Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Kawhia Canto

Along with Skyler, Hamish Dewe, and Sabrina, I've just spent a few days in a cottage built long ago for the postmaster-general of the little King Country port of Kawhia. With typical Yorkshire guile, Skyler organised the trip behind my back. She didn't tell where I was headed until she had driven me past Mount Pirongia, at the bottom of the Waikato, and onto the road that goes west over limestone hills to Kawhia harbour.

Without the archaeological reports, local histories, and antique maps I usually regard as essential travelling aids, I was always going to be vulnerable to the machinations of Hamish Dewe, who soon had me sitting in the Kawhia Hotel, sampling what he likes to refer to as 'the finest brown wine'. The weather further limited my research opportunities: although my companions and I made forays to nearby Aotea harbour, with its ancient taro plantations and abandoned razorback pa, and to the south side of Kawhia harbour, where 1835 declaration of independence flags flicker next to the ruins of a Wesleyan mission station, a succession of hailstorms and gales meant that we spent more time indoors than out.

Kawhia is not a bad place to be kept indoors. When I wasn't in the Kawhia Hotel, I was able to sample the delights of the Blue Chook Inn, of the local fish and chips joint, which specialises in shark meat, and of Annie's Cafe, which does a superb paua fritter. Back in the cottage, I joined Skyler, Sabrina, and Hamish in low-stakes games of poker and high-stakes games of scattergories, and explored the absurdities of the Creationist books and magazines the previous tenant had left behind in a vain effort to save my soul. Hamish is never perturbed by inclement weather: unlike ordinary mortals, who need regularly to stock up on their rainy day reading material, he is not only willing but able to read the same book, Ezra Pound's Cantos, over and over, year in and year out. For nearly two decades, the peripatetic Hamish has kept Pound's epic near him almost constantly, consulting it in the way lesser men consult horoscopes and travel advisory statements and Creationist textbooks. The new books Hamish continually consumes are read through the prism of Pound's masterpiece.

With its endless quotes and allusions and its journeys across millennia, The Cantos is a book which seems to contain all other books, and to comment upon all of human history. Pound may have gone mad, and embraced for a while the putrid doctrine of fascism, but to a reader of Hamish's sensitivity this only makes The Cantos a more complete record of human folly.

On Saturday night, as we were manouevring our way between huge cold raindrops on our way to the hotel, Hamish told me that Ezra Pound would have liked Kawhia. 'Pound loved history', he said, 'and in Kawhia history is real'.

Typically, Hamish refused to elaborate on this gnomic remark. I think, though, that I understand what he meant. The Cantos have a strange simultaneity, because of the way that Pound juxtaposes fragments of the history of different societies and epochs. At its best, Pound's poem shows us that history not only influences but, in a real sense, persists inside, the present. Kendrick Smithyman might have been discussing The Cantos when he wrote that:

History is real. You may touch,
eye, taste, smell it out from
its forms or casual deformities.


Kawhia is not a prosperous place. Arguably, both Maori and Pakeha have maintained the town for ideological rather than economic reasons. Kawhia was the final resting place of the Tainui waka, and the seedbed of Te Rohe Potae, which eventually extended north to Auckland and as far east as the little Bay of Plenty town of Torere. Today Maketu marae, where the Tainui waka was reputedly buried, remains an important gathering place for the iwi, as well as the summer residence of the Maori King. In 1883, the Pakeha government in Wellington established a settlement in Kawhia simply to show that its power could extend even to the cradle of Tainui. In the early decades of the twentieth century there were suggestions that Kawhia should be turned into a major industrial port - the town's harbour looks straight out to Australia, and is not nearly as treacherous as west coast rivals like the Manukau and the Kaipara - but these were ignored by successive governments. In 1942, when Japanese submarines were attacking Sydney and orbiting New Zealand, military planners briefly became alarmed that Kawhia might be used as a 'back door' to the Waikato and Auckland. Defences were quickly thrown up around the harbour, and then just as quickly forgotten, as the course of the war changed.

Like so many provincial centres, Kawhia was badly affected by the neo-liberal 'reforms' of the 1980s and '90s. More recently the town may have suffered, in relative terms at least, from the decision of Tainui to build a new parliament, a whare wananga, and other institutions in its modern capital Ngaruawahia, rather than in its ancestral home on the coast.

