Tuesday, September 03, 2013
The Daze Of Our Lives
So you live out your years, from childhood and adulthood and every minute (every indivisible moment of now) something is going on somewhere in your life, even if only in your head, some minor dramas, some issues to be solved or obstacles to be negotiated, these are occupying your attention to the exclusion of any leisurely philosophical contemplation, but it seems that, when you do really try to assess it - or someone else, like a dispassionate Alien on a earth-recon perhaps, is taking notes (calling Dr Freud) - that you don't know, don't fully acknowledge that you are alive, because you can't keep yourself aware of it all, all the context as well as all the interior life, all the time, except for some moments when, unlike that fish never realizing it is in water (you are human not piscatorial after all and have self-awareness, allegedly), when you realize that something you didn't know you had is missing. What is it? Why are you feeling so exposed, so evacuated and abandoned?
Your life is missing.
It was all around you all the time but such is the depth of immersion, the genuine profundity, that you didn't even notice. After all the effort you spent on your living acts, it seems you weren't aware that everything you were doing depended on a crucial factor: your presence. Slap. You could just as easily not be there. Your life, you continuing to be alive, is a shrug of the universe. You realize, suddenly struck by the obviousness of it, that life is the medium in which you act and move. Out of life, nothing can be done, you are completely impotent: you flap and make a fish-mouth for a little while and then you either get thrown back in or you don't...
And so there might come a time or two, short times, brief times when something happens to you or around you and then, after that, for a while, you live in the awareness of being a palpitating animated mind, a consciousness independent of everything (you could be a brain in a jar, who would know? Other jugged brains?) yet crucially dependent upon various arrangements of atoms and upon the sensations of reality they bring. These are those times and, ironically, they might seem inconsequential, annoying or frightening while you are living them, those times that are crucial in establishing the definition of who you are, where you've been on this journey, or where you may go and what you may become, given the opportunity. Some burst of drama: nearly dying maybe; or someone crucial to you being damaged; maybe even you are suddenly, unexpectedly in love.
These are the incidents and moments, epiphanies, whatever you call them, that they write books to analyze, make movies to try and reveal. Even though they may not be much fun, (or they may be, up to a point) it is only then, during this nowness of a crisis that you start to notice the air going into your lungs, to feel your weight upon the attracting earth even as it spins, to smell the filth on the Italian street, to see the wrinkled skin on the beggar Gypsy woman playing a saxophone (IKYN) on a train in Barcelona, to hear the roar of traffic on Sukhomvit Rd or of the deafening cicadas in the Darwin bush, to see the real intent behind the look in your friends' eyes, to truly acknowledge love or to understand revenge. Triggered by some brief snippet of an incident taken out of your continuous life, such as the bursting climax of a gradually building disaster (like coronary atheroma), here is something that needs a screenplay, that needs a short story or novel.
It's like the feeling you get when you finish the book and look up in the coffee shop to the kids studying or FBing on their Macbooks with tepid green tea lattes on their tables, or when the movie ends and the lights come up amongst empty sugar drink containers and hyper-salted popcorn boxes, and you are out of that world suddenly and into the real one.
Or is this the world for which you must suspend your disbelief?
And, is so, for how long does this last?
Homer has a day like this.
"“One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish” is about as sentimental as The Simpsons gets, but it ends on a gloriously cynical note that goes a long way toward undercutting the sentimentality; over the end credits Homer watches television on the couch with a big, uncomplicated grin that suggests he’s learned absolutely nothing from his brush with death. Others who might have gone through Homer's travails might approach life with a new urgency and sense of purpose, but Homer is intent on sleepwalking through the rest of his life as lazily as possible. We wouldn’t have it any other way."