unreason: the sound of one hand clapping

The denunciation of reason has always been the reaction of choice since the sunset of the Middle Ages as a general form of criticism; a manner of dealing with its ambiguity, menace and mockery. Unlike madness which could be rationalized and contained, the scandal of unreason seems to have always produced a contagious example of transgression and immorality. There is almost a perverse desire to humiliate what is seen as false reason; we can’t pinpoint responsibility for unreason but it seems to involve everyone in a kind of secret complicity…

"L.S.D. was first synthesized in 1938 by Dr. Albert Hoffmann in Switzerland. In the fall of 1963 Dr. Leary and his colleague German born Dr. Metzner, published an article in their quarterly magazine "The Psychedelic Review" titled: "Hermann Hesse: Poet of the Interior Journey". Although Hesse’s novels "Siddhartha"(1922) and "Steppenwolf"(1927) were published in Germany many decades before the 1960’s, they considered them the most important psychedelic literature available." Read More: http://www.hippy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=243 image: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-454271/An-english-girls-summer-love.html

Hermann Hesse was excited when he saw four longhaired men with sandals walk through his village on their way to Ascona. He followed them, settled in and then took a nature cure for his alcoholism. The year was 1907.The people of Ascona refused eggs, milk, meat, salt and alcohol. Nature cure was a powerful idea in the German mind, and was a widespread and profound rebellion against science and professionalism. On August 20, 1903, an anarchist newspaper in San Francisco, California published a large article about Ascona, describing the people and their philosophies. This was certainly one of the first times that detailed news of the European counter-culture had reached the California coast.Read More:http://www.hippy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=243

Bill Pester at this palm log cabin in Palm Canyon, California, 1917. With his "lebensreform" philosophy, nudism and raw foods diet, he was one of the many German immigrants, who "invented" the hippie lifestyle more than half a century before the 1960s. He left Germany to avoid military service in 1906 at age 19, for a new life in America. (Photo Courtesy of Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, California)

Of course, the 60′s generation was unique in rejecting not only the superficial life-style of its elders-certainly forgivable in light of the Depression and WWII- but also what had stood for rational thought. The dropping out of society and the attraction to rural communes and alternative lifestyles, the attraction to Eastern mantras was a long process that seemed to begin early in the twentieth century from German immigrants who pioneered “unreason” as a permanent way of life. With much justification, the “hippies” claimed that their elders were equally as irrational as they were. To them, the boozing sexist male watching banal television was every bit as unreasonable as the acid-dropper listening to psychedelic music. It has to be conceded that the madman never realizes himself to be mad, and they were both all far crazier than they knew…

"A more enduring song, Steely Dan's 1976 classic-rock anthem "Kid Charlemagne," was "loosely inspired" by Owsley, "a well-known psychedelic chef of the day," Walter Becker confirmed in a 2000 web chat. The "Technicolor motor home" in the lyrics is said to refer to the brightly painted bus used by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, who were known for tripping on Stanley's supply of acid, as detailed in Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test book. Perhaps the most quizzical line in the highly quizzical Steely Dan lyrics canon—"Is there gas in the car? Yes, there's gas in the car"—alludes to how Stanley was busted after... you guessed it... his car stalled from lack of gas. " Read More: http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/stopthepresses/392172/grateful-dead-and-steely-dan-inspiration-owsley-stanley-dies/

…”Counterculture icon Owsley “Bear” Stanley, who worked with The Grateful Dead, died in a car crash in Australia, his family said Monday. He was 76. Stanley, an accomplished sound engineer, famously inspired the band’s dancing bear logo which was featured on the back of Volkswagen buses for decades. He also was at the forefront of the Californian drug culture, once producing an estimated pound of pure LSD — enough for about 5 million trips. (Soon after, he was nicknamed “Owsley,” a popular slang term for the drug.Though he served time behind bars, he always claimed his drug helped society. In a rare 2007 interview, he told the San Francisco Chronicle: “I wound up doing time for something I should have been rewarded for. What I did was a community service, the way I look at it.” Read More: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/grateful-dead-logo-designer-dies-167342

