CALL FOR ANOTHER RENAISSANCE

 I, Sir Tijn Po, believe it is time for another Renaissance, much like the Italian one a half a millennium ago. The 20th Century effectively destroyed all previous notions and appreciations; we are now surrounded by, and are, shattered particles of previous masterworks. While I appreciate and feel liberated by their efforts, I refuse to remain a wriggling, gasping particle. I want to join as many fellow particles as possible and start creating new mosaics. Perhaps some will resemble old masterpieces – just as the first Renaissance occasionally resembled its ancient Greek models. But it is time, I believe, to create new beauty and pleasure which will make this past century look like a (perhaps justified and necessary) second Dark Age.

Last century needed those wise and courageous Artists and Thinkers to articulate the problems, threats, hypocrisies, etc. But now – perhaps due to their successful efforts, but also due to the exaggeration of current pathos and absurdity – these need no longer be articulated; they are clear to any dim-wit. And whoever doesn’t see them clearly by now, won’t see them after any further prompting.

Thus, we need only find and create beauty, light, love, etc. If anyone has any specific solutions to the current plethora of tragedies, I certainly think they should be articulated – even if they only be poetic notions. But just pointing out the black troubles is useless and annoying, though it be easy and profitable.

This new Renaissance, however, will not be contained within the borders of any one nation or country, but will be the product of that small hungry percentage which you find everywhere.

BIRDS AND THE BEES REVISITED

The sad Child asked his Father, ‘Why did you make me, Daddy? Especially since you knew the odds against me being happy!’

And the Father replied, ‘Well, son, I didn’t really make you. Every atom of your being existed long before my efforts. Some in my testicles, some in your mother’s ovaries, some in the food she ate and fed your fetus, some in the food which became her milk, some in the hay which the cows used to fertilize the cereal you’re eating right now…

‘All I did was put them together in the form of you…

‘Had I not done so, the water you drank may have well become blossom-crushing rain; the apples you ate may have suffered long, slow-rotting deaths, or may have been fed to a sad horse trapped in a circus…

‘Remember the time you made a snowman, and spared the snow from trampling, dirtying, indifferent feet? That’s all I did when I made you (bringing together eternally painful molecules in one specific form as opposed to another)…

‘Let’s see what happens. Perhaps you’ll beat the odds and be happy after all!’

And the Child said, ‘I’ll try me best, Daddy!’

And the Father replied, ‘And I’ll try my best to help you!’

And the Child said, ‘I love you, Daddy!’

And the Father replied, ‘I love you too, sweetie. More than anything in the world!’

SHAKESPEARE

The original ‘Slick Willie’,
Had some nice jokes and ornamentation…

But all of the best of his ouvre,
Can be reduced to two simple points:

1) Humans are capable of every degree of cruelty, hypocrisy, and deception;

2) You never know who is who, i.e., humans are quite capable disguisers.

OK…

Valid points, I guess, which could be surprising and useful for some humans…

But no other major breakthroughs, insights or aspirations to speak of,
Neither in the Folios, nor his Sonatios…

MINUTIA

The value in articulating the subtlest nuance of an emotion, or occurrence, lies in giving the appreciator the pleasure of knowing that they are not alone, the knowledge that you also felt, and were aware of, and cared enough to articulate, and document, that nuance.

There is, of course, also the charm of being able to demonstrate your ability, i.e., that it’s impressive to the viewer to see that you were able to catch and articulate that detail. No small feat! But aside from the impressiveness factor, there is also the companionship factor.

And then there is also the collector/archivist element, where you want to have as a great a collection as possible – like the ideal insect or beetle collection – ‘ideal’ usually being defined as having as many different specimen as possible, however slightly or minutely they may differ, without having two of exactly the same.

This also explains the length of Rubber Tricks, which attempts to capture as much of the human experience as possible, including the slightest variations and subtleties, without ever saying the exact same thing twice – every nuance, with no repetition. Also not too unlike mathematical formulas which try to say as much as possible with as little as possible, i.e., with as few formulas as possible and with the simplest formulas possible, with the ultimate goal of one day finding a relatively simple formula that explains everything that we can conceive: The Theory of Everything.

ARISTOTLE’S GENIUS

 This from Aristotle’s POETICS, Chapter XXII:

‘But the greatest thing by far is to have a command of Metaphor. This alone cannot be imparted by another; it is the mark of genius, for to make good metaphors implies an eye for resemblances.’

Look around and see if you can find a greater master of Metaphor than me. And then draw your own conclusion’s about Aristotle’s opinion of my genius.

NOVELS

In my mind there is a constant volcano of Sir Tijn Po juice.

