|H.U.T. Journal - Feb., 1999|
guards the unspeakable by speaking it."
the difference between an artist and an academic: The academic has to always prove that he knows what he knows while the artist has to always prove that he knows what he doesn't know. Or, at least, pretend that he doesn't know what he knows.
I used to have this recurrent dream. Well, it wasn't really a dream. More like a way of getting to sleep, sort of a meditative powers-of-ten thing I would do whenever I was too stressed to sleep. I would visualize floating above myself in bed, looking down. The I would move above the house, then the block, then the neighborhood, the city, receding ever farther up into space, then nothing but fuzzy strings and clumps of lights in the blackness, then the whole night-covered side of the earth, moving out past the orbits of the planets (which I had neatly arranged for my transit), finally resting somewhere among the rings of Saturn, where I would slowly unfold myself, like one of the modified humans in a John Varley short story, adapted for space by being adopted by a gelatinous, semi-intelligent mass which absorbed me into its fibrous photosynthetic weave, forming a perfectly fitted mutualist partner: nothing but gossamer green unfoldings to catch the glimmers from a faint and cold sun, my `human' body at the center of this immense diaphanous web, like a voluntary sacrifice, rolled up and deposited at the center by some absent spider. Except that the web was the spider. Or maybe I was the spider, waiting for some slight tug of sleep. (I came across this recently, unconnected with these meditations--if that's even possible: "bathybius--a gelatinous substance found in deep-sea mud: once supposed by Huxley to be living protoplasm"...not Aldous, but T.H.---so my vision is now this: I'm surrounded by living muck from the bottom of the deepest ocean, while I'm floating in deep space...hmm, now that I think about it I'm beginning to get claustrophobic because from at least ONE philosophical point of view, isn't that the fate of consciousness? to be surrounded by the DNA infested prima materia of the living flesh? And I might be a LITTLE bit Gnostic in that regard...)
Concentricity. (reminds me of `concinnity', another new word I found--means `skillful arrangement of parts, elegance, balance, harmony'). In some ways it seems very old fashioned, compared to the `de-agglutinative', and de-centering which is on everyone's concept list today (I'm purposely not using that other `de-' word cause I think it's too used in that context---and has more to do with a `winding around' with a slight iterative shift (I'm speaking of deconstruction of course) than with blasting anything apart. but that's for another discussion.
The hut is obviously designed with such a fascination for concentricity--and more in the style of a `perennial' fashion (as in Huxley's `perennial philosophy) than anything that could be considered `gravity-free' (another trope of hypermodernist thinking). It certainly wants to PRETEND that it is rooted, i.e., the very opposite of gravity-free. But I wonder about that. One could make the point that many people who appear to be gravity-free in fact operate under the pressures of tremendous encumbrances. And I'm amazed when I think about thousands of spores originating, basically, from an underground mass, forming a fruiting body and then --- floating free.
No, none of us float very freely. And my floating out near Saturn, with my symbiotic partner? Well, Saturn has always been considered the planet of melancholy, of leaden heaviness and impossible resolve. What is it that astrologers say about Saturn returning to one's natal chart? That there are lessons one has to learn. And if you don't get it right this time around, you have another 28 or so years before it all happens again.
So my meditative floating is somewhat puzzling and contradictory, just as the `Saturn hut' is to me also. My hovering next to Saturn, no air, light, nothing but the background grinding of ring particle against ring particle -- the Parchment Farm of space, large stone pounded to small, another fate of Time, outside of some Nietzschean Eternal Return at any rate, which I'm not discounting mind you, the H.U.T won't let me -- undoubtedly had its downside -- maybe all egos (anyway, as they are structured as 19th century atomic shell theory---remember that great scene with Bela Lugosi in Bride of the Monster?"Home? I have no Home. Hunted, despised, living like an animal; the jungle is my home. But I shall show the world that I can be it's master. I shall perfect my own race of people. A race of atomic supermen that will conquer the world." Now THAT's atomic ego theory and Saturn returns with a vengeance; it's also the history of totalitarianism in the twentieth century. . . but still...there's a traumatic poignancy there that a troubled Leo can vibrate with for a second or two...) so maybe all egos are always distant from the warmth of the sun. Or is it just soi-distant ? Who knows? since all we have are our markings and tracings and graffiti and words to mark the trail back to and away from ourselves. But, like my relationship with the bottom of the ocean and the reaches of space, things in human life often turn inside out on themselves---others and the Other may turn out to be as impossibly deep INSIDE us as impossibly far from us at an OUTSIDE limit. In a gravity-free world, after all, anything is possible, any direction feasible. Right?
