Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Will to Wobble

There is no point in time. Time does not have points. Time isn’t even really a ticking. Ticking isn’t time. Ticking is what a clock does. Our red clock with its assertive tick on the living room wall just above Braque’s Fauve rendition of Le Havre ticks loudly but the ticks do not amount to anything vaguely real just more and more ticks that talk and talk and talk. Walls aren’t time, though I am walled from the past, cannot reach the people I once knew, people now dead, or aged, wherever they are they are not the same. I am not the same. I cannot send letters to myself in my twenties advising myself what to do or what not to do. I cannot attend a play by Shakespeare when Shakespeare was still living and dealing with his actors, advising them what to do or what not to do. Some of that is in his plays. Hamlet, for instance: Speak the speech I pray you as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
Or Shakespeare in his room writing. What did that look like? What kind of pen did he use? A quill? How do you write with a quill? No room for mistakes, that’s for sure. Did he use some sort of pencil? How did he sketch things out before laboring to put them into iambic pentameter?
If I had access to a time machine the first thing I would do is go look at dinosaurs. I can’t explain that fascination. They were  lizards. Big lizards. Thunder lizards. But lizards. What’s the big deal with lizards? Are lizards reptiles? Lizards are reptiles with overlapping scales. So yeah, dinosaurs were lizards. But why the fascination?  Is it their immensity? It is more than immensity. Those ancient animals were among the first creatures to have something like cognitive awareness on this planet. That awareness was no doubt limited, but it was an awareness. Many of them hunted, and hunting requires a level of cunning, of strategy, perhaps even a communicable organized scheme for the getting of prey shared with their fellow creatures. And how would that be communicated? By sound? By color? By smell? What kind of being did they have? What sounds did they make? What would it be to gaze into the eyes of a Tyrannosaurus Rex? Dangerous, no doubt. It would be safer to view such an animal from a high, far cliff. But then you’d have pterodactyls to worry about. You might want to just stay within the time machine.
Or the historical Christ. Imagine going back in time and arguing with this person to not be captured by Roman soldiers but continue the revolt against the Roman empire in a manner that did not require the sacrifice of one’s life. Would that message still have power?
Power, ha! Why is it always about power? The Will to Power. But what is it to “will”something? Nietzsche thought it something very complicated. In all willing, he said, “there is a plurality of sensations, namely, the sensation of the state ‘away from which,’ the sensation of the state ‘towards which,’ the sensation of this ‘from’ and ‘towards’ themselves, and then also an accompanying muscular sensation, which, even without our putting into motion ‘arms and legs,’ begins its action by force of habit as soon as we ‘will’ anything.”
Volition is a sensation involving prepositions. Involving space. Movement in space. A desire to do such and such a thing in space, through space, across space, by space, up and down in space, in and out of space, above space, under space, between spaces. Power is the ability to carry those actions out. Though it would be nice to have the power to fly. Lift diesel locomotives. Speed faster than a bullet. Catch bullets in your teeth and spit them back out. Become invisible. See through walls. See through clothing. Enjoy hot chocolate with God. Feed the hungry. Shelter the cold. Create storms. Hurl lightning bolts. Change into tights and a cape whenever the mood strikes. Sew a big S on your chest. Get to be friends with Mick Jagger. Play rhythm guitar for The Rolling Stones. Travel through time. See dinosaurs. Ride dinosaurs. Pet dinosaurs.
Is that what Nietzsche meant by superman? Probably not.
Life itself, said Nietzsche, is will to power. Just being alive is the most powerful thing anyone can do. Being, pure and simple. 

It is more difficult than one might assume. Even the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex had bad days. Sue (so it would seem) had gout. Imagine life as a Tyrannosaurus Rex with a bad case of gout. Ouch! That Cretaceous ground must have had quite a few sharp rocks to step over. 

Sue, the name given to the skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus Rex discovered in the Cheyenne Indian Reservation of western South Dakota, was named after paleontologist Sue Hendrickson, who has since gone on to search for pink pearls in the Caribbean.

And when I stand and clank I think of pearls. And Caribbean dawns. And Caribben sunsets. And Caribbean beans. Caribbean carnivals. Caribbean carobs. Caribbean carpophores. Caribbean cartoons. Caribbean beer. Caribbean bedsprings. Caribbean bees bearing Caribbean pollen.  

Could the mind turn jade? It could if it were fat, though it is gravity to think so. Thought has certain properties, some of which are weather. The speed of a hat deepens with teeth. Its very tempo is a destiny. 

Kepler’s interest in astronomy, like Tycho’s, organized in beams. They say that to this very day the winds of Deadwood carry his memory in old mayonnaise jars, their lids fastened by ancient stars. Ladies & Gentlemen, as this paragraph draws to a close, I just want to say phonograph, and thank you for the spatula. I will treasure it as my own very afterthought. 

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