Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.William Pitt
Well, Robert Anton Wilson has exited to stage right, into the Western Lands.
He was perhaps one of the most influential persons of the latter half of the 20th century.
I discovered his writings in a series of events… The Realist, Ralph Ginzburgs fact,
Playboy, various Science Fiction publications. .. It wasn’t until some 20 years from
my first encounter with his work did I realize that I had been reading this amazing body
of work and it came from the mind and hand of one person.
His greatest influence on me came in the late 80′s when I started reading his novels.
Amazing stuff, and it was like opening a door into a wide pavilion of related
His passing was as his life, with humour and a sense of grace. Robert, you will be missed!
Everything one way or the other in this edition touches on Robert Anton Wilson…
On The Menu:
View and Despair…
The Daily Link…
3 articles by Robert Anton Wilson
Horseman, Pass By
Joyce and Tao – By Robert Anton Wilson
he Meeting Of Science And Mysticism
Poetry: Robert Anton Wilson
Qui veut gagner des millions ? – On en douterais presque…
The Daily Link:
Horseman, Pass By – by Robert Anton Wilson
[Editor’s Note: This Winter marks the one year anniversary of Robert Shea’s Crossing. In fond memory of his entertaining and heretical writings, we bring you the following article:]
In a procedure that had grown habitual in the last year, I made my coffee as soon as I woke up (grinding my own gourmet beans: a ritual in honor of Epicurus) and then carried it to the phone alcove. I dialed Bob Shea’s hospital number and recited a bawdy limerick to make him laugh. But his voice sounded weaker than ever, and I had that terrible feeling again, the feeling that I just didn’t know how to do enough to really help.
We talked about NYPD Blue, a new TV show we both liked.
"I’m feeling better," he finally said in a near-whisper. "A lot better, but I’m tired now." In retrospect, I don’t know if he wanted to sell some optimism to his own suffering body to rebuild its immunological defenses with the potent neurochemistry of hope or if he only said it to spare me further worry and pain, to relieve my anxiety.
The next time I called the Bob Shea Information Line on Voicemail, the message told me he had gone into coma and no more phone calls should be made to the hospital. Even then, I didn’t believe, didn’t want to believe, the truth. When the voicemail message finally changed, after about three more days, and said simply that Bob Shea had died, I went into shock. I should have expected the news, but I didn’t. I had tried to instill hope into Shea and, by contagion, had instilled so much into myself that I had come to expect a miracle.
I sat at the table like a cartoon cat who just got hit with a hammer but doesn’t know it yet and doesn’t know he should fall over. I slowly put down the phone, still unable to believe the truth, still in shock. Shea had seemingly beaten the Big Casino (no new tumors in six months); how could he go and die of the side effects? I looked out the widow. The sun had barely appeared I rise early, with only cinnamon and tangerine streaks coloring the east but already the breakfast crowd, as I call them, had arrived in my patio. House finches, blackbirds and sparrows hopped and flapped about, pecking at my bird feeder. A mourning dove made its usual grieving sound in a tree, as if it didn’t believe things would ever become less depressing, and a car drove past, invisible behind the patio wall. I still could not make the concepts "Bob Shea" and "death" fit together in my head.
I thought of a grave in Sligo, the wild west of Ireland:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by.
Another car rumbled in my street, and the mourning dove complained about life’s injustice again. I became abnormally conscious of Nature outside my glass patio door. Then another damned noisy car went by, racing: some guy late for work maybe.
Bob Shea and I had never seen birds and flowers and trees in the first years when we knew each other, but we had heard a hell of a lot of noisy cars. Our friendship grew in Chicago, amid the rattle and scuttle of industry, the blood-and-shit smell of the stockyards: I remember it as Dali’s (or Daly’s) asphalt purgatory. The friendship became closer when Bob and I inhaled the haze of tear-gas and Mace during the 1968 Democratic Convention, the one they held behind barbed wire because Mayor Richard P. Daly (emphatically not Dali, although the idea sounds surrealist) decided to prevent Americans from meddling in their own government.
The protesters chanted, "ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, We don’t want your fucking war! Five, six, seven, EIGHT: Organize to smash the State!" Another canister of tear gas exploded nearby and, eyes streaming, Shea and I ran down Michigan, cut into a side street, and evaded the clubbing administered to those who couldn’t run as fast as we did. If you want to know what happened to those less fleet of foot than us, you don’t need to call some archive to dig out the 1968 footage; just look at the Rodney King tape again. Cops have simple ideas of fun, which do not change much over the generations.
I counted back, sipping my coffee, and decided Shea and I had known each other for just a few months less than thirty years. A human can grow up in thirty years, from diaper to the first tricycle, to the first orgasm and even to a Ph.D. A human can learn to work at a regular job or learn how to beg on the streets, or court and marry and become a parent, or join the army and get a leg blown off. Most humans in history, before 1900, did not live longer than 30 years. A friendship that long becomes more than friendship. Shea meant as much as any member of my family.
Way back in ’65, when Shea and I both started working for The Playboy Forum/Foundation, we drifted into the habit of lunching together. Soon, we developed the tradition of going to a nearby bar every second Friday (read: payday), and drinking a half-dozen Bloody Marys after work while discussing books, movies and every major issue in civil and criminal law, logic, philosophy, politics, religion, and fringe science insofar as one can distinguish between those two topics or any of the others, which explains why each of us found the other’s ideas so stimulating, and why, in our years, the Playboy Forum discussed more far-out notions than it has before or since.
I remember our WHO OWNS ERIK WHITETHORN? series, in which we publicized a woman, Mrs. Whitethorn, who had sued the government for trying to draft her son, Erik, 18. She claimed she owned Erik until he reached 21, and that the government could not take him from her. Shea and I gave that case all the coverage we could, since we wanted people to really think about whether an 18-year-old belongs to himself, to his mother, or to the President (Richard Nixon, in that case.)
Alas, Erik, like many young people, didn’t want to become a tool of his mother’s idealism, and finally ended the debate by willingly enlisting in the Army. (Madalyn Murrary’s son also rebelled against becoming a battering ram in her assault on Organized Religion.) We had to drop the debate after Erik donned his uniform and went off to napalm little brown people. I like to hope that some Playboy readers of those years still occasionally wonder whether humans belong to themselves, to their parents, or to the State.
