In-Communicado: Language, Arts, Poetry, and the Politics Of Perception








How we perceive things and what there is to perceive is guided and also part and parcel of the language we use to both perceive and communicate.

This language is being – has been – torn from its roots and relegated to an adolescent myopia mistellingly termed ‘focus’ by those who have no need whatsoever to be curious and/or investigate differing points of view.

Politics ought to have a differentiated field of perspective able to reach – i.e. communicate – in a manner not so obscure as to become meaningless and not so open as to render null and void the potential for greater understanding. That’s not happening: everything caters to the lowest common denominator in every field and action.

This is because the theatrics of personality are mistaken for the actuality of personality and its authenticity.

One of my own criteria for an individual who is authentic was easy to come by for a long time: it was always the idea of learning something new every day, and not necessarily something regarding the mechanical operation of things, or carpentry, or cars – but a different manner of perspective.

I was encouraged to investigate differing points of view, and also not to simply accept what echoed for me in regards to what I felt true, but to examine as many aspects as would reveal themselves against their opposition.

In other words, not to look for confirmation of a view or perspective I already held but to see what could be gathered from opposing views.

If I was prejudiced towards rock’n’roll I ought to investigate the blues, soul, go to the ballet… discover how the blend of myth and legend mixed and matched and became more in classical music and storytelling. If it was a poetry reading, attend one where there were a number of different styles of readers and poems being presented – not simply nod off metaphorically to rock, or avoid ballet, or choose only the poets whose work I already knew.

The benefits are enormous; not only exposure to different minds and arts, but the fact of that exposure made something more than simply being culturally aware: the sheer simplicity and beauty of not cornering oneself in a self-satisfied and closed system of learning, but actually being able to learn, rather than lean on attitudes of disregard or disdain for what wasn’t familiar, things which pass for being cool or hip or smart these days, more so than ever was before.

What a banquet of emotions, perspectives and learning – rather than the self-satisfied drivel of inculcated fear that passes for awareness in cultural norms now. But that singular sense of discovery was always the individual’s choice, and there was always the inherent prohibition of being isolated, alone and unlikeable within the prevalent view of greater numbers of jaded know-it-alls who triumphed their ignorance as the height of distinction in their unwillingness to earn through discipline a greater and authentic awareness.

How easy to laugh at what was someone obviously uncomfortable, or nervous, or not so inured to the machinations of being an individual as long as you’re like us – and how stupid.

The thing was that if you were reading it could not usually happen, because you were discovering.

Not these days – who encourages reading or going against prevalent views unless it’s to form an opposition to more current views and yet this still be dependent upon opinions outside your own awareness. Still ignorant.

I would deliberately seek out what I did not necessarily agree with or was not particularly interested in believing. That meant going to worship at a Catholic church, a synagogue, a ceremony with Indians, another ceremony with a few Ceylonese where ghee was sprinkled on your head, etc.

The prevailing attitude of intellectual ignorance then was if you’re ‘trying out’ these things you didn’t know what you were doing so you were therefore someone who could be swayed easily, thus were intellectually malleable and had a mushy mind, and personality which could not be depended upon.

Meaning you were detached from reality because your opinions weren’t limited, concrete and prejudiced.

How this was brought to bear was with the language used to describe such things. Rather than investigating through a mind eager for discovery and thus able to absorb and learn anew from differing and different perspectives, you were a floppy pushover unable to discern what was good and true.

Exactly what’s happening now in a greater absorption of all things now. The first evidence of this wasn’t even the ‘politically correct’ prejudices – but it can be seen there as a starting point. Then there’s the rewriting of history – remove that rebel flag! why? it offends our ignorance of the fact that only the ignorant can pretend to claim something to be better if they discard reality.

Babies crying for some vaunted attention they cannot make of their own learning, dependent upon swaying others to achieve an authentic awareness through agreement, forced or not?

No. Little Hitlers acting within the pathological viewpoint now a matter of accord amongst the intellectually stunted morons who have been guided by those who do not read, won’t read, and haven’t even the least curiosity as to the importance of how language comes to be when it is the medium of communication.

When I consider Beethoven or Marx or Big Mama Thornton it is not for the simplistic view that I will agree or not with whatever they do, my ego not being such a neurologically infected thing as to be the arbiter of taste in all things, but to what I can feel, learn and understand what I have previously felt and learned, how that applies to what I may learn in the future – the now -, and how this impinges upon every aspect of those things.

I don’t look to believe, nor agree. Nor to ‘learn’ and dismiss, thus to be closed and prejudiced.

I look to see what they make me feel by way of their contributions to being human.

When I hear what passes for understanding these days throughout the media and a lot of books and experts so-called, I know that every time they appear to think, or write or offer up an opinion to the morons who do not even begin to question the validity of even why they ought to consider the validity of such opinions and opinion makers, I do not have to question what they remove from the achievements of all those who are contributing now, but to what degree they weaken such things, in what manner they devolve to a nihilistic and apathetic surrender: how they offer themselves up as examples of how not to view a world and history and current things, along with art and history and music, which they cheapen and devalue simply by what they obviously consider highly authentic and intellectually open leanings.

I’d rather ask them than hear anything else they have to say, what is your literary history? What is your cultural awareness, as points of merit generating lesser or greater degrees of viability for hearing whatever they have to say. To whom do you look, besides your own self-generated and limited self, for discovery of what is new, and possibly more true than anything you have yet to claim or those with whom you agree?

In this culture where personality replaces learning, media prominence stands for achievement and thus viability with its loud and laborious repetitive Pavlovian brainwashing, real pride in achievements actualized through applied discipline and curiosity has been replaced by a sloppy participation in a humanity defined by the internet where there is no shame in anything let alone the lack of marked progress measured against what other individuals achieve – and the awareness of such is vanishing – self-referential entropy is what defines loss amid a culture of death and vaunted ignorance as the high-water marks against a flood that has already been accepted as the substitute for viable understanding, much in the same way that Machiavelli is ‘understood’ as defining evil political tribulations rather than as a model for current corporations in their puppeteering of a willing government.

Imagination with learned and earned discipline are the tools so discounted and thus so easily employed against those who would ‘leave their blood upon the moon.’ *1


©Dean Baker

1*Blood Upon The Moon

Poetry is far behind me now:
I have lost the gift of music,
the memory-hidden silences.

That place where once I lived, in
glory, is occupied: by
cruel forces of the invasion.

The armies of the ignorant
twitch, and kneel:
they leave their blood upon the moon.

©Dean Baker

excerpt from Silence Louder Than A Train, 102 PAGES, $12.99

see also BLOOD UPON THE MOON, 132 PAGES, $14.99

Social commentary/political satires Tormenting The Monkey, 218 pages, $14.99

and Poetry & How It Gets That Way, 104 pages, $10.99


In the face of an ever diminishing interest in one of the oldest arts, poetry, this book serves as an introduction why that interest should be revived in schools and individuals: illustrating the loss that accrues by not doing so, and the benefits to society through a passionate involvement in the poetic arts. Poetry has been an essential art in history and is in danger of being trivialized into extinction. Several seminal events in recent literary history are detailed in illustrating how poetry is not merely an adjunct to history and culture but can elucidate, influence and in changing perspective alter those same events and deeds.


















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