Monday, December 5, 2011

one thing is needful: lifestyle

I’ve been taking a break from my next book, the writing life, to recharge my batteries, to balance myself with a lot of reading on my ereader – thank you Sherry! What a great gift, and this year you added a reading light for an early Christmas light, how perfect! –- and a lot of family activity with the kids. A man or woman’s center always seeks balance after its growth, and balance before its growth. I feel I am gaining a great balance. Here is a ROUGH DRAFT of an essay on style. Hope you like it----


Daniel Christopher June




One thing is needful: Lifestyle



            After I had been tricked into a grocery store “free-sample” of a 4 inch square of “miracle cloth,” the saleswoman went on to sell the small gathered crowd so that they were grasping to buy the expensive “German patented” miracle. I also bought one of these ridiculous mops, because I enjoyed the saleswoman’s performance. If you have style, you can sell rags to rich men, as she did. If you have style, you can wow an audience with a coin from the ear, while the master illusionist of flat affect merely wins grudging concessions to his prowess. Have style, and I will believe your lies, even though I know the truth. Style is everything. A man copying the Bible word for word is said to bleed style through his stylus, and even the Sunday Sermon, which is written with the quill of a parrot, can make the book of Revelation appear well-written, and the biblical inconsistencies to be pregnant with deep truths.

            The very centermost of a man, his needs, is a poem, and within that poem, a name, without equal or echo anywhere in the universe.

            Style is the art of transition, moving from one articulation to the next. The substance of a discourse, the facts, which are embedded in little logical gems of X=Y or X à Y, gives the connotations, the doubled and redoubled feeling of these identities and causalities. Its all about the sauce, but there must be a cracker beneath. What would the meal be without the meat? And what would the meat be without the sauce.

            Philosophy, science, and religion are the modalities of truth. Yet who really cares about the truth? Its beauty that matters. We love a philosopher even if we disagree with his conclusions, for he has exposed and manifested his spirit and soul, his breath and his blood. Culture is the abstraction of the instincts. What do nutritional needs finally have to do with fine dining? Hardly anything! Cheap and hearty foods would be wholesome. There is no need for wine.

            Yet poetry is wine, and there is no man alive who does not speak some mode of poetry, whether a master like Whitman or Dickenson, or at least the pop song on the radio, the Sunday sacrament, or his choice of garb. The spiritual shape I make is neither line nor circle, but the purpose of tropic directness, like the man who walks with purpose, for whom the crowds will part.

            Style is the way an individual balances. All of life is a compensation. Whether with Newton, we see that every action inspires an equal and opposite action; whether we observe ink as it equally saturates a beaker of water, or as we see the various races of people work out throughout all large cities, so that every large city is a microcosm, representing the entire globe – the examples of this are limitless, they are true of every branch of science, of psychology, or literature, of poetry – we find that everything balances, everything inspires its opposite, that if the sentimentals prate on the goodness of love (all the world needs now is love, love, love!) then the hero must take the side of villainy and hate, hate, hate.

            If a man exaggerates here, he must compensate there, and we all know it: the anti-homosexual preacher seeks out a male prostitute on the sly, the proper and sinless woman is cold and heartless, arrogance humbles itself, humility betrays itself, love her and you will hate what could take her from you, fear a thing and it will fascinate you. If you forbid yourself hate, than your love will fill in for this function, will poison those you claim to love. Stress in the world becomes anxiety in the heart, anxiety can feed work or it can feed guilt – the choice is yours – but if you take the easy way out, and feel guilt, then you will cling to your situation, make no bold change, and pay for your errors with a guilt. Guilt is the most common cure for anxiety, and yet even guilt often overwhelms the man, and he must take the next step, and transubstantiate even the guilt, this time into paranoia, that the badness is out there, waiting to accuse you, waiting, in its perverseness, to get you. The man who cheated on his taxes shivers when a policeman drives by. Does not the heart exact poetic justice in every direction?

            We feel guilty because we imagine we could have done otherwise. But for the man who honestly tries to do otherwise, he realizes he never had that power, and his guilt dissolves. The play of emotions is the style of a man, it makes his attitude, which forms his beliefs, which characterize his expressions, and finally his actions.

