“The errors of a wise man make your rule, Rather than the perfections of a fool”
— William Blake
There are words that fit in the mouth only after all the teeth have been broken out. Words that swing down like wrecking balls from out of the darkness of the cranium. Indentured words coined by impoverished minds. Words that collectively constitute the language of our time.
Language that is conceived in the head can not help but be born brain dead. Its letters held together like the stiffened fingers of a hand under the spell of rigor mortis. Its every sentence a funeral procession.
The shadow of darkness swallows this upside down world. The shadow is standardization. Standardization is the death of inanimate objects, which is only to say it is the death of spirit. But the death of spirit goes by another name. It is usually called the birth of reason.
The dreams of reason are, at this late date, everywhere to be seen, much like headstones in a cemetery. The inertia of a standard which prunes every tree to the dimensions of a utility pole will, with the same determination, core the heart out of the human personality. This fermenting mind, intoxicated by its heady sobriety, methodically slits its own throat, all the while mistaking the elongating wound for a smile.
When the spirit is free, according to Nietzsche, the head will be the bowels of the heart. In these top heavy days that have turned life topsy-turvy the head has little appetite for freedom. Instead it has developed a taste for coprophagy.
If mouths are to be more than crematoriums they must not stop at nothing. Not because nihilism goes too far, but rather because it fails to go far enough. Nihilism is like a street light. The only crime it never prevents is the only one that really matters, the crime of its own existence. All its desperate light ever really succeeds in doing is to obscure the view of the effervescent stars and their exalted dance across the darkness of the sky.
When the spirit is free it will soar. Its reflection imprisoned in the mirror of nihilism is the spirit of gravity. “Not by wrath, but by laughter do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity.” (Nietzsche)
Bob Black has been slaying the spirit of gravity for some years. His favorite weapon is the penknife, and when he goes for the throat, breathe easy, the usual result is a tracheotomy of inspiration.
His writings are an exhilarating torrent that flushes out the ash of a language which clogs the throat. His work is akin to the great labor of Hercules, who diverted two rivers to run through and cleanse the Augean stables. Akin to, but even more difficult. The rivers of Hercules’ task were at least fresh and flowing, while the stream of consciousness that now must be detoured has been cut off from its source and become a stagnant malarial successpool.
Bob Black is the high priest of nihilarity. His confessional has Duchamp’s urinal bolted to its door. His ten commandments are a string of one liners. His faith is baldly heretical. It begins where the dictionary ends, not with the ZZZ of a snore but with the chaotic rumbling of a chortle that quickens the senses like an earthquake that sways a petrified forest. By virtue of his faults, Black derides the wheel without spokes, the mandala of zero, and demoralizes the mind forged hi-techtonics whose poison prescribes that one seismograph counterfeits all.
By virtue of genuine delight his texts are both alive and enlivening. He is the extraordinary magician who pulls the perpetually unexpected, the silk purse, from out of the squealing sow’s ear. Within these pages nothing is not as it seems, and the winged horse Pegasus flies forth from the neck of the beheaded Medusa.
Part I: The Abolition of Work