Mostly, in the Playboy Forum, we followed the ACLU’s positions, which Shea and I passionately share (as does Hefner, or he wouldn’t have started the Forum and the Foundation) but often, as in the Whitethorn case, we pushed a bit further and sneaked in some anarcho-pacifist propaganda-never in Playboy’s voice, of course, but as the voice of a reader. Some of those "readers" later became more renowned as characters in three novels we wrote…
Among my sins, I turned Shea on to Weed. I turned a lot of people on to Weed in those days. I had a Missionary Zeal about it, but now that I think back, so did a lot of others at Playboy in those days. Maybe I should say that I helped turn Bob on to the Herb.
On one gloriously idiotic occasion we got our hands on some super pot from Thailand and had the dumbest conversation of our lives.
"What did you say?" Shea would ask. I’d grapple with that, but amid millions of new sensations and a rush of Cosmic Insights, I’d lose it before I could find an answer. "What did you say?" I would ask slowly, trying to deal with the problem reasonably.
"I asked… uh… what did you just ask?"
And so on, for what seemed like Hindu yugas or maybe even kalpas. That night inspired the "Islands of Micro-Amnesia" in Illuminatus. Maybe a similar night inspired the Lotus Eaters in the Odyssey?
One payday Friday, when Bob and I sat in our favorite bar consuming our usual Bloody Marys and gobbling our usual peanuts, a priest at a near-by table struck up a conversation. Soon he had joined us and I quickly became convinced that I understood why the conversation persistently veered toward the Platonic ideal of true love between (male) philosophers. I then pulled one of my nastier pranks. I said I had to get home early, and left Bob to navigate for himself. A half-hour after I arrived home and got out of my shoes, the phone rang. Shea had called and asked me, with awe-as if somebody had killed a goat in the sacristy "Do you think that priest was a homosexual?"
I admitted the suspicion had crossed my mind.
"My God," Shea said. "You really think it’s possible?"
He became much less naive in only a few months after that, since a lot of our Forum/ Foundation work involved consultations with the Kinsey Institute. I regard this incident as atypical, and hope it doesn’t make Shea seem obtuse, even for a time almost thirty years ago (when the Church brazenly denied all priestly shenanigans and bullied the media into not even printing the cases that got to court). But this adventure had something strangely typical of Bob Shea also, in showing a kind of innocence that, in some respects, he never lost.
Shea probably, at that time still young, remember would not have believed that Roy Cohn, who made a career of driving Gay men out of government, himself led an active Gay life. Shea took a long time to learn how much deception exists in this world, because he himself always acted honestly. He accordingly thought clergymen who preach celibacy will practice celibacy, and even that politicians who call themselves liberals will act and think liberally.
Anyway, that cruising priest caused enough Deep Thought, for Shea and then for me, that he finally became transformed and immortalized as Padre Pederastia in Illuminatus.
Around the time we met the priest, Shea told me that he had remained Catholic until the age of 28 (if I remember correctly after all these years. Maybe he said 27 or 29?) Aside from his shock at the thought of gay clerics, he did not seem like somebody newly escaped from Papist thought-control and I never did understand how he had stayed in that church so long.
(Having quit Rome at 14, like James Joyce, I had assumed all intelligent people go out at around that age…) Shea never did explain why he stayed in so long, but he once told me, in bitter detail, why he finally bailed out.
His first wife, it appears, went totally mad shortly after the wedding. After a lot of agony and psychiatric consultation, Bob finally accepted the verdict that he had married an incurable schizophrenic. He found it more than he could handle, and sought an annulment, which led to a meeting with a monsignor.
To Shea’s horror, neither psychiatric evidence nor any other evidence nor church law itself had anything to do with the monsignor’s conversation. The monsignor only wanted to know how much cash money Bob could pay for an annulment. Shea offered as much as he could afford, as a young man beginning at the bottom of the magazine industry, in a cheesy imitation of Playboy. The monsignor told him to go home and think hard about how to raise more money. End of interview.
Shea got a civil divorce and never went into a Catholic church again. Still, when I first knew him (only five or six years after he quit the Church) he considered abortion a criminal act and didn’t know that gay priests existed. He learned a lot, in those wild last years of the ’60s, and he learned it fast. His Kennedy liberalism got gassed to death by Daly’s storm troopers and he became another fucking wild anarchist, like me.
I remember one night when we got stoned together (Bob and his wife, Yvonne, and Arlen and me) and looked at Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man on TV. They still had cigarette commercials in those days and one of them, that night, showed a guy and a gal walking in a woodland and passing a lovely waterfall etc. As they lit up their ciggies, the slogan said, "You can take Salem out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of Salem." I guess they wanted us to get the association "Smoking Salems = breathing good fresh country air." As soon as the commercial ended, Lon Chaney Jr. came back on screen and started suffering acutely (remember his expressive eyes?) as he turned into a wolf. "You can take the man out of the jungle," I said with stoned solemnity, "but you can’t take the jungle out of the man." Like most of my marijuana whimsies, that went down my Memory Hole and I forgot it immediately.
Imagine my astonishment when the complex Darwin/Wolf Man, Salems and all, showed up in Illuminatus. Shea hadn’t forgotten.
In 1971, after we finished Illuminatus, I quit Playboy in the midst of some midlife hormone re-adjustment. I didn’t understand it that way at the time; I just decided that I could not live out the second half of my life as an editor (read wage slave) who only wrote occasionally; I had to become a full-time-free-lance writer, or bust.
Instead, I became a full-time writer and busted. It took 5 years to get the Shea-Wilson opus into print and meanwhile Arlen and I and our children damned near starved: but that’s another story. While we wandered about, looking for the least horrible place to live in poverty, Shea and I started writing to each other almost every week. Later, as we both became more "commercial" and hence busier, the letters dropped to two a month or fewer, sometimes; but for 23 years we wrote about every important idea in the world and filled enough paper for several volumes. I hope some of that will get published some day.
When Playboy fired him, Shea endured terrible anxiety about keeping his house, and dashed off a few novel outlines while looking for another job. He sold his first novel before finding a job and never stopped writing again. I still treasure his comment on why the Bunny Warren cast him out. "I worked hard and was loyal to the company for ten years." he wrote. "I guess that deserves some punishment."
Whenever I had a lecture gig in or near Chicago, Shea invited me to stay at his house. Yvonne always went to bed early and Shea and I talked and talked and talked for hours, just the way we did in the early days of our friendship. I always felt that Yvonne didn’t like Shea’s literary friends, but I never took it personally.
