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Even if those "larger things" were to exist, it would not mean that
they are more important than the immediate.  Interestingly, if
Christianity dwells on incarnation (as Eliot did in one key claim),
then it is very much the immediate and incarnate that matters.
Nancy


On 29 Apr 2003, at 16:39, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> [log in to unmask] wrote:
> >
> > I'm not sure if you're saying that, by focusing on the "sempiternal" patterns, Eliot is denying the importance of the immediate experience.  If you or anyone else is offering FQ for that proposition, I would have to disagree.  I think its (their?) major theme is that the immediate experience
is essential because it is the only glimpse we have of the larger, and far more important, things concealed by our incarnation [clip]
>
> And as with the matter of denying history, so with this. To say that
> immediate experience is essential because it offers a "glimpse . . . of
> the larger, and far more important, things concealed by our incarnation"
> is, precisely, to denies the validity of that experience. Those larger
> things do not exist, and the assertion of their existence is the
> trivialization of human life.
>
> This is not an objection to FQ. They are "true" in a more profound
> sense: they dramatize the possibility, in the middle of the 20th
> century, of the world view they encapsule. That possibility (regrettable
> though it may be) is nevertheless part of the truth of history.
>
> Incidentally, I would argue that Pound's slogans of "Make it New" and
> "Ideas into Action" are similar repudiations of history. The first
> assumes that "it" has always existed, and that to create the new is to
> merely revive and "make new" what has never actually ceased to exist.
> His whole effort to reincarnate the medieval doctrine of the "Just
> Price" is an example. That "idea" existed within concrete historical
> conditions, and when it is reasserted in the 20th century it comes out
> as populism, with the tendency of populism towards both anti-semitism
> and fascism.
>
> This is not a negative judgment of either Pound or Eliot as a poet. Were
> I to demand of poetry that it manifest my sense of the world I wouldn't
> have much to read. Milton. Pope. Austen. Dickens. Pound. They are all
> great writers, and my favorites, but .... profoundly wrong.
>
> Carrol
>
> I don't read German well enough to read the following in its native
> language, but even the translation is impressive, and carries my sense
> of what history is -- and what it means to honor the immediate concerns
> of
> some 99% of the world's population. For those who do read German I
> include that too.
>
>     To the Coming Generations
>             (Bertolt Brecht)
>
>                I
>
>      Truly, I live in dark times!
>      The innocuous word is fatuous.  A smooth brow
>      Denotes insensitivity.  If someone is laughing
>      It only means, that he hasn't yet
>      Heard the dreadful news.
>
>      What sort of times are these, when
>      To talk about trees is almost a crime,
>      Because it is simultaneously silence about so many
>         atrocities!
>      Someone placidly crossing the street
>      Is certainly not available for his friend
>      Who is in need?
>
>      It is true: I do earn my living.
>      But believe me: that is the merest accident.
>         Nothing
>      That I do gives me the right, to be stuffing myself
>         full.
>      I have been spared by accident.  (If my luck runs
>         out, I'm finished.)
>      They say to me: eat and drink!  Be happy that you
>         have!
>      But how can I eat and drink, when
>      Every bite that I eat is ripped from the mouth of a
>         starving man, and
>      My glass of water is being denied to one dying of
>         thirst?
>      And yet I eat, and I drink.
>
>      I would love to be wise as well.
>      You can find what is wise in the old books:
>      To hold yourself aloof from the strife of the
>         world, and to spend
>      Your brief time without fear;
>      Also, to get by without violence,
>      To repay evil with good,
>      To relinquish desires, rather than fulfilling them,
>      These are all considered wise.
>      Of all this I am incapable:
>      Truly, I live in dark times!
>
>     II
>
>      I came to the cities in the Age of Disorder
>      When hunger was rampant.
>      I came among mankind in the Age of Turmoil
>      And I railed against it.
>      That is how my days were spent
>      That were given to me on earth.
>
>      I ate my food between battles
>      I lied down to sleep among the murderers
>      I attended diffidently to love
>      And looked upon nature with impatience.
>      That is how my days were spent
>      That were given to me on earth.
>
>      In my day, the streets led to the swamp.
>      My language betrayed me to the butcher.
>      There was little I could do.  But the powerful
>      Sat more comfortably without me, so I hoped.
>      That is how my days were spent
>      That were given to me on earth.
>
>      The forces were weak.  The goal
>      Was distant, remote.
>      It was plainly visible, even if I
>      Could never reach it.
>      That is how my days were spent
>      That were given to me on earth.
>
>     III
>
>      You, who will spring up from the flood
>      In which we have drowned
>        Think,
>      When you speak of our shortcomings,
>      Also of the dark times
>      That you have been spared.
