Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this article to firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is taken from Poetry Nation 1 Number 1, 1973.Psycho-analysis and our Culture
THE CLAMANT RECEPTION of Lorenz's popular account of animal aggression and of Morris's The Naked Ape suggest considerable modification of resistance to Darwin's book one hundred years ago. A reassurance emerges today from our connection with the animal world. I am thinking not only of the provision in such books of an ancient lineage for the sacredness of tribal and personal property. There is also the suggestion that the behaviour of mammals in their communities seems in important respects milder than our own. They are delightful ancestors in view, that is, of the concentration camps, in view of the very many pretences and disciplines that have now slipped to reveal widely the abysses of human nature, a shift of control in which the findings of psycho-analysis, generally misconstrued, have undoubtedly played a part, particularly in the matter of the outmoding of religion as well as of idealistic or optimistic standpoints at the very time that the negativism of man has been extensively felt as incorrigible, even without reference to psycho-analysis. There exists in some intellectual circles today so strong a horror of the human state that a writer, George Steiner, has urged that alleged understanding, protestation, emotional accountancy on the part of authors should cease in the matter of the concentration camp horrors; that the way to measure up to enormity on this scale is silence, drying-up, if only because words have been emasculated by the bending they have suffered from the hypnotic techniques of advertisement and propaganda. There is a thread of despair in many cultural expressions though we may be more aware of matter-of-factness or cynicism. Some intellectuals tend to have a residual impression from concentration camp literature and from its bearing on their own infantile intimations, from the cases too of unpremeditated murders by adolescents in an apparent state of sane passionless indifference, that sanity can comfortably include this indifference. Psycho-analysis does not endorse a profundity of indifference rather than of an underlying conflict. Could it be roundly conveyed that at some point or other psychopaths care, can be discovered to care, even though not for their victims, a much needed balance might ensue from this reassurance, and thereon wider understanding. This is the moment to ram home the consequences revealed by the entirely unbridled phantasmagoria of infant, child and dream. All that is most disturbing is infantile or, rather, the persistence of the infantile. Man's achievement has been his maturity, that is to say, the modifications of the infantile material. These are all acts of heroism.
It seems to me, therefore, that just as resistance to Darwin has given ground to a reassurance, however ironical - there is of course the element of making the best of the Darwinian shock - deeper knowledge of psycho-analysis, to which there has been hitherto such resistance, would further a more temperate judgement of the nature of man because, in regard to his negativism, psycho-analysis is unflinching, while on the other hand we affirm the belief - and certainly no less the child's or infant's belief - in a good object closely related to negativism or bad objects; in a good object of an everyday and physiologically-founded status that parades a homeliness far removed from the noble enthronements of the past to which it was the footstool. (Resistance, of course, necessarily remains unaltered in the psycho-analytic process. Any value there may be in what I am trying to say, depends upon some degree of validity in a distinction between the personal and the generalized resistance. Owing to the granite - strong resistances of their patients above all, as well as to the varying yet constant misunderstandings of psycho-analysis over more than fifty years, this is a distinction about which analysts themselves are likely to be sceptical.)
Apart from patients, psycho-analysis, I repeat, has some responsibility for our culture. By means of clarifications as trenchant as those of the historical and textual disciplines directly involved, it has assisted at the steady overthrow of religious revelation: it has reduced humanist rationalisations of evil, guilt and redemption, an action of particular moment inasmuch as the earlier breakdown of religion with the triumph of rationalism in intellectual circles during the last hundred years, had cleared the way for an extraordinarily shallow grasp of the human condition, even though the Rationalist movements were fighting and conquering superstition. There is, of course, reaction today - though not towards religion - against the innocent expectations of Rationalism. The advance of free thinking, the instituting of Humanist, Rationalist or Comtist chapels and their muted rites have helped to show that such abstract, impersonal yet sanguine ideas of a life-force are rather vulgar and even comic. The present cultural despair, therefore, partly arises out of the crashing of Rationalist hopes. This same Rationalist shallowness, excusable in the first flood of the early Enlightenment, is not as commonly recognised in ideas of the perfectability of man to which the only obstacle is the tyranny of economic exploitation. It was not ideas such as these that inspired the building of cathedrals or the making of any profoundly eloquent work of art. The universal religions are based on conceptions of original negativism and the hope of salvation. Stripped of strained rationalisation, their psychology is somewhat nearer to the psycho-analytic standpoint. Hence there is a duty, I feel, to defend the poetic elements in the psychology of religion; or, rather, it would be so were we unable to extract from psycho-analytic sources themselves any power that could restore to culture, and more particularly to art, a constructive sense of the transcendental.
