It’s my habit to wake hours before sunrise & write till I’m famished. I usually do this alone; but today my sweetheart awoke at the exact same time and decided to join me—she is sitting on the sofa opposite mine. I feel like a fisherman whose secret fishing spot has been discovered by noisy teenagers.
But I’ll try to record my morning thoughts anyway… after I share this blue flower:
The world sometimes gives you reasons to be happy; and sometimes it seems that you can simply choose to be happy, without having to be given a reason. I wish it were easier to “turn on” cheerfulness, groundlessly. My sweetheart is cheerful all the time, whereas I’m made of gloom. I like absurdity, though—that’s my saving grace: I can smile because I value the act’s incongruity. Others don’t need to know why I’m smiling, and, since cheerfulness is like a magnet for happy people, my attitude soon turns out to be genuinely bright; because friends have surrounded me: and the gifts that they give me are reasons to continue being happy—this is how goodness springs from nothing yet ends up being bolstered by reality.
I said that my sweetheart is always cheerful. The truth is that on rainy days, she cries. It might sound like I’m joking about this, but it really does happen: the outside raindrops trigger inside teardrops, because her soul mirrors the world. I tell her that she depends too much on the weather for her cheerfulness: she should draw upon her boundless inner strength, and shout along when Captain Ahab says: I’d strike the sun if it insulted me!
So, on rainy days, I myself have the upper hand, because I built my emotional stance on the firm foundation of absurdity. Here’s a quote from a Film Comment magazine interview with the movie director Woody Allen:
…life means nothing, so you’re constantly looking for ways to escape from reality. And one of the fallacies that comes up all the time is the Golden Age fallacy, that you’d have been happier at a different time. Just as people think, “If I moved to Paris I’d be happier” or “If I moved to London…” Then they do, and they’re not. Even though these places are great, they’re not happier, because it isn’t the geography that’s eating them up, it’s the existential reality of how grim a predicament we’re in.
But my sweetheart is unique among humans: in her case, it really is the geography that eats her up. As I said, I value the invisible over the visible; so I’m never too impressed by physical surroundings: that’s why I’ve remained in this bland Midwestern suburb all my life. I see only a fleeting and superficial advantage in traveling.
My heart leapt up as if it had discovered its long lost brother, when I read a biography of Raymond Roussel. He was so wealthy that he was able to travel all over the world; but, wherever he went, he avoided the sights (even when urged to see them) and remained in his room or vehicle, to write—he said that he wanted to create worlds from his own mind, not to draw external inspiration: he boasted that the environs in his books (Impressions of Africa, etc.) were constructed mentally from whole cloth; not a detail was stolen from reality.
But I also want to add that we who value the spirit over the body are wrong to do so: I think we go too far. Our man Jesus made a mistake when he let the authorities apprehend him: he should have defended himself before Pilot—this way (I’m paraphrasing Nietzsche now), instead of dying in his thirties, Jesus could’ve survived past his forth decade and matured into Zarathustra.
However, maybe instead of benefiting from having nearly twenty extra centuries to digest that revaluation of values, everything would be worse today because of the threat that such a distinguished state implies to fiddling power-mongers: I mean, if Jesus’s sublimities required a poison as harsh as the Apostle Paul to snuff them out, then I shudder to imagine what variety of Super Paul might arise to counterattack a Pre-Nietzschean Antichrist.
Besides, can even the finest sage ever influence anyone beyond a few dusty scholars? I wonder if, in this day and age, Jesus himself could get elected as U.S. president. I wonder if Jesus could even get his trainee Peter elected. (Pete might have the best chance, because he’s dull. In my storybook Rumors of Sarah, I named him Beefalo.)