A call to arms
Por: Claus Ankersen
Reflections on the role of poetry and poets in the transformation of human society, towards peace, true democracy and sustainable co-habitation with the planet.
As we enter the 2020s, it would seem that humanity stands on the threshold of something completely new. For the first time in recorded human history, we now possess the technology to literally provide for everybody. We have the means of production to allow everybody a sustainable life of fully automated luxury. We can produce and distribute enough for everybody to have all they need.
Unfortunately, while technology in itself might be considered a neutral, the ownership of said technology is not. And the present and steadily more centralized ownership of capital and technology seem to prioritize hoarding of resources over communal distribution, exploitation higher than sharing with rising inequality and socio-economic oppression as a byproduct, and the myths of transhumanism and overpopulation as systemic traits of the oligarchy now visibly cloaking itself behind a thin veneer of democracy.
Propagating psychopathic values of aggression and greed as dominating human traits in order to justify the desperate scrambling for survival in the alligator pond on the bottom of meritocracy, and simultaneously practicing gift-economy at the very top, where countless gazillions seem abundant, seems a strategic move of the established power structure. That the true dominating traits of humans are in fact tolerance, empathy, forgiveness, generosity, and love seems of little importance.
In the past year, we have seen protests from desperate and concerned citizens all over the world, and while the response of truly democratic societies would be accommodating and open to reform in respect of the population, what we see is the opposite. The present system of surveillance governance refuses to reform. Instead, we see a fortification of power in legislation, in citizen surveillance and social control. We see the contours of an iron dome lowering on a global scale and a fully globally developed surveillance infrastructure that only needs a functioning AI to effectively dominate the global population and hinder any further attempt of system-reform or -rebellion.
The emperors on Wall Street have no doubt noticed the increasing awareness of this growing injustice. And there is talk of reform, or so we are told. Whether it represents a true wish in the eleventh hour, or merely yet another diversion of our attention, is perhaps not as important. It will most probably not be in the interest of the majority of the world's population, the Gaian habitat we are but a part of, or any other organism on the planet.
In the battle for obtaining and keeping the ultimate power and control of this planet and everything on it, there are no rules. Gradually the imitative logic of capitalism has taken ownership over human culture and emotive landscapes and is now moving to appropriate the last frontier, as our esoteric spirituality, mysticism, and magic itself are being refashioned, and regurgitated as a toothless copy with a corporate entity as owner. In just a little over a hundred years, the shamanic icon known as Santa Claus, is now owned and associated with a soft drink producer, and the gift of SOMA originally offered by this entity, now a dark present causing diabetes and poisonous enough to rinse metal in.
Our mapped genome with minuscule alterations will most probably be the next to be privatized, just like entheogens and medicinal plants have been appropriated by corporate capitalism.
Simultaneously we are being told that we are alone in the world, as cultures and memes of super-individualism are being heavily propagated and social coherence put under pressure. We are more often than not led to believe that we are alone. This is a lie. We are not alone.
But speaking of individuality, luckily the most valuable and supreme resource is still under our individual control as human beings. This resource is also the most coveted of all, and all sails are being set to reign in and control this magnificent price of mankind. Not gold, not force of labor. But something that most of us take for granted in the same way as we breathe without thinking.
I am referring of course to our attention. Our outer and inner gaze and our only and constant fixpoint and focal to existing in the present. Out attention are the bridge and the gateway to reality by which perception travels at lightning speed. Precisely the same attention that has provided the basis for everything wondrous in our world. And precisely the same attention which we are now increasingly directing away from the world around us, away from each other, away from our selves and our becoming in the universe and instead are becoming addicted to direct to a hyper realm of fictionalized reality mediated electronically. We are being lured away from the source and into the simulacrum. A fata morgana.
This movement is as perfectly cruel and simple as it is – or at least at some point be – irreversible, and is perfectly illustrated by Plato's Cave, where human civilization is now creeping back into the cave, preferring to look at shadows on the cave wall instead of fixing our attention on the actual bison on the field, das ding an sich.
In summation, one might say that we are looking at some dark and stormy times ahead, that doom and gloom and dystopian forebodings are rightfully preoccupying many people, further contributing to a lowering of life-quality and a heightening of an existential misery that is – by all means, and purposes – completely unnecessary and inhumane.
