The influence of gaslight or electric light on the growth of paraheliotropic trees

bonebrushing the edges of the res interna (upper transcend)

Month: May, 2010

These earthly godfathers of heaven’s lights
That give a name to every fixed star
Have no more profit of their shining nights
Than those that walk and wot not what they are.
Too much to know is to know nought but fame;
And every godfather can give a name.

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Boyet

II:1, 485

Now, madam, summon up your dearest spirits:
Consider who the king your father sends,
To whom he sends, and what’s his embassy:
Yourself, held precious in the world’s esteem,
To parley with the sole inheritor
Of all perfections that a man may owe,
Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight
Than Aquitaine, a dowry for a queen.
Be now as prodigal of all dear grace
As Nature was in making graces dear
When she did starve the general world beside
And prodigally gave them all to you.

Lea

Timon of Athens:

That nature, being sick of man’s unkindness,
Should yet be hungry! Common mother, thou,
Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast,
Teems, and feeds all; whose self-same mettle,
Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puff’d,
Engenders the black toad and adder blue,
The gilded newt and eyeless venom’d worm,
With all the abhorred births below crisp heaven
Whereon Hyperion’s quickening fire doth shine;
Yield him, who all thy human sons doth hate,
From forth thy plenteous bosom, one poor root!
Ensear thy fertile and conceptious womb,
Let it no more bring out ingrateful man!
Go great with tigers, dragons, wolves, and bears;
Teem with new monsters, whom thy upward face
Hath to the marbled mansion all above
Never presented!—O, a root,—dear thanks!—
Dry up thy marrows, vines, and plough-torn leas;
Whereof ungrateful man, with liquorish draughts
And morsels unctuous, greases his pure mind,
That from it all consideration slips!

Coda

This has been the tale of my sickness. Some joy, and much love, and some sadness, and disappointment, and stretching, and always myself, myself, and some of the others I have found along the way.

I am not ready to go just yet — I am tired, but hopefully, with some sleep, I will rise again, and cloth my limbs. My heart is broken, but ready to heal. I am in an old place — and a new place — I am General Lee, returned to Gettysburg.

It is uncomfortable, certainly. But — hmm — what strangeness, that victory, even this small victory, would taste so much like defeat? Pyrrhic, I believe it’s called. Another victory like that, he said, and was remembered forever, and we’re done for.

Well then — easy enough — no more victories like that. Other victories. The victories of the simple life. Of the client. Of service. Of bending down and standing up.

Try to be more. Try to be better, and kinder. We are all in this together. I reach out my hand in the distance — that’s part of me too — the greater path, and the lesser path. Alone. Together. Eye opens. Eye closes. Lost. Found. Time. Spins. Movement folded in on itself. Energy retained. What are we, what strange ghost animates these fingers, and the thought computer in my head?

Who cares. Every question leads to more questions. Is this Real? Yes. It is Real.

Book Review: Rabbit, Run & Rabbit Redux

http://www.amazon.com/Rabbit-Novels-Vol-John-Updike/dp/0345464567

Two books. Ten years apart. What’s interesting is the gap — in it, the disintegration of America. What’s ironical is that when Updike, proud child of the 50s, king of successes, writing for the New Yorker, wunderkind, 28, like me but with more wunder wrote Rabbit, the disintegration (what has been called elsewhere the Great Disruption) hadn’t yet happened — oh, though, clearly, some deep unsettling was stirring in Rabbit’s heart —

See, who was Updike? Never cool — played it by the book — not Rabbit, surely not Rabbit — which explains the caricatures, but also explains the way in which Updike may very well have gotten it wrong — big jock like that, never had that whore in Texas suck his cock for him? Updike, Valedictorian, skin covered in exczema, going off to Harvard, making a go at it at the Harvard Lampoon, doing a stint studying cartooning at, well, what the hell, Oxford University, then back to New York, oh, may as well write for the New Yorker — aren’t you talented, aren’t you special, shame about the skin condition, would you like a blowjob with that, Mr. Updike?

Weirdo, man, had a deep crisis of faith, but his resolved, which explains this crazy-daisy apologism, this, look at me, God is Here, God is somewhere, can’t see him, can’t hear him, but maybe you can feel him, deep in your heart —

Sure, I say, call it God. But on second thought, don’t call it God, whole lot of baggage wrapped up in that business.

So there’s Rabbit running, 27, about, my age, Updike’s age, a prude, like me, like Updike, but a jock, not like me, I assume not like Updike, not that bright, again a difference, but lusty, sort of, earthy, sort of, but not really — hopelessly square — played by the rules — a White American Male, who never asked to be any of those three — the Poor Sharecropper King of the Universe, the great Hoi Polloi, finally inheriting the earth.

And he earned it right? Bleeding through the Ardenne? Guts on the sandy floor of Normandy. (Mentioned in Rabbit Redux — Rabbit was twelve when it happened – was his dad there? Don’t know — too old?)

