Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Escape Into The Forest

More for later digestion and discussion...

Escape may be possible for a favored few, but it usually leads to something worse. Resistance only animates the Leviathan by giving him a welcome pretext for repressive measures. In the face of such conditions only one hope seems to remain, that the process may spend itself like a volcano spends its fiery ashes. But at this point a question arises, which is not at all theoretical, but an inevitable concomitant of every contemporary existence whether there is not, after all, another road that may be traveled, whether there do not exist mountain passes which can be discovered only after a long ascent.

The retreat into the forest (Waldgang) is not to be understood as a form of anarchism directed against the world of technology, although this is a temptation, particularly for those who strive to regain a myth. Undoubtedly, mythology will appear again. It is always present and arises in a propitious hour like a treasure coming to the surface. But man does not return to the realm of myth, he reencounters it when the age is out of joint and in the magic circle of extreme danger. It is not a question therefore of choosing the forest or the ship but of choosing both the forest and the ship. The number of those who want to abandon the ship is growing, and among them are clear heads and fine minds. But it amounts to a disembarkation in mid-ocean. Hunger will follow, and cannibalism, and the sharks: in short, all the terrors that have been reported from the raft of Medusa. Hence it is advisable under all circumstances to stay aboard even at the danger of being blown up. This objection is not directed against the poet who reveals – through his life as well as through his work – the vast superiority of the artistic universe over the world of technology. He helps man to rediscover himself: the poet is a wanderer in the forest (Waldgänger), for authorship is merely another form of independence.


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