A new month. feels about the same as the old month. That could be because I’m feeling tired today. There are definitely days when things seem more pointless than other days. That’s always true and it’s never true. That’s the way it is with almost everything. I feel like I’ve 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, that’s 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, that’s what it feels like often. Homeless and incapacitated enough to not even be able to recognize the problem.
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 call’m as I feel ‘m....I can’t help it if someone else has used the same pair of binoculars.

Hasn’t 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 it.
I’ve been slowly working on my paper for the conference. Those who do these things...well, it’s part of their job description, isn’t it? But...what’s MY job description?! I’m totally at sea about that. I don’t 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 it’s 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, it’s 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.

I’m 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 can’t 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 wouldn’t 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 I’ll have to say that. The three musicians who played consequtively looked like young wholesome baseball players, the current style of electronica players/listeners I think.
I’m reading a book called HAUNTED MEDIA right now and at the moment I’m 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 earth’s 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 avante garde...

No, I don’t 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. What’s a little disconcerting is to see the rapidity of the transition into art.

And while I guess it doesn’t 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 I’m 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 I’m 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 I’ve meditated on this theme before but it’s a constant source of fascination and occasionally, a certain amount of angst. I feel like I’ve 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 I’m 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 I’m thinking how much stronger the streams of culture and communication are than when Musil wrote in the twenties. Oh, it’s the same water alright, I’m constantly struck by Musil’s writings in that regard but it seems to have turned from a trickle in Musil’s 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 one’s feet as long as possible).

And yet: there are people who seem clueless abut a great many things. Is that drag/lag? Some of them I certainly wouldn’t want to associate with, not having a great appreciation of ignorance. So then, perhaps stupidity, ignorance, and slowness are all separate things.

robert cheatham