H e a r t S o n s & H e a r t D a u g h t e r s of A l l e n G i n s b e r g
N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 4 : A r c h i v e s E d i t i o n
a Concentrated Textbook on How Not to Stay Stuck in Reality
For a long time now, I have been considering that the term delirionism is more adequate than that of (neo) oneirism. I think that the idea of delirium, for the essential dimension of the type of literature that I write, is more appropriate. Because oneirism is strictly linked to dreams, while delirionism contains the dream, but something else as well: a more intense alteration of reality, a more traumatized (and traumatizing) dream than the usual one, a torn, interrupted, cleft dream.
It goes without saying that delirionism, the way I delineate it, is not limited to the literature that I write, but aims at the idea of manifesto. Because delirionism is technique, but also trance like state; schism, but also a breach connecting the world’s circuits, precisely through splits, tears, rips. Consequently, the first characteristic of delirionism would be the cleavage. Technically speaking, one is to understand that the split is both at epic level (that of the story) and at image level. But the cleavage presupposes a slip, and this is essential. The images do not break ones against the others, but they fall to pieces, slipping ones over the others and they combine. It is a hot cocktail, sulfurous without ice. Since for me the numbers as opposed to images, for instance, have never been of a great artistic or vital importance, one can understand, I think, that this sliding and overlapping of images through their breaking has an overwhelming effect. The cleavage from the delirium is, maybe, the purest form of the flagrant image, still unfinished, unpolished, but very lively. This is what interests me.
Probably it sounds weird, but delirionism also presupposes or highlights metaphysics. Precisely because it agglutinates the trance, it presupposes and contains it. Delirionism tries a communion with the Beyond, if not in a clear religious sense, at least in a partial one. It is not the divine in the theological sense, but the metaphysics of the something else. From this point of view, delirionism is akin, in its way and within its limits with shamanism. The trance, so dear to delirionism and to me, offers precisely this: the sacrament, the Eucharist of something from the Beyond. I do not absolutize this Beyond, nor do I want to make it relative: it pertains, as I said, to the metaphysics that the trance and delirionism naturally contain, without being constrained or without counterfeiting something. And sometimes even without getting an answer from the Beyond. It is rather the somatic, unconscious, alluvial metaphysics and not at all the canonic one.
Now I intend to explain the structure of a delirious poem. I particularly stop on the delirious poem, because delirionism is particularly palpable in poetry – at least in my demonstration. Thus, the appropriate metaphor and image is that of the sunk and inundated submarine. The center of the poem, its navel, is somewhere in the bowels: there enter and flow the two pipelines: one of the reason and consciousness, the other, of the unconscious. The movement is downwards. But the pipeline of reason always has to be secondary, minimal, to let the pipeline of the unconscious play the main role. If, through the pipeline of reason ideas and feelings are coagulated in the poem, through the pipeline of the unconscious the imaginary tide flows explosively into the magma. If the valves of reason have they crystal-like limpidity, those of the unconscious are slippery, confuse, but it is exactly from there that their power springs. Fragmentarism, or on the contrary, the muddy flow of the unconscious are compensated by the rational order that subsists in any delirious poem. It is not in the brain or in the heart (soul) where the delirious poem is born, but in the bowels, even if neither the brain nor the heart disappear completely, and, on the contrary, they are continuously forced to assist the bowels. The submarine-poem is flooded little by little: the blocked doors are overwhelmed by water one by one, the compartments are filled gradually, and, in the end, the crew from the cabin control is caught by the flood and drowned. This structure of the submarine-poem mirrors, the way in which, to the extent to which it is possible, the pipeline of the unconscious has to be let free and should not be strangled. The perfect image of the submarine-poem is that in which all the members of the crew float drowned. Only in that moment could one say that the delirious poem realized itself.
There are a few things that seem essential to me when defining delirionism: it is the small asylum of alienated people that exists within each of us, but in a peculiar manner, through the resemantization of madness. It is a macerated madness that through and after its consumption, can receive meaning (sense). From this point of view, delirionism is a convulsion and a diffuse fulguration, allergic to training, but at the same time, repaired. Thus the whirlwind technique, that of cloudburst, of the tornado, of the typhoon, of the hurricane, etc. The images’ trauma, supra-synaesthesia, the addictive associationism, the blurred somnambulism are the ones that make what happens within delirionsm, to resemble an abusive projection of slides. The conglomerate between fiction and reality is essential; delirionism does not aim at absolutizing fiction, or to get stuck in it. Last but not least, delirionism involves a certain degree of Esotericism, but an unintelligible one, that can only be conjectured. Delirionism could be a memory repressed for a long time and then, released in a trance; but what kind of memory? As I see it, it is a primary, pre-natal, fetal one, recuperated through the very valves of the unconscious.
