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In the Zone

GR is still going strong: Slothrop is about to ditch his pig suit, so Marvy’s castration and the bombing of Hiroshima are only hours away; it is so much richer than I ever appreciated when last I read it, in the late 80s. Amazing what a difference of 19 years can make. The collective cultural deathwish; dehumanization thru the industrialization of everything; apocalyptic obsession with polarities: themes that have only gotten more terrifyingly relevant since August 6th, 1945. Only thru gentleness, thru staying on the edges, thru pledging allegiance to softness, diversity, complexity, can we even begin to hope to find some unmarked exit out of this nightmare. I remain hopeful only because (as Tolkien points out) despair assumes a foreknowledge that is by definition impossible, and is therefore as hubristic as that of the masters of war, who cling to deathlike certainties as fearfully as do the pacifist nihilists… Time isn’t a line, or even a thing (tho saying can make it seem so); history cannot come to an end (tho histories can); ideas can (and indeed must) be forgotten, and the mountains and rivers persist; the cosmos (or what you will) is fleeting: it flows, and moves on, and we can scarcely step into it even once.

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