Author: Teresa

The Truth and Beauty of Everything

The Truth and Beauty of Everything

How ‘Everything Everywhere’ explores the dimensions of love, sex and relationships that are both personal and political

The best things in life are usually not easy to define, but the more we learn about them the more we appreciate how much they change and inspire us.

This was the lesson that the most brilliant and controversial writer of the modern era, the American poet Allen Ginsberg, learned from the experience of being diagnosed with cancer.

Ginsberg was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 1974. He had been an incredibly active and successful poet, who had published more than 300 books. He had been married twice, had three children, and had lived in at least four countries. But that day he discovered that he had cancer.

It was a shock.

In the years after his diagnosis, he was able to keep the disease under control. But every so often he would come to London and spend time with his friends in the creative and intellectual world of the Bloomsbury group, and then return to his house in California and his family.

We all have our own demons. One of the worst may be cancer.

Allen Ginsberg

It’s not an easy diagnosis

A few years after the diagnosis, as he was struggling to find a way forward, Ginsberg had an idea. How much is “everything everywhere”?

It’s a question as old as philosophy, of course, as Socrates asked his audience, “Where is the truth, and where is the beauty?”

We may not be able to find the truth or beauty, but by following our curiosity we can find out what “everything everywhere” is.

As a writer, Ginsberg could have given a very different answer to that question. How was he to answer it?

The idea of everything everywhere was an answer that would enable him to move forward in life and find something better than the fear of death. But would that really be something better?

Cancer was something that could kill him if he didn’t find the courage to face it, and he had to find the courage to do that by taking the risk of getting it out in the open.

In a sense, he had to die, and the decision he made on that day to write about his experience of cancer is the way he made his way to the other side of the fear and despair

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