MAY 31, 2011. Remind me how this system works again? We, possessed of the greatest altruistic spirit in the history of the world, are gathering up all the struggling souls we can find and lifting them into a decent standard of living?


And when I say “we,” I don’t really mean you and I are actively pursuing this goal. Ha-ha, don’t be silly. We’re on the sidelines nodding yes. We’re registering our support so we can earn a gold star in The Book of Life? Is that what’s going on?


We’re with this great movement because we want to be known as good people (or not-bad people), even though no one is watching us or cares?


Or…has the “heaven on Earth” agenda spilled over the banks of the river, to the point where, in order to have an identity, a kid has to invent a disability and wear it like a badge?


Let’s see. Are we living in a society where people who earn money are paying out a very sizable chunk to the government so it can fight wars AND play messiah to every person with his hand out from here to the moon?


I’m asking, because that’s the way it looks to me.


And if by some random chance I happen to be right, how is this heaven on Earth thing going? Are cities cleaning up and becoming more prosperous? Is cradle to grave medical care making us more healthy? Is the ever increasing size of government making it possible to extend more real power to more people…or is it all turning to Bloat in a morbidly obese way any fool could have predicted?


What kicked off these questions? Well, the most recent trigger was an Atlanta Journal Constitution article in which an estimate was given for the total of outstanding student loans in America.


Projecting through 2011, the figure is: $1 TRILLION.


More than what all Americans owe on their credit cards.


So there is no confusion, we’re talking about loans made to students so they can attend college. And “outstanding” means: not paid back yet.


As of 2005, a survey study of college grads concluded that only 25% of these people could read at a rate that was considered proficient—and proficient simply means you can function in society and use information to forward your goals in life.


Since the federal government has taken over the student loan program, it appears the taxpayer is on the hook for $1 trillion, in order to produce 75% of all graduates who can’t find their ass with both hands.


But you see, it doesn’t matter, because it’s people helping people, and this is the prime directive, no matter how it’s working out.


Speaking of obese, 2007 government stats indicate 26% of Americans are obese.


Call me crazy, but it looks like victims are everywhere—and you can define that as real ones, made-up ones, ones who did it to themselves and are now being bailed out by taxpayer money, ones who are employed by government to help other ones, people who study victims and obtain gov grants to do it—a whole panorama.


Whereas once America was thought of as a place where people lent a helping hand, now that seems to be the main business of America, apart from wars and turning tribal people into Jeffersonian democrats. Where is the opium again and who is dreaming opium dreams?


And it’s quite possible, these days, that a nice kid from a decent American home will go through high school and learn, in various ways, that making money is a crime and parents are oppressors and we must all live in trees so the planet doesn’t overheat and explode—so when this kid reaches college, he/she is primed for the more serious kind of bitterness, resentment, and entitlement—vital experience he’ll garner off of loans laid out by the government—which is the only force that can create this heaven on Earth that must come to pass. By tomorrow at the latest.


And then we have this unchallenged figure: every year, the US medical system kills 225,000 people. 106,000 from FDA-approved medicines, 119,000 from misadventures in hospitals.


So…when I write about imagination and magic, and when I paint this idea of the great dormant power in each one of us, I’m not floating on a pink cloud. I’m not doing double rainbows. I’m not touting the New Age as the answer. The New Age has brought this many-headed morbid obesity to our doors.


I’m writing every day about individual POWER.


I don’t care if some people think it’s a bad word, a tainted word, a fearful word. I don’t care if some people shiver in the face of it and want tea and crackers and doilies instead.


I don’t care if this morbid society wants to redefine power to mean something we all collectively jump into and share, a vast vat of butter.


That’s triple-A high-grade, 100% pure bullshit.


And behind the faces of the people who promote it, there is a conniving spirit that runs like moldy scum through a stream.


Do you want a universe you want?


Then INVENT it.


That’s the power society tries to obscure with its heaven on Earth machinations.


That’s the original power being lost in the morbidly obese shuffle.


Good morning.

















MAY 31, 2011. Here are several ads from an interdimensional newspaper that might prove informative:


UNIVERSE MANUFACTURING! Let us build it for you! Move-in ready. All appliances and energy sources. Consult our catalog. Gods supplied or not. Easy entrance, no exit. Pre-hypnosis induced painlessly in our clean spacious facilities by licensed physicians!


