Monday, January 26, 2009

I Owe it to You

I'm sure you're just dying to know about my teeth. Well, as it turns out, so am I. I got the one crown; on the theory that it's better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission, I wasn't going to ask the insurance company a second time after the first refusal, since by now the tooth had entirely fallen apart and was cutting my tongue, causing the entire staff to cluck their tongues in some kind of sympathy that they couldn't believe that the insurance company denied the need for a crown. There are so many gathered interests in my teeth.

But, on some kind of arcane schedule, the opposite tooth on the opposite side flared up in a mind numbing toothache just the night before, while skiing, so I went into the dental chair fully expecting a wallet ripping root canal along with the known crown, and some kind of cascading series of unfortunate events which would take me well beyond the cost of just tearing them all out and replacing them with dentures.

Sort of like with the car. (Brakes, thermostat, a bunch of simple decisions all adding up to a lot of money I don't have, but also don't feel much choice about). So, my theory is that the tender side (the crown I knew I needed) caused shifting of bite to the other side, where a latent misalignment lurked, and new pain triggered by bite-shift. Made sense to the dentist too, but he gave me an antibiotic prescription just in case his realignment of my bite didn't do the trick and I would still require a root canal.

That's the backstory. Hanging in limbo up against some balance among enthusiasms and the means to address them. Except that there's no room for enthusiasms any more. Just room to hang on.

So, this thing with teeth is just about the boundaries between in and out, and the grinding ways in which passages are made. I'm interested in the Freudian vagina dentata in that regard, and with regard to my sister who apparently has issues with her emotional skin. Prickly anger management issues combined with being hoodwinked into allowing rape. Perpetual rape.  She needs teeth, of some emotional/metaphorical sort.

But here in the hinterlands, where my daughters assure me that I own most of the teeth -whatever their cost or artificiality - in the collective township, I recede ever inward, successfully ducking all social commerce, seeming back into my wombspace, ever to emerge? I continue to work, nervous as we all are that my job too will disappear down the wormhole now opened in the fundament of collapsed capitalist machinery.

But I wonder what difference it could make? The balance between income and outflow is exquisitely made, with some magic guarantee that there would never be room to exercise enthusiasms , even if I had them, apart from those which are directed toward work, and recompensed therefore.

Should I shave comforts? Would it even make a difference? I make a comfort of my wood stove, really to save money. I drive an ancient car, into the ground, even though my mileage is reimbursed, mostly to realise the 35 mpg, with some heavenly reward for avoiding the cost to earth of manufacturing another.

So, I do wonder if I have retracted all enthusiasms in response to the impossibility to exercise them. The boat sits beside the garage as a kind of tooth gap in my life's story. Politely unnoticed. Bothering me if I pay it any attention, which I studiously don't. 

Or is age my main comfort, leaving me content just to sit and read, which I think and mildly fear is somewhat the case? That is what I look forward to. That is what I scramble my logistical efforts toward accomplishing. That is even where most of my disposables are directed, just to keep my widipedia-reader's-companion access energized, not to mention book purchases. As well as to keep open the possibility for telephonic social commerce at the remove I seem to prefer. There is truly a perfected price/value equation, all about indenture (!!) to the company store.

The gaps are all apparent in my narrative.  Clearly, I can't ski without some sort of social existence. Still more clearly, I have and exercise more choice than almost anyone on the planet has ever experienced. And yet my skin grows tight as something transforms inside me and I feel constricted by everything about my self definition. I want to molt and fly (again?). I want actually to experience something more human than this perpetual treadmill of only apparent motion toward some truly nutty apolcalyptic endpoint. (And if you follow that link, you tell me which and who are the nutjobs!)

I know that the flight will be a joining of narrative trajectories. I kinow that it is all about social commerce. I know that somehow I have been burned by my own betrayals and disappointments, which cause this worming in. But damned if I know what to do about it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Slumdog jilted

Isn't it ironic? I mean after my previous post, and then after spending much of the day working up arguments against the Obama bashers in the family, who just can't quit. I guess Fox TV just can't quit either. Then this perfected film about the standard projected theme.  Hollywood Bollywood (is that how you spell it?) Schmalliwood. Are they all the same? Are we looking in the mirror here toward our own future, where the slums of Mumbai look so terribly much like the dystopic dreams of our environmentalist avant garde. And the poverty there a cruel caricature of the Bush direction for the grand old homeland?

I simply don't understand which film has made it so big in this country. I think I can't actually touch what everyone else is watching. Is this feelgoodism? Are we so jaded with our own love stories? Surely we have hung back from this extreme such that it had to be made in the land of the outsourced call centers? Did we even outsource our earnest dreams because to be quite this parodic is, like picking crops, beneath us? Or is this film the very opposite to Foster Wallace earnesty, and is it meant to be viewed ironically? Perhaps I'm simply the only one to view it?

Is it brilliant or incredibly crass, or like what happened with Love Story way back when, does someone need to be politely excused from Yale before he embarrasses us all? I genuinely don't know how to watch this film. My daughter loved it, and as I shall when my ticker quits, I remained mum, not wanting to upset anyone. Because I'm probably just out of touch. I wasn't around when this particular style calmed down. Imagine waking up to platform shoes without what led up to them. Or is it just now OK, in political incorrect fashion, to condescend. Or do I have that completely backwards?

Needless to say, though there is much power in the projected "reality" depicted, the plot is pure bombast, no? (OK, so I looked the word up.  I mean I wiki'd it, and find that the fabric referred to -fustian - covers - I mean the irony will never end - jeans.  I guess as in blue jeans. So bombast has to cover aspirations to worker casual turned hot advert for enough money for a trainer? This is way way too cool!). So, is it fustian prose I aspire to? Do people write that shit? I mean using 'fustian', say, under control rather than as a reach for prosodic power just beyond control? I'll bet David Foster Wallace could have. Virtuousity in anything is as close to witness of miracle as I ever need to come. 

I aim for clarity, believe it or not. Virtuousity never was my forte. (that's a funny line right there)

So, the formula is simple enough. You have to come by this love thing honestly, and then you have to value it more than the most extreme kind of life affirmation apart from it, and then if you put them together you just simply pop. Or something. The ever after Jesus thing.

So why, in this land of no parody - I'm talking here about the people that are able, and I'm not one of them, to distinguish Saturday Night Live from televangelism in structural form - . . . I think I've already written, ad nauseum, about my great confusion, when coming off one hermetic episode or another in my extreme youth, upon coming across What Was on Television at the time.  I truly mistook the televangelism for parody, and was bizarrely shocked that Saturday Night Live could do that on TV.  We're talking way back around the time of Archie Bunker, though I could be off by a few decades. I have yet to recover.  Rip Van Winkle shocked is what I'm talking about here.

But hasn't this just simply got to be the end of something? Aren't we finished with the projection of life, and isn't it time for the living? 

