| "We are always
someone else's metaphysician."
Last night coming back from town late. Amid heavier than usual traffic, I glanced up between the eighteen wheelers just in time to see, improbably, a falling star. It usually happens so quickly that you're not even quite sure that it happened. I thought: I'm supposed to make a wish on it. I couldn't think of any thing to wish for.
Later on, lying in bed, I thought of something to wish for: the cessation of a certain recurrent knot of mental anguish. Apparently wishing does not only NOT make it so, it makes it worse, like scratching an itch. As this morning proves.
The only hope (feeble one at that) is to be able to turn the pain to some productive use. What pain wants us to learn is that the 'personality' (and hence the 'person') is largely constituted by pain, a 'self' being a kind of smearing and collecting at the joint between the world and consciousness. And consciousness itself being a kind of damning up of energies, forming a kind of membrane, differentiating between one side and the other. Like some cartoon character careening into the wall, turning into a Play-doh lump as it slides down the wall, puddling on the floor.....
Some religious people would no doubt prefer that there not be a differentiation between the two, i.e., a dissolution of consciousness and hence a cutting of the Gordian knot of pain. That remains always and everywhere a messianic hope (that is, a kind of ultimate collapse of that membrane), whether the personal (the east) or the supra-historical (the west).
damn, I said i was going to lighten up... ok, after this month.
To tell you the truth, I don't think it's in me to 'lighten up'. Whatever that means. And after all, I'm not doing this to cater to what YOU think I should be doing one way or the other. God knows I've tried to please you...and look where it got me. I see a little bit now how it is so incredibly easy for me to get tangled up in the virtually unspoken intentions of others -- especially women (he said ominously).
I was laying in bed this morning trying to resist the imprecations of the sun, thinking that certain people DO tell you what they are going to do -- but they do it in such a circuitous manner that you are not sure what you're hearing. Or maybe it is better put this way: I tried my best to ignore what was being said, or to put a different spin on it. In retrospect, it's all perfectly clear. The meaning of what is said is vectored by the body and its movements, its withdrawals and profferings.
Words can carry context to a certain degree, to the degree it coincides with our own thoughts, patterns, contexts, bodies ... but to the degree that it drastically diverges, it becomes more and more opaque. The truth is that there is very little opaqueness, in this sense, on the web...we are all part of the same cultural matrix and bit by bit bringing the rest of the world into the stench of this particular nest...(and yet--at the next moment I turn around and understand nothing.)
But there is something about a real, true, mystery don't you think? One that shakes us to the very core of who we are, questions our preconceptions of life but not in the way that science does. It's true that science often presents us with a mystery but sometimes it seems as if it is presented in the same sense as a a text book would present a problem to be solved, the mystery of a puzzle or... a detective story.
Maybe it's the case now that most of the mystery in our life comes from the contradictions we are forced to endure. Implausibility is not exactly mystery however.
I haven't been very active on this thing...just too tired. or distracted maybe. ...went dancing saturday night till 5 with s. and r. Had an interesting conversation with s. on the effect of chaos in one's life--or rather the effect on creativity. Although i took the position/voice of moderation then, i'm not so sure that's correct. In a Nietzschean age (and she's a Nietzschean woman like L.) maybe that's the ONLY way to proceed. The culture at large certainly seems to think so.
and maybe it's true that you've got to shake up the brain cells if you want to get new insights.
The only problem is that if there is TOO much pain and confusion, there's no time, no space, no clearing to transmit what you've found out, whether horrible or wonderful...and why would you even WANT to transmit any of that stuff--except to show others what not to do...or--WHAT to do?
I guess it's just the case too that the human organism gets off on just titillating it's nerve fibers, getting stimulation. sometimes it doesn't seem to matter (at least historically for sure) whether its pain or pleasure....so how can anything be 'learned' from that??!!
just going around in circles....
these questions are all so old...if we lived ot be 300 would we still be entertaining these questions, or would new, presently unfathomable ones, open up to us?
12.9.99 1 a.m.