Despite its isolation and relative neglect, Kawhia has none of the bleakness of North Island towns like Mangakino and Murupara, which were built quickly in the postwar era for specifically economic reasons, and then hammered by neo-liberal deindustrialisation. Despite the odd boarded-up window, Kawhia has the sense of permanence that a long past can create. History exists alongside the present without mocking it. Ancient, dense gardens full of taro and banana plants creep between backyards, ignoring boundary fences. Middens can be seen in banks and cliffs. The great wharenui at Maketu marae and the beautiful Wesleyan church opened in 1935 by Princess Te Puea have been carefully maintained. A waterfront museum holding giant ammonites, an old telephone switchboard, portraits of Te Rauparaha and Tawhiao, and a nineteenth century whale boat suggests the town's regard for its history.

After ordering a pint of the 'finest brown wine' at the Kawhia Hotel, Hamish Dewe extracted an ancient piece of paper from his coat, scribbled a couple of lines, and pushed them at me. 'Let's write a Kawhia Canto', he said. 'History in the present. No narrative! No boring messages! Just resonant details.' We filled a few sheets of paper at the hotel, and added a few more on the drive back to Auckland, after Skyler became alarmed by Hamish's driving and ordered him to join me in the backseat, where I had been scribbling a long list of research topics to explore on my next visit to Kawhia.

The Kawhia Canto

Like every other deep-diving mammal,
the I-26 knows when
and where to surface.

A third of the way down Kawhia harbour,
Yukio Mishima climbs into his captain's coat,
pushes at the metal trapdoor, surfaces,
and tugs at the dirty length of rope
that hangs between an aerial
and a periscope.

The Imperial Sun climbs six feet
into the sky, so that its rays fall
onto the western slopes of Pirongia,
and onto the knoll past Maketu pa,
where the Tainui waka lies on its side
like the whale they buried at Muriwai
after last summer's storm.

*

Time is indivisible.

Time is infinitely divisible.

Cut here.

*

Auakiterangi was no fool.
He left the kids to push the waka out,
after they had loaded it with kuri, and kiore,
and kumara as heavy as stones.

Even before Hawaiiki was out of sight
the arguments had started.
We saw the koki turn
and head back toward shore,
its green feathers flinching in the wind.
Was the bird a coward, or an omen?
One of the men lunged at the anchor stone
but could not lift it. He threw himself overboard
instead.

Night was a relief.
The stars cannot change course.

*

Once out of sight, everything's
forgotten, like
gorse covering
pa and midden,
cow-tracks
mistaken for terraces

*

Sea-sick in the
Honda, car-sick
in the
ferry: you can't read
The Cantos
anywhere.

You'd be better off
in front, jerking
the gear stick, twisting
the ferry wheel
as if it were
your sister's arm.

Driving, you compose the text
that you read, turning
your head, turning
the wheel, scanning the lines
of radiata saplings, of poplars,
of superbly functional
pylons, or looking ahead,
looking
down, distinguishing
bluestone
from tar,
watching the road past Pirongia rise
and straighten itself,
like the old bloke who stumbled
outside the Kawhia Hotel -

*

Te Rauparaha.
His name came
on
a
spear.

*

Off Kawhia, nothing's happening. We
aren't even allowed to lay mines.
Yukio passes the time telling
stories about Manchukuo, when
his Dad walked tall with a gun at
his hip and fear all around.
What's the point of skulking like
the souls of the dead?

*

I am a Pakeha.
Don't ask me about wahi tapu
or portage routes, or other stories that old men
tell to gullible men.

I know how to name mountains
after dead monarchs or
non-commissioned officers.

I know how to plant a theodolite
in the best-drained soil.

I know how to cover this landscape
with squares and rectangles
as regular as syllogisms,
as lonely as Descartes.

*

The order in which events occur
is not important.

These objects rotate endlessly
through the roadside fields:

sheep, bull, local, goat,
Te Rauparaha's magic horse.

*

West of Lake Parangi
is conjecture:

a Japanese sub, surfacing like a whale
through a hundred-foot dune;

the mad fisherman from the pub,
casting into lupins
and cutty grass;

a squad of Home Guardsmen,
bayonet charging the wind -

*

To study history, let
everything
happen

at

once

*

History comes
through the harbour heads.

Now Hotunui stoops to
to fill the bailer,
as another wave washes
over the prow, stings the atua’s
paua shell eyes.

A wave breaks another wave
on the bar. The salt-haze rises
like smoke. The rocks are ready to dive.

The Tainui waka is always
crossing this bar.