I, of course, have moved beyond hope for that one true love, and displace all socializing onto this blog, since what once passed for feelings has become so impacted that it would take the proverbial icepick to move my innards (hence these gaseous emissions).

But there's nobody out there.  Not a single soul that I can touch where it counts. And I don't think that I'm receding within. I'm really really trying to find a way to say this thing, though it may already be past time. I'm not looking for friends here. I have plenty, though I mostly hide from them. (I don't want to be a burden?)

So my silly life's plot is at least as outrageous as any other plot acceptable for projection. I'm holding out. I'm looking for true contact. I need a reader. Just one would do. I'm not trying to be coy. 

Officially speaking, I liked Revolutionary Road much better. But they are at the same historic moment, about the same historic thing. This tragicomic finding of the thing itself when you let go of it. This giving up on the prospect ever to be other than in the audience for life. I stagger out after some kind of Michelangelo Antonioni festival, maybe it was called the Little Carnegie at the time, way back in the 70's, before I ever even sat through Pink Flamingos. Divine. Eat shit. I stagger out (those Antonioni movies were really slow moving) and figure it can't go any further than this. I stagger out, and now just like on the boat way back when, except that I'm burning lots more fossil fuel about it, I just can't get warm. The furnace won't keep up with the huge differential, uninsulated, between inside and out.

This vision of Mumbai's slums a vision of humanity's failure. Of humanity as karmic stiving so that maybe someday someone's child will be delivered into Nirvana.  The same story of technological climbing out of the shit which just might find us loving our brothers and sisters. Some day soon, John Boy.

I don't understand why there needs to be so much evangelization of fear. Why we hope that our secret service secretly breaks the law to protect us from unenlightened zealots. Why we have so little faith in the humanity we already know and understand. 

Humanity is the coming together of man with man for something other than terror, right? Humanity is reaching out from the winner's circle. Humanity is so not about winners and losers. And sadly, purity of soul and spirit will not grant eternal life of the sort left behind when we leave the theater. But that's what people think Jesus was talking about. 


We are furless, and hearth will warm only when cooperatively clothed and sheltered. We are naked, and our teeth (happily, my broken one which cuts my tongue will be crowned Monday, insurance or no!) don't do so well against living flesh. We were apparently made to be human, no? (another one right there - I watched the redneck comedy thing once)

My own little hydroponic heating system, washing my cells in rusted sea water not so different from the sulferous metalic tasting stuff I now can handpump so gridfree from my well, still pumps out heat to my extremities. And my lonely mind does reach out across skinned and skinless boundaries. A little bit educated. (A little bit redundant.) A little bit capable with the indrawn syllables of conspiring humanity. And very much certain that eternal life is that which transcends the innering of thought and feeling made possible only by definition of my personal limits of life span and skin which defines me as only me. Eternal life is just the love which powers this self thing beyond itself. I think there is nothing so trivial.

But the moment is now. Eternally.

Oh dear, this is not profound at all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ground Moving Generational Inflection

Inflexion?  I like that spelling better, considering what's up (how interesting that in this late internetted age, there should even be choices to spelling!?).

Maybe in recompense for the disappointments of W for those of us who expected or even hoped for a juicy roasting (in the event, I really liked the film, drawing as it did its drama from verisimilitude rather than satire), it was tempting to register a fist pumping skewering score against the outgoing yesterday at the moment of inauguration. Especially in the punch of the speech.

But I think W handled it right, celebrating his retirement, and keeping his prune face in check if he even registered himself any repudiation in the upswelling of arrival. 

This was a generational handoff, and the baby boomers are officially off the cusp. Thanks God. We tended too black and white; good and evil. We never could resolve the 60's movements into something more real than hallucinatory, and we weren't prepared for the marketing hype which followed which we bought as easily as we did our own imagined utopias.

The television easily mixed popular culture with what hit me hard as the first real historic turning point in my own life, on the downslide as I find myself. I felt in solid contact with greatness, but of an easy unselfconscious sort. I felt and could detect no panic at the miscue with the very sacred words of the oath. I prayed in actual fact for the preservation of this man's life and family and health. But my tears turned to a big wide grin after I finished dinner and watched Obama actually dance, almost as gracelessly as I might, but in a manner which was utterly and obviously continuous with how he might have danced at his best friend's wedding.  This is a man who rides the historic more easily than those of us in the first television generation ever could imagine.

So, I will put aside my concerns about the hucksterism surrounding the event.  Of course hucksterism has always been there from the beginnings of our nation, but finally we have mastered our age, and only we old farts feel even the impulse toward purity; as though the technoglitz were a threat to our control. The superstars cried real tears, Sting and Stevie Wonder achieved real transcendent artistry, and somehow everyone knows that a corner has been turned.

But the best part for me is the actual palpable relief that I myself don't need any longer to measure myself up against some gold ring grabbing lottery success. I'm not simply talking about a recalibration and rebalancing of the body politic, away from what I so hit home jabbingly call Savage Capitalism. I'm not only talking about the liberation from near total enslavement to wealth generation signalled by a return to neighborhoods and communities.

I also feel, palpably I might add, a powerful sense that I also am on stage, there with the Man. That it is alright for Sting to have made it, and me to have no personal trainer. That my narrative intertwines with the one Writ Large, and my role is secured in the chorus, perhaps, but secured nonetheless, in support of a plot not defined entirely by its punch.

This is a good day indeed.  To stop projecting and to start living. I will sing as hard; though noone ever picks out my voice it swells the tone of celebration still - is carried by the large and more pure note.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day, pre-Obama Day (Yipee!!) and why I felt like a blob yesterday

I'd wanted to go skiing, but the parent/child negotiations broke down. And then I realized that I hadn't signed up for any day of service services today, having instead arranged for the car maintenance. I began the day today with another read of another Ben Franklin bio, which is incredibly instructive about what is going on today, this MLK day. Public Projects. Re-establishment of Progressive, as in Pilgrims, tied to a kind of civic deism, and interestingly related to a supposed relative of mine - Cotton Mather - so representative of the schizoid nature of what it's meant to be American.

I find it incredibly difficult to get a handle on what I'm trying to do here. On the one hand, to move away from family which knows me too well, but on the other they, family, some of them, are the only ones likely to make the filial effort to give it a try. On the other ("third hand," friend to mechanics everywhere) to just avoid the hard work of composition for publication, or at least the hard confrontation with the reality that I have no such gift in me. Compulsively to get 'out there' this thing that I scribbled some 25 years ago, and which now represents (!!) for me the actual thing itself, the documentary it which, though I've tried mightily, I can't quite get rid of in my meanderings about the globe. In my mind.

Nor can I seem to unite the seemingly brilliant thoughts had, say, while driving and mentally noted to myself for eventual editorial commitment to this, what, page? I can't seem to get a handle on the writing, even as I betray a kind of faith or trust or absurd hope that the document itself (the historical one) will betray something other than neurotic compulsion.