I need only be silent and concentrate in order to experience the essence of that flavor, that very specific stank.

And I really like that stank.

Like most people like theirs.

Biologically programmed to appreciate.

So why pick up a pen and stop the focus and show?

a) To document for my own later re-enjoyment;

b) To capture ideas for future consumption; an unexplainable urge to contribute to the ever-evolving mosaic;

But no time for novels.

Just essences.

And whoever can’t unpack these essences is not worth the distraction necessary to feed them.

SOME QUICK OBJECTIVE PROOF OF MY PHILOSOPHICAL GENIUS

I often tell my groupies that had I had the slightest interest in academia – complete with the steady pay, long vacations, loose students, sabbaticals, etc. – I could have written dry philosophical essays that would have been legendary for millennia to come.

Here’s the proof:

At the first philosophy class I ever attended (in 19, or 1993 according to the better-known system), the professor introduced to the millennia-old Liar’s Paradox (attributed to Eubulides of Miletus). I failed to understand the paradox. When I explained why, my professor whispered to me that he thought I had just solved it and should quickly publish it. I let out a loud laugh at academia and have never looked back since. I’ve since applied my energies to the far more colorful – if less secure – pursuit of my poetic beauty.

The paradox is a follows:

Take the following two sentences, A & B and try to assign a truth value to them, i.e., to say if they are true of false?

A: The following sentence is true.

B: The previous sentence is false.

Now if A is true, then B must be true. But B states that A is false, and if B is true, then A must be false. But that, in turn, makes A false, which makes A true again. So the paradox is, are sentences A & B true or false?

(This Paradox can also work in reverse:

A: The following sentence is false.

B: The previous sentence is true.)

My immediate question (which appears to have solved this ‘mystery’) was as follows:

‘But Mr. Professor, there doesn’t seem to be a logical or linguistic paradox here at all, but rather a series of deceiving gibberish.

You can’t attach a truth value to something that doesn’t exist. So when you start writing ‘The following sentence is…’ and you prepare to add a truth value, you have to analyze that which you’re attributing the truth value to, so you have to wait for the following sentence to appear. But the following sentence can’t appear, since it begins with the words ‘The previous sentence is…’ but the previous sentence doesn’t exist yet, since it’s not finished yet; there is simply no previous sentence to talk about yet.

And if you say that you can have B in your mind while uttering or writing A, so that it already exists while you’re commenting on it in A, that, too, falls apart since the sentence you’re thinking about namely, ‘The previous sentence is false.’ is an absurd sentence, since at the time that you’re thinking it, the ‘previous sentence’ hasn’t even been written yet, and, thus, can’t possible have a truth value yet.

And just like the sentence, ‘The following sentence will smell like a rose.’ can’t be true or false, so, too, the sentences ‘The following sentence will be true.’ or ‘The following sentence will be false.’ can’t be given truth values since they don’t have any logical value.

This doesn’t diminish the value or power of truth values, nor does it provide any logical or linguistic paradox. They’re simply collections of words resembling linguistic sentences, but more suited to the more flexible world of poetry.

If you try to improve the paradox with the following A & B:

A) The following sentence will be true.

B) The previous sentence was false.

or

A) The following sentence will be false.

B) The previous sentence was true.

a very similar solution applies. They get caught in the same kind of circle waiting forever to be completed, and since they are never complete they can never be attributed truth values.

RESOURCEFULNESS

Poets have access to the same stimuli and information as everyone else…

We’re all surrounded by the same cliches, are aware of the same discoveries and ‘News’, have similar vague grasps of the various fields…

The question is what you do with them, how you combine them, which patterns you discover…

Like all having access to the same snow, where some people will make pleasant sculptures, while others will just watch, and gaze, and marvel, and emulate, and comment, and attack, etc.

TALKING POLTICS

Before discussing politics with anyone, you must first know who they consider their family, or at least the circle of people they give the slightest fuck about. For some it’s just themselves, for others it can be themselves and their spouse(s), or parents, or children, or siblings, or community, or nation, or race, or sex, or sexual orientation. For some, it’s all of humanity against the elements, and for some it’s all living creatures – either just animals, or also plants.

If you don’t know who and what the other person gives a fuck about, there is no hope for consensus, since what is a desirable outcome for some is not always so for others, so debating the merits of any rule, policy or situation only makes sense if you are sure you are aiming for the same results.

Film Review for BETTINA*


Q: What do werewolves and Bettina have in common?

A: Shocking metamorphoses that keep your senses sharp, your mind guessing, and your soul immune to the crippling certainties of habit.