I was thinking, as I was sitting around feeling 300 after taking some cold medication, about what being old is all about. (Stop me if you've heard this...) It's kinda like everything gets denser: more stuff is packed in the brain-spaces between events, people, things, so space --and then time -- shrinks somehow. There are no longer any horizons, no sight lines, cause there's too much SHIT packed in, like this crap in my nose. One can hardly breathe.
I'm listening to a group called Scala, cd called 'Beauty Nowhere'.
So yeah now I can understand what Novalis wrote about divinity being like an infinitely dense heavy metal, everything so dense that everything coincides with everything...stands to reason then that whatever is the OLDEST shit in the universe is GOD=Gotten Only Denser. And God is like money too, when it gets so big it can only get bigger and there's nothing you can do about it except if you think YOU can get bigger which only means you wanna be a new god or a new money to replace the old --- same old some old then in that case anyway, so why bother. sorta like the problem of the Eternal Return.
yeah, everything would make sense then. or would make dense.
12.9.99 1:30 p.m.
I was reading my favorite journal last night and was getting hit and hit HARD by certain thoughts. Like: when I started this thing, why didn't I just WAIL on the thing/person that was really bothering me? Why did I have to go all the way to Egypt, so to speak, to avoid the direct writing of pain?
Yes, a terrible, painful recognition scene as I was was moving backwards through A.'s journal. In fact I had to stop reading, the feelings, the (superficially anyway) situation so familiar ...
well, really, there's only so much thinking you can do about that sort of stuff. And besides it was over a year since it ended before I started the journal. And now another year of writing, writing....I don't know if I can say it's better. No I don't obsess as much. But many things, events, people, songs, hold sharp cutting shards of remembrance. The difference is that they now seem like furniture in my brain, permanent fixtures, a living room in the dark as one stumbles through it to go piss -- mostly I remember where everything is in some sort of inchoate way and can avoid bumping my shin. mostly.
And sometimes it just seems to have left me feeling crippled from one too many blows in the dark, from just plain fuckin' CARING about it too much.
So this is what 'wisdom' is about, or 'maturity'?! a piece of scar tissue? No wonder people want to turn into goddamn machines now....
What Happened Today:
Got up late. This cold thing keeps me feeling sleepy half the day. Went out to the gallery last night anyway, just couldn't stand the thought of sitting here frazzing out in front of one screen or another.
took care of a few email chores, worked on a couple of tunes for the concert in january, then went into town to the botanical gardens, it's free after 3 today. Drizzly, overcast, cold day. It held off while I walked through the outside gardens. Was a shock to see someone else walking around, uncomfortable even. luckily only two or three people there. They're MY gardens today, they don't have a right to be there.
Lots of space in the garden where they've cleaned a lot of the collapsed plants out. But little shoots coming up already everywhere. It makes me feel good to see such resilience.
I walk in the mist to the indoor tropical and mediterranean gardens. Obscene orchids everywhere as you walk in. Nobody at all inside, not even the sounds of the little tropical birds that live there. It's warm, and the misters come on from high overhead and fog drifts down over all the ferns, bromeliads, orchids, palms. I drift by with the fog, past the nepenthes' huge pots hanging down, some tribal plant, into the spiky mediterrean room. It seems even spikier than usual cause they've lost a lot of their leaves too. Like people now: don't touch me, stay away, danger.
I head over to the San Francisco Coffee Shop to do some reading. A couple of days ago I had picked up a used copy of the second volume of Heidegger's series on Nietszche, the one on the Eternal Return, and a book by Primo Levi called 'Survival in Auschwitz'. I guess all of it a part of some inchoate project on the camps I've been trying to think about ever since I read Agamben's 'Homo Sacer'. (He thinks the concept of the 'camp' is now a firm part of contemporary global civilizational life. yeah, it's big topic....ok, so i lied about lightening up...leave me the fuck alone..)
(I'm listening to the new EverythingButTheGirl CD as I type: "The future of the future will still contain the past where time goes slow and time goes fast/I can feel you looking back at me...")
I read about everything coming back again and again same as it ever was but Heidegger is starting to seem pompous as I doze off repeatedly. The Cure is beginning to play over the coffeeshop speakers.
