Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dark Side of the World

“My future lies in back of me...”
--Ashford & Simpson’s “Dark Side of the World,” as sung by Diana Ross

“I can't go on, I'll go on.”
--Samuel Beckett’s “The Unnamable”

My own thoughts:

Certain cultures are able to encourage our ambitions, and fulfill out hopes; and other cultures frustrate them, make them improbable if not impossible.

Sometimes we are encouraged to substitute principles for our preferences, which could be a form of discipline or self-betrayal.

The desire for self-protection can lead to self-marginalization. The unhealthiness of isolation is something that becomes more pronounced with time. It really affects one’s perspective and spirit. It affects what seems important and urgent. One can begin to mistake the personal for the universal, the trivial for the significant. Self-marginalization leads to self-destruction.

I have thought of different kinds of writing as useful, valuable, but the fact is that certain kinds of writing are privileged and other kinds are taken for granted. Often essays and reviews are ways of claiming aspects of the world, of culture, but it is fiction and poetry that are more often (and, more deeply) claimed by the world, by culture, and even that literature does not have the power it held in the past. It’s painful to do work that you value but come to find has little or no presence in the life of others and yields no practical rewards.