Nietzsche in Thus Sprach Zarathustra is speaking of the darkness that gives rise to spirit. The gloomy travails and travels of Man; the brute force that cuts through the blandishments of politicians, coarse wit and lashing dexterity from Frank, blood-lashed ageless abandon from Bob. Those who would deny the Dionysian urge are doomed to lose all.
I quoted American Flagg! awhile back (Wild Horses)
“The American spirit – the honest, open-handed force of solidarity – has been castrated, By the banks.. by big business.. by slimy fat cats who use patriotism like a tart uses cheap perfume..” (#4)
Cliched maybe, but clichés are commonplace truths. Politicians and fatcats truly have stolen the country, and handed it over to the prototype of hybrid, pseudo-human replicates, the dragon-form ego-lust of hidden depravity. Rather than bandy words (linguistic rituals) with such specimens, men and women of physique and strength of psyche have to take back the land. While the prototype head is often inert or bowed to its digital god, our heads are held high and alert animal-like to the sounds and sights of hill and dale.
We are here to take back the land of our forefathers because it is a type of hope and good fortune, of rare abandon and of ample profit. We distance ourselves from the precision-fixated blandishments of politicians and “pioneering” executives because they are cut-off from Dionysian lust and the urge for free-ranging style. In their order lies death.
In imprecision lies lust and the gay symmetries of nature. This is the world we must retake because it is of the universe, the mountain, still stream and lonesome brook. These are the places “they” do not recognize because they exist in the universe and not in some domain of fact. Who are we? We are the Indian and cowboy of relatively athletic bearing because that is the type best fitted to the range. Man is a graceful species and his proportions are eloquent testimony to strength and capability in rough terrain.
The headdress and the Stetson, the axe and the bow, all are testament to a type that has existed throughout the ages, and who will cut aside the diseased political class like chaff. No one can stop us from retaking truth and not falling for a pack of lies. Our bodies and finely-honed will thrive in the wind-born health of freedom under clear night skies.
EVERY TIME I DREAM
Yes, our proportions and finely-honed minds, our physique and psyche. Is that what we see when we gaze into past visages as they look back at us across the ageless years? Not talking-heads but living, breathing men and women of fortune, good or bad? They who existed in the world and not under the domain of fact.
Deuce will probably say this is vague-sounding and that’s right. Proportions of the human body and the subtle intertwining with Mother Earth. Here’s a quote from Transit by Edmund Cooper.
Presently they cast all inhibitions aside and bagan to swim naked. Presently their bodies grew lean and muscular and brown.
The physique that is seen and felt, used and not just exposed. Here again.
Despair was giving way to exhilaration.. Regret for things past w a shrinking before the satisfaction of things achieved.. And loneliness was receding like a morning mist..(page 123)(
The euphoria of awakening to the siren call of spiritual abandon into the arms of nature. The rhythms of nature, the stalks waving, donkeys baying, clouds scudding intertwine with our being, figures moving in timeworn landscapes.
The world of being is as imprecise as a wild pack of wolves chasing an unwary academic (classical in-joke). We dance on the wings of fortune or misfortune. This type of wind-borne experience hones and hardens our mind, body and instincts. Our senses crystalize.
This is the world of juniper blossoms and fragrant sunrises, of experience and sensation. What happens is “they” constantly give us facts. For example, I just read that the Nobel for medicine went to “The role of genes in setting the circadian clock” (daily rhythm). That’s a fact, but it doesn’t tell you about the waving of grass-stalks in the wind and the feel of heat-dust on tawny hide. Those are rhythms of the world that are as imprecise as Wild Horses. Scientists are good at precision so that’s what we get.
Those aforementioned Thoth Amon-types always latch onto precision as a sort of proxy for social order. That is the future of politicians and executives and is precisely true, like clockwork. On the other hand, it’s not real if waving long-grass on a balmy spring day means anything. The Thoth Amon-types are inward-turning and simply do not see the starfields strewn above, the roses under cypresses. They certainly do not see hope or fortune seeing as they’re way too imprecise. They don’t see figures in a landscape and they don’t see the basic ontology (being) of a bodily sense of power, physical lust, spiritual purity.
