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Tuesday, January 27, 2004




‘The number 12 has its equivalent in the Hebrew letter Lamed. Heydon classes it as indifferent. It is generally regarded as a number of material suffering, although esteemed perfect and holy by the ancients, who named it ‘Grace and Perfection.’

From: NUMBERS – Their meaning and magic – By Isidore Kozminsky – Rider Books

Piled on top of my desk rests a stack of books. Some of them are crisp and scarcely read- others are scarred by the threadmarks of time –musty and oozing oblivion. The books- ten paperbacks and two hardcovers- which I combined for this post represent a physical weight of 4 Kgs. From the accumulated intellectual- and spiritual capital represented by these publications and its assorted authors- I filtered a blend of aphorisms, insights, tribulations and amuses which echo my current existential status quo.


-The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The priviliged, the homeless, the Teacher,
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.-


Read by the poet on the Inauguration of William Jefferson Clinton
20 January 1993


Playboy: ‘Could you talk a bit more about the relationship between a man and this God who is still involved in discovering His own natur’e?

Norman Mailer: ‘In capsule: There are times when he has to exploit us; there are times when we have to exploit Him; there are times when he has to drive us beyond our own natural depth because He needs us – those of us, at least, who are working for Him: We have yet to talk of the Devil. But a man who talks of his religion is not to be trusted. Who knows – I may be working for the Devil. In fact, I sometimes suspect every novelist is a Devil’s helper. The ability to put an eye to your own heart is icy.’

Excerpts from Playboy – From: THE ESSENTIAL MAILER – By Norman Mailer – New English Library


‘I have a feeling that Pandora’s box is the mysteries of woman’s sensuality, so different from man’s and for which man’s language is inadequate. The language of sex has yet to be invented. The language of the senses is yet to be explored.’

‘THE JOURNALS OF ANAIS NIN’ – Volume Three- february 1941- Quartet Books


‘...given the right set and setting, the drugs can induce religious experiences indistinquishable from ones that occur spontaneuosly. Nor need set and setting be exceptional. The way the statistics are currently running, it looks as if from one-fourth to one-third of the general population will have religious experiences if they take the drugs under naturalistic conditions, meaning by this conditions in which the researcher supports the subject but doesn't try to influence the direction his experience will take. Among subjects who have strong religious inclinations to begin with, the proportion of those having religious experiences jumps to three-quarters. If they take them in settings which are religious, too, the ratio soars to nine out of ten.’

Dr. Huston Smith, Professor of Philosophy at MIT, summarizing the peculiar power of psychedelic drugs.

From: PSYCHEDELICS ENCYCLOPEDIA – By Peter Stafford – And/Or Press


‘I reached Marseilles, hurled through France, without passing more than a night even at Paris, and sailed for New York in a Havre steamer. In less than a month after I stepped from the broken columns which lie about the landing place of Beirut, I was strolling under the elms of my native city in Connecticut. The spell was broken by this time, and its shackles fallen altogether both from mind and body.’

From: THE DRUG EXPERIENCE – The Hasheesh Eater – Edited by David Ebin – Grove Press


‘I have always found the gargantuan dichotomy between what we find sexually arousing in the abstract and who we actually want to sleep with to be, frankly, frightening-and I assume this gap will only grow as time and technology make all sorts of fantasy lives possible and accesible. I find this particularly disturbing when the persona of the depressed woman is involved, because in real life, while plenty of men have a Jesus complex and want desperately to rescue the sad-eyed lady of the lowlands immortalized in song, for the most part most guys who are emotionally stable enough to actually be purposefully involved with a woman breaking down have the good sense just to keep away.’

From: BITCH – By Elizabeth Wurtzel – Quartet Books


‘When fascism flaunts the corporative ideal it is no more sincere than when it talks of peace. And in any case, what is called a corporative regime nowadays has nothing at all in common with the ancient guilds or corporations. Anti-fascism, too, may one day adopt the same slogan and, under cover of it, lapse into a totalitarian form of State capitalism. A true corporative regime will only develop in a social soil that is spiritually prepared for it.’

