Friday, October 24, 2014

What Al "Don't Make a Sisyphus" Camus Told Me Before He Died

Reflections on ModPo, Aloneness vs. Loneliness, and the Creative Urge

If History has taught me anything, it is that I know nothing of things future, and next to nothing about this moment. Yet not being accredited academically in the fields of Psychology, Sociology, or Art does not pressure me to disqualify myself as an able spokesman to reflect and report, credibly, from whatever depth of knowledge, experience and intuition that the past has deposited upon myself; gravity being the only force that can lay a thinking man low, and keep him there, and even then with visible exceptions to the rule.

I read once, at the tail-end of the book, The Pursuit of Loneliness,* that "One could also make this argument for art: if our emotional life were not so impoverished by the sacrifices we make to utility, we would not need art to enrich it, See The Glory of Hera,** pp. 463-464." The author of these words was referring the reader from Freud's, Civilization and Its Discontents*** to a work of his own for further clarification and perhaps emphasis, or possibly another reason, it doesn't matter. The important point is that what I had read would only be true, if I chose then, or choose now, personally, to accept its validity.

Fully more than forty years after reading the above quoted I haven't decided whether to accept it as true, but whether I ever accept it has no bearing on the unchanging line, but much to say about myself and that line's effect on me throughout the intervening years. I read it: therefore I am what I am: Popeye, the reader.

Since I was once asked to say something about what I think is the difference between the state of "aloneness" and that of "loneliness", I believe that the preceding example of my capability for slow thought processing demonstrates, effectively, how I came to accept, by strictly subjective means, that "Loneliness" is being without a companion, thus possibly lonely, devoid, or dejected, and is not the same thing as being in the condition of "Aloneness" which means being in a desired place, e.g., consciously meditative, contemplative, but in some way busily engaged in separation, by personal choice, from others. I cannot see why the difference isn't readily apparent, but anything containing the word "lone" seems to immediately spark unwanted sympathy from onlookers and listeners. What I have concluded in this paragraph is true only if, as I've said before, if I accept its validity by means of the TAPI (The Applied Popeye Imperative) and I do.

Now, Etta James, ("Metaphors be with you")**** to relate the foregoing riff with ModPo and the urge to create.

To begin, I will again quote from The Pursuit of Loneliness, "I would like to suggest three human desires that are deeply and uniquely frustrated by American culture:

(1) The desire for community--the wish to live in trust and fraternal cooperation with one's fellows in a total and visible collective entity.

(2) The desire for engagement--the wish to come directly to grips with social and interpersonal problems and to confront on equal terms an environment which is not composed of ego-extensions.

(3) The desire for dependence--the wish to share responsibility for the control of one's impulses and the direction of one's life."

Using the TAPI, explained above, I contend that ModPo counteracts, and indeed, alleviates these frustrations in varying degrees. These counteractions and alleviations are governed by my powerful, but entirely discretionary willingness to give and forgive, and my barely controllable feral urge to participate in acts of creation. This is what ModPo and I bring to each other. For better or for verse, Popeye, alone, must decide.

   *P.E. Slater,    The Pursuit of Loneliness (Boston: Beacon Press, 1970), p. 154
  **_______,     The Glory of Hera (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968), pp. 463-464
 ***S. Freud,    Civilization and Its Discontents (London: Hogarth, 1953), pp. 46-48
****A. Wolf,    Immersed in Verse (New York: Lark Books, 2006), p. 33

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