Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ode to the Beat

I never felt patriotic until I discovered the beat --

My hips possessed, gyrating to its rhythm

The melody could have birthed in my spirit

Fireworks and tired independence celebrations fail to move me --

Nauseated by insincere flag waving and shallow ribbons

Traditions of the past feel awkward

But the beat --

Driving my mind into the center of Miles' trumpet

Climbing out at the end of the 'I have a dream' speech

With enough time to hitchhike with Kerouac to a road of perceived freedom

Speeding on countless highways with jazz and intermissions of crappy rock n' roll blaring

Finding beauty in the grime

Discovering truth in the overlooked crevices of existence

Revealing --

An American spirit; raw and unique in form

The collection I covet:
Click on image above or link

Monday, September 18, 2006

Just in case you were getting bored with my other lists, here's another one:

American Film Institute's Top 100 Movies
AFI Top Movies

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
2. Casablanca (1942)
3. The Godfather (1972)
4. Gone With the Wind (1939)
5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
6. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
7. The Graduate (1967)
8. On the Waterfront (1954)
9. Schindler's List (1993)
10. Singin' In the Rain (1952)
11. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
12. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
13. The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957)
14. Some Like It Hot (1959)
15. Star Wars (1977)
16. All About Eve (1950)
17. The African Queen (1951)
18. Psycho (1960)
19. Chinatown (1974)
20. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
21. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
22. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
23. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
24. Raging Bull (1980)
25. E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
26. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
27. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
28. Apocalypse Now (1979)
29. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)
30. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
31. Annie Hall (1977)
32. The Godfather, Part II (1974)
33. High Noon (1952)
34. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
35. It Happened One Night (1934)
36. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
38. Double Indemnity (1944)
39. Dr. Zhivago (1965)
40. North By Northwest (1959)
41. West Side Story (1961)
42. Rear Window (1954)
43. King Kong (1933)
44. The Birth of a Nation (1915)
45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
46. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
47. Taxi Driver (1976)
48. Jaws (1975)
49. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
50. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
51. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
52. From Here To Eternity (1953)
53. Amadeus (1984)
54. All Quiet On the Western Front (1930)
55. The Sound of Music (1965)
56. M*A*S*H (1970)
57. The Third Man (1949)
58. Fantasia (1940)
59. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
60. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
61. Vertigo (1958)
62. Tootsie (1982)
63. Stagecoach (1939)
64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
65. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
66. Network (1976)
67. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
68. An American In Paris (1951)
69. Shane (1953)
70. The French Connection (1971)
71. Forrest Gump (1994)
72. Ben-Hur (1959)
73. Wuthering Heights (1939)
74. The Gold Rush (1925)
75. Dances With Wolves (1990)
76. City Lights (1931)
77. American Graffiti (1973)
78. Rocky (1976)
79. The Deer Hunter (1978)
80. The Wild Bunch (1969)
81. Modern Times (1936)
82. Giant (1956)
83. Platoon (1986)
84. Fargo (1996)
85. Duck Soup (1933)
86. Mutiny On the Bounty (1935)
87. Frankenstein (1931)
88. Easy Rider (1969)
89. Patton (1970)
90. The Jazz Singer (1927)
91. My Fair Lady (1964)
92. A Place In the Sun (1951)
93. The Apartment (1960)
94. Goodfellas (1990)
95. Pulp Fiction (1994)
96. The Searchers (1956)
97. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
98. Unforgiven (1992)
99. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)
100. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

