Saturday, March 06, 2021

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix.

The Golden Age of Ozzie and Harriet, Ken and Barbie. The evil of banality. 

"i fucking loved TNG and how gentle and kind everyone was and how enthusiastic about my nascent Trekkie journey"

"John Quiggin dreams of Shangri-La/ Ecotopia with images of city planning for the People's Republic of China, designed by architects from Singapore."

I'm not defending the Senator from EpiPen

If we review Bentham’s contemporaries in search of a figure who might be seen as exemplifying the antithesis of the Benthamic view of life, many names might suggest themselves and might, in one context or another, be appropriate. Rousseau, Burke, Kant himself, Hegel – each of these would have a claim, though each might prove, on closer inspection, to have something at least in common with Bentham. There is, however, a figure – a man who was born less than ten years after Bentham and died less than five years before him – who may provide the requisite antithesis. William Blake, I suggest, both embodies that antithesis and proclaims the imperfection of Bentham’s understanding of happiness. Two passages may serve to illustrate the point. One is, inevitably,

He who bends to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies 
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

And the other is all the more telling for its expression of a view – an understanding – of life as far as possible from Bentham’s utilitarianism:

Man was made for Joy & Woe
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy & Woe are woven fine
A Clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The author, J.H. Burns, was first General Editor of the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham. 
I can't believe I've never posted that before. It's in. I read the essay years ago.

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