praises of folly: flights of reason

Is a flight from reason to be deplored or hailed? Is the flight from reason a social pathology of apocalyptic proportions….There was an importance in protesting problems such as Vietnam, Racial equality,and income inequality among other ills, but it can also be asserted that the source of these problems that so animated the 1960’s counter-culture lay in a more deep an embedded structure of the society itself….

Irving Penn photo. Roszak:“is to level life down to a standard of so-called living that technical expertise can cope with—and then, on that false and exclusive basis, to claim an intimidating omnicompetence over us by its monopoly of the experts.” Read More: http://www.americanneopaganism.com/counterculture.htm image:http://www.mimifroufrou.com/scentedsalamander/2008/05/kenzo_vintage_2008_perfume_rev.html

Michel Foucault:This is what Eustache Desbchamps prophesies: We are cowardly and weak, Covetous, old, evil-tongued. Fools are all I see, in truth. The end is near, All goes ill . . . The elements are now reversed. It is no longer the end of time and of the world which will show retrospectively that men were mad not to have been prepared for them; it is the tide of madness, its secret invasion, that shows that the world is near its final catastrophe; it is man’s insanity that invokes and makes necessary the world’s end. Read More:http://prernalal.com/scholar/Foucault%20-%20Madness%20and%20civilization.pdf

…Thus, there was a concern with altering the comprehensive and complete cultural context within which daily political drama was played out. This context was the technological behemoth, the military industrial complex and its appendage entertainment complex. The problems that arose from this technology was the essential  basis of a central complaint against mainstream American cultural which avoided tackling symptoms, red-herrings, and false flags. …

Roszak:“The Age of Affluence represents a daring experiment on the part of elites in maintaining their dominance not by starving and bludgeoning their opposition into submission, but by seducing it into compliance. Allowing just enough freedom to dampen and integrate discontent–but not enough to endanger the discipline necessary for a stable industrial order. In the case of the technocracy, totalitarianism is perfected because its techniques become progressively more subliminal." Read More: http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Hippie-Era--1969

“The American psychologist Timothy Leary’s famous invitation to “tune in, turn on and drop out” changed a generation. The key element was “turn on” and it was Owsley Stanley who provided the means to do just that. Stanley, who has died aged 76, produced millions of doses of “acid”, the psychedelic drug LSD, which fuelled the 1967 Summer of Love in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, and spread around the world.” Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/15/owsley-stanley-obituary

…It was a technological and monetized  society, market driven, that orchestrated the totality of human experience. An organization so complex and mystifying that on the individual level, nothing seemed apparent or coherent to the average citizen who was urged to lower his head and plod onward in consumption. Within such a society, the citizen, controlled by bigness and complexity would find it necessary to defer on all matters to those in authority who knew better. Father knows best. Patriarchy. …

McGowan:"...it is probably safe to say that Frank’s dad...had little regard for the youth culture of the 1960s, given that Francis Zappa was...a chemical warfare specialist assigned to – where else? – the Edgewood Arsenal. Edgewood is, of course, the longtime home of America’s chemical warfare program, as well as a facility frequently cited as being deeply enmeshed in MK-ULTRA operations. "...Frank Zappa literally grew up at the Edgewood Arsenal, having lived the first seven years of his life in military housing on the grounds of the facility. The family later moved to Lancaster, California, near Edwards Air Force Base, where Francis Zappa continued to busy himself with doing classified work for the military/intelligence complex. Read More: "...it is probably safe to say that Frank’s dad...had little regard for the youth culture of the 1960s, given that Francis Zappa was...a chemical warfare specialist assigned to – where else? – the Edgewood Arsenal. Edgewood is, of course, the longtime home of America’s chemical warfare program, as well as a facility frequently cited as being deeply enmeshed in MK-ULTRA operations. "...Frank Zappa literally grew up at the Edgewood Arsenal, having lived the first seven years of his life in military housing on the grounds of the facility. The family later moved to Lancaster, California, near Edwards Air Force Base, where Francis Zappa continued to busy himself with doing classified work for the military/intelligence complex.

It was possible to see a pattern, a historical parallel between the United States in the post-Hiroshima era and the behavior of Europeans during the fifteenth and sixteenth-centuries. In the latter half of the fifteenth-century , as Michel Foucault noted in “Madness and Civilization” , Europe, afflicted by the plague, was obsessed by death and the fear of death. As the sixteenth-century began, the obsession with death was replaced by an obsession with madness and a celebration of insanity in which the madman was applauded as hero.

This is the period in which Hieronymus Bosch painted the The Temptation of Saint Anthony and the Garden of Earthly Delights. In the former painting, Bosch depicts madness as itself a temptation to rational and moral man, suggesting that the inner world of fantasy, of dreams, and of insane hallucinations, however frightening, was more attractive to sixteenth-century man than the ugly reality of a life that necessarily ended in death.

Bosch

e Temptation of Saint Anthony. Read More: http://iampetjack.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/10/

In short, the retreat into madness was nothing more than a way to repress the thought of death:” the lunatic anticipating the macabre, has disarmed it.” Those who saw a parallel between those times and the 1960’s can point out that from Hiroshima until about the time of the Kennedy assassination, the United States, as well as much of the rest of the world, was obsessed by the fear of death by nuclear attack. This was a time of widespread American paranoia about the threat of Russian attack, Beckett’s “Endgame”, Dr. Strangelove and “on the Beach.” Americans, and especially young Americans in the 60’s seemed to have repressed the fear of nuclear death and transformed it into an obsession with madness, just as sixteenth-century Europeans did.