My quest for rock has led me back to the covered bridge. I'm working on the entrance for the hut and I always seem to underestimate the square footage of rock surface I'll need. Or rather, I mistake the gathering of innumerable small rocks as being equivalent to big ones. For various reasons, it never seems to work that way. And BIG rocks have a certain presence and solidity that I like (kind of like big ideas--they're SO big that they make you pause for a moment and strategize about what it is one is about). And I remembered some big flat ones (rocks not ideas) down in the creek bed by the Covered Bridge.
The Bridge was still closed and being worked on, which was a good thing. Even though it's somewhat out of the way of the normal flow of traffic, I've found that humans are worse than ants, poking and prodding our way into every nook and cranny. And if a spot is `picturesque' so much the worse for the spot.
The first time I went over, a car was parked so I drove around for a bit, came back and it was still there, so I came back the next day in the rain.
The spot is underneath an abandoned railway trestle, which is about fifteen or twenty feet up. The base of the iron trestle sits a little off to the side of the stream, which is about another fifteen or twenty feet wide. One would think you were in the mountains, with the shallow water swirling around the large boulders, the mossy overhangs, the way the road clings to the banks of the creek as it winds its way over to the bridge road.
This little area has always seemed anomalous to me. How preposterous to find a chunk of the north Georgia mountains set down virtually in the middle of blue collar Smyrna! As I was about to find out, my perceptions of Smyrna are a little off and need to be adjusted.
The trestle had been painted silver at one point in time. Now, the four legs and the concrete base on which it stood were covered in graffiti, of the most lurid and crude kind. No one here had been taking their cues from the industrial buildings seen from the Atlanta MARTA trains or the New York subways. These all just seemed to be displaying a primal urge to mark territory, to extend one's ego, to use language and color and lines like a dog uses piss. A thick mish mash of emblems, words, names, hearts with arrows through them, incomprehensible scribblings, all culminating in the most recent crudely done skull and a hand giving me the finger (How DID that damn gesture originate anyway?! I remember as a young kid little Bobby Mars trying to show me how to make the gesture by forming my fingers over a pencil and me pretending that I just couldn't get my fingers to do it `cause, even though I didn't know what it meant, it felt WRONG.) Ironically enough, for me anyway, one of the most visible graffiti markings is the word `THEORY' in day glo orange, surrounded by dayglow purple. Some budding philosopher no doubt...
The stream is swollen from the recent rains, leaving only a small walk way at the very edge of the turbulent brown water frothing over the rocks. I see a large flat rock at the edge of the water. While I'm making my way to it, I decide to go on around a large head-high cluster of tree limbs and stumps washed over to the side in the rains.
The other side of the stump has formed a shallow, still catch basin out of the flow. It looks like a huge bowl of oatmeal with shredded wood, plastic oil bottles, plastic six-pack holders, a couple of beer cans, pieces of plastic sheeting, part of a real estate sign, a purple plastic tricycle, crumpled cigarette packs, a paint bucket, some industrial looking stuff I can't quite make out. The bank right next to the debris is covered with a verdant mass of fruiting mosses, dripping with the rainy mist still coming down. I brush my hand over the green carpet, knocking the water off the stiff brown fruiting heads. Further up the bank then I notice, between the creek and the road, that someone had dumped out a water heater. I could just make out it's porcelain white curve.
That's all nature is good for anymore. A shithole. A place to discard all your dead crap. I know that's not QUITE true but at the moment I'm furious and ashamed of being a human. We're WORSE than any pig has ever THOUGHT of being. Besides pigs are pretty clean creatures if given the chance. (A few days after I wrote this, I was thinking about how most of the world seems to be hip deep in debris -- and I remembered some lyrics I wrote for the band Shear, the music being sort of a twisted jazz ballad thing Given the mood I was in, I'm sure whether I was being ironic or not:
let's destroy the earth
kill all life,
crush the rocks.
let's get real sick
and throw up blood.
let's call it a day
when we steal the night.
let's smash the moon,
throw it in the sea.
let's fry the ocean,
pour it in the sun.
let's hold our breath
till hell breaks loose.
let's raise the dead,
send'em to war.
let's leverage our position
and break the bank.
let's put out the lights
and call it a night.)
