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A Few Final Words
by Joe E. Dees
Hello, I am a Being-in-the-World (Oh, Hell!), tied to it revocably. The hyphenated monstrosity is a term coined by the German
existential philosopher Martin Heidegger (Hi, Heidegger! Heil!) to
express the essenceless essence of the human condition. We are
all, I suppose, tied to the world in much the same manner as we
were tied to our progenitors: umbilically. That's what Heidegger
meant by the hyphens, I guess. They're there for a reason (all
symbols stand for something, you know). WE'RE not symbols,
though; we stand (or fall) for no particular generality. We have
reason, but not A reason, you see. And faith - O We Of Little
Faith! Faith is by definition unjustified, or we would call it
knowledge. Is it even justifiable? But I digress.
I apologize. You see, I am suffering from a depression. It's called my navel. Only Adam and Eve, Judaic mythology tells us,
lacked this little hole within our centers. Surprise! Navel veterans all! So why am I so alone? Do we all join hands only to find we're just links in a chain of alonenesses? It makes me mad - bilious, if you please. But at what? Question: how can nothing be mad at anything? Perhaps this is why Sartre became a Stoic.
Stoicism is okay, I guess, but it's hard to get excited about it, especially since I'm worried about my liver. I only have one, and my bile rises when I contemplate it (I guess I should stick to navel contemplation, but the thought fills me with a sense of forbodhing). I get nauseated - is it a sickness unto death? And are Soren and Fyodor even compatible? Is my bile rising a symptom of a
diseased liver condition? When it goes, you go. In that mortal
sense, we are direly tied to our livers; first a liver, then a dier - living is fatal, you know. But this is not what I wanted to say. I'll try again.
Eliot's Sacred Three (them's the facts when it comes to brass
tacks) - the significant events in human existence, are Birth,
Copulation and Death, the creation, conjunction and destruction of
Beings-in-the-World. Is Freud right? Do our lives hinge upon the
anal, the oral, the genital? Are these much-maligned orifices and
protuberances the foci around which our consciousnesses blindly
gyrate? Or is Heidegger closer? Is it our annihilation rather than
our copulation which comprises the fulcrum upon which we leverage the unnoticed attention of our days? There is a third choice, a side alley leading away from these either-or dilemming horns, a choice of which I only recently became aware. I'll dare to share, if you care.
It's not my idea; a man named Edgar F. borgatta worked it out
in 1954. His thesis is that the source of our dreads, anxieties and
assorted insecurities is - deumbilification. When we are cut off, we
feel abandoned, vilified (a deumbilifi-vilifi-cation nation?). The
primordial Nurturer is gone. We are lost - not through preoccupation with sex or anticipation of death, but from birth. The contingent survivors die a-borning (where do we go from here? where is here?). Our nave - the hub of our spidery twirlings - parts, dropping us into the Edwards-ian abyss of life. Freud would fit well into this theory. Men would wish to reconnect themselves with the warmth of the womb in mindless security, and women wiuld wish the same. Ta-da! The handy-dandy genitalia, at your service! Heidegger would fit in, too; it's not the fall that hurts, but that sudden stop at the end - or do we just think it hurts?
Two things seem to lessen the pain of beginning, of becoming
life from not-life, they are LeBoyer water birth and breast feeding.
In LeBoyer, the baby is born into water to ameliorate the shock.
Born and Born-Again at the same time, an infant baptism, hmm.
And the nip-p-p-les? With gut unwed, we feed the head. Merleau-
Ponty stated that all our concepts are grounded in percepts, so
maybe since we feel before we think, our guts are fed first - then
our brains. In fact, Aristotle's Three Laws of Thought are
themselves reduceable to perception. They are: 1) A Or Not-A
(either it's there or it ain't), 2) Not Both A And Not-A (it can't be
both there and not there in the same spatiotemporal perspective - a
good Albertian viewpoint), and 3) If A Then A (if it's there, it's there). He missed one, I think: If Not-A, Then Not-A (if it ain't there, it ain't there). But being there, how would we know?
Being-there. Kosinski stole the term; it is the literal translation of Dasein, the Heideggerian term otherwise translated as Being-in-the-World.
Kant stated that all concepts without percepts are empty, and
all percepts without concepts are blind. If Merleau-Ponty is right
and it all starts with percepts, then I guess that we are born blind,
and only later on do we perceive our emptiness. Que sera, sera - from fetal to defeatal. What a world.
Poor Giordano Bruno. He was burned at the stake by the
bodily enforcement arm of the soul-protecting Catholic church. The
Inquisitors ordered this - because Bruno dared to inquire. He
inquired about our universe, and he came to the conclusion that it
lacked an absolute center. Relativity theory - four hundred years
before Einstein - and they killed him for it. Microcosm-macrocosm:
a centerless mind adrift in centerless matter. Being-in-the-World.
Thanks, Bruno, you're in good company. Say hi to your bro Socrates for me (another soul slain for attempting to perpetrate self-knowledge). While you're at it, invite Jesus over to your table, too; he was most probably as misinterpreted as the rest of you.
The name of the Grand Inquisitor was Torquemada. The
appellation was most probably derived from the latin torquere, to
twist, and torques, collar. Tightening the screws to keep 'em
collared, ay, Torquey? A torque is also a piece of twisted wire
worn on one's person (but around the neck, not from the navel).
However, torquing also causes torsion, a spinning around a center
(turning in the widening gyre). Was Bruno burned on the heretic's
pyre for disagreeing with you about the existence of such a center,
Torquemada? I'm almost sure he didn't mean it personally.
Anyway, we all lack a center. It was taken from us when we
became us, and we'll never get it back, so long as we all shall live. That's the reason for this sharpened knife in my hand. Primal
scream therapists say that one's scream is not authentic until the
knotting of the glottis is loosened. Coincidentally (or is it?), this
knot is located in the center of the stomach, directly behind the
navel. The Indian shot me, mama!
The Japanese don't call it hari-kiri; that's an americanization, like chop suey. They call it tsubutu. I like the phonetics of that word: tsu-bu-tu. As if you're talking to yourself to yourself listening in maddening creschEND-O! That damned knot has been there as long as I can remember and I'm fucking tired of it; I'm committed to the idea of autocaesarean section.
I'll do it with all the directness and dignity I can muster - no chop suey-side; nope, straight through the ol' chow mein. But I'll allow myself the pleasure of screaming.
You'll find me here beside this letter. A last theory of will beside its consummation in final action - and Guess What? I'll
finally have a Center- a gleaming, silver center.
Well, cheerio! Time to plug the hole!
I hope I miss my liver.
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