Astronauts and Bridges

Once upon a time I was at the Midtown American Folk Art Museum when I came across John Ashbery looking at the very weird drawings of Henry Darger. He caught me looking at him and I registered the oddness of double observation. I never read the resulting poems, but I wonder at Ashbery's attention retained by the amateur prolific, symbolic world. I wonder at Ashbery, too, in terms of Baudelaire, who once expected his ideas to be heard and considered, and took this belief with him to l'Académie: when words, like ideas, had power. While it is refreshing to know that a famous poet is allowed to admire the work of an artist creating from intuition, not education, one may pause to wonder at the product of such perverse intention; whence gravitas...
I heard yesterday that some astronauts lose psychological orientation after floating above us, so far away. It seems to my mind this is a sign of our (serious) disconnect. As we are happy to debate the difference between 'science' and 'technology' for entertainment, a perfectly intelligent but older paper concludes the difference is merely semantic. An important variable of differentiation is no longer counted: ethics.
To grow faith in words and ideas implies trust. Even to capture whales on film, one must gain their trust. But trust takes time and a forgetting of self. Rumi writes:
Copper melts in the healing elixir,
So melt yourself in the mixture
that sustains existence.
It sounds like alchemy - which is never too far from a classical conception where man is the microcosm - to exist in harmony with things around him (not to be a cancerous microcosm). Rumi writes, "I'm not talking to materialists ... I speak only to those who know spiritual secrets." The natural world is more than a 'resource'; our linguistic connection to it is crucial. We do not sing natural life anymore, rather, our tinny jingles celebrate how man has plastered over the universe with his own creation, which is a rather perverted mimesis. Without bridging our intent to nature, a bridge some rather burnt, it is harder to redream the treasures of the past together. We are only given access to the adolescence, not maturity of mankind, and as to adolescence:
"In youth, when the passions begin to stir, the character is made to swerve from the orbit previously traced. Passion, more than Character, rules the hour. Thus we often see the prudent child turn out an extravagant youth; but he crystallizes once more into prudence, as he hardens with age."1
It does well to train the eye for continuity and connection. The connection between the poetic and the scientific is in the abstraction: certain events are abstracted from others with a particular end in view, "we make it serve some purpose of our will. Try as we may, we cannot, as we write history, escape our purposiveness," writes Trilling. To be aware of fallability gives credence back to the poet: and words may be believed because they are to be understood as the drive of intent.
There is a lovely Latin quote in Sir Arthur's book below the comment: "If we are really in a state of intellectual progress; if we are not deceived by the outward shows of things; it we are not giving applause, merely because across the stage esseda festinant, pilenta, petorrita" ([moves] the chariot used for slaves and luggage).

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