This will seem a strange word to employ. Before explaining I shall repeat in a different form a part of what I have said so far.
It is very evident that a mild and sanguine view of the human condition provides no inspiration to the arts. Communism promises the perfectability of living hitherto obstructed by economic exploitation. Such a doctrine possesses the anti-aesthetic quality of all 'rational' religions. Christianity, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, on the other hand, posit what is called 'a vale of tears' springing not only from the world but from the nature of man. Though useful to tyranny and to the reduction of the masses, these beliefs and their attendant mythology and personifications, have inspired the richest aesthetic material, since they are psychologically more profound. The life-force, aesthetically speaking, is null without the presence of an equally powerful negative principle that provides the scaffolding for the last-word stillness or finality of great works of art. The long echoes inside a cathedral infecting our awe there, stimulate the sense of reduplication of activity, but also of the adamantine stoniness of the stone. A pulse is unheard in this environment unless organ or choir restores activity in every vault.
Is there any future for the communal scale of such gigantic images? I think that it depends on the character of the notion of the transcendental that can be permitted to flourish.
Now in cultural contexts - and my use of the word is confined to them - 'transcendental' does not only refer to an unshared power or state beyond us but also to shared fundamental aims. We cannot experience other people's experiences but we recognise and even understand them in the terms of our own. Millions upon millions of people have existed, in the life and death of whom we have had no part: but we sense them in view of what is held in common even though as individual objects they are entirely beyond our powers. Such transcendental envisaging may lead us to contemplate in terms of a symbol the universal conditions of being and of non-being: it points to the drives or instincts. Each individual can embrace only an atom of the happenings of nature. Our imaginative conception of the rest will be homely in origin but extended in terms of analogy and contrast. Our own experience, too, far transcends what we can consciously remember or hold in mind. To comprehend feelings and phantasies widely is to be vividly sane. It is not only in analysis or after analysis that the conjunctions of passion from each stage of development are the object of much mature striving. We need the help of images that embody at one and the same time solutions both for the regard and the recoil from the body.
Religion seeks to contemplate as the transcendental or common aim a primitive object revered everywhere, perhaps wooed or placated by ritual. Religion exalts the good object into an ideal object, places it far beyond us, beyond our power to qualify or destroy it. The transcendental becomes defence and escape. For us the transcendental is that large and more varied part of ourselves with aims common to all other people. Psychologically speaking, a transcendental pre-occupation as I conceive it in non-escapist terms, expresses a projection of identity, that is to say, of that part of identity held in common which possesses for a complexity of reasons a value that we need to explore and to contemplate. It might be said to be the opposite emphasis to the one upon individual identity and therefore, in fact, upon identity. But I think that my definition is saved by the concept of maturity as the summit of identity for each of us. There could be a strengthening of individual identity by a ritual that celebrated maturity to which we would be attributing a transcendental value. I see the need for such ritual. Another contradiction has been pointed out to me here, the contradiction between maturity and ritual. Is not ritual always in some sense the celebration of a primitive object and is there not an element always of regression in the identificatory inspiration of communal fervour? But I shall continue to use the word 'ritual' even in the context of the celebration of maturity because neither the drive toward primitive identification nor the striving toward maturity will cease: and though these aims are often exclusive of one another, it is in their meeting that the height of creativity exists. I have presented the conjunction repeatedly when portraying the form in art.
I distrust religion yet I am aware of respects in which I am fortunate that there are religious people; and churches, cemeteries, processions or church bells that preside, that evoke staves for time. How rarely church bells poison the good sense of the air.
There is nothing to worship, much to accept, to contemplate in the common lot, as innocent of final purpose as a work of art. The only worthy symbols for all that is held in common, as well as for every variation of the inner life, are the projections wrought by art. But can ritual utterance be won for our common ground by means of the contemplation, a communal contemplation, of art? I don't often think so. We congregate in concert halls. I, at any rate, gain no stimulus from any audience or from the fact that others listen at the same time. One may eye one's neighbour in the concert hall primarily to judge whether he is likely to cough or to rustle chocolate papers. It is the making of some art, not the viewing, that provides a large sense of community with those present at the time: it is the players of the orchestra who are the hierophants together. And in cathedrals we may visualise past generations of the place as a white light, and present worshippers or their enactors of ritual as a subdued reflection. But is it possible for us to pool psycho-analytic insights?