Martin Buber:"...'erlebnis' (experience) belongs to the exclusive, individualized, psychic sphere. 'meeting', or rather, as i mostly prefer to say, precisely to avoid the temporal limitation, 'relationship', transcends this sphere from its origins on. the psychological reduction of being, its psychologizing, had a destructive effect on me in my youth because it removed me from the foundation of human reality, the 'to-one-another'. only much later, in the revolution of my thinking that taught me to fight and to gain ground did i win a reality that cannot be lost..." image:http://www.realizedsound.net/dac/archives/376

The flight from reason. The Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel New York took place on the weekend of August 15, 1969, only twenty-seven days after Neil Armstrong took a giant step for mankind on the lunar surface. Some almost five hundred thousand under thirty Americans sat hunched in the rain on a drenched and muddy hillside listening passively hour after hour to a concert of rock and folk music. For the most part, they were under he influence of drugs; marijuana, hash, amphetamines , and LSD. This happening, or concert, which attracted the largest live audience  of any kind in the history of the world, had been called the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, a time when love, peace and tranquility will dominate the earth.

Michel Foucault:The madness in which the work of art is engulfed is the space of our enter-prise, it is the endless path to fulfillment, it is our mixed vo-cation of apostle and exegete. This is why it makes little difference when the first voice of madness insinuated itself into Nietzsche's pride, into Van Gogh's humility. There is no madness except as the final instant of the work of art- the work endlessly drives madness to its limits; inhere there... Read More: http://prernalal.com/scholar/Foucault%20-%20Madness%20and%20civilization.pdf

Perhaps, more significantly, it m

d the dramatic rise to the surface of the age of unreason, or anti-reason that by August 16, 1969, had not only dawned, but was well on its working day. The striking revelation of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was that the United States had almost an entire generation, and not simply a relative handful, as had earlier been assumed, of Dionysian anarchists who had abandoned traditional theories of reason.

Owsley: “I was a good member of society. Only my society and the ones making the laws are different.” This wasn’t the “community service” that might have been predicted for a boy who was the grandson of a Kentucky governor and U.S. senator, or a kid who did a stint in the Air Force before working in jet propulsion labs. There is one thing both his friends and detractors would agree on: Though “obsolete” in a no-tripping era, “you are still an outlaw in their eyes,” as Steely Dan wrote in the 1970s. Read More:http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/stopthepresses/392172/grateful-dead-and-steely-dan-inspiration-owsley-stanley-dies/


Michel Foucault: ...is a work of art, there is no madness; and yet madness is contemporary with the work of art, since it inaugurates the time of its truth. The moment when, together, the work of art and madness are born and fulfilled is the beginning of the time when the world finds itself arraigned by that work of art and responsible before it for what it is. Ruse and new triumph of madness: the world that thought to measure and justify madness through psychol-ogy must justify itself before madness, since in its struggles and agonies it measures itself by the excess of works like those of Nietzsche, of Van Gogh, of Artaud. And nothing in itself, especially not what it can know of madness, as-sures the world that it is justified by such works of madness. Read More: http://prernalal.com/scholar/Foucault%20-%20Madness%20and%20civilization.pdf

Of course, everyone is, and has always been, slightly mad. Still, repressing the unreasonable side of our nature, the individual in the Western world, particularly men, has since the eighteenth-century built a civilization based on scientific reason and classic Aristotelian logic, which is the heritage of the Enlightenment. And the result, especially in America since the twentieth-century, has been a rational society based on technological breakthroughs: planes, cars, space voyage, super computers. Two plus two has inevitably equaled four, not five as Eastern mystics have suggested, and no one other than J.D. Salinger in his time was able to imagine the sound of one hand clapping.

