Voices on the Wind Obscure Voices
Above all avoid vagueness (from Pound Laundry) by Michael Gregory Above all avoid vagueness—abstraction that as soon as its made makes an end in itself that leads to monotony impoverishment the quest for pedantic academy perfection the parts reduced to uniformity the void that emerges out of the disintegration of human sensibility suffered when work is not a labor of love. No lines or objects which cannot be explained by the structures of the pattern. Combine the clearness of form and firmness of structure with the mystery that comes with abundance and richness of detail apparent in natural forms most familiar to us from association as well as from beauty the rose the lily the tulip the oak the vine. A thicket, not a park. Every letter pure in form, severe, solid without needless excrescences or thickening and thinning making it difficult to read. Recognize that art requires community to live. Concern yourself with the products and how they are made and the well-being of the people who made them. * From Guenevere Iseult Deirdre odd-man-out triangular romances (life unhappily imitating art years before The Decay of Lying came out) to blood-feud Icelandic sagas wolf and bear mores Brynhilde. From earthly (that is said Pater with Baudelaire in mind artificial) paradise (the utter extinction of all asceticisms all the goddesses granted suffrage) to Wat Tyler and John Ball feeling the pinch of landgrab and poorhouse asking who when Adam delved and Eve span was then the gentleman and pondering how when men fight and lose, what they fought for comes about despite defeat but when it comes is not what they meant so other men must fight for it under a different name. From preRaphaelite middleclass selfcentered antic brotherhood to revolutionary consciousness: instinctive social conscience without which any society is impossible; fraternity, the sense of community not to be achieved but simply acknowledged, liberty and equality yet to be won: every human being free— not an anarchy but hand and mind subordinated to that cooperative action that worthwhile associated effort which makes real freedom possible; equality of position not just of condition or opportunity or other palliatives that soothe symptoms but don’t cure the disease don’t end class-based division of labor don’t end class based on capital don’t abolish poverty money the market end class and capital both through just distribution of the means of exchange a goal not at all impossible if one would merely bring oneself for a change to see things from another’s point of view from each according to her ability to each according to her need * More than the reasonable order of epic with its linear storytelling logic attitude plot and internal sense of an ending he loved the freedom of desire of romance— appetites just as human as reason, capacity for a true conception of a power to make the past present; less inclined toward troubadour than bard, less toward lyric than narrative stance, less the Romanized aristocratic hierarchical feudality than the gothic democracy of craft-gilds towns and communes to the north effective communities of equals where class and class privilege have ceased to exist where alienation—from nature above all— has been replaced with a feeling for the commonwealth the land water air pure the commons communally owned—that is by no one— desire educated, eyes for more than looking at ledgers and bodily needs people able at last to understand precisely what and how little they need in order to achieve fulfillment and happiness— news from nowhere news that stays news * Apart from desire to produce beautiful things the leading passion of my life he said has been and is hatred of modern civilization the atomized acquisitive society the innate moral baseness of its ethic compared to All for one and one for all. The issue not just industrialism but capitalism not just machinery but who owns it and to what end, the form civilization has now taken, the commercial form under which all society rests on a gigantic system of usury manufacture not to make a product but to make a profit for capital. Organized brotherhood must break the spell of anarchical plutocracy. As long as labor is a commodity we cannot live on the earth like honest men. The old order has to be overthrown by force. Not merely the bettering of condition not merely reform of current practices but rather a radical change in position: the working useful productive classes equal with privileged possessing classes cooperation in place of competition equality in place of tyranny. The first step: get capital including land machinery factories into the hands of free communities living in harmonious federation governing themselves and their affairs by free consent for the benefit of all. Free men must lead simple lives and have simple pleasures. First be free make work pleasurable then learn to take pleasure in all life’s details. * A wise and great man Shaw called him ungovernable in our drawing rooms. Blunt remembered him as Our greatest man who would talk in precisely the same tone to a pretty woman or journeyman carpenter attentive as long as she had anything interesting to tell him and no longer; To Yeats he was the happiest of poets who knew as Shelley knew that economists should take their measurements not from life as it is but from the world made perfect by visions of men like him illuminated from within. No man I have known was so well-loved. People loved him as children are loved.