As I load my rocks and leave I decide to ride around the area some more, part of my psycho-geographical mapping project. Apparently my `debris meter' is working at full capacity today. I notice discarded tires everywhere on the side of the road. (and in clearing room for the hut, I had to clean out numerous cans, unidentifiable bits of plastic, rusted metal, car batteries--it seemed like there was the liminal history of my family washed down the bank to the creek, some temporal slide, with the lightness of the effects and toys of a plasticized child's life pushed the furthest and adult debris of lead and metal clotting at the bottom, digging in and refusing to go any further -- and isn't that much the way life is anyway, it's material complements just giving confirmation,...)
I decide to make my around to the other side of the closed bridge and explore. I find something called `Silver Comet Parking'. It's funny, I had seen that before and assumed it was some sort of rail service. Which was ridiculous, since I knew good and well that there IS no rail service in the area.
As it turns out, the Department of Transportation had taken an old defunct railing, the Silver Comet, cleaned it up and made a walking/biking trail out if it, turning it into a miniature roadway complete with yellow strip down the center. As I parked and started walking over the bridge, I noticed as I looked over the new railing---that I was standing at the top of the very same trestle where I got the rocks! This was definitely part of the New Smyrna. The old Smyrna neither hiked nor biked. They worked. I followed the trail for several miles, passing over expansive road projects (the East-West Connector, area of the high-tech corps I mentioned earlier) and then circling back into the woods of the covered bridge area, past new houses-which-all-looked-the-same and older, more individualistic houses, all very expensive.
Coming back without following the whole pathway, I resolved to find some watershed or contour maps. My little creek behind the hut had `rhizoomed' me into a whole new way of thinking about the area. And it struck me that I had been walking on another type of rhizome, much more capital intensive than my little creek, that was making its way through the back yards of Smyrna. That in fact was making its way through the back yards of the whole world.
So I decide to hunt down some kind of aerial maps of this watershed region. For some reason I have become more and more interested in the actual, physical PLACE-NESS of where I am, of the hut's connecting me to `riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, bring[ing] us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back' -- though my hope is that it never entirely turns back but is an iterative return.
First I go to the Smyrna library, a new structure in a brand new government complex. Basically still an undistinguished wide spot in the road that replaces the OLD informal cluster of old one-story ramshackle antique shops, except now it is undistinguished modern brick integrated-building architecture.
The downstairs librarian can't help me, sends me to the reference librarian upstairs; she can't help me (somebody had just been in recently she thought with such maps---what the hell's a library for anyway??!) sends me to the country clerks office in downtown Marietta (located in an old bank building on the square); the tax assessor sends me over to Mapping in the next building; Mapping only has plot maps---the guy says what I need are U.S. government geodetic survey maps. It's almost 5 so I just throw my hands up and quit for the day.
As I walk out of the building, I realize it has been years since I had been `on the square in Marietta' as locals called it. Built like most small towns in the country, it had the square vacant block in the center (my small hometown had the courthouse in the center, with a statue dedicated to the fallen in the civil war in front). The Marietta square had been cleaned up and had benches and playground equipment installed.
Just as I decide to make a complete tour of the square, empty till now, the streets began to fill up with, I'm guessing, government workers, like some school bell had rung, guys in suits and women in suits and high heels (none in sneakers, carrying their heels though--only a few feet to walk to a parking garage). Apparently `government' is the main industry in downtown Marietta. In less than five minutes the one-way circuit around the square is full of cars, slinging them off to their appropriate exit street.
I walk past the old Strand theater (`dedicated to the very finest photo plays and musical productions' it's engraving etched into the marble above the marquee says), where I saw Fred MacMurray when I was a kid in `The Absent-Minded Professor' -- it gave me a momentary twinge of regret at not having invented Flubber. or a silicon chip. or a new Roto-Rooter. or SOMEthing. The Strand was now apparently dedicated to the very finest in local rock acts with Love Puppy and Strawman heading the bill.