CUSTOM BUILT UNIVERSES OUR SPECIALTY! Uni-language, gated planets, military emperors. Inspect our plans, work with a seasoned professional. Dignified cemeteries. CSI reruns.


A RETIREMENT UNIVERSE for the whole family! Do you want to pass on your genes to millions of future generations? Of course you do! Why else would you be alive? In our universe, we supply a religion that forbids gene waste, under penalty of deportation to a state-run hospital. Appoint surrogates to wage an eternal war between matriarchal and patriarchal gene-transmission preference. Square dancing, ping-pong tournaments, celebrity-look-alike performers on weekends.


COLLECTIVE GOO UNIVERSE FOR ADDLED MINDS! Be part of the Doofus! Delete thinking! Experience the thrill of melting down in 24/7 love with the One All Thingo! At first you’ll feel icy winds whipping through your separated soul on the plains of cruel choice. But then, at the last moment, from the deepest well of reality, a radiant finale will clutch your sacred yearning, as you’re shot up on to on a cloud of honey and transported to a fortress where patented OmniJuice floods your being and you realize this is your home forever! Soft rock, lake of marshmallows, electro-massage units. One and two bedroom apts.


NATURE IS NATURE UNIVERSE! Hunt for 60,000 years, fit into the environment, hear the roots grow; climb trees, shepherd goats, bath in snow, chant in monotone, blow up evil machines in distant cities. Exclusive Gaia tweets. Become utterly convinced there is nothing else! Raise children as primates! “Secrets of the Urine Garden” for first five callers.


AT LAST! THE SOULMATE UNIVERSE! Let us design your agonizing quest for the other half of yourself. You met a stranger for 18 seconds in a hotel bar? He’s here! Receive your initiation rites in the Oprah Palace and journey out on to the landscape of despair. Lifetimes of synchrony…and just-misses…and then….but we can’t give away the glorious ending. You know you want it, so let us build this low to mid-range IQ universe with billions of extras and millions of planets. Herbal wraps, hot stones; vegan paramedics on call.


PROMISE OF PARADISE UNIVERSE, slightly used version, for sale at giveaway price. Commit untold numbers of righteous acts that would be considered capital crimes with special circumstances in other universes, along the severe path of loyalty to a standard that will put you in a heaven others are denied. Commandments, holy book, some flagellation required. All races and religions invited. We have our own God and he’s pissed off!


VICTIMS PLUS! Have you been inventing a story of oppression that’s somehow never been accorded its proper due? Well, in our universe, we bring in the sheep and put bows on their necks! This your place! Normals supplied as foils. All the tables are turned. For once (and forever), you get what you deserve! Lavish benefits! Pre-training in the necromancy of bureaucratic interactions. Work the system as it’s never been worked before! Choose from a catalog of disorders. Full insurance coverage extended to family members.


THE END OF IMAGINATION UNIVERSE! Have you finally reached the end of your tether? Want to attribute all magic and creation to an external source? We have attractive life paths for trillions of serial incarnations. You’ll go with God, you’ll go with science, you’ll go with money, you’ll go with pills. We have it all. Our calibrated partial-narcosis treatments will saddle you with just enough doubt to make you wonder whether you’re doing the right thing by your existence…and yet, in the end, you’ll submit to a Greater Pattern. Geometric homilies, sacred this and that, ideal forms, gradualism, “it’s all about family,” “I’m doing this for the children,” “you only live once,” endless distractions constructed on the basis of “realism,”–you’ll become facile with them all. We’ll keep you hopping! Try our new on-and-off paranoia option. Limited light-year adventures available in some areas. Inquire about liability. Ask yourself if the End of Imagination Universe is right for you.


And a small classified ad: “Universe disintegration plus universe invention=You. Details re imagination. Send $35 and self-addressed stamped envelope to PO Box 43920518-A, Altoona, Pennsylvania.



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The last time we saw her, him, or it, the winged figure, there were great shapes scrawled in the sky left behind, and then a single thought slowly falling to Earth like a light snow. The thought was: if these sky shapes had meaning, what would it be? And if each of you could decide independently, what would happen?”

Auntie Mime, Reality Disruptor


The only menace is inertia.”

St. John Perse


The red knight said to the blue knight, “I’m departing for unknown shores. Here I give you the seal of my empire. Hold it close. When the hour of the new year strikes, open it and view the symbol contained therein. It carries esoteric meaning that will usher you into my lands.”


