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A Bio-hazard Valentine of Dissent

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In this age of economic imprisonment and exponentially increasing environmental devastation (e.g., How can one adapt to the social and political climes of a culture that is dangerously altering the climate itself, yet denies it?) -- what verities should one hold to?

Perhaps, we might grow so desperate that we open ourselves to the spirit of the following quote -- an eminently more resonate sentiment than that expressed by garden-variety Valentine's Day cards:

"The spirit of justice is nothing other than the supreme and perfect flower of the madness of love."--Simone Weil

Now we have something to work with: spirits, madness and love. One's spirit (which includes the spirit of conviction, labor, and dissent) goes into the world with the ardor of a lover -- and becomes enmeshed in its madness. How could it not?

Spirit in itself is by definition as impersonal as nature: to be possessed of spirit is to be suffused with the inhuman fury of nature itself ... of spiraling galaxies and spindling earthworms; spirit is borne of a womb of thunder and the autochthonic urgency of daemonic (i.e., instinctual) drives, and, like the act of surrendering to romantic love or to an immersion of the self within a mob, while in its grip, one is apt to be spirited away.

Conversely, to be devoid of spirit, one becomes cipher; one lacks vitality; life is a prison-yard shuffle, in which the condemned serves a life sentence for the crime of not choosing life itself ... the crime of refusing to commit Eros' error.

Yet upon committing the crime of passionate engagement, one places oneself in an asylum for the hopelessly insane i.e., a life lived in this human realm. What to do? Proceed to the ward of the madhouse of yourself where the powers in charge have placed in lockdown the most hopeless cases ... and love the inmates within.

Give voice to the suffering lunatic whose mouth is frozen in terror. In our age, it should not evoke bafflement as to why he has been struck paralyzed by fear. It is quite possible, he cannot drive the knowledge from his mind that our species, by means of manic consumption, is destroying our planet -- our only home and collective body -- yet the allegedly sane go along as if nothing of the sort looms. Given the state of the situation, it might be proof of one's sanity to be driven a bit mad with grief.

Weep into the darkness with the inmates. Rage at invisible demons in the air, until they make themselves visible to you; a strategy by which one can keep a close watch on them, because it is from one's inner demons' -- those shunned and shunted aside, lost, troubled spirits -- from their tormented minds, from their fear-palsied hands, out of their gibbering tongues, from their raw, raging energies bloom "the spirit [of justice, of meaningful labor, of protest] of the supreme and perfect flower of the madness of love."

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Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at: Visit Phil's website: or at FaceBook:

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