I felt like a blog yesterday. I mean I felt my heart going in apparent imitation of heartburn again, and therefore saddened that I can't muster the concern for better ingestion or exercise. (ze food is not ze medicine, ju stupid Americains . . . ) I felt hopeless up against financial entrapments and enmeshments of our economic system so mimetic of calls in the wild, and therefore I suppose so opposite to what humanity proposes. And the personal entrapments of familial mesh, where intimate trust becomes mortal enmity somehow, just in the sense of constrictions to ultimate liberation into some sort of authentic memesis of God's individuality.

So stuck, this nation of ours, between identity as empire and as last resort for oppressed souls. So stuck, this self, between blue-jeaned authenticity and humble servitude and how improbably combined in the very same marketing ploy. God defend me from cool, as though I were in any danger.

These things I know:

That the notion of life everlasting is as absurd as the notion of physical body extending throughout the cosmos. The boundaries, of skin, of mortality, of sense and sensibility, are what make life, as it is, worthwhile.

The notion that I end at my skin is as absurd as the idea that facebook could contain all my earthly relations. And, of course, even knowing myself full intimately, what is within my skin remains as other as the furthest galaxy. I recoil at more than passing intimacy, Sadean only in that sucked blood from a stamped metal cut while pushing cards into PC servers doesn't taste so bad. Beyond that I must avert mine eyes and certainly taste.

The term God is a categorical error of the sort that would give flavor to a number, say, or color to my feelings. Better. But not less necessary therefore, and equally profaned by scientological cynical reifications as by overly layered ecclesiastical occultisms. Inner sanctums of any sort, when revealed, are precisely as profound as Tibetan nothings seeking the pearl beneath the layers of canonical onion. And much more lurid.

Structurally, this God terminology is as necessary to our overall categorical narrative construct as is the Higgs boson to the standard model of physics. And equally vacant when the attempt is made to pin it down. As witness the body of Chinese literature, there is no fundamental necessity for the God descended language of progress and intent. There is no fundamental necessity that mind even can, as propositionally as cellular minutes or potentially as my perfected soul, comprehend the all.

OK, that's a blooper.  Duh. That is fundamental absurdity. And so, in strict Kuhnian sense, I do know that the paradigm is shifty.  Shifting. Shifted. We have crossed some boundary with control and outering. We must back off the technology, surely, to re-become what has always been meant by human, just simply because this technology destroys the bonds of trust and narrative continuity.

Or, put another way, we can't let the technology get away from us, and most certainly not in the hopes that it will or can ever provide us a lever long enough to exercise our will upon the surrounding life which pervades us. Our will being the problem and not the solution.

And so scientific truth becomes replaced with narrative beauty; as in which story we want to live and not simply which story we want to tell.  That damned Infinite Jest which I did actually just complete is so beyond sad in its entailments. That televised outerings can so enthrall, and chemical innerings so simulate ecstatic, precisely, encounters with bliss, that life itself, the narrative in which we all conspire, should be left by the way, hanging from a knotted rope not of chemical so much as narrative imbalance. I cannot know. I surely haven't the words.

Poetry being the thing we miss.

So through this particular looking glass we must find that the ever continuing seeking after some outer and static truth, postpones eternally our simple confrontation with that before us which would bring our tears and which we therefore compulsively store and catalog. Building up toward a family me. There is never time or space or ingathing of loved ones sufficient for the sparking certainty of simple love. 

Well, I will actually accept this Christmas past, where dinner proceded to skilless and nearly ecstatic dancing (not entirely without skill or graceless, just me-wise) which included not merely the appropriate age group, who were indulged in their pre-boundary beer and wine, but also my 80-something Mom, near universally regarded as the most talented, who actually kicked off the evening by dancing a jig over the Apple Mac-book her offspring, myself included, wrapped as her gift. That's how she too learned of the resemblance between herself and my own daughter, which among other things did prove that technology is not entirely lost on her generation. She took the pictorial proof as compliment, as well she should have. And I beam as intermediary.

I know that I lack inspired gift for poetic construction of words, but also that some things of beauty can come from schematic plans. For others' use.

I actually do know, but tolerate its abuse not gladly, that the Christian story does qualify as true religion, and that its over or under elaboration is among those sins most forgivable. It is not and never can be an exclusive copyright, though it does seem to have gained the most currency. Well so has positivistic science.  That doesn't make it cosmically right nor complete.

Ummmm.  Let's see. What else do I know? Not much, I'm afraid.  I'm glad for the day off.  Glad for the chance to learn more about our country's origins on Obama-day eve. I wish I could be there - a bit put off in receipt of my frameable and truly well crafted invitation to the inaugural, with fine print restrictions to public events only. Who invited P.T. Barnum and all his matured fundrasing descendants to this party? I still may frame the thing, though I'll be glad for televised proxy attendance instead of jam packed and chaotic chemical toilet jubilation.

I do and shall utter a prayer for this particular man's safe passage, and our nation's delivery from that shuddering Greek-ish tragedy which was dull Dick Cheney orchestrating constructs for presentation to a dim witted scion of dynastic power enthralled by his own born-again deciderism, as though good and evil were ever so simple to tell apart. Alone among hell-bound liberals, I find a note of sadness that Bush's actual blossoming competency in his second term has been destroyed for history by the global abomination of his first. It is the sadness I feel when flushing a stinkbug down the toilet (crushing them releases, well, a stink), but true sadness and regret nonetheless. A likeable enough fellow. The wrong side of what Ben Franklin meant.

Back to reading and my own blossoming literate competency, thanks to the magic of portable cellphone Wikipedia access, editorial qualifications be damned!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Unlucky Chapter 13 from 1983, again as coverup

So I started The Critical Path, by Bucky Fuller; an old love of mine. I've alternately hated and been thrilled by what he has to say. I often find his image of a technologically perfect world terribly like 1984 yet so much of what he says is brilliant and strikes truth in the heart like poetry. I was a little displeased with him this time, and a little excited. He is aware of the danger of the myth of control, but not of how deep it goes. His life has been an act of faith. He has commended his well being to the wisdom of the universe, which he is sure will care for the selfless. But he has yet to realize that science when taken for truth can be an affront to that same all-knowing universe.

Confused, I decided to get out my little pump-up sprayer, heat some water, and bathe myself. Then a simple thought started growing. I crashed about clearing up after lunch and my shower; recharging the stove. Everything was in the way. I wanted to write some more.

At least one point of Fuller's is indisputable. Science has provided us with incredible means. Aha. Of course. Some scientists would distinguish themselves from technologists. They are in search of pure truth. The scientific pursuit is a pure and idealistic one. But every responsible scientist will tell you that he is not concerned with why -- only how. There's a paradox here, because to the common man, truth is the mater of why. To the scientist, truth is concerned with how. There's something wrong with the language. The solution is not simply to distinguish between the language of the scientist, and that of the layperson. We all share the same world. Where scientists talk to other scientists, they also talk to specialists of another field. They rely quite a bit on common language for their communication, because each individual scientist has his special area within his specialty. Ideas have to be gotten across somehow. There is no pure mathematical communication.

