A Human Movement
Thursday, January 15, 2004
you returned to the collection, as i remember some time ago you enthused heartily on the cache of psychedelic pop cultural material of the albert goldman character. thom knows that goldman's lives of lennon was reviewed rather harshly by luc sante in teh new york review of books, and i'll provide this link of an exchange between the two of them for context.

fairly clearly is this culture not lost, it is merely not evident, not within the narrow scope of the mainstream window you mention. but it lurks it the dark cultural recesses of this western civilization of ours, a persistent Other that helps define what's straight and what's freaky in the cultural firmament.

but my guess is that you'll find very little of the freaky-deakiness you crave up there in the columbia haunts! that is, when you do find it, it is LOCKED AWAY where only those with privileged access can view and engage the cultural treasure trove of psychedelic pop culture.

so it is a world with which we as individuals may sympathize, but are very much outside of. if you are serious about shaking it down and tasting of its fruits, mainlining the electricity of its energy full bore into your cortex so that you might interpenetrate the mythic and the real into a semblance of divine transcendent consciousness, then you must chase it elsewhere when you conceive of your move. the psychedelic phenomenon is more readily apprehended on the WEST COAST.

this is not to say the east is without its envelope pushing element, or that the origins of the movement didn't take place on this eastern seaboard, but the cultural civil war has largely dissipated, drugs are still illegal, we have a dangerous radical conservative in office, and enlightening one's consciousness through the ingestion of psychoactive chemicals is no longer the thing to do amongst the kids.

SO> the believers have retreated to friendly locales, where they can do what they do in peace and revel and meditate as they please. so you have the southwest and california and the northwest as notable regions of openness.

this is a hunger, not so much for the drugs, but for the cultivation of otherworldly experience that complements the battery of the soul effected by the passage of time and contemplation. it is a hunger for adventure within, a search for the duckbilled platypuses of one's mind. such exotic creatures...

i'm growing convinced that i can't do this in new york. it sounds preposterous, i know, what with this city's (counter)cultural heritage, the beats and the students getting all fucked up and the under-ground and whatnot.

maybe i'm just lazy, but i think that my element in this city is one in which the forces of drugs and electricity and rock and roll don't regularly coexist with the regular reality of my waking life, at work, in my house, at a bar, etc.

it's rather staid, and i say this with something of an affection for its staid quality, since i've grown into it, it's almost something of my own design although it's not conducive with a metaphysical exploration i wish very much to enact. needless to say i've begun to consider with grave seriousness a move to california, which i may realize by the coming of the next winter.

i know a few people who have done such a move and it appears where it's at: there is a meteorological warmth to correspond with the warmth among strangers, the social warmth, the spiritual warmth. california might be something of an incubator for the soul. in such a setting i might feel less hounded by the cultural elitism of new york's literary milieu and more free to settle the fuck down and enjoy my youth and brain and partake in pleasures more common to the west: sun, fun, windowpane.
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