Saturday, June 4, 2016

Metaphysics as a Form of Jungle Gym

The time may have finally come to release language from the leash of common speech and allow it to become a wave on the ocean. Let it roll. Let it swell. Let it float something. Let it reach some island, some continent, some atoll, some isthmus, and crash on the sand.
Dwelling in language isn’t healthy. Dwelling in thought isn’t healthy. But I do it. I do it anyway. All this makes difficult thinking. I don’t know what to think. Until I start thinking. And then it’s too late. I’m already thinking.
I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not. I’m not a detergent. I’m not a flag or a hermit thrush. I express myself differently. I express myself with algae and barometric pressure. I sparkle with solitude. I like things that require a little reflection to understand them. I never whisper. Whispering isn’t my deal. I don’t like to shout much either.
I do like words. Words like pearls. Pearls of sweat. Pearls of rain.
Also, car bumpers, though you rarely see them anymore. Chrome bumpers. Not plastic or rubber bumpers. The bumpers you used to see on Chryslers and Fords from the fifties. Red convertibles with fins. Denim blue ’55 Chevy pickup with a V8 and flames.
Most of the time I’m just happy to drift. The field is open. Anything can happen.
There’s a book on the shelf with a golden spine searching for paradise. Being and Nothingness by Jean Paul Sartre. Lectures in America by Gertrude Stein. The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa.
Nothing in this world gives itself completely. You’ve got to share in its existence. It’s got to be perceived. Perception doesn’t always come easy.
Take clouds. They never stay the same. And eventually it’s not even a cloud anymore. It’s rain. It’s a river. It’s an ocean. It’s blood. It’s soup. It’s a hot shower in Grayland, Washington.
Bats fly out of a cave. It’s twilight. I rinse out a bottle of dish soap and toss it in the recycling bag and wonder how long it’s going to take for all those bubbles to disappear.
Hope is an odd emotion. It’s based on an expectation that the future will bring a more favorable circumstance. It’s easier just to accept disappointment before it gets here. That way, if something good does happen, it will be delightfully unexpected.
Expect the unexpected. That’s my advice.
Is the universe an essentially moral or virtuous place? I don’t think so, no. But that’s one opinion. And I happen to be biased. I live here.
Is the universe even a place? Is it a place or a being? Is it a jungle gym or a pomegranate?
Whatever paradise is, there aren’t any jobs there. Nobody needs a job in paradise. That’s what makes it paradise.
What else can I say? The forest is chirping and calm. Why make a principle out of living? There is no principle to living outside of eating and reproducing. What can you say of those who choose not to reproduce? Did they waste everyone’s time?
There’s no instruction manual for living. You just live. Life lets you know what it wants. Nature provides you with a body. The body wants food and sex. Most of one’s life is spent trying to obtain food and sex. In one’s later years, it pretty much comes down to food, which is a blessing.
As soon as a philosophy develops, it wants to impose its principles on the world. It wants to remake the world in its own image. Hence, plywood and concrete. Dripstone, gyroscopes, and Queen Anne’s lace.
The best philosophy is the one that provides you with cushions.
This is an ancient story: as soon as a philosophy begins to believe in itself, it starts to walk around taking notes and making illustrations. Good microscopes may be obtained at reasonable rates. Abstractions expand into cots.
Every time I put words in a sentence they do this: they begin glue and outlines. Grammar is a muscle. It has a natural tendency to lift things, stretch things, pull things, push things, elongate into beads and spatulas. Sooner or later a philosophy develops. And then what?
You come full circle. You reach that point where language must be released from common speech and become a diversion of ghosts and antiques. Send it on its way. Go, language, and find pleasure in dyes and wheels. Find a fence and jump it. Animate puppets and hammers. Write a letter to Frank O’Hara in the afterlife. I know he’s up there. He, too, let his language go. And here it is, indulging the eyes in arguments of mint, finding blood awkward, finding bones heavy, finding a thesis in everything. 





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