Sunday, January 8, 2017

On Memory

Like many of us, perhaps, I remember near-panicked fears of ending up like Christopher Reeves, a mind without a body, the claustrophobia of being stuck inside with sight-sound sensory feeds and no way to get them out, no way to end it, no way to convey what it feels like from the inside.

How many of us have the force of mind of Stephen Hawking, the force of spirit of biplane wingwalkers, of fuck-it-all singers, making book on what the rest of us won't do? Not me, that's for sure.

I'm caught in that reverse chicken-egg question where I don't know if it was my giving-fucking-up which has caused the arthritic-feeling constriction in a painful sleepless body or the pain which caused the giving up. I don't have a clue if it's physical or psychic. None.

So tantalized across my life with near-term opportunities to network connections only I can make, except that my reach so reliably out-spans my grasp. What is this if not that paralysis we all fear so much as children. And so, what? We recess further?

Politicians cannot be trusted and so the best that we can come up with is someone so utterly transparent that he can be trusted without fail to care only for his own mug? This is that eventuality I feared most as I lent my admittedly tentative voice to protest marches, to anti-nuke, to stop the hate the global warming, while Al Gore leaves his wife and fattens up for the killing he must make on our downfall.

China now speaks of the US as a shooting star, dominant for a moment up against their five-thousand years of continuity. As though they really can lay claim to that legacy. They own a cartoon version, just as we have out-Trudeaued our own, Gary or Justin, take your pick. This hurts.

My Mom is the happiest she's been in her life, I think. Sure as the prototype of Narcissist Mom (not the same as what we elected) she frets over her aging appearance, her sudden paunch, her strangely bobbed new hair (at least she won't let it turn blue). But from her constricting entanglement with her children she has at last been loosed. She has no memory of that rapist narcissistic former son-in-law, and she's happy in her certainty that I finally do have that wished-for life of  professor of Chinese. As if!

As a nation too, we enter into early senility, and the question is why we all do so collectively recess? Are we that afraid of the truth of our other side, that quest for empire, that ugly self which has always presented ourselves to the world as Trump now does to us internally?

We are not like an old forgetter, we are more like that toddler meme me me me which lords inside the Donald. We never developed a memory to forget. We never even tried to know ourselves. We cannot be bothered to open a book. We only know our wants, and so this week (or was it last?) at CES we still put forward technological happy faces in place of any soul at all. Toying with tech titans for president, as though Bezos-grade reach for pennies on each dollar qualifies cleverness for sagacity.

To my read, Marx still provides the greatest explanatory clarity to what is going on. That doesn't make me any kind of Marxist since, in practice, any and all sorts of dialectical materialism leaves spirit out, and reduces the human to that which can be modelled by marketing algorithms. Big Data. Fake News. Same fucking thing.

It can be fun some times to just say "fuck you" in place of "thank you," and put a British accent on it. For the life of me - and obviously I'm a Netflix fan since they seem to have no governor and even publish Ollie Stone - I don't get the love lost on the Crown, on old Imperialist Winston Churchill, on icons from any past we can be bothered to remember. Fuck you very much. I do so love each time we get together.

My own largest and most fatal flaw is that I never would just go for the beauty who might have wanted me. It ended badly once in marriage, and neither of us seem disposed to try it ever again. Reticence or shyness or simple tendencies to see the consequences before embarking on a path whose shorthand might as well be "bad idea." Bad impulse, and even Marx seems to define consciousness by placing initiation inside the mind of humans. So much for his repudiation of idealism.

In my own happy face memory there was a God and initiation started there. Not a known, but rather a felt God, that impulse toward love which is the only simultaneity in an otherwise drear cosmos, whose fractal interest holds no candle to the people I have known. Traces on pages mostly, but there's the rub.

How indeed shall we learn to put forth the best of us, while keeping still our memory? How to smile face-forward without erasing all that we once did know? Damned if I know, but it does seem worth a try.

Otherwise, we are but a shooting star, soundless fury, hurtling through someone else's night.

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