge.

Who'll Lead the Way?
I, said the Martin,
When ready for starting
I'll lead the way.

Who'll Carry his Coffin?
I, said the Kite,
If it be in the night,
I'll carry his coffin.

Who'll Bear the Pall?
We, said the Wren,
Both the cock and the hen,
We'll bear his pall.

Who'll Toll the Bell?
I, said the Bull,
Because I can pull,
I'll toll the bell.

All the birds of the air
Fell sighing and sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll
For Poor Cock Robin.

I came across an antecedent for this intriguing verse - that it was the Norse god Baldur, who had been made invincible except for mistletoe, so eventually someone with a grudge shot him down using mistletoe. The grudge was strange - not unlike the 13th fairy in Sleeping Beauty, a social misunderstanding, envy, whatever, interesting ... the 13th fairy has always caught my attention, one of these days I will put my ideas on the subject together.

Daniel 4-33: The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.

Naquele mesmo instante, cumpriu-se a sentença contra Nabucodonosor. Ele foi expulso do meio dos seres humanos e começou a comer capim como os bois. Dormia ao ar livre e ficava molhado pelo sereno. O seu cabelo ficou comprido, parecido com penas de águia, e as suas unhas cresceram tanto, que pareciam garras de um gavião.

How did Blake name this last "Glad Day" I wonder? It had to be the Bible, I hazard a guess that it was Psalm 118:

Psalm 118:
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Salmos 118:
A pedra que os edificadores rejeitaram tornou-se a cabeça da esquina.
Da parte do Senhor se fez isto; maravilhoso é aos nossos olhos.
Este é o dia que fez o Senhor; regozijemo-nos, e alegremo-nos nele.

I have discerned (stumbled upon, tripped over ...) another curve today, another few plotted points that run: Compassion, Ideology, Mediocrity - a shell game if you will. If the first quality of the World Wide Web is that of a plenum void, the second is surely mediocrity. These derive in part from the impossibly vague and imprecise capabilities of the primary language spoken there, HTML - so open to every casual distortion. And in part from anonymity - legions of Ginsberg hipsters "yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering" unhooked from any notion of balance beyond the immediate self-gratifying moment. Centrifugal Yang forces out-of-control, snagging and whirling back upon themselves only by accident on the rough edges of the technology itself. Unrestrained solipsism where there are neither odours nor responsibility. 'Widening gyre' indeed.

Things are gonna slide
Slide in all directions
Won't be nothing,
Nothing you can measure anymore.
The blizzard,
The blizzard of the world
Has crossed the threshold
And it has overturned
The order of the soul.

When they said, they said
Repent! Repent! Repent!
I wonder what they meant.
When they said, they said
Repent! Repent! Repent!
I wonder what they meant. (Leonard Cohen, The Future)

Thomas Pynchon, 1963, V - Chapter One
In which Benny Profane, a schlemihl and human yo-yo, gets to an apocheir.

Since his discharge from the Navy Profane had been road-laboring and when there wasn't work just traveling, up and down the east coast like a yo-yo; and this had been going on for maybe a year and a half. After that long of more named pavements than he'd care to count, Profane had grown a little leery of streets, especially streets like this. They had in fact all fused into a single abstracted Street, which come the full moon he would have nightmares about: East Main, a ghetto for Drunken Sailors nobody knew what to Do With, sprang on your nerves with all the abruptness of a normal night's dream turning to nightmare. Dog into wolf, light into twilight, emptiness into waiting presence, here were your underage Marine barfing in the street, barmaid with a ship's propeller tattooed on each buttock, one potential berserk studying the best technique for jumping through a plate glass window (when to scream Geronimo? before or after the glass breaks?), a drunken deck ape crying back in the alley because last time the SP's caught him like this they put him in a strait jacket. Underfoot, now and again, came vibration in the sidewalk from an SP streetlights away, beating out a Hey Rube with his night stick; overhead, turning everybody's face green and ugly, shone mercury-vapor lamps, receding in an asymmetric V to the east where it's dark and there are no more bars.

___ 1966 ___ / ___ 1969 ___ / ___ 1971 ___ / __ 2002 ___ / ___ ??? ...

Apocheir is not in the OED; Pynchon describes it thus in V: "The point furthest from the sun is called aphelion. The point furthest from the yo-yo hand is called, by analogy, apocheir." Apo being Greek for away-off-apart-from; and cheir being Greek for hand.
Posted novembro 24, 2005 4:42 PM by Blogger Oberon /  

........oh.....that's very nice......i like that.

Posted novembro 25, 2005 3:18 PM by Blogger Cristina /  

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