Mapplethorpe Rimbaud 1500

because it takes a lot of energy and verve to be corrupt and evil

THE LOSTNESS OF MAN! The text below is taken from an ar­ticle ti­tled “Bam. Bam. Bam. The Lost­ness of Man” by Jason Flores Williams for Truthout (No­vember 9, 2013). While I don’t agree with every­thing Williams says, I can’t re­ally pro­duce much of an ar­gu­ment against it. It’s not a pretty read—in fact, it’s down­right scary at times!

In places, it rings with the sound and feel of po­etry as Rim­baud en­vi­sioned it. Okay, maybe I am hy­per­bolizing, but I highly rec­om­mend clicking on over and reading it in its en­tirety. I have been rather lib­eral in the way that I laid out Williams’s text, making it ap­pear more like the prose-pose of Rim­baud:

“The major issue faced by hu­manity is not that man is cor­rupt or evil, be­cause it takes a lot of en­ergy and verve to be cor­rupt and evil, but that man is such a pas­sive dis­ap­point­ment. The great frus­tra­tion of the human con­di­tion is that some­thing should be hap­pening when there is little of any­thing hap­pening at all.

The streets should be filled with protests;
the in­sti­tu­tions under the with­er­ingly dan­gerous at­tack of dis­sent;
the pow­erful living in con­stant fear of being thrown into the gut­ters of time with their pants down around their an­kles;
the people in a con­stant state of up­rising against
the sti­fling pu­tres­cence of civ­i­liza­tion,
the sti­fling pu­tres­cence of sys­tem­ati­za­tion,
the sti­fling pu­tres­cence of them­selves.

But we are so far re­moved from even asking a good ques­tion that words like this come off as ab­surd.

We are trapped in melan­choly dreams, dark fairy tales and the end­less anx­iety.
Al­ways the anx­iety.
Dreadful anx­iety.
The ter­rible in­sipid good-naturedness of this gray and dying world.

Why? Why keep going? Why wake up to­morrow? Nothing has changed, as it was when I was 20; it is now at 43.

Through the window I can see the day fading and the coming of the night in a way that speaks to nothing. There is no po­etry in it. And if there is, it would be be­yond the reaches of my flat and life­less mind.

The story of this life, this country, this world is a his­tory of fal­sity mas­querading as knowl­edge. We are muted ex­plo­sions of failed and re­jected prayers. Five thou­sand years of culture—a hungry child screaming on the kitchen floor banging pots and pans.

Bam. Bam. Bam.

We are not ro­bots, as one man said. We are the ones who may have walked away down that long, narrow street of smoke, steam and as­phalt but are somehow still within earshot,
still within that faded dis­tance of memory,
waiting to be called,
des­perate for that one word of au­then­ticity that aligns us with the lib­er­a­tion of our being
.”

 

Corrupt: photo titled "A Season in Hell, by Arthur Rimbaud" by Robert Mapplethorpe from 1986.

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is A Season in Hell, by Arthur Rim­baud by Robert Map­plethorpe from 1986. This ar­ticle was orig­i­nally posted in 2013 as “it takes a lot of en­ergy and verve to be cor­rupt and evil.” I have changed the type­face to make it more read­able, and added the Map­plethorpe im­ages to make it more at­trac­tive.


 

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