I should be warned, perhaps, by the very word, the unwieldy word, 'psycho-analysis', by the emphasis upon the analytic. It is perhaps unreasonable and even heterodox to expect from this discipline an addition of even one phrase to the sum of sober poetry or ritual, to a mode of communication instant and many-sided alike, rich in transcendental pointers, possessing a manner of particularisation that can be widely shared. Maybe the regulative, critical or analytical role of analysis must confine absolutely: perhaps it may support the criticism of art but cannot provide specific content for its making; the analysis of living but not any attempt, however rare, at symbolic recreation. Perhaps there should not be any communal attitude that arises from analysis towards other matters: it is no instrument here: it does not, or, rather, it should not, initiate widely contemplative states of mind whose material has been provided by analyses of states of mind.
Further, there is, of course, the difficulty of the character of psycho-analytic insights. Can they be material from which poetry is made, a future poetry? The child's and the dream's phantasmagoria, the wizards, witches, butchers and extravagant, indifferent tyrants have long made poetic appearances in the world's literature. But while psycho-analysis has established their universality, their non-fanciful actuality, their identity not only as necessitous products of the psyche but as reflectors of behaviour, such insights are compounded with others, far less downright, often of ambivalence and centred on ambiguity: and here lies the beauty, the subtlety of psychoanalytic insight where one behaviour is the composition of two utterly conflicting trends, for instance, a symptom. Many of the applications of the word 'inhuman' commonly refer in fact to unbearable aspects of the psyche thereby projected and denied their homely nature: 'hardness of heart' makes mere deadly frost of the compulsive puritan forces that drive on with narcissistic or psychopathic fervour. Envy, meanness, cruelty obtain full description as forms of behaviour, but the human quality of the constructions that provide their continuity has, unlike the case of the good, mostly escaped comprehension even by artists, at least in regard to the positive aspect that underlies the defence mechanisms that are involved.
So can perpetual qualification become bel canto, the outpouring of song? Is there a song inspired by the back-handed glories of integration and maturity? Moreover, it is the prime psycho-analytic task to discover and emphasise the infantile basis of subsequent development. Could this emphasis accommodate love poetry, even supposing the status and the pretensions of adulthood had been re-defined? Nevertheless, will there not grow eventually a down-to-earth vision of living - I do not suggest that we can as yet begin to entertain it - wherein major components are no longer deeply split from one another? One would summon in its aid an image of ever-recurring patterns so evident in each analysis, in all lives. Even psycho-analytically, when seen a long way off, in perspective, after the event, they suggest the pathos and the rhyming forms of poetry. Analogies that bridge contrasting facets are telling, analogies between states as far apart otherwise as can be imagined: an analogy, perfected by a poem, between a super-ego strenuous application to correct behaviour and the cruel excesses of the psychopath, between a stern parade of bemedalled veterans and a mob of seedy teen-agers sacking a sweetshop after a football match. What a cast of mind in the poet it would show. People comprehend a cast of mind, accurately embodied, though they fail to follow the insights that determine it. They can eventually accept art not only on account of the veils of symbolism but because art is felt convincingly to be a proof that a content has been truly digested as well as projected in this way. Can it be so with such analogies; will their poignancy ever be lucid and shorn of paradox; will they ever possess the aspect that is, as it were, rounded, so that it may be grasped entire by the imagination and by the artist?
Poetry enacts feeling. Some may ask: does one feel about unconscious material and if so, in what sense is it unconscious? To which one may ask in return: in finding the unconscious in analysis do we make intellectual connections only with behaviour, thereby developing the power to generalise about such connections? Certainly not. Though it may take a long time for the connections with specific unconscious material to evoke feelings widely, there are many areas in which progressing analysands have felt, have fully experienced, those connections. It is of course the core of analysis that patients should experience connections emotionally. The mere deduction is useless. As to the possibility of communication, we learn from the past that poets and artists have had the means to articulate, to hand on, the emotional impress of unconscious determinants, not in their native condition, of course, but under the veils of symbolism and sublimation. But the position of the analysed poet might seem different. Having felt the deep connections far more directly, more specifically, he might seek to express them thus directly at the cost of symbolism and therefore of communication. But I would be wrong to call him an analysed poet. He is no poet. The solution lies with the transcendental or communal aspects of the deep material whereby the poet enters the imaginative, the sympathetic, as well as the descriptive, realm. That is why I introduced earlier the concept of the transcendental, of the communal. Sympathy, empathy, imagination, are closely allied. Did we lack or play down those faculties, how would the young have even a little understanding about what it is like to be old; or how could the old perform the perhaps harder exertion of feeling what it is like to be young; possibly more difficult because the earlier state was an identity that has been obliterated by circumstance and lost, lost to the very bones?
