The Sunday Tunnel: Level Again
[Continued from here]
The easiest is to just pack up and go. Not quite, it is easier still to just go. Just go. Go!
“Now I remember where I happened on it: that idea of the novelist as an historian of little lives – lives lost at Cannae, etc. It’s Eliot closing Middlemarch. I’ve looked it up.
… for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
She must mean those who swell the ranks at riots, who comprise mobs, witness executions, contribute to the church. What of those, though, who were simply consumed?” (ibid., p. 246)
Fuck it. I looked it up two and what I remain with is: Fuck it! There are enough causes for hatred out there as there are for the common cold. People working for enterprises big enough to crush the lives of thousands of tough men and women at once. Said people simultaneously raving on one peculiar habit, that of coveting (an ‘y’ anyone?) a real interest in the men and women whose interest it is to be left alone. The common cold may be the commonest cold but that does not make the cold, any cold, common. What? 10 days a year, 15 tops. A characteristic of a subset of a set’s subset defines sad people. It is most common not to have the cold.
Kohler may quote Eliot but George’s fifty/fifty stands to Bill’s nihilism as something that is, unfortunately, already slightly over halfway to being close to the truth. Yes, that’s opaque (a bright kind of dark).
“Man has invented a creature of culture and refinement which he then pretends to be – like the crocodile supines the fallen tree, the toad the mossy rock. So you and I, Kohler, we become confused about our Being. We begin to believe we are our hypocrisies … We free the negative and let the positive go hang. We proclaim the ultimate value of man in the face of his palpable worthlessness. We say that men seek to preserve their own lives when everywhere man is evidently suicidal.” (ibid., p. 250)
Tabor speaking, Mad Meg, whatever. A bullet does not want to be in a gun any more than a brick wants to build a house. I am confused. It is man who builds the gun and who shoots the bullet to conquer, what?, a house; an other. So are we all to blame then for bringing us down with what we build? For palpable worthlessness?
“I’ve demonstrated that, out of Homer and Hesiod and others, I’ve proved it like a pointed pistol. (..) Up the stairway to the stars, eh? from things to thoughts of things, from thoughts of things to thoughts of thoughts, from thoughts of thoughts to thoughts as things again. Hurray, hey? Infect the fuckers with the shakes, I say.” (ibid., p. 253)
Palpable is a word for the pulpit, a word in search of culprits (which is itself a word as wordless as worthlessness). A word with an aim and that aim is rage. Thesis: set up an ought. Antithesis: the ought is denied. Synthesis: doom. The number is: three. But three lacks one motion, lacks the fourth, from thoughts as things to things of thought.
Things of thought are carried unhistorically by those who remain hidden and who build up resistance to the dialectics of the organizers of mobs, those who point riots as pistols to shoot the rioters in their own heads, to churches and to faith in anybody, anything. Resistance even to faith in Nothing or Being and the stairway to the pit of unavoidable pithy denial.
“No, reality does not punish wickedness; reality does not send the ignorant to their doom; reality does not compel some sorts of assent and repel others; and, rather than say, as your good Kipling does, that every bloody one of them is right, I prefer to be led by logic and suggest that all are most probably wrong; but, the point is, Kohler, reality really doesn’t give a shit; the truth plainly doesn’t matter a damn.” (ibid., p. 259)
And that is what I hate, this idea – this thought of thing – that people need to be rescued & delivered as if we were hostages of an evil empire of palpable worthlessness; entangled in an unreal web of unreasonable reality with logic and probability both stacked up against us. Helpless if it were not for those who at least see our need of being rescued. And the reason to hate it is because those who plan our rescue will never feel satisfied with our gratitude. They need our love & unreserved respect as a junkie needs its needle and they are willing to organize catastrophe for just one other shot of our awe of their someness. Even if they believe we are nothingness – just masses to riot or to be consumed or both, in sequence – they will crave us and comfort themselves with reality-as-wickedness.
“and maybe that was why Mad Meg clung to my arm, even though he talked to me most of the time as if I were another hall of students; still, I think he had his hopes, not that I would change the state of his soul, but that I would help him hide it from himself, hide the hollow where his words were, the words which expressed over and over his despair, for I realize, now that I’ve begun the doodle the designs, that Magus Tabor will always be the spiritual founder of the Party of the Disappointed People.” (ibid., p. 266)
It is not that they are bad. For now we have to accept we will have to lose some. Unfortunate as it may be the ones we will lose are the ones with more talent because they see what could be and is not and translate that in what should be and can, for them, never be. But let us not mistake correlation for causation: the reason we lose a lot of talent is not because these talented people are mostly right, the reason we lose them is because they are too impatient to be proven right.
The bias created is unavoidable: the best of us, the ones we know, the least hidden amongst us … most of them are truly & sincerely pessimistic. So pessimism cannot but be the rational belief. Only it isn’t because here we are: the unnoticed who listen and learn.
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