The blue knight was staggered. “Is this really true?” he said.


I’ll reply with a riddle. Listen. It’s true if you’re a fool.”

Auntie Mime, Reality Disruptor


MAY 31, 2011. In land far-far or near-near, the people had an entirely different view of symbols. They developed this tradition because, for many centuries, symbols had been imposed on them.


This is not a hard thing to do. For example, you build a tower and place art around the joint and you play droning music and you dim the lights and you hold services, and the high priest hopefully has a rich mellow voice, a good baritone…and at the appropriate moment, he lapses into silence, waits, and then leans forward and pronounces the name of the symbol…maybe he holds up an illuminated stick with the symbol at the end.


The he describes the meaning of the symbol.


And it sinks in.




With enough time, enough good prep, enough symbols, you can put a whole populations under hypnosis and lead them around by their collective nose.


Well, in this land, the people eventually got tired of that crap, and so they sank the tower in the sea and started over.


From that moment on, all symbols were OPEN. No fixed meanings.


Symbols were contemplated, now and then, and people could derive (imagine) whatever meanings they preferred. Each person could do that.


Then they would hold informal meetings, and after a few comedians loosened things up, people would stand, one at a time, and present their experience with the symbol of the month. Do their riffs. The only rule—don’t be boring.


The funny thing was, after a few years of this sort of meeting, the very language of the people began to expand…new words, new phrases, new ideas, new images…even new constructions.


It was a language, more and more, infiltrated by imagination.


And what do you know, the people became freer and more energetic. They sensed their language was coming into line with their creative impulse—whereas in many societies, the creative impulse comes into line with the language.


The people called this a major discovery, and they celebrated it by building a new tower. They discussed what to call it. After a few days, they said HOLD ON, THIS IS RIDICULOUS, and burned it down.


Every year, they build a new tower and burn it.


Just to remind themselves about what can happen when everyone behaves like an android and allows meaning to emanate from one point.


Their language is now 1000000000 times its former size.


Oh, off in a corner of a dim bar, a few guys reminisce about the good old days when things were normal and they knew what “the spiritual universe” consisted of. They wish it would all come back. The music, the snoring, the hypnotic ceremony, the closed symbols. They really love those closed symbols.


They’re even trying to build their own permanent tower out at the end of town by a tire recapper and a collapsed warehouse. Others, of the new generation, will go down there on a Saturday morning, stand around, and chip in advice.


Put more mud on that side.”


Make the holes for the windows a little bigger.”


Much amusement.


One universe, many universes, take your pick.







MAY 31, 2011. The words “religion” and “imagination” are not usually used in the same sentence. Bad for business.


If they ran an imagination contest, and somehow a devotee of religion won, he might say, in an unguarded moment, “Look, this is the score. I imagine God and religion, because I can’t do any better. This is as far as I can go.”


Of course, he’d confess to that like an ant would read the label on a bottle of honey.


Religion IS default imagination. It’s what’s left over when a person gives up on imagination.


Okay, hit me with the myth. Embroider it. Bring in all the angels and the rituals and the texts. I surrender.”


Why do you think the Roman Church built all those cathedrals in Europe? To convince the population their own imagination couldn’t rival these gigantic stone hulks.


Today, it’s TV. Same deal.


Do you really think you can go up against 400 reruns of Law and Order every day?”


To put this a slightly different way, if people got together and said they wanted to install a ceiling on imagination, whatever they came up with WOULD BE RELIGION.


How else could they make the limitation stick?


One of the main features of society is that it’s a place where you can “get religion.”




With burgeoning revenues, religions can hire artists to produce painting and sculpture and design to actually DEPICT THE CEILING ON IMAGINATION. That’s quite a twist.


A few centuries of this sort of operant conditioning and you’ve got a sizable flock.


So some guy wanders into the Pope’s chamber and says, “Your Highness, I want to show you a universe I’ve created myself. It’s very interesting…”


I think they still have his skeleton in the Vatican basement.


Here’s another scenario. A painter paints an abstract painting on a large canvas. Somebody with a few billion dollars decides to mount a PR campaign to extol this painting. Relentless. After 20 years, 50 million people have seen and adored the picture. At least they think they adore it because in various in ways, they’ve been told to.


What do you have? Chances are: religion.


