The River

Friday, July 28, 2006


[NEWS ITEM: “General MacArthur bans kissing in the streets in Tokyo: offenders would get six months in jail.”]


They’re going to drop their systems of pride: this is the main point about future humanity. It’s a wonderful thing to contemplate, yet hardly easy for myself to do even in these moods of love & joy. But I’m doing it by degrees, and it’s easy! after all: the trick is to get rid of the pride with a conscious loathing of it. The only thing to fear is the inevitable cretin in our souls. Some people are more cretinous than they imagine. It’s not evil that's dangerous to the human world, that’s the wrong word, it’s cretinity that’s dangerous. MacArthur’s law is the dull musing impulse of a cretin, not the act of a man. A cretin is never afraid of being corrupted. Therefore a cretin wouldn’t hesitate at anything: There’s the cup before him, he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t fling it away, he just stares at it dullishly and doesn’t understand. How do I know this? – this was I at 22, that was the way I was then, I distinctly remember, especially how easy it was to be a cretin, how stupidly pleasant. (Yet I also remember a tremendous dull unhappiness which I don’t wish on anyone, either.) No, no, MacArthur, Oh man of destiny, no, no! – They’ll put a stop to your law in the backalleys of Tokyo, and in time, maybe tomorrow, in spite of the penalty, in divine human ignorance of the penalty, on the streets themselves. Because this is the Forest of Arden, at heart, and MacArthur’s tree is like all the other trees, and the lovers go to and fro beneath the boughs.

-- Jack Kerouac, Windbown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954. ppgs 136-137. Viking. New York

Related here and here.

Hey Bruce,
This is lovely Kerouac ("..the Forest of Arden... "). Thank you for the link, and your too kind comparison makes me blush. I know that my accidental ramblings, sputterings and fumings only resembles Kerouac's invisible control.
hey, I only link to quality stuff. And you're welcome.
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