08 July 2017

From self to others and elsewhere

Dear diary,

I love throwing things out the window. We live on the second story, so our discards drop down dramatically enough to thrill me. I often think about the beginning of the world (if such an event has yet occurred): What was it like? Was it more like a popcorn kernel exploding, or like a messiah giving up the ghost? Maybe it was like someone throwing long rolls of unwanted carpet out of the window. (That's what I got to do this week.)

As I was saying, dear Tabuphilus, the hole in the heavens was enlarged to facilitate the lowering of all created things into our dimension. This act saved these things from an icy fate. [...] The rope that was used for lowering was pure blonde. And when the last of the created things was lowered, the flag of reason was attached to a nearby tree, and the strand was reeled back into the heavens.

That's the beginning of my book The King and Queen Surrounded by Swift Nudes. (Available in Self-Amusements Vol. 1... And, yes, it's titled after the painting by Duchamp... And, yes, I intended that name "Tabuphilus" to mean something like "lover of taboos"; so I pronounce its you like a double oh.) The only reason I copied this quote is that I liked so much quoting my other masterwork in my previous post that I vowed to myself to quote myself nonstop henceforward. As much as humanly possible... inhumanly possible... or alien-godly possible. So, here, I'll give the very next sentence, from the second paragraph; then I'll move to other matters:

Now the shame that all created things felt for Negativum's disaster would have brought them to the brink of forgiveness if their time living with him had been reduced by an eon or two.

It would be easier to pardon ourselves for blundering into world-making, if the LORD, our collective superego, would leave us alone. Is that correct? (Who's forgiving who, here? I'm trying my best to paraphrase, while I don't recall ever aiming to convey any specific meaning.)

I was listening to a radio program about Henry David Thoreau just before I sat down to write this entry, so he's on my mind. I admit to being a bit biased against Thoreau – I'm a fanatic of Emerson. Not that a reader must love only one or the other author; I suppose some people esteem them both equally; but I'm incapable of doing that, in this case: I'd rather re-read Emerson for all of eternity than...

No, that's too harsh. Thoreau's best writing is authentically genius; so, if I had all of eternity, I'd spend some time with Thoreau's books gladly. But I am alas an all-too-mortal soul (if you like, for "soul," substitute "devil" or "demon"). Every dog has its day.

Here's a passage among the many that I refreshed my memory with; it's by the man himself (I mean Henry David, not Ralph Waldo), from the "Reading" section in Walden.

It is not all books that are as dull as their readers. There are probably words addressed to our condition exactly, which, if we could really hear and understand, would be more salutary than the morning or the spring to our lives, and possibly put a new aspect on the face of things for us. How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.

I have a mixed reaction to this. I hope I haven't repeated my view too often: Although text is my preferred mode, and I'm convinced that written language has potential beyond other media, I think that humankind should focus on thoughts, ideas, personalities of minds (etc.), no matter what form contains such content, rather than to focus on books alone; for thoughts and ideas can exist in more than twenty-nine casings. To focus only on books is needlessly narrowing. As much as "from the reading of a book," I myself have "dated new eras in my life" from the watching of a film, and from the hearing of a musical composition, or the being exposed to the personality of an artist or group of artists...

Why is this line of thought so boring to me? I feel like I'm nitpicking. How could I make the writing better? By providing specific examples of life-changing works, instead of listing mere generalities. OK, I'll do that next time. Now please change the subject.

I'm shocked at how many people don't know about the ways that the economy has putrified over the last four decades. Take as your scope the globe itself or practically any place on it, like here in the U.S. It's changed drastically, but people complain against each other – class against class; old against young – as if their ideas and lives apply to some past age when all was more fair. I hear people often blame the millennials generation for being sinners against the marketplace in various ways. But no! I'm telling you, if you look at the actual facts — measurable aspects of our lives under the tyranny of the current money system – you see that NO soul, no matter how gifted and hard-working, could survive in this modern time, the first quarter of the twenty-first century, the way that one could prosper during, say, the years when the baby-boomer generation grew up...

Again, boring as heck. But the topic's beyond important. I blame my writing again. Not to be annoyingly self-deprecatory, but it's nice to blame one's own writing. Instead of fixing it, I mean. You get to pose as if you're your own jerk boss. Bryan Ray, you're fired.

But I really wanted to mention, additionally with regard to the above economical point, that people are wrong to shout down leftists for "just wanting free stuff." It could be, in various other systems, which have alternate histories and different data, that a political idea favored by the far left would unfairly affect the bigwig class. But now is not that time, not that utopia.

Here's what bothers me, though: It seems that the work of whoever is considered a good leftist reaches only other leftists; and the work of right-wingers is read only by other right-wingers. So there could be great points on either side, which the other side never considers in a serious way because each receives the other's points only as attacks, as aggressive arguments, which they must defend against in the heat of the moment; everyone's thinking is thus clouded by fight-or-flight instincts, by the desperate need either to triumph, or to spin the frame of the debate so that you're no longer disadvantaged (to dodge the question, change the subject): it's about owning the winning rhetoric, the best slogan to sell your party's product, what most effective turn of phrase to persuade the crowd and ensnare the unsuspecting opponent. It's all so tricky and underhanded. I'd like it better if each side actually cared about the other side as people. I think that right- and left-wingers DO care about each other, on an individual level, and that they have surprisingly much in common – at least more than they might think – but a couple major obstacles keep them at odds: one is that the big crony representatives of either party have an incentive to keep the mudslinging alive, so they tend to promote the aforesaid lamentable battleground; and the other obstacle to harmonious compromise is that we all haven't agreed on the facts of our situation: like I said above, about the economy: there are measurable, verifiable facts that we could agree upon as a starting point for political exchanges, and the disagreement (if one still exists) would at least be civil. I even predict that it would be no bloodbath but a discourse. A friendly discourse.

Yes, everyone will soon be getting along with ease. And equality and freedom and opportunity...

Must stop because of time.

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