AFI Funny Movies

1. Some Like It Hot (1959)
2. Tootsie (1982)
3. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
4. Annie Hall (1977)
5. Duck Soup (1933)
6. Blazing Saddles (1974)
7. M*A*S*H (1970)
8. It Happened One Night (1934)
9. The Graduate (1967)
10. Airplane! (1980)
11. The Producers (1968)
12. A Night At the Opera (1935)
13. Young Frankenstein (1974)
14. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
15. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
16. Singin' In the Rain (1952)
17. The Odd Couple (1968)
18. The General (1927)
19. His Girl Friday (1940)
20. The Apartment (1960)
21. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
22. Adam's Rib (1949)
23. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
24. Born Yesterday (1950)
25. The Gold Rush (1925)
26. Being There (1979)
27. There's Something About Mary (1998)
28. Ghostbusters (1984)
29. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
30. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
31. Raising Arizona (1987)
32. The Thin Man (1934)
33. Modern Times (1936)
34. Groundhog Day (1993)
35. Harvey (1950)
36. National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)
37. The Great Dictator (1940)
38. City Lights (1931)
39. Sullivan's Travels (1941)
40. It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)
41. Moonstruck (1987)
42. Big (1988)
43. American Graffiti (1973)
44. My Man Godfrey (1936)
45. Harold and Maude (1971)
46. Manhattan (1979)
47. Shampoo (1975)
48. A Shot In the Dark (1964)
49. To Be Or Not To Be (1942)
50. Cat Ballou (1965)
51. The Seven Year Itch (1955)
52. Ninotchka (1939)
53. Arthur (1981)
54. The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
55. The Lady Eve (1941)
56. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
57. Diner (1982)
58. It's a Gift (1934)
59. A Day At the Races (1937)
60. Topper (1937)
61. What's Up, Doc? (1972)
62. Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
63. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
64. Broadcast News (1987)
65. Horse Feathers (1932)
66. Take the Money and Run (1969)
67. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
68. The Awful Truth (1937)
69. Bananas (1971)
70. Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936)
71. Caddyshack (1980)
72. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
73. Monkey Business (1931)
74. Nine To Five (1980)
75. She Done Him Wrong (1933)
76. Victor/Victoria (1982)
77. The Palm Beach Story (1942)
78. Road To Morocco (1942)
79. The Freshman (1925)
80. Sleeper (1973)
81. The Navigator (1924)
82. Private Benjamin (1980)
83. Father of the Bride (1950)
84. Lost In America (1985)
85. Dinner At Eight (1933)
86. City Slickers (1991)
87. Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
88. Beetlejuice (1988)
89. The Jerk (1979)
90. Woman of the Year (1942)
91. The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
92. Ball of Fire (1941)
93. Fargo (1996)
94. Auntie Mame (1958)
95. Silver Streak (1976)
96. Sons of the Desert (1933)
97. Bull Durham (1988)
98. The Court Jester (1956)
99. The Nutty Professor (1963)
100. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

AFI Thrilling Movies

1. Psycho (1960)
2. Jaws (1975)
3. The Exorcist (1973)
4. North By Northwest (1959)
5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
6. Alien (1979)
7. The Birds (1963)
8. The French Connection (1971)
9. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
11. The Godfather (1972)
12. King Kong (1933)
13. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
14. Rear Window (1954)
15. Deliverance (1972)
16. Chinatown (1974)
17. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
18. Vertigo (1958)
19. The Great Escape (1963)
20. High Noon (1952)
21. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
22. Taxi Driver (1976)
23. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
24. Double Indemnity (1944)
25. Titanic (1997)
26. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
27. Star Wars (1977)
28. Fatal Attraction (1987)
29. The Shining (1980)
30. The Deer Hunter (1978)
31. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
32. Strangers On a Train (1951)
33. The Fugitive (1993)
34. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
35. Jurassic Park (1993)
36. Bullitt (1968)
37. Casablanca (1942)
38. Notorious (1946)
39. Die Hard (1988)
40. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
41. Dirty Harry (1971)
42. The Terminator (1984)
43. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
44. E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
45. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
46. Carrie (1976)
47. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
48. Dial M For Murder (1954)
49. Ben-Hur (1959)
50. Marathon Man (1976)
51. Raging Bull (1980)
52. Rocky (1976)
53. Pulp Fiction (1994)
54. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
55. Wait Until Dark (1967)
56. Frankenstein (1931)
57. All the President's Men (1976)
58. The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957)
59. Planet of the Apes (1968)
60. The Sixth Sense (1999)
61. Cape Fear (1962)
62. Spartacus (1960)
63. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)
64. Touch of Evil (1958)
65. The Dirty Dozen (1967)
66. The Matrix (1999)
67. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
68. Halloween (1978)
69. The Wild Bunch (1969)
70. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
71. Goldfinger (1964)
72. Platoon (1986)
73. Laura (1944)
74. Blade Runner (1982)
75. The Third Man (1949)
76. Thelma and Louise (1991)
77. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
78. Gaslight (1944)
79. The Magnificent Seven (1960)
80. Rebecca (1940)
81. The Omen (1976)
82. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
83. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
84. Poltergeist (1982)
85. Dracula (1931)
86. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
87. The Thing From Another World (1951)
88. 12 Angry Men (1957)
89. The Guns of Navarone (1961)
90. The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
91. Braveheart (1995)
92. Body Heat (1981)
93. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
94. The China Syndrome (1979)
95. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
96. Blue Velvet (1986)
97. Safety Last (1923)
98. Blood Simple (1984)
99. Speed (1994)
100. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