A couple of doors down was another marquee, Charades. In high school, the big thing on the weekends was to cruise from a local Smyrna hamburger joint, Sandy's, up through the square in Marietta and on to Shoney's, then back again . Commodius vicus of recirculation. One night as I was cruising with my bud, we noticed that there was a revival in what is now Charades. We snuck in and sat in some rickety wooden chairs in the back and watched the Pentecostals try to reach the godhead. From the look of some of them, they desperately needed to reach SOME sort of destination.
Charades was now being fixed up to become `Club X', a venue that be (according to a sign in the front) `a central point in the southeast for goth and industrial music'....though the spot seemed to have moved away from the godhead, it seemed to be sticking with the metaphysical.
Then a bunch of little antique stores, then Ed and Phoebe's Gift Shop which many years ago used to be a dusty quiet book store. At that time (um, let's say 1963...YIKES!!) the little shop seemed to be the only bookstore in the whole area. and probably was. It was where I bought maybe my first book of philosophy: "Why I Am NOT a Christian" by Bertrand Russell. It struck me as an eminently reasonable book, as did Russell, at least in areas of sexuality and morality (and it was Russell who headed some of the first efforts to end the war in Vietnam--I think his group also came up with the peace symbol). His `official', formal philosophy turned out to be a little TOO rational, positivistic for me. But at the time I was trying to escape the hypocrisy of the Christians and at least then, his boat didn't seem too leaky. Now they ALL the boats look like they've been peppered with a 12 gauge shotgun.
The next street corner, where you could buy Chicago Hot Dogs and Pizza--and which used to be Atherton's Drugs, where I spent many a rainy Sunday afternoon reading comics, and which a leaky gas main blew up one Sunday.
Then the next corner across from hot dogs -- a sandwich shop and Albotelli and Israel, Attorneys at Law, sharing the old First Federal bank building. Sort of startling to see Blimpies being sold out of such a stentorian, blustering marble building. Then a fancy cigar store, then a magic shop, more antique shops, etc.
Then back on the road to Smyrna (six, seven miles maybe?), down the old Atlanta highway, not refurbished yet by the New Smyrna, small storefronts, garages, all one-story, and some buildings whose purposes are indecipherable, having been houses, then abandoned, then halfway fixed, now apparently odd business ventures, past the old billboards there since the sixties apparently, standing firmly for god and country, against abortionists, and ungodly one-worlders.
Still no map of my precious creek though.
A sort of continual excavation, `digging' without end, a tunnel with no light at the end, filled with canaries. At least that's what the hut feels like from up here on the hill. when I'm not immersed in its doings. As Sysyphean gigs go, I suppose it's not too bad. Undoubtedly in the trek back down the hill to fetch his rock Sisyphus was able to meditate quite extensively on his situation. Certainly he must have experienced pangs of resignation -- but not enough to make him sit beside the road. (I went back and found this line from Klossowski: "There is something resistant in thought that drives it forward -- toward its point of departure.")
There are several possibilities: S. thought he was doing something OTHER than what WE see him doing. (so where does that perception come from on OUR part if he truly WAS doing something other than what he seemed to bystanders?) In this case, the internal dynamics of his oscillatory trek has a fecundity and depth not visible to us....an Eastern view because what could that possibly mean for a culture riveted to the End (i.e. the Future, teleology) and hence to the linearity and technicity of Progress. This first view is not a very thinkable one. We continually try to turn his actions into a propaedeutic for future action, even a sort of cautionary tale which acts prophylactically to slip us out of `between a rock and hard place', always the task of narrative language, ITSELF in this case a kind of Sysyphean task: wedging us into a `fictive' future but leaving us stuck `here' when we wake up from the passage we just read.
Holderlin's line that "...at the extreme limit of pain, nothing remains but the conditions of space and time" only holds for the push up the hill (and let's face it, occupying that impersonal space of pain, inasmuch as it `frees' us to hover wraith-like above `life' can be...well, satisfying is not the right word; but it does seem to liberate us from the burdens of what seems like the impacted tooth pain of `being a person' -- much like the peculiar softening of life and a certain security that being a sick patient brings: how comforting to just dump your life on someone else to cure it for you while you ride the tide of medication). Walking back down the hill in some ways must be a MORE painful experience. Technology tried to save us the pain of the walk back down -- but at the expense, just as in Christianity, of having our shoulder to the rock continually, on an uphill trudge.