*

THE JAP IS COMING. IT'S FIGHT WORK OR DIE

Picture of man - dark grey, perhaps rotten
skin, low forehead, each eye as narrow
as a pillbox grill - striding south,
out of a jumble of islands
in East Asia, across the ochre steppes
of Australia, towards Britain's most distant
dominion. His right foot has landed
on Taranaki. The shadow of his bayonet
falls on Kawhia.

SUPPORT YOUR QUEEN AND COUNTRY - THIS IS YOUR WAR, TOO

*

The war on gorse will soon be lost.
In a generation or two there'll be fire
on every hillside with cows sidestepping
the thorns.

I'll work at the plantation, breeding radiata
for slaughter. Maybe I'll swap the old car
for some sheep.

*

To prepare for invasion
retreat. We dig tank traps
at Puti Point, traps deep enough to hold the Japs
but wide enough for the snipers
we hide on the hill -
possum trappers, deer stalkers, Great War men,
and the odd alkie or TB case
who got past the Draft Board -
who have six shells each
to defend the town.

After we shoot our loads
there are huts in the hills,
there are pots of possum meat turning
on woodfire stoves, there are maps
left by the Native Land Court,
there are high-flying clouds that might hide a kittyhawk
bringing arms south from Auckland, or America.

To retreat is to resist. Just ask
Tawhiao.

*

Because it has happened
like this before
(wave striking wave on the bar,
the rocks rising suddenly,
like harpooned whales,
out of the haze)
we count the minutes
to Te Maika,
we count the ferry's lurches,
and the loads of foam
the sea throws up.

We count the pier's rotten teeth,
we count the windows
on the baches,
we count the cracks
on the windows,
we count the cabbage tree heads
shaken in assent,
we count the fishing boats listing
in the storm.

The world is repetition.
The world is real.

*

Tawhiao broke the first window.
He led the group of hotheads,
those hauhau recalcitrants
who lamented peace
,
who wanted to hold on to Te Rohe Potae,
who found beacons in the harbour
and broke them in half,
who used the buoy Bryce floated
for target practice,
who smashed up the first Pakeha store.

Wellington was not amused.
Bryce sent the Hinemoa sailing north,
loaded with one hundred and twenty
armed constables.
Most of them were drunk.

*

My tupuna sailed from Ulster
one hundred and twenty-four years ago
in a ship called the Ruapehu.
Four years earlier the Hinemoa had helped 'open'
the King Country to Pakeha.

Why did we give our waka another people's names?
Did we want their language
as well as their land?

*

He'd heard us talking
about imperialism.
He was pissed, not bitter.

"I'll tell you,
the Japs did not surrender.
We stopped them at Midway,
smoked them out of Canal,
turned them to glass and asphalt
at Hiroshima,
but they came
the bastards came back.

Instead of conquering this coast
they cart it away, kilo by tonne,
on the ships that pull up off Taharoa,
where the tube from the ironsand mine goes out.
We buy our beaches back
as hondas and toyotas -
Jap crap, scrap metal
in the making.

The Japs are mosquitoes.
They take small bites, but their appetite
is infinite."

*

Te Rauparaha planted fire,
harvested bracken,
on Horoure pa,
beneath the tranverse ditch
where palisades were planted
in time for the siege
so that he might also harvest
the heads of
Mahuta.

*

The dead shift, uneasy,
beneath the gorse, moving
between bleached mussel-shells
and afterbirths of the
generation just gone.

Pasture robs them of their
mystery, covering,
they slowly drain with the
ironsand to Japan,
anima machina,
eat Roundup, pass away,
or are daily starved as
we pool in the city,
driving second-hand cars
through dairy-plain wastelands.

*

The order in which events occur
is all-important.

Today is June the 5th, 2010.
An inch of rain flushes the gutters
of South Auckland.
Gerry Brownlee's flat face and quadruple chin
fill the TV screen.
At Te Maika the tractors rust.

A third of the way down the Kawhia harbour
a Japanese submarine has surfaced.

Captain Mishima stands on deck and stares at a sky
lit by the red rays of the Emperor's sun.
He notices blackbacked gulls, a petrel,
what might have been a hawk.

Where are the Zeroes, diving
at five o'clock, shitting their hot bricks
on the wharf, the hotel, the converted courthouse?
Where is the frigate, where are the landing craft
surfing in to shore?

On the lookout above Tainui Street
a gaggle of tourists - Germans, Poms, a coupe of Japs -
climb out of their bus, and aim their cameras
at Captain Mishima's whale.