AFI Passionate Movies

1. Casablanca (1942)
2. Gone With the Wind (1939)
3. West Side Story (1961)
4. Roman Holiday (1953)
5. An Affair To Remember (1957)
6. The Way We Were (1973)
7. Dr. Zhivago (1965)
8. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
9. Love Story (1970)
10. City Lights (1931)
11. Annie Hall (1977)
12. My Fair Lady (1964)
13. Out of Africa (1985)
14. The African Queen (1951)
15. Wuthering Heights (1939)
16. Singin' In the Rain (1952)
17. Moonstruck (1987)
18. Vertigo (1958)
19. Ghost (1990)
20. From Here To Eternity (1953)
21. Pretty Woman (1990)
22. On Golden Pond (1981)
23. Now, Voyager (1942)
24. King Kong (1933)
25. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
26. The Lady Eve (1941)
27. The Sound of Music (1965)
28. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
29. An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
30. Swing Time (1936)
31. The King and I (1956)
32. Dark Victory (1939)
33. Camille (1937)
34. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
35. Gigi (1958)
36. Random Harvest (1942)
37. Titanic (1997)
38. It Happened One Night (1934)
39. An American In Paris (1951)
40. Ninotchka (1939)
41. Funny Girl (1968)
42. Anna Karenina (1935)
43. A Star Is Born (1954)
44. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
45. Sleepless In Seattle (1993)
46. To Catch a Thief (1955)
47. Splendor In the Grass (1961)
48. Last Tango In Paris (1972)
49. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
50. Shakespeare In Love (1998)
51. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
52. The Graduate (1967)
53. A Place In the Sun (1951)
54. Sabrina (1954)
55. Reds (1981)
56. The English Patient (1996)
57. Two For the Road (1967)
58. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)
59. Picnic (1955)
60. To Have and Have Not (1944)
61. Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961)
62. The Apartment (1960)
63. Sunrise (1927)
64. Marty (1955)
65. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
66. Manhattan (1979)
67. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
68. What's Up, Doc? (1972)
69. Harold and Maude (1971)
70. Sense and Sensibility (1995)
71. Way Down East (1920)
72. Roxanne (1987)
73. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
74. Woman of the Year (1942)
75. The American President (1995)
76. The Quiet Man (1952)
77. The Awful Truth (1937)
78. Coming Home (1978)
79. Jezebel (1939)
80. The Sheik (1921)
81. The Goodbye Girl (1977)
82. Witness (1985)
83. Morocco (1930)
84. Double Indemnity (1944)
85. Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
86. Notorious (1946)
87. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
88. The Princess Bride (1987)
89. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
90. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
91. Working Girl (1988)
92. Porgy and Bess (1959)
93. Dirty Dancing (1987)
94. Body Heat (1981)
95. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
96. Barefoot In the Park (1967)
97. Grease (1978)
98. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
99. Pillow Talk (1959)
100. Jerry Maguire (1996)

