5-31-2012 | Been a Good Run
They don't return my calls. At least, not yet...big plans afoot in 2012. The recent Shameless Fundraising post was a humbling success and I hereby offer an update in gratitude.
I have been in the throes of an immense overhaul, something astro-mystics refer to as Saturn's Return. I have written a background introduction about it here: Been a Long Time Gone. Since then, it has predictably been damn near impossible to hold onto the clarity and calm of that revelation.
I have returned home to Vermont, adopted a very normal disguise, and acquired several day jobs to #occupy my time profitably and build a foundation -- something resembling adulthood, perhaps.
Re-thinking, re-reading, recalibrating the synapses. I keep Andy Clark's Pragmatic Thinking & Learning close by these days, but few pieces I've read this year hit me as hard as the Lewis Lapham essay Ignorance of Things Past, which concludes with a passage that's been haunting my head ever since:
The Roman historian Titus Livy likened history to a collection of “fine things to take as models” and “base things, rotten through and through, to avoid." The contemporary American novelist John Crowley carries the thought another two thousand years along the road to who knows where, suggesting that “the past is the new future . . . its lessons not simple or singular, a big landscape of human possibility, generative, inexhaustible.”
Fortunately so. We have little else with which to build the future except the driftwood of the past, salvaging from the journey across the frontiers of the millennia what mankind has on scraps of papyrus and bronze coins, in confessions voluntary and coerced, in five-act plays and three-part songs.
To acknowledge the truth of the old Arab proverb that says we have less reason to fear what might happen tomorrow than to beware what happened yesterday is also to say that we have more reason to look to the past — history as the phoenix in the attic — for the hope of the future.
At the end of the day, Ozymandias was just watching TV. Fucking TV. He was using the high noise levels and emergent patterns as a means of divination -- free-form, left-brain, meditation & ideation exercises are valuable, but he could have just as easily used the I Ching or hired interns to transform a stack of daily newspapers into cut-up experiments.
The insights this process yields are fleeting and frantic, though: these are facts with expiration dates, the urgent revelations of the hedge fund, where anything that matters is time-sensitive on a scale humans cannot even experience.
Me, I like experience. This is a recent development. I've been living online for about a decade, participating in a Constant Global Now -- all this while sitting in a stunned trance for endless, mostly wasted hours. And, well, shucks. Mistakes get made, new mistakes are currently being attempted, and I don't pretend anyone reading this will "learn" much of anything here.
Still, just in case: focus on reading real books and being outside as often as possible. That's been my game plan recently and in terms of mental and physical health, the positive change has been immediate and remarkable.
People do change. In fact, your biologically wired capacity for change is vast enough to be effectively infinite. Know that. Feel that. Get out into the sun ASAP.
And come back tomorrow! That, too.