I switch to the Auschwitz book. It almost immediately grips me like some suffocating glove, yet I can't stop reading it it's like some horrible science fiction tale come to life some fuckin' TEMPLATE for half the world now (come to think of it almost ALL such artifacts now on TV or movies use the camps and the Nazis as models for so much--those lizard creatures in SLIDERS, the Borg in STAR TREK in a way, all those invading reptilian armies lately....). There's a horrid fascination to the book that even the movies about the camps don't convey sufficiently. I look up from time to time as the room fills and empties repeatedly with beautiful young people getting a little buzz on caffeine and each other. 'Pictures of You' by The Cure is playing.
I get a muffin and read the section about an inmate that the others called Null Achtzehn, a name based on his number. He's become blank from the trauma of the camp, has almost no personality, no affect, simply does what he's told. I finish my muffin and look around the room as the Cure song that has the lyric in it "When I'm with you/ I feel like /I am home again." ...used to be one of my favorite songs.
I've had enough. The lyrics, the book, the rain, the brain, the kids at the table next to mine who were discussing 'zero defects' (something to do with an epidemiology class they are taking. I see a book on their table called 'Epidemiology Made Easy'.) It's just too much, too surreal, stuff seems to be jamming into my brain from different directions, beginning to get cross-wired. Outside, cars are jammed up in the parking lot, folks getting into the restaurant next door. It's 8 o'clock, dark, still drizzling as I push into the going-home traffic. By now, I've forgotten all about those obscene orchids, replaced by the obscenity of being human.
On the rainy drive back I keep thinking about this quote from Levi I wrote down: "Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable: but there are few who pause to consider the anithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable."
It made me feel a little better but not nearly as good as I felt seeing those green shoots in the garden.
This thing really is a burden to keep; a burden to decide what to say, what NOT to say. feels like some vulture continually circling the carrion...but hey even when you land it ain't THAT great, i mean, it's dead stuff after all.
I sometimes think that this continual writing writing writing of one's life as it goes on is (not narcissistic in fact it seems somewhat the opposite in an odd way), is like spider web caught in the glint of the morning mist settling on, always being broken down by passers-by, an endless task of weaving....but always too attached to the same points on trees, bushes, structures so it always looks basically the same.
But writing a journal feels like going out and poking more vigorously with a stick at the `web' one has just woven, or blowing on the `spider' curled in a tight little ball to try to get him to make a move. Most of the time you just mess up the web trying to make something happen. I guess it's good that the spider is so persistent (does it have a choice?!) and the web is back up the next morning.
Things CAN happen without our continually prodding them....but given the sped-up time frame we now live, that happening never seems to be timed right. I know that my own timing for almost everything seems to be completely off, our of sync by half a beat, but just enough to wipe out the proper entrance/exit rhythm.
Maybe these `webs' we are weaving is an attempt to get the timing right or at least see WHAT the time signature is, everybody locking into the same weave.
"I don't know anything; I never have..."
It seems that in our previous missives, we've been concerned with a certain slippage, tracing the notion of 'detecting' and seeing it as symptomatic of, if not western culture itself, then at least the representational apparatus of photography, specifically as it has made its way into the forms of cinematic reproductions of reality.
Even more specifically we've traced detecting (still, we realize, without having fully defined the notion) through epistemology ('The Bone Collector'), to theology ('End of Days'), and most recently a certain pan-theistic or pagan incarnation ( 'Sleepy Hollow').
Detecting however must invariably end in either incarceration or incorporation, or turn into its redemptive double, witnessing. Most often, as regards the cinematic apparatus, all three are involved in various degrees. Which is really to say: the audience is involved in all three in various degrees and in various ways, all of which can not be elucidated at this juncture, only alluded to for the moment.
In "The Green Mile," starring Tom Hanks, witnessing comes awfully close to a lurid day-glo, Disneyfied version of a venerable tragic necessity -- but, then, that more and more seems to be the fate of many 'venerable tragic necessities' these days as 'fate' comes under assault of the full armament of camcorders and instant web access (both having considerable powers to witness events, tho perhaps detourned from traditional mythic tragic necessity). Its occasional norman rockwell/spielberg touch of 'miraculation' nevertheless seems mostly redeemed (part of the function of witnessing after all) but not through any spelunkular adventures in the underworld -- not much in the contemporary climate allows that, certainly not in the mainstream -- but precisely achieved BECAUSE of it's insistence on the, shall we say, avuncular powers of a story well, albeit lengthily at 3 hours, told.