AFI Inspiring Movies

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
2. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
3. Schindler's List (1993)
4. Rocky (1976)
5. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)
6. E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
7. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
8. Breaking Away (1979)
9. Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
10. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
11. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
12. Apollo 13 (1995)
13. Hoosiers (1986)
14. The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957)
15. The Miracle Worker (1962)
16. Norma Rae (1979)
17. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
18. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
19. The Right Stuff (1983)
20. Philadelphia (1993)
21. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
22. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
23. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
24. National Velvet (1944)
25. Sullivan's Travels (1941)
26. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
27. High Noon (1952)
28. Field of Dreams (1989)
29. Gandhi (1982)
30. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
31. Glory (1989)
32. Casablanca (1942)
33. City Lights (1931)
34. All the President's Men (1976)
35. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967)
36. On the Waterfront (1954)
37. Forrest Gump (1994)
38. Pinocchio (1940)
39. Star Wars (1977)
40. Mrs. Miniver (1942)
41. The Sound of Music (1965)
42. 12 Angry Men (1957)
43. Gone With the Wind (1939)
44. Spartacus (1960)
45. On Golden Pond (1981)
46. Lilies of the Field (1963)
47. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
48. The African Queen (1951)
49. Meet John Doe (1941)
50. Seabiscuit (2003)
51. The Color Purple (1985)
52. Dead Poets Society (1989)
53. Shane (1953)
54. Rudy (1993)
55. The Defiant Ones (1958)
56. Ben-Hur (1959)
57. Sergeant York (1941)
58. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
59. Dances With Wolves (1990)
60. The Killing Fields (1984)
61. Sounder (1972)
62. Braveheart (1995)
63. Rain Man (1988)
64. The Black Stallion (1979)
65. A Raisin In the Sun (1961)
66. Silkwood (1983)
67. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
68. An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
69. The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
70. Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
71. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
72. Dark Victory (1939)
73. Erin Brockovich (2000)
74. Gunga Din (1939)
75. The Verdict (1982)
76. Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
77. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
78. Thelma and Louise (1991)
79. The Ten Commandments (1956)
80. Babe (1995)
81. Boys Town (1938)
82. Fiddler On the Roof (1971)
83. Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936)
84. Serpico (1973)
85. What's Love Got To Do With It (1993)
86. Stand and Deliver (1988)
87. Working Girl (1988)
88. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
89. Harold and Maude (1972)
90. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
91. The Paper Chase (1973)
92. Fame (1980)
93. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
94. Captains Courageous (1937)
95. Places In the Heart (1984)
96. Searching For Bobby Fischer (1993)
97. Madame Curie (1943)
98. The Karate Kid (1984)
99. Ray (2004)
100. Chariots of Fire (1981)

AFI Musicals

1. Singin' In the Rain (1952)
2. West Side Story (1961)
3. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
4. The Sound of Music (1965)
5. Cabaret (1972)
6. Mary Poppins (1964)
7. A Star Is Born (1954)
8. My Fair Lady (1964)
9. An American In Paris (1951)
10. Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
11. The King and I (1956)
12. Chicago (2002)
13. 42nd Street (1933)
14. All That Jazz (1979)
15. Top Hat (1935)
16. Funny Girl (1968)
17. The Band Wagon (1953)
18. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
19. On the Town (1949)
20. Grease (1978)
21. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954)
22. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
23. Guys and Dolls (1955)
24. Show Boat (1936)
25. Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Recent Poem

Nature -

I'm sick of seeking inspiration in nature
I want to seek inspiration in my own nature
Find the valley's within me
Climb the mountains in my chest
Dig out truth from the corners
Of a being less known

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The following link is a link to the physicist Dr. Steven E. Jone's website concerning his theories regarding the true reason for the collapse of the WTC buildings. I find this research very interesting. I'm not necessarily saying I'm completed converted to his argument. However, I definitely believe there is a great deal of credence to his argument. It is definitely worth checking out for yourself.

