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Allen Ginsberg discusses poetry and meditation

BROADCAST: Nov. 29, 1976 | DURATION: 00:45:14

Synopsis

Studs Terkel and Allen Ginsberg talk about poetry, meditation, and the shifting of American socio-political consciousness between the 50's and 70's.

Transcript

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OK

Studs Terkel I think one of the most generous-hearted as well as the most generously gifted of American poets is Allen Ginsberg, and I suppose when you hear the name Allen Ginsberg immediately, I'm guessing now, it happens to many people, there's a smile. It's not a smile that's a put-down, just a smile. Because I think there's an openness of his spirit that leads to this that is so needed today and we'll hear Allen Ginsberg, my guest who's passing through town, and

Allen Ginsberg For the third time.

Studs Terkel For the third time, and we're going to go back, after this pause we'll go back to something. When first you came.

Allen Ginsberg Nineteen fifty-nine.

Studs Terkel Fifty-nine, you with Gregory Corso--

Allen Ginsberg And Peter

Studs Terkel And Peter Orlovsky, but of this in a moment after this message. Allen, Allen Ginsberg. So much has happened. Let's, let's hear. It was just after Sputnik.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah. Back in 1959, I came through Chicago with a couple of poets.

Studs Terkel And three of you came in the studio, I remember that, it was elsewhere, it was at 221 North LaSalle, and you were reading full of vitality, and I was kind of a wise guy. I really was, you know, I was kind of a wise guy, because the word "beat" had just come into being and there was sort of a put-down of many of the poets of your world. Your world, as

Allen Ginsberg Well, I think probably we asked for it, since we were so aggressive. We've all mellowed.

Studs Terkel And this is, you were reading a

Allen Ginsberg Yeah. I was reading a poem written on the day that the first Russian Sputnik went up. [content removed, see

Studs Terkel And thus it goes. And I'm thinking, 17 years ago, it's amazing. And listen to you.

Allen Ginsberg I was still talking about Buddha then.

Studs Terkel Yeah, but also how appropriate now. Now 17 years since we met.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, well, actually a little more than that. Actually, 16, 17, 18.

Studs Terkel Eighteen. Much has happened.

Allen Ginsberg Well, I'm, gotten grey-bearded. You've gotten a little more white hair. You've written books.

Studs Terkel Well, to you and the world. To you, me and the world.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, the world has gotten younger.

Studs Terkel It was--there was night--world's gotten younger, there was--here you were, there's your harmonium, and you were trying to make things peaceful, and that wild hot August week of 1968 in Chicago when things were not peaceful, and you were trying. And you lost your voice in the [effort?], I remember that.

Allen Ginsberg Well, I was chanting then. I was doing a Buddhist chant, actually. Om. That year. And what was interesting is in that a couple of years later I got more involved with meditation. So I got a little better, got my act together a little better. The Om acts as the--in working with a Buddhist meditation teacher who was more of an expert in mantra than I was. I said, "Well, Om didn't work too well in Chicago, they still have tear gas. What should we use for Miami in 1972?" So he said, "Why don't you try something that sounds more American, like ah?" So in Miami, I went with David Dellinger and the peace protesters. We tried

Studs Terkel And how did that affect

Allen Ginsberg Well, actually I think it was a little better because there was less tear gas on the spot there then, what we did was, a group of us who were protesting the war marched up the street. But then there was all of a sudden we were joined by a whole gang of people in army fatigue uniforms or what looked like Veterans for Peace but weren't, were probably like part of those co-intel government FBI infiltrators who started overturning trash cans.

Studs Terkel Hey, that's interesting.

Allen Ginsberg And who weren't part of our march, they just suddenly came in from a side street and joined us in the middle of the marchers who were chant--walking on the street chanting "Ahhhhh," they were calming the scene. So then we had to stop and put back the trash cans, and they started pulling the plugs out of, like opening the hoods of cars and stuffing the cars and buses. So we were a little perplexed, so finally we sat down in the middle of the street and chanted "Ah," about 100 of us, and then the cops came, surrounded us and put us all in a meat truck and took us to jail

Studs Terkel I was thinking about, you're saying something interesting in view of what we're finding out now in the files of--that are being asked by different people through the Freedom of Information Act that those who were trashing and turning things over, committing violence were, a great many in the employ of the government. They were agent provocateurs, is what they were.

Allen Ginsberg It's an old, old, old trick, which people were warning us about at the time, but I couldn't believe it. I wouldn't believe they'd have the chutzpah in there, I got my papers from the government under the Freedom of Information Act.

Studs Terkel You did?

Allen Ginsberg So I have some of my FBI files, some of my CIA files, some of my drug Department files from the Narcotics Bureau. There were some funny things

Studs Terkel Bob said you have a pretty a lot of pages?

Allen Ginsberg Oh, I got about 700 pages

Studs Terkel Oh, you do? That's very good.

Allen Ginsberg Very little about Chicago, strangely. Like, they didn't give it to me. I know that they said they gave me everything, but the main thing probably that I did that was, got me into government files, was here in Chicago, and there's hardly anything, so they've got it all. But one thing they do have which is funny is 1967 is a paper from the narcotics bureau in New York to the federal narcotics bureau in Washington saying, "On this date we received a photograph of Allen Ginsberg in an obscene posture. For possible future use, we are filing it in a locked sealed envelope in the New York department. New York drug bureau.

Studs Terkel I have my--I'm sorry.

Allen Ginsberg You got yours?

Studs Terkel No, not my FBI. I asked, I have army intelligence files. The year I was in the Air Force 1942, 40--117 pages, for which they want seven dollars and thirty-five cents.

Allen Ginsberg The whole thing or

Studs Terkel Well, for that, seven dollars--the fee is seven thirty-five they said because of the Xerox copies. I have--

Allen Ginsberg Did you send

Studs Terkel Not yet. I'm debating

Allen Ginsberg No, it's interesting. No, it costs--

Studs Terkel I may send it. Seven thirty-five. But one is, they were spying on me, one is, he parts his hair, you won't believe this, it's true. His hair was black. I read that rather wistfully. His hair black, was '42, '43, and then it said "hair parted toward center, but inclining toward left of center." The part of my hair. So I thought that was interesting.

Allen Ginsberg Suspicious. Funny about the center.

Studs Terkel Another was, oh, he uses phrases like--like, oh, he says he's very loyal, we think he's marvelous and very loyal, even though he seems a little too interested in the betterment of the poorer classes, to quote them, even though, nonetheless is loyal. So I thought that was very funny. But you must have some very amusing ones.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, I got some weird things in it. At one point I was--I had interrogated Richard Helms, who was the head of the CIA and I'd met him at a party and I was involved with a lot of research tending to point to the fact that the CIA really was involved with dope traffic from Indochina. And I got into a funny conversation with Helms in Washington at a cocktail party.