But, in general, the scientists will agree that truth is determined by finding out how. How do things work. How are they structured. How do we know about them. But, it would seem that the popularizers of science get as confused as the layperson. They are concerned with showing why the why is inconsequential and uninteresting.

Well, that's a dangerous thing, because it would deny the truth-value of science to the layperson concerned with why. So images of beauty are introduced to show that how is beautiful with the implicit assumption that beauty is why.

Aside from the obvious danger of tautology, there is the implication that the scientist is therefore doing just what everyone else does. He finds the world beautiful and mysterious and proceeds to unfold it.

A lot depends on the relationship between the scientist and the other he is unveiling. A lot depends on whether there is trust. Is this unveiling a rape, or a seduction? Or is there love in the connection. Are we betrayers of the earth we have penetrated with our words and probing instruments. I trust there are some who will keep an open mind on the question.

The layperson does not unfold the mystery. He leaves that to the specialist. The layperson finds the world beautiful and mysterious and wants to know his relationship to it. Science changes his relationship. There's a different why in the modern world than there is in a world inhabited by spirits or gods or other meaningful-because-people-directed forces. Now the layperson wants to know his relationship to an unspirited world and naturally looks to the scientist for help. After all, he did away with the spirits, so he ought to be able to help us find out what the relationship is.

Oh, no! says the scientist. I can only tell you what is there -- nothing about its relationship to you. That's a personal matter. The trouble is that when the scientist claims to be dealing with the truth of what is there, he also assumes the truth that the relationship between self -- here -- and there is unimportant.

Oh, no! says the scientist again. We know that we effect our experiments. We know also of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. But we also know that what is there is there and that science is the means for finding out what is there -- finding out how.

But that's a bit too much of a mouthful, I think. They really know no such thing. They only believe it. They really deal with nothing like truth. They only deal with means. Science has, as I've said, given us some tremendously powerful means. These are means for dealing with the external world. And they are also means for dealing with ourselves. The trouble is that anything they have to do with that is internal becomes external. The body becomes other when it is treated as such.

And in the external world, too, the means always change the actuality. Long before ghosts were eradicated, the world was changed by the light of fire, the distance able to be covered by the wheel, the communication available through words -- these are all means. Finally we live in a world of electric light and switches and airplanes and computers and etcetera. The world has been changed through the means by which we deal with it. And of course each of these changes in means has been predicated on the pure "Truth" of science.

Now, when a scientist proposes to describe how the world is, he fiddles with the truth of why, though perhaps without knowing or intending it. If he did merely what the poet does, and described what is beautiful to him rather than what is, he would perhaps be excused from meddling. Except the poet is expected to deal with why -- and not only by way of beauty. There's a dilemma.

The poet speaks the literal truth without trying to prove anything to you. Some poets may try to seduce, but not the good poets. The true poets. They have always been the prophets. They speak the truth, and it is up to you, the reader, to find it there or not. The beauty cannot be had separately from the truth. Such acceptance is nothing but the swooning of the hateful actress-virgin before the experience of her seducer. She wants to believe, and he only wants to get her into bed. Who is the more dishonest? There is no beauty apart from truth.

Listen to the rock music on the radio. Much of it is hymns to truth. Other, older music seems to be more beautiful. The elite among us smirk at those who can appreciate only the vulgar -- the rock -- without knowing the classical. But the classical has become a seductress. An old harlot, who wants us to believe that we cannot have her except on sufferance. She lies. We cannot touch her beauty, because it has grown old. It is a different beauty, and those who make contact do so according to different rules. We cannot hear Beethoven except through modern ears. To pretend that we can is to rape the hag.

The scientists don't know what is any more than you or I. They only know ways for changing our relationship to what apparently is. And they can only do that with help. The accomplishments of science seem to give us tremendous power, but all they really give us is a different world. The why changes along with the changes in the world.

If someone comes to beat you with a stick and you're human, but don't know about sticks, you'll learn pretty quickly. If you survive, you may learn to use the stick yourself. That is, if you also learn that beating is essential.

If someone goes to the moon and tells you about it, your relationship with the moon might change. Or you may have been following the progression all along, in which case the change has been slow, and it's easy to believe the story. If you hadn't been following events, you'd probably be pretty hard to convince.

Now, if someone tells you about the way the world is, and you know that it isn't that way, you'll say 'show me'. If someone can show you effectively, your knowledge changes. But you have to want to learn. If you really want to be convinced, you can be made to believe that the world is most any way at all. But if you don't, then no proof will convince you, though you might perish in your resistance.

Many a club has been stopped in mid-swing by the magic of a word or a look, or the superior knowledge of some arcane martial art. I know we've been to the moon, but I'm not convinced we can reach the stars by the same means. No one has resolved the "twin paradox" to my satisfaction. I think they only want me to believe. And I don't think I'm being perverse. I think I know something the scientists apparently can't know about the way the world is. It involves the why of faith. It involves my relationship to the world. It involves the dissolution of the paradox that is the foundation of science. The distinction between myself and the world. I don't think there is any, other than what I put there. I know that the distinction cannot be erased without losing myself. And I know that nothing can be proved.

Nothing can ever be proved. Except to oneself. I have proved to myself something about the way the world is. I know that the essential first step is to believe -- to have faith -- that one's own existence is meaningful. Because that kind of knowledge is absolutely impossible without faith. There is no unlimited being. We are all limited by definition of self. There is no point in naming what is undivided. And I know that what I have proven to myself can be proved by anyone -- absolutely regardless of his particular capacities. Ail that is required is a leap of faith. It's a simple thing. You don't need a strong body or a strong mind. In fact, they get in the way. Ail you need do is let go.

No one can show me or anybody else alive that we can get to the stars by "physical" means. It's beyond our lifetimes. Those who would try to convince us must have a terrible need to believe in the possibility themselves. They must be either terribly lonely or wish terribly much to be alone. I am both, but I have found that the achievement of aloneness is impossible. My life seems to have a meaning that is beyond me -- other. The seeking for answers to the question why that propose only a relationship between the self and nothingness -- the self and some other that is comprehended in the self -- are perpetual evasions. The journey to the stars is an evasion. The belief in its possibility evades something too. It is willful blindness.

Not that the stars have nothing to do with me. But the containment of a changing world by the framework of metaphors appropriate to another world is explosive. The masculine, physical, power dominated vision of travel to the stars is extrapolation of beliefs already shown to be dangerous in the present. And thus it is a delusion. There are other ways to reach the stars.

No Time for Thoughts

After the Holidays, deep in a cold snap, I may be the only person who mourns when the days start shifting longer. Well, no, that could hardly be, since 'everyone' mourns the passing of Christmas in at least the sense that they looked forward to it so strongly. Signal of solstice.  Soul stasis. Hearth warming.