…There is not much argument to the near-axiom that present western society trusts science as the ultimate tool for reason- and the balnce of force- and this mutant variety of reason as the ultimate tool guiding our perception of reality. This in turn, creates a system that is above question. Politics is then free to devour the surrounding culture which is a form of totalitarianism; an attempt to bring the whole of life under authoritarian control. Roszak:The distinctive feature of the regime of experts lies in the fact that, while possessing ample power to coerce, it prefers to charm conformity from us by exploiting our deep-seated commitment to the scientific world-view and by manipulating the securities and creature comforts of the industrial affluence which science gives us. So subtle and so well rationalized have the arts of technocratic domination become in our advanced industrial societies that even those in the state and/or corporate structure who dominate our lives must find it impossible to conceive of themselves as the agents of totalitarian control.Read More: http://www.americanneopaganism.com/counterculture.htm a

"This is a guy who, unbeknownst to many, had a huge military career and comes from a long line of military officers. Blunt attended Sandhurst (the British equivalent of West Point) and rose to the rank of Captain. He scored elite assignments as a security officer to the Queen Mother. He then headed to war-torn Kosovo where he led 30,000 troops into combat zones. Then he makes a 'left turn', grows his hair long, goes into the pop music business, and starts writing love songs. Some might argue this is not really a big deal. But in our context, the question is whether these are naturally ocurring abilities." Read More: http://themurkynews.blogspot.com/2008/06/chapter-eleven-grand-tour-of-satans.html

Michael Carlson:It’s also interesting to consider how many of the people who actually generated ‘the summer of love’ and the hippie movement, and were radicals in the 60s, were actually of the pre-baby boomer generation, and to what a huge extent the baby boomers, my generation, simply consumed, felt good, and moved on, to (in many ways) mess up the world they were trying to improve. Someone like Owsley, whose fierce intelligence was truly altered by mind-expanding drugs, provides some sort of moral lesson for us, and I’m not just saying that because I just turned 60. Nor because among Stanley’s own sound archives are some wonderful tapes of Jerry Garcia’s bluegrass band, Old And In The Way, with Vassar Clements and Peter Rowan. Read More: http://irresistibletargets.blogspot.com/2011/03/owsley-stanley-guardian-obituary.html

A writer at the time, Theodore Roszak, welcomed the flight from reason and viewed it as “the saving vision our endangered civilization requires”. Modern American industrial society , said Roszak, is ugly, repressive, and destructive to the human spirit. In short, it is a nightmare society, and one that has evolved because of an automatic acceptance of the axiom that advances in science and technology are above self-examination and a good for the individual. Read More:http://www.nohum.k12.ca.us/tah/maprojects/Standish.pdf a

Roszak:So subtle and so well rationalized have the arts of technocratic domination become in our advanced industrial societies that even those in the state and/or corporate structure who dominate our lives must find it impossible to conceive of themselves as the agents of totalitarian control. Rather, they easily see themselves as the conscientious managers of a munificent social system. Read More: http://www.myspace.com/hippy_movement

The young, said Roszak were creating a new culture in the United States, a counter-culture based on unreason and aimed at liberating the non-rational forces dormant within us: the illogical world of our dreams and fantasies. Magic. Imagination. A sense of profound joy. Only by creating such a culture, he said, can we break away from the dull, deadening, and destructive domination of science and technology which fostered militarism as a primary aim.

“Stanley’s acid turned hippies on and he also tuned them in. The band on Kesey’s bus was the Grateful Dead, with whom Owsley began an instantly synergistic relationship. The Dead took to his acid with such enthusiasm that Jerry Garcia became “Captain Trips”, while Stanley funded their career and became their sound engineer, creating their unique live sound and, by recording each concert, providing the most complete archive of any band of the era. Along with Bob Thomas, he designed the band’s “Steal Your Face” lightning bolt and skull logo, originally so his masses of sound equipment could be identified easily.” Read More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/15/owsley-stanley-obituary

Roszak: The business of investing and flourishing treacherous parodies of freedom, joy, and fulfillment becomes an indispensable form of social control under the technocracy.” The technocracy appropriates to itself “the whole meaning of Reason, Reality, Progress, and Knowledge”, rendering it “impossible for men to give any name to their bothersomely unfulfilled potentialities but that of madness. And for such madness, humanitarian therapies...Read More: http://www.americanneopaganism.com/counterculture.htm image:http://www.myspace.com/hippy_movement

Carlson: In 1963 he enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, where he began smoking marijuana and selling fellow students morning-glory seeds for a legal high. The next year, he encountered LSD. He spent three weeks studying the then-legal drug’s chemistry, and began producing it himself. Quitting college and working at a local radio station, he set up the “Bear Research Group” to make acid. By the time he met Kesey in September 1965, he had become the first private producer of LSD on a grand scale. Read More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/15/owsley-stanley-obituary

ADDENDUM:
Mark Levinson. 1998: He is best known for his 1969 book, ”The Making of a Counter Culture,” which analyzed youthful opposition to technocratic society. Back then, he saw the young as having the ”saving vision our endangered civilization requires.” The older generation was criticized for its ”nearly pathological passivity.”

Roszak is still counting on the postwar generation — the nearly 80 million people born between 1946 and 1964 — to transform society. His hope for the future no longer depends ”upon the youth of the nation but upon the initiative of those who are reaching their 50’s and 60’s.” Roszak is so entranced with the baby boomers that he calls them ”the New People” and claims they will be ”the most adventurous, assertive, astute senior generation we have known.”

In a book celebrating old age, it is odd that Roszak is just as dismissive of the pre-baby-boom generation as he was 30 years ago. ”One need only make a firsthand survey of the over-50 population we find around us . . . to see the striking difference between past-old and future-old. How many are stereotypic cranks and codgers whom life has passed by? What one more and more commonly finds are hungry minds, physical vitality, keen perception, lively tastes, political know-how, even ambition.Read More:http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/10/04/reviews/981004.04levinst.html

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