Shocker: some things are learned for their own sake; not for “application”

Shocker: some things are learned for their own sake: not for “application”

by Jon Rappoport

June 21, 2017

At college a few lifetimes ago, one of my earliest experiences was reading Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium. Here is the famous last stanza:

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

At the time, in those college years, it was well understood that you learned some things for their own sake. You didn’t even have to agree with the sentiment expressed. You could appreciate the expression.

Certain expressions were aesthetic and spiritual and alive in their own way. Argument on that score was unnecessary.

What about the opening lines of Dylan Thomas’ Fern Hill? If they don’t take you off your chair, read them out loud a few times:

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

No one asked the student how he was going to use those words of a poem when he was working, years later, for a bank. No one asked him how he was going make the words count when he was fronting for a suit filed by a corporation. No one said he had to postpone appreciating poetry because injustices still existed in the world.

Education can expose students to glorious things they will never apply.

Yet, those things can transform their lives.

As civilization declines, an impression is imparted that there are only crises. Every event is some kind of crisis.

If that were true, what would be left over? What inner life would be possible?

What joy could be experienced for its own sake?

All of this leads me back to a theme I’ve covered from many different angles over the years. Reality, ordinary reality is not the end-all and be-all.

Art, for example, proves that.

The thrill of actual poetry proves that.

Why do I bother saying all this? Because part of what it means to have a civilization is part of what it means to be an individual: there is a profound appreciation of human creations. When that goes by the boards, when education ignores that because “more important issues” must be presented and framed and slanted, for purposes of sheer indoctrination, life-force drains away.

Elevated language taken to poetic heights is not a mere distraction.

Many years ago, when I was working at a community college, I started an informal poetry project. I brought together a small group of foreign students and taped them reading poems in their own languages (Portuguese, ancient Persian, English, etc.). I wanted them to hear the sounds of those poems, apart from their meaning. I wanted them to hear the music(s).

Now we’re talking about real diversity, not the fake imposed version. Now we’re talking about great energies that have been injected into, and fortified in, many languages by individual poets from all times and places.

Now we’re talking about the heights those cultures reached, not the depths to which they sank.

Now we’re talking about an authentic level of understanding reaching across bridges and gaps.

There is something very right about that.

Burned flowers of the field
My noon is over, growing old
Everything I have is finally sold
Sewed designs for men with money
Thinking it was duty
To watch them lead the world to war
From my little field of beauty

I wrote that poem when I was 23. It was published in 1966, in The Massachusetts Review. At the time, I was focused on the break-up of The American Dream. Soon after, I had my moment of insight, when it became clear to me that individuals and their minds and imaginations and choices could exceed the negative reach of any civilization and, at the same time, fertilize that civilization. Reality (things as they are) is not the answer; it is the lowest common denominator, which waits for people to sign declarations of surrender.

Preposterous surrender.

(New piece up on OUTSIDE THE REALITY MACHINE: The James Comey Film Dream: Episodes, voices, montage/collage.)

Exit From the Matrix

(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, click here.)

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

19 comments on “Shocker: some things are learned for their own sake; not for “application”

  1. Rollsy says:

    Nice one, Jon.
    All too often this aspect of life and education is bypassed, or not even considered… and the world is the poorer for that omission.

  2. Olivia Parr-Rud says:


  3. Greg C. says:

    Good poetry is more than good art, it is a journal of a poet’s trek into a state of being, where ordinary things perceived take on a kind of glow, because they bypass his ordinary filters of reality. It invites us to just forget about meaning for the moment, and join him in this new perception of things.

    Let’s not forget to totally unplug, get outside and be someone without a role to play or an argument to make.

  4. MrDuncmck says:

    Thanks for taking me on an insightful adventure Jon !!!

  5. Michael says:

    I like your poem, you were talented at twenty-three. I like your words today.

    I know what you say; I use to admire the Persians until this silly religious nonsense took hold of everything,
    I was a fan of a thousand and one nights. Ali Baba…
    The exotic, the mysterious, the ‘Open Sesame’ and a hole in a wall and entrance to a magical place. Of gold coins and old lamps found and polished till a wonder presented itself.
    That was another time and another Michael that is long dead.

    And now…

    And muses will to me their tribute bring,
    Free genius will enslave itself to me,
    And virtue, yes, and, sleepless labor too
    With humble mien will wait for my reward.
    I’ve but to whistle, and obedient, timid,
    Blood-spattered villainy will crawl to me
    And lick my hand, and gaze into my eyes,
    To read in them the sign of my desire.

    It’s windy today here Saskatchewan, must be Global warming…
    here maybe this will explain, I wrote it this morning.

