Saturday, October 31, 2009

vast multiplicities of ideas and images

“Sartre and Kerouac attempted to organize vast multiplicities of ideas and images through some forms of totalizing structure. This was Sartre’s project in The Critique, and it was also the function of the theory of spontaneous-bop poetics. Sartre used Hegel and Marx to try and achieve a “theory of practical ensembles”; Kerouac and the other Beat writers used jazz or Mahayana Buddhism to work through spontaneity or improvisation to produce self-organizing texts. In both cases, the writers tried to find a way of going beyond meaning. This was the great challenge of cybernetic culture - the idea of “the net” being its most current form. Sartre and the Beatniks stand on two sides of the great divide opened up by post-World War II civilization: Sartre trying to hold on to rationalism, even as rationalism decimates larger and larger human populations, while the Beats flee into the transcendental East – both fueled by over-the-counter stimulants”
Marcus Boon, 'The Road of Excess: A History of Writers on Drugs’ p201.

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