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I am not sure Czeslaw Milosz and I agree on hope.

August 20, 2011 \am\31 11:37 am

When you are feeling quite hopeless the decision to read ‘On Hope’ seems wise and large. Milosz seems like a good oracle for how to get better, he worked through much trauma and explained much tragedy.

Still, I do not think that I am garnering hope from this:

The fate of civilization– the only one for others have lost the game– is not comforting, and that us why some poets are now zealous readers of Nostradamus’ apocalyptic prophecies. When looking for hope, we must return to the internal dynamic responsible for having brought us to this precise point. Things begin to look strange once we reflect on the notions of “health” and “decay,” both of which seem to be highly misleading. Time was out of joint not only for Hamlet but for Shakespeare as well, and it would be difficult to maintain that he exaggerated the case. In fact, by the sixteenth century, the modern era was already at its beginnings, with all the good and evil it was to bring. Since that time, poets have tended to visualize an order located somewhere else, in a different place or time. Such longing, by its nature eschatological, is directed now against every “here and now” and becomes one of the forces contributing to incessant change. Is this decay? It undoubtedly is, if it means an inability to relate to existing forms. One may advance the hypothesis that what happens in the West is similar to the processes initiated in an organism by bacteria which are indispensable to its proper functioning. It is possible that the Western branch of civilization disintegrates because it creates, and creates because it disintegrates. The fate of Kierkegaard’s philosophy may serve as an example. It grew out of the disintegrations occurring within Christianity, in any case within Protestantism; in turn, his reading of Kierkegaard seems to have influenced Niels Bohr, creator of the quantum theory of the atom.

It is possible that we are witnessing a kind of race between lifegiving and the destructive activity of civilization’s bacteria, and that an unknown result awaits in the future. No computer will be able to calculate so many pros and cons– thus a poet with his intuition remains one strong, albeit uncertain, source of knowledge.



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