I stood before it and I was transported into another realm where I heard music. The notes showered down on me and I fell to my knees and saw my dead aunt. She spoke a language I had never heard before…”


A friend just emailed and reminded me about the use to which the UFO movement has been put. One segment of that community (and this has nothing to do with whether UFOs exist or where they come from) think that, with the arrival of space aliens, we will UNDERGO A RELIGIOUS CONVERSION. Wait. How did religion get into the act?


My first action as president, emperor, ruler-of-all will be to declare a religion holiday.




Hmmm. Have to rework that. Comes across a little too much like an ad for GE or IBM.


Meanwhile, I’m working on a new HOLY SACRED pill. You take it once a month and for a three-minute chunk out of the month you experience an intense influx of HOLY SACRED, which keeps you satisfied for the rest of the month. The pill experience is designed to make you feel the HOLY SACRED is coming from an external unnameable mysterious source. Side effects include dropping to your knees, a flood of tears, extensive gratitude, feeling tiny, and, occasionally, inflicting wounds on self. But these effects only last for three minutes, then you’re good for the month.


You realize your imagination is infinite, and you get on with creating new realities.


The uplift from THAT more than makes up for the loss of HOLY SACRED.


Amusing coda: as I was putting the finishing touches on this piece, our doorbell rang eight or nine times. Ding. Ding ding. Ding ding ding…


Jehovah’s Witnesses.


I kid you not.



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The trouble with Buddhism?–in order to free oneself of all desire, one has to desire to do so.”

Henry Miller, “Henry Miller on Writing,” 1964


MAY 30, 2011. Here is a slice attributed to Joseph Campbell, celebrated author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces:


The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”


Maybe he penned that on a slow Saturday afternoon. Maybe he had indigestion. Maybe he was sipping a few rum and Cokes.


It’s hard for me to think of a quote I’d disagree with more.


Hitch your imagination up to a few horses, and let’s take a ride into the heart of Nature, where we’ll do the Great Merge, and then, like Sampson, we’ll all have suitable haircuts and wear badges as citizens of the great


No thanks. I’ll fold that hand.


The deck is being dealt from the bottom.


Give me the joker, the wild card—imagination—and you can keep on playing strip poker.


I’ll wait and watch everybody go broke.


Whatever else you want to say about it, Nature, universe, is one work of art among many, among a potential infinity of works of art.


The others are supplied by imagination.


The ancient Tibetans had it right. Become the tree if you want to. Go all the way inside the inside. Merge with the rhythms, the sap, the energy, the space and time of it, the mind and soul of it…go as deep as deep is…love it with all your might if you want to…and THEN, when you’ve hadenough, DIS-ATTACH. Ditto for rock, cloud, sky, star.


Do you really want to believe your goal is to merge PERMANENTLY with one work of art? Do you want to believe you’re not going to create your own?


Kandinsky is credited (sort of) with painting the first abstract painting, in 1911. A picture that didn’t refer to Nature. Then critics decided: well, OF COURSE Kandinsky was making reference to Nature. He had to. Where else can a painter go?


This sort of pundit-nonsense will always be with us. Just as hypnotism will always be with us.


I’d prefer the opposite extreme of commentary: “we’re no longerbamboozled by Nature or the universe…”


The problem here? It’s RELIGION. The propaganda of devotion to universe/Nature. As if, in such humility, there is great pride.


Always a bad sign.


Just to make things clear–


Question: “If we’re not going to match ourselves to Nature, what’s left?”


Answer: “99.99999999999999999999 %.”


Prostrate ourselves before universe? It’s like saying all magic springs from wood sprites. If you buy that one, I have a an 18-wheeler on Bernard’s Star I’m unloading at a loss.


Like all religion, universe-worship is a confession of creative bankruptcy.


This is all I can imagine—don’t bug me. I’m a nature guy.”


For some artists, Nature/Universe is like a pole pole vaulters use to get over the bar. Fine. No problem. Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cezanne. Go to it. But let’s not take this into the realm of ultra-psychology, as Campbell does in his quote, above. Wonder whether he really wrote it.


At any rate, the sentiment expressed is one that millions of people believe they believe. Until they don’t. Until they see, quietly, it’s a mask.


The other day I saw a guy hawking newspapers on the corner:




Imagination was fun for a while. But then we got goo. Much, much better.” Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


The joker in the deck, as I said, is imagination. It’s the override. Of course, some people think of this as a felony.


