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Old 07-13-2010   #1
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Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

Philip_Larkin Philip_Larkin
was of course one of the major English-language poets of the 20th century.

Here he is reciting his 1971 poem "This Be The Verse." See the text below. Today I'm thinking the whole thing plays ever so nicely into the Ligottian universe of CATHR, and to the general sense of bleakness at life's horrific uselessness and pain.


This Be The Verse

They #### you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were ####ed up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

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Old 07-13-2010   #2
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Re: Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

I am relating to this poem more and more as I live with my Mother, who is getting stranger and nastier, and with a boyfriend whom I am treating more like a child (my child). I see myself handing to him the disease that is our family. Happily, though, I have found solace in a concentration of poetry. Poetry has a power, a soothing element, that I can find in nothing else except, when I am feeling intensely religious, my idea (my fantasy) of God. I cannot quite explain the effect of poetry. It is a balm that cannot take away the meaningless of existence, the suffering and disease that is life; & yet it is such an intoxicant for me that it becomes the "thing" I want to live for; indeed, it induces a kind of panic when I contemplate nonexistence -- a void without poetry. None of this makes sense, does it? F--ked me up indeed.

"We work in the dark -- we do what we can -- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."
--Henry James (1843-1916)
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Old 07-13-2010   #3
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Re: Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

Am I the only person on here who thinks that life can be joyful?

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Old 07-13-2010   #4
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Re: Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

Quote Originally Posted by Odalisque View Post
Am I the only person on here who thinks that life can be joyful?
I think life can be joyful at times, but overall it is usually pretty miserable. If there is any joy to be found, it must be sought out, and it is most often pretty hard to come by.

As for the poem, although I personally can relate to it, I am sure that there are some parents out there who have done their children some good.
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Old 07-13-2010   #5
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Re: Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

Fascinating thoughts and experiences, Wilum. Thanks for sharing them.

Quote Originally Posted by Odalisque View Post
Am I the only person on here who thinks that life can be joyful?
No, you're not the only one. I experience lots of joy, and also lots of pleasure. And also lots of despair, misery, and suffering.

Life is a big box of everything. But what's ultimately true is not either side of the pleasure/pain, bliss/suffering, joy/despair duality, but the basic reality that encompasses and underlies and undercuts and serves as the ground of both.

Importantly, this means you can "get there" from either direction. Personally (and involuntarily), I partake deeply of both, and an overarching and overwhelming intimation of life's bleakness and suffering just happens to be one of the poles to which I commonly move, and which speaks to my sensibility the most resonantly.

Just my two cents, obviously.

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Old 07-13-2010   #6
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Re: Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

Quote Originally Posted by Odalisque View Post
Am I the only person on here who thinks that life can be joyful?
I believe life can be joyful though some of my reasons may annoy people. Due to circumstances I don't think my own life is really destined to be joyful, at least at the moment (though its far better than it was say a year ago).

One thing I am fairly sure about is that this age is growing more and more antagonistic to happiness and those who claim
''you have sufficient food, water, money and living conditions there for you have no right to be unhappy'' are, at least in part, making it worse.

Last edited by Evans; 07-14-2010 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 07-14-2010   #7
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Re: Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

Quote Originally Posted by matt cardin View Post
Life is a big box of everything. But what's ultimately true is not either side of the pleasure/pain, bliss/suffering, joy/despair duality, but the basic reality that encompasses and underlies and undercuts and serves as the ground of both.

Importantly, this means you can "get there" from either direction. Personally (and involuntarily), I partake deeply of both, and an overarching and overwhelming intimation of life's bleakness and suffering just happens to be one of the poles to which I commonly move, and which speaks to my sensibility the most resonantly.

That rings true to my experience.
des

MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com
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Old 07-14-2010   #8
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Re: Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

Quote Originally Posted by Nemonymous View Post
Quote Originally Posted by matt cardin View Post
Life is a big box of everything. But what's ultimately true is not either side of the pleasure/pain, bliss/suffering, joy/despair duality, but the basic reality that encompasses and underlies and undercuts and serves as the ground of both.

Importantly, this means you can "get there" from either direction. Personally (and involuntarily), I partake deeply of both, and an overarching and overwhelming intimation of life's bleakness and suffering just happens to be one of the poles to which I commonly move, and which speaks to my sensibility the most resonantly.

That rings true to my experience.
des
This also happens to be true in my case. Bleakness also speaks to my sensibility to a much greater extend than the "bright side", but I cannot deny that I experience both all the time, hence the endless struggle between optimism and pessimist taking place in my mind.

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
Confusio Linguarum - visionary literature, translingualism & bibliophily
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Old 07-15-2010   #9
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Re: Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

It may well be that your mum and dad #### you up, but I'd rather be ####ed up than not be at all. So, thank you Mum and Dad for conceiving me in a victory #### back in 1945.

Joy and sorrow are the stuff of life... and life seems to me well worth living, and enjoying, and suffering...

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Old 07-15-2010   #10
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Re: Anti-natalism from Philip Larkin

Quote Originally Posted by Odalisque View Post
So, thank you Mum and Dad for conceiving me in a victory #### back in 1945.
Mine waited till 1948.

===========================

Much later Edit: In view of GSC's comment below, I retrocausally change the above 1948 to 1947, since I was actually born in January 1948! My mistake.des

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Last edited by Nemonymous; 07-16-2010 at 04:54 AM..
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