The following link is a link to a google video presentation of his argument:

239th Chorus

Charlie Parker looked like Buddha
Charlie Parker, who recently died...
"Wail, Wop" Charlie burst
His lungs to reach the speed
Of what the speedsters wanted
And what they wanted
Was his eternal Slowdown.

Jack Kerouac from Mexico City Blues

211th Chorus

The wheel of the quivering meat conception

Turns in the void expelling human beings,

Pigs, turtles, frogs, insects, nits

Mice, lice, lizards, rats, roan

Racinghorses, poxy bucolic pigtics,

Horrible unnameable lice of vultures

Murderous attacking dog-armies

Of Africa, Rhinos roaming in the jungle,

Vast boars and huge gigantic bull

Elephants, rams, eagles, condors,

Pones and Porcupines and Pills –

All the endless conception of living beings

Gnashing everywhere in Consciousness

Throughout the ten directions of space

Occupying all the quarters in & out,

From supermicroscopic no-bug

To huge Galaxy Lightyear Bowell

Illuminating the sky of one Mind –

Poor! I wish I was free

Of that slaving meat wheel

And safe in heaven dead

Beat Zen

Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen

by Alan Watts

It is as difficult for Anglo-Saxons as for the Japanese to absorb anything quite so Chinese as Zen. For though the word "Zen" is Japanese and though Japan is now its home, Zen Buddhism is the creation of T'ang dynasty China. I do not say this as a prelude to harping upon the ncommunicable subtleties of alien cultures. The point is simply that people who feel a profound need to justify themselves have difficulty in understanding the viewpoints of those who do not, and the Chinese who created Zen were the same kind of people as Lao-tzu, who, centures before, said, "Those who justify themselves do not convince." For the urge to make or prove oneself right has always jiggled the Chinese sense of the ludicrous, since as both Confucians and Taoists-however different these philosophies in other ways-they have invariably appreciated the man who can "come off it." To Confucius it seemed much better to be human-hearted then righteous, and to the great Taoists, Lao-tzu and Chang-tzu, it was obvious that one could not be right without also being wrong, because the two were as inseparable as back and front. As Chang-tzu said, "Those who would have good government without its correlative misrule, and right without its correlative wrong, do not understand the principles of the universe."

To Western ears such words may sound cynical, and the Confucian admiration of "reasonableness" and compromise may appear to be a weak-kneed lack of commitment to principle. Actually they reflect a marvelous understanding and respect for what we call the balance of nature, human and otherwise-a universal vision of life as the Tao or way of nature in which the good and evil, the creature and the destructive, the wise and the foolish are the inseparable polarities of existence. "Tao," said the Chung-yung, "is that from which one cannot depart. That from which one can depart is not the Tao." Therefore wisdom did not consist in trying to wrest the good from the evil but learning to "ride" them as a cork adapts itself to the crests and troughs of the waves. At the roots of Chinese life there is a trust in the good-and-evil of one's own nature which is pecularly foreign to those brought up with the chronic uneasy conscience of the Hebrew-Christian cultures. Yet it was always obvious to the Chinese that a man who mistrusts himself cannot even trust his mistrust, and must therefore be hopelessly confused.