There's no time for reflection, so close among the family network, and now after they are all dispersed, I might as well re-decrease my cellular plan for all those unused minutes. Minutes when I might have talked and therefore felt the better for the money spent? Or am I not more content silent, in a sort of hibernation, not wishing to be in contact with anyone at all. Digesting. In. We've talked enough. How much would I - do I - pay for that?

The teeth fall apart, despite the insurance disclaimer. I mean literally fall apart, as in the tongue now catches on what's left. The car will likely be repaired in allegiance to the one most certain financial management principal, which is to delay all expenditures whenever possible and to the last possible minute, well except in the case of tires when there's snow, but even that excites my perversity. The bank account unaccountably heads south, despite my best prophylactic calculations and absence of car payments. I dance opposite a control freak, and giving in is always preferable, even while going into serious debt.

There surely is something beastly about our matured and now perhaps dead and gone savage capitalism. Along with those few who mourn the days getting longer, I find it actually hard to mourn the collapse of our economy. Sure, I am terrified of all that I will lose, and maybe I will lose it all (not quite possible, since I actually have nothing to lose - no equity in a house, no retirement funds to speak of - of the 10K I track, 2.5K evaporated in a couple of nostril clearing months  - and now only the remnants of cars).

The thing I sense the strongest need to take care of now, before other priorities swamp their importance, is my teeth.  Sensing somehow that the descent to pre-modernism will hit me just there more than anywhere else, tending my victory garden with a toothache in fear of pliers without anesthesia just as much as I live in fear of having to roast and eat rodents, say. But at least symbolically, they are my purchase on the raw it of life, which is what has to be gotten on with. I fear dental fixatives, for Chrissakes. For sure I fear being toothless in a dog eat dog world.

But please now, the very reason that I, Ivy educated and by all accounts quite well wired in the overall field of human competency. I mean I get things, I drive well, I'm politically savvy, and in general, as the complaint goes, I could do anything I put my mind to (perhaps most frequently goes from the ex- - I like that - my barber refers to his suddenly dead partner as "the girlfriend".  So cave-mannish somehow. So de-identifying - but canonically by my mother). And so why don't I? Why haven't I? Why won't I?

Well, neurosis, of course. Neurasthenia, anhedonia, dysthymia - other terms I cannot understand, and likely won't, tied as they have become to industrial drugs. But surely hanging on to idealized versions of some self the actualization of which would have to mean the leaving aside those unrealized others which might have been. Fear of "success", which simply means fixation. The success. The fix. Fixative of life and therefore loss of potential. Lost minutes. Rooted in boundary issues from narcissistic parenting, right? Emotional incest. This burden to carry out some family promise, but which promise still defines the burden. Without which there would be what? Drugs pure and simple? Would I rather be cast loose?

I hole up to resist proddings toward all those things I might do, duh. And I do tightly prefer narrative fixations of terminology over the latinate pseudo-technical cataloged precision of medicine.  Holding on for one more Freudian year of endurance up against the ex's money mediated control freakishness, to where I pay the child support and the transportation and buy the kids' clothes when they ask and have to work a job which leaves me without energy at the end of the day to think.  

No time for thought.

But as my wallup-packing gut continues to grow, perhaps in simple response to emotional tranference to food, but I think more likely as the camel-like response to intake only of diuretics such as beer and coffee which makes a hump necessary to homeostasis, I do actually prefer to think my enslavement is quite simply the mandated cost of participation in savage capitalism.  

The beastly part.  You are meant to have no time to think, and to be reduced, finally, to a kind of 24/7 productivity and certainly availability in enthusiastic competitive service to whatever globally relevant corporate entity whose boxer shorts you wear.  (In my case, the oldest. Getting self-referential here, who who, except I can't find the reference - it must have been in some email) Unless you're the boss, in which case your teeth are bloody, right?

I work for the Church, whose servers also crash, giving me opportunity for elated triumph over the dull machinery, but exhausted at the end of the day, and only the weekends, but rarely even those, to blog and think. I work for the Man, then don't I?

Surely there is no question that it organizes us best, this perfected global marketplace. But for what?

At bottom, the assignment of particulate precision oscillates between the ons and offs of digital simulacra which must exist in the ideal realm alone, and the very real sub-atomic particules whose final finality must be postponed yet again while fated breakdowns get repaired. This narrative so much like any personal narrative, leading back to familial conception and onward towards something never quite other enough.

I, however, am quite finished. The fixing of terminology quite sufficient. Higgs bosons be damned, I think it's long past time to admit the self-referential nature of our continued discoveries in that particulate direction.

And so with family heritage, I was spooked when handed my mother's high school portrait, as descended through my friend's Mom's sister to her and finally then to me after the funeral of my friend's Mom, who was my own mother's best friend's sister.  Whose best friend, my Mom's, died from precisely the same medical condition which nearly killed my ex - preeclampsia - and caused my own daughter to be so prematurely born.

I was spooked because there was a portrait of my daughter, though in fact my Mom, and I'd never seen it before - the portrait nor the resemblance.

What sexual vectors pull me and where with all these Freudian interoperable interpretable possibilities, and which have left me now bereft of pull, stomach particulate in round stolidity. Wiener stowed. Weiner?  Hot dog! This is no mystery.

Nor either the end of discovery, scientifically.

My poor dear other daughter, post discussion of what to do about control freak Mom, does admonish and implore that what my stomach signifies is the very absence of justdoitism, as in getting it on with life, were almost her very words just now. Get out there.

When there is no want.

So, turning a corner back from technically mediated rape, which is just the breach of trust at the most basic level, which means that what is really wanted is some sense of trust. Some sense of what trust is.

Interlude to rush out to push out the car of the open-hearted (I mean literally with cracked rib cage for the triple bypass) neighbor and sometime sailing cohort who I was so glad to see just now alive, but after returning from talking with I now must contend with chest tightening broken promises to myself.

Back to thinking.

I surely don't want to break my daughters' hearts. On my own account, I don't very much feel something there to lose, though between Buffalo Wings and Lipitor aversion which pleasure must I abjure? Which potential in the absence of actual is the one actually wanting? If only.

Another interlude to read the Scientology pamphlet, disavowed on the back as not religulous - meaning it's L.Ron at his honest best or what? - , though come on people, we aren't that stupid, are we, which I uncovered while blithely shovelling snow, heart be damned, just before the contracted young snow machine wielder showed up. Is he happy or annoyed to follow my work? Four-wheel-drive-contemptous as I remain, doubly so, for snow throwing machines when the shovel almost invariably works as quickly, never needs starting, and keeps the devil of artery clogging at bay to boot, you'd think. Or what are we really doing here with all this machinery?

And another interlude, sub interlude to eat heartery clogging pizza, which is all that was ready to hand, and a sub sub to write a quick email.  Now I'm back - to reading the non-scientology screed.  Hang on just a minute . . . . 

