A new month. feels about the same as the old month. That could be because
Im feeling tired today. There are definitely days when things seem
more pointless than other days. Thats always true and its
never true. Thats the way it is with almost everything. I feel like
Ive fused with Ulrich in The Man Without Qualities --
with the exception that the result is more like a base metal in my case
than any sort of transmutation into gold.
L. said as we were walking thorugh a mall today that the objects there
seemed to suck all the life or energy out of you. Yes, thats what
the whole culture feels like, a huge energy sink, in turn fueling enormous
boats pushing out into some void, no certain destination and the port
city has been blown up. Homeless. yes, thats what it feels like
often. Homeless and incapacitated enough to not even be able to recognize
The above is an observation that has been made so many times in the modern
era that it seems ridiculous to repeat it in ANY form. Hey, I only callm
as I feel m....I cant help it if someone else has used the
same pair of binoculars.
Hasnt been much of a month for journal writing has it?
The gyre is slowly turning into the fall season, replete with all the
warm hesitations as the earth precesses around itself.
I need to do some cleanup around the hut but an allergy has kept me from
Ive been slowly working on my paper for the conference. Those who
do these things...well, its part of their job description, isnt
it? But...whats MY job description?! Im totally at sea about
that. I dont even feel right calling my self a writer or poet since
I do so little of it. Same with everything else really. But I try to see
it this way, that there is far too much STUFF out there anyway. OK, so
its self justifying. I am just so tired of everything sometimes,
nothing seems to measure up, let alone my own activities. And to make
it worse, I look around at what other people do and their activities seem
even more pointless than mine. But then making sense of anything has never
been the point of anything anyway, its just a continuing on.
How wise and precious must be those who can not only continue on, but
continue on joyfully! They MUST think that their work has SOME impact
though or else why the joy? Probably some of the most joyful people are
also some of the most insane.
Im in the circumstance when I need to find a way to just put one
foot in front of the other--and then just relax. Except that I cant
because none of this foot-putting involves making any money, ostensibly.
And that has to change at some point.
Last night I went to a gallery to see a concert by some European click
and pop musicians. The style is also called microwave by some writers.
There was a surprisingly good sized crowd. Thirty years ago the music
(some wouldnt even have deigned to call it such) would have been
heard in some of the more sohpisticated universities. Now, it seems to
be some weird variant of pop music or electronica. There was even a pretty
good contingent of young goths with bright blue, green and red hair, all
dressed in blacks and long coats or leathers and chains. They had plenty
of opportunity to sweat down in that basement Ill have to say that.
The three musicians who played consequtively looked like young wholesome
baseball players, the current style of electronica players/listeners I
Im reading a book called HAUNTED MEDIA right now and at the moment
Im in a section on the early history of radio. Then, radio was sort
of an adventure for the common man (or boy really) and the crudity of
the apparatus picked up not only man-made signals but also noises thrown
off by nature: the planet earth with its various electrical surges and
charges coursing through the atmosphere as well as phenomena entering
the earths atmosphere and causing the earth to hum and vibrate and
throw off sparks. All of it captured by the DXer (a term for one who listened
for the farthest signal he could find) with his various concatenations
of crystals and copper. I imagine some younster sitting late at night,
small round headphones pressed tightly to his ear, slowly moving though
various frequencies and that in between the occasional distant human voice,
the sonic result must have occasionally sounded like what I heard last
night, whooses, bleeps, scratches, booming overtones -- maybe even more
like what one would find if you listened in on an alien planet, say Jupiter,
late at night, perhaps the unmistakable repetitions and buzzes of intelligent
life, albeit coded so that the sounds seem to point to meaning rather
than BE that meaning. I try to imagine to myself what the species would
be if THIS truly was a staple on the radio...would we have made the transition
into some beneficent species able to directly read the rawness of signals
flashing thru the air and our flesh, would we be more like dolphins, supposedly
able to see sonically the emotional/visceral state of our fellows? Would
it mean we were brainier? because in a way it sounds like brainiac music,
music that The Beverly Hillbillies would use to spoof the
No, I dont think it portends any great evolution in the species
(though I think I used to kid myself about that). I would suppose it means
that there is a hysteresis, or lag, in culture such that it takes a while
for the raw sounds of the culture to become part of the palette that we
come to appreciate and come to call the aesthetic -- art.
The sound palette of those young composers seems to reproduce pretty much
completely the raw sounds of an electromechanical civilization. Whats
a little disconcerting is to see the rapidity of the transition into art.
And while I guess it doesnt make one better than anybody else to
be able to see these sounds as art -- I must say that it does
make me feel good to sit back, close my eyes, and pretend Im at
the shore of some fantastic, unknown oceanic void, like sonically looking
up at the stars on a clear night, falling into vastness, the impeturbable
majesty of limitlessness, moving with the grace and necessity of light
through a vacuum.
The older I get the slower i feel like Im getting. I mean, getting
slower in some FUNDAMENTAL fashion. And yet, at the same time, I feel
like time is speeding up, that the length of time between external events
is getting shorter, or that somehow there is more of them.
I know that Ive meditated on this theme before but its a constant
source of fascination and occasionally, a certain amount of angst. I feel
like Ive entered a period where there is always a certain amount
of hysteresis, or lagging behind, the pull of immense forces prying and
yanking me, like Im composed of some sort of sticky stuff, like
there is something fundamental to the flesh that is SLOW and sticky and
wants to glom onto its surroundings, its life, its world while the world
is always trying to disengage it from such and pull it onto the train,
which has always, everywhere, everywhen left the station. The more I try
to keep up, the worse the feeling gets. And the LESS I try to keep up,
the worse the feeling gets. The only solution would be to come unconscious,
just a respondent to the world---no, that is, i mean, to become a reflex
to the world, to become an unthinking articulation and the world. The
nature of a certain type of thinking is this lag, an apparent unresponsiveness.
Or active passivity as Robert Musil put it.
But Im thinking how much stronger the streams of culture and communication
are than when Musil wrote in the twenties. Oh, its the same water
alright, Im constantly struck by Musils writings in that regard
but it seems to have turned from a trickle in Musils day to a torrent
now, such that any sort of active passivity is not only actively
despised but actively sought out, hunted down, and made to repond. One
rapidly loses what small amount of choice one had available (I mean, the
choice NOT to make a choice--or at last drag ones feet as long as
And yet: there are people who seem clueless abut a great many things.
Is that drag/lag? Some of them I certainly wouldnt want to associate
with, not having a great appreciation of ignorance. So then, perhaps stupidity,
ignorance, and slowness are all separate things.