Thursday, March 20, 2014

Society for the Diffusion of Beautiful Knowledge

"We have heard of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is said that knowledge is power; and the like. Methinks there is equal need of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Ignorance, what we will call Beautiful Knowledge, a knowledge useful in a higher sense: for what is most of our boasted so-called knowledge but a conceit that we know something, which robs us of the advantage of our actual ignorance? ... I would say to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, sometimes, – Go to grass ["like a horse" that "leaves all his harness behind in the stable"]. You have eaten hay [knowledge, facts, etc] long enough. The spring has come with its green crop [of Useful Ignorance]." 
Henry Thoreau, from near the end of an essay called "Walking" 1862. 
[bracketed content is given to help the reader step over gaps in thought]

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nearer and Farther

"All architecture is what you do to it when you look upon it, 
(Did you think it was in the white or gray stone? or the 
     lines of the arches and cornices?) 

All music is what awakes from you when you are reminded 
     by the instruments, 
It is not the violins and the cornets, it is not the oboe nor 
     the beating drums, nor the score of the baritone singer 
     singing his sweet romanza, nor that of the men's 
     chorus, nor that of the women's chorus,
It is nearer and farther than they."

Walt Whitman, A Song for Occupations 4, in Leaves of Grass [ca1891] 
(Vintage, Library of America edition, 1992) , p359.

Weave among Incidents

"The ox-blood from the hands which play
For fire for warmth for hands for growth
Is there room in the room that you room in?
Upon his structured tomb:
Still they mean something. For the dance
And the architecture.
Weave among incidents..." 

— Ted Berrigan, From Sonnet 1 in "The Sonnets"  (1964).  Below is a link to the full poem, which I've excerpted, but the entire book is a classic of collage poetry.

Reversible Destiny

"Even longevity — as but a postponement of the inevitable — is not enough.  The stakes must be changed entirely.  All consciousness involves, for the forming of the world, some degree of mastery over landing-site dispersal, but the seeker of reversible destiny must master the landing-site configuring process itself so that she may initiate alternative employments of landing sites."

— Madeline Gins (1941-2014), Reversible Destiny Foundation, January 25, 2013