Everything I Needed to Know About Western Culture…

I could have learned by reading Francois Rabelais:

or more precisely, simply by reading the Glossary of names, places, events and concepts compiled by the translator of his complete works, Donald Frame.

The way that Rabelais wove current and historical events, theories, puns, namedropping, and even name-inventing into his works has always been an inspiration to me as a writer. Not to mention the fact that Rabelais was the primary model, as I see it, to both Tom Robbins and Robert Anton Wilson – and about 500 years earlier.

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I would un-Crowley Rabelais
to taste, unplagiarized
the simple, yet sarcastic truths
that Aleister disguised:

that man, if left the sole device
of acting with free will
would, after some adjustment,
neither harm, debase or kill

but would instead seek Beauty, Truth,
and other worthy aims
eschewing constant upmanship
and endless win-lose games,

learning to laugh, first, at one’s self,
to recognize, and know,
that wisdom’s parent is compassion
freed from the ego.

I wonder, sometimes, why so few
who hunger after power
spend all their time out of control
and memorize for hours

arcane instructions, complex spells,
and pompous, trumped up rites,
the rule of mankind, not themselves,
the target in their sights.

Oh, Rabelais, your rapier wit
so sadly has been turned
into a comedy for fools,
and nothing has been learned.

06 MAY 2005

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