Foucault:If folly leads each man into a blindness where he is lost, the mad-man, on the contrary, reminds each man of his truth; in a comedy where each man deceives the other and dupes him-self, the madman is comedy to the second degree: the de-ception of deception; he utters, in his simpleton's language which makes no show of reason, the words of reason that release, in the comic, the comedy: he speaks love to lovers, the truth of life to the young, the middling reality of things to the proud, to the insolent, and to liars. Read More: http://prernalal.com/scholar/Foucault%20-%20Madness%20and%20civilization.pdf image: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/grateful-dead-logo-designer-dies-167342

Michel Foucault:For Sade as for Goya, unreason continues to watch by night; but in this vigil it joins with fresh powers. The non-being it once was now becomes the power to annihilate. Through Sade and Goya, the Western world received the possibility of transcending its reason in violence, and of recovering tragic experience beyond the promises of dialec-tic.After Sade and Goya, and since them, unreason has be-longed to whatever is decisive, for the modern world, in any work of art: that is, whatever any work of art contains that is both murderous and constraining. The madness of Tasso, the melancholia of Swift, the de-lirium of Rousseau belong to their works, just as these works belong to their authors. Here in the texts, there in the lives of the men, the same violence spoke, or the same bitterness; visions certainly were exchanged; language and delirium interlaced. But further, the work of art and mad-ness, in classical experience, were more profoundly united at another level: paradoxically, at the point where they lim-ited one another. For there existed a region where madness
challenged the work of art, reduced it ironically, made of its iconographic landscape a pathological world of hallu-cinations; that language which was delirium was not a work of art. And conversely, delirium was robbed of its meager truth as madness if it was called a work of art.Read More: http://prernalal.com/scholar/Foucault%20-%20Madness%20and%20civilization.pdf


Michel Foucault: The madness of Nietzsche, the madness of Van Gogh or of Artaud, belongs to their work perhaps neither more nor less profoundly, but in quite another way. The frequency in the modem world of works of art that explode out of madness no doubt proves nothing about the reason of that world, about the meaning of such works, or even about the relations formed and broken between the real world and the artists who produced such works. And yet this fre-quency must be taken seriously, as if it were the insistence of a question: from the time of Holderlin and Nerval, the number of writers, painters, and musicians who have “suc-cumbed” to madness has increased; but let us make no mis-take here; between madness and the work of art, there has been no accommodation, no more constant exchange, no  communication of languages; their opposition is much more dangerous than formerly; and their competition now allows no quarter; theirs is a game of life and death. Artaud’s madness does not slip through the fissures of the work of art; his madness is precisely the absence of the work of art, the reiterated presence of that absence, its central void experienced and measured in all its endless di-mensions. Nietzsche’s last cry, proclaiming himself both Christ and Dionysos, is not on the border of reason and unreason, in the perspective of the work of art, their com-mon dream, finally realized and immediately vanishing, of a reconciliation of the “shepherds of Arcady and the fisher-men of Tiberias”; it is the very annihilation of the work of art, the point where it becomes impossible and where it must fall silent; the hammer has just fallen from the phi-losopher’s hands. And Van Gogh, who did not want to ask “permission from doctors to paint pictures,” knew quite well that his work and his madness were incompatible.Read More: http://prernalal.com/scholar/Foucault%20-%20Madness%20and%20civilization.pdf

Ivan Koop Kuper: In the heat of a July Houston morning in 1964, residents of the quiet Southampton neighborhood woke up to find a strangely painted school bus parked in front of an unassuming two-story brick house in the middle of the block.

The vintage 1939 International Harvester with its passengers of “Merry Pranksters” drove half way across the United States and was now parked in front of the house of novelist and Rice University professor, Larry McMurtry. The Southampton neighbors would learn that the brightly painted bus whose destination plate read “FURTHUR,” with two u’s, was filled with strangely acting and even stranger looking people from California. Read More:http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/ivan-koop-kuper-ken-keseys-houston-acid.html

The leader of the Merry Pranksters was author Ken Kesey, whose novel, Sometimes a Great Notion, had just been published that summer. Their cross-country road trip to New York City was in part a celebration to commemorate the publication of his second novel, as well as the fulfillment of a request by his publisher for a personal appearance and an excuse to visit the World’s Fair taking place in the borough of Queens. Read More: http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/ivan-koop-kuper-ken-keseys-houston-acid.html

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