Is it abundance, or freedom of some sort which fails me? It must be rage. Not a certain kind of amorous rage. Just simple, violent rage. The more violent, the better. The rage of those who don’t know anything. Also the rage of the kind of intelligent person who speaks up. The rage of New Wave cinema, why not? And the other kind of cinema, too. The rage of affinity which I feel towards some people, as if there wasn’t enough of me to exhaust myself. The rage of success? Success is indiscretion, a false reality. Rage has saved my life. Without it, what would I become? How would I ever stand the headline that came out one day in the paper, saying that every day in Brazil one hundred children starve to death? Is rage my most profound rebellion because I am human? I am tired of being human. I feel rage because I feel so much love. There are days that I survive on the rage of living. Rage revitalizes me: I have never felt so alert. I know that this will pass, and the necessary necessities will return.
– Clarice Lispector, 1967
For all our doubts and discontents, we are still wired to an idea of history in which the future will be an upgraded version of the present. The assumption remains that things must continue in their current direction: the sense of crisis only smudges the meaning of that ‘must’. No longer a natural inevitability, it becomes an urgent necessity: we must find a way to go on having supermarkets and superhighways. We cannot contemplate the alternative.
Jeffers knew as well as anyone that poets’ legislation needs time to have its effect. The rising spiral of environmental crises shaping today’s headlines marks, I have come to believe, the point where Jeffers’ vision becomes a historical fact, and his inhumanism a centre of gravity toward which any meaningful response to the predicament of industrial society must move. In saying that, I’m not claiming that responses to our crisis ought to move toward inhumanism; I’m saying that they will do so, even if those who think they are defending the environment have to be dragged kicking and screaming along that route.
– John Michael Greer, The Falling Years: An Inhumanist Vision
These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur of the mass
Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity
For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it seem monstrous
To admire the tragic beauty they build.
It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering
Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,
Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,
The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,
Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and kissing.
I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
To change the future … I should do foolishly. The beauty of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.
– Robinson Jeffers, 1935