And then, suddenly, Yvonne left him for a much younger man, and I don’t know (or really want to know) about the details. I worried for a while that Bob would die of depression, and I shared in empathy the vast waste-land he must have felt around him, 60 years old, alone in a big house, and dumped by a wife who ran off with a young stud who might call him "Gramps." Maybe I project too much here. At 62 myself, I perhaps see in Bob’s desolation the deepest anxieties of all aging males.
Oh, well, Yvonne just split the scene. She didn’t Bobbitize the poor bastard on her way out.
Then, at a Pagan festival where we both had lecture gigs, Shea met Patricia Monaghan. I saw what happened: a kind of magic, real love at first sight. Pat gave Shea’s last two years a transfinite boost of TLC and almost youthful joy. The day before he lapsed into coma, he arranged to marry her. I think of the wedding ceremony as the last thing he could do for Pat, and the last thing she could do for him.
For years and years, in many places in Ireland, in Germany, in Cornwall, in Switzerland, on the central coast of California I often found myself wishing Shea could visit me and see the panoramic views that I found so wonderful. I still feel that at times, and find it hard to understand that he will never visit me now. Never.
Shakespeare made the most powerful iambic pentameter line in English out of that one word, repeated five times: "Never, never, never, never, never." I first realized how much pain that line contains when my daughter died. Now I realize it again.
The birds have all flown away and the patio stands empty. Empty? Could an oldtime acid-head like me believe that? I looked again and realized anew that every plant and vine pulsed with passionate life in it, millions of cells joyously copulating. I started to remember a line from Dylan Thomas but couldn’t quite get it: "The force that through the green shoot drives the flower, drives my something something." I grinned, remembering Shea’s wit. Once I had written, in one of our disputes, "I find your position amusingly rigid."
"I’m glad you find me amusingly rigid," he wrote back. "Many women have paid me the same compliment."
Joyce and Tao – By Robert Anton Wilson
From The James Joyce Review, vol. 3, 1959, pp. 8-16
Throughout the long day of Ulysses the thoughts of Stephen Dedalus and Mr. Bloom repeatedly return to the East; and this is not without reason. Ulysses is so profoundly Oriental in mood and conception that Carl Jung has recommended it as a new Bible for the white race. Molly Bloom’s fervent "Yes" mirrors the author’s acceptance of life in its entirety – an acceptance that transcends the dualisms of light and dark, good and evil, beautiful and sordid.
But every sensitive reader of Ulysses knows that this "acceptance" involved only part of the author’s sensibility. The agony, the misanthropy, the (at times) neurotic satire, all testify to Joyce’s incomplete realization of what his instincts were trying to tell him. Only in Finnegans Wake does the true Oriental note sing uninterruptedly from beginning to end. The morbid rebel against the most morbid Church in Christendom had to go the long way round to reach the shortest way home. The affirmation of Ulysses is forced (not "insincere" any more than the neurotic’s desire to be cured is "insincere"); the affirmation of the Wake engages every level of the author’s sensibility, from cortex to cojones – the whole man affirms, as in Nietzsche’s Zarathustra.
The purpose of this present brief essay is to show that the Chinese philosophy of the Tao contributed largely to the shape of Joyce’s affirmation. "Laotsey taotsey" (page 242), or Lao-Tse’s doctrine of the Tao, explains a great many things about Finnegans Wake: the river -woman symbol, the Shem-Shaun dualism, the special quality of Joyce’s humor, the "time" philosophy underlying its form.
Chapter 6 of the Tao Te Ching says:
The valley spirit never dies
It is called the Eternal Female.
Some Sinologists trace this "Eternal Female" back to a Chinese "Urmutter" myth of pre-Chou times, but Lao-Tse was far beyond primitive mythology. He was using this myth as a pointer, to indicate the values that must have been in the society which created the myth. The distinction between Patrist and Matrist cultures made in such books as Ian Suttie’s The Origins of Love and Hate and G. Rattray Taylor’s Sex in History (not to mention Robert Graves’ The White Goddess ) places the Taoists as representatives of a Matrist social-ethical system living in Confucian Patrist China. The "Golden Age" of the Taoists did actually exist, whether or not it deserves to called Golden: it was the Matriarchal. pre-Feudal China destroyed by the Chou State and official Confucian philosophy. Chapter 28 of the Tao Te Ching defines the psychology and ethics of Taoism:
He who knows the male, yet clings to the female,
Becomes like a valley, receiving all things under heaven
The female qualities of receptivity, acceptance, passivity, etc. are preferred to the masculine ethical rigor of Confucianism. Kuan Tzu explains this in its simplest terms: "The sage follows after things, therefore he can control them." Every married man knows how typically feminine – and how effective – this is. What is not so obvious is that this is, really, the philosophy of modern science. Bacon says: "We cannot command nature except by obeying her." (Cf. the Marxian "freedom as the recognition of necessity.") A letter by – of all people – Thomas Henry Huxley drives home the point, showing the innate connection between religious humility and scientific method.
Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the great
truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire surrender to the
will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every
preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses Nature
leads, or you shall learn nothing.
The Taoists saw this attitude represented most clearly by women and by water, and made these the chief symbols of their religion. Orthodox Christians can understand why this approach is valuable to the scientist, but that it is the highest form of religion also, is certainly difficult for anyone conditioned to dogmatisms to accept. The Taoists put "acceptance" where the West puts "faith."
The female also stands, in Taoist thought, for those two forces regarded with most suspicion in Patrist societies: sex and love. The orthodox Freudians have said enough to familiarize us all with the neurotic illness that has come into Western culture with the triumph of anti-sex religions; what is not so obvious is how love, also, is under a pall in our society – see the chapter on "The Taboo on Tenderness" in Ian Suttie’s The Origins of Love and Hate.
Water is, as we have said, the second great symbol of Taoism. It is, of course, the receptivity and yieldingness of water that recommends it to Lao-Tse and Chuang Chou. The philosophy of Judo (a Taoist invention) has come out of the observation of water, it is said. Judo co-operates with the attacking force, as water molds itself to its environment. Water and the Judo student bend and survive where bamboo and the ordinary man stand firm and break.
