Saturday, December 5, 2015

Further on Borges’ “Poet’s Creed”

In thinking further about the poem “Beautiful,” I don't really believe I was being prescient, but the image of the poem, occurring a day before the San Bernardino shooting was strange enough to take note of.  And yes, I have been describing what goes on much as you say with words and images flitting through my mind.  You don't quite say that, but in my case and perhaps the cases of other poets it is more pronounced, more insistent.  The incidence of madness in poets is rather high and I've often wondered if perhaps it was caused by a misinterpreting, misusing or resisting insistence of this kind.  I acknowledge this "insistence" for what it is (or what I conceive it to be) and write.  The actual writing is as though there were an obligation or duty that was being fulfilled.  My disagreement with Borges was due to his describing the poetic process as something entirely a product of his conscious mind.

If someone argues that something goes on that is common to all mankind then that application would result in something like Freud's "unconscious" -- matters back there that we don't have access to and which may or may not become evident by future actions or beliefs -- something like R. G. Collingwood's "constellation of presuppositions" which we mistakenly assume to be truth common to all mankind but is in reality the effects of unique teachings and experiences that we have incorporated as we grow.

So then the poet:  has he become such as a result as his own constellation of presuppositions or has something a little different occurred, something that opens him up to a mental activity and forces that are not common to all mankind -- that only occur in a tiny sliver of mankind that create or become vessels of a creative activity that they cooperate with -- or that they reject or misuse at their peril.

I've been struggling through episodes of the Amazon-produced series "Hand of God" in which a corrupt judge becomes convinced that God is speaking to him through his son who is in a coma.  The voice the judge hears turns out to be accurate; so the viewer can't completely dismiss him as crazy.  Something else is going on.  Either it is a series of coincidences that allows him to pick out people guilty of the crime he is trying to solve (and punish) or there is something like what you describe -- facts in the Judge's mind that have been jumbled up and not accessible except through the (imagined) voice of his comatose son.  I say "struggling" because it is unpleasant to watch -- the judge is being "duped" by the leaders of a Charismatic-type church and we must watch their goings-on -- as well as the goings-on of other corrupt or twisted people, but I have only a few episodes left -- I want to find out what the voices mean (if the writers of the series eventually tell us).  I doubt that there will be a second season.

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