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!

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