For the moment I shall presume that one day it will be practicable to magnify, in a just and dignified manner of feeling, the elements, the transcendental elements, common to a thousand individual analyses. I envisage a congregation of analysands recalling not so much their analyses nor their analysts, as generalities of feeling they have absorbed therefrom about human relationships; set upon evoking not so much problems, defences, even objects inner and outer, as anterior drives on account of which they are constructed. Yet the drives are meaningful only in the constructions where they become personified. I imagine a perfected fable, in touch with a hundred case-histories, of the schizophrenic state. I imagine a ritual of birth and of projection and a ritual that recapitulates the growth of the psyche as far as the adult heterosexual position. The ritual might propagate ritual, a meeting-place be built for contemplation rather than for teaching. No attempt would be made to further doctrine. There would be no busts of Freud, no heroes, no history except of the psyche. Disputation would take place elsewhere. An adequate form for the fables would accommodate many glosses, would serve for a long time. This form would be compelling, if it were aesthetically satisfying, if it were beautiful. In such guise the impact of truth could be none other than an effect of its beauty. We would have created something of value in common out of what is held in common. For, except we are imbeciles, we are all potential or actual schizophrenics, paranoiacs, depressives, phobics, hysterics, and we are all potentially or actually sane. It is this chiefly about which there would have to be entire agreement to allow the contemplation in common, and in some contexts the creativeness, that I have in mind.
Who can admit to it deeply, with imagination, with feeling? Probably not all analysts, less the analysands, far less anyone else. The first impediment, of course, to psycho-analytic comprehension is anxiety. Psycho-analysis aims to reduce anxiety gradually, in phases. We want the fears of our analysands, say the analysts, neither stimulated nor assuaged by the direct influence of the environment outside analysis. The ritual activity I have forecast might prove to be at best a manic or drug-like resource, a reassurance leading to denial: at worst an instrument of anxiety.
Yet, in spite of the dangers, I do not judge it to be impossible that a ritual symbolising the psyche's evolution and disparities could be created with a character so indirect and, if you like, mythological, that the deeper content confronted those only who might demand it. The manner of art and even of religion has been such, a complex significance suited to human diversity. Some may judge that this composite element of art has today suffered fragmentation. Perhaps our sober re-working of the human spectacle alone can restore it. I myself can otherwise imagine no bond in the future of art.
That would be an immense eventual result. But the first or immediate aim of the conventicle I have in mind would be to present an average of conduct in normal circumstances. The seeming permanence of general disillusionment is the result not only of the threat from the H Bomb and from pollution but of expectation that has always been faulty. Culture, including our culture today with relaxed standards, distorts the material by employing black-and-white categories. The young especially are not conditioned to expect components that do not necessarily subtract from, though they diversify, the character of a behaviour. It should not be so surprising that each person is uneven in strength and sanity or that everyone has some persecutory reactions in the face of the ever-close proximity of aggression; or that, consequently, protection afforded by an artificial uniformity, by a code of manners, should be necessary. But though good figures need to be brought nearer to their counterparts in the presentation of maturity, I am not at all suggesting that the psychoanalytic account of average behaviour can be summarised in the bringing to light of negative components only. On the contrary, it is we who survive better than anyone else the admission of everything that occurred in concentration camps. Anxiety can take the form of psychopathic indifference: brutality may possess a component that would rid the self of what is felt to be insufferable because it is self-destructive. Remorse and forgiveness are the hard-won fruits of development. Of what account is forgiveness by a Saviour compared with the very rare non-manic forgiveness of the self by the self, a long and most arduous pursuit? It involves throughout dependence on a good, unidealised internal object whose forgiveness has already been won: it involves a powerful degree of psychical integration or maturity.