The values that Taoism sees in woman and water are their harmony with the Tao. I have not translated this key term, and I do not intend to; but Ezra Pound’s translation – "the process" – seems to me more adequate than "the Way," "the Path" and most of the other attempts. Students of General Semantics might understand if I say that the "Tao" comes very close to meaning what they mean when they say "the process-world." The Tao is the flux, the constant change, amid which we live and in the nature of which we partake; or it is the "law" of this change. (But, of course, the "law" and the "change" itself are not different in reality, only in our grammar and philosophy.) A Zen master asked how to get in harmony with the Tao, replied, "Walk on!" Water and woman represent adjustment to the Law of Change, which "man, proud man, dressed in his little brief authority," and his abstract dogmas, tries to resist.
Anna Livia Plurabelle, the water woman, represents the values of the Tao in Finnegans Wake . The very first word of the book, "riverrun" – not the river and the running of the river, but "riverrun" – places us firmly in the "process-world" of modern physics, which is the world of the Tao. As Molly Bloom in Ulysses, Anna gets the last word in Finnegans Wake, and it is a word that transcends the dualisms (Bloom and Stephen, Shem and Shaun, Mookse and Gripes) and affirms the unity behind them.
The parable of the Mookse and the Gripes expresses this characteristic Taoist attitude with a quite characteristic Taoist humorous exaggeration. Adrian, the Papal Mookse, takes his stand on space, dogma and aristotelian logic; the mystic Gripes verbally affirms time, relativity and the flux; but both are equally emneshed in abstractions and both wither away in futile opposition to each other. Both, in short, are caprives of the dualistic System they ahve themselves created. Nuvolettam the avatar of ALP in this episode, is the Taoist female, unimpressed by the "dogmad" behaviour of the male. With Molly Bloom’s resignation, she says:
—I see…there are menner. (page 158)
It is important to grasp the distinction between the Gripes and Nuvoletta. Seemingly, they represent affirmation of the same cluster of things: time, the river, flux, mysticism, relativity, sex, love, the earth, Nature. Actually, the Gripes’ affirmation is verbal only, whereas Nuvoletta’s affirmation is anything but verbal. None of Joyce’s great Earth-Mother figures are given to philosophizing about "affirmation of Nature," etc. – they just do it. This is a crucial difference. As Lao-Tse says:
Those who speak do not know;
Those who know do not speak.
Shem is a "sham and a low sham" because he is a "forger." Stephen Dedalus wanted to "forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race;" but Shem merely seeks "to utter an epochal forged cheque on the public." Shem is one of those who speak but do not know; that his career is a satire on Joyce’s own is the kind of irony implied in Christ’s "Why callest thou me good? None is good but the Father," or the Sixth Patriarch’s "I do not understand Buddhism." Probably everyone who ever gains any experience with the Tao begins by faking a little; it is really so much easier to verbalize about this affirmation that to live it. Joyce’s portrait of the artist as a young forger is a self-confession that does penance for the whole race; "you and I are in him."
ALP, the river-woman, does not have any such confession to make. Like the hen Belinda in Chapter Four, who "just feels she was kind of born to lay and love eggs" (p.112), ALP lives in the Tao without question and without making a fuss about it (wu-shih). Her polar opposite is that figure whom Joyce describes as "Delude of Israel," "Gun, the Father," or "Swiney Tod, ye Demon Barber" – the "phallic-destructive" Hangman God whose "criminal thumbprint" on the rock hangs over Ulysses and makes one realize that Molly Bloom’s affirmation was something Joyce had not yet quite experienced when he wrote that saturnine masterpiece. In Finnegans Wake the Hangman God is securely put in his place and from the first word, "riverrun," to the last dying murmur "a way a lone a last a loved a long the," the female figure of affirmation dominates the book.
Putting the Hangman God in his places does not mean abolishing him; it means transcending him, in sweat and blood, rising above the dualistic delusion that makes Him seem credible. Nietzsche’s "I write in blood, I will be read in blood," is testimony as to the superhuman effort required for an Occidental to make this transcendence.
Earwicker, as typical a product of Western dualism in its advanced stages as was Melville’s Ahab, is, like Ahab, split down the middle by his own dualistic thinking. Joyce does not symbolize this as Melville did – by the scar from crown to toe that disfigures Ahab – but by projecting the two sides of Earwicker as Shem and Shaun, the Mookse and the Gripes, Butt and Taff, the Ondt and the Gracehoper. The Taoist orientation of Joyce’s treatment of these dualities is indicated, on page 246, by the distortion of "Shem and Shaun" to "Yem and Yan." Yin and Yang are the Taoist terms for the paired opposites whose innate connectedness generates the entire world-process. Yin is feminine, dark, intuitive, etc.; Yang is masculine, light, rationalistic, etc. Neither can exist without the other, and both are parts of the Tao, and hence parts of each other.
The identity of the opposites, a central theme of Taoist thought, is indicated early in Finnegans Wake. The very first appearance of Shem and Shaun is as "the Hindoo, Shimar Shin," (p.10) a single figure. Through the rest of the book they are split into two figures, but they are constantly changing roles and merging into each other (for instance, in the "Geometry Lesson" chapter, where the Shem-type notes, left side of the page, leap suddenly to the right side, and the Shaun-type notes leap from right to left.) Again, in the Mercius and Justius dispute, Shem and Shaun are picked up at the end and carried off together by ALP. "Sonnies had a scrap," she says with feminine equanimity.
The two philosophers most frequently mentioned in the Wake, Nicholas of Cusa and Bruno of Nola, taught a dialectic of resolution of opposites. Joseph Needham in his monumental Science and Civilization in China, repeatedly mentions both Bruno and Nicholas as the only two Occidental philosophers before Liebnitz to have a basically Taoist outlook.
Every sensitive reader has noted the difference between the humor of Ulysses and the humor of Finnegans Wake . In writing Ulysses, Joyce’s intention seems to have still contained a large element of the motive expressed to this publisher when describing Dubliners: "to show Ireland its own ugly face in a mirror." The humor in Ulysses is mostly satiric and negative, Swiftian; the joyous, Rabelaisian element is comparatively small. But in Finnegans Wake the humor is not only Rabelaisian, but Carrollian: it has that element of nonsense and childishness which only the well-integrated can sustain for long.
But this humor is also Taoistic. It is now suspected by scholars that the chapter of the Confucian Analects (Lun Yu) which contains a description of the Taoists as a band of madmen was interpolated by a Taoist writer! The mad, jolly, very un-selfconscious parody of Joyce himself in the "Shem the Penman" chapter has the same type of humor. Probably only an Irishman could understand that text about making oneself a fool for Christ’s sake as a Taoist would understand it. Joyce, bending his incredible genius to the concoction of place names like "Wazwollenzie Haven" and "Havva-ban-Annah" (not to mention "the bridge called Tilt-Ass") is exemplifying something that exists outside the Wake only in Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear and the Sacred Scriptures of the Taoists.