Studs Terkel And that's in it?

Allen Ginsberg Well, no, that's all suppressed except for my letters to him. We'd made a bet, actually, saying if the CIA was involved in [Long Chang?] Air Force base in [Xan? Tuyen?] Quang province, which is a CIA air base where they had the secret neo-army during the war, if our helicopters and Air America was involved in bringing opium in Long Chang and that was a transshipment point, and if I could prove it, then he would have to sit and meditate for an hour a day for the rest of his life.

Studs Terkel Is he doing it?

Allen Ginsberg Well, I don't know if he's doing it. I finally sent him some papers proving it. And then if not, I would give him my little Buddhist sceptre.

Studs Terkel He'd better start buying some saffron now.

Allen Ginsberg But none of that is in the files. But there are letters from me to him saying, "Are you meditating yet?"

Studs Terkel So he's, Helms is spied on, too, in those files.

Allen Ginsberg No, he just turned his letters over and put it

Studs Terkel By the way, on that subject of the CIA and drug traffic, you know the book by McCoy?

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, I helped work on that. I did research for that.

Studs Terkel And that was pretty--citing chapter

Allen Ginsberg Alfred McCoy, it's called "The Politics of Heroin in Indochina"--

Studs Terkel That's it.

Allen Ginsberg That showed all the lines of the French intelligence and the American intelligence and their historical role in working with narcotics dealers to fight the Commies. That was their motive. They wanted, they said they'd fight the Commies and make some money on the side that they could put into secret operations. That never has been totally investigated by Congress.

Studs Terkel You know, Allen, before I ask you if you could read some of your poems today, it's been 17, 18 years since that first time when you read that poem right after Sputnik.

Allen Ginsberg Oh, yeah, that.

Studs Terkel I'm thinking, thoughts, now, just your own thoughts as to which way we've gone. As you look at it. You've been in the middle of so many events of our day. Your feelings.

Allen Ginsberg Okay, I tell you. The one thing I was most interested in back in the '50s was some change of consciousness in America, like some un-fixing on the materialistic grabbing aggression competition. And I think more and more that that some element of space has come in, that people are able to look around and see themselves and take a look at their own egotism. Or at least for myself I'm able to beginning to want to judge my own grabbing and aggression and ignorance. So I think the net result of all the perturbation and bohemian squabbling in political activism has maybe been some healthy disillusionment with the authority of the government and the authority of our machinery and the authority of capitalism or the authority of politics even and maybe some introduction of meditation or awareness or thinking thrice, thinking twice and then maybe thinking a third time about what is our reality, what's our political reality and what's our personal reality.

Studs Terkel So you do see emerging possibly a healthy sort of questioning of institutions hitherto unquestioned.

Allen Ginsberg Well, it's not just institutions, it's a healthy questioning of self itself, about ego, a healthy questioning of our ego, national ego, personal ego. No, there's a healthy questioning of nationalism, authoritarianism, police statism, but also self. I mean, even the Left, see, has had to go through a bankruptcy. In a sense the Left has realized that all this, all the noise made in Chicago perhaps prolonged the war. You know about that, have you thought of that? That the blood of Vietnam rests not only on Nixon and Kissinger and everybody else, but also on the

Studs Terkel Do you feel

Allen Ginsberg Yeah. Yeah, I think it's about time I said something like that, that maybe all the anxiety created in Chicago, because it kind of torpedoed Humphrey and the Democrats in '68 may have led to the election of Nixon, because he just got in by a hair's breadth.

Studs Terkel I have to ask you a question.

Allen Ginsberg And then--

Studs Terkel I'm sorry.

Allen Ginsberg Remember Nixon escalated the war. Doubled it. And the Left was so angry at the Liberals and Humphrey for their part in the war that they wouldn't vote. And that may be why Nixon got in and that may have prolonged the war, so in a sense everybody in America is bankrupt. [Everybody has this funny

Studs Terkel I have to ask you one question, and that's an imponderable.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah?

Studs Terkel Had Humphrey, this is a question nobody can answer, conjecture--

Allen Ginsberg Had Humphrey got in would

Studs Terkel Had Humphrey been elected, just a moment, see, remember the whole since the Cold War began and the bipartisan policy and Republicans accusing Democrats, the McCarthy thing of 20 years of treason, Democrats leaning back so far as to out-Cold War Republicans, you see, and therefore would, would that war had ended with Humphrey at that time, or would the fear have been so great, hey, we'll be accused of treason again and given in, would it not? Who knows?

Allen Ginsberg You hit it right on the head. I agree with you. But there was one little piece of history that came out during Watergate that was funny. Remember, there was a lot of surveillance, Nixon had a lot of surveillance, but then he accused Johnson of doing surveillance on Anish Analt, because Anish Analt had been telephoning Thieu in Vietnam saying "Don't make a deal with Johnson and Humphrey. Wait 'til Nixon gets in and we won't end the war." Johnson apparently had been trying to make a deal with Thieu that he would have a coalition government with the Viet Cong, and Earl Brasch, you remember him? For, I think he was one of Daley's people here in the City Hall.

Studs Terkel Earl Bush.

Allen Ginsberg Bush. Bush.

Studs Terkel Earl Bush.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah. Remember he, I think he went to jail later

Studs Terkel He spent some time in the pokey since, by the way.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, well, at the time I came here before the convention was talking to him saying, "Look, we got to protest the war, that's where we're coming." He said, "Listen. The secret passed down. They're going to try and end it. You guys are doing it. You guys are making a mistake, we're really trying to end it." That's what he thought was going on. So there was, I think, a genuine attempt for the election for political reasons. See, that's why Johnson quit, because he realized he was--his war policy was

Studs Terkel Well, don't you think, coming back to the point you made so there'll be no questions, there are many questions raised that we don't answer, but don't you think the protesters through the years, war pro--helped shorten the war in America?

Allen Ginsberg Well, I would be almost willing to say everybody's bankrupt. Nobody was right. You know, why not leave that much space for everybody to be wrong and start all over? That'd be rather interesting that way, in the sense that, well, I think actually the protesters may have prevented the atom bomb from being used. On the other hand, they torpedoed Humphrey and maybe elongated the war

Studs Terkel Well, we don't know. The question I

Allen Ginsberg On the other hand, on the other hand, if they didn't torpedo Humphrey and elect Nixon by mistake, we wouldn't have had Watergate, which was a good thing.

