WE have always been interested in Nonsense as a fine art since the day, long time removed, when we read how Adam named the animals while sitting near the village pump in Main Street, Eden. For Nonsense is a looking-glass wherein Reason sees the reverse of its own prim patterns. It is a sort of fantastic Bagdad of which Reality is only a mirage.

Nonsense is a storehouse of wisdom. There is probably more in “Alice in Wonderland” than there is in the lamentations of Solomon. And the final apotheosis of Nonsense is found in Don Quixote, for in that vast panorama of the world everything is ridiculed except the Spirit of the Absurd itself, which is the cornerstone of all human action and the unquenchable glint in the eye of Cervantes.

Everything may go out of fashion—marriage, work, clothes, gods, pacifists and Peace Arks—but Nonsense will persist until the end. It is the one immortal god. Seriousness is the King of Terrors, and he slays more than lobsters or unpreparedness.

We need more Nonsense in the world. We need a completer understanding of the laws of the Absurd. We should give a more insistent Yea to that persistent tomfoolery and waggery that seem to be not only the pastime of the gods themselves but their very raison d’être.

Not truth but Nonsense shall set us free.

Benjamin de Casseres.


Source: Life, July 20, 1916, Vol. 68 No. 1760, p. 108