I revisit now the main component of delirionism, i.e. – the trance. This is a strong state: it is not the shamanic trance in which one communicates with the dead or with the spirits of the wise (although the delirious trance is akin to the shamanic one, as I have already mentioned), but a more general trance, and at the same time, a more intensely individualized one. Through it, one the one hand, one is connected to a kind of cosmic plug, and on the other, one communicates with oneself. Because delirionism is, first of all, the path, through trance, to our selves.
Being what it is, delirionism cannot have a clear strategy. Delirionism does not stage anything, does not ‘theatralize’ and contains the ludic component only by chance. There is nothing programmatic in delirionism, because it does not have a militant dimension. It is inborn and instinctual, as one might say. It is pre-natal and fetal.
For the technical peeling of delirium, a few terminological delimitations related to the idea of delirium are necessary. Thus, because delirium is characterized by verbal logorrhea and incoherence, vicious avalanche, confusing bombardment, running away from ideas, disintegration of consciousness, it represents a supra-derailment from reality. This supra-derailment can be apparently homogenous or visibly fragmentary and striking. As any entity, delirium also has a structure: this is however a-logic; the most clear geometric metaphor for delirium and for its structure is the unfinished pyramid, built up to the top, but only by half. Another necessary delimitation is that between dream and delirium. If dream is a normal delirium, from a physiological point of view, as Freud specifies, delirium pertains to malady, to mental disease. Anyway, in psychoanalysis, delirium can be treated only if it is brought to its end and drained; it must never be confronted, but consumed and burnt until it breaks up by itself.
Freud is as categorical as possible: delirium represents the most obvious situation in which the battle between reality and the elements repressed in the unconscious takes place. In the end, a compromise is realized between reality and the unconscious repression, but only after a life-and-death battle took place. Within delirium, the most visible and fleshy elements are the phantasmas; they are “substitutes and sprouts of the repressed memories, whom a certain resistance prevents from entering unmodified in consciousness; their entrance in the field of consciousness is paid by the price of transformations and deformations imposed by the censorship exerted by the resistance. After the compromise is accomplished, the respective memories are transformed into phantasmas that the consciousness misunderstands” (Freud). One should keep in mind the importance of phantasmas in the structure of the delirium and the idea of deformation or malformation of reality that phantasma imply. Yet, with all these disturbing elements, there always is in delirium a grain of truth, a transversal section of the pure, veridical reality. In fact, out of this grain of truth, through inflation, delirium is born. This, in its chronic form degenerates in paranoia. The issue, as Freud particularly sees it, is that the grain of truth by the time it reaches the consciousness is already deformed, and then, it is hypertrophied, so that the deformation reaches its maximum level. Delirium is born out of the censorship that “brutally wipes out everything that it does not like, so that what remains becomes incoherent”. In other words, delirium becomes what it is because of some violent cuts that the censorship operates and wherefrom reality grows full of holes, mutilated, eaten out by willful leprosy. C. G. Jung proposes another concept that is useful for the understanding of the term delirium: inflation; the inflation as an extension of the personality beyond individual limits, through the aberrant, exaggerated, sometimes grotesque identification with various archetypes. Jung does not focus on the idea of censorship and brutal cut, but on that of hypertrophy of the personality.
In order to study the delirium in vitro, one cannot neglect its classification. From a pathologic viewpoint everything is clear: there is the chronic delirium (that is to say paranoia), and the ephemeral delirium (which can be treated and cured). From the truthfulness point of view, there is the mimed delirium and the “real” one. From the stylistic point of view the delirium range is infinite. From the content’s point of view, there is the knowledge delirium (cognitive one) and the existential (ontic) one. Last but not least, from a technical point of view, there is the narrative delirium (within which the epic, the story, the narrative thread are essential and have a convincing appearance) and the fragmentarist one (built out of bunches of disparate scenes).
[Originally published in NHS 2007, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs07/Ruxandra_Cesereanu.htm.]