Monday, January 19, 2009

379. Song / Poem "Purpose or a Process" Read to Dr. Barry Spacks Poetry Course

Here is a poem/song called Purpose or a Process. PDF file:

I read the poem to Dr. Barry Spacks' poetry class last week and it was well received. I was asked to read it twice. Dr. Spacks mentioned that the title was very intriguing. The week before, when I was alone in my room in Goleta for about four or five days, I included Purpose or a Process as a "Sample of Five Poems that Question Reality." It may stay in the collection, but it may just have to stand on its own.

When I first crafted this poem, it actually emerged as a song, full blown with imagery. It poured out of me as a clear music video, during the Fall of 2007 when I was hanging out with my good friends Oscar and Dulce (I'm still in great touch with Oscar, of course!). My brain somehow was appalled by the Manicured Aesthetic, Pure Perfection of the Paseo Nuevo Mall. Perfect clothes. Perfect people. Perfect make-up. Perfect displays. Perfect, like some kind of Gattaca situation. And then I overlaid the imagery of clothing with machines, with the robotic motions of ships and transport, and the final railroad tracks of workers manufacturing these clothes in foreign countries. And I was angry and helpless all at the same time, because I asked whether a global society could operate in any other way. Someone will always be stuck with the dirty work. It's a matter of how society addresses the value of "dirty work." With imperialism practices, the dirty work is given to the disadvantageous group, whatever group that may be. Before it was posed as "slavery" or "caste system," and now it's posed as "free trade" or "capitalism." Tragic, eh? What delusion in all these stupid social science terms masking the underlying ecological transactions of our leaf cutter ant human selves! And the other issue is to overlay human beahvior with the behavior of multiple species of organisms and geologic phenomena, very much like a Godfrey Reggio film. The music for this poem is very primal drum-beat heavy. Not too much melodic variation, but very deeply profound and gothic vocals. I already have it sitting in my head, waiting to blossom one day :-).

When I presented the poem to the class, I was very explanatory. I was explaining who I am and where I come from, which is complex. I don't talk about anorexia, but if you keep prying me, I will reveal to you the dark source of all my light. First of all, I explained that in science, there are some fundamental issues in the philosophy in terms of "what is" versus "what ought to be." The notion of collecting data and observing the world, or actually learning something about the world and making decisions about your life and this society... the overall greater role of science in society. Hence, the dualist issue of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the Gonzo Principle. Observer Effect. Interactor Effect. Do we do environmental science in denial of its implication for behavioral or societal change, or do we accept the need for a collective stimulation-response effect of a social organism (hence, the notion of "panarchy"). Flow of Knowledge --> Action.

Then, in the end, when you finally acknowledge that you know something and you are ready to change your world and collective behavior, then you start to realize that you as an individual are part of a vast, vast system. And you feel... absolutely helpless. How can one individual change an entire society? Besides Obama. We're fxcked. As my mother ingrained in me, "The only person you can change is yourself," which is a superb null hypothesis to start with. Which is why I live in this modern society for amusement, but I am mentally divorced from it, and I am ready to live in the boonies and hunt and fish. Can't wait! The vastness of society, this sense of helplessness.

Then you ask, is it a purpose, you impose a will or a purpose? Or you take a step back like an alien, like a scientist (observer-based scientist) and watch life as a process, because your relative sense of purpose is so diminuitive, you are swallowed into the realm or machine of process.

In the story, the two main characters make a huge epiphany, and if everyone saw what they saw, if everyone knew what they knew, then all the creatures would change their behavior. Then they came to realize that they can't snap their fingers and the creatures will change. Telling a story is futile, that experience combined with exposure to the story will one day allow the other creatures to snap... in their own terms. But at least through the process, the two characters found each other, and sought refuge in each other's company though the world operated in another spectrum, another dimension of perception and change. So, the story ends in tragedy, but also in simultaneous triumph. Finding friendship admist destruction (very much like the end of Fight Club).

Aside: Last quarter I mapped my soul on the previous existing scientific literature.

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