Monday, August 27, 2007


Untranquil Reflections

Quietly working things out, though at a pace much slower than I'd hoped. I did say, as we drove out of my hometown, that I expected it to take at least two months for me to process what had gone on there. It's been a little over that, and I've of course had to process my semi-new surroundings, as well. Never mind the interior landscape, which is a bit of a shambles. I think I'm accepting, more than ever, the limited sphere I'm able to exert any influence over whatsoever.

I have shunned using this blog, which, no matter how few come by to read it, remains a public forum, to comment too thoroughly on the more negative aspects of my experiences over the last few years. Besides, there's been plenty of value during those years as well, and focusing on what could have gone better is a very good way to lose sight of what could have gone much worse. That said, I feel the need to address some recent developments, from a personal vantage point, and though I'm not about to name names, what I have to say is germaine to some local events. So.

First and foremost, however, I think the central observation, of late, is that in writing, I need to concede the fact that the primary motivational force, from a personal perspective, is simply a love for and fascination with language. I remain convinced, as science gains a stronger foothold on many areas until recently left to the humanities, that if human consciousness ever proves to be thoroughly explainable with statements that are objectively arrived at, it will be through the thorough and systematic exploration of the medium of language. The infinite variations language is capable of, and the complexity couched in even so simple a sentence as "I don't think I've ever seen anything like it"--the latter thoroughly hammered home in the course of teaching English as a second language and getting a real feel for just how many months it takes to work up to the above sentence--seem to me to present the cognitive sciences with a puzzle that is more complex than chess by several orders of magnitude...and they're still working on chess. Further, my own readings lead me to believe that our "reality" is thoroughly saturated with the limitations and potentials of that language we use to describe it, and may in fact be, in large part, determined by those limitations and potentials, and how thoroughly we bend to the former, or reach for the latter.

That said, see premise one of this post. I'm aware that all of this is contingent, but the "truth," or lack thereof, is not the point--rather, the point, from my perspective, is that for whatever reason, this particular aspect of being human is of endless fascination to me. Further, that this is the only point to continuing. This is a shift, if not in fact, in having become conscious of the fact--in the past, the ostensible focus of the work was to reach out, to engage in dialogue, on the premise that dialogue is itself a good, particularly in respect to the founding principles behind democracy and self-governance. But this premise is no longer sufficient. While my own belief in those principles may still be strong, my belief in the ability for those principles to function in the present context--in which a certain key resignation, while welcome, rings hollow in the realization that, as with every other member of our fundamentally corrupt ruling class, this is quite likely the full extent of the punishment that will be meted out for a series of crimes I regard to be deserving of much, much more punitive measures. We've seen this before, again and again. When a member of this class falls on their own sword, they must be rewarded, not punished. The only thing that's going to suffer under this schematic is the very democracy all of the above men claimed to serve and to love. And it's suffered plenty, and I've seen nobody--least of all myself--much able to turn that tide. And while I could spend the next few years deluding myself into believing that I'm copping out by not taking up that particular banner, I think maybe I could do more, and better, by simply acknowledging that the reason I continue to write is because I love language. And that's all.

So. About two weeks ago, we held the first of (hopefully) a series of open mics, organized, by and large, by Dylan, who finds himself having to function as point man for the venture because...well, because of a lot of things, though I do try to help out where I can. That show went well enough, and there are those, locally, who appreciate the efforts behind it and seem to genuinely enjoy the chance to gather for something other than just a night out on the piss. Dylan anchored the show brilliantly, and I got some excellent feedback on a poem I've been trying to puzzle my way through for the past few weeks, so that's all to the good. We've made plans for a second, and while I'm looking forward to it, I have to admit, after this last weekend, the wind in my sails has died down to a very gentle breeze that's likely to carry me with a little less haste toward that destination. Mostly, I think, second guessing amongst what is, of necessity, a fairly closed society of waeguks, who, for reasons of their own, are a little fearful of what might be said at such open mics. Fair enough. I've no good grounds upon which to project my own relatively high insensitivity to criticism upon others, and plenty of past experience to tell me that even well-meant criticism often wounds far deeper than the object of that criticism lets on. I have my own take on all that, but it's not really central to my concerns. What is central, however, is the fact that I was told (for the second time by the same person, interestingly enough) that I'm not aware enough of the particulars behind local waeguk politics to have a valuable opinion on the matter.

I admit, I'm not aware of those particulars. Further, I hereby admit that I'm not interested in becoming aware of them. What is striking, however, is that every time I go out, I hear of bad blood passing between another two humans, both of which I respect--at the very least, as humans--and I'm not sure how to operate under such conditions. I know, again, from my own experience, that there are those amongst us humans who are opposed to "unity"--under any banner--on principle, and I can't say I find those principles completely lacking in persuasiveness (though the actual principle is rarely enough communicated, in explicit fashion, as to make it almost unassailable for the fact that the bearer often refuses to acknowledge that it is even held). But the level of fractiousness I encounter, in the common course of any given day, closes up an already bleak vista in which no triumph seems great enough to be called progress. I fear for this future. I don't relish biding another forty odd years celebrating every small step that appears to make things "less bad," and trying to convince myself that those steps really are a way forward. I think we've been thoroughly hornswaggled, as a people, as a species, into believing that our selves are of such high value that we should commit them to no cause, no ideal, no love that might entail the sacrifice of even the smallest scrap of that self. Our leaders have divided us by convincing us that division is a virtue, when it's as likely that we're all blind dust groping in a vast universe that will one day swallow all our works and ways like so much detritus down a bottom-feeder's gullet. It's as stark as that, and the funny thing is, if all us little turds got together with a purpose, we could thoroughly kick ass.

Then again, in the immortal words of Steve Martin, "Naaaaah".

As for myself, I'll keep on not giving up, but I have to admit, I'm getting a thorough sense of just why it was that my younger self understood writing to be an endurance sport. It ain't easy, and let's face it, cynicism pays better. But cynicism's the man's game, and anyone who doesn't believe in the man after the last 6 years of American politics would be doing us a great service if they crawled the rest of the way up their colon and disappeared entirely up there.

Yeah. It's that dark in here. I'm still receptive to the light, but I'm gonna be hell to convince from this point forward.

i enjoyed this post. very introspective.
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