Studs Terkel Well, many things come into play.

Allen Ginsberg Nobody's controlling the universe finally.

Studs Terkel One question is raised though, and that's, you're raising a good question, we must of course question ourselves throughout. But the other thing is, if I allow what you say to go unanswered, it might put off people from dissenting when dissent is needed from a policy think is amoral or horrendous or inhuman.

Allen Ginsberg OK.

Studs Terkel And that's the aspect.

Allen Ginsberg So here's what I would begin proposing, that the dissent has to be on the basis of something that doesn't create so much anxiety. In other words, on the basis of some less aggressive more non-aggression in the dissent. A dissent and clarity. More clarity and less aggression, which is--actually, that was the big lesson of the '60s anyway. Everybody got confounded by their own aggression and finally withdrew a little bit. So when you were asking what do I think has happened after all that, I'm saying people are beginning to allow space to look at their own aggression and to look at their own grabbing and egotism with both dissent or confirmation of a police state as the excuse for, you know, power pushing around.

Studs Terkel Alice is--

Allen Ginsberg From that point of view, that's why I'm interested in Buddhism.

Studs Terkel Yeah. You're here, by the way, during this visit or this conversation, you're here under the auspices of

Allen Ginsberg Dharmadhatu, which is a local Tibetan-style Buddhist meditation center. Who are sponsoring the visit on late January 1977 of a Dharma king, that is, an old yogi that has sort of reincarnated in their tradition. Or there is that tradition of reincarnation over centuries bearing the same meditation message and same methods of sitting and examining.

Studs Terkel Which leads to a question. You are the perfect person to ask. There's--I'm disturbed a little. I'll ask you about campus life in a moment. I'm not disturbed about that, I'll ask you about that in a moment. But I'm disturbed by a growth in what may be ersatz religious movements. Not the Buddhist movement to which you're referring. I'm thinking in the airports, you know, you run into the Hare Krishnas and the freaks.

Allen Ginsberg I like their singing. I don't like their aggression.

