Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nowhere Man

You know how the song goes:

He's a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Doesn't have a point of view
Knows not where he's going to
Isn't he a bit like you and me?

Now that's pure poetry and song, the sort of thing that The Beatles gave us so much of.

That's not the point I wanted to make though: here I am sitting in my nowhere land talking about something, Pure Poetry, that so far as I can tell, nobody cares about. I'm also a bit like Bellow's Herzog, sending off messages to nowhere about modernity and how we got there--and never managing to finish the masterpiece that was going to explain it all, Romanticism And Christianity. Until one day he wakes up, blissfully happy in his shack in the middle of nowhere saying to himself, "If I'm out of my mind that's fine by me," (I think I got that right), and deciding that anyone who thinks he can make sense of history is either a fool or mad.

Let me just say this about pure poetry, pure art, pure mathematics, pure science. What makes them pure is, as Matthew Arnold would say, their character as disinterested constructions: they serve no political interest.
Where would we be if there were never, anywhere, anyhow, any way to get away from our political obsessions?

Only a hopeless romantic, like me I guess, would ask such a question.

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