For rather different reasons, Japanese people tend to be as uneasy in themselves as Westerners, having a sense of social shame quite as acute as our more metaphysical sense of sin. This was especially true of the class most attracted to Zen, the samurai. Ruth Benedict, in that very uneven work hrysanthemum and Sword, was, I think, perfectly correct in saying that the attraction of Zen to the samurai class was its power to get rid of an extremely awkward self-consciousness induced in the education of the young. Part-and-parcel of this lf-consciousness is the Japanese compulsion to compete with oneself-a compulsion which turns every craft and skill into a marathon of self-discipline. Although the attraction of Zen lay in the possibility of liberation from self-consciousness, the Japanese version of Zen fought fire with fire, overcoming the "self observing the self" by bringing it to an intensity in which it exploded. How remote from the regimen of the Japanese Zen monastery are the words of the great T'ang master Lin-chi:

In Buddhism there is no place for using effort. Just be ordinary and nothing special. Eat your food, move your bowels, pass water, and when you're tired go and lie down. The ignorant will laugh at me, but the wise will understand.

Yet the spirit of these words is just as remote from a kind of Western Zen which would employ this philosophy to justify a very self-defensive Bohemianism.

There is no single reason for the extraordinary growth of Western interest in Zen during the last twenty years. The appeal of Zen arts to the "modern" spirit in the West, the words of Suzuki, the war with Japan, the itchy fascination of "Zen-stories," and the attraction of a non-conceptual, experiential philosophy in the climate of scientific relativism-all these are involved. One might mention, too, the affinities between Zen and such purely Western trends as the philosophy of Wittgenstein, xistentialism, General Semantics, the metalinguistics of B. L. Whorf, and certain movements in the philosophy of science and in psychotherapy. Always in the "anti-naturalness" of both Christianity, with its politically orderd cosmology, and technology, with its imperialistic mechanization of a natural world from which man himself feels strangely alien. For both reflect a psychology in which man is identified with a conscious intelligence and will standing apart from nature to control it, like the architect-God in whose image this version of man is conceived. This disquiet arises from the suspicion that our attempt to master the world from the outside is a vicious circle in which we shall be condemned to the perpetual insomnia of controlling controls and supervising supervision ad infinitum.

To the Westerner in search of the reintegration of man and nature there is an appeal far beyond the merely sentimental in the naturalism of Zen-in the landscapes of Ma-yuan and Sesshu, in an art which is simultaneously spiritual and secular, which conveys the mystical in terms of the natural, and which, indeed, never even imagined a break between them. Here is a view of the world imparting a profoundly refreshing sense of wholeness to a culture in which the spiritual and the material, the conscious and the unconscious, have been cataclysmically split. For this reason the Chinese humanism and naturalism of Zen intrigue us much more strongly than Indian Buddhism or Vedanta. These, too, have their students in the West, but their followers seem for the most part to be displaced Christians-people in search of a more plausible philosophy than Christian supernaturalism to carry on the essentially Christian search for the miraculous. The ideal man of Indian Buddhism is clearly a superman, a yogi with absolute mastery of his own nature, according perfectly with the science-fiction ideal of "man beyond mankind." But the Buddha or awakened man of Chinese Zen is "ordinary and nothing special"; he is humorously human like the Zen tramps portrayed by Mu-chi and Liang-k'ai. We like this because here, for the first time, is a conception of the holy man and sage who is not impossibly remote, not superhuman but fully human, and, above all, not a solemn and sexless ascetic. Furthermore, in Zen the satori experience of awakening to our "original inseparability" with the universe seems, however elusive, always just round the corner. One has even met people to whom it has happened, and they are no longer mysterious occultist in the Himalayas nor skinny yogis in cloistered zshrams. They are just like us, and yet much more at home in the world, floating much more easily upon the ocean of transience and insecurity.

But the Westerner who is attracted by Zen and who would understand it deeply must have one indispensable qualification: he must understand his own culture so thoroughly that he is no longer swayed by its premises unconsciously. He must really have come to terms with the Lord God Jehovah and with his Hebrew-Christian conscience so that he can take it or leave it without fear or rebellion. He must be free of the itch to justify himself. Lacking this, his Zen will be either "beat" or "square," either a revolt from the culture and social order or a new form of stuffiness and respectability. For Zen is above all the Liberation of the mind from conventional thought, and this is something utterly different from rebellion against convention, on the one hand, or adopting foreign conventions, on the other.

