Monday, October 4, 2010


Sometimes it can be fun to play with lost memories. I know that I did recently use a paintbrush to clean my screen. It's all dusty again, and I'm too smart to wipe it off which just makes permanent smudges and little scratches.

I know that it was mine, and what it looked like and I can remember placing it back into its cellophane wrapper after shaking clean the dust, but I can't remember when or where I must have been since there is no place around this apartment now where I would put a paintbrush. It must have been at my sister's house. It must have been a paintbrush I'd left there. I try not to touch the screen and smudge it and make it something less than pristine.

Dust gathers in all the most annoying places, and I can hardly imagine someone having the patience really to disassemble furniture and displace wall hangings and get at all the dust. Although it is only the existence of vacuum cleaners which makes even the attempt seem possible or worth essaying. And then you have to clean the filter, which I did already, before turning on the heat for the first time of the season because I don't really want to stir up dust until I clean. But cleaning out the vacuum cleaner is itself such a dirty business.

Still, there are times when I do enjoy tinkering with my thoughts, and chasing down memories and sometimes I do have the energy to get into all the crevices because I need to get my mind off something else, or am looking forward to the enjoyment after. But it never helps to make it an onerous chore, flecked with guilt, and so the dust mostly gathers. My mind grows old.

I cling to my subjectivity. Who among us would toss that away so carelessly as a song, and not regret in anticipation the moment after it all was just too late? Sure, if it were our child whose life we'd save, or maybe if there were some kind of wholesale emergency and everyone was dying and no way out. Perhaps then we'd throw ourselves in front of some bullet or onto some grenade if it seemed as though there were any hope left at all. Perhaps if there were some massive epidemic, we'd let go of our individual fear. Bad luck for all and some would live.

Screen projections of needless death are so sad. Projections of ourselves. Still, once towers of such complexity get built that their collapse is more likely than their staying erect, who shall you blame for their tumbling down? Must it be somebody's fault? Must there be an error at the root of every conflagration or might it be that we just weren't trying hard enough?

What is modernity but the collapse of subjectivity into the illusion of control and so if it does arrive before it's time, then death is always unjustified and terror permanent, until such time as there is no purchase of love any longer and the dust returns? Why do we not try our hardest at every single task before us? Why is that regret not so great? What about a college application or a job application? What if the game is rigged and trying hard isn't going to get it for you anyhow?

What is after this modern phase but waking up to the illusion of control and yet and still we don't do so quietly. Something not quite random would be nice, although it would be nice to win the lottery too. The intentional fallacy is what happens when you invest your talent with that of you that you would like to be proud of, but what is left but for verisimiltude to what you're not, or what you would have been without any you at all to it, but raw talent raw mimesis, clean of any dust.

Is there really anything at all to love in the very best among us, or do they just belong to the ages, to the recording media to something not quite perfected not quite clean but superficially so, airbrushed, who among us can resist tumbling into bed with a willing quarry?

And so what is there to hold onto except money honey? At least that can be counted. At least that counts. What is there to regret more than mis-spent or wasted money, and even rich people seem to have to invest something more like emotion in the money that counts, at least to the giving it away if not to the hoarding of it, or the calculating of the best values. It would not be fair if you didn't have to work for yours!

When you have a lot of it you can seem important to everyone who knows that you have lots of it, but do you feel safe? Isn't there a different kind of terror that maybe you're an asshole and that no-one would love you no matter how much money you might have?

Well, the memory goes anyhow, and so it might be worth investing some derring-do in something better than just to survive, just to make money, just to be clean or beautiful or even healthy.

The memory goes and with it the subjectivity and with that any claim to knowledge that isn't common. Although the common kind can make us feel secure.

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