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The Book of the Damned
Chapter 18
By Charles Fort (1874-1932)
Noded by panamaus


THE New Dominant.

I mean "primarily" all that opposes Exclusionism

That Development or Progress or Evolution is Attempt to Positivize, and is a mechanism by which a positive existence is recruited — that what we call existence is a womb of infinitude, and is itself only incubatory — that eventually all attempts are broken down by the falsely excluded. Subjectively, the breaking down is aided by our own sense of false and narrow limitations. So the classic and academic artists wrought positivist paintings, and expressed the only ideal that I am conscious of, though we so often hear of "ideals" instead of different manifestations, artistically, scientifically, theologically, politically, of the One Ideal. They sought to satisfy, in its artistic aspect, cosmic craving for unity or completeness, sometimes called harmony, called beauty in some aspects. By disregard they sought completeness. But the light-effects that they disregarded, and their narrow confinement to standardized subjects brought on the revolt of the Impressionists. So the Puritans tried to systematize, and they disregarded physical needs, or vices, or relaxations: they were invaded and overthrown when their narrowness became obvious and intolerable. All things strive for positiveness, for themselves, or for quasi-systems of which they are parts. Formality and the mathematic, the regular and the uniform are aspects of the positive state — but the Positive is the Universal — so all attempted positiveness that seems to satisfy in the aspects of formality and regularity, sooner or later disqualifies in the aspect of wideness or universalness. So there is revolt against the science of today, because the formulated utterances that were regarded as final truths in a past generation, are now seen to be insufficiencies. Every pronouncement that has opposed our own acceptances has been found to be a composition like any academic painting: something that is arbitrarily cut off from relations with environment, or framed off from interfering and disturbing data, or outlined with disregards. Our own attempt has been to take in the included, but also to take in the excluded into wider expressions. We accept, however, that for every one of our expressions there are irreconcilables somewhere — that final utterance would include all things. However, of such is the gossip of angels. The final is unutterable in quasi-existence, where to think is to include but also to exclude, or be not final. If we admit that for every opinion we have expressed, there must somewhere be an irreconcilable, we are Intermediatists and not positivists; not even higher positivists. Of course it may be that some day we shall systematize and dogmatize and refuse to think of anything that we may be accused of disregarding, and believe instead of merely accepting: then, if we could have a wider system, which would acknowledge no irreconcilables we'd be higher positivists. So long as we only accept, we are not higher positivists, but our feeling is that the New Dominant, even though we have thought of it only as another enslavement, will be the nucleus for higher positivism — and that it will be the means of elevating into infinitude a new batch of fixed stars — until, as a recruiting instrument, it, too, will play out, and will give way to some new medium for generating absoluteness. It is our acceptance that all astronomers of today have lost their souls, or, rather, all chance of attaining Entity, but that Copernicus and Kepler and Galileo and Newton, and, conceivably, Leverrier are now fixed stars. Some day I shall attempt to identify them. In all this, I think we're quite a Moses. We point out the Promised Land, but, unless we be cured of our Intermediatism, will never be reported in the Monthly Notices, ourself.

In our acceptance, Dominants, in their succession, displace preceding Dominants not only because they are more nearly positive, but because the old Dominants, as recruiting mediums, play out. Our expression is that the New Dominant, of Wider Inclusions, is now manifesting throughout the world, and that the old Exclusionism is everywhere breaking down. In physics Exclusionism is breaking down by its own researches in radium, for instance, and in its speculations upon electrons, or its merging away into metaphysics, and by the desertion that has been going on for many years, by such men as Gurney, Crookes, Wallace, Flammarion, Lodge, to formerly disregarded phenomena — no longer call "spiritualism" but now "psychic research." Biology is in chaos: conventional Darwinites mixed up with mutationists and orthogenesists and followers of Wisemann who take from Darwinism one of its pseudo-bases, and nevertheless try to reconcile their heresies with orthodoxy. The painters are metaphysicians and psychologists. The breaking down of Exclusionism in China and Japan and in the United States has astonished History. The science of astronomy is going downward so that, though Pickering, for instance, did speculate upon a Trans-Neptunian planet, and Lowell did try to have accepted heretical ideas as to marks on Mars, attention is now minutely focussed upon such technicalities as variations in shades of Jupiter's fourth satellite. I think that, in general acceptance, over-refinement indicates decadence.

I think that the stronghold of Inclusionism is in aeronautics. I think that the stronghold of the Old Dominant, when it was new, was in the invention of the telescope. Or that coincidentally with the breakdown of Exclusionism appears the means of finding out — whether there are vast aerial fields of ice and floating lakes full of frogs and fishes or not — where carved stones and black substances and great quantities of vegetable matter and flesh, which may be dragons' flesh, come from — whether there are inter-planetary trade routes and vast areas devastated by Super-Tamerlanes — whether sometimes there are visitors to this earth — who might be pursued and captured and questioned.



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