Studs Terkel

Allen Ginsberg I think one of the most generous-hearted as well as the most generously gifted of American poets is Allen Ginsberg, and I suppose when you hear the name Allen Ginsberg immediately, I'm guessing now, it happens to many people, there's a smile. It's not a smile that's a put-down, just a smile. Because I think there's an openness of his spirit that leads to this that is so needed today and we'll hear Allen Ginsberg, my guest who's passing through town, and perhaps-- For the third time. For the third time, and we're going to go back, after this pause we'll go back to something. When first you came. Nineteen fifty-nine. Fifty-nine, you with Gregory Corso-- And Peter Orlovsky. And Peter Orlovsky, but of this in a moment after this message. Allen, Allen Ginsberg. So much has happened. Let's, let's hear. It was just after Sputnik. Yeah. Back in 1959, I came through Chicago with a couple of poets. And three of you came in the studio, I remember that, it was elsewhere, it was at 221 North LaSalle, and you were reading full of vitality, and I was kind of a wise guy. I really was, you know, I was kind of a wise guy, because the word "beat" had just come into being and there was sort of a put-down of many of the poets of your world. Your world, as though Well, I think probably we asked for it, since we were so aggressive. We've all mellowed. And this is, you were reading a poem. Yeah. I was reading a poem written on the day that the first Russian Sputnik went up. [content removed, see catalog And thus it goes. And I'm thinking, 17 years ago, it's amazing. And listen to you. I was still talking about Buddha then. Yeah, but also how appropriate now. Now 17 years since we met. Yeah, well, actually a little more than that. Actually, 16, 17, 18. Eighteen. Much has happened. Well, I'm, gotten grey-bearded. You've gotten a little more white hair. You've written books. Well, to you and the world. To you, me and the world. Yeah, the world has gotten younger. It was--there was night--world's gotten younger, there was--here you were, there's your harmonium, and you were trying to make things peaceful, and that wild hot August week of 1968 in Chicago when things were not peaceful, and you were trying. And you lost your voice in the [effort?], I remember that. Well, I was chanting then. I was doing a Buddhist chant, actually. Om. That year. And what was interesting is in that a couple of years later I got more involved with meditation. So I got a little better, got my act together a little better. The Om acts as the--in working with a Buddhist meditation teacher who was more of an expert in mantra than I was. I said, "Well, Om didn't work too well in Chicago, they still have tear gas. What should we use for Miami in 1972?" So he said, "Why don't you try something that sounds more American, like ah?" So in Miami, I went with David Dellinger and the peace protesters. We tried "Ahhhhh, And how did that affect the Well, actually I think it was a little better because there was less tear gas on the spot there then, what we did was, a group of us who were protesting the war marched up the street. But then there was all of a sudden we were joined by a whole gang of people in army fatigue uniforms or what looked like Veterans for Peace but weren't, were probably like part of those co-intel government FBI infiltrators who started overturning trash cans. Hey, that's interesting. And who weren't part of our march, they just suddenly came in from a side street and joined us in the middle of the marchers who were chant--walking on the street chanting "Ahhhhh," they were calming the scene. So then we had to stop and put back the trash cans, and they started pulling the plugs out of, like opening the hoods of cars and stuffing the cars and buses. So we were a little perplexed, so finally we sat down in the middle of the street and chanted "Ah," about 100 of us, and then the cops came, surrounded us and put us all in a meat truck and took us to jail for I was thinking about, you're saying something interesting in view of what we're finding out now in the files of--that are being asked by different people through the Freedom of Information Act that those who were trashing and turning things over, committing violence were, a great many in the employ of the government. They were agent provocateurs, is what they were. It's an old, old, old trick, which people were warning us about at the time, but I couldn't believe it. I wouldn't believe they'd have the chutzpah in there, I got my papers from the government under the Freedom of Information Act. You did? So I have some of my FBI files, some of my CIA files, some of my drug Department files from the Narcotics Bureau. There were some funny things in Bob said you have a pretty a lot of pages? Oh, I got about 700 pages of Oh, you do? That's very good. Very little about Chicago, strangely. Like, they didn't give it to me. I know that they said they gave me everything, but the main thing probably that I did that was, got me into government files, was here in Chicago, and there's hardly anything, so they've got it all. But one thing they do have which is funny is 1967 is a paper from the narcotics bureau in New York to the federal narcotics bureau in Washington saying, "On this date we received a photograph of Allen Ginsberg in an obscene posture. For possible future use, we are filing it in a locked sealed envelope in the New York department. New York drug bureau. I have my--I'm sorry. You got yours? No, not my FBI. I asked, I have army intelligence files. The year I was in the Air Force 1942, 40--117 pages, for which they want seven dollars and thirty-five cents. The whole thing or just Well, for that, seven dollars--the fee is seven thirty-five they said because of the Xerox copies. I have-- Did you send it? Not yet. I'm debating the No, it's interesting. No, it costs-- I may send it. Seven thirty-five. But one is, they were spying on me, one is, he parts his hair, you won't believe this, it's true. His hair was black. I read that rather wistfully. His hair black, was '42, '43, and then it said "hair parted toward center, but inclining toward left of center." The part of my hair. So I thought that was interesting. Suspicious. Funny about the center. Another was, oh, he uses phrases like--like, oh, he says he's very loyal, we think he's marvelous and very loyal, even though he seems a little too interested in the betterment of the poorer classes, to quote them, even though, nonetheless is loyal. So I thought that was very funny. But you must have some very amusing ones. Yeah, I got some weird things in it. At one point I was--I had interrogated Richard Helms, who was the head of the CIA and I'd met him at a party and I was involved with a lot of research tending to point to the fact that the CIA really was involved with dope traffic from Indochina. And I got into a funny conversation with Helms in Washington at a cocktail party. And that's in it? Well, no, that's all suppressed except for my letters to him. We'd made a bet, actually, saying if the CIA was involved in [Long Chang?] Air Force base in [Xan? Tuyen?] Quang province, which is a CIA air base where they had the secret neo-army during the war, if our helicopters and Air America was involved in bringing opium in Long Chang and that was a transshipment point, and if I could prove it, then he would have to sit and meditate for an hour a day for the rest of his life. Is he doing it? Well, I don't know if he's doing it. I finally sent him some papers proving it. And then if not, I would give him my little Buddhist sceptre. He'd better start buying some saffron now. But none of that is in the files. But there are letters from me to him saying, "Are you meditating yet?" So he's, Helms is spied on, too, in those files. No, he just turned his letters over and put it in By the way, on that subject of the CIA and drug traffic, you know the book by McCoy? Yeah, I helped work on that. I did research for that. And that was pretty--citing chapter and Alfred McCoy, it's called "The Politics of Heroin in Indochina"-- That's it. That showed all the lines of the French intelligence and the American intelligence and their historical role in working with narcotics dealers to fight the Commies. That was their motive. They wanted, they said they'd fight the Commies and make some money on the side that they could put into secret operations. That never has been totally investigated by Congress. You know, Allen, before I ask you if you could read some of your poems today, it's been 17, 18 years since that first time when you read that poem right after Sputnik. Oh, yeah, that. I'm thinking, thoughts, now, just your own thoughts as to which way we've gone. As you look at it. You've been in the middle of so many events of our day. Your feelings. Okay, I tell you. The one thing I was most interested in back in the '50s was some change of consciousness in America, like some un-fixing on the materialistic grabbing aggression competition. And I think more and more that that some element of space has come in, that people are able to look around and see themselves and take a look at their own egotism. Or at least for myself I'm able to beginning to want to judge my own grabbing and aggression and ignorance. So I think the net result of all the perturbation and bohemian squabbling in political activism has maybe been some healthy disillusionment with the authority of the government and the authority of our machinery and the authority of capitalism or the authority of politics even and maybe some introduction of meditation or awareness or thinking thrice, thinking twice and then maybe thinking a third time about what is our reality, what's our political reality and what's our personal reality. So you do see emerging possibly a healthy sort of questioning of institutions hitherto unquestioned. Well, it's not just institutions, it's a healthy questioning of self itself, about ego, a healthy questioning of our ego, national ego, personal ego. No, there's a healthy questioning of nationalism, authoritarianism, police statism, but also self. I mean, even the Left, see, has had to go through a bankruptcy. In a sense the Left has realized that all this, all the noise made in Chicago perhaps prolonged the war. You know about that, have you thought of that? That the blood of Vietnam rests not only on Nixon and Kissinger and everybody else, but also on the Left. Do you feel that? Yeah. Yeah, I think it's about time I said something like that, that maybe all the anxiety created in Chicago, because it kind of torpedoed Humphrey and the Democrats in '68 may have led to the election of Nixon, because he just got in by a hair's breadth. I have to ask you a question. And then-- I'm sorry. Remember Nixon escalated the war. Doubled it. And the Left was so angry at the Liberals and Humphrey for their part in the war that they wouldn't vote. And that may be why Nixon got in and that may have prolonged the war, so in a sense everybody in America is bankrupt. [Everybody has this funny I have to ask you one question, and that's an imponderable. Yeah? Had Humphrey, this is a question nobody can answer, conjecture-- Had Humphrey got in would he Had Humphrey been elected, just a moment, see, remember the whole since the Cold War began and the bipartisan policy and Republicans accusing Democrats, the McCarthy thing of 20 years of treason, Democrats leaning back so far as to out-Cold War Republicans, you see, and therefore would, would that war had ended with Humphrey at that time, or would the fear have been so great, hey, we'll be accused of treason again and given in, would it not? Who knows? Continue-- You hit it right on the head. I agree with you. But there was one little piece of history that came out during Watergate that was funny. Remember, there was a lot of surveillance, Nixon had a lot of surveillance, but then he accused Johnson of doing surveillance on Anish Analt, because Anish Analt had been telephoning Thieu in Vietnam saying "Don't make a deal with Johnson and Humphrey. Wait 'til Nixon gets in and we won't end the war." Johnson apparently had been trying to make a deal with Thieu that he would have a coalition government with the Viet Cong, and Earl Brasch, you remember him? For, I think he was one of Daley's people here in the City Hall. Earl Bush. Bush. Bush. Earl Bush. Yeah. Remember he, I think he went to jail later on-- He spent some time in the pokey since, by the way. Yeah, well, at the time I came here before the convention was talking to him saying, "Look, we got to protest the war, that's where we're coming." He said, "Listen. The secret passed down. They're going to try and end it. You guys are doing it. You guys are making a mistake, we're really trying to end it." That's what he thought was going on. So there was, I think, a genuine attempt for the election for political reasons. See, that's why Johnson quit, because he realized he was--his war policy was [unintelligible]. Well, don't you think, coming back to the point you made so there'll be no questions, there are many questions raised that we don't answer, but don't you think the protesters through the years, war pro--helped shorten the war in America? Well, I would be almost willing to say everybody's bankrupt. Nobody was right. You know, why not leave that much space for everybody to be wrong and start all over? That'd be rather interesting that way, in the sense that, well, I think actually the protesters may have prevented the atom bomb from being used. On the other hand, they torpedoed Humphrey and maybe elongated the war for Well, we don't know. The question I raise On the other hand, on the other hand, if they didn't torpedo Humphrey and elect Nixon by mistake, we wouldn't have had Watergate, which was a good thing. Well, many things come into play. Nobody's controlling the universe finally. One question is raised though, and that's, you're raising a good question, we must of course question ourselves throughout. But the other thing is, if I allow what you say to go unanswered, it might put off people from dissenting when dissent is needed from a policy think is amoral or horrendous or inhuman. OK. And that's the aspect. So here's what I would begin proposing, that the dissent has to be on the basis of something that doesn't create so much anxiety. In other words, on the basis of some less aggressive more non-aggression in the dissent. A dissent and clarity. More clarity and less aggression, which is--actually, that was the big lesson of the '60s anyway. Everybody got confounded by their own aggression and finally withdrew a little bit. So when you were asking what do I think has happened after all that, I'm saying people are beginning to allow space to look at their own aggression and to look at their own grabbing and egotism with both dissent or confirmation of a police state as the excuse for, you know, power pushing around. Alice is-- From that point of view, that's why I'm interested in Buddhism. Yeah. You're here, by the way, during this visit or this conversation, you're here under the auspices of a-- Dharmadhatu, which is a local Tibetan-style Buddhist meditation center. Who are sponsoring the visit on late January 1977 of a Dharma king, that is, an old yogi that has sort of reincarnated in their tradition. Or there is that tradition of reincarnation over centuries bearing the same meditation message and same methods of sitting and examining. Which leads to a question. You are the perfect person to ask. There's--I'm disturbed a little. I'll ask you about campus life in a moment. I'm not disturbed about that, I'll ask you about that in a moment. But I'm disturbed by a growth in what may be ersatz religious movements. Not the Buddhist movement to which you're referring. I'm thinking in the airports, you know, you run into the Hare Krishnas and the freaks. I like their singing. I don't like their aggression. Now, I

