"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

Jul 5, 2008

The White Whale

The White Whale

By E.L. Doctorow

This article appeared in the July 14, 2008 edition of The Nation.

In April 2007 in Washington there was a joint meeting of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society on the theme of "The Public Good: Knowledge as the Foundation for a Democratic Society." E.L. Doctorow's keynote address was titled "The White Whale."
--The Editors
...It will take more than revelations of an inveterately corrupt Administration to dissolve the miasma of otherworldly weirdness hanging over this land, to recover us from our spiritual disarray, to regain our once-clear national sense of ourselves, however illusory, as the last best hope of mankind. What are we become in the hands of this President, with his relentless subversion of our right to know; his unfounded phantasmal justifications for going to war; his signing away of laws passed by a Congress that he doesn't like; his unlawful secret surveillance of citizens' phone records and e-mail; his dicta time and time again in presumption of total executive supremacy over the other two branches of government; his insensitivity to the principle of separation of church and state; his obsessive secrecy; his covert policies of torture and extraordinary rendition, where the courtroom testimony of the tortured on the torture they've endured at our hands is disallowed on the grounds that our torture techniques are classified; his embargoing of past presidential papers, and impeding access to documents of investigatory bodies; his use of the Justice Department to bring indictments or quash them as his party's electoral interests demand.... Knowledge sealed, skewed, sequestered, shouted down, the bearers of knowledge fired or smeared, knowledge edited, sneered at, shredded and, as in the case of the coffins of our dead military brought home at night, no photography allowed, knowledge spirited away in the dark...

...Melville in Moby-Dick speaks of reality outracing apprehension. Apprehension in the sense not of fear or disquiet but of understanding... reality as too much for us to take in, as, for example, the white whale is too much for the Pequod and its captain. It may be that our new century is an awesomely complex white whale--scientifically in our quantumized wave particles and the manipulable stem cells of our biology, ecologically in our planetary crises of nature, technologically in our humanoid molecular computers, sexually in the rising number of our genders, intellectually in the paradoxes of our texts, and so on.

What is more natural than to rely on the saving powers of simplism? Perhaps with our dismal public conduct, so shot through with piety, we are actually engaged in a genetic engineering venture that will make a slower, dumber, more sluggish whale, one that can be harpooned and flensed, tried and boiled to light our candles. A kind of water wonderworld whale made of racism, nativism, cultural illiteracy, fundamentalist fantasy and the righteous priorities of wealth...


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~There is no God and we are his prophets.~

-Cormac McCarthy-

Man is superior to the stars if he lives in the power of superior wisdom. Such a person being the master over heaven and earth by means of his will is a magus and magic is not sorcery but supreme wisdom



'The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them'.....'Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.'.....'In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.'.....'War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.' George Orwell

war is terror

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