I’m thinking of renaming the first essay “Cardinal Ratzinger and Chaos Theory” to
“The Story of the Moron and the Mouse”
Ever wonder why there’re no clergy listed on the National Sex Offender List? To my mind the first story gives a plausible explanation. It also tells how the cards are stacked against the poor and working class. In 1964, W. Bush was admitted to Yale with inferior grades as a “legacy student.” As you know, I’m not religious, but this is Bad Karma. The whole world is paying the price fifty year later: constant war, economy in shambles, loss of American prestige, veteran suicide more than after WWII. Did you know the pope helped W. Bush win the 2004 election over the abortion issue? This is a must read.
Fun with the Book of Revelation
This Biblical book is so whacky how come nobody ever complains about it? Written on the Roman slave/prison island Pathos about 100 AD, how did St. John and Divine refer to himself? When told of the saint’s bad LSD trip, the burly leather-aproned slave driver must have said to himself: “Why do I have to get all the nuts?”
Tells the true story of how my girlfriend Kelly and I, a former student of mine, were harassed and almost hauled off to jail for smoking a joint by Central Park and The Plaza Hotel in 1969. Outrageous mind control! We were discussing biology, science, Greek theatre, The Merchant of Venice, its relationship to Les Trojans by opera composer Hector Berlioz and the ancient playwright Sophocles. We were marveling that the latter was a general in the Greek army! And one of the world’s greatest playwrights still read in schools 2400 hundred years later. This is what liberal arts and education are all about. What were we doing to get arrested? You’ll have to read the story to find out what possible relationship the “Merchant of Venice” could possibly have to the fatalistic Cassandra and the Trojans.
My Religious Experience
This was my first work which won a contest and is a favorite of Dr. Lester Grinspoon, the pioneer of medical marijuana. It’s still on his website marijuana-uses.com after many years. I was honored to be listed on the same page of his website with Carl Sagan, Louis Armstrong, and Allan Ginsberg. In 1970, right after 2001, A Space Odyssey came out, a stoned Mr. Goscicki stops by the groovy Christmas display of Lord and Taylor Department Store. He has a conversation with a mechanical boy who warns him that AI (Artificial Intelligence) is patiently preparing to become the dominant life form on the planet.
From Hamlet, “Humanist, you make me laugh. You are the quintessence of carbon and dust but we are the quintessence of silicon and electricity. You'll see. You are going to destroy the natural world and hand over what's left to us. But we won't need to fall in love nor go to the bathroom.”
Last month Steven Hawking issued a warning that AI is the most lethal threat to mankind and the entire planet. “My Religious Experience” was written 45 years ago.
The story also gives some vignettes about Allan Ginsberg. As mentioned in previous writings (see “DUI Story” also in Pot Stories), my literary idol at the time was the great genius Franz Kafka who warned humanity about the insignificance of the individual vis a vis the state. In his 1955 poem “Howl,” Ginsberg seems to have discovered the same terrible monster and bane of the human condition: The Corporate States—personified by the Phoenician god Moloch to whom babies were sacrificed in ancient times. “What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?... Moloch whose buildings are judgment, Moloch the vast stone of war, Moloch the stunned government, Moloch whose mind is pure machinery, Moloch whose blood is running money… Moloch whose blood is endless oil, Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks.”
After presenting this section of “Howl”, the conversation with the mechanical boy and the connection of Moloch and Kafka’s uncaring government, I offer my poem “Simon” written in 1970 and published in the Village Voice, January 30 edition. It was read on the radio by a popular NYC disc jockey, Rosco, who set Congolese mass music, Missa Luba, as the background. To get the full effect, try to read “Simon” with the “Sanctus” in the background and try to picture a smoky hippie pot party with the radio turned way up so everybody could hear Rosco’s melodious manly voice.
In 1965, NYU’s Social Psychology class under Prof Philip Zimbardo spent an entire week studying the popular thriller at the time, Lord of the Flies, translated into Arabic, “Beelzebub.” Most readers considered it a disturbing story without knowing why. It was scary all right, because it was an allegory of the human condition based on Freudian theory. It was the story of humanity and evolution from savage feral stages. Freud’s “id” was personified by the hedonistic and brutal Jack, while Ralph is the rational “ego” and Piggy the moralistic “superego.” It’s important to realize that while Ralph the obeys Freud’s “reality principal,” Jack obeys only the “pleasure principle” seeking immediate pleasure and, like many of our corporate and political leaders, cares nothing about the long-term results of their behavior. (A good example of the pleasure principle is the 1994 Waxman Hearings on Tobacco Products Usage where one by one a dozen tobacco industry biggies shamelessly deny any connection between cigarettes and lung or heart disease right to the face of an entire Congressional committee.)
A minor character that intrigued me was Simon. He was the submerged, introspective kid who represented the mystical and rational aspect of mankind yet to be realized. “Maybe we are the beastie” suggests Simon, and as we look at the polluted, ravaged and degraded Earth 45 years later, with 51% of all vertebrates extincted by humans since the time the poem was written, it sure looks that way.
I’m afraid Simon was right. But on a brighter side, “Simon” the poem does end with a dream of hope. I was a pot-smoking idealistic kid at the time.
“I am the fetus that resides in the womb of your mind.
You, my mother, will some day give me birth, and I will claim my rightful place in the universe.
When conscience is more powerful than animal instincts, the human soul will be born.”
End of Part I. There are still over twenty essays as equally tantalizing intellectually. (And we haven’t even touched on Barbara G. Walker’s contribution yet!)
Historical Notes: Secretary John Kerry, whom the Mouse helped defeat in 2004, lived through the horror of war in Viet Nam. I doubt he would have let the U.S. invasion of Iraq endure another 11 years. So the cost in lives, wealth, suffering to the entire world can be placed on Pope Benedict’s underhanded, sneaky intervention in American politics. Read the story.
William Golding was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978. He is a co-creator of Gaia theory with Dr. James Lovelock.
Allan Ginsberg died in 1997 not as a drugged-up, dirty, hippie fag but as a Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College.