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June 05, 2010

Change, and its basics: Nova ex veteris

W.C. Williams (1883-1963)

But the trick in mid-2010 is to think new but fast. Change in human thinking likely occurs in the extraordinary moments of the most ordinary, the most "dumbed down", and the least enlightened times--but only if you add some painful "stressors". We've got all those.

And regarding ordinary and dumbed down. My travels have convinced me of this: despite the love and light that struggle to shine through in every human being I meet, we a truly "devo". Five hundred years from now, we will be referred to as living in the Age of Human Spam. We hide, rationalize and cower. We are desperate to conform the lowest and most common form of activity. We have not learned anything from our old men or from history. We have no genuine class--we don't even want it. Very few of our children are "special"; most of them are educational failures, sloths and cultural retards. The self-esteem thing backfired. The best these kids will contribute is a masterful command of Cliff Notes.

If T.S. Eliot were alive today, chances are good that a misanthropic stroke, heart attack or other breakdown would have prevented his completion of "The Hollow Men". We not only love mediocrity, we compete on it, and for it. On standards alone, Eliot would have flipped out on this planet right now.

So much for sweetness, light and puppies from me today. But June 5, 2010 certainly qualifies as our extraordinary moment in this the most dumbed down of all human times. That's wonderful. An opportunity. This Saturday morning, three problems with "no end in sight"--nearly everyone (including elites) with less money, global political tensions, and the Gulf oil spill (day 47) with no end in sight and too close for anyone's comfort--might amount to the right formula.

This is the way the world begins. My fellow suits call it a new paradigm. Poets have called it lots of mysterious--if less goofy and annoying--things. William Carlos Williams called it a New Mind, and Dr. Williams thought of it as "the cure". He wrote that

unless there is
a new mind there cannot be a new
line, the old will go on
repeating itself with recurring

without invention
nothing lies under the witch-hazel

(By the word "invention" Williams did not mean a better mouse trap or a new widget.)

So what do you do? You pick the New Mind you want everyone else to have--and get to work. Chances are your peers are thinking the same thing.

We say whip it.

Posted by JD Hull at June 5, 2010 11:59 PM


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