The Machine Will Never Triumph, part twelve
Let the dead bury their dead—
Let the dead go bury their dead
don’t help them.
Let the dead look after the dead
leave them to one another,
don’t serve them.
The dead in their nasty dead hands
have heaps of money,
don’t take it.
The dead in their seething minds
have phosphorescent teeming white words
of putrescent wisdom and sapience that subtly stinks;
don’t ever believe them.
The dead are in myriads, they seem mighty.
They make trains chuff, motor-cars titter, ships lurch,
mills grind on and on,
and keep you in millions at the mills, sightless pale slaves,
pretending these are the mills of God.
It is the great lie of the dead.
The mills of industry are not the mills of God.
And the mills of God grind otherwise, with the winds of life for the mill-
Trust the mills of God, though they grind exceeding small.
But as for the mills of men
don’t be harnessed to them.
The dead give ships and engines, cinema, radio and gramophone,
they send aeroplanes across the sky,
and they say: Now, behold, you are living the great life!
While you listen in, while you watch the film, while you
drive the car,
while you read about the air-ship crossing the wild Atlantic
behold, you are living the great life, the stupendous life!—
As you know, it is a complete lie.
You are all going dead and corpse-pale
listening in to the lie.
Spit it out.
O cease to listen to the living dead.
They are only greedy for your life!
O cease to labour for the gold-toothed dead,
they are so greedy, yet so helpless if not worked for.
Don’t ever be kind to the smiling, tooth-mouthed dead
don’t ever be kind to the dead
it is pandering to corpses,
the repulsive, living fat dead.
Bury a man gently if he has lain down and died.
But with the walking and talking and conventionally persuasive dead
with bank accounts and insurance policies
don’t sympathise, or you taint the unborn babies.1
Modern humans are the dead leading the dead. The man in the street is a dead man, but the men running the factories and offices are also dead men. Only those men who are in touch with the Gods are alive; only those men who are free from the tyranny of buying and selling, working, toiling, and earning are alive. Those who are alive should escape from the affairs of the dead and leave them to their own devices. If the alive are truly alive, their example will be enough to wake the dead, if they are capable of any sort of awakening. One must be like the early Christian monks who went to the Thebaid, and like them one must be free from all the tyrannies of society. To be alive, one must be free from money. When the bankers, politicians, and men on the street talk to you and try to convince you to join the corrupt and evil world, say unto them retro me Satanas (Get thee behind me Satan). All of the seeming, teeming strength of the modern world is a veil covering cowardice and weakness. A man with inner strength would never need trains, automobiles, computers, calculating machines and factories. The mills of men grind the earth to death, but the mills of the Gods will grind the worldly mills to dust.
One must not be afraid to be called “bad” by the masses, since what is “good” by their standards is their own depraved way of life. As Lawrence writes:
For what does goodness mean? It means, in the end, being like every-body else, and not having a soul to call your own. Certainly you mustn’t have a feeling to call your own. You must be good, and feel exactly what is expected of you, which is just what other people feel. Which means that in the end you feel nothing at all, all your feeling has been killed out of you. And all that is left is the artificial stock emotion which comes out with the morning papers.2
So, don’t bother trying to be good, but try to be yourself, in touch with your soul, and if you can do that, true Goodness will come through.
When people are dead and peaceless
they hate life, they only like carrion.
When people are dead and peaceless
they hate happiness in others
with thin, screaming hatred,
as the vulture that screams high up, almost inaudible,
hovering to peck out the eyes of the still-living creature.3
Pay attention: Modern people, when they see peace and happiness try to destroy it in the name of progress, which is really death and destruction. Aboriginal cultures, ancient ways of life, and sanctuaries from the hustle and bustle of the modern world are all steam-rolled in the name of progress. If a person chooses to live alone, in the forest, society claims that person is mentally ill and puts him or her in an institution, but it is society itself that is insane. As Lawrence Durrell writes: “No mummies, chunks of tissue latched to bone; no pillars of salt, no cadavers, have ever been half so dead as we are today.”4 Our world is tremendously, almost unimaginably beautiful, yet we blacken and defile the beauty of things. Jeffers writes:
The earth is a
star, its human element
Is what darkens it. War is evil, the peace will be evil, cruelty is evil; death is
not evil. But the breed of man
Has been queer from the start. It looks like a botched experiment that has
run wild and ought to be stopped.5
What is one to do? The answer is to escape the clutches of modernity any way one can. Lawrence writes: “I wish I was a blackbird[…] I hate men[…] It would be nice if the Lord sent another Flood and drowned the world[…] The world of men is dreaming, it has gone mad in its sleep, and a snake is strangling it, but it cant wake up.”6 We must struggle within ourselves, and we must fight for the best for the plants, animals, and even the mountains; and sometimes we must take refuge in our creative imaginations, where we can fly like birds or frolic through the fields like rabbits. But when we return to reality, the dead modern men will be there staring us in our faces. As Jeffers puts it:
Man, the illogical animal. The others go wrong by anachronistic
Instinct, for the world changes, or mistaken
Observation, but man, his loose moods disjoin; madness is under the skin
To the deep bone. He will be covetous
Beyond use or cause, and then suddenly spendthrift fling all possession
To all the spoilers. He will suffer in patience
Until his enemy has him by the throat helpless, and go mad with rage
When it least serves. Or he’ll murder his love
And feast his foe. Oh—an amazing animal, by education
And instinct: he often destroys himself
For no reason at all, and desperately crawls for life when it stinks.
And only man will deny known truth.
You story-tellers, novelist, poet, and playwright, have a free field,
There are no fences, man will do anything.7
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