11 May 2016

Thoughts on death, needs, news, music, etc.

One reason I love the act of thinking is that it’s fairly inexpensive. The corporation that owns my soul only charges me slightly more for imagining, say, a cephalopod rather than stock­brokers. And one of the things I love to think about is death; but I know that I must be careful to stress that I do not own any suicidal tendencies: I want nothing more than to live an even longer life than Dracula. But I often wonder what happens when the body dies. Of course suffering precedes and accompanies expiry—but is there pain after death? Presumably sensation does not survive the transition. (Is it really a transition? If so, exactly what is enduring this change?) Does the moment of dying feel like falling into an abyss, or flying past the stratosphere, or showing up at a job that you dislike?

Yesterday I went for a walk, even though it was heavily raining. I carried an umbrella, but the water was still able to dampen both of my pant legs. I wish I had interesting events to report about this walk, but all I can say is that, at a certain point, I looked down and saw a package of red licorice that had been opened yet abandoned uneaten on the path. After seeing such a sight, it was hard for me to avoid wondering about the events that led up to it. My guess is that someone must have been preparing to enjoy a snack and then gotten kidnapped before they could take their first bite. And I often assume a similar scenario whenever I find an abandoned shoe or mitten.

Food, clothing, and shelter: these are all examples of basic needs. Some people might argue that only food is a basic need, because those who occupy Earth’s gorgeous hidden tropical paradises, like the lost cities of Atlantis and El Dorado, regard clothing and shelter as optional; but I, who live amid the igloos of Minnesota, deem not just clothing but shelter to be a basic necessity… and I’d add medical care… plus community, including friendly conversation… also clean water, fresh air, and fine art. My point is that individual humans might disagree about what constitutes their basic needs. And those who side against me are fools. (I’m just kidding.) (I’m not kidding.)

I had intended to continue that last paragraph by making the point that all countries should guarantee their citizens’ basic needs, but then I realized that some naysayers might have an argument against that; and I’m afraid of conflict—I’d rather stop short of making any point at all than start a fight. Even if tyranny wins, our fate’s cloud still has a silver lining. We can admire the way that the bad people move their hands when they berate us.

Seriously tho, I wonder how many souls we will throw in jail before our country admits that imprisonment is ludicrous. We should try it, just for laughs: I bet we could fit ninety percent of the populace in the existing facilities.

I apologize for the sarcasm of this entry. I would go back and delete the offending passages, but my main purpose in keeping this weblog is to document all of my moods, from boorish to unsophisticated. So I’ll try to end this off with a few chipper thoughts…

How does anyone keep up with the news? First, you have to order all of the newspapers, which amounts to a giant stack that is deposited, every morning, on the porch of your mansion. It takes four hours to read all of those. Then you have to scour thru the online news sites and watch a shipload of editorials from amateur “vloggers.” Finally, after taking a half-hour break to walk your pet lizard, you spend the rest of your day reading exposés by sleuths whose…

But what I really wanted to address in this essay is the nationwide argument: “Old Music vs. New Music—which is better?” I myself assume that new things are always much better, but my brother says that he prefers older stuff. (I spent some time with my brother last weekend, over Mother’s Day—for we share the same mother—that’s why I’m slandering him.)

I agree, old music is really great; but it has the advantage of being culled by all the critics from its future, which is our present. (So-called oldies radio stations only play the good, not the bad old songs—that’s what I mean.) But I’m thrilled by the advances that new music is making in the world today. If I must earn my daily bread by working for upwards of eight hours alone in a room with machines that grind eyeglass lenses, then music, which is my sole repose, must incorporate the rhythms and noises of my environment. How else can I overlook the fact that I’m being taken advantage of? Music helps me feel like I’m in control. Call it “spacetime claiming.”


Whenever I must extinguish a burning match, I prefer to have a bowl of clear water nearby, because I like to hear the hiss of the dying flame. Simply blowing on the match leaves it smoking and perhaps still smoldering, so that one risks igniting the rest of the refuse by tossing it into the dustbin. And having to turn on the faucet is both a chore and a letdown, because the noisy flow of the stream of tap water cancels out the thrill of the sound of the hiss.

No comments:


More from Bryan Ray