‘For within living structures defined by profit, by linear power, by institutional dehumanization, our feelings were not meant to survive’Poetry Is Not a Luxury ~ Audre Lorde
The other day I went for tea with a friend, and it was one of the most wholesome social interactions that I’ve ever partaken in. It was authentically human, in the sense that there was an acute awareness of feeling and reality shared by us both. Upon leaving I realized how rare such moments are in modern life. Inundated with tasks to go from start to finish, with the means just the way to reach an arbitrary end goal, it seems like ‘feelings were not meant to survive’.
When I first read Lorde’s essay, I was unsure about two points. The first , which I won’t dwell on greatly here as I would have to delve into feminism, is of poetry as ‘the fountain’ of female power. Secondly, what Lorde meant meant by the ambiguous notion of feeling. The latter was reconciled in the assertion that feeling is
‘not idle fantasy, but a disciplined attention to the true meaning of ‘it feels right to me”Poetry Is Not a Luxury ~ Audre Lorde
Now I see these idea transposed like a motif upon aspects of my reality. From my day to day it seems that the elimination of individual difference prevails as individuals conform to herds of different magnitudes from friendship groups to pursuing careers in multinational corporate businesses, individuals are gravitating towards
‘greater sameness rather than oneness’The Art of Loving ~ Eric Fromm
It’s this ‘dehumanization’, termed as ‘progress’ from forces of technological advances, which I have mixed feelings about. From my understanding, to progress and become a globalized world ( governed by peace yada yada yada) up scaling of all aspects of living would be an advantage to share resources and increase living standards, however this currently seems to go hand in hand with the decimation of the individual. A skeptic about racial, political and national social groupings, I feel this is further compounded on a smaller scale where individuals buy into an amorphous template of such groups, for arguments sake the Turkish patriot. The simplification of our complex world ( particularly political and social ) is exactly what Adam Curtis explores in his documentary ‘Hypernormalisation’ and it is this solidity of view held by the unknowingly indoctrinated populace, which is easily malleable by governments and corporations in conjunction with social media.
Curtis also dwells on the pessimism rampant in post 9/11 society. Yet whilst describing the crushing for of ‘institutional dehumanisation’ , the circle returns to literature. Lorde describes poetry as the ‘revelatory distillation of experience’, highlighting how art can challenge isolation, ie through the lack of meaningful connections with other humans such as the one with which I opened, which leads to sameness. In another essay she describes the power of the true form of the erotic, not the consumerist iteration, as being one of the purest distillations of such a connection. It may be found through many different outlets like faith or friendship but Art is full of revelations of different types of ‘oneness’.
I shall leave you with an excerpt from Frida Kahlo’s letter to her lover, a true epitome of the survival of feeling:
‘It’s not love, or tenderness, or affection, it’s life itself, my life, that I found what I saw it in your hands,in your mouth and in your breasts. I have the taste of almonds from your lips in my mouth. Our worlds have never gone outside. Only one mountain can know the core of another mountain’Frida Kahlo