The world and we are green: Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac debate love

From a fascinating exchange of letters between Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac: .

“Realize, Allen, that if all the world were green, there would be no
such thing as the color green. Similarly, men cannot know what it is to
be together without otherwise knowing what it is to be apart. If all
the world were love, then, how could love exist? This is why we turn
away from each other on moments of great happiness and closeness. How
can we know happiness and closeness without contrasting them, like
— Kerouac to Ginsberg, September, 1948

“The point is that all thought is inexistence and unreality, the only
reality is green, love. Don’t you see that it is just the whole point
of life not to be self conscious? That it must all be green? All love?
Would the world then seem incomprehensible? That is an error. The world
would seem incomprehensible to the rational faculty which keeps trying
to keep us from the living in green, which fragments and makes every
thing seem ambiguous and mysterious and many colors. The world and we
are green. We are inexistent until we make an absolute decision to close
the circle of individual thought entirely and begin to exist in god
with absolute unqualified and unconscious understanding of green, love
and nothing but love, until a car, money, people, work, things are love,
motion is love, thought is love, sex is love. Everything is love. That
is what the phrase ‘God is Love’ means.”
— Ginsberg to Kerouac, October, 1948

Kerouac may have connected green with love by chance, but that's how it
feels to me. See if it doesn't feel that way to you, too, under the
shelter of the largest California maple I have ever had the privilege to
walk under..


t/p: a new blog from the Library of America. Yes, it's official. Everyone now has a blog.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: