Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It's Neither a Train Nor an Angel; It's You.

We’ve all heard that phrase in response to the query, “are you threatening me?”; “that’s not a threat, it’s a promise.” in regard to stepping over the line with someone. We live in a world of threats and promises. We often miss them. There are threats to others and threats to our selves and they come from others and they come from our selves. We know people who are their own worst enemies; I’m one of them.

There are promises, whether you think of the rainbow set in the sky, or the promise of a new tomorrow; the promise we show in our efforts, or the promise of reward from our efforts. Clumsy people are a threat; they can get you killed if you are forced to rely on them. We lack vision often enough. I don’t need to give you any evidence of that; or do I?

Every challenge presents difficulties in the face of accomplishment. A promise pushes us and we would hope that certain threats warn us. How certain is any promise? Some things are more immediately evident than others and some things stretch across wide distances of time and terrain.

I often ask myself, “What are these people doing?” when I walk through crowded areas. The news is filled each day with catastrophic events; great losses and massive reaping. One thing we know on the surface is that most of it doesn’t seem fair. Big dogs roam at will.

You can look at where you stand today and think it may continue forever. Donald Trump, no doubt looks toward an ever brighter future and the promise of new developments in hair technology. I know I mention Trump a lot. To me Trump symbolizes a certain excess of hubris and personal blindness that makes him stand out among his kind. I think the same when I consider Geraldo Rivera among journalists, g.w. bush among world leaders, Madonna among entertainers and, good grief, I could really spend some time here; let’s not.

I list those people because they represent those who have achieved great success with zero justification and ability. Trump may be an exception here. I suspect he has some talent in making money. Sad as these people may be, even sadder are the legions that would be like them if they could. The degree to which people will go to embarrass themselves in front of the entire world is amazing, more amazing are the crowds that follow them. These are some examples of the human equivalent of a can of Coca Cola; the world dances in the background of the commercial. “Look, that’s me, third from the left, bottom row.” Where are they going?

It is sad but it is verifiably true; people treat that which is most valuable as worthless and pursue what is worthless as if it were of great value. I can say this, circumstances prove it, but generally no one believes it. Hmmm.

I’ve got some English language TV now; the BBC lineup. I haven’t watched much TV in five years and, other than movies and sporting events, I haven’t watched much TV in 20 years. I can hardly watch it now, but I do. I’m looking for something but it’s not there. I can’t believe it’s not there. It has to be there. Why else would people watch it? They watch it to diminish their awareness of the threat within and without and to evade the promise of what looks like hard work. Diminishing your awareness of a threat is suicidal; whistling past a graveyard where the inhabitants are not dead. Evading the promise of true fulfillment is another puzzle. Is it the lure of the crowd?

Where I used to post are a number of people who think they are entertaining when they post inane questions in hope of a large response. They point to the response as evidence of relevance. Some of them make significant the mundane elements of their life as if there were some arcane mystery therein; “Why am I tired?”, “Who is your favorite pop star?”, “what are you buying for Christmas?”, or they launch endless attacks on each other. You go into a bar and see the people sitting there. You come back twenty years later and the same people (minus a few by way of attrition) are still sitting there having the same conversation. Call it progress.

You are on the move toward something and I don’t mean just your demise. If all that ever happened was that you lived and died this once, maybe it wouldn’t matter. Of course, you would expect that Spring would only come once, that history would not repeat, that Mozart couldn’t possibly exist, that the Earth would only turn once, that irony would be meaningless and then all the evidence to the contrary wouldn’t be there in plain sight. I’m not affected by other people’s unwillingness to believe; except perhaps that they don’t believe in me and even then; I do.

You’re all headed somewhere. Either you’re headed toward a personal destination or you are in the hope of following someone, whether that is Trump, or Buddha, Microsoft or Clarabelle the Clown. And all of these people have a specific and certain destiny. One and one is two. Kansas City is in Kansas City. Old couches go to the dump. Broken bodies go into the grave. Will Trump be rich forever? No. So, do you want it for just a little while? What’s on the other end of the polarity? Massive poverty is on the other end of the polarity. If you are swinging between the poles you are guaranteed the interchange of extremes.

Why is it that when you get what you want you don’t want it? Why is it that the more tightly you grip something, the more it pours like sand from between your fingers? We see the classic examples of recurring unhappiness everywhere and yet we stupidly ignore the obvious. The anger loose in this holiday season; in the stores, on the highways, in the homes... it’s... heh heh...ah people...

There are certain guarantees you can count on, barring scheduling difficulties and unexpected heart attacks. If you are headed to Kansas City, you’ll get there. If you are headed to prison, you’ll get there. If you’re following someone who is headed somewhere, you’ll wind up there with them. There’s a location for everything. That’s a promise. But it may be a threat.

As usual I am talking around something hoping it shows up on its own. I can’t directly say something without creating a host of questions.

I often wonder why people don’t ask themselves, “Why am I doing this?” “Where am I going?” Maybe they just have to find out. Of course they are going to find out. But why do they have to keep finding out the same thing over and over? Is it going to be different next time?

Where you are headed is where you wind up. Madonna is going to wake up at 180 pounds looking like a basset hound putting on her makeup on the Staten Island Ferry every morning for the next ten thousand years on her way to work at Murphy’s Discount Shoe Wear. Trump is going to be shaking an empty McDonald’s coffee cup on the Bowery for the next who knows how long. Geraldo may well be an outhouse fly 5000 times in a row. Rupert Murdoch? Don’t ask.

You are guaranteed certain things. You are promised them. You only have to set forth and you will get there. Don’t make it a pole facing another pole across a wide expanse. Don’t be a ping pong ball. I know about a place filled with every delight you can imagine. You only have to convince the man at the door to let you in. You can go other places. You can trade immortality for a seat at the table with these other folk but you’re not going to like it. And that’s not a threat, that’s a promise.


Yes, this piece may have been insufficient to the task at hand but one must remember I'm not an empiricist, I'm a metaphysician. You have to fill in the blanks. Think of yourself as being engaged in Neo-Existential Psycotherapy. Try to remember that the solipstic think is true only as far as it goes.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This one made me laugh. haven

Anonymous said...

Clever. It took me some time but I got it. You can't possibly think others are going to tumble to what you actually intended. You're a piece of work.

Bruce

Anonymous said...

Hey, your not the only swiftie here. That's known as a blind pirouette. I didn't get it the first time either.

z a

MsZilla said...

At this point, I think I'm going to have to take several laps through this life to learn it's lessons. I'm studying as hard as I can, though. Today the most frightening thing I can imagine is having to try this again.

I hope you have a great weekend (how's that for mealy-mouthed PC? ;}.

Anonymous said...

aw, fuck: the bending walls again. Look what you've done. I thought I'd got that handled.