Self-portrait of Allen Ginsberg on his seventieth birthday, June 3, 1996. © Allen Ginsberg Trust; Text © 1966 by Allen Ginsberg. Reprinted with permission of the Wylie Agency, Inc.
Self-portrait of Allen Ginsberg on his seventieth birthday, June 3, 1996. © Allen Ginsberg Trust; Text © 1966 by Allen Ginsberg. Reprinted with permission of the Wylie Agency, Inc.

Every American wants MORE MORE of the world and why not, you only live once. But the mistake made in America is persons accumulate more more dead matter, machinery, possessions & rugs & fact information at the expense of what really counts as more: feeling, good feeling, sex feeling, tenderness feeling, mutual feeling. You own twice as much rug if you’re twice as aware of the rug. Possessing more means being aware of more: & that “awareness” is banked in areas we call feeling. Bodily feeling sense or sensual feeling.

You can own an elephant or a bank or power thereof but if there’s no personal breast bliss all you own is a lot of dead atoms and ideas. Well our business tendency has been to mechanize & literally suppress feeling, it doesn’t fit the machine. People flowing in and out of buildings on time slave to the inanimate machine that houses them. The medias become cannibalistic of person. Well if you want to live in a dead universe, an impersonal universe, that’s an option—which most people choose or are forced to, they think. Finally they get to think there’s no option everything’s really dead. Total distrust in every direction & naturally the end product of that is exclusively H Bomb hypnosis & the kind of China policy we’ve been stuck with—paranoia and no lively way out.

We’re all born Person—babies need personal meat contact or they die. That’s our nature—tender—infant or at menopause. But the culture—and the system, the capitalist system itself as practiced thru competition rather than free cooperation—simply enforce impersonal reactions. So you wind up with less less not more more. Even if you own not merely First National even if you could own the whole planet. The kind of relationship you have, if you monopolize matter, is a dead feeling one. Or like amphetamine, a false electric nervous thrill without the whole organism involved in communication—in communion with the outside.

“Success” as such, by US standards, is just a big loss of our real existence: which is personal feeling. You get less, you don’t get your more. Most people seem to be hung up in this dead matter like junkies. Their habits get bigger & bigger like junkies too. Naturally comes ulcers, loss of identity, witty role playing. Christ noticed it long ago, so did Whitman in America, it’s a real lose {loss}.

The drugs come in here, at right historic moment. LSD cuts through the whole illusion of dead matter; unconscious realization of person & feeling & sensory awareness is restored temporarily. It seems like a cosmic vision, only because we’ve been literally cut off from our maximum organic awareness so long. Someone stuck in a dead universe all his life suddenly wakes up & sees the whole universe alive, including himself. It could be nervewracking if you’ve invested your whole life in the wrong universe, which most everybody has by now. But this is the space age. Overpopulation, electronic communication networks worldwide, planetary death threat with bombs, escalation of irrational hostilities, moment of leaving the planet in space-ships—and opening up of chemistries that alter consciousness & take all this into account with total Awe. So it’s no wonder that it seems strange for the older folks. History’s accelerating like technology’s accelerated. Can’t go back. We can blow the whole show up. Or we can calm fear, see the world is really changing, like a dream, & go explore & help each other through. It’s all safe because as Einstein & the Buddhists secretly tipped everybody off long ago: the whole show is a harmless wave-illusion. That may be hard to take but it’s better than going mad and seeing devils in every comer in typical prespace-age American Style.

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