("The Tao is in the dung," said Chuang Chou.)
To the Taoists, humor was what paradox is to Chesterton: a manifestation of divinity. Tao fa tsu-jan: "The Tao just happens." (Footnote to this: The entire passage reads: Jen fa ti, ti fa ti’en, ti’en fa Tao, Tao fa tsu-jan. "Man is subject to earth, earth is subject to heaven, heaven is subject to Tao, Tao is subject to spontaneity." In short, determinism on one level results from chance on another level, as in thermodynamics.) Whether you call this Organicism and wax as self-consciously profound as Whithead, or call it Materialism and get as self-righteously priggish as the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, you still miss the point. That the Tao just happens, that it has no purpose or goal, no regard for man’s self-importance ("Heaven treats us like straw dogs," Lao-Tse says) – this is not a gloomy philosophy at all. When one understands this fully, on all levels of one’s being, the only possible response is to have a good laugh. Taoist humor results from realization that the recognition of the most joyous truth of all seems to the egocentric man (you and I) frightening and gloomy.
Joyce is nowhere more thoroughly Taoist then when he answers all the paradoxes and tragedies of life with the brief, koan-ish "Such me." Genial bewilderment ("Search me!") and calm acceptance ("Such I am") meet here as they meet nowhere else but in Taoism, and its intellectual heirs, Zen and Shinshu Buddhism and the neo-Confucianism of Chu Hsi. We cannot understand; neither can we escape – "Such me." (page 597)
It is this attitude – which women seem to be able to grasp much more easily than men – that gives Finnegans Wake its air of goofy impartiality. The Buddhist (outside of the Zen school) labors strenuously to rise over the opposites; the Taoist dissolves them into a good horse-laugh. Joyce’s method is Taoistic. "Sonnies had a scrap;" "Now a muss was the little face;" "You were only dreamond, dear" – the tolerant, existentialist female voice, vastly unimpressed by masculine abstractions and ideologies, breaks in at every point where a Big Question is being debated. The Zen Patriarch who said, when he was asked for religious instruction, "When you finish your meal, wash your plates," had this attitude.
Wyndham Lewis saw in Ulysses an implicit acceptance of Bergson’s time-philosophy and denounced Joyce, in his Time and Western Man, for contributing to what he called "the Time Cult" (other members: Einstein, Ezra Pound, Picasso, Whitehead, the Futurist painters, Gertrude Stein.) Lewis, a classicist, set up the dualism of space philosophies (aristotelian, rational, conservative, masculine, etc.) against time philosophies (oriental, intuitive, radical, feminine, etc.) Joyce wrote the Wake from "the Haunted Inkbottle, no number Brimstone Walk, Asia in Ireland" (page 182) placidly, even eagerly, accepting the non-aristotelian position Lewis had attributed to him.
As is well known, the events of the Wake occur "at no spatial time" and cannot be sharply defined because "every parson, place and thing in the chaosmos anywhere at all connected with it was moving and changing all the time" (page 118). In short, we are within the Einsteinian universe; and Joyce realizes, as did Alfred Korzybski, that the aristotelian "laws of thought" cannot hold in such a universe: "The sword of certainty which would identified the body never falls" (page 51). The Law of Identity, that is, cannot hold in a process-world "where," as the mathematical physicist says, "every electron has a date and is not identical to itself from one second to another."
The Taoists were familiar with these relativistic considerations long before Einstein.
Chuang Chou writes:
There is nothing under the canopy of heaven greater than the tip of an autumn
spikelet. A vast mountain is a small thing. Neither is there any age greater than
that of a small child cut off in infancy. P’eng Tsu himself died young. The universe
and I came into being together; and I, and everything therein, are one.
A better description anywhere of the "inner logic" of Finnegans Wake can hardly be found. To ask what "is really happening" on any page is like asking a physicist whether light "is really" waves or particles. Shaun’s sermon to the leap-year girls is confession of Earwicker’s incestuous desires; is a barrel rolling down the Liffey river; is a postman making his rounds. Anna Livia Plurabelle is a woman, and she is also a river. Earwicker is a man, a mountain, an insect, the current Pope, the Urvater of Freudian theory, Finn MacCool, and he is also both Shem and Shaun. He is, as a matter of fact, every person, place and thing in the Wake – just as every man "is" the sum total of his own perceptions and evaluations. Earwicker is finally able to accept and affirm his world, Joyce is finally able to accept and affirm his world, because they recognize that "I, and everything therein, are one." "Such me." (Footnote to this: Physics, psychology, semantics an several other sciences have entirely rejected the view which sees the universe as a collection of block-like entities. WE now think in terms of relations and functions: iron rod A has no absolute "length," but only length = 1, length = 2, length = 3, etc., as it moves through the space-time continuum. Smith has no absolute "self" but only a succession of roles in a succession of socio-psychological fields. A world of such inter-related processes is a seamless unity, and every perceiver is that unity at every second. That is why Emerson could write – and Joyce could demonstrate – that "The sphinx must solve his own riddle. All of history is in one man.")
To the space-consciousness of a Wyndham Lewis a chair is a static "thing" out there, apart from the observer; given, concrete, identifiable. To the time-mind of Joyce, the chair is revealed as a process, a joint phenomenon of observer and observed, a stage in the transmutation of energy: "My cold cher’s gone ashley," he writes, (page 213) seeing the future ashes in the present object. (Cf. Hiu Shih’s paradox, "Ann egg has feathers.") Zen Buddhist teachers make this point, somewhat obliquely, by pointing to a picture of Bodhidharma (who was bearded), and asking the puzzled student, "Why doesn’t that fellow have a beard?"