I won't tell the story; you'll either see it or you won't. It's themes are mortality, witnessing, and a certain racial / mythological forcefulness. After all it's ostensibly a film about death row and a very large, super -naturally large shall we say, black man who is more a force of nature (certainly nothing new there: Hollywood often relies on the concept of the extreme outsider portrayed by african americans, women, children; the propriety of that is not our concern at the moment)...what we ARE concerned with is cruelly, violence, the not-quite-Shakespearean concern with a traveling splotch on mankind's collective karmic record. John Cofee after hands one of his harder visions to tom hanks, a vision from which his witnessing does not spell relief -- it never does, there is no surcease from the pain of witnessing for John Cofee, a large scale, supernatural embodiment of a principle which he enunicates later in the movie: "I don't know anything; I never have" (the exact opposite of Denzel Washington's plaintive cry in our first examination "I've read thousands of books!"...the massive all-knowing head has given way to the massive all-feeling body). The only relief comes when he is sacrificed to human rituals of knowing, detection, judgement (which humans tend to substitute --of ncessity: we have neither the strength nor the constitution for some other mode, the passed mode of 'natural law,' primal recognitions, or telepathy -- for feeling.)
We are an effective distance from philosophical concerns of 'knowing' and as we find out, also a pretty far piece from theology. We are in Benjamin's deep bloody historical well with the gods dripping viscera onto survivors. In other words, we are in the very middle of a pure, visceral ethics, bypassing what one 'knows' for what one 'feels' (which the film attempts to incorporate into its audience, using the tropes of mortality and ... Mickey Mouse). John Cofee, pagan christ figure, feels every wound, slice, death, feels it to the extent of wishing to be executed to stop it (John Cofee says of the extreme violence which he doesn't 'think' but which he 'feels', which he can't escape: "It's the same thing all over the world")....but without wishing to pass on a program, last words from Golgotha, or any theology. Instead he leaves a mouse and a witness.
The greatness of 'The Green Mile' is that it tranfers this witnessing of global pain, grief and death from the giant pan-figure John ( bringing both a mouse and Hank's genitals back to life), slyly playing on tropes of western racial struggle and reconcilation (a diseased white woman, wife of the very warden who will execute the giant, whom John Cofee cures says, "I've dreamed of you; i've dreamed of us wandering together in the dark), through to the Tom Hanks figure and passing the baton of fair-witness onto the mortality of the audience, as we are informed of our own last Green Mile we have to walk.
In a way, John Cofee can only remain shrouded in Mystery, capitalized to emphasize the so-called Great Mysteries of mankind's past where primal connections seemed to operate -- but also part of a vast bloody pit of death and killing stretching backward into the mist of our origins and which humans struggle daily to escape even while 'killing through love' as John Cofee puts it.
The movie skims along the very surface of these membranes between realms of life/death, humorous release/death grip, skitteringly trying to find an opening past itself into some new ethical realm, rather than the daily daemonic circling of death, fatigue, and grief (no, YOU are not feeling it now--but at any given moment, millions ARE in the grip of a failing life, the fading embers of mortality -- what if you felt each of them, was witness to their passing?)
we the audience are brought into the mickey mouse style of american witnessing as a collection of elderly, sitting in a circle around the televison, circle from the Jerry Springer show to one absurdity after another, finally settling onto what seems a primal event: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in a dance routine, tuxedo and ball gown, sliding to the strains of 'I'm in Heaven'.
John Cofee is asked shortly before he is to be executed, if there is anything he wishes to eat or do. He replies that he wishes to see one of those 'flicker shows' which he, as the pagan avatar of the Great God Pan and hence having no need of tech or detecting, had never seen....Of course he sees the Astaire/Rodgers film and is transported by it, repeating the mantra as the switch is pulled : "I'm in Heaven, I'm in heaven...".The vehicle of an old Hollywood film becomes the mode of salvation, in a way; an empty gratuitous salute to 'magical' technical representation that is no different than the Jerry Springer show, really. The great mysteries of life give way now to the empty flickering of a screen...which nevertheless, paradoxically, and with it's own Mysteries seems to hold the means for human salvation, if nothing else through a massive world wide technical witnessing, watching and waiting.