But is it possible to present the lure of such a difficult goal that belongs to life, well-being and happiness rather than to the hope of heaven: and would there be any point in outlining this aim when the realization, we know very well, is entirely unrelated to conscious choice; in extolling as an aim in common an integrated form of identity, the key transcendental content? I feel happier on the subject of ritual fables. None the less, there would be the need to create what is called a climate of opinion, to propose standards where they are different from those that are current; to suggest the equilibrium of psycho-analytic thought. Many psycho-analytic targets might be described as 'spiritual' yet at the same time of a character that people call, or used to call, Epicurean and materialistic. The spiritual element has corporeal base. We never depart from concrete and personalized imagery. The inner life is concerned with people, parts of people and parts of the self which, whether they are introjections or more truly parts of the self, are felt to be in substantive and corporeal relation with other objects. Poets have shown that at any rate the outside world, in its very character of an actuality that intermittently we distinguish entirely, is the arena for projection and introjection. Our tenets, though, unlike the heritage of poetic imagery, would seem unsuited to romantic overtones. Yet no one sees as profoundly as the trained psycho-analytic observer how harboured as well as threatened is the life within, how stiff and blinding, for instance, the distortions may be that are the work of guilt. Living is everyone's state, the more cherished on account of inner and outer enemies if we do not throw in our lot entirely with them, those Spartan attendants, those deaths that live with us, that struggle for the mind before the body. No other doctrine, in an introverted manner, has conceived as entirely the human being to be-though he figures thus so patently in day-to-day judgement-a psycho-somatic entity. We alone fully realise the physiological basis of imagery: we alone know how compelling envy to be as well as love and hate, emotions to which religion also allows inevitability but not a reality that is equal, that is to say, bound up in each case with the others' power.
All psycho-analytic comment on our living process can be formulated, of course, in terms of the account of sexuality, a subject about which there are likely to be few people who feel that they have heard enough. And surely one part, however small, of absorption in matters of sex is due to the awareness that what is so urgent is also in this case many-sided, redolent of the individual's history. It is first of all the physical- or concrete-seeming character of obstinate and often competing inner structures in each individual that must be emphasised. And this constructional obstinacy is not only involved of course in individual sexuality, personal relations, capacity for work. It extends to all social problems in regard to the emotions that are brought to bear: it qualifies the expression of the widest needs, of priorities, in the context of technological advance and the terrible environmental dangers involved.
PSYCHO-ANALYSTS HAVE neither the time nor, it seems, the inclination to contemplate the length of their practice in regard to what might be called the pathos and sometimes the heroism of the human process as well as to the classification and explication of symptoms. Theirs is itself a heroic but unnatural vocation characterized by huge demands upon patience and the impersonal behaviour without which an analysis would collapse; by the Strains particularly of the strong transference and of counter-transference. Away from the sessions, the seminars and the meetings, their requirement is for what I have heard described as 'ordinary life'. In fact, as well as family life these welcome activities may include the artistic, rather than energy devoted to appreciation and contemplation, to attitudes that are more passive. It seems a pity in this context that nearly all those who come for analysis are so markedly ill and that, in any case, prolonged resistance is universal and always wearisome; and that together with the patience and self-denial needed, in other words, due to the analyst's extremely hard and anxious work, there is much to obscure the fact that the object of his investigation, though the form is extreme, is itself a piece of 'ordinary life'. Moreover such is the position of psychoanalysis as a dubious science in our culture, and so hurtful, so dangerous, to the difficult truth the euphoria of the simplifiers and seceders, that any general contemplation may appear circumvention to a habit of mind confined in consulting room time strictly to the immediate material. It is sad that those who by their training have learned to be more receptive for hours on end than perhaps any other body of men, should be compelled outside the consulting room to modify that listening role. Thus, though they tend to revere art, they are rarely disposed to undergo the labour and slowness of valid appreciation.
Now we are sometimes told that the successful waging of a psychoanalysis springs from art as well as from science. The recurrence of infantile situations is evoked by the analytic process and analytic setting. I can conceive of homage paid to this setting by means of a ritual. Would it be harmful to patients and prospective patients? Any suggestion of the artificial or of the merely theoretical is damaging to analysis. Patients are often asked not to read psycho-analytic literature. It is obvious that a conventicle and its ritual would need to be confined to old analysands.