Basically, poet/ philosopher Giordano Bruno was executed for it by the Church. On February 17, 1600, in the Campo de’ Fiori, after languishing in prison for seven years—the length of his trial for heresy—Bruno was burned at the stake.


Now, imagination is simply ignored, and little gods of nature jet set around the world spreading the holy message of devotion.


I want meadows red in tone and trees painted in blue. Nature has no imagination.”

Charles Baudelaire


In America, the Indian spirit has been mythologized with gloss, by others, for a long, long time. As if their Oneness with Nature was so profound it was a constant hum. Think about it. Do you really believe that when food was short and winter on the plains was long, when the Buffalo went far away, when times were very, very tough, when people were sick, all the Indians all the time maintained a solid stance and inhabited the painting that is Nature? That some didn’t curse and wish for another kind of world? Separate the phony historians and the B movies from the truth. Do you think all Indians were the same—or were there differences between people as there are in any other group?


This myth and other similar tales are blown way out of proportion for self-serving reasons, by people who were never part of any functioning tribe, who never really “lived in Nature.”


I point this out, because Universe/Nature as religion is coming back strong again. Has been, for some time. It’s a facet of deemphasizing the individual—who is the one who has imagination. The only one.



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If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.”

Lenny Bruce


MAY 28, 2011. There was a society that consisted of only 20 people. They lived in cottages in a valley.


There was no one else on the planet.


These people had no children, but they lived for a very long time. In fact, no one had ever died.


Above the planet, there were 20 moons. Each person had his own moon. Every night, he/she looked at his/her moon.


Joe told Carol, “You know what? There are only a few things we need. Food, clothing, shelter, and trinkets.”


Carol said, “You just figured that out?”


It strikes me,” Joe said, “that whatever work I do, it’s about one of those four things. But I want to do something more. Yesterday, I imagined doing much more.”


And what was that?” Carol said.


Moving my moon.”


Her mouth fell open.


That’s impossible. The moons rise and set. That’s it. They’re on their own.”


I know,” Joe said. “But it’s the only thing I can think of doing that excites me.”


And if you can move it,” she said, “everything will spin into chaos.”


Yeah,” Joe said. “That’s what we all think. I mean, nobody talks about it, but we all believe it. Suppose we’re wrong.”


Then you move a moon. So what? You have to balance that against the possibility of destroying the world.”


Well,” Joe said, “I’ve figured it out. See, things are in balance. And as long as they are, nothing changes.”


Carol told Mike about this, and Mike told Ethel, and Joe ended up in a locked room in his cottage. A prisoner.


At his trial, he said, “Two things. One, everybody says it’s impossible to move a moon, so why can’t I try? And two, I was just talking to Carol about doing it. Why is that a crime?”


Mike, who was appointed judge, said: “I’ve thought long and hard about this, Joe, and I’ve decided you’ll be confined to quarters for the duration, for the foreseeable future.”


In his room, Joe started painting his moon on sheets of paper. He painted it faithfully, but after a few years, he began making moons that were purple, green, red, orange. He painted flat moons and triangular moons and moons with holes in them. He painted moons that looked like beds, sandwiches, and long horizontal eyeballs.


One day, he painted a moon with saw teeth, and he felt the floor tremble and the walls tremble. Outside his room, a tree fell and huge blue plumes of energy streamed out of the ground, up into the air.


People came to see it.


One man accidentally stepped too close and he was propelled a hundred feet into the air and sat there. He looked around him.


So a woman tried it next, and she was also shot into the air and came to rest a thousand feet above the ground.


Eventually, everyone tried it—and they were all floating at different heights. Then they began drifting. They drifted back to earth and then rose again. They found they could walk through air back to the ground.


That night, they noticed Joe’s moon had moved in the sky. It was higher and off to the left.


And there was a man on that moon. He was waving. He was wearing a robe and it was flapping. He was jumping up and down, and every time he jumped, he shot up into the sky, and then came down. Finally, he jumped off, spread his arms, and flew down to the ground.


He was a large man with a beard.


By this time, somebody had let Joe out of his room and he was there, on the grass, when the man with the beard hit the turf.


Who are you?” Joe said.


Moses,” the man said. “I was climbing this hill, see? I had led my people out of Egypt and we were wandering in the desert for a long time, and then I decided to walk up this hill because there were big stones there. I was going to carve laws in the stones and bring them down to the people. It would have been a pretty good deal. You know, some people obey the laws, some don’t. You’ve got arguments, interpretations, recriminations, punishments, revenge, a deal with God.”