Although we can only allude to it at the moment, the movie's themes of death row, subtle racial undercurrent, flashback to 1935, confused but powerful pan-theistic hymning, electric chair as fetish (stand-in perhaps for even larger circuitries being switched on), all these areas can be subtended to other historical 'primal witnessing' events such as the death camps of world war II, attempted genocide, Spiegelberg's MAUS, Agamben's concept of 'homo sacer,' (those who are sacrificable). The new film by Erroll Morris, 'Mr. Death' about the designer of electric chairs and subsequently his inability to bear the witnessing -- i.e. his denial -- of the holocaust, takes this 'witnessing' to more personalized, particular, documentary levels.
One thing that may be said about the arrival of a planetary electronic consciousness: there aren't many places to hide even within the perspectivism that Primo Levi counsels, (and which John Cofee could not attain, being bound to the terrible simultaneity of global grief pain death; in other words, and with increasing intensity, the situation of the audience as we enter the year 2000) as a guide to survival in the camps:
"For human nature is such that grief and pain -- even simultaneously suffered -- do not add up as a whole in our consciousness, but hide, the lesser behind the greater, acording to a definite law of perspective." ('Survival in Auschwitz')
An interesting question to ask: what would happen if it were to add up to a whole?
I don't have any illusions anymore. I really don't. especially about human relationships. It's sort of weird though because now I begin to see other people's expectations (or more likely, fears, nowadays), especially women, like if I'm being friendly with a woman i really don't know she thinks I'm hitting on her. Well, I'm not, i really don't care -- if I'm talking to her i'm interested in what she's about. I'm thinking anyway I may never be a sexual creature again. I'm thinking L. pretty much knocked that in a cocked hat.
But sometimes I get trapped in sort of a weird affective loop. Like last night I went to Borders to get a big book, a christmas present for myself actually was the only way I could justify it. What I'm about to describe happened to me once before in that same Borders. PD gets a non-profit discount so I tell the woman behind the counter that and she goes to look up the number, comes back, and is just very flustered and confused about the whole thing. And then I start feeling flustered and confused, like it's rubbed off on me somehow. So at first I realize that I must be somehow bodily thinking to myself: uh oh, I'm in trouble, I've done something wrong or I have a zit on the end of my nose. I remain calm but I notice that my body is still trying to flush and flop around. But it ends ok. The very same thing happened once before in that same store. I guess that's why I could remain calm and not start to panic inside.
At times like that, I'm not really THINKING about anything to make me feel that way--I seem to be in a pre-set mood that does my thinking for me. That goes for when a situation goes well and also when it goes bad...or feels like it's doing one or the other (when things go well tho i'm not compelled to think about it--like, you only notic a tool when it breaks). And sometimes just my ATTEMPT to wrest control back can make the situation worse. Usually I just have to ride with it for awhile, watch it/myself, wait until something changes. Stuff like that can drive a control freak up the wall. You know who you are. I know who you are at any rate.
So now I'm going to reverse myself. Because even if "I" (that is my little conscious self) has no illusions it begins to seem obvious that SOME part of 'me' has something that looks like a pre-set response, an illusion. I mean, the body has a whole 'nother thing going on
Sometimes that's scary. The body is all about appetite and drive, right? But sometimes it feels like there's something there that could save you in a pinch, if it had to. I don't even know what that means.
I feel myself beginning to curl up, like some reptile in a cold cave. I feel tired, listless, goal-less...sometimes more of all that, sometimes less. sometimes it feels like balancing on the very edge of something, slippery slopes on either side. I feel like taking a nap. all the time.
The universe teases us, baits us, plays footsy with us. But like some idiot nephew, not like some wise uncle leading you to some understanding. It throws you some sign or miracle which becomes a cream pie in the face.
I don't trust it anymore. I don't trust the coincidences it places it front of me, it's intimation that it's confiding something to me, trying to lure me to something.
