Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bureaucracy, as defined by Pynchon

As I continue in my unending quest to read all Thomas Pynchon books ever written, enjoy this particular line from Gravity's Rainbow. The scene - a mental/research institution called the White Visitation. The issue - that one Brigadier Pudding might be shutting down Pointsman's pavlovian program. The program - a series of surreptitious tests on a man who has an uncanny ability to predict where bombs in wartime london will fall.

"..Pointsman has a slight advantage. By facing squarely the extinction of his program, he has gained a great bit of Wisdom: that if there is a life force operating in Nature, still there is nothing so analogous in a bureaucracy. Nothing so mystical. It all comes down, as it must, to the desires of individual men...But survival depends on having strong enough desires - on knowing the System better than the other chap, and how to use it. It's work, that's all it is, and there's no room for any extrahuman anxieties - they only weaken, effeminize the will: a man either indulges them, or fights to win.."

After Pointsman calmly listens to the discussion, he continues with his program of procuring a late night dominatrix for Brigadier Pudding to keep him pliant.

1 comment:

Capt. BS said...

I've always enjoyed how whenever Thomas Pynchon is depicted on The Simpsons, his head is always covered in a paper bag with two eye-holes and a giant question-mark. For that reason -- and potentially that reason alone -- I may have to join you on your quest.