Who?” Joe said.


God,” Moses said. “The Guy. He’s in charge.”


Everybody looked at everybody.


And then, bang,” Moses said. “I was up on that moon.”


Where’s this God?” Joe said.


You make him up as you go along,” Moses said.


Joe thought about that.


Who made you up?”


Moses smiled.


I’m a guy in a story. I don’t know who wrote it. I was a slave and then I broke out.”


Broke out of the story?”


Yeah…I guess.”




I know.”


You want some coffee?”


Sure. I’ll have to do something else now. I’m cut loose.”


In the following days and weeks, all sorts of characters from stories began appearing.


They were interesting. There was a man in a red robe with a cross hung around his neck. And a tall hat that looked like a fish. He said he was the Pope. At first, he tried to boss everyone around and get them to build a tower, but then a tough guy in a cheap suit named Mike Hammer told him to back off.


A dapper man emerged from the earth and said he was a critic for The New York Times. Hammer grabbed him by his collar and frog-marched him to a pond and tossed him in.


Then one day, Moses laughed.


The 20 people looked at him and asked what that was.


I’m not sure,” Moses said, “but I want to do it again. Say something funny.”


Say something what?”


Funny. I think it’s like when you shoot up off the ground.”




You know, when you compare one thing to another.”


The 20 people were bewildered. They considered bringing Moses to trial, but with all the new people around, they were distracted…











MAY 28, 2011. Once upon a time, each thing was itself and nothing else. This suited the clan.


Then on a slow Tuesday afternoon, a member made a comparison in language—one word to another.


Half the clan wanted to throw him over a cliff, and the other half wanted to get down on their knees and pray to him.


They flipped a coin—or a wheel or a rock—and decided to reserve judgment because, fortunately for the future, the coin landed on its edge.


Thus metaphor was allowed to expand.


Something heretofore unknown was stimulated: imagination.


Immediately, an underground movement was formed to stop this. It was illegal by a Higher Standard, and it would certainly corrupt the young.


I’ve lobbied for a bill that would require every child, by the age of 18, to come up with one interesting metaphor, or face death, but the bill has stalled in committee.


And green and golden, I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves

Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,

And the sabbath rang slowly

In the pebbles of the holy streams.

(Fern Hill, Dylan Thomas)


In the New Age—rainbow and pot of gold—there is no more metaphor, because that is confusing. Better to reinterpret it as literal truth and make believe it’s so. Flatland revisited.


In another venue, walk up to Security at a major airport and say, “My God, this is a Venice brothel without the cheap champagne,” and see whether you wind up in a small room with four cops.


The literalists take over. And they don’t even care anymore whether the trains run on time.


If you write a sentence that is more than declarative, the majority is baffled.


That girls at puberty may find

The first Adam in their thought,

Shut the door of the Pope’s chapel, Keep those children out.

There on that scaffolding resides

Michael Angelo.

With no more sound than the mice make

His hand moves to and fro.

Like a long-legged fly upon the stream

His mind moves upon silence.

(WB Yeats, “Long-Legged Fly”)


This is this. That is that. This is THIS. That is THAT. On and on, like a steamroller, until the mind and imagination go to sleep.


The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

(William Gibson, “Neuromancer”)


Deploying imagination (or understanding it) is not like sending columns of troops out to battle.


And without irony or metaphor—two of the million children of imagination—there is no laughter.


Just stolid old USSR eyes asking for records.


Imagination doesn’t work in a straight line. You can’t take a simple declarative sentence and make a one-for-one translation and turn it into imagination.


Conversely, you can’t ask Melville to write a children’s book. You can’t put imagination in a step-down decompression chamber and come out with anything except mush.


The literalists think there is something good about taking a star a million times bigger than our sun and icing it until it looks like our moon.


They are trying to engineer a Flatland reality for the masses. They may not know it, but that’s the limit of what they can conceive.


These are the letters of my ancient fathers,

And these are the letters of the roses

Blowing across the rolling apparatus

That moves the sun,

Shining through old windows

On statues of drowned men.


Now they shake off the rime

And stagger up from their trench,

Without a city.


They form a many-rayed subconscious moon.


(Rappoport, from The Thunderhead Cantos)


Society: all the possibilities of metaphor harnessed to produce a non-metaphoric cartoon.



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