Studs Terkel Ah, you find aggression there.

Allen Ginsberg A certain amount of aggression, yes. Basically, you see, the problem is I think they're theistic. Buddhism is a sort of secret. Don't tell anybody. Buddhism is basically a non-theistic observation or phenomenon rather than a theistic one, so there isn't quite that same push to clamp a ceiling down on everybody.

Studs Terkel I'm thinking of something else. The proliferation of these, of, well, let's say ersatz religious movements, in some cases genuine. So many--

Allen Ginsberg From the Buddhist point of view, they speak of it as spiritual materialism.

Studs Terkel Doesn't that knock many of the young out of the box? As far as participating within the world of reality, that is, the world in which dissent is essential? As you say, dissent that is nonviolent of course. And non-aggressive.

Allen Ginsberg You could have a little violence there if it was, if you were, if you weren't hung on it, if you weren't attached to it.

Studs Terkel Not putting others down because of their disagreeing with you in a sense.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, well, I think it's a question of not using the dissent as an aggrandizement of your own ego.

Studs Terkel But coming back to the--

Allen Ginsberg Self-righteous. No, the--

Studs Terkel Self-righteous. Right.

Allen Ginsberg Which is [a? the?] problem I think probably with the theistic religious sects also. What's interesting about what's going on with Buddhist Dharma is that it's, I think the first time there's been introduced some kind of meditation practice that doesn't depend on a god as a reference point, but depends on one's own individual awareness. That's an old, old, old tradition in Tibetan style that goes back to the ninth, tenth century. Some great yogi poets, [Mila Raifa?] among them. I don't know, you know who Tibetan Book of the Dead? Or heard

Studs Terkel Of it, I haven't practiced.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, Leary was using that quite a bit in relation to psychedelics back in the '60s.

Studs Terkel Didn't help him much, did it?

Allen Ginsberg Well, it didn't have very good instruction in it, because most of the doctrines in use of that is oral instruction, what they call whispered transmission, from teacher to teacher to teacher to disciple over the centuries. That goes back a long way. So this guy, the Karmapa Lama, who is the head of the Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism is coming over to America to show himself off. Then he has a crown which he displays, which the Chinese emperor gave him in the 14th century which is supposedly woven of the pubic hairs of sky goddesses, the sight of which, when displayed, brings instantaneous salvation, because the crown is empty. So anybody looking at that empty crown realizes there is no thing to be fixed on. There's no ego to be--

Studs Terkel Allen, I've got to ask you.

Allen Ginsberg I'm talking symbolic

Studs Terkel I know, I assume you are. I assume they're symbolic--come back. The feeling. Self-righteousness, of course, has been one of the flaws in so many of us, no matter what our ideology.

Allen Ginsberg Okay, having a self to begin with. That you have to be righteous about. So the real problem is the fixation on defense of the territory of the self or an ego, or--

Studs Terkel But there must be self, must there not? I mean, are you speaking of an end to self? You speaking of a dissolution of self?

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, I think we're going to have to deal with that sooner

Studs Terkel Well, can't there be both, can't there be a self? And this is the thing we're talking about. Self plus an awareness of the community of which the self is part, that is both, the individual plus the communal awareness. Isn't this what it's about? Whereas there is a sub, there is, there are individuals, there are individual psyches, are there not? Are you speaking of a dissolution?

Allen Ginsberg Studs, I'm beginning to wonder. Actually, you know where I'm coming from now? Since October 10th, where we are now talking sometime mid-November, late November. I've been since October 10th in a retreat situation with several hundred other, or 100 other meditators who have been sitting eight, 10 hours a day, paying attention to breath. [The out?] breath, actually, this is a traditional classic method of meditation. Paying attention to the breath coming from the tip of the nose and dissolving in space in front of us and examining thoughts that rise out of the self. While trying to focus in one spot on the breath. Doing that ten hours a day. Now, I got out of there the day before yesterday to come here to give this reading, and then I'm going back there.

Studs Terkel Great, but how is that going to stop the spread of nuclear

Allen Ginsberg Now wait a minute, we're talking about self, remember. We weren't talking about nuclear reactors. Well, I mean, it takes a lot of selves to spread a nuclear reactor, remember. Now, listen--

Studs Terkel You know what I'm talking. I'm talking about how we'll--

Allen Ginsberg Slow down step by step.

Studs Terkel All right.

Allen Ginsberg The, if you, the question is, you know, how do you deal with the self? That's what our question was, how do you deal with it. Now, your formulation was there's a self and then there's outside society.