OK, well, on the topic of trust there may be some relevance.  Are the techniques of scientology all about hypnosis? Where does that leave the believer, in relation to himself? Certainly, the entire superstructure of belief violates Occam's Razor, which might be a good clue as to its trustworthiness; the superstructure's. Not to mention the pyramidal scheme of penetration to some sort of inner sanctum of revelation.

Enough of that shit. I think I'm all about Occam's Razor, and these guys are all about competition with the Churches that is.  Are.  Um.

Sanctums. Trust. Adept. Adroit. Watching me learn grace with words is about like watching me learn grace with dance, which I hope you never have to do.  Especially beer belied.

As you can see, dear reader, there is not time for thought here.  No time for composition. No time to pull the threads together. No time to make sense.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Drat, Foiled Again!

I am nothing if not persistent, enjoying makeshift MacGyver repairs to things way more than replacing with new.  And I hate to give up.  But I just couldn't extract the knob from its stem to put the bathroom latch back in working condition.  Does this prefigure my pending automotive decision? If so, how?  

I know I'll go back to this one until there's been some resolution, or until I destroy the damn thing entirely.  There's a delicate balance between twisting the knob off and releasing the stuck threads. WD-40 magically appeared among all the gutted basement stuff, cleaned out from my previous residence here, and I thought surely this was the fated gift I needed.

But not yet.  Not today.

Still, I did post my picture, "In Utero" as it should be called.  Or "still behind bars".  Or "Is He Dead Yet?"  Literally steaming hot from the bathtub.  Smokin!

Friday, January 2, 2009

On an Anhedonic Tear Here

There is no way to read Infinite Jest without getting the sense that David Foster Wallace prefigures his own de-mapping. I guess you have to honor the literate press for not making hay of this.  It surely does deepen the sadness, however.  And for sure ironizes the truly great book he wrote afterward (A Short History of Infinity), which traces the history of abstraction.  So, not being sure which standards I am beholden to here in the Blogosphere, I feel at least confident that I can, without fear of accusation of digital theft, cite an excruciating passage from the novel:

". . . anhedonic state as a kind of radical abstracting of everything, a hollowing out of stuff that used to have affective content.  Terms the undepressed toss around and take for granted as full and fleshy - happiness, joie de vivre, preference, love - are stripped to their skeletons and reduced to abstract ideas.  They have, as it were, denotation but not connotation . . ." (page 693 of the most recent paperback edition)

There's more.  

But this has been enough to help me to understand just why, in my accelerating anhedonic accomplishment toward perfected denotative abstraction of the very self, my very very tentative efforts at reaching out and friending seem only to leave me with the burden for all the be- part of the friend.  As in, I've got to do all the self-inviting, I guess because I seem so very self contained and likely do broadcast my preference for alonehood, and even more likely am just no fun to be around (not true!).  But I don't want, and am very unsure that I even want to want.

So digital, by definition is abstract.  If it has any existence at all independent of some actual thing, it's what gets left behind when the machinery of its creation is turned off, and that for which the machinery might perhaps be turned on again.  It can never get any more thingy than that (wow, read the ambiguity in that sentence!), and no matter how well embodied, it will never - Zeno again - achieve actual independent thinghood.  It just can't.  Those little diminutive digit thingies are just too damn abstractedly determined.  And reality isn't.

And though it will seem as though to borrow Wallace's own term (de-mapping) is to make light of the act; since there is no machine other than the reader for words to re-embody the mind behind, as it were, the act of the writing, so I mean the usage as an expression of actual love and not dismissal as trivial of what in fact saddens not just me, but readers far greater, and more worthy. How truly and finally sad.

Is digital theft only ever the software's misattribution; and all digital theft just simply identity theft? I guess this is what the Open Source community is so strenuously trying to work out. The battle lines remain blurred, however.

Perhaps identity preserved should claim income from performance and authority, and not from sale of reproduced plans. Though this ancient Chinese order had its issues too. For sure, reproduction of the plot or plan can be inhibited by never quite controlled, so terms, like people, must eventually expire and enter the public domain.

But there is a crisis looming if not already upon us, as more and more actual things are valued only as their plans for disembodied reproduction.  Straight from factory, for manual assembly by the purchaser Christmas eve, with Chinese reproductions even of actual one-of-a-kind crafts overwhelming the draw of personality, even as tacky craft shows proliferate as ways for the semi-skilled to stay marginally e-Bay employed.  Authority has way too much claim these days. Way way way and so damn paradoxically, when the popular claim is so opposite.

Well, duh.  Madoff Made Off with Billions, read the headlines.  (Central casting is never far away!)  The cages were never properly maintained, and the lions made off with the lambs (I hear that many of Madoff's victims were hapless liberals).  I guess it's just the old authority without responsibility issue over and over and over again.

I stake my Intellectual Property claim on the notion that there never truly is an original thought. The ground, after all is out there in the language community, and there's only ever discovery of the particular among the very abstracted possibilities.  And rights attendant on discovery should be mitigated, just as should recompense for windmills which so pit the landowners against the untitled owners of the view. Why not spread the wealth?

So the body/mind false distinction gets turned on its head, so to speak, as the thing thought has, weirdly, more reality and I guess more value still than the thing which manifests the thought. Demapping as redundancy. This trading of words in abstracted space, what used to take months and years for dissemination now assembling instantaneous interfaces among faceless handles in the cloud.  All stupid sounding, but whose words, sometimes at least, can far far outpace what the actual mouthing would excite.

Jesus, I can't even read my own writing.  No wonder that those finely crafted emails of which I have such pride in ownership get filed away behind the eyewash so quickly to be gotten through, and then never gotten back to as even friends must finally admit to me.  

Encryption being a veil over the mask of a face which actually you never really get to see. I think that all art must be performance art, and that all performances are stale the moment they become reproduced.  Even breaking encryption being just a matter of time, which can be compressed by massively parallel processes, until who knows which Oz will be revealed when the curtain draws back.  Intellectual production takes time to disseminate or be visited, and there is simply a necessity to inject some viscosity to the lubricative or is it lubricious injections of identity controls, without which we could never keep track.

Shit man, but a man's reach must excede his grasp, or what's a meta for? (overheard among English lit dweebs).

I try, and do but deepen my aloneness. Meta-existence really sucks.

More Problems of the Day - the backstory

So I went, the other day, to the dentist and complained that my far back tooth did hurt when crunched, and recalled the day, some weeks back, when biting on a piece of bread (!!) sent electric shock through my jaw, and I pondered mid sentence while conversing with colleagues at work how I was going to afford to deal with this. And for the first time I put in for a pre-evaluation, since the dentist announced two actually cracked teeth, both of which needed crowns. 

Now, I've had crowns before, and facing what seemed no choice, I've never pre-submitted my claims, and the insurance company has always paid.  So, playing by the rules this time, they found their reason to refuse, I guess because by submitting I did confirm my actual choice (!!!).

To be fair, I think cracks don't show up on x-rays.  