The answer of the witty Gracehoper to the conservative Ondt: (page 419)
Your genus is worldwide, your spacest sublime,
But Holy Saltmartin, why can’t you beat time?
is Joyce’s answer to Wyndham Lewis and the entire Western Tradition back to Aristotle which backs him up. The Gracehoper had "jingled through a jungle of life in debts and jumbled through a jingle of love in doubts" but, as the rhythm and vocabulary suggest, he had vastly enjoyed himself doing so. Time, which strikes him down, will eventually strike down the "anal-acquisitive" Ondt also. All the abstractions man invents to give himself control over events and stave off doubt, all the preparations man makes to stay out of debt, are as nothing before the inscrutable workings-out of the Tao; the search for security, Alan Watts has frequently observed, is the main cause of insecurity. As Nuvoletta says, "Ise so silly to be flowing, but I no canna stay." (page 159) The secret of Taoism, the secret of Finnegans Wake, is very simply expressed in Poe’s "Descent Into the Maelstrom," whose hero saved himself by "studying the action of the whirlpool and co-operating with it."
This is the trick that explains Judo. It also explains Anna Livia Plurabelle’s calm acceptance of her own end as she flows out to sea:
The keys to. Given. Lps. A way a lone a last
a loved a long the
The only word that can possibly complete that sentence is the "riverrun" at the beginning. We can find ourselves only by losing ourselves, all mystics testify. Anna loses herself into the ocean, but what she becomes is the true self she has always been: "riverrun," the process.
-New York City
copyright: Robert Anton Wilson
The Meeting Of Science And Mysticism – By Robert Anton Wilson
New theories in physics suggest that no man is an island and the greatest is within the smallest
In 1964 Dr. John Stewart Bell, an Irishman working at CERN nuclear research centre (Switzerland) published a mathematical paper that staggered the scientific world. The central idea of the paper-now Called Bells Theorem suggested new views about reality so hair-raising that even Dr. Bell himself repudiates most of the interpretations by other physicists about what his mathematics imply.
Bells Theorem seems to portray a universe far weirder than science has previously realized so weird, in fact, that it hauntingly resembles many mystical and superstitious ideas of the past. For instance, I shook hands with the editor of a Berlin magazine a month ago. Since our hands touched, according to Bell, some particles in my hand remain, and always will remain, in a kind or correlation or union with some particles in the editors hand. Mystics have talked about such linkages all through history, of course, but science never took such ideas seriously until Bell came along.
Since so much dispute rages about Bells demonstration, we should use careful language in discussing it.
What Bells math showed was that 1) if we accept an objective universe separate from our ideas, and 2) if the equations of quantum (sub-atomic) physics accurately describe that universe, then 3) any two particles that once contacted each other continue to influence each other, or remain parts of a unified system, no matter how far apart they subsequently move in space or in time-even if they move to opposite ends of the universe.
Bells math thus suggests that space and time only exist on some levels of the universe-or only in our minds-or that we must assume a level of reality where space and time dont exist at all. Here is there, says physicist Dr. Nick Herbert, when explaining Bells Theorem. There is no difference between anything, he adds with a twinkle in his eye.
THE BILLIARD TABLE EXAMPLE
To visualize what this means, and how it differs from all previous science, imagine an ordinary billiard table.
In Newtonian physics, if a ball (lets call it B), moves, its because it is hit by another ball (which we can call A).This accords with the standard mechanical picture of the universe, which most people still identify with science with a capital S.
However, in field physics (pioneered in the 19th century by James Clerk Maxwell), ball B might move and ball A along with it, not because of mechanical collisions, but because a magnet below the table has created an electromagnetic field, which causes the balls to jump in a certain direction. Field theories, while in a sense less materialistic than mechanical collision theories, still involve connection, interaction and causality. They still live in the same ball park as mechanical theories.
In Einsteins General Relativity, we find a third kind of causality. The balls might move because of the seeming flatness of the table, which we see, only appears on the small scale. On a larger scale the table actually curves. (In the Einstein universe the planets orbit the sun because space itself curves, even though we cant see the curvature directly and have to deduce it mathematically.) This moves us even further from collision models than the field theories do, but Einstein remains in a ball park we can visualize-with a little extra effort. Einsteinian space-time involves connections, interaction and a kind of determinism-geometric determinism. The mass of matter determines the curvature of space, and the curvature of space determines the movement of matter.
In all these kinds of scientific explanations-the mechanical, the field theory and the geometric (curvature) Theory-the cause of the movement of the billiard balls can be pictured in a mental image and, once we understand the theory, it makes sense to us.
In Bells universe, however, ball A and ball B might moves without any of these three types of causes (the only types of causes science recognizes) -and perhaps without any cause at all! In other words, A moves because B moves or B moves because A moves and we seemingly cannot say anything more about the movements. Maybe we cant even say the much since the word because doesnt really seem to fit this case.
Imagine yourself in a room with such a billiard table. Ball A at one end of the table suddenly turns clockwise and exactly at that moment ball B at the other end turns counter-clockwise. You observe carefully that nobody pushed the balls or fired another ball at them. You check under the table and find no hidden magnets to create field effects. You then think of Einstein and geometry, but when you check, the table has no curvature of any sort. You look at the table again and ball A turns counter-clockwise while ball B turns clockwise. That sort of thing usually only happen in movies about haunted house.
At this point you would probably say, spooks! or something similar. James Randi would shout Fraud! or Flim-flam!
Thats just about what most physicists said when Bells Theorem was published. The math was absolutely irrefutable, but the conclusion seemed impossible to believe.
Several experiments, however most notably, those by Dr. Clauser of the University of California at Berkeley and Dr Aspect at the optical institute in Orsay, France have shown that atomic particles behave exactly as Bell said they should. For instance, in Aspects most recent experiment two photons (particles of light) ejected from a common source (a mercury atom) acted just as Bell predicted, or just like the billiard balls in our illustration. Whenever the photon manifested the mathematical state called spin up, the other photon measured spin down. This happened despite the total absence of any form of connection or cause known to science.
To be even clear about how mystical this seems, let me paraphrase a life size model once used by Dr. Bell in a lecture.
Imagine two men who live in Paris and Mexico City. Imagine that we keep them under observation continually and discover that every time the man in Paris wears red socks, the man in Mexico City wears Blue socks. Now suppose we check every possible communication system and prove that no way exists for the two men to send messages to each other they cant get near a phone or shortwave radio or telegraph or any similar device. Then we take the red socks of the man in Paris and put blue socks on him. Immediately with not a fraction of a second of time delay the man in Mexico City sits down, takes of his red socks and puts on blue socks.
Even stranger, this would happen every single time we tried the experiment if the man behaved like the atomic particles in Bells Theorem and the experiments of Clauser and Aspect.
WHAT IT MEANS
What the deuce can this mean? Physicists remain in violent disagreement with each other about the question, but all the answers are equally astounding to ordinary folks.