The boozers at the Blue Chook
wander outside, wondering who
might be shooting a movie.

Captain Mishima is just following orders.
He stands and stares up at the wrong type of wings.

The order in which events occur
is not important.

29 Comments:

Blogger maps said...

I should mention that this is my thoroughly subjective arrangement of the various scribbles Hamish and I produced, and that he might well produce a quite different arrangment. Given the brutal genius he shows as an editor (cf http://readingthemaps.blogspot.com/2010/05/reading-one-letter-at-time.html), his version of the 'Kawhia Canto' would in all likelihood be far shorter...

8:27 pm  
Anonymous Li Po said...

Almost brilliant!

8:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When there are issues of importance to all the Tainui tribes (or to the Tainui people as a single entity) their leaders usually demonstrate a preference for bringing those issues to Maketu, to the cradle of the tribe, to be discussed. There are two reasons for this, one is that Maketu as the mooring place of the canoe belongs to all of Tainui decent, and they in turn belong to Maketu. Because of this, all Tainui tribal voices can be heard as tangata whenua in Auaukiterangi. and none is disadvantaged as an outsider might be. Secondly, any course of action decided upon or agreement made at Maketu is sanctioned by the embrace of their common ancestor, Auaukiterangi.

9:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is still a narrative. it is just dispersed.

10:23 pm  
Blogger Skyler said...

You post reminds me that I still have to collect my $20 winnings from our poker game...!

10:56 pm  
Blogger meyerprints said...

http://meyerprints-northamericaantiquemaps.blogspot.com/

3:54 am  
Blogger Michael Steven said...

Interesting post Maps.

My family have a long association with Kawhia. Have been operating as commercial fishermen from there since the 1920s, and, until a couple of years ago, owned the fish & chip shop you visited.

8:57 am  
Blogger maps said...

That fish and chips shop is magnificent, Michael, but I must ask - why do they describe their cheapest, and presumably most common, serving as 'lemon fish', when it is in fact shark? Why not market shark as shark? Maybe your rellies can cast some light on these deep question?

You ought to come down with us the next time we head for the Kawhia area...

10:06 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh great...this blog is promoting another fascist...this time Ezra Pound...

WHAT SORT OF SOCIALIST ARE YOU?

1:10 pm  
Blogger Oliver Woods said...

Great post! I absolutely love the canto you and Hamish Dewe composed - planning on sharing it with my more intellectual/literary friends here in Singapore where I now live.

Always a pleasure reading your guys' blog - keep up the posting.

Regards from yet another lapsed outpost of Empire,
Oliver Woods

P.S. Don't worry, I'm still a loyal devotee of Doctor Sutch and Robert Muldoon. My pictures of them both on my office wall don't really register with my colleagues, unfortunately!

2:44 pm  
Anonymous gordon peel said...

what does 'the order in which occur is not important' actually mean, then? sorry if this is a stupid question, but...a lot of peple just try find this sort of palaver pretentious.

3:00 pm  
Anonymous gordon peel said...

sorry - I meant to query 'the order in which events occur is not important', a phrase which occurs several times in your 'Canto'...

3:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But why put Yukio Mishima in the submarine?

He was a land lubber, you know...and only a kid during WW2...

3:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An Australian trekker said he has discovered the site of a significant World War II battle in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, complete with the remains of Japanese soldiers right where they fell almost 70 years ago.

Former army Capt. Brian Freeman, an expert on the Kokoda Trail – a 60-mile trek through rugged mountainous country and rainforest of the island – said Monday he was led to the Eora Creek battle site where he found the remains of the soldiers.

The site about half a mile from the village of Eora Creek was believed to be the location of the last major battle that was pivotal in Australia’s campaign against the Japanese in Papau New Guinea.

Although the site was known to local villages, jungles reclaimed it after the battle of Eora Creek. Although locals hunted on the plateau surrounding the site, they avoided the 600-square-meter battle ground because of a belief that spirits of the dead were still present in the "lost battlefield."

What this means is that the site has apparently remained untouched since 1942.

“On our inaugural trek, we were hoping to find the remnants of a make-shift Japanese hospital and, potentially, relics of guns and ammunition. I never anticipated that we would find war dead,” Freeman said in a statement.

Freeman trekked to the site for the first time on April 23.

“It was as if time has stood still. We found ammunition running out in a line from the rifle that was dropped as the Japanese advanced to the rear,” Freeman said.

Freeman said extensive research on battle maps and diaries led them to believe that the Japanese had a medical facility in the area during the Japanese advance and its location had remained a mystery until now.

