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Sunday, January 14, 2024

The Zen of George Carlin

George Carlin in 1975 (public domain photo)

The comedian George Carlin (1937-2008) was a friend of Robert Anton Wilson and he shows up in the new RAW book reprinted/issued by Hilaritas, Chaos and Beyond: The Best of Trajectories

I thought I would share a "Zen of George Carlin" quote shared on X by Matt Cardin:

"I found a very liberating position for myself as an artist: I sort of gave up on the human race, and gave up on the American dream and culture and nation, and decided that I didn't care about the outcome. And that gave me a lot of freedom from a kind of distant platform to be sort of amused, to watch the whole thing with a combination of wonder and pity....

"[I don't have] an emotional stake in whether this experiment with human beings works. I really don't care. I love people as I meet them one by one. People are just wonderful as individuals. You see the whole universe in their eyes if you look carefully. But as soon as they begin to group, as soon as they begin to clot, when there are five or ten of them, or even groups as small as two, they begin to change. They sacrifice the beauty of the individual for the sake of the group. I decided it was all under the control of groups now, whether it's business, religion, political people, or whatever, and I would distance myself from wishing for a good outcome. Let it do what it's going to do, and I'll enjoy it as an entertainment....

"We've all seen a lot of comedians who seem to have a political bent in their work. And always implicit in the work is some positive outcome, that this is all going to work. "If only we do this, if only we pass that bill, if only we elect him, if only we do that." It's not true. It's circling-the-drain time for humans. I honestly believe this, not just as a comedian....That's why I could say in [my 1992 stand-up show] that the planet is fine, but the people are fucked. Because the planet will outlast us. It will be here, and it will be fine."

—George Carlin, interviewed by Charlie Rose, March 26, 1996

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