According to Dr. David Bohm of the University of London, It may mean that everything in the universe is in a kind of total rapport, so that whatever happens is related to everything else; or it may be that there is some kind of information that can travel faster than the speed of light: or it may mean that our concepts of space and time have to be modified in some way that we dont now understand. (London Times, February 20, 1983.)
A HOLISTIC UNIVERSE
Consider the first alternative. If what happens is related to everything else, we live in the kind of holistic Universe described by the mystics of the East, especially the Hindus and Buddhists. In the humorous metaphor of Charles Fort, a a bear coughs at the north pole, a bottle of Ketchup will fall out of a wind on in New York City. In the more grim metaphors of Buddhism, if a single angry or cruel act (or thought) occurs anywhere, every sentient being in the universe will feel the effects. In the poetic language of the Englishman, John Donne: No man is an island…if a clod of Spain be washed away, Europe is the less…Each mans death diminishes me, for I am involved in humanity.
This non-local connection (as some call it) may mean that if you have touched a pair of dice your brain can then exercise some control over them, just as most gamblers think. This sounds some wild, science-fiction elaboration of Bell, but it has been seriously proposed by Dr. Evan Harris Walker, an American physicist who deduced, from Bells math and the math of Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle* just how the human brain should be able to affect the dice.
In The Complete Quantum Anthropologist, Dr. Walker demonstrates that this mathematically theoretical limit of control mind over matter corresponds exactly to the degree of control demonstrated by Hakoon Forwald, a retired electrical engineer, in a long-running series of experiments on psychokinesis. Forwalds subjects in the years between 1949 and 1970 tried to influence dice by brain power and score just as far above chance as Walkers math says they should have scored.
It does not seem far from this psychokinesis to the traditional belief that if a sorcerer gets a hold of a strand of your hair, anything he does will eventually affect your hair.
INFORMATION WITHOUT TRANSPORTATION
Before we get spooked too much by this line of thought, let us look at Dr. Bohms second alternative:
Information that can travel faster than the speed of light, Since no energy can travel faster than the speed of light, this means information without energy. Another physicist, Dr. Jack Sarfatti, has called it information without transportation. Such ghostly information moving around without energy or transportation to carry it might explain the kind of things that parapsychologists call telepathy or precognition or ESP.
This sounds a medieval as the sorcerer working magic on a lock of hair, doesnt it? Nonetheless, two physicists from Stanford Research International (now SRI International), Dr. Harold Puthoff and Dr. Russell Targ, in their book Mind Reach, offer it as an explanation of distant viewing (telepathy across thousands of miles.)
Even more bizarre, as Dr. Sarfatti has pointed out in many lectures, information without transportation: could travel into the past. You see, in Relativity Theory, going faster than the speed of light seems impossible because it means going backwards in time. Some interpretations of Bell, however, suggest that information can indeed go backwards in time. This leads to speculations that have previously only appeared in science fiction, not in science.
For instance, it leads to the Grandfather paradox. Thus: if I had a time machine, went back to the 1890s, and for some perverse reason murdered my grandfather before he could marry my grandmother, then when I came back to 1992 I wouldnt find myself here, would I? Where would I exist, if I existed at all? It seems from a theoretical mathematic basis I would dwell in a parallel universe one in which I remained sane enough not to go back in time to kill my granddad. But this universe, where poor old granddad, would still exist except that my father and I wouldnt live in it.
The same logic that governs such a sci-fi time machine applies to information that moves faster than light. If I could send Bells kind of information into the past, my grandfather might receive it. He might alter his actions in such a way that I wouldnt get born in this universe anymore. I would have sent the information from the universe next door, so to speak.
If that doesnt boggle your mind, consider a further development suggested by Dr. John Archibald Wheeler, often called the father of the Hydrogen bomb. In the Science Digest of October 1984, Dr. Wheeler suggests that the current and recent scientific experiments on atomic energy literally created this universe (or selected it out of all possible universes).
In other words, every time we meddle with an atomic system, according to Dr. Wheeler, the non-local effects go every which way into space and time, and some of them affect the nature of the Big Bang from which the universe emerged. You see, Dr. Wheeler has often argued that many, many universes emerged from the Big Bang more than 10,000-million-million-million-million-million-million-million-million-million-million
-million-million-million-million-million-million-million-million of them, at least all of them stacked up in parallel to ours in super-space, a geometrical construct he invented to solve some of the problems with General Relativity. Dr. Wheeler now argues, in the light of Bells Theorem, that we have, through our experiments, fine-tuned the Big Bang to produce the kind of universe in which we can exist and can conduct such experiments. Zillions and Zillions of other universes, without our meddling, evolve in different ways, and most of them collapse inward again very shortly after the Big Bang and thus never produce human beings.
SPACE AND TIME MIGHT NOT EVEN EXIST
Then we have Dr. Bohms third alternative: Our concepts of space and time will have to be modified in some way we do not understand. Many philosophers have examined this idea in the past especially the Buddhists in the East and Bishop Berkeley and Immanuel Kant in Europe. All come to the same conclusion, basically. Space and time dont exist out there, apart from us. The human brain just invented them to have a filing system for its impressions.
Dr. Nick Herbert presents a scientific form of this theory in his book, Quantum Reality. According to Dr. Herbert, all experience remains local (bound by space and time) but reality itself exists non-locally (not bound by space and time, or transcendental) in exactly the sense of all mystic teachings.
Dr. Bohm states the same idea in a more precise way. As he sees it, the universe may consist of an implicate order much like the software (programs) of a computer and an explicate order, much like the hardware what we can see and experience has locality. It remains here, not there, and now, not then. The implicative order or software, however – which we cannot see or experience but only deduce from our experiments and math has total non-locality. It exists both here and there, both now and then.
In this model we do not need to posit information without transportation or any of the spook stuff. The information does not travel without a medium because it does not travel at all; it exists already, always, everywhere. In every electron, in every atom, in every molecule, every stone, every animal or person, every planet, every galaxy, however different their locations in space and time, the basic information, or universal blueprint (Bohms implicate order) remains the same.
This sounds very much like the Hindu concept of God or the Chinese Tao. In fact Bohms implicate order exactly fits Lao-Tses paradox of the Tao: The greatest is within the smallest. It also strikingly resembles the major axiom of Hermetic mysticism in the West: That which is above is reflected in that which is below.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR BACK IS TURNED?
