Sunday, August 22, 2010

Aphorisms, Reflections and Remembrances.

During a discussion about the alien features of babies, a white girl told me that , according to her father, she looked like Patrick Ewing when she was born. She had a dog whose name was Labron, but for some reason she changed it to Little Bitch. This girl was hilarious and bipolar. She also knew a great deal about New York regulations concerning pickles.
The signs on the road that warn of deer should not have a picture of a deer leaping. The picture should be of a deer looking dead at you, motionless. Because that is what those motorcyclist killing sons of bitches tend to do.
Remorse is often mistaken as a sign of goodness or recovered compassion. Perhaps it is an act of transformation, an effort by the remorseful to become someone worthy of praise. To live without remorse is to depart from humanity.
From the powerful and ruthless judge: Anything that exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.
I am prepared to accept the world in which humanity is medicated into its complacency. But first, grant me this wish: make a pill that stops my nose from itching whenever my hands are full.
Regarding the Silverstone WSBK races: The British should tear down Big Ben and put in its place marble statues in monument to Rea and Crutchlow. It should be patrolled by the British Royal Guard. Every morning, British people should kneel and pray in its direction. Once a year, all anglophone motorcycle riders should make a pilgrimage to it, where they can read the words inscribed on Crutchlows marble helmet: "That's riding. From now on, that's how you ride."
Sins, like infinity, are incapable of distance. You can’t run from them or leave them behind. That which is sloughed off will forever be in your corner. It is the same with all of the past.
Sobriety is not a burden anyone should bear.
Questions from the murderous priest: A genius or a lunatic? A general or a fugitive?
Sometimes I wonder how anyone could ever fear the dark. It has been my place of comfort for so long I am not even sure I can be seen in the light of day.
We had an apartment in nyc back in the day, me and the Dancer. Below us lived a police officer who took great offense to the sound of our footsteps. For our punishment, she would leave her radio playing quite loudly when she left for work at night.

Next door lived a drug dealer whose name was Freedom. At all times of the day, addicts would stand outside on the street calling his name. Probably the irony of an addict screaming for Freedom was lost on them.

Above us lived a couple and their children. The man verbally abused the woman constantly and on occasion I would go up to their door to ask if everything was okay. The man would always say everything was fine. So would the woman. I used to look into her eyes for a sign of some sort, wondering if maybe she was afraid to speak out in his presence. But her eyes were always empty, like the painted eyes on a doll.
Those who do not go to sleep to dream are resting up for difficulty.
Here is a comment on modernity, though I don’t know its content: A city girl in close proximity to a farm heard the distant moo of a cow and thought it was a cell phone going off.
From the great Kweli: Don’t push; you don’t know what’s up under my shirt.
From a Canadian sitcom about a theatre director and a ghost: If you can’t find your light, scream your lines from the shadows.
The other day, a message scribbled on the bathroom mirror of a tarnished coffee shop grabbed my attention, as though it was put there just for me to read. It said: "Listen to the soft machine."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sadness, Hamlet, Community

"Some say that it is possible to profit from death. Accept death and one cannot be paralyzed by the fear of it. Since nothing can be more precious to a self than its life or perhaps the life of another, the acceptance of death is an occasion for purposeful action. For an authentic movement. Does a definite move toward death also indicate such mastery? Is suicide as authentic in practice as it seems to be in thought? Does the samurai regret his code as his stomach pours onto the ground? How steadfast can a man, who believes that death is nothing, speed toward his end?

Fear, endured for long enough, becomes seduction. Nothingness is just as inviting as the threat of nothingness to one so inclined. Is it right to jump to death from a whim? Is it ever right to act in such a way? The threat of death is not a cruel reminder of life’s value while one still lives. It is a reminder of life’s true worthlessness. In life as in death, nothing will shake or shatter. We have only the supposed perceptions of others and the illusion of the completion of a life’s work. There are no reasons to live. For then there would be justifications for life. As though an argument brought us into existence. And there is no difference between life and mere existence. Even the hero merely exists. The hedonist is soon satisfied. The man of peace goes to war and god grows weary of his creation.

On the other side of death, the proclamations of life sound hollow if they sound at all. Persevere. Endure. Never give up. Stand up for yourself and others. None can be heard over the last great command: “die.” Awareness, self-consciousness--no kind of mind can imagine the time after its ending. Yet those who fail to imagine never fail to die.

The man who desires death but cannot bring it about himself waits for it. He imagines accidents, random acts of violence. He pictures the weightlessness of the cabin in a plane whose engines have lost power. The burning suffocation of a stray bullet. Acquiescence to the microbes of disease. He even looks forward to life without him. To funerals and wakes. To friends who mourn him. To a world in which he is a record but not a memory. Perhaps his last evaluation is that this future world is a far better one.

This is his last attribution of value. Like all skeptics, the man of death makes an exception. He encounters with a sad lucidity the nausea of existence. Having given up on value, he finds only meaninglessness in every lit corner. He watches and does not participate, though he still acts in the world. He sees that perception is all that has ever mattered in communication. So he nudges the perceptions of others to maintain his anonymity. He may also wait for a value to appear. But none will come. From here it is just a matter of time until the first good night’s sleep in ages. The prelude to death, then, is a kind of drowsiness.

There are no reasons to live. There is only the will to live and distractions from the question. Where do we draw this will? It cannot be known. Resoluteness in the face of death has backfired. We have instead resoluteness for death. Anxiety in the face of life. There is no such thing as a reason to live. Is not living an act of faith? Is happiness a delusion? Why hold on to find out?

For every marker given value by the power of the crowd, for every great moment reflected in the record, there are those who cannot speak even of death itself. They are the third option. Inevitable, but also chosen by those who have grasped the tragic, maybe even the truth.

Life sabotages itself. It provides the criterion by which it fails. The book of life is a black list."

These words came from the black notebook in which I record my thoughts. I wrote them in a sad time. The emissaries of the medical gaze say that my sadness is clinical. Maybe that's the view from the third, but who can spot a DSM entry from the inner? Still, it is the cross that I and others bear in the Roman empire of life. It is a kind of unifier in that way.

Think of the times that you have heard the solemn words: "I know how you feel." I wager that most of the times this has been said were times of sadness. So it is with the invocation of sympathy and empathy. It is a hard to think that we live in a world in which joy is more alienating than its cruel opposites, that suffering is most familiar, most often our tie and bind. Yet I have only to write one line to confirm my suspicion. "To be or not to be." The start of a monologue in which a tortured man wonders whether he could bear the weight of his willed death. Who among us does not know that this is his question? Some say it is the most famous passage in all of literature. The eyes that linger on that page can see me deeply and the page is well read. It is the task of humanity to extract comfort from such commonality.