Monday, March 31, 2014

How do you dig yourself into a hole this deep?

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The Global Climate Convergence - Earth Day to May Day 2014.

Apologies to Tom Toles for editing.This is not a rhetorical question gentle reader but a straight one. I don't have the answer in my pocket. I don't know exactly how I got here, just that I am in a deep hole. And to the begged response: How can I set about getting out again? I have no answer for that either.

First worst strategy is to flat-out blame someone or something else. I guess. One of the best I've seen is our Bob: "He's hell-bent for destruction. He's afraid and confused; and his brain has been mismanaged with great skill." Another, from 'West Side Story': "I'm depraved on account'a I'm deprived."

"No man is an island, entire of itself," says John Donne in 1623 - an appreciation that cuts both ways. Donne knows this. If you can sort God and 'The Church' out of it (no mean feat!), Meditation #17 merits careful reading. "This bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me."

However desireable it may be, it is difficult if not impossible for a single individual (in this case, me) to take either entire responsibility or make entire remedy without denying, f'rinstance, the reality of all languages and all cultures. (Eh?) That anyone digs themselves into or out of such holes through choice alone seems like nonsense. Bromides like "It matters not how straight the gate," &c. and the brutal ideology of positive thinking equally so.

Mere correctitude! The essential point that must be conveyed to these positivity zealots is that figguring it out is not necessarily blaming. But they will not hear it.

Someone tells me (repeatedly) of their resolution to "... be positive, stop having issues that do not feed my soul ..." and I wonder how much of themselves they will have to excise to accomplish it and how many of those close to them will suffer collateral damage. I also wonder what possible good can come of it?

Stopping digging would probably be a better start than either blaming or figguring. And since (as the title of this post correctly implies that one is not clear about exactly what the digging comprises), stop everything but the essential: breathing, eating, shitting. Stop paying taxes for sure.

"The truth shall set you free," they say. Waddabout Love & Music? And do they set you free or set you true?

I wonder what comforts my father found in his last days? He was alone, I know that. I know he kept a stash of Playboy & Penthouse magazines in his sock drawer. There were whisky bottles in the cupboard, empty and full; and cigarette packs. Some of this we have in common.

Frontpiece to A.S. Byatt, 'Sugar':

Vom Vater hab’ ich die Statur
Des Lebens ernstes Fûhren;
Von Mûtterchen die Frohnatur
Die Lust zu fabulieren.
Urahnherr war der Schönsten hold
Das spukt so hin und wieder;
Urahnfrau liebte Schmuck und Gold
Das zuckt wohl durch die Glieder.
Sind nun die Elemente nicht
Aus dem Complex zu trennen
Was ist denn an dem ganzen Wicht   
Original zu nennen?


My father gave my stature tall
And rule of life decorous;
Mother my nature genial
And joy in making stories;
Full well my grandsire loved the fair,
A tendency that lingers;
My grandam gold and gems so rare.
An itch still in the fingers.
If no part from this complex all
Can now be separated,
What can you name original
That is in me created?

(Translation: H. & O. Bosanquet, 1920)
Sometimes I imagine he was alone as I am now; sometimes I cannot guess. He did not complain - in this we are not alike. He is dead now and I cannot ask him, "Why not?"

Arvo Pärt & wife Nora.Arvo Pärt.The music I am listening to as I write is (still, several weeks later) Arvo Pärt Spiegel im spiegel. Thanks to a gracious young woman at the music store (Remenyi House of Music Ltd., near Bloor & Yonge in Toronto) I easily found the sheet music and sent it to my grand-daughter who is working on it (says her mother). Along with Simon Jeffes' 'Nothing Really Blue' for four hands which she doesn't sell but remembered seeing free on the Internet - quite remarkable behaviour for Toronto.

I found Steven Mithen through Edward Wilson. I read Edward Wilson because I thought he knew something about Paul Gaugin (it was on the cover). Following along I looked at Steven Mithen's book 'The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body', Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2005, ISBN: 0-297-64317-7.

Mithen's arguments seem sort'a sketchy ... but sure, hard evidence is scanty. And the notions that music coevolved with language or even preceded language are liberating enough to overlook the absence of categorical antecedents. Because? Because music (musick) does indeed "soothe the savage breast" (and concomitantly the savage beast) and everyone knows it.

Matt Mahurin: Internet Porn.Matt Mahurin calls this image of his 'Internet Porn' but I am thinking of Roger Scruton's 'Sexual Desire: A Philosophical Investigation' in which he opines that oral sex - presenting (ablating?) one's face into the genitalia of another - includes identity involvement. (The face being a primary proxy for identity.)

The difference between a human sexual partner and the Internet or a computer is what then? Absence of shame I wonder? And why would one, should one, be ashamed of offering to trade identity for love?

Still thinking about The Hag, Goblins, & dream transformations:
Nightmare, hag-rid, Henry Fuseli 1781.Nightmare, hag-rid, Eugene Thivier 1894.
Procne Philomela Itys, Banquet of Tereus, Reubens 1635.
Henry Fuseli: The Night-Hag Visiting Lapland Witches, 1796.
The last is based upon some images in Milton's 'Paradise Lost': "... the Night-Hag, when call’d in secret, riding through the air she comes lur’d with the smell of infant blood, to dance with Lapland witches, while the labouring moon eclipses at thir charms."

My friend Simon offered me a tansformation mask, and I asked for an eagle instead, foolish boy.

Gilmar & Bruno Galvão:   (Gilmar gets it horizontally, but Bruno Galvão takes it vertical.)
Gilmar: AI-5 Padrão FIFA.
AI-5 Padrão FIFA standard:
All together we put Brazil forward ...
It's just a costume for Carnaval!
Bruno Galvão: Fantasias de Carnaval.
Calm down Mr. Policeman, I'm not Black Bloc, it's just a costume.
Me too, I'm not police, it's just a costume.
One day by the marge of Lake LaBarge:
Turkana girl & Mirella Ricciardi.
Turkana girl.Turkana girls.Turkana girls.Turkana girl.

These are the photographs I was going to post last time and didn't. They were likely taken in the 60s sometime so the girls will be grown up and probably gone. A brief bio on her website tells me that the photographer, Mirella Ricciardi (1935-), is still on the go in more-or-less comfortable retirement.

Look closely at the girl above - at her knobby knee and foot, the angle of her leg, visible sternum - there's a lot in it. When a woman poses like that - hipshot, with her hands behind her head - it may be to emphasize her breasts, provovative even when she is starving. Consider her regard, her visage ... perhaps provocative and ... defiant, self-possessed. (But I'm guessing, and anyway, it could just be air-brushed, and by an interloper at that.)

Something else ... a glance (also mentioned by Roger Scruton as a first cause) ...
... and the realization that digging out may simply not be in the cards.
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