>
>      We,  who had to change countries more often
>      Than our shoes,  walked in despair amid the class
>         struggle,
>      When we saw only injustice, but no indignation.
>
>      And yet we do know:
>      Even hatred of baseness
>      Contorts the features.
>      Even wrath against injustice
>      Makes the voice hoarse.  Ah, we
>      Who wanted to prepare the ground for friendship
>      Were ourselves unable to be friendly.
>
>      But you, if the world has come so far
>      That each person is now a helper to his fellows
>      Think of us
>      With forbearance.
>
>
>
>     An die Nachgeborenen
> (Bertolt Brecht)
>
> I
>
>  Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!
>  Das arglose Wort ist töricht.  Eine glatte Stirn
>  Deutet auf Unempfindlichkeit hin.  Der
>  Lachende
>  Hat die furchtbare Nachricht
>  Nur noch nicht empfangen.
>  Was sind das für Zeiten, wo
>  Ein Gespräch über Bäume fast ein
>     Verbrechen ist
>  Weil es ein Schweigen über so viele Untaten
>   einschließt!
>  Der dort ruhig über die Straße geht
>  Ist wohl nicht mehr erreichbar für seine
>  Freunde
>  Die in Not sind?
>
>  Es ist wahr: ich verdiene noch meinen
>  Unterhalt.
>  Aber glaubt mir: das ist nur ein Zufall.
>  Nichts
>  Von dem, was ich tue, berechtigt mich dazu,
>  mich sattzuessen.
>  Zufällig bin ich verschont.  (Wenn mein
>  Glück aussetzt, bin ich verloren.)
>
>  Man sagt mir: Iß und trink du!  Sei froh, daß
>  du hast!
>  Aber wie kann ich essen und trinken, wenn
>  Ich es dem Hungernden entreiße, was ich
>  esse, und
>  Mein Glas Wasser  einem Verdurstenden
>  fehlt?
>  Und doch esse und trinke ich.
>
>  Ich wäre gerne auch weise.
>  In den alten Büchern steht, was weise ist:
>  Sich aus dem Streit der Welt halten und die
>  kurze Zeit
>  Ohne Furcht verbringen.
>  Auch ohne Gewalt auskommen
>  Böses mit Gutem vergelten
>  Seine Wünsche nicht erfüllen, sondern
>  vergessen
>  Gilt für weise.
>  Alles das kann ich nicht:
>  Wahrlich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!
>
>        II.
>
>  In die Städte kam ich zur Zeit der Unordnung
>  Als da Hunger herrschte.
>  Unter die Menschen kam ich zur Zeit des
>  Aufruhrs
>  Und ich empörte mich mit ihnen.
>  So verging meine Zeit
>  Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.
>
>  Mein Essen aß ich zwischen den Schlachten
>  Schlafen legte ich mich unter die Mörder
>  Der Liebe pflegte ich achtlos
>  Und die Natur sah ich ohne Geduld.
>  So verging meine Zeit
>  Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.
>
>  Die Straßen führten in den Sumpf zu meiner
>  Zeit.
>  Die Sprache verriet mich dem Schlächter.
>  Ich vermochte nur wenig.  Aber die
>  Herrschenden
>  Saßen ohne mich sicherer, das hoffte ich.
>  So verging meine Zeit
>  Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.
>
>  Die Kräfte waren gering.  Das Ziel
>  Lag in großer Ferne.
>  Es war deutlich sichtbar, wenn auch für
>  mich
>  Kaum zu erreichen.
>  So verging meine Zeit
>  Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.
>
> III
>
>  Ihr, die ihr auftauchen werdet aus der Flut
>  In der wir untergegangen sind
>  Gedenkt
>  Wenn ihr von unsern Schwächen sprecht
>  Auch der finsteren Zeit
>  Der ihr entronnen seid.
>
>  Gingen wir doch, öfter als die Schuhe die
>  Länder wechselnd
>  Durch die Kriege der Klassen, verzweifelt
>  Wenn da nur Unrecht war und keine
>  Empörung.
>
>  Dabei wissen wir doch:
>  Auch der Haß gegen die Niedrigkeit
>  Verzerrt die Züge.
>  Auch der Zorn über das Unrecht
>  Macht die Stimme heiser.  Ach, wir
>  Die wir den Boden bereiten wollten für
>  Freundlichkeit
>  Konnten selber nicht freundlich sein.
>
>  Ihr aber, wenn es soweit sein wird
>  Daß der Mensch dem Menschen ein Helfer
>  ist
>  Gedenkt unsrer
>  Mit Nachsicht.