Picture that person on the bridge in Edvard Munch’s painting. The Scream. Imagine the horror felt by this person, and think of it as a reaction to the future, a visionary anticipation of the 20th century with its bloodletting and the 21st century with its endless vistas of devastated concrete monuments, destroyed by a vengeful nature, while man, watches from his bridge the onslaught of one more tsunami, this one about to swallow all of human creation. That is me.
A link to a current exhibit of a pastel drawing version from 1895 is on display at MoMA.
Or perhaps the Conrad tale Heart of Darkness illustrated by Kurtz the failed ivory trader who went native and then became ill and as he was dieing said these famous last words.
“He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath—”The horror! The horror!”"
— Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
Or Lou Reed’s The Bells
Or perhaps Celine’s triumph of despair at the end of World War 2 in Castle to Castle, Rigadoon and North tales of the exiled Vichy French in Baden Baden, a German resort town where they are protected, if that is the term by their Nazi hosts. Even more splendiferous is Fable For Another Time about his experience in a Danish prison after the war.
“All this is good for a laugh, but nobody wants to take my place at the bottom of the hole!…they leave me here to rot, my admirers!…songs or no songs!…All in it together!…The behind full of pus, blind, deaf!…hateful-fans, enemies, what’s the difference? All they want is to see the beast in the bullring brought down!…the traitor, the purveyor of death, the Judas-in-Chief: me!” - Celine Fable for another Time page 197 translated by Mary Hudson. U of Nebraska 2005.
I have forgotten my MLA style formatting and I was so proud of it only a year ago. I am a dog, eating shit from the road, I am watching the end of my world, watching my collapse into mediocrity, something that I was seemingly born to be.
I am trying to cooperate with this on line site, this web class in some social science class “Human Development.” It bores me to death simply looking at it. I am pressed down by the rules, the internet of rules and time limits and links to links to links and the demand for a study of preschool children, as if that were going to lead to some miracle of revived interest in this flagging ship of state, of fools, of rats abandoning ship, of plague ships of ghost ships, of Captain Jack and his tender morsels of Disney propaganda for the next edition of Pirates of the Caribbean, explanation there of I am woefully short of. But let the sentiment be said, there was a time when men dreamed of more, of reshaping the world, of freedom. Not this head down in the concrete world of processed words and thoughts that are only a mere mote in the eye of a gigabite driven marketer of the same shit over and over again.
The horror… do I explain myself, no I am emoting, I am responding to one more of those bricks in the wall, remembering that once I was a brick thrower, but I let fear of violence and my own hubris take me down, I feared for the life of me, and I failed those who looked to me for some form of heroic gesture, I flung up the finger, and got a job where I could lay low. I laid low alright, low enough to miss the fact that life, love and disaster were all one and the same tied together and bent before the mast. Instead I buckled and went back to fairy land Boulder and dreamed of peaceful, easy feelings. I failed and with that failure came the shame of knowing, and having eaten the fruit, I suffered in it for thirty odd years…
Do you know of what I speak, Ted Kaczynski, much smarter than I knew and was not afraid to follow his vision. Below is a link to a written interview.
“Kara: How/when did you decide to bomb?
It would take too much time to give a complete answer to the last part of your ninth question, but I will give you a partial answer by quoting what I wrote for my journal on August 14, 1983:
The fifth of August I began a hike to the east. I got to my hidden camp that I have in a gulch beyond what I call “Diagonal Gulch.” I stayed there through the following day, August 6. I felt the peace of the forest there. But there are few huckleberries there, and though there are deer, there is very little small game. Furthermore, it had been a long time since I had seen the beautiful and isolated plateau where the various branches of Trout Creek originate. So I decided to take off for that area on the 7th of August. A little after crossing the roads in the neighborhood of Crater Mountain I began to hear chain saws; the sound seemed to be coming from the upper reaches of Roaster Bill Creek. I assumed they were cutting trees; I didn’t like it but I thought I would be able to avoid such things when I got onto the plateau. Walking across the hillsides on my way there, I saw down below me a new road that had not been there previously, and that appeared to cross one of the ridges that close in Stemple Creek. This made me feel a little sick. Nevertheless, I went on to the plateau. What I found there broke my heart. The plateau was criss-crossed with new roads, broad and well-made for roads of that kind. The plateau is ruined forever. The only thing that could save it now would be the collapse of the technological society. I couldn’t bear it. That was the best and most beautiful and isolated place around here and I have wonderful memories of it.
One road passed within a couple of hundred feet of a lovely spot where I camped for a long time a few years ago and passed many happy hours. Full of grief and rage I went back and camped by South Fork Humbug Creek.
The next day I started for my home cabin. My route took me past a beautiful spot, a favorite place of mine where there was a spring of pure water that could safely be drunk without boiling. I stopped and said a kind of prayer to the spirit of the spring. It was a prayer in which I swore that I would take revenge for what was being done to the forest.” From Letter to a Turkish Anarchist
I have had visions, but my mind is not strong enough. I weep for this world, and the worlds to come. If only Moloch can be stopped. I have survived for a reason, perhaps, or I am simply the detritus of another era gone by. Sing softly old songs of rebellion, and warm your aging heart on the documents of your youth. Rights of Man, surely you are not considering razing that flag, black and red, again!