Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged life

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You can enjoy something without having to comprehend it. You can appreciate a melody without knowing what notes it consists of. You don’t need to “get” me or what I do. I’m not here to be understood, I’m here to be experienced. I’m not here to impress you. I’m here to party with you…

What’s all the rest of this madness for otherwise? What are all our ceaseless efforts for if not to earn us moments of pure euphoria and elation? Are we not meant to be in a state of energized enthusiasm about our own existence? Isn’t that an evolutionary survival technique anyway — so that we want to stay alive and press on — because we have joy to look forward to? I’m pretty sure that the end result of all our work, all our battling, and all our pain and suffering isn’t to see how serious and grim we can be. The darker the world, the more we must increase our efforts to stay in the light — and to defend that light from the encroaching shadow. If there is such a thing as evil, it wants nothing more than to have us believe that feeling joy is wrong.

We must be brave enough to wholeheartedly deny all the forces working to crush our spirit. We must not let devastation and death remove the joy from life. Existence is confusing and challenging enough as it is. Taking it too seriously and removing the few opportunities for unadulterated cheerfulness does not alleviate us of this burden — it weighs us down further and saps our strength until all we can do is plod along towards the void without any relief. The more appropriate response to life is to remain at play and in awe, not to mock the severity of our collective plight, but to truly stay engaged in the bewildering and ferocious grandeur of this adventure we’re on together. Whether we like it or not, we were all invited to this party and we must work to have the best time we can while we’re all here.

Having the strength to smile, to stay close to joy, and to stay close to each other will see us through our darkest and most challenging ordeals. It’s not as easy as being glum and cold, but it’s worth the extra effort. Believing that joy is wrong is the most violent disrespect to our inherent nature as loving, pleasure seeking creatures. Let us elevate ourselves and embrace our highest and mightiest capacity for happiness. This life is our chance to unleash as much joy onto the world as we can. Let us make that joy together. Let us cheer each other up and cheer each other on. Let us party and party as hard as we can. After all, we can’t save the world in a bad mood.

Musician and all-around great dude Andrew W.K. answering a reader’s criticism that his belief in partying makes it difficult to take him seriously.

The whole response is beautiful. This is particularly poignant this week:

The darker the world, the more we must increase our efforts to stay in the light — and to defend that light from the encroaching shadow.

Never think you’re insignificant, my friends. You’re all invited to party with me.

Filed under Andrew W.K. partying philosophy existence bring joy life Village Voice

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America

by Allen Ginsberg

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for
murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over
from Russia.

I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and
twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.

America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his
automobiles more so they’re all different sexes
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party
was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have
been a spy.
America you don’re really want to go to war.
America it’s them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. her wants our
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts
factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

Filed under Poetry Allen Ginsberg Love life America belief Communism politics American injustice