ZERO GRAVITAS

The Occult Secret of Carelessness

 

Let me try, friendly reader, to delineate some properties of Rhathymia, as that spirit may manifest in the aesthetic sphere – what is one looking for?
            A kind of insousciance, to use a French term?
            Some inflection of style – a Wildean witticism, perhaps?
            Some element of biting, Swiftian satire, carrying the implication that nothing is sacred?
           We may seek ‘a horrific serenity’, the antithesis of gravitas, without a doubt.
           Something urbane and unspoken, something incalculable, something oblique or, at the very least, something incongruous?
           Always brief, fragmentary or transient, always ephemeral, always hair-raising, always ironical… In the distance, a dark shadow – such as may be evoked by De Sade or Maturin… A burlesque, cavalier approach to the chaotic nature of things; the spirit of Don Juan… or The Island Of Lost Souls: fragmentary, incomplete, anachronistic – that ‘sad truth’ hovering over Byron’s desk… cruelty with the lightest touch… the spirit of ‘absurd freedom’ as embraced by Jarry’s Faustroll, or expounded by Camus. A ‘grin without a cat’ (Carroll) or a fleeting smile prompted by certain lines of Sterne, Swinburne, Marlowe or Nashe.
           A tendency, a mere tendency: not a set of principles, not some kind of theory. Oh, please not another worldview!
          Thus, we may approach the problem, yet, typically, our attempt to grasp this idea has failed. Intuition must be our guide – then, and only then shall we discover the occult secret of carelessness. ‘While others have become poets…’ (Agrippa).

 

 

 

A.C. Evans

 


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