Conventional thought is, in brief, the confusion of the concrete universe of nature with the conceptual things, events, and values of linguistic and cultural symbolism. For in Taoism and Zen the world is seen as an inseparably interrelated field or continuum, no part of which can actually be separated from the rest or valued above or below the rest. It was in this sense that Hui-neng, the Sixth Patriarch, meant that "fundamentally not one thing exists," for he realized that things are terms, not entities. They exist in the abstract world of thought, but not in the concrete world of nature. Thus one who actually perceives or feels this to be so no longer feels that he is an ego, except by definition. He sees that his ego is his persona or social role, a somewhat arbitrary selection of experiences with which he has been taught to identify himself. (Why, for example, do we say "I think" but not "I am beating my heart"?) Having seen this, he continues to play his social role without being taken by it. He does not precipitately adopt a new role or play the role of having no role at all. He plays it cool.

The "beat" mentality as I am thinking of it is something much more extensive and vague that the hipster life of New York and San Francisco. It is a younger generation's nonparticipation in "the American Way of Life," a revolt which does not seek to change the existing order but simply turns away from it to find the significance of life in subjective experience rather then objective achievement. It contrasts with the "square" and other-directed mentality of beguilement by social convention, unaware of the correlativity of right and wrong, the mutual necessity of capitalism and communism to each other's existence, of the inner identity of puritanism and lechery, or of, say, the alliance of church lobbies and organized crime to maintain the laws against gambling.

Beat Zen is a complex phenomenon. It ranges from a use of Zen for justifying sheer caprice in art, literature, and life to a very forceful social criticism and "digging of the universe" such as one may find in the poetry of Ginsberg and Snyder, and, rather unevenly, in Kerouac. But, as I know it, it is always a share too self-conscious, too subjective, and too strident to have the flavor of Zen. It is all very well for the philosopher, but when the poet (Ginsberg) says-

in the physical world
moment to moment

I must write down
every recurring thought-
stop every beating second

this is too indirect and didactic for Zen, which would rather hand you the thing itself without comment.

The sea darkens;
The voices of the wild ducks
Are faintly white.

Furthermore, when Kerouac gives his philosophical final statement, "I don't know. I don't care. And it doesn't make any difference"-the cat is out of the bag, for there is a hostility in these words which clangs with self-defense. But just because Zen truly surpasses convention and its values, it has no need to say "To hell with it," nor to underline with violence the fact that anything goes.

Now the underlying protestant lawlessness of beat Zen disturbs square Zennists very seriously. For square Zen is the Zen of established tradition in Japan with its clearly defined hierarchy, its rigid discipline, and its specific tests of satori. More particularly, it is the kind of Zen adopted by Westerners studying in Japan, who will before long be bringing it back home. But there is an obvious difference between square Zen and the common-or-garden squareness of the Rotary Club or the Presbyterian Church. It is infinitely more imaginative, sensitive, and interesting. But it is still square because it is a quest for the right spiritual experience, for a satori which will receive the stamp (inka) of approved and established authority. There will even be certificates to hang on the wall.

I see no real quarrel in either extreme. There was never a spiritual movement without its excesses and distortions. The experience of awakening which truly constitutes Zen is too timeless and universal to be injured. The extremes of beat Zen need alarm no one since, as Blake said, "the fool who persists in his folly will become wise." As for square Zen, "authoritative" spiritual experiences have always had a way of wearing thin, and thus of generating the demand for something genuine and unique which needs no stamp.

I have known followers of both extremes to come up with perfectly clear satori experiences, for since there is no real "way" to satori the way you are following makes very little difference.

