Rowing in the Abyss 


Adam and Eve by Rembrandt 

The Fall by Albert Camus, sort of got to me. I just recently finished his other book The Plague. That book was definitely a psychological and spiritual blow, but a cold hard headed ignorance got me through that. 

Then I finished the Houdini biography by Graham, and I really enjoyed that, but upon reflection the loss of Houdini is sad too. He was sucker punched by an eager youth, then in gentlemanly fashion he offered a second shot to get the bit right. This set off an extreme and deadly case of appendicitis. In psycho mythological mastery he refused to cancel a sold out show in Detroit. He had to be propped up at different points, but ultimately gets the job done and dies. 
The Fall is a quick read, told in a accessible memoir, stream of consciousness voice. There’s a lawyer speaking, analyzing his life, and the modes of thought that he’s used, interpreting his different behavior and relationships. And the world, and morality itself. Heaven and hell, and all that. And what’s the fucking point of all this? Fucking. The emphatic tells the truth. Procreation is the point, building, creating, smashing, forming. The old adage, you can’t make an omelette without cracking some eggs comes to mind. To put it it mildly the voice of The Fall is challenging. At one point it advocates the value of slavery. For the reason as I recall of mutual definition, without slaves there can’t be Masters. A seemingly abhorrent truth, until we change the lens and the verbiage. Parents are Masters, of sorts, of their children. And the “destruction of the family” has become passĂ©, yet potent, political jargon, so there is some perceived threat in that arena, namely divorce right? Point being, however deranged some of these characters my seem in the fiction, they are a hell of a lot closer to “reality” then the average hello at the grocery store or bar displays.

Morality is an icky word in our culture, and overused one. A lot of energy and resource is spent in fueling and manifesting real and imagined moral outrage. And even in our entertainment and Art morality, often inverted, is the primary engine. Maybe that’s part of the tricky move of morality, this doubling, tripling of persons, and types. We like to project ourselves on to fictional characters, and external situations, but then absolve ourselves individually under whatever particular moral/ideological system we adhere too and manifest. Do whatever and baby Jesus in Heaven forgives all, is what I have encountered most often. 
I’m a reader though, between the lines type reader. Sometimes even a one at time type reader. I know old Baby Jesus said in Matthew, “Don’t think I’m bringing peace to the earth. Forgot peace, I’m bringing the sword!” Not for you though, or me, not good people like us. You see that there, how the voice and mood are assimilated. This is the danger of reading. You think you control the words one by one as they pour in, and that you can set them down, dim them, and they go away, but they don’t. 
They’re there, at the checkout line, later over roasted chicken and mixed vegetables, then with you as you lay in bed with your wife. They wait their turn patiently to offer their often gruesome two cents. Jean-Baptiste Clamence and Humpert Humpert take turns critiquing the television programming. Jesus sits in the backseat as you eye the beggar on corner. They can all be encouraged or silenced to your abilities, but lose not the fear of forgotten voices. Single words or phrases can echo for a lifetime. “Perfunctory” a word my first love pulled from a Nicholas Sparks novel, said to perfectly describe our current love life,  “Phony and corny” mirrored psychopathology voiced by Holden Caulfield, “Man is born free, but everywhere in chains” an obscure quote from philosopher Rousseau that has been lodged in my mind since I was thirteen years old; you get the picture. 

The Abyss Spits Back

The scene is becoming shockingly familiar. I work hard in my field in the evening. Heat breaks at six, I can get three good hours of farm chores in that way. I love it, as much if not more than I thought I would. The lifestyle, the external spaces, and it sounds dramatic but the city makes me anxious, and nauseous now. Everyone rushed, exposed and insulated at the same time. The huge vehicles , rolling mech suit of false anonymity. Don’t digress. 

Come in dirt on my hands, aching legs, check the news, the phone. Seven Dead in London. Organized attack. A Van mowing down people on London Bridge.

Making my genes hurt. Feel like crying, but I’m scared it won’t stop if I start. Six year old reads me like a book, as I show my wife the headline. She looks at me with horror. He wants to know what’s up. I tell him just the news, with that broken Dad energy which I’m sure he reads as bullshit. 

