Saturday, September 12, 2009

Richard Grossinger & Waiting for the Martian Express

Here is a bit from Richard Grossinger's "Waiting for the Martian Express: Cosmic Visitors, Earth Warriors, Luminous Dreams" published in 1989 that some folks might enjoy. From the chapter "The Homeless," What is remarkable about our time is not how much but how little we know...Science seeks the source of matter in equations generated by stars and the remains of stars. Observations are turned into integers and signs whose own origin is as obsure as that of the stars, and different. We have no sense of the context of these numbers, how they bind us, what abstract formality they promote. In our knee-jerk advocacy of a quantitative universe we are not even aware of the problem. E= MC^2, for sure, but in relation to what?; formed out of symbols and languages how?

The proposal within physics to explain the universe is delusionary; the assorted mobs and cartels could care less, for they rule the universe of meaning, of the shaman and the wild pig.

We do not understand the extinction of the dinosaurs, the Bermuda Triangle, the origins of AIDS, the assassination of John Kennedy (or its weird parallels to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln), or the fireball that blasted Siberia in 1908. We think we know why the space shuttle exploded and who shot down the KAL jet. At a meeting of the American Anthropological Association it was declared, irrefutedly, that Carlos Castenada had invented the shaman Don Juan.

We do not know Pol Pot, Khomeini, Gorbachev. We do not even know Ronald Reagan, though we poured the collective presidency into his being...We do not fathom how Nazis could have prevailed in an advanced nation in a civilized century. Yet slaughterhouses of sentient beings are everywhere. The Earth has become a mechanized flesh and blood factory.

Cocaine? Crack? Child pornography? Yin/Yang? Shadow. Light. Who are we kidding? For every act of science unveiling the universe, a compensatory intuition drives us deeper into mystery.

As sexuality becomes explicit, something else becomes obscure. This is axiomatic. Fucking and masturbation occur on stage, bondage and orgies in suburbia. Businessmen and -women do not even drop their personae as they pleasure themselves and each other ritually. Desire is now business; business desire...The compulsive religion of the moral majority, the strategies of corporate merger represent the same "looking out for number one" grab at ego rapture.

But the mystery, the impalpable allure that was once a sexual escapade is now the stuff of life itself. When the fantasy of desire is charmed to the surface, the mystery of eros sinks to the heart...It is our hearts that are closed as we go about our businessses. Something beyond desire now haunts the world. Why else would we return to Nazi Germany for redemption?; why continue to clone the Bomb?; why run no one against no one in elections? Why make it a pretense of progress and elightenment in this misasma?

The homeless are no surprise. They are not withdrawn from reality; they have simply retreated to where no more harm can be done, no more tricks can be played. By their prescence they establish ideology. They are our scientists, but their specialty is not substance. What passes them on the street is a clutter of hungers, petty jobs, fake resolutions. By making themselves powerless and brief, they cast the spell of cornucopia back over the masses.

Theirs is not a sophisticated desire or sly strategy of sensuality; it is a pure hunger, the sense that the cauldron is empty. They would rather sit and let the rain of futility gradually work in their bones.

Some become angry, hard and throw themselves at the walkers; they are waiting for Godot too, less patiently. Others are as soft as a feather, and there is no excuse not to give them some of the coins we find ourselves carrying-the make-believe integers that turn to gold in their hands.

I know the ego doesn't survive. If it did, this would be a demonish eternity, for us as for the street people. I know the ego doesn't survive, though at times I think I want that more than anything. I fear death openly. But I see in the beggar's face that consciousness is no meager thing. We share a pinched, luminous reality as ghosts.

Consciousness will not be obliterated, for consciousness is the universe. The part of me I know the least, will go on. These images of a winter's night will not be kept in the holograph's heart--the rain on the beggars along storefront walls, the feeling of unexplored depths, the now-acrid, now-sweet obscurity in me, that even my attempt to locate and feel radiates as petals of deeper, more devious obscurities--a memory of childhood, a fragment of a tune I can't place, the cold that wants warm, the tug toward home, all together, all making me up this one moment--that will be dashed on rocks harsher than either atoms or stars, because atoms and stars are abstractions that transform nothing.