Who is John Updike? He’s my grandparents generation for sure, pre-Pill, so you bang, condoms are there, but aren’t proper, diaphraghms are there, but aren’t proper, I mean you love it — born in 1932. The Jones Generation. See, the thing with Updike is Jack Kerouac was ten years older than him, and while John was away at Harvard doing his thing and getting ready for Oxford, Kerouac was already out man — shivering, arrested as a witness to a murder at a young 22, in 1944, when Updike was sitting at home, maybe learning about masturbation, listening to Normandy on the radio — you know, and then, as Updike finished high school, Kerouac was out not just trying weed but enjoying it, this in the stifling ’50s, while Updike just went the other way.

One imagines Updike had less sex, though I think, it’s clear, he eventually figured it out, and gave old Mary Pennington a time of it, and I imagine he was ultimately the better lover than Jack, especially when one considers that Jack was in his grave by ’69, and probably hadn’t been much of a lover before then. Nevertheless, Rabbit is the story of a man who’s scared to dare, who’s scared to reap the whirlwind, but then somehow finds himself put out, and oh, Teenage Male Wish Fulfillment, here’s a sweet young hippie who’s ready to take him in her mouth, here’s a swinging hip black dude who’s willing to rap about Slavery & Vietnam — here’s some maryjane to inhale slowly, in front of your wide-eyed child — what are you doing to that kid, man, so that kid is my Daddy, no wonder he speaks softly, his parents were silently freaking out —

The Great Disruption.

And then of course, tragedy strikes, life reasserts itself, Rabbit goes back to his rabbithole. In the first one, he runs out the door, Trapped. In the second, after much recirculations, and much changed, and having killed a lover-daughter, squared the moral balance with strange stupid Janice, We All Everybody Are Guilty of This Thing or That Thing, We are Protestants, We Are Doomed, We Are All Saved by Grace Alone, wasp, you dirty racist wasp, you’re just saying that “you got here first” and “maybe there are reasons to be in Vietnam,” yeah, man, none worth having, you can’t save people, America, Rabbit, John, yes, in that moment, Presiding over the Great Disruption, watching your precious little racist wet-dream both fall apart and kill those youths who fight against it, even while the last remaining gasp of Kennedy’s Dream touches down on the surface of another world, saying One Small Step for Man, you go to a fleabag motel with your estranged wife and crawl into bed and lay your flacid penis in the soft valley of her buttocks, and say O.K. and summon Joyce, and I’ll give you one thing, you’re not Joyce, but there is a certain stamina and a certain wonder in creating a doppelganger self and returning to him once every ten years —

Oh well — maybe I just don’t know what it’s like to be cynical at 38. And it’s an old 38, because the first Rabbit was already a father, one time, two times, three times, the great font of life, summoning forth the imaginary into the real —

And nevertheless, remains the narcissist. Head clouded. Doesn’t know what to do. Sad lost American Male, trapped in his flesh, trapped in his decaying town, This Country was Great, even though it was built on the backs of Tonto and Sambo — makes you want to chuck the whole thing.

Makes me want to chuck the whole thing. The question is not whether law is necessarily moral — the question is whether it ever can be moral? Higher level morality. Justified by necessity. But the Crits — our property-based economy which exploits everything — slaves everywhere — Skeeter saying America could have gone another way — Lincoln maybe would have done it different — the Revolution of ’76, when the Corrupt Bargain freed the South, and the Military moved on to strike-busting.

No wonder that 50 years later the world would tear itself apart? Marx — maybe — freedom? A joke.

Rabbit laid off at 38. At 28, he was quitting. Find something else. Just wanted to dig that great big glowy sunlight. Rabbit, Run is what Kundera called Lyric. Rabbit Redux whatever Kundera called the other — epic, maybe? Makes sense. Of course Updike most likely wanted Rabbit, Run to be Epic writing about Lyric, parody, we’re not really supposed to like Rabbit, are we, I mean, he’s a huge asshole in the first book, refusing to take any responsibility, refusing, utterly refusing, and going on his washed out ten years later, five years later neo-Kerouac vacation, just for a second, before he goes back to his suburban life —

(Updike says he wrote Rabbit, Run as a response to On the Road, to show that when an American family man runs people get hurt — yeah, maybe, John, or maybe he should have stayed gone — haven’t read the other two but I imagine the argument will always be Stay with Your Wife. Maybe. Maybe not. Definitely not Always. Lost Jill. Bad remarriage. Her daddy died. Evil stepfather. Wants out. Rabbit — trying to be a father to these kids — even as he fucks her. Staring at the crotch in everybody’s underpants.)

Not a man who has the courage of his convictions. A tourist. Wants to see what all the young kids are talking about. He comes upon a bunch of kids playing basketball and wants to take a shot.

