Danish Interview (with Ole Reitov) – 5

Allen Ginsberg 1983 interview with Ole Reitov continues – 

AG: And let us conclude for the sake of the information (with a recent recording experience with The Clash) – that’s at the end of the “Ghetto Defendant cut on their album Combat Rock, which is now, (1983) I think, the largest single selling album in Europe and America. So out of totally esoteric nowhere, by the power of human voice and intelligence, something comes through which has a little…that’s in a little sky. And I think that’s the only hope we have – having a sense of humor, having skillful means, non-aggression, relaxation, not taking gestures that create more anxiety, not making gestures from anger that make more anger, and attempting to bring in other people rather than exclude. Which means patience towards capitalism, patience towards communism. Or, as (Jack) Kerouac said. “Walking on water wasn’t built in a day” (laughter)

OR: No, it’s a huge building.

AG: Well, it took how many hundred years for the industrial revolution to fuck everything up. And it’ll take that many years for us to un-fuck it. Once it’s reached, as now, a crisis point … (Once) we’ve come to the wall, where you can blow up the Earth, then there is no way except in going in some direction which doesn’t blow up the Earth, and I don’t think we will blow up the Earth. I think there is enough sanity. And people don’t want to commit suicide, it’s as simple as that.. on a large scale. And I think it will take, like, a vast wave of hysteria and anger worldwide to really blow up the Earth, and I don’t think that will happen. There will be a lot of suffering, a lot of death in El Salvaldor and Nicaragua and Afghanistan, but in the long run… suffering’s part of life anyway,

OR: Afghanistan is a tricky one because basically I don’t see that as a fight against the Communists, I see it more as a fight against what you’re talking about, the centralization of power and…

AG: Centralized imperial power

OR: …and that even goes for any power in Afghanistan, ’cause there was never a state, it’s never been a state society.

AG: Yeah, that was what was good about it.

OR: Yes! But the problem is the whole discussion still goes on about…just the question about whipping out the Russians (editoral note – this discussion takes place in 1983) and doesn’t lead anywhere.

AG: Yeah, actually, I think it was American provocation, to some exent…

OR:  It was..

AG: …because Americans were in there secretly all along.I was thinking about that last night. Timothy Leary was there in 1970 and the Americans had enough power to steal his passport and have… even though there is no extradition treaty, the Americans were able to kidnap him from Afghanistan, with the Afghanistani police complicity…narcs.narcotic agents..

OR: Yes, but that was in 1970, and, of course that was the..

AG: Of course that was mild to what the Russians are doing now.

OR: Yes, but what has surprised me is that the Russians haven’t been bombing on the Pakistani side more than they’ve done, actually.

AG: Americans have bombed Cambodia

OR: Yeah, exactly!

AG: But I don’t think they can. To get involved in such a big war would mess them up forever. (sic – prescient thinking in 1983)  It is messed up enough as it is.

OR: Yes, I think that indicates that they’re not willing to do..that it basically was a mistake that they went in..

AG: True! Any kind of aggression is a mistake. Or, if it’s not a mistake, at least an inexpedience, as the Catholics say….

He (Leary) went overland..

OR: He always wanted to go back of course

AG: No..he would like to go back to India

OR: North or south or just all around?

AG: Well, I have never seen Southern India so I would like to go there.

OR: You haven’t?

AG: I’ve been mostly Northern. But I had the good fortune coming back… in (19)63 I stopped off in Saigon for several weeks and spent a lot of time with all the American correspondents, David Halberstam, and others, and I got a fast glimpse of the differences between what the correspondents thought and experienced, what they wrote, and the difference between wha they wrote and what was printed in the paper, and the difference between what the lower echelons USIS (US Information Service) hippies thought and what was being reported by ambassador (Henry Cabot) Lodge to Kennedy. It was immediately obvious that they didn’t.. . a mass of people…they didn’t want us there, simple as that.  And at the same time, my father, in Paterson, New Jersey, was thinking that they had invited us there. See, the fuck-up of centralization is that no information reaches the top..real information. “Cause at that point… what started Vietnam to begin with was the misunderstanding that the Communist bloc was monolithic and if the Vietnamese went to Ho Chi Minh they would join up with the Chinese ..’cause they were too dumb on top to realize that Ho Chi Minh didn’t want the Chinese, and there was an ancient emnity between the Vietnamese and the Chinese anyway. So if we really wanted to keep China encircled (because it was a containment policy, to contain China), if we really wanted to keep China contained, all we had to do was give a lot of money to Ho Chi Minh.

OR: Yes..  but what you are talking about you will see very closely in Sweden, because the bureaucracy there has come more close to that situation than in the States. I find that bureaucracy is ruling itself and.. because they had the same party and power for thirty-four years, so they developed that kind of state system.

AG: In Naked Lunch, (William) Burroughs, in (19)58, has an interesting analysis of that. He says, “Democracy is cancerous, and bureaus are its cancer”. It invades the host and so takes over the host. It works in the opposite direction of natural evolution and towards a greater monolithic dinosauric centralization rather than differentiation.. evoltionary differentiation and individuation of species. The key is that our civilization is destroying species of plants, animals, fish, and humans (not species, but cultures, in the human realm), and that is obviously unwise as an evolutionary step, because there is information contained in (say) Aboriginal epic literature, (and in the whale kingdoms, I assume) that we don’t have access to and might be lost forever, and it might be thee saving information, when push comes to shove, with getting along with the planet.

OR: Yes, but isn’t that very much the same development that the multi-national companies are getting into.. that the almost need information scientists to get hold on what is really going on within the organizations, because they don’t even.. .

AG: Within their own organizations?

OR: Yes

AG: Yeah… the dinosaurs had little brains developed in their tails finally! (laughter) .. and it is said… the myth.. that the reason that they fell is that they had gotten so standardized and uniform and so gigantic that finally, when the food source came out, they flopped over and died, “cause they weren’t fit to cope with the changing environment. And I don’t think the petrochemical monolith multi-nationals are fit to cope with the changing environment. The record industry is an example and the book industry is an example..

OR: But that’s a very interesting situation because it seems like we are just on the eve of it now..

AG: I think we are on the eve of some general mass awakening..

to be continued

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