Today I was on the way to a friend's house to repair a computer to give to S. On the way, pulling into traffic there is S.'s name affixed to the back of a car I'm right behind. It's not a name you see every day by any means.
unh unh, I ain't fallin' for it universe....you done tricked me one time too many. I know where yr going with it and forget it. Either that or you are a CRUEL trickster god, in which case ... fuck you
...went to a xmas party tonight, it was cool and i didn't over do it, 3 glasses of wine. I was in the middle of telling a joke--actually I was at the punch line--when a guy right behind me projectile vomited onto the kitchen cabinet. end of joke. The guy carried on tho as if nothing had happened. in fact, went around asking people if they had some pot. some people seem to have inexhaustible appetites while other folks seem to be afraid to have any appetite at all. (this is not the time to go into it but: i've been reading a section of a book on the concept of `sacrifice' and it seems to me as if appetite is linked to sacrifice. not having an appetite, in any form, is like saying `I don't wanna participate in that type of culture of sacrifice'. hey, if yr alive yr sacrificing SOMETHING no matter how much you wanna deny it. the only out you got is to go sacrifice yrself--but to what?? somebody else??)
I come back in light rain, lean outside against the basement door, looking up, mist on my face...that's it. that's all, no revelation, etc.
just a fuckin' christmas party.
a few days and maybe everybody can relax into hyperspeed again after the aught aughts start.
this feels like sort of a dress rehearso for new years eve. whole lotta nothing. I do remember a NYE a couple of years ago, in florida though.
what was that? another life, another person? what planet was that on that I remember? what blissful glade of existence that only lasted a half year and promises to fuck me up for god knows how many in the future?????????????????????????????????????????
I decided I finally had to do a little holiday shopping today. The first time i've been out in the mob of people, other than traffic. It's just an impossible thing really. And it's obvious that the auto has to go. It's either IT or human LIFE...don't think there's room for both. I think how much more pleasant life would be if all the places I have to go didn't require massive effort/logistics/travel time.
So I do my little bit of shopping and I'm hanging out over the balcony looking at the tributaries of people flowing this way and that and all of a sudden it occurs to me how much of my internal life is geared toward some sort of reportage for this damn journal, how I try to stage and think of events, consequences,etc. as some odd floating performative sense.
I don't know how healthy it is really. At least in the sense of being integrated into my immediate environment. well. Who particularly wants that anyway?
It's like the observation I had one time while listening to the car radio that sometimes it made me feel like I was in a movie scene: detached, yet committed to making that particular scene `work,' like an actor...yeah, a definite sense of `doubling'. But a not-unpleasant sense of watching myself `at work' so to speak...the net seems to take that to an even deeper level somehow.
My ex-wife once told me that I was like some 5th century guy. I didn't know what she meant at the time and I still don't really. I suppose she meant I have some archaic element in myself. And it does seem true that I'm always `interpreting,' trying to make sense. But then a lot of people try to make sense. So I don't know. Maybe it's that I'm always looking for signs, for propitious constellations of events....yeah, I like that phrase. It makes a basically magical process seem rational and scientific, makes it seem like a repeatable and verifiable event when it's really some form of tea-leaf reading, or gazing at entrails for clues, it's a forever changing kaleidoscope of shifting conditions/environments and styles of knowing ... more like a really tight piece of free jazz where everything seems to the observer to be written, because everything seems to fit. But does the fact of a `close fit' mean that it is `true'? Classically yes, because the only way that a close fit CAN occur is because of outside governing forces (god or gods or godesses let's say) which enable the precision of fit. I guess we don't really think that way anymore.
Now, it's almost as if ...well, yes, it's my quantum society concept, aleatoric, indeterminate, fuzzy. A meaning-set becomes imposed on the data through a certain kind of POWER. And it can be various kinds of power, it doesn't have to be a strong-armed `if you don't go with this I'll hit you' kind of thing. In fact as both Nietzsche and Foucault knew, that is by far the least effective type of power; the MOST effective being the sort that seems to come from inside oneself but which, at least as regards the ideology of today, has somehow been implanted there unbeknownst to the bearer. Like a cowbird laying it's eggs in another bird's nest and having the other bird raise them--until the birds hatch and the cowbird chicks destroy the other chicks. The erstwhile mother goes on tending them just as if they were her own.
