From Satori to Silicon Valley

by Theodore Roszak
Copyright 2000 by Theodore Roszak. All rights reserved.

A Vision Both Bright and Dark

The San Francisco poet Lew Welch captured the dark side of the Reversionary vision, in his rhapsodic manifesto Final City/Tap City.

Dome of foul air full of radio squeaks and TV signals, foulness flowing into the very waters that made them come to be.
Inside millions of terrified Beings scurry about through senseless mazes of tunnels and lanes. The noise is unendurable. Every sense is insulted. Everybody rushing about on some incomprehensible errand someone forced him to do at pain of death.
. . . Designed to protect everyone inside from everything outside, . . . gradually there was no "outside." Lots of danger, in.
Now these things, Cities, kept getting bigger and bigger and faster and faster, the people getting more and more crazed.
. . . Leads to Final City, Tap City, any one of a dozen ways. . . .You don't even have to figure the Atom Bomb.
City is so Human. It may well be our tragic flaw, seeing City as our Mindless Evolution, irreversible, Man's way of changing, not Biological?
We face great holocausts, terrible catastrophes, all American cities burned from within, and without.

Mercifully, the poet allows his vision to brighten before it passes, confident that the Earth forgives and restores. So let us hope.

However, our beautiful Planet will germinate, underneath this thin skin of City the green will come back to crack these sidewalks. The stinking air will blow away at last, the bays flow clean.
. . . In the meantime, stay healthy, there are hundreds of miles to walk and work. Keep your mind. We will need it. . . .Learn the berries, the nuts, the fruit, the small animals and plants. Learn water.
For there must be good men and women in the mountains, and on the beaches, in all the neglected beautiful places, that one day we come back to ghostly cities and set them right, at last.
. . . In all that rubble, think of the beautiful trinkets we can wave above our heads as we dance! (San Francisco Oracle, No. 12, 1967)

I confess to being baffled by those who think that vision -- both the dark and the bright of it -- has somehow lost its place on the political agenda.


Some Afterthoughts in the Year 2000

From Satori to Silicon Valley by Theodore Roszak
Copyright 2000 by Theodore Roszak. All rights reserved.