There remains one way to avoid all of these shocking and bizarre sounding interpretations of John S. Bells discovery. That way is to deny the first step of the argument that we can posit an objective universe separate from our ideas. This path, thus far, has appeared only in the works of Dr. David Mermin of Columbia University. In two astounding papers Quantum Mysteries for Everyone and Is the Moon There When Nobody Looks?- Dr. Mermin argues that quantum physics (the physics of small particles, from which Bell began) finally makes sense if we assume the universe only exists when we look at it. If you dont look at your automobile, and nobody else looks at it, it ceases to exist until somebody looks at it again. Then it pops back into reality presto!
This theory, known as solipsism, has never appealed to scientists or philosophers, although a few cynics have always argued in favor of it, just to annoy the orthodox. Nobody seems to have ever taken it seriously until now. Dr. Mermin soberly claims that solipsism leads to less absurd results than any other way of interpreting Bells math.
I dont think Dr. Mermin intends to make a joke. He truly fins solipsism less unthinkable than ghostly information moving every which way in space and time with no medium to carry it, or parallel universes being created out of nothing whenever an atomic measurement is made, or the other alternatives that physicists are considering in trying to understand Bells theorem.
SCIENCE AND MYSTICISM JOINED?
In summary, Bells theorem does not prove the truth of the basic ideas of mysticism, but it definitely makes them seem more plausible than any previous scientific discovery did. Any alternative explanation of the non-local reality described by Bell does not bring us safely home to common sense. The other explanations sound even stranger than anything that mystics have ever claimed. We can only conclude, as the great biologist J.B.S. Haldane did after experimenting with yoga, that The universe may be, not only queerer than we think, but queerer than we can think.
For five years(1966-1971) Robert Anton Wilson was Associate Editor of Playboy, Since 1971 he has worked as futurist, novelist, playwright, poet, lecturer and stand up comic. He has 25 books in print, including the Illuminatus trilogy. His latest work, Reality Is What You Can Get Away With, will be published in May by Dell books. Wilsons play Wilhelm Reich in Hell, was performed at the Edmund Burke Theatre in Dublin in 1986, in Portland, Maine and Long Beach, California, in 1989. The play was read on WBAI (New York) in March, 1989. Wilson is featured in the video Borders, which has been shown on many PBS TV stations and won the first prize in visions of the future at the Whole Life Expo IN San Francisco in 1989.
+ Editors note: The Uncertainty Principle is that the accurate measurement of one or two related, observable quantities, as position and momentum or energy and time, produce uncertainties in the measurement of the other, such that the product of the uncertainties of both quantities is equal to or greater than h / 2 pi, where h equals Planks constant. [ – from The Random House Dictionary of the Englaih Language]. Simply put, the principle means that you can know either the position or motion of a particle, but not both.
Poetry: Robert Anton Wilson
Green plants, alive, like
the stone Buddha rock solid
as twilight descends
Dove sta memora
You have not snared her,
She’s in my pulse,
My heart, my breath.
Eye sees only
Brain knows more
Than eye can see:
Brain can scan
Old Man On A Balcony: Views Of Monterey Bay
Dogen saw thousands
of miracles each morning:
I see a dozen
The number of birds–
And of different bird songs–
train goes by an hour before
its usual time
Brother Raven, you
ain’t no song-bird. You wusser
than the kiss of death
The lines of the beach,
the bay and the lowest cloud
All seem parallel!
Two For Bishop Berkeley
Clouds (visible) float
above hills (invisible);
Are the hills still there?
At this hour of night
I see more "dolphins" than at
Any other time.
Biggest damned raven
I ever saw flies howling
caw caw caw Lord Lord
A moon in the sky
After sunrise [a rare sight];
Seen it before, but –
A squiggly fractal–
the line of Monterrey’s hills–
floats above the fog
The cat licks its paws:
I watch, three floors above: it
Looks up straight at me
Gay flamingo sings:
"The sun rises and the world
Is ablaze with Dawn"
"Weep, weep!" cries a bird
Lost somewhere in fog and mist.
Sunrise with no sun.
Fire on the mountain?
No, the deer are still, tranquil:
It must be sunlight
The orange cloudbank:
One bright touch in the grey sky
Above a grey bay
Dolphins in the bay
Playing, sporting, having fun–
World without money!
The weather bureau
predicted a sunny day:
All I see is fog
After the fog lifts,
A naked beauty: blue sky
With buttermilk clouds
Bay ablaze with light–
Tin-flash; silver; clear as gin–
After weeks of fog!
Flock of gulls appears
And suddenly — disappears
White on white: bay lost,
Mountains lost, bleached into white:
A clean-cotton mist
Pre-dawn, silence, then –:
Out of unpulsating dark
An unknown bird chirps.
Bay like blackboard grey
Monterrey lost in white fog
Shortest day draws nigh
While I slept they came:
Two unexpected flowers
Sprouting on the vine.
Grey and pastel pink –
A water-color painting –
This light before dawn.
Mottled blueblack sky.
A sudden moon — briefly! Then:
Blueblack mottled sky…
Midnight Haiku #2
Black darkness only:
I see nothing but I hear
Rain and wind and waves
Midnight Haiku #3
Dancing in the bay–
Dolphins again? No, better:
Gray sky and gray bay
No division between them
A dead dreary dawn
Misty mountain tops
Floating on nothing, it seems..
"Empty" space is full!
Midnight Haiku #4
Dark, dark: no waves splash,
no barking dogs, no wind. Just
the sound of no sound
No blue: just white-grey,
Like dirty ice, the bay sneaks
Out from under fog.
"Sweet! Sweet!" sings a bird–
Old Ez in Virginia
Heard one cry "Tulip!"
The stone Buddha sits
Still as the Eiger: silent…
The waves crash and splash
Lights across the bay
White jewels scattered, shattered
In a deep black box
Each part of the bay glitters
And none is just blue
"Chirp? Churp?" "Oot?" "Cheep!" "Oot!"
Birds unseen, bickering –"Sweep?" –
Above, on the roof.
I see just one tree
The bay is invisible
Fog, fog, endless fog
Some waves cry "Terror!"
Hitting the beach like boulders:
Dark night: darker thoughts.
No fog, no Chinese touches–
A Rennaisance day
All is cloaked in fog
The world seems empty, until –
Far off, a gull shrieks.
Clear blue bay at sunset
And I am stoned and placid–
Free of grief, almost.
Count The Fetishes…