Studs Terkel I'm saying aren't both parts of the reality of our

Allen Ginsberg In a way you're making a kind of a duality thing going and it might be easier, better and more useful even from the point of view of being a Bodhisattva and taking care of society to look a little deeper and figure out where there is a self to begin with to get to some deeper sense of where we are and what our emotions are. And the only way you can do that--say for instance somebody wants to protest and can't tell whether his protest is aggressiveness, anger, or whether it's something that's not going to create more anxiety. So I would, I've been for a long time recommending that, say peace protesters actually do about an hour of sitting every day observing the flow of consciousness and observing the rise of anger. Observing the nature of thought, observing the nature of self, actually, or the phenomena of the self. Sitting confronting self. So the question how do you do it, you know, like the Hare Krishna people who are singing all the time so they don't see anything in a way. I like the Buddhist form because it's relatively empty.

Studs Terkel I have to ask you a step further. Not too removed from this, but just going on this one before we have a pause and ask you for some poetry. As we're talking--

Allen Ginsberg Singing about non-self.

Studs Terkel Singing about non-self. As you're talking, I'm thinking about you [and knowing? annoying?] the campuses of the country as well as anybody having lectured and talked and sung and read poetry and participated so

Allen Ginsberg I'm still traveling around, probably

Studs Terkel So the thought today, as the prevalent thought, prevailing thought, is that, god, silence again. The silence of the '50s, participate in the '60s. Recession. Depression. Fear. So kids try to make out rather than being pro bono publico. What--is it the '50s or is there something else going on?

Allen Ginsberg I think it's an examination of the self that's going on. That's really deep and important. And I think that unless you get this trick thing I'm talking about, you'll get depressed. There is something good happening I think, which is the introduction of some sense of Dharma or some examination [what's the real ground?] of being. You've got to remember that the protest movements of the '60s rose out of a question about a new consciousness in the '50s that came out of visionary experiences of the '40s. There was a funny kind of breakthrough of a new consciousness in the late '40s, spread in the form of beatnikism in the mid '50s, and then took maybe somewhat aggressive social form in the' 60s. The aggression got nipped in the bud by Kent State and a few other traumatic social agent provocateur shocks. Plus disillusionment that that aggression maybe have led to a greater complication of the scene. So the' 70s people had to go back to the home territory inside their heads and say, "Now, what's going on?" Okay, what is going on? So, question now, I think it was the '70s is, it is not I don't think a reactionary retrograde withdrawal into self except as it's encouraged by stupidity. I mean, you know, like, these guys ain't doing nothing, they're just going back to themselves and drinking beer. But there's also a beginning to what I think is happening is a clearing of the ground inside people's heads and an attempting to find a basis of social action or generosity toward others that's a little more impersonal in the sense of not grounded on passion, grabbing, aggression, and ignorance.

Studs Terkel At the same time, paradoxical as it sounds, not as impersonal and yet quite personal.

Allen Ginsberg Right.

Studs Terkel In the basic sense.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, well, I see impersonal in the sense of not being an assertion of self-righteousness.

Studs Terkel You do see then, then you see--hope. Yours is a hopeful approach. Without being

Allen Ginsberg Well, the desire to work with hopelessness--the desire to deal, to see the situ--I think the situation is actually hopeless, and I think that's like the ground that we should all start from. Like recognize a certain--see, and it's hopeless in the sense of all the activity the '60 actually screwed things up maybe. Or just complicated as much as anybody else was complicating, all the Left activity. So if one were to begin and go back to the very beginning and start all over again without the illusions of self-righteousness, that might be very interesting instead of just pursuing pushing the same Johnny one-note of I'm angry at the national universe. Because it's like anger at the national universe, it's not--it's, you know, it's almost anger at mama and daddy and all that. So there's got to be a clarification. Then I think there'll be real social action of a nature that'll cut through a lot more clean. And because remember the entire society is going to be faced by power failure. Energy failure by what, 2000, 2040? So this is a long-range thing we've got to prepare for. It's not just, you know, like overnight we're going to have a revolution. We've got to prepare for the kind of emptying out of aggression against nature that's been taking place for 100 years and it may take like 30, 40, 50, 60 years to cool all that down. They're thinking in long range, which is why I'm interested in and keep coming back to the Buddhist view, which is an ancient view. Well, it's several thousand years old of trying to let things settle and taking action on the basis of non-anxious slow-down. Slow down and observation. Slow everything down.

Studs Terkel I suppose this might be a spiritual approach to A.J. Muste's non-violent political approach.

Allen Ginsberg Well, I think Muste had good sense there. I think Muste I knew and I liked. And he had good sense.

Studs Terkel Allen Ginsberg--

Allen Ginsberg Muste was, for the people who don't know, listening to us, he was the what, head of the Quaker pacifist group?

Studs Terkel He was the fellowship and reconciliation, and he by non-violent--not aggressive non-violence, but active nonviolence, was able to make his points very effectively and even to those who had the clubs and the guns. Now, a question often comes up, and we need to go into this, 'cause it's unanswerable, the imponderable. Could he have done that against Hitler? Remember Muste once said, "If you can't love Hitler, you can't love anybody." And that was, caused quite a furor. He was implying, of course, that to get at that illness one must get into the heart of it. Which is what you're talking about, too.

Allen Ginsberg Well, I think one Buddhist view of that is Hitler is also a sentient being, but on the other hand he's such a heavy egotist that he probably--that the dissolution of his ego would be a tough job, and he might, you know, that's why they speak of reincarnation as in someone with a ego like Hitler might [just?] cling to it, so heavy it would be like a whirlwind in the dust and get reincarnated.

Studs Terkel Of course, once you hear the phenomenon of Nazism itself, and the phenomena of fascism itself, then of course it's another aspect entirely.

Allen Ginsberg I wanted to sing a song.

Studs Terkel Sing a song and then we'll have a slight pause,

Allen Ginsberg What, do we have time?

Studs Terkel Oh yeah, no, sing a song and we'll pause after the song.

Allen Ginsberg "Gospel Noble Truth". [content removed, see catalog record] You looked like you didn't want to let go [unintelligible].

Studs Terkel As Ned Kelly the bandit said before they hanged him and they sprang the trap, "That's life." You say "Die when you die." And [I was about?] to say, "That's life."

Allen Ginsberg I wasn't sure you were, see, I was saying "Let go," [unintelligible] talking about radicals that want to make that heaven and grabbing on to heaven, something let go. Let go.

Studs Terkel Let's hold them, I'll come back to that song you sang, and what I felt when you sang that song. After we pause, because life is real, life is earnest at this moment. The message. So resuming the conversation with Allen Ginsberg, and the song you sang with the harmonium accompaniment I suppose is Buddhist in feeling and yet a tune--

Allen Ginsberg I did it in a country-western

Studs Terkel Yet it was an American hymn.

