In an age when nations and individuals routinely exchange murder for murder, when the healing grace of authentic spirituality is usurped by the divisive politics of religious organizations, and when broken hearts bleed pain in darkness without the relief of compassion, the voice of an exceptional poet producing exceptional work is not something the world can afford to dismiss.
Harper: In your experience of the world. How do people change?Mormon Mother: Well it has something to do with God so it's not very nice.God splits the skin with a jagged thumbnail from throat to belly and then plunges a huge filthy hand in, he grabs hold of your bloody tubes and they slip to evade his grasp but he squeezes hard, he insists, he pulls and pulls till all your innards are yanked out and the pain! We can't even talk about that. And then he stuffs them back, dirty, tangled and torn. It's up to you to do the stitching. Harper: And then up you get. And walk around.Mormon Mother: Just mangled guts pretending.Harper: That's how people change.
[On Schopenhauer in Black and White] Schopenhauer's views of love are flawed. Love can't be merely an illusion of the mind to aid in procreation, but the path to redemption for an otherwise violently selfish species. Past human greatness has proven that when challenged, love can overpower impulsive instinct, and in essence, the vilest aspects of our nature.
I am a member of a fragile species, still new to the earth, the youngest creatures of any scale, here only a few moments as evolutionary time is measured, a juvenile species, a child of a species. We are only tentatively set in place, error prone, at risk of fumbling, in real danger at the moment of leaving behind only a thin layer of of our fossils, radioactive at that.
In the pamphlet it is thus suggested with extreme seriousness that the reconversion of the whole of American society to a state of peace would be disastrous, since only war provides the basis for the harmonious development of human societies. Its organized wastage provides a valve that regulates the effective running of society. It resolves the problem of supplies. It is a driving force. War enables a community to recognize itself as a nation; a government cannot even establish its own sphere of legitimacy without the contrasting presence of war; only war ensures the equilibrium between classes and makes it possible to locate and exploit antisocial elements. Peace produces instability and delinquency in the best possible way, giving them a status. The army is the last hope for outcasts and misfits; the system of war alone, with its power over life and death, induces people to pay a blood price for institutions far less central to social organization than war, such as the motor car. From the ecological point of view, war provides a release valve for surplus lives; and though, until the nineteenth century, only the most courageous members of society (soldiers) were killed in war while worthless members survived, current technology has made it possible to overcome this problem with the bombardment of urban centers. Bombardment limits the population boom better than ritual infanticide, monasticism, sexual mutilation, extensive use of capital punishment War makes it possible, at last, to develop a truly humanistic art in which conflicted situations predominate.
...and I came to the conclusion that in any project we design and develop, the size and degree of complexity of the information and control systems inscribed in it are the crucial factors, so that the all-embracing and absolute perfection of the concept can in practice coincide, indeed ultimately must coincide, with its chronic dysfunction and constitutional instability.
We writers constantly try to build up our own confidence by getting published, making sales, winning prizes, joining cliques or proclaiming theories. The passion to write constantly strips this vanity aside and forces us to confront that loneliness and the uncertainty with which human beings, in the end, live and die.
[At the scene of a murder]The cats' bloodthirst was normal; it was the way God had made them. They were hunters, they killed for food and to train their young--well maybe sometimes for sport. But this violent act by some unknown human had nothing to do with hunting--for a human to brutally maim one of the own kind out of rage or sadism or greed was, to Joe and Dulcie (the cats), a shocking degradation of the human condition. To imagine that vicious abandon in a human deeply distressed Dulcie; she did not like thinking about humans that way.
Civilizations grow by agreements and accomodations and accretions, not by repudiations. The rebels and the revolutionaries are only eddies, they keep the stream from getting stagnant but they get swept down and absorbed, they're a side issue. Quiet desperation is another name for the human condition. If revolutionaries would learn that they can't remodel society by day after tomorrow -- haven't the wisdom to and shouldn't be permitted to -- I'd have more respect for them ... Civilizations grow and change and decline -- they aren't remade.
I looked at her, with her hair spilled out on the pillows and the warmth of her body warming mine. And I thought, god-dang, if this ain't a heck of a way to be in bed with a pretty woman. The two of you arguing about murder, and threatening each other, when you're supposed to be in love and you could be doing something pretty nice. And then I thought, well, maybe it ain't so strange after all. Maybe it's like this with most people, everyone doing pretty much the same thing except in a different way. And all the time they're holding heaven in their hands.
If we wish to know about a man, we ask 'what is his story--his real, inmost story?'--for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us--through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives--we are each of us unique.