But now, and the punch line to this little tale of woe (as if - I should be so lucky as to have to patronize those outdoor bazaar-style dentist collectives like I witnessed in China, where pulling teeth is a spectator sport, like eating beating snake hearts, and the anaesthesia consists in really bad rot gut) is that now the opposite tooth - opposite both in side and up/downness - is killing me.

So clearly, faced with choices proliferating, I must be grinding my teeth at night, and thus compounding the fracture in my life's non-plan cash flow crisis.

And, to be entirely honest about the cage thing, I do actually own a spare car, in all senses of that term.  It's a 1988 spartan-style VW, currently leaking antifreeze from the heater core, but otherwise, apart from WNY salt cancer of the body, in fine tough shape and getting some 36 mpg.  In the case of this car, it's not the sunken costs so much as the sunken labor.   Actual weeks spent writhing on the cold cement slab of my garage (in my youth, I would have done this is the freezing mud) replacing brake lines and bearings.  (My own body perversely none-the-better for the exercise, and still going the way of all post menopausal flesh)

So, the choice I present is, as I suppose it always must be, not a real choice.  It is more a Joni Mitchell too-much choice.  As now, my main preoccupation is which of my next generation blood relatives can be lured into driving the old spartan cage back to my country hermitage from city digs where I thought it would be useful over the Christmas gathering - to have a spare car.

In the event, the spare was one too many (and no thanks from the driveway juggle challenged who did nonetheless benefit from the added flexibility in arrangements, even though a tweak to control freakishness), and now snowstorms and other lame excuses have prevented its transport back while I was in the country, leaving me with two cars and only one driver (daughter returned to college), and no spare to back my possibly poor decision making.

My ex, of course being the control freak, since perhaps what else could you be or become dealing with someone who acts so much as if he's stoned on pot thinking about things even if he never actually is (stoned on pot).  Thinking about things for sure.

My definition of control freak being someone who views every incursion on orderly planning as a potential disruption, to be deflected with all possible vigor as default catastrophic.  In most cases, control freakishness is very hard to distinguish from plain vanilla negativity.  But I do think extreme go with the flowishness such as I might be said to exhibit just might exacerbate that particular latent tendency.  Right?

So, the problem is to clear and not dislodge the clot which is stopping continued arterial movement.  I seek an economy of repair, with only minor newness, don't I?  Savage Capitalism:Cancer::Enlightened Socialism:Life.  Marriage:commitment::prostitution:evernew. Prostitution:worn smooth::virginity:obtuse disappointment.  Old famliar:broken down::New shiny::cookie cutter same.  Digital:infinite regress::analog:evolution.  Digital:House of mirrors but always reflection::Analog:no mistaking the original. Me:you::Inside:out.

I hate that this is the week to dispose of that truly most beautiful Christmas tree which I now both scent and watch.  The days elongate, and I am saddened.  How odd.  I must crave excuses to cover up, burrow under, hide out, crawl into, and twinkle little lights under the covers. I do, however, love the Christmas driving, past ethnic descended (what else could it be?) lighting displays of ostentation surely beyond what all the cooler geocodes on earth could ever need to aspire to.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

but wait!

I truly am in danger of signing up for a new "cage", so called by true biker dudes.  Hey, I'm a biker dude, except that when I'm gotten up in leathers, passing tourists literally fall over - no kidding - laughing at the sight.  Can't hardly blame them.  But I don't wear bright striped running shoes that look like boats, along with logowear, which makes me less the clown.  It's all a matter of perspective, right? There is no look I can inhabit, but that I am a fool on the road for sure, good buddy.

But, as a dollars and cents calculation, I almost have to, since this time I'm going properly to sense the impending final sunken cost thousands $$$ before they are sent down that rathole, and preemptively score one more consumptive point for the Gipper, bless his always addled soul. It's almost my duty in these few days before Barack gets sworn in (and the prices rise again), and the French lose their high ground to become, yet another time, only garlic smelly and unwashed frogs disdaining the darkies among them. 

Yo!  Bush!  Motha!  Buy this!  (I sent my economic incentive check straight to the Obama campaign.  So why do I feel so patriotic now?  Is this like goodbye sex? Which truly is the sweetest, I declare!)

Surely the trains won't be running in time for me not to own a set of wheels.  Those darn Dems will likely resurrect the addled (did I say that already?) auto industry, and just like the co-opted sixties, will spin this final final gasp of Savage Capitalism (soon to be called by Frenchies Freedom Capitalism, and they'll mean it) into its strung out inverse probitive parody.  And I can't single handedly make things change.  Gotta have a car, right?

This time I'm going to wear those tires down to the very quick though, snowstorms be damned (though there is something extremely disconcerting about heading down a steep hill and finding that the brakes do absolutely nothing in the snow), suck the very juice out of my anti-freeze (not that way, please) before it needs a flush and fill, and I know the thermostat is flaky.  The front bearings are growling, and I can't believe the shocks or engine really have another few hundred thou in them.  

So, this time I'm going to game the system, get the flesh-only trade-in price (keeping soul coyly hidden), and decrease my payments below what would be my mounting monthly repair and upkeep costs.  Hell, it worked for my Harley (selling for a price plus the cost of needed repairs -about which I was entirely up front - which still far exceeded the cost of a new one!).

Or is there something bubbleicious about this plan?  Do my rationalizations sound more like ad copy than sound planning?  But the new car could run on french fry oil. . .   But but but . . . 

I feel so implicated.  I know that normal people just throw out those plastic food packages, but I really actually do reuse and reuse and reuse them.  I have had so very few cars for those literal millions of miles I've driven.  Surely I get points in someone's heaven for this.

Whose fundamentalism do I inhabit, and which would I like to inhibit?  My literary structuralist (read modernist) training reminds me that, structurally, Kurtzweil and Falwell are saying precisely the same thing. It's the same story, and so avowed atheist really simply protests a bit too much, methinks, as surely does avowed God believer who wallows in the slime for a fact.

My fundamentalism hinges on a cosmic joke; surfing the Zizakian wavicle of accepted paradox, which makes my story - *gasp* and double *choke* structurally identical to the Jesus story as properly and not fundamentalistically told (nor Catholically, sad to relate).  Not my story, for chrissakes (I know you're thinking I'm thinking that, rapacious reader)!!!  I mean the story I'm trying so hard to relate. The story of paradox and impossible divinity of actual flesh.  The story that though there are no perfect circles in nature out there, there is something special about that species which can true perfect circles in here.  That beauty is real and worthy of possession, but that in the possessing, the accomplishment has got to be release, so that life moves beyond the stinking self.

Metaphor scintillates and never leads.

This becomes a bit unnerving, especially in the face of life decisions (just now I was bopping in car with daughter to a set of songs about riding my disco stick (!!!!) and how sometimes a woman just needs a boy and I'm going to take you home and nasty something - I always have trouble with lyrics, being perfectly at home in the beat) which are and should be so simple.