But the quarrel between the extremes is of great philosophical interest, being a contemporary form of the ancient dispute between salvation by works and salvation by faith, or between what the Hindus called the ways of the monkey and the cat. The cat-appropriately enough-follows the effortless way, since the mother cat carries her kittens. The monkey follows the hard way, since the baby monkey has to hang on to its mother's hair. Thus for beat Zen there must be no effort, no discipline, no artificial striving to attain satori or to be anything but what one is. But for square Zen there can be no true satori without years of meditation-practice under the stern supervision of a qualified master. In seventeenth-century Japan these two attitudes were approximately typified by the great masters Bankei and Hakuin, and it so happens that the followers of the latter "won out" and determined the present-day character of Rinzai Zen.

(Rinzai Zen is the form most widely known in the West. There is also Soto Zen which differs somewhat in technique, but is still closer to Hakuin then to Bankei. However, Bankei should not exactly be idenfitied with beat Zen as I have described it, for he was certainly no advocate of the life of undisciplined whimsy despite all that he said about the importance of the uncalculated life and the folly of seeking satori.)

Satori can lie along both roads. It is the concomitant of a "nongrasping" attitude of the senses to experience, and grasping can be exhausted by the discipline of directing its utmost intensity to a single, ever-elusive objective. But what makes the way of effort and will-power suspect to many Westerners is not so much an inherent laziness as a thorough familiarity with the wisdom of our own culture. The square Western Zennists are often quite naive when it comes to an understanding of Christain theology or of all that has been discovered in modern psychiatry, for both have been long concerned with the fallibility and unconscious ambivalence of the will. Both have proposed problems as to the vicious circle of seeking self-surrender or of "free-associating on purpose" or of accepting one's conflicts to escape from them, and to anyone who knows anything about either Christianity or psychotherapy these are very real problems. The interest of Chinese Zen and of people like Bankei is that they deal with these problems in a most direct and stimulating way, and being to suggest some answers. But when Herrigel's Japanese archery master was asked, "How can I give up purpose on purpose?" he replied that no one had ever asked him that before. He had no answer except to go on trying blindly, for five years.

Foreign relations can be immensely attractive and highly overrated by those who know little of their own, and especially by those who have not worked through and grown out of their own. This is why the displaced or unconscious Christian can so easily use either beat or square Zen to justify himself. The one wants a philosophy to justify him in doing what he pleases. The other wants a more plausible authoratative salvation than the Church or the psychiatrists seem to be able to provide. Furthermore the atmosphere of Japanese Zen is free from all one's unpleasant childhood associations with God the Father and Jesus Christ-though I know many young Japanese who feel the same way about their early training in Buddhism. But the true character of Zen remains almost incomprehensible to those who have not surpassed the immaturity of needing to be justified, whether before the Lord God or before a paternalistic society.

The old Chinese Zen masters were steeped in Taoism. They saw nature in its total interrelatedness, and saw that every creature and every experience is in accord with the Tao of nature just as it is. This enabled them to accept themselves as they were, moment by moment, without the least need to justify anything. They didn't do it to defend themselves or to find an excuse for getting away with murder. They didn't brag about it and set themselves apart as rather special. On the contrary, their Zen was wu-shih, which means approximately "nothing special" or "no fuss." But Zen is "fuss" when it is mixed up with Bohemian affectations, and "fuss" when it is imagined that the only proper way to find it is to run off to a monastery in Japan or to do special excercises in the lotus posture five hours a day. And I will admit that the very hullabaloo about Zen, even in such an article as this, is also fuss-but a little less so.

Having said that, I would like to say something for all Zen fussers, beat or square. Fuss is all right, too. If you are hung on Zen, there's no need to try to pretend that you are not. If you really want to spend some years in a Japanese monastery, there is no earthly reason why you shouldn't. Or if you want to spend your time hopping frieght cars and digging Charlie Parker, it's a free country.

In the landscape of Spring there is neither better
nor worse;

The flowering branches grow naturally, some long,
some short.

Orignial version as published in the spring 1958 issue of the Chicago Review. Photo: The Water Well at the Allen Watts Masoleum.