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.
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.”
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.