“Presssssshusssssss. We wants it.”
In the movie "Time Bandits", there’s this rag tag assortment of demented elementals that are pursuing “the most fabulous object in the world”. The thing is that there is no such thing. If there is, for a moment such a thing, it is always changing into some other thing. Possession of the thing causes the magic of allure to move promptly to another thing. And so on and so on.
This motivation for the possession of the elusive ‘something’ is the driving force in every life except those not driven by it. A profitable exercise is to sit on a park bench or stand on a street corner and watch the activity as it moves in pursuit of it. It’s identified as nearly everything. The degree to which it can refine itself is impressive as well. Even beyond the range of ordinary hungers it has the capacity to mutate into concepts and ideals and worlds of the imagination. It is unobtainable.
Every theft and murder, every crime is committed in the pathways of every restless soul in search of it. In “The Jungle Book” Mowgli finds a king’s ankus, an elephant goad that is stored among many treasures guarded by a white cobra. It was encrusted with rubies and turquoise. Mowgli takes the ankus away with him. When he finds out what it was used for, to be driven into the neck of an elephant to discipline its direction he throws it away in disgust. Elephants are his friends.
Later he decides to go and look for it. Men have found it and he follows their tracks and discovers a trail of bodies. Ultimately he comes into a clearing and finds several bodies and the ankus lying nearby. He returns the ankus to the lair of the white cobra. Death follows all of our pursuits but one.
To speak of these things in a culture of materialism is to be labeled mad, a fool. To point out that the majority of all of our efforts are pointless is to wake the ire of the crowd. You offend the merchants. You piss off the scholars who feed at the trough. Nearly everyone has found a paycheck and a niche. Reputations are currency. The ability to gaze off into the distance with a faraway look in your eye is declared wisdom. The ability to confuse is called intelligence. Lies are money. And the whole thing is propped up on fantasies that lean against each other.
They say that hope springs eternal but they seldom focus on the downside of that. There isn’t any hope. There isn’t the single slightest possibility that you will be saved or spared your ration of pain while in this pursuit. Peering through the window, beyond the velvet ropes, it all looks different, all those confident men and women marching into the future; dining at the best restaurants, going to the openings, mentioned on the news, appearing on the big screen. It just looks so compelling. There’s the house in Beverly Hills and the beach house and the apartment in New York and Paris and the phone calls and the rest; the adoring crowds.
There’s no doubt that it can feel really good for awhile until the vehicle starts to fall apart- and you’re about to go to the back of the line again; all those diseases and the loss of prowess, the pounding footsteps of your replacements. Greta Garbo makes more sense every day. Behind those privileged doors are the scenes you don’t get to see. You don’t get to see them because it is the illusion of the hi-end presentation that is the lure that keeps you believing that there is no downside or that, more fool you, for you it will be different.
These bloody wars and attendant horrors, the hurricanes, plagues and tidal waves are all raised up screaming into the air by the collective fire of individual minds in the pursuit of the king’s ankus. Every thought adds its weight to the power of the others until a focus or some nexus is found. Somewhere there’s a weak leak or convenient avenue. Somewhere there’s a ready cast waiting on their script. All over the world the actors are rehearsing their parts without any idea of what awaits. They’re doing pushups and putting on makeup. They’re getting measured for their outfits. They’re being vetted and interviewed and sent on ahead or sent to the left or the right or sent back the way they came until some new approach opens to either side.
All those stars burning in the skies that died out thousands of years ago. They’re long gone. This world is long gone too. We live in its echo. Buried in flesh we are as close to dead as we can get. It is the coffin from which we rise. We are dancing in the Overlook Hotel. The fact that anyone thinks this is absurd is proof positive of their insanity. Insanity surrounds you on all sides. It is the observation of patterns within the madness that makes us believe it is sane. It looks normal until it doesn’t. It looks normal until you are too far in to get out.
People talk about peace of mind. People read about the lotus and they imagine that it means they can still swim in the lake under the Buddha’s smile. Strange moral codes dictate the parameters of acceptable behavior, overlapping contrasting parameters until the exceptions become the new rule and cutting corners makes a circle of your way. You are following yourself to nowhere. There’s no getting to and there’s no coming from. There’s nothing. How do you demagnetize the mind? Somebody galvanized the dust. The entire purpose of life is to lose interest in it. Nobody wants to hear that.
Up pops Savonarola. Here comes Giles De Rais. There goes T.S, Eliot and Einstein, all characters in a Bob Dylan song making news and distractions on Desolation Row. It’s a marvel and a mystery under the big tent.
Here and there a simpleton is smiling, a babe in arms. He saw enough when he was smart and elegant. It was in wanting something more that drove him truly mad. He took that leap, became the seashell beyond the reach of the sea and could hear the wind forever as it composed the soundtrack of his escape against the mouth of the chambered Nautilus. He suckles forever at the teats of irony. People make fun of him and he laughs along. What does he care?
Every day you wake up and the world reassembles itself into what you described it as. It mimics your apprehensions and expectations. It leers back at you. It smiles back at you. It waves back at you. It shoots back at you. There you are holding your ears in a Munch scream. There you are surrounded by yourself attempting to stand out for however long you can hold the attention. Some have made a contract with the world. Some have made a deal... they do evil for the sheer joy of it. You’ll never have that kind of conviction so you are hardly going to win whatever it is they agreed to. It takes a long time in either direction to get the directors attention. It takes a lot longer when you keep changing course.
The vision of Hell presumes the existence of Heaven. You can see the former any time if it’s proof you need. Every realm implies a variety of levels and any series of contrasts postulates an infinity of continuing poles contrasting others. What should bring you the greatest joy is the understanding that enduring happiness cannot be had here. It should be your first and most important clue.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
“Presssssshusssssss. We wants it.”
Beamed from the Saucer Pod By Visible at 15:15