We are eternally blooming flowers, each one of us humans on the planet, as well as each and every one of the sentient beings surrounding us as flora, fauna, and members of the fungi kingdom.
And in the midst of these seemingly dark times, poetry can help us share and realize this.
Poetry, like nothing else, is able to capture the here-and-now, pinpoint the sensations of being, verbalize the atmosphere, transfer the inexplicable, paint the sensation, and capture the meeting between self and other, self and self, self and the world.
More than any other artistic expression, poetry is the art of focusing the attention on the moment.
It is precisely this attentive and creative head-dive into the anatomy of the present, that mimics creation itself.
And the gift of poetry is no less fantastic than creation, its gift, the fruits of shifting attention and position into a quantum realm of existence where everything coincides in the present.
In this way, poetry effectively combines human universals and the particular of the eternal in the present moment in a prismatic condensation both narrative and snapshot.
So poetry is transformative and the act of creating poetry is shamanic in nature.
Poetry is the art of the moment, it captures the now, the being, the atmosphere, the sensation, the meeting between self and other, self and self, self and the world. In this, poetry mimics creation itself. Its gift quantum realistic combining human universals and the particular of the eternal in the present moment in a prismatic condensation both narrative and snapshot.
Poets are to be the shamans of tomorrow. Like other shamans, the poet transcends the veil between worlds and brings back gifts, which can help understand, transform and transcend the mysteries and challenges of life.
Poetry presents visions, dreams, and fantasies, it warns and forebodes. More than anything, poetry embraces utopia, fantasia and the real in one go.
Following this, the voice of the poet is essential in these crucial times. Not only through the works of the poet, her poetry, but as a contribution in its own right. The voice of the poets are the voice of tomorrow, and as shamans of the new tomorrow, the rishis of post-post modernity, I wish to make a call of arms to all poets.
To no longer remain silent, in fear of careers or reputation. To no longer remain crouched in the attic, immersed in creation, but also to interact, reach out and integrate the fruits of this transcendental field of human endeavor with our fellow man.
We must stand together to help spread poetry to all of mankind, in all forms and expressions, as shamanic gifts and magical totem poles, reawakening solidarity, empathy and cohesion on a Gaian level.
As the famous cybernetisist, Gregory Bateson once put it: It is the difference that makes the difference. And as poets, we can make an active difference.
But as a transformative, therapeutic and collectivizing act, poetry also faces several challenges.
Paradoxically the artistic expression of poetry faces similar challenges as for instance, does public discourse on Social Media. On the one hand, there is a constant movement of contraction, of factionalism and belittlement, seeking to reproduce poetry as elitist, academic and primarily reserved for the few. On the other hand, the perhaps overly populist culture of Instagram poetry, or poetic memes, seeking to embrace the lowest common denominator.
Luckily, as the transformative act poetry is, it can embrace both-and. Being the Schöedingers Cat of literary expressions, poetry can be both and it can be more.
I believe in the transformative aspect of art, of literature and poetry – for the artist and the writer, the reader and the listener, the spectator, and the sojourner walking-by. I believe that the challenge of these times calls for a renewal of the function and role of the seer-poet. The artistic shaman.
The postmodern rishi, if you will.
I believe in the human being as individual and yet as connected as one, I believe in pretending to be free to play and to play freely, regardless of artistic expression – and following this, I believe form has to yield to
intention. I believe in intention, intuition, love, and community between people. I believe all art and literature attempts to come to grips with the same existential questions; who are we? what are we doing? have we been here before? do we know each other? and where do we go from here? I believe that our art and poetry makes a difference.
I believe that we can make it. I believe the earth is a real paradise. I believe that the world was always a magical place. I know that fiction and reality are fusing. Now is the time to make our dreams real.
I invite all action-minded poets of the global-local sister-brotherhood of hypersensitive pens which we all belong, to join the network and real-time installation Army of Poets and cooperate to make our voices heard, spread and teach poetry and materialize our visions.
Claus Ankersen is founder. Army of Poets.
Published on 06.03.2020