So what are these other `quantum' chicks hatching all around/inside us??
speaking of omens: I just came across this passage in an excellent book I'm now reading, `The Ruin of Kasch' by Roberto Calasso:
"Ahnungslos, `omenless'; this wonderful German word describes the condition in which the West now finds itself, after millennia of torturous history. To be born `omenless'; unshadowed by guilt or grace, is our original modern status, the unexpected demand that we rid outselves of the world -- a demand lurking behind every shop counter, laboratory table, professor's desk, cash register. At the core of this condition, as always, is a sacrificial action. `If one consecrates, it is in order to desecrate better,' said our Ancestors. In those days, the world weighed horribly on everyone; everything had too much meaning; every twig contained too much power. An ineffable dream began to take shape; that the most beautiful thing was to lighten one's load, to cast off the world. To do this, one had to oncentrate the sacred onto one victim -- and kill it. Afterward, there was nothing to do but return to intoxicating banality, which was at last profane. For the pure Westerner, the possibility of letting his thoughts become empty, arbitrary, meandering was the only Siren worth obeying. He has deceived all the others -- and without much effort."
yes. a quantum society...lots of room there for a variety of very weird, metallic hued chicks to hatch and/or come home to roost
You have no idea what I'm talking about do you? Hello?
As I'm sitting in a coffeeshop, reading the Calasso book, the sentences buckling, fizzing and popping, the words shooting off the page in arabesques, I look around at people coming and going in the deepening grainy, rainy twilight (it's next to a university this time)---and for a moment when I look up everything just seems so improbably; not meaningless really...just..improbable. and wondrously so.
Where are all these people going? Who are they, what are they thinking? Does their brain encounter/generate incandescient sentences like these in this book, flouresing under a certain kind of pressure?
"If we feel strangely uneasy when we note that a word, automatically repeated, seems to lose all connection with its meaning, it is because at that very moment we sense the weakness, the precarious nature of the act on which all culture is based. To think is to set out hesitantly toward the site of that twofold uneasiness, in an effort to escape simultaneously from nature and from culture. This is why thought is an intermittent and improbably activity."
But the sad thing is that such sparks make feel numbed when I come back from them to this rainy evening, the chatter of teenagers at the next table, the slight bite of cold curling under the plastic around the patio, fighting with the big heaters in the ceiling; the traffic, the musak -- it all just lays there, dry, dead, disconnected almost as if the inner fire which the words kindle obscures everything outside.
"Coincidence is the appearance of a constellation in an individual's life. In big cities, we cannot see the night sky; so it takes shape in us again trough these fleeting apparitions."
After nursing a coffee for an hour or so while reading, I walk down the street, have a fancy burrito and Guiness Stout, the draft kind in a big can, with something rattling around in the bottom of the can. It was all very good. I ate it facing the window, watching the rain.
I actually enjoyed eating by myself. I was the only one sitting alone, all couples, trios, quartets...people really don't like to be by themselves. I guess I've gotten used to it. Nice actually, eating, reading, drinking, listening to jazz and hubbub around me on a cold night. I'm just not sure I'd want to live the rest of my life like this.
Could be worse though. Could be a LOT worse....
well now...that wasn't too bad was it? Christmas i mean. Had a nice phone call from M. in D.C yesterday evening. Every thing seems to be going ok there. I guess they'll make it to New York eventually, though they seem to be hop scotching their way up the coast. I hope it's everything they hope it is.
I had a get together with a couple of academics who had liked the little recent movie reviews I had written; they bought me dinner and introduced me to the work of english television screen play writer Dennis Potter. Interesting and a little disturbing.
I'm sitting listening to them talk and I all of a sudden feel like I know nothing, have nothing to say. Which is not exactly true i know. Every person has knowledge and a garrulousness about that knowledge but it's invariable inflected in a certain way, vectored in a certain direction. The trick is always how to find one's way into the circle, find one's own door. Sometimes I just takes sitting and absorbing for awhile. But it went ok, at this point I pretty much know where/what my little slice is, where I'm most comfortable (though I don't really consider that much of a criterion--in fact sometimes its the opposite). If you only go where it's comfortable though you're never gonna learn very much.