I was ranting earlier in the night about the disgusting cabal of oligarchs that run everything. How they read people like Nabokov and Camus. How Nihilism and Nietzsche meant something to them. I spoke about the challenge of “reading between the lines”. And how truth and fiction are slippery things. Started reading The Feud by Alex Beam about the fallout between Vladimir Nabokov writer of the infamous Lolita and Edmund Wilson, writer/genius/psychopath? 

Wilson at the time began as the more famous of two but after Nabokov’s controversial success, their fortunes were reversed. In any case, my mind couldn’t help but see the character from Lolita, Clare Quilty (rhymes with guilty, Clear Guilty? Nabokov loved puns) in what I learned about Wilson. Darkest bit that he was a sex addict adulterer, that went as far to put a “do-not-disturb” sign on his bedroom door as he banged the mistress, while wifey was doing God knows what downstairs. Probably rearranging carnations on the dinner table. It is a Joker like psychopathy, of the Do What Thou Wilt variety, and laugh about. Nothing is so serious. Nothing should ruin a gentleman’s calm. Rich, highly educated, above the base hoards, they are there for your use, or you their use, how ever the sick mind twists it. 

Just finished Camus The Fall, it’s left a strained feeling. Joke with my wife about how I was going to institute a family wide travel ban. Frightening how little joke there is in that. Will it go that far? Can’t leave the house anymore? Drive with some body armor and a concealed carry to the grocery store? Can’t imagine it, but it’s getting closer. Don’t know. 

Tried to talk tough in previous posts, spitting into the Abyss and all that. Just another act, instinctual, gallows bravado. Die young and leave a clean corpse, my Dad used to say something like that, before the grandkids. They took all his bite away. Now he complains about being too physically run down to really run with the boys. Bravado, regrets. Why do people work so hard at doing wrong? 

I know. Dumb questions. Testosterone. Testicles. Impulse control problems. Mind control? Nah, I’ll stop. Doesn’t matter anyway. What’s the tab to the Devil? Anyone got eyes on that bill? Bet it’s starting to look steep. Sorry. Sorry. Not til the next round of drinks, I got ya. Think I want out. I’ll just grab a water, call a taxi, and wait outside…no, no, really, sit down, I’d prefer not. 

Netherlandish Proverbs 

All Hail the Redman Continued…

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Myths_and_legends_of_Babylonia_and_Assyria_(1916)_(14595426039).jpg#mw-jump-to-license

I recognize the alleged racism in the myth of the noble savage. The dehumanizing effects of creating a juvenile like super hero, or villain, of another people. I know the Redman had blood on his hands too. I know. I know. Everything is academic now. It’s a voice, a perspective, says don’t hold on to anything too long, don’t believe too much. The winning position is no position, no opinion. Live and let live. 

Resting in a warm sudsy bath of mediocrity and social acceptance is enough for most of us. I know it’s enough for me. I cling to it. The quiet night of non-activity, floating in domestic lethargy; it could go on forever I think; I hope it does. No, more, it drives me insane that any second it could be stolen from me, and that I’m forced into a confused groundhogs day of cognitive dissonance. I have stolen heaven. I love my children more than the world, but I must care and even somehow I guess love the world too, because they need it. They will be of it and in it, and they model our behavior with it. They know it through us, and us through it. They check our record to thee record and make their own accounting. Dialectic. 

Hail the Redman. What does it mean beyond that then? In my accounting, the Great Lie is that Babylon matters. Babylon, meaning the city space, the laws, the roads, the taxes, the concrete, the clocks, everything. We think that network is the big deal, but it’s not, that’s just what you got now. There’s another perspective that says the dirt is real, and fresh air is real. That words are real and truth has meaning. And courage and honor mean something. And love means something too. They tricked you into thinking the opposite of love was hate, but the true opposite of love is apathy, antipathy. Disinterest. Disuse. Babylon loves disposabliltiy. The end, send it down the line. Make a sludge, toss it into the soda. Sorry. Hail the Redman. 

The Red Man of the Americas get special praise for a number of reasons. Biggest one, how they dealt with their trash. Piled it up in great ceremonies into the pleasing shapes of animals. Laid out large enough to entertain the heavens. The honored husks of the recently passed were buried too. The ground was now sacred, honored, and the new tools and life could be made again. Hail the Redman.