I've been reading Henry Miller again. Sexus at the moment. Read it many years ago, but I'm recycling. What an odd juxtaposition of philosophy and pornography. He must be the first writer to put the words "cunt" and "Lao Tzu" on the same page. No wonder he got himself into so much trouble.
Which brings to mind the erotica seminar at the recent CanWrite conference...I couldn't stay for the whole thing, or even most of it. But I did have one observation. All the panelists were women. Why is that? Women write erotica and men write pornography?
At least I was able to hear that we've all gotten past the "throbbing member" and "heaving bosom" stage. Apparently. On the other hand, I did happen to overhear the panelists discussing (before the session started) how hard it was to read out loud in public words like "nipples" and "blow job".
But that's not really what I meant to write about. Here's a quote from the "First American Publication" of Sexus, the Black Cat paperback, which must have employed amateur or semi-literate typesetters or lazy proofreaders...either that or they were so preoccupied looking for the sexy bits they forgot to pay attention to integrity of the manuscript...Anyway, p. 270 of the paperback:
The world has not to be put in order: the world is order incarnate. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order, to know what is the world order in contradistinction to the wishful-thinking orders which we seek to impose on one another.I don't know enough about Miller's life to know whether he really believed this or not. Seems to me anyone with a modicum of wisdom eventually learns this. But knowing and practising are two different things. And don't I know that...?
Knowing and practising...What Miller says here has actually been percolating in my brain for a couple of months. I think it's mostly what is wrong with the world today. We're beset by fanatics everywhere who insist on having everyone do things the way they would like to see them done. Nobody wants to mind their own business anymore. We're all too busy minding everyone else's business. And so we go from a concept of government (for example) in which people freely band together in order to promote the common weal, the greatest good for the greatest number, to a seriously anal nanny-state which has the temerity to say "You'd better start eating fruits and vegetables instead of french fries or we might have to exclude you from any sort of health care..."! ie. we don't like your lifestyle, therefore, we're going to make it illegal. I begin to understand what the Michigan Militia is on about....
OK. So maybe I really am an anarchist at heart. And why I was so attracted at the tender age of 15 to Marx's idea of the withering of the state.
Yep, everybody wants things ordered to suit themselves. And so they begin to meddle. There should be a 12 Step program for compulsive meddlers. Probably every politician alive could be a member. You know, one of the slogans is Live and Let Live...
Of course, if you're a Buddhist, you maybe realize that this is a congenital condition. You take what is and organize it by means of the senses and sense consciousnesses...you organize it to suit yourself. You perceive it this way and no longer see what is. Rather, you see an interpretation of what is. One step removed from reality.
Ah, but knowing and practising...Here's what I want to get at...see, the next step, of which I have been egregiously guilty in recent months, is that what we do next is take our interpretation of what is and try to order that to suit ourselves. By now we're twice removed from reality! How many times have I set rules about the way things should be? And nobody seems to be listening! And when you come up against the intractability of reality, the invariable tendency of reality to be precisely what it is, all the way down to coffee grounds on the kitchen counter...the utter impossibility of lining up all the condiments in a perfect row just because you say so...what happens? You get angry. Thus is born the meddler! The self-righteous arranger. The warmonger. The dictator. The abuser.
How does that saying go? "If you want serenity, resign as manager of the universe."