I would say that we are hampered - there is excuse for the analysts and entire excuse for the first analysts - by the sometimes rather arrogant desire to read, to categorise, with Aeschylus, let us say, on the couch, symbols projected in the past. From a scholarly point of view this often appears to be done in entire ignorance of the context. It may become a parlour-game in the exercise of power, like Bridge, that might be informative but rarely evocative of anything that is particularly pleasant or intelligent in the player inasmuch as he works by a rule-of-thumb cleverness, in this case in an area unsuited to heavy-handedness. These enterprises, even those which have been brilliant and to some extent revealing, have done considerable harm, not unjustly, to the prestige of psycho-analysis in the intellectual world. Of course there have been thousands of psycho-analytic applications of another kind, often tenuous, half-baked, in plays and novels. They do not show prolonged reorientation and greatness of mind. I find hardly any transcendental or communal value. When such works are written by analysands, the authors, one suspects, are concerned with the presentation or sublimation of their own predominant problems which do not leave them free to experience total impingement by this new range of understanding: or else the authors do not have the time or the ambition to have the time and largeness of mind to study and contemplate at length over the years. Moreover what is most lacking in such applications is the psychoanalytic representation of health rather than of illness and excess. And whereas there has passed from psycho-analysis into culture an appreciation of the universality of ancient figures - father, mother, siblings - and the supremacy of the past which is also the supremacy of the Id, the 'threads' have few knots, no effervescence, since understanding is lacking of the so complicated, the so many-sided, psychical structures: indeed the deeper tow imputed to life, tends to be envisaged without the fantastic rocks, without the correlations and compensations and voids in the structure of attitudes at every stage and in the interwoven stages of ego development. The ego-cum-super ego happening is not yet seen architecturally, as a township, say, as a sublimation which would provide the most satisfying environment for art, equal in aesthetic value, and a good deal more varied, than the theological Systems that have inspired the past. I believe a deeper acceptance of these inner hierarchies than has been possible heretofore, alone can restore to art the exuberance of structural animation, intensified at a vital point, since outer forms will primarily reflect, not a ready-made projection, religion for instance, but the inner forms conceived to be inner that from this their nature lend themselves to revised myth. For some time the old myths have provided limited creative stimulus.
But none of us, I think, is prepared. I am aware that this Paper has been, at best, of a visionary quality, especially in the matter of congregation which may be unsuitable to the magnifying of those contents that I feel must be shared if they are to exert due influence upon culture. I have mentioned contemplation of the basic drives. But, to tell the truth, I do not consider that a projection or representation of the nature of the Id for contemplative purposes, and of its curbs and developments, is feasible unless we can be more precise about Id- nature, and still more, until the negative drive, a whipper-up in some contexts of its opposite, until the Death Instinct, both in fusion and defusion, be entirely accepted and integrated within every aspect of psycho-analytic theory. And how can we take cognisance without the adjuncts of holiness and hocus-pocus, some sober cognisance however limited, of the pre-individual, pre-object, pre-splitting fusion of drives in the Id, the basis of a communion that is even more primitive than the so-called Oceanic tie? It might be urged, on the other hand, that whereas we would have no expectation of a completed survey of the psyche, psycho-analysis is firm enough, and surely sufficiently deep, to develop in us novel attitudes, to the extent that we shall invent therefrom a non-mystical behaviour even in regard to Id representation.
For short summary I return to the uninhibited main-stream of this Paper. It could well be argued that insofar as the matter of psychoanalysis is co-extensive with the details of living, the details of underlying trends, it provides no angle for relaxed contemplative attitudes. The psycho-analytic process penetrates resistance and denial against which it is always on guard. This is a breaking-down activity that lends itself not at all to the re-enactment of cultural fables. On the other hand psycho-analytic findings are among the insights which have sapped belief in any confident wisdom about the life-process at the present time. Are we able to mitigate firmly, in a form additional to individual analysis, our culture's lack of creative communion and morale: shall we never again have works of art comparable with the cathedrals: did their creation depend upon a dogma to enforce their symbolism: is a large and overwhelming creativeness, is a communal creative activity, impossible without dogma, propaganda and even, at times, mass hysteria? These are among the large questions put before us. Is it the moment to re-introduce the greatest of simple statements: 'Ripeness is all'?
Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither:
Ripeness is all.
This article is taken from Poetry Nation 1 Number 1, 1973.