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If this is related to consciousness, it provides an intellectual framework in which we can understand the mind acting on matter. Quantum mechanics is astonishing because it’s not causal. It just happens. Maybe the mind is acausal. Maybe the mind is non-algorithmic. I don’t want you to take this very seriously. It’s just Stu Kauffman getting old and thinking weird things. But it may be true. And even if my arguments are right, it still doesn’t tell us what consciousness is. I don’t have any idea. Nor does anybody else, including the philosophers of mind. 

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There are probably whole Johns Hopkins U. Press books to be written on the lallating function that humor serves in today’s US psyche. A crude way to put the whole thing is that our present culture is, both developmentally and historically, adolescent. And since adolescence is acknowledged to be the single most stressful and frightening period of human development – the stage when the adulthood we claim to crave begins to present itself as a real and narrowing system of responsibilities and limitations (taxes, death) and when we yearn inside for a return to the same childish oblivion we pretend to scorn * – it’s not difficult to see why we as a culture are so susceptible to art and entertainment whose primary function is escape, i.e. fantasy, adrenaline, spectacle, romance, etc. Jokes are a kind of art, and because most of us Americans come to art now essentially to escape ourselves – to pretend for a while that we’re not mice and walls are parallel and the cat can be outrun – it’s understandable that most of us are going to view “A LIttle Fable” as not all that funny, or maybe even see it as a repulsive instance of the exact sort of downer-type death-and-taxes reality for which “real” humor serves as a respite.

* (Do you think it’s a coincidence that college is when many Americans do their most serious fucking and falling-down drinking and generally ecstatic Dionysian-type reveling? It’s not. College students are adolescents, and they’re terrified, and they’re dealing with their terror in a distinctively US way. Those naked boys hanging upside-down out of their frat house’s windows on Friday night are simply trying to buy a few hours’ escape from the grim adult stuff that any decent school has forced them to think about all week.)

– David Foster Wallace, footnote in “Some Remarks on Kafka’s Funniness”

All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even.
Watch it sprout.

A mind like compost.

–Gary Snyder

Writing to you from rural Japan…


Kerouac Poster

Originally uploaded by dreamingyakker.

Here is what I deemed the best of Kerouac. His writing lends itself well to this form.

The High Sierra of California is a really incredible book I must say – incredible in both a visual sense and a literary sense. Puts a quiver in your heart as bedtime reading. It’s inspiring me to get to the Sierras this summer and/or next year. It includes writings by Muir and Snyder, as well as beautiful woodblock prints by an artist whose name alludes me at the moment. Definitely worth a read.

the fog thunders – we put
silver light on face – we
took the heroes in – a billion
years ain’t nothing

Write what you want bottomless from bottom of mind
You’re a genius all the time
Writer-director of Earthly movies sponsored

I want to be considered a jazz poet
blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam
session on Sunday. It take 242 choruses;
my ideas vary and sometimes roll from
chorus to chorus or from halfway through
a chorus to halfway into the next.

music is noise, poetry dirt

fifty pesos
3 cheers forever
It’s beautiful to be comfortable
Nirvana here I am

I demand that the human race cease multiplying its kind and bow out. I advise it.

I curse and rant nowadays because I don’t want to have to work to make a living and do childish work for other men (any lout can move a board from hither to yonder) but I’d rather sleep all day and stay up all night scrubbling these visions of the world which is only an ethereal flower of the world, the coal, the chute, the fire and ashes all, imaginary blossoms.

Artist or no artist, I can’t pass up a piece of fried chicken when I see it, compassion or no compassion for the fowl.

The central entire essence of which is dazzling radiant blissful ecstasy unending, the unbelievable truth that cracks open my head like an oyster.

I’d rather but thin than famous – but I’m fat
paste that in yr. Broadway show

by Gary Snyder, whose birthday was the 9th. 76!

I went into the Maverick Bar 
In Farmington, New Mexico. 
And drank double shots of bourbon 
		backed with beer. 
My long hair was tucked up under a cap 
I'd left the earring in the car. 

Two cowboys did horseplay 
		by the pool tables, 
A waitress asked us 
		where are you from? 
a country-and-western band began to play 
"We don't smoke Marijuana in Muskokie" 
And with the next song, 
		a couple began to dance. 

They held each other like in High School dances 
		in the fifties; 
I recalled when I worked in the woods 
		and the bars of Madras, Oregon.
That short-haired joy and roughness –
		America – your stupidity. 
I could almost love you again. 

We left--onto the freeway shoulders--
		under the tough old stars-- 
In the shadow of bluffs 
		I came back to myself, 
To the real work, to 
		"What is to be done."

by Gary Snyder

One of my favorites.

— 300,000,000— 

First a sea: soft sands, muds, and marls 
	— loading, compressing, heating, crumpling, 
	crushing, recrystallizing, infiltrating, 
several times lifted and submerged, 
intruding molten granite magma 
	deep-cooled and speckling, 
		gold quartz fills the cracks— 

— 80,000,000— 

sea-bed strata raised and folded, 
	granite far below. 
warm quiet centuries of rains 
	(make dark red tropic soils) 
	wear down two miles of surface, 
lay bare the veins and tumble heavy gold 
	in streambeds 
		slate and schist rock-riffles catch it – 
volcanic ash floats down and dams the streams, 
	piles up the gold and gravel— 

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by Gregory Corso (excerpt)

The rain
How it rings
     the chopped streets
     the umbrellad bicycles
     the tires of cars
And the trees
How they terrace it
and the roofs
How they avalanche it
   So dark and so sog!
yet how lovely
          the feel of it
     and the sound!: Peet
   please pit peet please pit