Friday, March 30, 2007

Thought for the Day...and a Question

The contemplative life must provide an area, a space of liberty, of silence, in which possibilities are allowed to surface and new choices--beyond routine choices--become manifest. It should create a new experience of time, not as a stopgap, stillness, but a "temps vierge"--not a blank to be filled or an untouched space to be conquered and violated, but a space which can enjoy its own potentialities and hopes--and its own presence to itself. One's own time. But not dominated by one's own ego and its demands. Hence open to others--compassionate time, rooted in a sense of common illusion and in criticism of it. Marcuse has shown how mass culture tends to be anticulture--to stifle creative work by the sheer volume of what is "produced," or reproduced. In which case, poetry, for example, must start with an awareness of this contradiction and use it--as anti-poetry--which freely draws upon the material of superabundant nonsense at its disposal. One no longer has to parody, it is enough to quote--and feed back quotations into the mass consumption of pseudoculture.

The static created by the feedback of arguments or of cultural declarations--or of "art" into its own system--is enough to show the inner contradictions of the system. So Madhyamika shows the opponent the absurdity of his position "on principles and arguments accepted by him." However, when his supposed values are returned to him in irony, as static, he will not accept the implications. That is his problem.

-From: The Asian Journals of Thomas Merton (November 7, 1968) pp.117-118

Question: Does this mean that Thomas Merton is the spiritual godfather of Flarf?

Wait thirty-five years, add Google and hit "I'm Feeling Lucky."


Blogger Brian Campbell said...

I enjoyed this... thanks for relaying it to us, Greg.

4:55 PM  

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