Sunday, August 23, 2009
A rant on Kant?
What with Google and its rivals, I am fast losing my detailed memory, but there are things Google can't supply-- like what did the 14th centruy Caliph of Bagdad say to the man lost in a labyrinth, where he had been cast by an enemy.
"Pray to God. He will cast your enemy into a straight labyrinth which is the most complicated and cruellest of all.".
This comes from Borges, and lord what do you know? Google now has most of that Argentine Dante's short stories now up, if you look hard enough.
And yet, I am not converted. Google has won at condensed book learning, at epistemology.
But we writers eschew epistemology and go into the inquiry into the ultimate reality, which is metaphysics. We want to out-Plate Plato, out Schop Schopenhauer, Call Kant a Kant.
Modernist writers have for the past 160 years rejected all science, all philosophy, even all common sense for, I suppose, an inquiry into the ultimate reality. Metaphysics.
Take Poe. He invents the detective novel, yawns and goes off into the Maelstrom, both of his life, objective reality and philosophy.
His atttitude coould almost be given to satire:
Quoth the Raven--how the f*ck should I know?
And we don't know.
The universe is a huge computer and we have only just mastered Cobol to find that particular protocol obsolete. The universe is so, so much older than we; it has worked out all the kinks, it has had so much more time. We're only here for a flash, a flea floating down the river of ether-- a flea with an erection, demanding the drawbridge be raised Never mind the Al Gores and the David Suzukis. They don't know, in spite of the bullshit and the intrusiveness into our lives.
Well, in literature we had modernism--let you pen go where it will, even if it is guided by the devil--and now it's postmodernism--"all is bullshit, fare thee well."
Well, not so fast.
This is the age of the average man. This is the age of the untalented. Reality TV for all....Hollywood, wondering why nobody attends movies any more ..Blackberry-wieding bearded idiots who can't drive.
We really need an owner's manual to life.
Maybe get it from the strangest sources. Like singer Alanis Morisette :
What it all comes down to
Is that I haven't got it quite figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette
Up yours, the Suzukis and Gores, who think they know something...Examine what they really say. They don't know anything. And the anti-smoking Nazis as well.
Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Strike a blow for intellectual and personal freedom.