M. (another M.) sort of invited me to do something for an upcoming show. I say `sort of' because it's not really his place to invite. I guess I should pursue it. Even though I con't really afford it and it never leads anywhere.
I'm feeling very `loose and hard to swallow' as david bowie once sang. Why is it so hard for me to relax? ...always fiddling, fidgeting, flopping.
i found an incredible area of the trail yesterday, winds around a marsh area on a raised walkway for about a half mile. The only problem is that it reminds me of .. a certain part of florida. And you know how I am about that....
just a few more days till the fateful end of the world...then everyone can get back to business as usual. I think even the most hardened cynic secretly (and some have expressed it to me not so secretly) wishes for some drastic, turn on a dime change for stuff. I think a lot of people don't even care if it's good or bad. Just turn into something else fer christ's sake...
as if things weren't changing and evaporating fast enough. I guess the problem is that all the change seems to be leaving most people high and dry--or low and wet, however you want to move the metaphor...but kinda like a liquid boiling off and leaving a residue behind, gritty little particles left in the bottom of the cup...
I know I get tired of myself from time to time (how is that even possible, he wonders??! Isn't it myself getting tired of myself?) and wouldn't mind a switch... And in a way that's what the technical advance of objects feels like, like one is changing something about one's self. Of course it's mostly superficial seen very close up...but historically? Maybe there's something else going on...after all the person who has a car and can go anywhere may be a different type person historically than one who could only travel by foot and for which there were no other expectations.
It has to be spoken of `historically' because if one simply knows that something is possible for other humans it changes what one thinks is possible for one's self in some way. What if you knew that some humans could live for 200 years in full health? or could time travel? or that aliens really WERE visitng us through some advanced tech? or could be happy?
What a fucking hypocrite I am.
"If you only go where it's comfortable though you're never gonna learn very much."
what bullshit. that's all I've done is stay where it's comfortable recently.
what crap. I at least need to own up to it.
But then The Blunt Truth of it is that one can be in exile right in one's own basement, in one's garrett, hut, attic, townhouse, tract home . Hell, one can be in exile in one's own skin.
just drivel. not even therapeutic anymore.
"Remorseless confessions addressed to no one, for the sake of entertainment, pleasure, boredom. Ever since you first emerged from Montaigne's little tower, from its rooms inscribed with aphorisms, and ever since you dispersed throughout the world to haunt cafes, drawing rooms, attics, and basements, weeds have obscured every straight and narrow path...a dense forest has sprung up, dark and poisonous -- fatal to all dreamers who doze off in its vast shade....A forest of death....desolate home of suicides....What lured you into that darkness, if not the charm of detail, an invincible and unspeakable singularity, which you loved to explore and which you entered like stubborn watchmen, like marmots in their stony burrows? Whoever was drawn to that life was devoted from the outset to the discontinuous; he was the enemy of all equalitas, was an observer (worhipper?) of abrupt forces, was incapable of holding a long breath that could envelop every part. Gusts of wind, ribbons, tiny barbs, spores, crevices, quavering sounds, exasperated nostalgias: LITTLE BY LITTLE YOU HAVE TRANSFORMED YOURSELVES INTO THE CLUTTERED BOTTOM OF THE DRAWER."
Here, here!! that's it exactly, that's what I feel like, the cluttered bottom of a drawer, the detritus of an insoluble life drifting down to the bottom, precipitating out of solution, not even enough ooomph to get sucked back in, not enough guts to live either a normal life or an exorbitant life. (I know I will think differently about this tomorrow, but now, right now, I think this at the bottom of an evening which is appraching the bottom of the twentieth century.)
But...'normality' (what the hell is it??!! WHERE the hell is it??!!) just feels vaporous, yet everything else feels dangerous AND vaporous---for that matter what IS `everything else'??!
There's just no thing no one to hold onto a little dingy floating in front of sqall lines....
these these this STUFF these words they only make it worse....If I could I'd slash the tires of this fucking thing....
(then why will I go and format this and put it up?)