A gameplayer. A rule follower. Liked math. The implicit certainty. It quiets the soul. (Law may be that — certainty in an uncertain world. The quieting of the soul.) And then — Rabbit colors outside the lines. Tragedy ensues. He returns. Returns to his cage. In Kindergarden, our class had a rabbit — I forget its name — I got to take it home for one weekend — and I remember Moms, being grossed out by the shit at the bottom of the cage — one imagines that the rabbit did not see it.

Angstrom. Oh. It’s a very very small unit of length. Oh. The Small Measure. Clever, John. Clever.

When I’ve read the other two, I’ll read this:

http://www.penguinclassics.co.uk/nf/shared/WebDisplay/0,,214908_1_0,00.html

Eve’s Rib

The terrible misogyny of Eve coming from Adam, of man refusing to accept that woman is his mother, and says no, we are the mothers, we are the first —

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, 1, initial thoughts

Childhood question: do we think in English?

The answer to that one can be bypassed and go straight to Go, which says we think in propositions, in logical relationships; and then laying on the couch, looking, I realize that the senses use a language as well, and they too speak in structured logical relationships and language replicates that same formal structure —

But … is that right? Or is it simply my understanding of the sense data that has the logic, and that logic might be perverse, contingent, and structured by the human mind —

Not to say that it is strongly contingent, like eyes evolving at all, there may be strong reasons based on the facts of the universe that our understanding of sense-data would take a certain form – nevertheless, it is possible that the logical relationships we overlay onto the raw sense-data in some was structures what we see.

Nevertheless — is there an implication of communicability — that since language mimics and repeats the logical structure of our own sense-interpretation of the world, shared language and communication at least weakly rebuts solipsism since:

1) others have and are able to manipulate this same logical framework/language we use;
which 2) implies that their sense-interpretations of the world are analogous to our own.

Day 8085 – The Ride Back from Hampton, VA

The day after the Phish show, dropping ZR off at the airport, me driving back alone to Philadelphia, in the Green Corolla that still exists (from out of which Elsewhere was born), out along the Delmarva Peninsula, little towns, beautiful country, quite roads, turning right to go to Ocean City, MD, and parking, and walking alone along the beach, looking at the ocean.

A forever ago. Five years. Everything that was going to happen to me hadn’t yet happened. And still I stood there. And got back in the car. And drove back to Philadelphia. And then this, and then this, and then this, and now this.

J/S Story Idea – 1. The Sky is Seduced by the Earth

Mythopoetic Structure — stories in which the female seduce/entrap/ensnare the male ; stories in which the spiritual is encapsulated by the physical — the mind is placed in the body;

Conceit is that the Lyric Hero believes himself all head, all eyes, all thought, and nevertheless yearns for a single touch that will make him whole, that will give holy reality to his body, nevertheless also fearing what such an incarnation might mean, being trapped in a body, too heavy to fly away like the Little Prince, but knowing without knowing that he is trapped in his body anyway, even though he can’t feel it — Freud writing about the Ego, without love, choking on itself — the strange act of God impregnating Mary and thus becoming Christ —

These are his strange preoccupations, the Lyric Heroe’s, said, and unsaid.

Against that, the Strange Other, the Unknowable Other, the apprehension of Otherness and the Beauty of Concordicity, and the Encounter with the Other Mind, and this Other Mind is real, and earth, and warm, and she lays a trap and enchants him with words and songs, and then a single touch, on his wrist and all the years of his monastic virginity fall away —

She is interesting, and beautiful, but most of all worldly and experienced, having existed clearly — her own first time, somewhere else, when she became a body, her own stabbing, prick of agenbite, never to come again, the time, and the time before, and the almost sex she had with someone else, a ghost, the Ghost of Michael Furey, but she has absorbed it all, emerged from that, Foamdaughter, the Wisechild, the Huntress, all of them, each woman is every goddess, each man, every god, and some of those too —

And the scene will be a bar in a city in a time when the world itself spins faster and faster out of root, but in their encounter they reenanct and recreate and resustain the entire turning of the universe, of being here at all.

And thus, the meeting of Sky and Earth — and a research project of what came out of that.

We’ll see how long it takes to get this out. May need to break it up into subsections. But 8000-10,000 words seems right. Chunks of 1000s? See how that goes.

1) The meeting 2) the why he’s there; 3) what she says to him; 4) what he thinks of what she says to him; 5) what he says to her; 6) what he thinks about what he says to her; 6) what she thinks about what he says to her; 7) who she is; 8) his long loneliness; 9) they’re river of conversation; 10) the touch; 11) the change in him;

And the structure, the layers of the game:

A) The Empricical/Material/External World; B) His InternalLifeOfMemory; C) His InternalLifeOfSymbol; D) The TranscendentWorldOfSymbol; E) HerInternalLifeOfMemory; F) HerInternalLifeOfSymbol; G) HimReadingItasText; H) UsReadingItAsText; I)TheSecretWorldOfColor/Feeling

YouTube – M. Ward – Oh Lonesome Me

YouTube – M. Ward – Oh Lonesome Me.