T. Pynchon – Sloth: Nearer, My Couch, to Thee

It is of course precisely in such episodes of mental traveling that writers are known to do good work, sometimes even their best, solving formal problems, getting advice from Beyond, having hypnagogic adventures that with luck can be recovered later on. Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do. We sell our dreams.

 

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C. Nooteboom – Rituals

It is all connected with the tea ceremony and therefore with Zen. He lives in his own Japan, our friend. What do you think of it?”

“It doesn’t really mean much to me,” said Inni. “Strange wisdoms from the Far East being sold to the unhappy Western middle classes. But I daresay it’s better than heroin.”

 

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Pleasure as a source of suffering – population control in ‘Brave new world’, ‘Naked Lunch’ and ‘Infinite Jest’.

<some paper I’ve written for classes, why not post?>

„For the first time it was inside, do you see.

The control is put inside. No more need to suffer

passively under ‘outside forces’ – to veer into any wind.”

– Thomas Pynchon ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’

 

 

I. Introduction

 

The main question that we would like to deal with in this paper is whether pleasure plays an instrumental role in controlling the way people act. This is neither a new idea, nor is it groundbreaking, and as we will see, there are at least a few major examples of literature works that explore the said topic. However, as we would like to take a look on novels written in quite different moments in history, that is, more or less, in: the beginning (1931), the middle (1959) and the end (1996) of the 20th country, it might be a move resulting in some interesting conclusions. The specific way that the pleasure is used, the way people react to it, the effects of such enterprise and finally the way in which the great authors chose to write about it are all subject to considerable and meaningful changes. It is understood by us that even though literature may not always hold the key to the ultimate truth, it does vividly show how we, collectively, think about certain issues at certain points in time. In other words, it is to be more of a hermeneutic work, than a rigorous, scientific securitizing of the possible ways our present civilization might develop.

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Jefferson Airplane – House at Pooneil Corners

Here’s a real treat, found on Open Culture. Jefferson Airplane decided to play on a manhattan rooftop one fine morning of 1968. Godard is there with a movie camera to capture it with his shaky hand. Plus there are few hundred newyorkers confused as hell. The ending is not that happy, as soon police forces decided to put a stop to this free show. Nevertheless this is something to see. Let’s  hope that a pretty surpirse of this kind might occur tomorrow, on your way to work/school. Hope, hope, hope.

W. Burroughs – Naked Lunch

Followers of obsolete unthinkable trades, doodling in Etruscan, addicts of drugs not yet synthesized, black marketeers of World War II, excisors of telepatic sensitivity, osteopaths of the spirit, investigators of infractions denounced by bland paranoid chess players, servers of fragmentary warrents taken down in hebephrenic shorthand charging unspeakable mutilations of the spirit, officials of unconstituted police states, brokers of exquisite dreams and nostalgias tested on the sensitized cells of junk sickness and bartered for raw materials of the will, drinkers of the Heavy Fluid sealed in translucent anber of dreams.

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