Allen Ginsberg Right.

Studs Terkel It was an American hymn, so you're fusing two cultures.

Allen Ginsberg As actually called it gospel, it's a gospel song, gospel noble truth, and Buddhism is the Four Noble Truths, as they're called, which is suffering, suffering is caused by ignorance, the suffering is sort of an ignorant grabbing for an ego, continually trying to defend territory, not willing to give up, not willing to let go, not willing to accept what's in front of you. The space in front of you, really. Then there's an end to ignorance if you get hip to the fact that your suffering is caused by your own grabbing. And then--

Studs Terkel It's when you know there's one danger--I'm sorry!

Allen Ginsberg There is a thing called Eightfold Path, which is once you understand non-ego, once you understand not defending territory, right views. Right aspiration to get out of that, right speech, right activity, right labor, so you're not polluting further. Right energy out of that.

Studs Terkel You know, Allen, everything you're saying is generous in spirit, and you speak of the need to throw off self-righteousness as unnecessary baggage. All this is, there's no argument, but there's one thing

Allen Ginsberg That sounds terribly self-righteous, I'm sure.

Studs Terkel But there's one, no, but there's one thing disturbs me about this,

Allen Ginsberg That systematic?

Studs Terkel That's the looking into self, which is necessary. At the same time so inward that there is an ignoring of the world outside and the predators are still at work. And so the air is polluted further, you know, nuclear reactor plants are increasing in number, and I just wonder--

Allen Ginsberg Okay, I think that's just because you are so worried, because there is so much anxiety, there's an element of even clinging to life, you know, in a way that trips you up almost. You've got to allow more humor--

Studs Terkel I should say there's a clinging to life.

Allen Ginsberg Yes, and it's a little heavy-handed. I would say.

Studs Terkel You mean, likely cling to life.

Allen Ginsberg I think you have to have a little more space, let enough space to recognize that you know, like the universe is not going to last forever, that the universe really doesn't need us on our own planet, that is much vaster scene than our notions of clinging or not clinging.

Studs Terkel But while we're on it. While we're on it.

Allen Ginsberg If we dig the vastness, we'll have a better chance of surviving.

Studs Terkel That's true.

Allen Ginsberg Digging the vast--by digging the vastness of the [scene?]. Encouraging a vaster consciousness.

Studs Terkel Can't one dig the vastness at the same time digging the place where you lay down the bucket where you are?

Allen Ginsberg Well, they're both the same ultimately. I mean, laying down the bucket of vastness, sure, but I think at this point there's a kind of claustrophobic feeling in the world and in America of like a fish caught in a shrinking pond and apocalypse. And I think that very claustrophobia is part of the problem and that's why I keep saying open up a little more space, like the tradi--like the ancient wisdom of the East, let open up a little more space, take a little larger perspective on it. I did keep wanting to say that the reason I came here was this Dharma King who opens up a lot of space in his head will be here at the end of January, January 30th to have a ceremony which is a very traditional ancient ceremony of showing off this black hat made of the pubic hairs of sky goddesses to all the worried people of Chicago. See, everybody in Chicago is worried about, you know, whether they are going to survive. So all these sky goddesses have woven their pubic hair together to give a little poetic demonstration to people of Chicago to have a better sense of humor.

Studs Terkel You're talking about sense of humor,

Allen Ginsberg So it'll be a, Galma Karmapa, his Holiness, will be at the Continental Plaza Hotel on January 30th in the

Studs Terkel I have to enlighten the audience that is, this is audio and not visual, see, as Al is talking about the hairs of the goddesses, and how it's going to help you along as the pollution, that he's also smiling as he says it, so there's, it's not a put-on by Allen Ginsberg, he believes what he is saying, and by the way, much of what he says indeed makes great

Allen Ginsberg I'm talking somewhat in symbolic language.

Studs Terkel In very symbolic language. At

Allen Ginsberg [unintelligible] practical language.

Studs Terkel You're also saying sense of humor is needed, too.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, and I'm also saying that this Tibetan Buddhist hero who represents a huge tradition of meditation is coming to Chicago. It's going to be a very rare thing like the appearance of the beatniks in Chicago in 1959. It was a historic occasion.

Studs Terkel Well, that was. That was the time

Allen Ginsberg I'd probably say the even more historic occasion will be the appearance of this Dharma Buddhist King like representing a very ancient lineage, several thousand years of meditation coming here to show off, to show off something.

Studs Terkel You know what occurs to me? As you're saying this, because you're also throwing me as you're talk--a few things you raise many points that I find real and true and necessary particularly throwing off that baggage of self-righteousness. At the same time also throwing me off guard, I'm disturbed slightly what you're saying. What does this knock us out of the box, too? All this inward looking, and now back in '59 we began the show with the beginning parts of that poem you wrote after Russian Sputnik. Suppose we hear a piece of the tape, anywhere on that tape.

Allen Ginsberg Just continue where

Studs Terkel Yeah, where you and Gregory Orlovsky and where--not Gregory, Gregory Corso--

Allen Ginsberg Gregory Corso was there and Peter

Studs Terkel And Peter Orlovsky were there, three of you came in. I remember then, too, that feeling, and we'll hear, suppose we just a part of that.

Allen Ginsberg What I'm saying now is just a continuation

Studs Terkel It's a continuation, but it's also--

Allen Ginsberg Except maybe we got some reinforcements from Tibet. Reinforcements from Tibet are coming.

Studs Terkel And also 17, 18 years of events that have one way or another added to our experience if not our awareness, your awareness certainly, I'm not sure of mine, but part of that, perhaps while we're finding that piece of tape, a poem. You are because you are primarily a poet.

Allen Ginsberg Okay, once more, so my father died this year.

Studs Terkel Louis Ginsberg.

Allen Ginsberg Louis Ginsberg, who was a poet, who I was very fond of and who I spent a good deal of time with, this last year as he died. Died of cancer on July eighth, so I was teaching at the, in Boulder with this Buddhist Institute and I flew home to go to the funeral. I'd been with him most of the spring and went off to do work with the other meditators and then had to fly home and over Lake Michigan wrote a poem, heard a song, wrote a poem, so I'll sing that. [content removed, see catalog record] Could you hear words in there all right over the harmonium? Good.

Studs Terkel That's a Kaddish, isn't

Allen Ginsberg For my father. "Ending birth you gave was no thing to you. My heart is still. As time will tell."