My hope is their hope--that this will all be made into a robe of the finest light. (Don't be fooled into assuming they have given up hope or that the rest of us have escaped their fate).

I don't need angels or stories of eternity, and I don't expect the timeless void of transcendence or a merger with a superconsciousness. I want the obscurity that nothing will touch in the rain."

Richard Grossinger I had almost forgotten about this little gem of a book in the intervening twenty years-was very happy to have found it again! Flowers by Alex Robinson:)


Anadæ Effro said...

Devin, hail & salutations, bro! I cannot tell you how deeply touched by you havin' had chosen this as a blog piece here I've been ….whoa. Ne'er have I e'en HEARD of Rich'd Großinger (I'm certain that that's how they'd've spelt his name back in Deutschland) and his salient observations on some of his 1980s concerns (the commoditification of desire, mainstreaming lust, the evil white hash, homelessness as a return to self-empowerment & NOT hopelessness as we'd THINK 'tis) are, if anything, radical.

Nice to see you at our usual hang-outs, too. And Devin? You have GOTSA visit Éire one of these days, you've jus' GOTSTA!

One of your friends from Elfin,
Anadæ Effro (•8-)}

Justin Russell said...

Another writer I have been enticed into looking up by you Dev! Bitter sweet prose at its truthful finest there.

Alex Robinson said...

Hey Devin, that was awesome - thanks so much for posting that!

...err the flowers were actually 'nicked' from the internet, but in a very good cause - You :)

Devin said...

Anadae-I am so very happy that I could spring a "new one" on you{:@)-I think you are correct about the spelling of the name in Deutschland -I almost called it the Bundesrepublik Deutschland-don't think that is -or perhaps ever was correct-maybe I was thinking Bundesrepublik Osterreich for Austria?? very very much appreciate your comment and please accept my apologies for not getting it here sooner!! my back has been drivin me bonkers lately-love and hugs to you and your hubbs!! Grossinger apparently has a huge whats the word oevre of work-haha think I spelled that wrong:) I would also like to see more-if I find any at discount places or library will let you know-the book mentioned in the article is a gem!!

Justin thanks so very much for stopping by!! I must have missed seeing that you commented in my email but so happy you did-if you have updated i will try to stop by today-sorry also to you for the comment wait-if this back thing keeps up i should just let comments for the week at least come in without moderation-if it happens one more time i will-all the best!!

Alex thanks also for dropping by and so glad you enjoyed the article-guess the flowers were double nicked eh??:-) i am actually a bit off on the one as it is a lemon tree haha-do you remember that song by PPM "Lemon Tree Very Pretty But the Lemon Flower is sweet but the Fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat" uhh something like that:-) all the best to you also Alex-and I should be heading by to read your newest in just a minute-cant wait it sounds like a great one -all the best to you and yours!!

Devin said...

Oh and Anadae-yes I very much would like to visit Eire!! I only managed to fly over Bunratty Castle on a Lockheed TriStar in 1995 so I definitely need to land and check the place out-I bet there is still a huge tradition there of the "Good Folk" and the "Gentry" and the like-do you know for sure Anadae?
thanks again Anadae, Justin and Alex for your comments-I hope to see you all online sometime tomorrow-I will try to get caught up with everyone-all the best!!

Michael said...

Dev... this is such a fine rant, and a rant from so long ago, these days. How does a man like Richard Grossinger sum up angst in a mere few sentences? If we don't understand Kennedy, how much less do we understand 9/11? And I read a fabulous quote today: "Only in America is it possible for people to march in the street AGAINST universal health care". The miasma continues.

On a brighter front, my word veri is "begin", and if that isn't a sign from the creator/destroyer aka Brahma/Shiva, I will never have a better one.

Cheers, Bro.

Devin said...

Michael-so very happy you stopped by and enjoyed this article!! I would love to be able to get across infor with as few words as he does-the book is small but is a treasure! I agree about Shiva!!
They do indeed have us trained Michael! always with this shit about let the free markets handle it-the effin problem is the free markets aren't free!! I just got done listening to a lecture that Justin at Semioticolgy had put up which goes a long way explaining how we got where we are today!! all the best to you and Var my friend!! ps the lecture is John Taylor Gatto-and is Justin's latest post if you want to listen.