But whereas werewolves abound with unpleasant side-effects, Bettina flowers into a glowing miracle of unexpected intelligence, beauty, romance, depth, poetry, love – and perhaps even a slight tinge of cougar-cub eroticism.

When I speak of Bettina I speak both of the artist as well as the eponymous film directed by the young Sam Basset, who also displays some beautiful, unexpected blossoms of his own, albeit not yet equipped with the life’s-worth-of-jewels flowing out of Bettina’s many nooks and crannies.

The beauty of shocks, psychadelics, magic (even when illusory), and the like, are their ability to imbue everything else around us with a sense of wonder just by turning them all into potential surprises. Once one toad turns out to be a prince, all other toads assume princely promise… Once one chemical introduces you to new worlds, all other chemicals assume other-worldly allure… And so it goes, magic luring us to exploration and experimentation…

(The dangers inherent in exploring all possibilities, or in assuming all appearances to be false, are obvious, and these dangers justifiably stunt the exploration process a bit; but even danger can’t completely dampen wonder, fantasy, magneticism, etc.)

Tragically, however, revelations don’t happen often enough and, thus, the magic soon wears off and we slowly slip back into mundane, ritualistic, dry cycles where continuity remains steady, shapes don’t shift, and misanthropic bag-ladies don’t blossom into geysers of genius and inspiration.

Our intelligence – when ‘functional’ – creates patterns on which we rely, and, when not kept in check, begin to coagulate into illusions of concrete. Some beings even start accepting their tastes, fetishes and beliefs as absolutes, or, worst case scenario, as being superior to their contemporaries’. That’s when it’s time for another shock – pleasant or unpleasant – to snap us out of these comatic certainties and reawaken our insecurity, curiosity, and, best case scenario, humility.

Bettina (the film) was one of the most powerful jolts I’ve received in years, and had I not been asked to write a few words about the film, I’d probably have just continued savoring the jolt rather than analyzing it. (Ever analyze an orgasm while experiencing it? It’s certainly possible. I’ve done it. But I wouldn’t recommended it. Better savor the sensation while it lasts, and then analyze the memory…)

Bettina (the artist) provides the jolt, and Sam’s film provides the condensation which successfully intensifies it. And, as if that weren’t enough, Sam sprinkles the film with some of his own poetic and romantic gestures, which not only serve as sweet treats in themselves, but are also genuinely inspiring on a philanthropic, humane level. SHELVES, SHELVES, SHELVES… Sometimes that’s all it takes to save, and help share, decades worth of BRILLIANCE, BRILLIANCE, BRILLIANCE

(Timing and location are also important. New York, my favorite city thus far, has seemed pretty anally raped and castrated over the past few years. The ingenuity with which its mad citizenry used to overflow has seemed as gone and dead lately as the genius of Athens. Thanks to Bettina, however, which unexpectedly explodes into a display of uncompromising and defiant beauty, I’m now able to hope that all other New York magicians, poets and visionaries have also just been hibernating, out of site, and as the Fascist clouds eventually pass, and the corporate grime inevitably implodes, these beloved New Yorkers will slowly re-awaken and shine once again, as in the good old days…)

I am grateful to Bettina and Sam, not only for the beautiful surprises contained in the film, but for the sense of magic it has infused once again into the world around me. Even though the Atlantic now separates us, every person I pass here suddenly strikes me as a potential shock – whether pleasant or unpleasant… Not only is nothing as it seems, I am now distinctly aware of the fact… For the time being…

I thank both Bettina and Sam for the experience, as well as Hawk Alfredson & Mia Hanson for introducing me to it.

Sir Tijn Po (Nietzschean) – Prague, 34

P.S. An interesting irony in all this is the fact that Bettina, in some of her wisdom-sharing scenes with Sam, seems to believe in certain absolutes, hierarchies, and perhaps even in a god or two. She speaks of the notion of ‘being chosen’ which implies a superior ‘chooser’ (who, at the same time, is not too superior as to be indifferent about choosing). And she speaks of ‘truths’, etc. All of these notions are extremely alien to my brain’s processing patterns, since – to my mind – if nothing is as it seems, or better yet, if anything can be different than it seems, that must also include our own beliefs, convictions, and notions of a priori, which would seem to necessitate doubting our ability to grasp absolutes, if they do, indeed, exist… Nevertheless, her story, personality and amazing artwork all serve to reinforce my own sense of godlessness, absolutelessness, chooserlessness, etc. Ironic isn’t it?

*Written at the request of Bettina herself, the subject of the film and a truly impressive artist (also called by some, and convincingly so in my opinion, the most beautiful woman to ever live in the legendary Chelsea Hotel).