I once had coffee with a famous Canadian poet. (“Famous Canadian Poet” seems a self-canceling sort of epithet.) He had grown up atheist with a pretty famous anthropologist father who had helped cultivate his early love of natural history. I had grown up Calvinist, albeit with a decent and loving father who certainly didn’t attempt to suppress my early love of natural history. (Like so many amphibious ephebes, I wanted to become a marine biologist.) Anyway, I was surprised when the poet said that perhaps it wasn’t all bad that I had been stamped by the dreary Dutch brand of Calvinism. At least growing up I had something clear to rebel against.
This might be a somewhat debatable proposition, but it has its virtues. It isn’t necessary to have had experienced a thing in order to be against it. But every line of flight requires fuel and the antipathy that arises from experience can be a powerful one. Of course, without a goal, without an object of desire, without a love, that line of flight can turn into a line of death. Without my n-1 loves, my hatred of Calvinism could have turned into Calvinism’s hatred of me: my line of death, its judgment of me. Know what I’m saying? I’d’ve turned out like the good son in Kafka’s first story.
In any case, the poet’s proposition that it is good to have something to rebel against is echoed in DG’s treatment of the strata. Use the strata to effect your own deterritorialization. But always keep pieces of them around, like the stones in Molloy’s many pockets.
–Is that the same as saying that you should eat your enemies but have them too…?
Calvin? Is that you?