The team found kidney-shaped medical dishes at the site, pointing to evidence that the find was indeed the site of a Japanese hospital.

The presence of large rectangular pits, referred to as rifle pits, also indicated that the location was also a significant Japanese defensive position.

“However, it was the discovery of a Japanese soldier sitting up against a tree, only centimeters from the surface still in his helmet, with his boots nearby that began to tell the human story,” Freeman said.

The battle of Eora Creek is said to be the single most costly clash of the Kokoda campaign, although different sources cite different casualty figures.

Freeman's group says 79 Australians died and 145 were wounded, while the Australian War Memorial website says 99 were killed and 192 wounded.

Freeman said they are working with respective governments to repatriate the fallen solders and preserve the site in its “current pristine condition." Until then, no groups will be permitted to trek the site.

7:27 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

"P.S. Don't worry, I'm still a loyal devotee of Doctor Sutch and Robert Muldoon. My pictures of them both on my office wall don't really register with my colleagues, unfortunately!"

How do these two connect up? My father knew Sutch before the war, and later he supported and always voted for Muldoon and the National Government but I was not a supporter of Muldoon ... I cant imagine there was much love lost between Muldoon and Sutch.

In reality there isn't much difference between Labour and National in any case. They all get paid too much. Swapping from Labour to National is a kind of game we all play while Capitalism continues rampant. (As Obama is another stooge for Capitalism in the US)

10:58 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

I think this Canto is too "consistent" - Pound's simultaneity was awesome...his very unease of mind drove him to connect many diverse things, to make leaps through time (Smithyman does in some ways also) ... Li Po say with Adams,or Jefferson or Ovid or some artwork from the Renassance or he links to Eliot or his friend William Carlos Williams and his Cantos are filled with so many different languages (usually with translation straight after)...it is perhaps best to read them as they are then go back and mull through them. (But I have only read about a 5th of The Cantos if that - does one read The Cantos?)

As a literary work the Cantos was revolutionary.

Despite his anti-Semitism (which was kind of madness - arising from his obesession with "Usura" and Social Credit) the Jewish NY poet Zukofsky supported Pound as did Ginsberg (and many other writers and others)...Mishima's father was mentioned but, it could be Mishima himself, there is no reason that anything or anyone cannot connect as in deep sense we are seeing the local intermixed with the universal (especially in The Cantos - or as it was striving to be)...and the past invades the present and so on...

11:15 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Hi Oliver,

I'm pleased to hear you've found a job in Singapore. There seem to a few bright young Kiwis heading off to the city state at the moment - Jen Crawford, the poet and creative writing teacher, turned up there last year. Do you miss chewing gum, though?

I am being upbraided for mentioning Ezra Pound in a somewhat positive light, after also having some positive things to say about Louis Althusser, who killed his wife while suffering from a mental illness, and Martin Heidegger, who was a Nazi for a time, in previous posts.

Perhaps the person doing the upbraiding could supply me with a list of politically acceptable thinkers and writers, so that I can mend my ways? I fear, though, that the list might be short. Shakespeare wouldn't make it, given the blatant anti-semitism of The Merchant of Venice. Nor, perhaps, would Karl Marx, given his misogyny and his disgraceful treatment of his maid and his illegitimate son. Who, I wonder, is pure enough to be discussed on the sort of site my critic advocates?

2:03 am  
Anonymous mike said...

"Perhaps the person doing the upbraiding could supply me with a list of politically acceptable thinkers and writers, so that I can mend my ways?"

It's not me, but it is an important point. But I don't really think we need judge most writers by their personal behaviour.

Religious thinkers and philosophers are different, though, because they are (often) thinking through and advising approaches to ethics, life, and reality. Nietzsche, for one, believed that philosophers must be judged by how they lived their lives rather than just their "naked" ideas. The most important surviving work of Greek philosophy was "The Lives of the Philosophers" by Diogenes Laertius, in his opinion.

The concept was: did the philosophers practice what they preached? Did they therefore show true faith in their ideas? And were they confirmed in experience?

I think Michel Foucault also picked up on this concept too.

9:18 am  
Blogger maps said...

It's not discussion I object to but proscription.

Wasn't Diogenes just the first hippy?

10:49 am  
Anonymous mike said...

"Wasn't Diogenes just the first hippy?"