Deep in the forests, the Frankenstein monster hears the delicate strains of the violin. It's coming from the hut of a blind violinist, who cannot see the gross collage that constitutes the monster, but can only feel the warmth of another presence, someone to share tobacco. (Is this before or after he throws the little girl in the water to see if she floats like a flower?) The monster seems quite at home in the hut -- and it seems to be perhaps the only occasion in the film when the monster does seems happy and comfortable. Although we know that with monsters that is never the case for long. Of necessity and construction, they are creatures of great Bataillean expenditure, nomads (if not externally then certainly internally) of the first order; because of their confused and criss-crossed origins, they are continually traversed by flows and penetrated by consistencies of which they have little knowledge. [link with murray fairies] A hut, being a displaced nodule of domesticity, a clearing, albeit a temporally and causally confused one, seems a perfect refuge for monstrosity.
And don't forget Heidegger's hut in the Black Forest, a precipice from which the philosopher surveyed time and space and psyche from the Greeks to the twentieth century. Some would say that the connect between singularity (isn't that the definition of monster? no kith and kin -- no kind therefore in either the genealogical sense or ethical: sui generis.) and hut is still not broken of its one-of-a-kind habit of endorsing one of a kinds.
"Who's doing this?
Who's killing us?
Is this darkness in you too?"
The thin Red Line
It sometimes seems that human are nothing but cattle. After seeing The Thin Red Line I looked up the statistics for mass death [www2.hawaii.edu/~rummel/NOTE5.HTM#FIG] in the twentieth century: one study graphically puts it this way:
"I soon was overwhelmed by the unbelievable repetitiveness of regime after regime, ruler after ruler, murdering people under
their control or rule by shooting, burial alive, burning, hanging, knifing, starvation, flaying, beating, torture, and so on and on. Year after year. Not hundreds, not thousands, not tens of thousands of these people, but millions and millions. Almost 170,000,000 of them, and this is only what appears a reasonable middle estimate. The awful toll may even reach above 300,000,000, the equivalent in dead of a nuclear war stretched out over decades. "
Like looking up at the stars night sky from outside the hut on a soft summer night, it's not really a thing that one can fathom. One thing is clear: the twentieth century, by ANY estimation, has been a charnel house of decaying flesh. And the limit-conditions seems to be continually raised, as we mistake the smell of antiseptic and surgical `strikes' for progress.
I'm not a big fan of `war movies' but...this one is different. There were four older couples in the theater. It's likely that all the men served in the war. or a war. I never did. I never killed anyone.
But I sometimes have the uneasy feeling that, I hardly know how to put this, that I missed a passageway (don't get me wrong: I think it alright that I missed that rite) into being a different sort of creature. Like the guy said at the end of the film: he was only 23 but the hardest part of his entire life was over. A whole generation thought that.
The problem for the species may be that it finds some of its more sterling qualities under extreme conditions of duress and `testing'. One could even say that the whole of modernism was born in the grip of those extremities. And that `postmodernism' is an attempt to find some way to deal with the slow oxidations of life, rust, rather than the sudden explosions and carnage of war.
No, it seems apparent to me that many people have to create those conditions of stress for their qualities to flourish. I'm running the risk of making this into a simplistic proposition.
Let me put it this way: it now seems difficult to separate out war and peace. No one would consider the slow, grinding attrition of human life due to automobiles -- around 50, 000 a year -- to be warfare. But what is it? (and I won't even consider deaths from all other sorts of industrial processes). `Accidental' to be sure...and yet: why did some return from the war and some not.
No, we are like cattle. Some of us cattle would like to attribute all our troubles to the cattle `over yonder'....and they may be causing us some problems. and yet. we're all cattle and we all get eaten. There seems to be little way of thinking beyond or away from the herd. and after all what's a cow away from it's herd? Just a lone bell clanking in the night. Waiting for the wolf. You say some of the cows are actually wolves? Johnny got his gun...you take the left and I'll flank'em on the right...no matter how fancy the dwelling, it sometimes seems that we squat at the mouth of the cave, ears pricked for the footfalls beyond the fire. Such a proposition becomes visible and viable in a hut in a thin strip of greenery; less so sitting in front of tv watching, waiting, without even knowing what for or why.
this thing we're on, this screen you're staring into--really, it's sort of
a mirror don't you think? half smoke and half mirror anyway. A Delphic
mirror worthy of the greatest seer, pythoness, oracle, where one is always
standing on the brink of one's future and the shards of one's past--and
sometimes one is unable to tell the difference between the two, one
flounders in the sea of presentness, caught between two very powerful
smoky mirrors, the self like a laser beam shooting back and forth, looking
for some tiny imperfection to escape, ruby-red slipper-beam clicking its
heels out of eternal homesickness, 'Kansas' always seems the same distance away, some carrot in front of our slow moving donkey...