            My moods are myriad as a bubble’s skin. My heart is a wind which blows where it lists. What to do? Better the have a wide array of possibilities orbiting you, so that if you move to the left, your possessions to the left push you back towards center, and you you seek the right, your rightful possessions hold you in place. The heart is a terrible infant. You cannot predict him. But if you have not just your favorite author, not just one book, not just a favorite musician, but a varied list of favorites, you can always balance yourself out, and no extremes will goiter your day, you will not create any extended shadow-clowns to make at your excess. Choose a dozen great artists, and study their work, know their moods and styles, choose a dozen great authors. Choose a dozen wonderful friends, all different. Choose the friend who reinforces your greatness, chase away parasites and bleeders. Woman is lord of emotions – have intimate female friends. Man is tyrant of will – have respected men whom you look up to, and some who look up to you.

            To practice your style, learn metaphorical ways to lay it out, so you can practice aspects of it, for hours each day for decades, improving every aspect of your style, weakness covered in strength, for as Nietzsche’s greatest passage tells us: “One thing is needful: to give style to your life.” How? See your life as a game. A game simplifies the complexity of life into a progression of logic, so that we see plainly that every vice is also a medicine, every bad habit a remedy, that it is precisely inner doubt that makes the faithful cling, that the proper cure for depression, the best that always works, is electroshock therapy, both literally and figuratively, with the traumas we unconsciously invite into our homes, so that we can agree with Emerson that the soul is additive, and doesn’t balance anything, lest it be a balance of everything, like a white rose blossoming amidst a great black and receding night of the world, so that a man may properly recognize the universal necessity for his existence, and he can finally saw with honest certainty: I am the savoir of the world.

            Style is in the shape of your needs, and the articulations your carnal instincts provide to feed those needs, and the articulations your education gives to twist and invert those instincts, and the stylistic shape of beauty, from the naked will itself, which adorns its inner void of fullness with garbs of conversations and personalities. Admire your virtues and admire your vices: a transfer of names would put a virtue in the alley, or the beggar on a throne.

            Practice your virtues to the sweating point each day: don’t merely maintain; enhance. The supreme innermost of your needs and mind are protected by the habit of holding an independent space within your soul. Put God in your debt – do little acts of kindness, unrequested and unrequited, deeds done in the dark, and your reward will grow inside you, that you you know you are beautiful for your eyes only. Romance yourself. Don’t you know the seven hills of Rome were victorious over all the world because of a self-trust that was only symbolized and rhetorically absolved from criticism by religions terms of supernatural ideals. We must ever return to the pragmatic as counterblast to sentimentality, to preach Nietzsche to the romantics, we must never take emotion as truth, but as the fuel for seeking and confirming truths, so the mystic bows to the philosopher, the philosopher feeds the poet, and the poet inspires the hero, as Caesar wept from hearing the stories told of Alexander before him, whom he felt unable to match.. The rose of language in four days blooms. The hero, who invented the agriculture age, then the factory age, then the transportation age, and now the computer age, with the help of the philosopher, takes all he has from the four other forms and yet heroism is only beginning with work and invention. “when we want culture more than potatoes, and illumination more than sugar plums, then the great resources of a world are taxed and drawn out, and the result, or staple production, is not slave, nor operatives, but men – those rare fruits called heroes, saints, poets, philosophers, and redeemers.” When Thoreau listed those four types of man, he crowned his list with the redeemer, the man who embodies all four. What is done in secret is rewarded in secret, what is done before men is rewarded by men: both are good in their own way. If you do your kindness for praise, praise is your reward, useful and good, but less empowering than if you were overlooked. If you receive so much as one compliment, your self-estimate is compromised, and what you gain in prestige, you lose in pride.

            The fountainhead of style, the independent mind and its grounding in each his peerless needs, is well protected by the mirror womb of Satan and her flux of creativity, the delta of deliverance. We each speak our own idiolect, a certain set of terms which we use to put all other experience into standard notation. Your actions forge your words. Just as some ideas must be hammered into our heads, as if we had the wrong bump on our adamantium skull, and rude nature insisted to wield Ama’s hammer and pound that sucker flat, so our vocabulary is borne of all our experiences, and sometimes an entire lifetime is spent on defining one word, which today is yours, and tomorrow is the world’s.

