The Underground Lady [Page Nineteen]

After a sufficient time spent consuming oneself with reasoning over abstruse questions, a pasttime to which there is no real end, the position of the barbarian—the street thug, the simple athlete, the rank-and-file soldier—can appear quite attractive.  Especially if their character matches the expectations forced upon them by their backgrounds: blunt and simple.  If they diverge, however little, which people almost always do, they disappoint as diversions.  As for businessmen with street pretensions, and academics who pretend to be thugs, I have no time for subtle crooks or buck-private scholars.

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What I seek in the company of genuine types is relief from agitation.  This is not some form of dilettantism.  I couldn’t care less about trying to become like them, just as they feel about me. 

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Drugs give the Bohemian an alternate sense of time—for this they are useful, up to a point.

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Of all the drugs employed by the denizens of Bohemia for creative purposes, I think that hashish results in the best written work.  The others tend to consume their users and their users’ ideas a little bit at a time, rather than adding to them. 

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If you are familiar enough with the effects of each substance, then you can tell when reading a passage in a certain thinker’s work which drug he was taking at the time.  For instance, from my own experience, I can tell when reading specific passages in Foucault, that they were written when he was high on marijuana.

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Writers often say that they never wrote anything while under the influence of drugs.  There is a very simple reason for this mild fib: those who do not use drugs may judge them for it and not read their work, while those who do will know that they are lying from their own impressions (see preceding).  As for those readers and critics who use drugs themselves, and still believe this ruse, they are hopelessly stupid.

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To expand on what I said before about certain passages being marked by a style or way of proceeding inimitable to the use of particular drugs: The progress in the thinking here is more freely associative (marijuana, hashish), and the associations are more intricate (hashish especially).  Here one element seems to melt into another, rather than “standing in relation to it,” as we usually say, with all the non-interpenetrativeness the category of the relational implies.  Furthermore, I can perceive the temporary transformation in the work when I’m perfectly sober, but later if I’m asked by someone to whom I’ve made this claim to point the passage out, I have difficulty finding it.  Still I am convinced that the impression is anything but imaginary, and when I have been able to pinpoint some of these passages again, they invariably turn out to represent some of the best and most lucid work in the whole.

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Reading wastes time.

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Those who would understand my work as a recuperation of the past, specifically of the insights of the monastics, would be frustrated to find that I am uninterested in any mystical tradition for its own sake, and that I regard the Church’s suppression of the mystical side of Christianity as only one part of the suppression of a much older tradition, deeper and more profound, a tradition of shamanic ecstasy that continued to be practiced by the monks in secret, and often under the direct influence of their pagan charges.  This subterranean tradition goes back to the druids and beyond.

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It is the Celtic sense of time that I want to get back to—a long trek back down a narrow winding way, and not merely a short hike back to the ages of Anselm and Assisi.  I want to look up at the stars through ancient trees, long dead, and know how time felt back then.

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In what is usually counted as the sixth fragment from Livius Andronicus, he Latinizes the Greek name for the divinity of death as “Morta.”  For those who understand, you can see the oddness of the translation.

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I am uninterested in modern paganism.  It reminds me of those cheaply made, fake-enamel copies of Biedermeier one finds in discount furniture stores.

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