“We demand some change in orbit
Absolute liberation from Newton’s gravitational mania…
We demand more…with our..charm
We want more.., substances illegal
No Monday leftovers, *****minimum
A first class bonus ticket from..to Berlin
A crate of champagne, eco-vodka, eco-gin…
What is is
What is not is possible
Just what is not is possible…”
WAS IST IST – Einsturzende Neubauten
In the fighting world you will hear it said that every technique has a counter and very counter has a counter. This is just as relevant to the world of philosophy.
Every statement I make seems to suggest its polar opposite right after I tap the full stop- which makes the next keystroke scary.
I love writing that acknowledges this situation. I love sentences that change inflection with the last word or phrase. Tove Jansson seems to do it with almost every sentence whether she is writing for children or for adults.
All of this creates a problem, a tension, when you’re trying to create an integrated, whole personality; the kind of vessel you need to carry thoughts and water around from place to place.
I like the idea of ‘strength’; ‘strength of character’, ‘strength of purpose’, ‘strength of vision’ but that also suggests a certain rigidity.
I often quote- to myself only -a line from the movie ‘The Deer Hunter’. The one that goes- “This is this, this is not something else.” I like that line, it’s compelling and a good mantra for those like me of an anxious disposition. It’s a good way to maintain focus and stop your mind from fracturing into the multiple split screens of the anxious imagination.
I read an interview with Mr. Blixa Bargeld of the German band Einsturzende Neubauten in which he suggests that the banning of smoking on the West coast of America was a result of an American fear of the destructive and creative potential of fire. He felt that there was something about the idea of TRANSFORMATION that was threatening to something in the North American cultural psyche. It makes me wonder if my “This is this..” mantra is denying the possibility of transformation, though I’m still glad I quit smoking.
In “The Exploits if Mooninpappa” a character called Hodgkins sums up all the characters’ personalities in an off-hand way by saying something along the lines of: I am interested in doing, you (that’s Mooinpappaa) are interested in becoming, the Joxter is interested in being and the Muddler is interested in things, sometimes other people’s things.
I would like to think I was interested in Becoming.
In the mid eighteen hundreds a wealth of wonderful books were produced which really encompassed the entire breath of modernism before that movement is thought to have begun. Books like the Double and Notes from Underground by Dostoyevsky and Melville ‘s Bartelby the Scrivener (along with stories like Poe’s The Man of the Crowd and William Wilson) dealt with the difficulty of maintaining individuality in modernity; with doubles and doubling.
There was a time when I was younger when that splitting of the mind exponentially actually caused me physical pain but do I want to say for once and for all- “This is this, this is not something else.”
Perhaps there is something to be said for a certain amount of ‘cognitive dissonance’, a healthy level of flexibility. It’s difficult- we should make things as simple as possible but no simpler than that.
And remember “You never can tell what aneroid barometer might be caught in any net.”