I woke very early. Lying in the tomb-like darkness, I hear the wristwatch ticking loudly on the dresser. I visualize (and I know it's true because I was just out not long ago to pee) the filimentous night sky fuzzying up the three quarter moon above the pale glow of the hut roof. Most often under these circumstances the past becomes a newly risen continent, remembrance streaming off its peaks. It's a time of impossibilities, close to the time, statistically, when many heart attacks occur. I have no doubt why that is the case: a time when the heart breaks on the rising shoals of the past (even darker, more vast continent below), slipping out of the safe, numb harbor of sleep. Even the knowledge of the possibility of another space, hut space let's say, doesn't really leave me with the fortitude and certainty of possibility. In truth, any kind of possibility, at this hour, seems co-terminous with impossibility, death, the only pleasure feasible the slissing ink flowing from pen to yellow paper and the uncertainty of the next word and yet the certainty that there will be a next word, even if not the right one. A thin gruel of hope, but one takes, and writes, what is at hand -- until the dark continent becomes invisible again.
There are times when these journal entries seem like calendar hash marks in a prison cell.
Weeds are very successful. Like viruses, they're opportunists, always looking for a crack to settle in, a micro-environment where they can hatch their plans for world conquest, lurking until one of their tribe finds another `crack' to colonize.
It COULD be that humans have become the Master Weed, not only exploiting every available crack---but even CREATING cracks in order to exploit them (the master crack being language). It was said by the German poet Holderlin that the gods fled through the rift in language--if so, humans are in hot pursuit of them through that same rift--now being pried open even further by the technical.
Fate: the essence of Time, time distilled even, Time with a capital T. For modern folk, fate is something bad that happens to you, some chance occurrence, hence a meaningless intrusion into one's life.
For the ancient Greeks, Fate was a point of contact between the human sphere and the sphere of the gods. Hence, fate was a kind of trans-temporal telegraph system, a means for the gods to contact us; there was something that mere mortals could learn from a sudden deviation, no matter how tragic, from one's life course.
The lesson we learn now is that what happens to one is just a result of the machinations and combinations of the interactions of lives, materials, social structures, psychologies--but that basically they too are all just raw materials to be processed and discarded, just the result of chance processes.
Now, the sheer knowledge of time can be tragic -- without any fated quality....if there can even be any knowledge of anything but the `future' now--doubtless a prerogative of the young...
And so maybe my former friend L. is right: nothing but fresh New Beings now, young, fateless, hollow--and a blessing it would be too! Nothing but one's own `pathologies' writ large across the sky. Fate and tragedy eliminated because, well...what's that??
I've come to love starting a fire outside many evenings; a fire always seems like a beginning and end simultaneously, the same excitements and then dulling disappointments -- a small burning ember, held in cupped hands, barricaded to winds, trophied expanse of heat, lit from flame, guttering exclamations tearing at its red fabric, frayed tufts of smoke sliding up, disappearing , sliding up--such is life, always an extreme, rising and falling, even in the midst of plenty.
The hut manages to masquerade as a retreat, as a hide-out as we used to say as kids, but like all such homages to solitude these days it often turns into the opposite. Such is the desire for satiety on all the fronts of being human. The jostling inside my head for positioning by various entities and personages--you know who you are--is enough to take care of any purported solitude. The isolation just gives her room to stretch and be able to take better aim as some of the underbrush gets cleared out.
I was always impressed by Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Hidden away at the north pole, it was superman's storehouse of his identity, of the things that meant the most to him; it was the home of the alien superman, the one who came from another planet and who still kept shards of it arrayed around himself, reminders that he was not of this world. But it was also storehouse to Kryptonite, the thing that Superman most feared and which could do him the most harm.
Peering out at the world from the hut doorway. one facet of the world seems preeminent: the sheer preposterousness of life...but then it seems true that the other side of the coin of tragedy is the comic. A simple flip is all that separates them.