So, is Buffalo where it was or where it will be?  Is Seattle dead and has been?  What about these great and wonderful United States of Promise (gone or yet to come?)?  Is there really a moral dimension to sex, and if so why?  And what is, precisely now, the linkage between inside and out which makes us truly want the one sold from the attractive facade more than the one from Walmart (well, we used to)? Is it all and always about only price?  (we've established that already, Mac, but for the record, I will not bargain away my loyalty to that dealer, no matter how attractive the other offers, and no matter if they don't love me back.  I've always been a dweeb about cutting the best deal, and seem fine living with that in a world where a pretty good bet about a blond in an SUV is what she does for a living, even though the terms are longer, and the price of beans very much depends on where you do your shopping and if you literally worship at the temple of dollar value)

I can't and won't buy my car from the place which has a latte bar (is this a clue about where I belong between Buffalo and Seattle?), because I just know that I'm gonna get Spitzered there. But the other more scruffy place might lowboy me into spending more than I should because they just don't know how to outsource bean counting well enough.

Oh worra worra.

Can one plan drive?  Can one drive a plan.  Can one opt not to drive?  Can one sit still and by sitting, still live?

OK, so the savage capitalist in me knows perfectly well that the starving minions in sweatshops all over the globe servicing my privilege to brand my very authentic soul are actually in a dance no more vulgar than is the zebra's dance with her devouring tiger.  I blithely eat my meat, even though I do actually know (was this GB Shaw?) that there are no meat eaters who have visited an abbattoir.  Bull? Bull!

Fundamentalists all need somehow to hide these aweful facts from their Tammy Faye realities.

And still the choices seem to have moment.  To screw or not to screw?  To love, to live, to drive and drive and drive in service to what has become so beastly seeming, Biblically.

I do insist, however, that this act be comedy.  On that I do insist.  We've had enough of "dying for."  The fated end.  The clown burns his money, and continues smiling.  His want is your amusement.

A Happy New Year! Coda

I write now on chrome, and it gives me little charge of excitement that there still is something better out there.  Technologically, I am thrilled by its snickety-snick improvement over the bloatware which diminishes the bored-out raw power of whatever machine I get new and ever more cheaply. 

And now I'm excited about the cordwood pile of superannuated laptops which I can resurrect when chrome is loadable straight on top of an OS-less hypervisor. Even Mom will be able to surf and email.  What else is there to the digital wii innering of tactical and physically nausea-transcending excitement?  It's about communication, man, and the emotional content which has to come from someone, somewhere, even though at a remove from the actual physical touch which technological progress yuchs us against.

Driving behind the endangered Hummer species a while ago, I did wake up to realize that my moral superiority for sucking not quite so much gas (I sure do blow a lot!) was, like, totally misplaced, and even said so over the phone to a friend while thinking it.  The distinction, after all, between the grotesquely massive Hummer and even the diminutive Smart Car is non-existent symbolically.  (or perhaps it's only symbolically that there is any significance to the difference?)

A car is a car, and it's about the mobility of personal space, ultimately to the point of abstraction from any pavement, or alternatively oneness with the road, as with the Biker or RVer.  This misplaced lust, in whatever politically correct form, is grotesquely destructive of mother earth, and demonstrably immisserating to the bulk of the logoshpere demonstrably indentured to its service. (I declare!)

The solution, of course, is to lose the lust, not to tweak the car.  Restricting the lust, as all the prim right wingers among us surely know, only forces it out in worse expressions;  less savory gaseous emissions!

I am, as you have already well imagined, gentle reader, something of a crank in my interpersonal intellectualizations.  (this I distinguish, perhaps obtusely, from interpersonal communications more generally)  I work up a cranky head of steam over the idiocy of four wheel drive (it costs gas and repairs and I live up high in snow country having driven near 300,000 miles without significant repair at 31 mpg in a big station wagon (insert VW advert here) and without even having felt a glimmer of need for either off road or 4 wheel drive which only gets you going and likely teases you into gully smashed and ditch-turtled belief that you can stop better because I'm so damn smart!)  I would be nearly insufferable if I didn't - oh yes it's true - censor myself so often.  OK, so I am actually insufferable.

Interpersonally, I am nothing but empathy for why having a four wheeler feels so much better, and why there is no moral content to ones gaseous consumption or expulsion for that matter, since, as I well know who would rather never drive, that's how the world is organized and there isn't much that I as a lone individual can do about it, for chrissakes!  Nice jeans too!

But my inner crank needs displacement onto something rather more productive, and likely to be heard as sympathetically as those mild pronouncements of mine get made.

I confess to plenty of optimistic glee at reportings of scientific advancements.  Hell, just the other day there was piece on the news about something like "artificial biology" whereby new organisms would be engineered to do cool things like deliver vaccines or cancer killers right on the spot. Or gobble up oil spills. I get way Kurtzweil optimistic that really we need not nurse all this global warming anxiety about our footprint. That we truly are less significant than the orders of magnitude huger fluctuations of the global climactic cycles.

. . . that the post-historical global capitalistic marketplace will right itself now and forever more.

But I think my optimism will have to move in a different direction, ultimately.  I am optimistic that this technolust will be, and is now being, digitally displaced internally to where geographic removes for the pleasures of landscape, imagined cultural distinction, or better opportunities to market our inner authenticity so that it can be outered again with ostentatious splendor; to where these removes no longer have to be mediated by oil and gas powered launchings over roads and through airy space so that we can feel and touch again those tight relations, if only for Christmases and other funerals.  (I enjoyed a truly wonderful jet-age Christmas this year, where I played joyous part-host, and never did have to endure anxious cattle-prodded germ sharing sleepless and therefore mania-inducing stuttering trajectories across the continental divide)

There is, quite sensibly, a cosyness projected from stylish houses.  We want, naturally, in to places built on a view, having well-tuned paint and manicured gardens.  Inside, there is the tele-view, which should but somehow never does render all these spaces identical.  Womb with a view (c).

I think this is not much different from the wanting in to a beautiful woman, as though carnal sameness (there's ample proof all over the internet, if you care to be disgusted) were truly and finally not subject to the sex organ of the imagination.

Through this map (apologies David Foster Wallace) to the individual we truly do crave closeness to some other whose very brightness belies something like what we know ourselves to possess. The subjective me which is arcing it's starshot trace through lives and gaseous fields, but which alone blinks out without so much as a wish to make it real.

Now I am trying to talk myself out from moving away from the Queen City, presumably toward Seattle, where all the women are beautiful and the inner craving for a creative life is not so Buffalo-style winged and clipped.  Where I won't need to drive so much, tracing my geographic mandala, and coming closer only to old age and clogged passages across my own arterial map.

The car grows old, as do I, and I lose hope that there is a single soul out there who isn't questing still after the perfect pair (of blue jeans), pairing (of souls), or quantum hadron which will confirm that we, collectively me, really do deserve to inherit this earth, which by the time it's ours will already be old and haggard herself, true soul.

Is it already too late?