Investigative Poetics – 6 (Pound and Paranoia)

File:Museo del Prado - Goya - Caprichos - No. 43 - El sueño de la razon produce monstruos.jpg

[Francisco Goya (1746-1828) – El sueño de la razon produce monstruos” (“The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”) – Plate 43 of  “Los Caprichos” (“The Caprices”), (1799), etching and aquatint on paper 8.4 x 5.9 inches –  in the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain]

AG: (tape continuing in media res, after brief pause)  …a big paranoiac projection – got that down on tape? – The whole study, finally, leading to the conclusion that it was just a.. big paranoiac projection, and that maybe you’re crazy (or, maybe, they‘re crazy – or maybe you’re all crazy together!  And then you begin getting angry and paranoid – “maybe they’re following you?” – and “who did they kill last time?” – and “who’s house are they breaking into now?”. So, it’s a dangerous field to get into, unless you have something to balance it and stabilize your mind, which is why it’s very useful to have this sort of subject taught, surrounded by Zen masters and Tibetan lamas, where there’s a recourse to emptiness in the middle of it all, where you can always have recourse to meditation to calm your anxieties and to empty the paranoia out so that the paranoia becomes another playful toy or poetic fancy, rather than something you really have to get worried about, and hide in the basement like The Invisible Man.

So, as Ed (Sanders)will point out, the danger of Investigative Poetics is that your natural paranoia will take over, and then, underneath that, (the cause of that), is actually just anger, really, or aggression, fixated ideas on your own ego-identity, and your own goodness and (the) badness of other people – that you’re good and other people are evil people, that the evil people are taking over the good people, and, if only you were strong enough and keep track of all the evil people, you can take them up to the New York Times Supreme Court, and get them all busted through the Washington Post, and all the sins will be cleared up, and everything will come back to normal!

– which is what Ezra Pound was into. Except he thought it was all the banking system, just as I was saying it was all the drug system. So Pound thought it was the banking system. In the Cantos, he’s got analysis of money and his point is that as money is used as a commodity, rather than merely some measure of exchange, as money used to make money (like the bank loans out money at a high rate of interest to get more money) that this abuse of the medium of exchange is what poisons the entire economy – when money is loaned out not for production, to encourage socially useful production, but is loaned out to make more money for the loaner, or the bank, then some unnatural imbalance is entered right into the bloodstream, so to speak, or the most delicate part of the nervous system of social communication – the symbol of exchange, the money.

So Pound went into giant research into the history of banks, back through the Medici banks, and back to Roman banks, and communal banks, where there was there was no question of getting money from money (it was just a small rate of interest, and money was loaned out only for useful production), and came up with an entire analysis of the entire society, based on money – which became his obsession, until he was eighty, until he got so close to death that he realized that, well, it wasn’t really money, it was greed. So he should have been working on people’s minds and psychology rather than the externalized banking system (because that was just a manifestation of greed). Pound finally felt that all his life and work was a mess (stupidity and ignorance all the way through), himself, at the age of eighty.
So I was just pointing out some of the dangers of Investigative Poetics.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-five-and-three-quarter minutes and concluding approximately forty-nine-and three-quarter minutes]  

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