My social consciousness is different from that of the Americans. It is not expressed in group work, in collective activity. It consists in giving help to the exceptional person who is struggling to educate himself, who is gifted but has no opportunities, no guidance.
My lack of faith in the men who lead us is that they do not recognize the irrational in men, they have no insight, and whoever does not recognize the personal, individual drama of men cannot lead them.
Psychology has ceased to be for me a mere therapy for neurotic moments. It is not only the neurotic who lives by irrational impulses rooted deeply in his experience, but everyone. This may or may less be masked by outward conventionalities. This individual irrational should be isolated and understood before it becomes an aggregate. The masses are merely an accumulation of such blind impulses. Nations, leaders, history, could be understood as nonrational behavior can be.
In fact, most of the time the leaders have been those who symbolized nonrational emotions for the masses and therefore their negative, or destructive tendencies. (Nin, Diaries – 1939-1944, 46)
This is an excerpt from The Diary of Anaïs Nin volume three (1939-1944) that would have been perfect for yesterday, but is still perfect today. I chuckled, and then I applauded.
At the Gotham Book Mart I met the old mystic Claude Bragdon. He took me to lunch…
After lunch, in his hotel he took me to the top floor, to a glass-enclosed garden of artificial plants. It seemed suitable that he should be sitting among unnatural plants, in a make-believe garden, at the top of twenty floors of concrete. And there he delivered his sermon:
“You are one of the Delphic women. I knew that as soon as I heard about you and knew it even more so after I met you. But you will destroy your powers of divination and your psychic intuition unless you separate yourself from human life, and above all things from sensuality. There is too much sensuality in you. You need to be purified. Let me help you. I have been able to renounce everything. You will need my help.”
I renounced being a Delphic woman. (Nin, 15)
When a man says he hears angels singing
he hears angels singing.
(Mary Oliver, “Blake Dying”, A Thousand Mornings)
I am grateful for the way Mary Oliver always gets me to open my eyes a little wider.
He knew more about the hills than he knew about himself, but lush, yes, as if it was May, savage growth that made each small copse of trees livid with bunched ferocity. The face seen dully in the window was a sad face, certainly, with a downcast mouth and emotional eyes, but it was strangely calm too. He took a glance south and found he was wearing an anorak long past its day, a pair of jeans with diesel stains caked into them and shoes straight off an evidence table. (Kevin Barry, “See The Tree, How Big It’s Grown”, There Are Little Kingdoms)
After reading the trippy poetic dream of historical fiction that is Beatlebone, I have been endeavouring to consume everything written by Kevin Barry that I can get my hands on. His work is unique, and with Beatlebone, he achieved the formidable feat of writing a spot-on John Lennon voice, among other things. I have never aligned myself with the Joycean sentiment that storytelling is not an art, and Kevin Barry is one of the writers I would present as an example to support my view. Barry is the Irish dirty poet confidante you never knew you wished you had, because, if you listen well and long enough, after all the songs and limericks, he starts telling magic.