Studs Terkel I'm thinking this end very moving and the Kaddish that you wrote.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah. I wrote a long poem called "Kaddish for My Mother"

Studs Terkel in So

Allen Ginsberg The poem was '59, my mother's death was

Studs Terkel But '59. So again, the 17--the poem is about the time--17 years later this is another form, isn't it? It also--we come to something else here, don't we? I thought of "Howl", and there was an indignation and a rage and how--is that gone?

Allen Ginsberg I think that is gone. What is--this elements that no, I still have, if we had a little time--

Studs Terkel Isn't some of that necessary? I mean, how could that be gone? I think this is the thread that I'm trying to latch on here.

Allen Ginsberg Well--

Studs Terkel How can a very essential human rage, it seems to me, be obliterated and erased? Isn't it necessary?

Allen Ginsberg Actually, I have a funny poem that I wrote a couple months

Studs Terkel Allen, I just asked you something.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, which is all about rage. But there's also--it's a very funny poem, and it's a right poem talking about how the CIA and organized crime and the FBI have all along been sort of one set of criminal gangs working in conjunction with each other. Well, it's about five minutes there.

Studs Terkel Well, try, if that or at least fragments from it, or just that. [content removed, see catalog record] You know, had to be said.

Allen Ginsberg Had to be said.

Studs Terkel Now Allen, there were two aspects of you. Here

Allen Ginsberg Well, I haven't finished the poem.

Studs Terkel No, I know there's more, considerably more to it.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah. Twice as long. It's about time something like that was said, certainly. Sure.

Studs Terkel Now, that is said and there is a rage and an indignation. At the same time there's the other Allen Ginsberg,

Allen Ginsberg Well, no, at the same time, there has to be also with that, wait a minute, there's that assertion. At the same time, there also has to be the space of Father Death, guru death, your words are true. Teacher death, I do thank you for inspiring me to sing this [unintelligible]. There's got to be enough space so that you don't solidify that outrage and become a demon.

Studs Terkel Right. So we are asking then there are, then there is, then there are the two aspects.

Allen Ginsberg Well, there's a million aspects, there's eros also, there's eroticism,

Studs Terkel I was coming back earlier. You wonder about the protesters. Perhaps it had to be said. Now were it not for those protesters, perhaps this particular feeling today would not be there either looking into self.

Allen Ginsberg Oh,

Studs Terkel So we're coming back to again, there is something had to be said.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah, sure, and including one thing that has to be said, which is I don't know what I'm talking about. See, it's about time everybody said that, too. Us. That would be interesting to say, we don't know what we're talking about

Studs Terkel on Okay.

Allen Ginsberg No, wait, wait, wait, wait, let's give it a minute, one minute of respect for the fact that we don't know what we're talking about and that the people listening to us don't know what they're talking about, and nobody knows what he's talking about, and the engineers don't know what they're listening to, and the new president doesn't know what he's doing, and God doesn't know what he's doing. And apparently the only people I would say that have any sense of that are people who started out from that to begin with, realizing they didn't know what it was all about, and just started at the bottom to start looking around. Out of that space, taking, clearing that space, you know, and letting it stay there for a while and looking at it and beginning maybe to reconstruct some, groundless awareness of what's going on. Okay, now we can get back to [filling up space?]. We can fill up the

Studs Terkel Agreed. That's pretty good. I like that.

Allen Ginsberg Okay. Well, that was the whole point when I was talking about [dakini?] hairs, or [vadja?] crowns, something to empty the head of Chicago, that was what I'm, I was talking symbolically.

Studs Terkel At the same time--

Allen Ginsberg No, what I'm saying is January 30th, 1977, a guy with an empty head named [Yalva?] Karmapa will go, exhibit a crown denoting empty head, emptiness, at the Continental Plaza Hotel in the afternoon. So anybody in Chicago who wants to empty his head is welcome to see that.

Studs Terkel Good. Fair enough, except--

Allen Ginsberg You know, that's the symbol, I was trying to, why am I hung up on trying to tell people this? You know, why am I hung up on this commercial announcement? That's why. Because it's empty headed for a change. So I mean, okay-- Now

Studs Terkel Now I simply, simply, simply our time is--

Allen Ginsberg Great. Our time ends when we don't know what we're talking about? Great!

Studs Terkel No, except for one--you want to end that way?

Allen Ginsberg It'd be great!

Studs Terkel I was going to offer a caveat, but I let it go.

Allen Ginsberg I know. Okay. Chew it up

Studs Terkel No, we'll leave the air. The fact is that there is a knowledge, that it [spins? depends on?] Awareness, there are values and you believe in that, you're not--I know you don't believe in value-free science. You don't believe in value-free approach to life, that is, nothing really matters. We know nothing, we do know something.

Allen Ginsberg I think awareness, I think, I'm interested in awareness.

Studs Terkel I know, the thing I fear, I really--

Allen Ginsberg Don't worry, don't worry!

Studs Terkel It's not a feeling, I worry about, I do worry, is that in putting ourselves--

Allen Ginsberg I grabbed his foot in there.

Studs Terkel And you got my foot to keep me calm. You touched my toe and kept me calm. It's simply that in putting--people have a tendency today, the great many, to put themselves down and not worry, to put them down, remember that thing we're overcoming.

Allen Ginsberg Yes.

Studs Terkel Is this worshiping of institutions. The man up there knows more than I do, else he wouldn't be there. We know why we're in there, we don't know why we're in the war, but they know why we're in, else they wouldn't be there. At that aspect worries me. And if we don't know what we're talking about, all of us say that, well, somebody does, that's why he's a big shot. We got to battle that.

Allen Ginsberg No, I think we had our empty nobody know what they're talking about and we extended it up to the White House just now, didn't we? It was the whole world. It was the entire universe. I think It was God didn't know he was doing even. Remember? So don't worry about that. We're not [even imposing?] another authority.

Studs Terkel So egalitarianism of nobody knows what they're talking about.

Allen Ginsberg The

Studs Terkel We'll let it go for now.

Allen Ginsberg We emptied out the universe.

Studs Terkel I mean, we could start tomorrow fresh.

Allen Ginsberg Yeah.

Studs Terkel Okay.

Allen Ginsberg But we're a little more aware because we had that little space.

Studs Terkel All right.

Allen Ginsberg See? We woke from the dream for a minute. Now I go back to the daydream.

Studs Terkel Okay. Allen Ginsberg. Thank you very much. Could we go off with a "Ah"?

Allen Ginsberg "Ah" appreciates that vastness. "Ahhhhh. Ahhhhh. Ahhhhhh. Ahhhhh." Yeah, keep it going. "Ahhhhhh. Ahhhhhh."