Introduction [Page Eight]

Humanity is unfathomable.

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If you laid an egg in a courtyard, and a chicken came to roost on it, then this old matter of which came first—as well as how the enigma came to be in the first place—would be settled once and for all.

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Surrealism is part of the armor of the Bohemian, along with slyness, discretion, humor, paradox, and juxtaposition of every sort.  This is all the rubbish that has been discarded beside the high-road of civilization.  Let’s give thanks where thanks is due.

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Even though I no longer live there, I am mostly concerned with America because I am an American, and only secondarily because it is the fashion.  And when I say America, I never mean its pop culture.

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I have no particular aversion to pop culture—I am indifferent to it as a whole, and only concern myself with its component parts, with its cast-offs.

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Television is a wholly insidious practice, being as it is the voluntary submission by the individual to government and corporate propaganda by inviting it into one’s home.

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The state that television puts one in is most strange.  It resembles not so much schizophrenia as the kind of ecstatic distraction experienced by monks in the Middle Ages, whereby they could scourge themselves and still concentrate all their mental energies on the “one true God.”  This seems excessive, especially now, when the object of contemplation is a cheaply made automobile or a breakfast drink.

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Strictness should be considered a priority of the first order by the Bohemian.  Slovenliness is the one true mortal sin.

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Sin should be considered in light of the fact that the soul is the battle between our passion and reason—with no mitigating factors, or essences.

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There is no entrance for some to certain areas of experience.  This is a truism for all groups and in all social settings. 

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A friend once told me that he had no faith in any of the revolutions of the twentieth century.  This seems too harsh to me.  There are some more than minor entries, after all, such as the overthrow of apartheid.  Also, one can believe in a revolution and not at the same time.  For instance, I would take the progress of the worker in Russia and China, and leave the rest.  This is the privilege of every smart revolutionary democrat.

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Demos has arisen everywhere and all at once.  It has no distinct birthplace.  And it is not too much to suppose that it represents a phase in the overall evolution of our species, and that the mind, like everything else, evolves, but perhaps not at the accelerated rate we suppose. 

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Self-determination, the right to choose one’s leaders, might be considered, from a longer evolutionary view, to be only the first step toward civilization.

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The Bohemian thinker is dedicated to demos in the sense meant by the preceding.  Many local versions of Bohemianism exist, but they all have this sense in common.

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The epigram is a limited form, but only if you respect its independence too much.

[end Introduction]

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