A War of Religions – Essay by Simone Weil

From: CONTRASTS – Edited by Dennis DeNitto and Daniel Leary - MacMillan


‘When Anton Mesmer set to work to cure people by mesmerism he thought he was gifted with a special magnetic quality which could control themagnetic forces of the universe. He thought that sick people were suffering because of a disturbance of the ‘universal fluid’ by means of which the influence of the stars reached human beings and in which all matter was immersed. To cure them he used a caldron with iron handles which they held with one hand while they clasped each other with the other. Mesmer flourished a magnetic wand with which he believed (he was probably sincere) that he could set the universal fluid right again and thereby return the patients to the health-giving influence of their proper stars. In spite of all this melodrama, some of his patients were cured.’

From: THE UNKNOWN – Is it Nearer? – By Eric J. Dingwall an d John Langdon-Davies – Signet Books


‘I will examine the legend or tradition that there has been, since before the dawn of history, a group of wise men, or ‘Masters’ who have watched over the destiny of mankind and have intervened form time to time to avert calamity or to change the course of events by injecting new modes of thought corresponding to the needs of a changing age.’

‘No one who met Gurdjieff face to face doubted that he was an extraordinary man. Those who knew him best were convinced that he was a very great man and many believed that he had a very great mission. I have been struck, however, both in reading books about Gurdjieff and in hearing people who knew him, speak about him, by the tendency to treat him as an isolated phenomenon, unique and self-sufficient. He himself emphatically refuted such suggestions. I have more than once heard him say: ‘Every man must have a teacher. Even I, Gurdjieff, have my teacher.’

From: GURDJIEFF – making a New World – by J G Bennett – Turnstone Books


‘The tailor as lover-substitute was a not uncommon literary figure of an ambigeous, picaresque kind. In order to introduce himself to his mistress’ home, a lover might adopt all sorts of disguises; that of physician or tailor allowed him to take peculiar liberties with the person of the beloved. In life, be it noted, staymaking like tailoring was a male preserve; the couturieres, permitted to form a seperate guild in 1675, were expressly forbidden to do anything to stays but embroider them. The Parlement recommended their admission to the craft on the grounds that some ladies did not like to be dressed by men, which suggests that staymakers were feared to be in the habit of taking liberties with their clients while fitting them.’

The Corset as Erotic Alchemy – By david Kunzle

From: WOMAN AS SEX OBJECT – Studies in Erotic Art 1730-1970 – Edited by Thomas B. Hess & Linda Nochlin – Penquin Books


‘They now marched him from the jail, their stong arms supporting his terror stricken limbs, but no man reviled him with his tongue, and I saw no cowardly hand strike him. Soon they came to a group of trees on the outskirts of the town, and, choosing the largest of these, they threw the rope’s end over its strongest branch, the prisoner at the same time crying for mercy, and trying to throw his body full on the ground. When this was done a dozen hands caught the rope’s end, made one quick jerk, and the prisoner’s body was struggling in the air. Then all these men shouldered their guns, fired one volley, and in a second the body was hanging lifeless with a hundred shots. In five minutes after this, nothing but the corpse remained to tell of what had occurred, the men having quietly scattered towards their homes.’

From: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SUPER-TRAMP – by W. H. Davies – Oxford University Press


‘Yogis starve their needs to death. I feed mine dreams. I put them asleep, but they always awaken again and try to move me about like a puppet on their strings. I am a white man, a civilized man, like you and all white men. The need to live close to God, the necessity, in other words, that breeds the certainty in our breasts that God exists, has been washed from our genes through history. Unlike you and most men, my despair of God drives me from even the ritual conventions of religion, because, unlike others, I do not feel the necessity within me of social conventions that respect the dead. Unlike modern white men, philosophers, who despair of God, my despair does not drive me to the existential a c t of belief.’

From: IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST – Letters from Prison - by Jack Henry Abbott – Vintage Books


posted by Walter at 1/27/2004