The fantasy aspect of Howard’s writing sort of amplifies these to the extent that it’s a powerful rebuttal of a world of pleasure and reason that is devoid of lust and purity.
And a fearsome backward glance showed him the stranger etched against the cloud-torn sky, cloak blowing in the wind, arms flung high, and it seemed to the thrall that the man had grown monstrously in stature, that he loomed colossal among the clouds, dwarfing the mountains and the sea, and that he was suddenly grey, as with vast age.(The Grey God Passes)
Being pragmatic for a moment, Howard’s Hyborian societies are loosely based on medieval models of loosely federated city-states and kingdoms having typical trade-routes. Belit’s Barrachan pirates presumably preyed on cargo vessels, that much is obvious. Societies need cargo as they need food, fabric, utensils, objets d’art, it’s a matter of geography and craft.
However, goods are not there to lessen your sense of power, they are just to satisfy a material need. If you recall, when Zappa was up against the establishment goons, his sense of power was palpable. His visceral sense of the body as an instrument of lust, death and satanic rituals cut through their machine-state speech like a scythe through ripe wheat.
Bodily power has a Dionysian vulgarity that is hidden by the machinery of state and that is a large part of the American dream. The words of blues songs are noted for their vulgar double meanings (Chuck Berry carried it over into rock’n’roll). Zappa, as an r’n’b fan, took it further as a critique of mainstream America.
Hidden within America is a psychosis that is not readily detectible; it is actually the American Dream of the body as an instrument of power and its associated vulgarity. The state suppresses the Dream and makes of it a hidden psychosis. In the 60s the idea of physical lust and spiritual purity briefly flourished in the San Fran originated Summer of Love .
Trying to be American in this original way always has an old-school ring to it, as in Paul Kantner’s
The essential reality of America – its ontology – is suppressed by a state-machine that might as well be from Mars (see Carpenter’s They Live! In Chaykin’s American Flagg! The Plex is based on Mars). The psychosis of America is that, in a society of pleasure and reason it is no longer possible to be American in the old sense. To be frank, the only way is to commit suicide, the implacable state cannot be defeated. As with Korvac (Weird 8), within the superpower is an inbuilt death wish.
One way out of this impasse is to adopt the old folk-beatnik mantra, not peacenik but just vaguely country-bumpkin. The countryside contains earthly rhythms that facilitate music and understanding of bodily rhythms. Not biorhythms, just the flow of rough, coarse fabric on hardened muscular figures – male and female (see And God Created..). Remember, Levi jeans were originally cowboy ware.
Countryside rhythms evoke the cycles of life and death; blood is spilled on a daily basis. It is the great unknown that powers the great rhythms and cycles of nature. Acknowledging this is a type of catharsis; one lusts for life while recognizing the power of “the other side”. The death of something is the harbinger of something new – hope. Old folk songs like The Deserter (13) quite often carry the sense of fate delayed – or of a fate worse than death. On the Liege and Lief album the song MattyGroves tells of a cuckolded Lord and has the lines
"I'd rather a kiss from dead Matty's lips than you or your finery" and " bury my lady at the top for she was of noble kin"
Vulgarity and death are very powerful and almost darkly comic aspects of old songs. Intricate choral harmonies can evoke quite a hammer-blow of recognition in the psyche. The Deserter does that to me with its rhythm and counter-rhythm. 60s folk-rocker Cat Stevens is another master at playing intricate rhythms of sorrowful yearning and, being of a spiritual, questful nature, I suppose it comes naturally. Come to that, Abba and Country music generally have that reputation.
The countryside evokes the rhythms of the spirit. In America this is the country that has been stolen by “government men”, ego-crazed automatons of a social order that is death to the natural spirit. Yes, because like Korvac (Weird 8), ultimate social order is not life, it is emptiness, meaninglessness. It is a death-wish, and that is the hidden psychosis laid bare by powerful personalities of the likes of Zappa and Kantner, Slick and even Cat Stevens.
These guys aren’t anti-American by any means. They are yearning and somewhat sorrowful, whether that’s done by means of vulgarity or natural spirit (Slick’s Aerie). There is another America out there, somewhere.