No, you are thinking of the Cynic, Diogenes of Sinope, the one who lived from day to day in a tub in the marketplace. His philosophical strategy was to (i) to lead by example, have no shame in any basic human activity and do them all in public, and (ii) try and "bark" some sense into people. Cynic means "dog".

So not really "just" a hippy. BTW, I myself am less inclined to put down the hippies: they were in their way a serious social and philosophical movement, quite radical in retrospect, unrealistic maybe, but important.

11:28 am  
Anonymous George D said...

Just wonderful. My words do this no justice.

1:30 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

The Merchant of Venice is NOT anti Semitic - it is quite the opposite.

It is a subtle play that, examined, shows (for example) Portia in quite a bad light (her clichaic homilies about mercy and and her ultimate injunction and "clever" legal twist ruling against Shylock are clearly wrong (and Shakespeare knew this). His is a subtle hand.

He doesn't how Shylock in so bad a light (and his daughter is shown positively); Jews were in many many cases money lenders and they were not permitted many other trades. So they needed redress and interest money for monies lent to businessmen. It was their trade, almost their lifeblood. An intelligent reading of 'The Merchant' shows the borrowers to be wrong. And there is the speech "If you prick me will I not bleed?" and so on. At school as a teenager we studied this about 1964 - now I felt no reason to be more anti semitic after reading through the play.

Margaret Attwood gave an excellent speech on debt and money lending and other things, and, referring to the 'Merchant of Venice', she clearly demonstrated Shakespeare's deep humanity (and insight).

It could be argued that "The Jew of Malta" by Marlowe is very anti semitic (although it is comic -satiric also). In it the Jew blows up a whole monastery and kills everyone in it! A contemporary of Shakespeare, both of whom lived in a time when Jews had been banned from England.

3:10 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Mike "...But I don't really think we need judge most writers by their personal behaviour.

Religious thinkers and philosophers are different, though, because they are (often) thinking through and advising approaches to ethics, life, and reality. Nietzsche, for one, believed that philosophers must be judged by how they lived their lives rather than just their "naked" ideas. The most important surviving work of Greek philosophy was "The Lives of the Philosophers" by Diogenes Laertius, in his opinion.

The concept was: did the philosophers practice what they preached? Did they therefore show true faith in their ideas? And were they confirmed in experience?

I think Michel Foucault also picked up on this concept too..."

I agree to a degree. One would like to think that philosophy has some "use".

But I don't think you can restrict this to some arbitrary group such as religious thinkers or philosophers...poetry is a kind of philosophy also. This an idea of the Jewish-American language poet Charles Bernstein, who also wrote an interesting critical work "A Poetics" partly in "poetical" form and also he included an essay on Pound, quite insightful, called, "Pounding Fascism". These issues are not so clear.

Some of the greatest 20th Century writers were Nazis and or Fascists (or varying shades of sympathy.)

Knut Hamsun even won the Nobel Prize. And there were others.
There are no guarantees.

3:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Proposal to ban Heidgeger from universities:
http://chronicle.com/article/Heil-Heidegger-/48806/

4:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS See the comments under the article for a discussion of the proposals to criminalise the teaching of Heidegger.

4:30 pm  
Anonymous mike said...

"One would like to think that philosophy has some "use"."


Philosophy means "love of wisdom" and I think wisdom, by definition, is always a useful thing. Is there such a thing as useless wisdom?

What Nietzsche was trying to say is that the way a person lives their life is a profound expression of their *actual* philosophy. Actions speak louder than words - or at least as loud. We cannot neatly separate the way Pound and Heidgeger lived their lives from their written works.

Both partly lived out a philosophy of Fascism. Heidgeger's later denials of voluntary complicity with Nazism, can be regarded as a philosophical failure in this respect. Wyndham Lewis is an example of a former Fascist who confronted his mistakes more directly and insightfully (see "Self Condemned").

But I don't think Heidgeger's books should be banned - that's a crazy strategy.

11:44 am  
Anonymous mike said...

Whoops, meant Heidegger!


BTW, like the poem Maps.

12:31 pm  
Anonymous gordon peel said...

I notice my simple question has NOT been answered.

3:20 pm  
Blogger Kokoda said...

Having just completed a trek with Kokoda Spirit and having Wayne Weatherall as the trek leader I have to disagree with all your comments. He is an excellent historian and trek leader. The trip was one of the most memorable I have even had and I would highly recommend this company should you also be interested in walking the Kokoda Track. The porters are very happy, competent people who enjoyed the trek as much as the group. The meals were plentiful and yummy.Kokoda Track

10:47 pm  

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