    The wind whipped up today, and the words from people’s mouths
    blew around and caught in the fences and the hedges,
    hung from branches, like small upside down birds
    I thought how strange indeed
    The wind should treat us so
    Mix all that’s said, into a nonsense
    throw it here and there
    A word fudge, an alphabet soup
    and pile it up over in the corners

    And then the wind blew by and caught my ear
    and lift it up like a sea shell and dropped in a whisper
    “Its’s not me that makes it nonsense, I only seek to unjamble,
    the jumble, and make it into something more than waste.”

    • miguelhud says:

      Thank you for sharing that Michael.
      I can feel that blowing about right into the disheveled house of my mind where the cobwebs by the ceiling catch the words and the morning sunlight illuminates them.

  6. Deborah Norton says:

    I love your poem Jon. Just beautiful.

  7. barn moose says:

    “The number one error, of Lacan, Derrida, Foucault and so on, is that language structures everything, that there is no reality, that knowledge is not possible without language, and I’m thinking, these people, this entire gen, all these decades of crap pouring out of these elite schools based on this stupid idea, I’ve been teaching at art schools my entire career, excuse me, my dancers are totally inarticulate, that is not how they perceive the world, ok, they express, they process the world through the body, my ceramicists do not process the world, they they, anyone who works with their hands is not processing reality through language, ok, so this is, the whole basis is an outmoded linguistics, caesura, absolute nonsense, right from the start, there are different parts of the brain, these people, first of all, they’re all scientific illiterates which is why there’s no biology as a required element in women’s studies, which wouldn’t you think when you’re putting together a woman’s studies program that the first thing would be that any graduate of that program would need to have one course in biology to study endocrinology and hormones, nooooo, and so on, right, it’s all language, it’s all language and that’s why gender is nothing but language, you see okay, right, go into this transgender nightmare, okay, over here is transgender, it’s become, because they honestly believe that gender is not grounded in the body, they have absolutely no scientific knowledge.”


    “My views are quite old fashioned…

    • Michael says:

      She is a fire-cracker, isn’t she; I like her.
      University has become a sewer filled with the zombies of the Frankfurt school.

      So many have believed the Nazis lost the war. They did’nt…
      Gehlen, with his evil side kick Dulles invented the CIA which gave us MKUltra. Marcuse applied it like a Bernay’s.

      I.G Farben became Bayer and taught Monsanto and the rest..
      Science filled up with paperclips, and I have known that those psychological misfits, and the atheistic jews to boot have been the real shard in the mind of America.

      The Frankfurts who could’nt fine a home because they were Jews sucked the mind out of the baby-boomers, the CIA stole their soul. And the new and improved Nazi inspired corporation stole their money.

      We are a hollowed out shells of what we could be. manufactured humans…Lukac, Horkheimer, Marcuse. Aldopho, Spock and the rest of their prodigy turned American brains to butter.

      The left is the perfect prcurser to the Huxley vision. Of course the disease is also on the right now, I have recently learned. They will all fit so well, into that Matrix.
      Things are going along just fine.

  8. Greg Simay says:

    Cuneiform geese
    wedging across wet clay skies,
    inscribing winter.

    • Michael says:

      Nice imagery…

      Are you a student of Sumer?

      • Greg Simay says:

        Hi Michael,
        I’m not a student of Sumer, though back in ’14 the British museum had some wonderful Sumerian exhibits. Haiku is just one way I try to pay attention to and appreciate my (new) rural Michigan surroundings. Here’s another haiku that owes itself to a pleasant summer day on a nearby lake:

        Puffy summer clouds…
        stepping stones across the sky
        for the light hearted.


  9. SteveFFFFF 0 says:

    I don’t like poetry at all, I test at 130 IQ. Just say what you want who needs all the metaphors or whatever. Learn whatever you want on your own but don’t waste time and money for college unless only being trained for a specific occupation all other courses a waste and state propaganda.

    • Michael says:

      Are you sure the test did’nt make a mistake…maybe it was 13..the abstract is a hallmark of real intelligence.
      Poetry for the mostpart is an abtraction.
      Abtractions are inventions of consciousness; they allow us to build neural pathways without experience, without sensory input, but rather by imagination the well-spring of genius.
      In a sense, the thinker creates his own mind. His own brain, he imparts neuro-genesis.

      To write and read poetry is the martials arts of consiousness. It lets us reach out past the boundaries of the five horses attached to the chariot with a reinless rider.

      To use only the left side imparts an atrophy on the right and soon you become SteveFFFFF O and not a Steven, or a Steve. Possibly a Stephen, or Stefanus Stepane Stefan Stephano

      or even….Esteban.
      Waste of time, really Stevie. Keep searching.

  10. artemisix says:

    Wow, Mr. Rappoport , it is like you lived my life in another dimension. Much appreciate this…

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