            The creative balance absorbs the self-increasing energy of the independent soul, and differentiates our energy into a need for this a need for that, in accordance with our real needs and our secondary needs, being our wants and desires. The square void of independent purity is surrounded by the triangular flux of, a dynamo of chaos of order that meets its limits with the sphere of daily cycling, practicality, industriousness. This is the great balance of the soul, where style becomes properly style. What is unbearable once is bearable twice, by the same logic that if you want to rescue your offended friend, you must offend him three more times, or he will never forgive you. Violence washes many sins. Rhythm is in compression and release, beauty is the excitement of tensions, and in their aesthetic release, so that food balances food, salty grease calls for sugar, crackers beg for water, cookies wish for milk, and for the the bad meals life sometimes gives us: sauce is savior. Come, my fellow Allists, and be with me the sauce of the earth.

            Dear friend! Tell me true. This is my covenant with each of my friends: I will not coddle you, your mother can do that. I will speak the truth, direct to the heart. The style of intimacy is counter the style in the streets. Choose your friends carefully, make no compromise. The world is made for compromise, but your inner heart is your own. Make love to your solitude, know that the greatest friendships are respectful of distance. Now a kiss, tomorrow and after a long vacation. I sat upon my idea and let it tuck under, with the greater part of my mind to brood in empty depression, and here I struggle with life and am sour to my loves, till the muse whispers “It is time,” and in love the child is born. “He that writes to himself writes to an eternal public,” said a man who himself proved it. Thus I choose my careful friends. For in conversation, we are constantly laying down implicit (and explicit) rules, introjecting a set of expectations, threats, desires, possibilities, and impossibilities in others. For the friend that “knows you better than you know yourself,” you need not explain. It is known. I listen admirers and am never surprised. I listen to my friends and am confirmed and challenged. Who will be my lover? Who will be that friend who never tires of hearing of me? I have already chosen a few lovers from off my library shelf. Where is the living soul I can admire? Why are so many of you educated men aloof? The greatest insult is not dismissal, but a limited and qualified compliment. “I liked it, but” and then the arrows. So many of you critics are jealous of my power, of any power you see, you resenters and cursers of your betters. It takes a Frenchman to make the phallus, the creative cock of God, to be the symbol of castration.

            To develop style, study style. Never read for entertainment. Ever wear your professor’s spectacles, and keep the keen eye of criticism on the nuance of the page. All of life is a book. Read your studies as intently as you would the letter of a lover. Donkeys prefer straw to gold. Seek the best styles, the highest beauties. Choose the genius out of season, he at last is true and tall:


Dressed in summer

Bare in winter

The higher I reach

The lower I go!


            And I may bend in the storm, but I am never broken. I eat the earth with a fork of lightening. I take every book the holy spirit has inspired, world literature, nation for nation, prophet for prophet, science for science, philosophy for philosophy. Emerson, Whitman, and Thoreau read world literature and foreign scripture to escape the English precedent, to escape being colonial they turned global. My aim to my wide and endless studies is to reduce all truths to the American style, to my own. My practice is my way.

            I must study always, hours a day, and at least one intense hour a day of style over matter. Some men do enough work to escape criticism – and not a scrap more; a wonderful frugality to pool their energy, to reserve their best to their best purpose. Yet take the time to do it right, though it take you all the day. Only what you have done are you certain you can do. If you would have the power do the deed. Never equate freedom to color outside the lines with the inability to color within them. That would be taking the cowardly weakling as a model of restraint. Practice deliberately, with exacting schemes to better each aspect of your art – this alone makes excellent, not just bare practice but deep practice, so that your long term memories hold the truth, and you need not think when muse-song calls. Intelligent art is failed art, this is the lesson of 20th century art. If I could give you givingness, you would be better for your loss. If I could teach you how to teach yourself, I would be the best of teachers.

            How did the great stylists gain their traits? By deliberate, intense, deep practice to transfigure their own real potential, not in imitation, but in the self-maximizing of the soul. Would you be a writer? Study the biographies of Charles Ives and Beethoven. Charles had so many innovations in style, that an otherwise respected musicologist, Maynard Solomon, would try in vain to say that Ives had changed the dates on all his compositions till after the European musicians such as Schoenberg had invented them, though it is clear from Ive’s diaries and his own admission that he had never heard their music. Beethoven too constantly challenged himself, would exert a thousand tries to perfect one musical piece – necessary and annoying though it may be – though the perfect expression that bursts forth unannounced – the true savoir comes without announcement – and gives her grace from easy lilt.

