Edmund Husserl, in Logische Untersuchungen, his seminal work of 1901, advanced Franz Brentano’s theory of intentional consciousness (i.e., that consciousness is always consciousness of something), heralding the phenomenological revolution in modern philosophy, which gave rise to the existentialism of Heidegger and Sartre.
Ninety-three years later, recalling what his philosophy professor had told him – that “every generation has at least one great existentialist” – Alex Asher Bridges lay beside a pond at the edge of Salzburg, Austria, which seemed to Alex like the edge of the world, and he masturbated to a photo of Tressa LaCroix. She hovered eternally over some high school football field in Indiana, her senior high legs spread in a perfect split, her red and white pompoms glistening in the September sun.
When Alex sat up in the sunlight of his own autumn afternoon, silver swans dipping their curved necks into the pool before him, their webbed feet bobbing in the air, he wrote these words:
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The mind exists only in so far as it is engaged in thought. Because all thought is linguistic by nature (i.e. bound to metaphor: the myriad signs and symbols that correspond to the lived world) it stands to reason that consciousness is language, and without language there is only oblivion: the unconscious, non-reflective experience of animal and vegetable life.
As the "vocabulary" augments, consciousness expands. The poet exists to facilitate this expansion, either by creating new words for new experiences, or by appropriating old words for use in new metaphors. The latter is far more common for reasons that would appear obvious: in order that the world might understand him at all, the poet must work with what is familiar. Therefore, he appropriates the familiar to construct the strange. “Appropriation” necessarily connotes an act of force. Indeed, the poet does violence to the language, warping and disassembling it, often to the effect of alienating his immediate audience.
Poets of the present are scorned by those who have forgotten (or are ignorant of) the fact that their own language was wholly created by poets of the past. The great poets are rebels, marginalized by society, tinkering at the periphery of the universe of language. Because the poet expands the consciousness of the race, his poem must be fashioned with the utmost care. The poem is by its nature an elite device. The very few who have taken care to cultivate the poem, who have meaningfully assimilated the poem, and allowed it to broaden their consciousness, will stand over and above those who have ignored or dismissed the poem.
Poetry is not democratic, nor could it ever hope to be. The poet has already “overcome” his race. His new vocabulary signifies the death of gods and mortal men.
Ergo, all poets should be crucified.