            No mere practice, no rote, no operant conditioning could render your soul divine, nor transfigure your spirit. B.F. Skinner’s work demonstrated that operant condition of positive and negative feedback and can make an animal behave contrary to what you would expect, with respect to its instincts. After noting Pavlov’s success with dogs – surely the name rings a bell? – he made elaborate cages and traps later to called “Skinner boxes” – knowing that there is more than one way Skinner a cat – and thus proving that Skinner is such a weird best who could keep this behavior up with just a bit of praising and fine congratulations from the scientific community. So while you would not expect a grown man to torture animals with puzzle boxes, yet he was reinforced to include Jung and his own daughter into his silly games. For really, before Pavlov nobody knew to get a dog to roll over or play dead, the apparatus being unthinkable. But as for us, in our creative growth, no amount of feedback will suffice. We must be self-satisfying, self-congratulating, and end each day happy that we did so good, and angry we did not do better.

            Excess must balance excess, and greatness must balance greatness. No man becomes great who is not balancing a deep and invincible counter urge. For the sublime music and the perfect execution of art, you must look at the intimate wound of the artists heart. He creates from necessity. Either he is wounded by love, is overly happy so much that it hurts, and must express his joy in lightning strikes of ejaculatory beauty, or perhaps the opposite, he feels unimportant, overly sensitive, perhaps a bit peculiar in the world. He must be rich of spirit. God blesses the rich. The extra soul a man is born with makes him bold with battle and long in persistence. Wisdom kisses the lips of death: such an artist has faced absolute death. Creeds are the for credulous: why should I worship when I myself am God? I give you my writings. The supper supped, the guests depart. But my friends who helped prepare the meal stay to clean up, enjoy my fire, and then true brotherhood begins. I give myself: who can receive? The bad friend poisons the heart, so be slow to trust, but the one who honors your best, and whose best you respect and honor, he is worth more than the eyes in your head or the hands at your side. He does not flatter you or shower you with gifts. The small and timely gift is greater than a fortune. Sweeter words, sour heart; and wisdom wastes no words.

            Come my Ama, my Psyche, my Evalie: were you to die, the sun would cease to shine, or if compulsed to shine, that only from the ignobility of suicide.  Love always comes on time, but when she leaves, I am never ready. Your name rings like an epitaph: it is so certain and absolute. Never mind the evangels who promise me eternity, but grudge me five minutes. Your love and beauty is all the proof of our eternity I seek or need. The arrows of time are cocked in the bow of eternity, and yet heaven loves her own. I know you proud poets brag “sooner break my heart than break my hands,” and I believe you. Yet my dancer is pure Triptoes when I lack your eye on my sublime.

            What demon dare damn the light bringer, what ass-faced God dare touch the light bringer? And what scarecrow atop that ass would dare damn my lightbringer? Bringer of light, Luciana, Sophia Lux, Holy Spirit of my soul, your son the word is Hermes Logos, word of writing, pen of flight, verse like a hypnotic wand. I love my children of Allism.

            It was wisdom to say “all is one,” it was wisdom to say “all is many,” but the most casual and superficial of wisdoms. These aren’t even essays, they are not attempts, they are lays of the all, everpoems, I breath them to my lovers. I am the transfiguration of the holy spirit, the Pentecost of my youth blossomed adult. Religion is intuition, philosophy is grammar, science is sensation, and all are framed in the riverbed of history, looking up to the beautiful possibility of art: true Beauty is irresistible.

            What are these other books? So much shell, so little meat, so your books to me. For the choice cut, I’d chew through a pile of shells, but I will not praise you for the effort. If you are not Christ’s second coming, then is your faith in vain. But I the fullness, Mattria, universal everlife, do not ask for proofs and pardons. I see beauty for beauty and draw my own to my arms. The Allstyle is a lover’s style, we praise the best and seek the same. Nietzsche rightly said that one thing is needful, and we each make our life pure art. This alone redeems, this alone unifies the mystic, the philosopher, the poet, and the hero. Ololo, the fullness, this we take on and this we love. Vivoce.




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