Monday, August 22, 2016

Avete -

Et nunc brevissime -

Among my blog-subscriptions is one that often shows old photos of Betty Page, in various states of attire.  A signal female model in a signal position in our recent cultural twists and turns, and yet another "pretty face".  In the un-simple confusion of biological life, being male involves being moved by "pretty faces" of various sorts. There is so much connected with that: how to sort it out? 

One way is this, to remember that "a pretty face" is a-dime-a-dozen in itself; that there is no "pretty" without some desire, some weakness on the part of the viewer; that more real than the impression that an image makes is the person (unknown for the most part) embodied within the source of the impression; that underneath said vision is a being, whether your superior or inferior or your more-or-less-peer, but certainly a creature with its own agenda; that we are morally bound to treat people well (if at all possible), and so to defer to her (or him or whatever); and, after all, that said creature is in the end just a messy-mixed-up-wonder of mucus, stomach acid, bacteria, noxious filth, and God knows what else! 

Such thoughts can push the superfluity of sexual excitement back a bit towards the proper indifference that we, as rational folks, should show towards strangers. 


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Not-so-Amazing, and Amazing, then Humbling...

Salve atque salvete! 

As a POST-post-scriptum to yesterday's dreary recital of self-pity and weary old dismay, let me say that it's remarkable and instructive what a difference food, fluoxetine and caffeine, and getting some work done, does for one's mood and outlook.  Reality doesn't change, but our readiness and attitude to engagement with it, our state, does.

And, in a conciliatory aside to the Christianos (qui tam plures sunt his in Civitatibus Unitiis), of which faith I have at times counted myself a provisional member, I expect that my petite and limited experience of mood-change is very similar to the long-term effect of being 'born again', a letting go of fear and helplessness and re-embarking on life, while trusting to God's control.  And this parallels what we gain from Stoicism - recognizing sad but necessary mortality, recognizing an underlying Universality in life and death all around us, and realizing that freedom is ultimately a humble thing, something that BELONGS to us in a simple and timeless way, and rarely a matter of what we would wish. 

Christianity is not a problem: Christians are good people, generally.  But fanatical Christianity is another story.  However, I'll let that be, at that point.

Recently I took up Goodman and Soni's book, "Rome's Last Citizen: Legacy of Cato the Younger", and heartily recommend it.  And I jotted this down in my notebook, from Lucan's Pharsalia (they don't identify the translation), speaking of oracles and other miracles:  

"Bound are we to the Gods; no voice we need;
They live in all our acts, although the shrines
Be silent...."

And from People magazine, of all things, I recorded a very good trans-belief-system quote from Muhammad Ali:

"Everything I do, I say to myself, 'Will God accept this?' Sleep is a rehearsal for death. One day you wake up and it's Judgment Day. So you do good deeds."
In a nutshell. 

And then, also in that People magazine, an amazing and humbling story - there are so many! - about Aimee Copeland, this young woman who lost legs and hands to disease, and has been reborn and re-equipped, in heart and in prosthetics!  It took me by surprise; horrible and then amazing.  A happy ending, by God!,,21011736_21011374,00.html


Worth pondering.  Valete.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Feet Slipping on the Rocks

Salvete, qui legant -

How many of us recall being in water up to our necks and trying to find toe-purchase atop slimy, mossy lake stones?  That seems an apt metaphor for my mental and moral state just now.  Trying to get a grip, as it were. 

My life is not that of a gung-ho hot-shot nor even that of a giddy, myopic gas-bag.  My firmament in life is a slippery rock of absurdity - being myself too-much-that and not-enough-this, and so on.  The world of youthful competition and 24/7 performance-merit passed me by long ago, and it is one part of human nature with which I've never identified, except in fantasy. I've worked in my life - mostly for attorneys and their ilk, piddly stuff, but for people who DO live in the 24/7 giddiness - and seen them from a distance, occasionally felt the breeze of accomplishment myself.

But it's not me; that stuff is not forthcoming.  I remain out-of-it, strange, aside, "oddly conventional", and so on.  I balance atop the rock, liquid mossy, but that's as much as I can manage, it seems. 

So it is from this perpetual perspective of anomy that I face society's daily push-and-shove, and in particular these days the lightning and thunder spectacle of a Presidential election.  A decade ago I stopped asking "Why?" and accepted that people have their bestial norms and must act according to them:  a need to find enemies, a need to blame others, an inability to understand strangers, and (for oh-so-many) those very plain internal maps to winning, exploitation, and abuse of the "other".  This is nature; this is sadness for me, gaiety for them. 

There are a few lights in the dreariness: the Symbolic Sun (Invictus so far, if not truly immortal), friends, material fortune (to have a job, income, a home), and especially the boon of simple love, of wife and kids at home. 

So I'm still here.  Still trying to breathe and balance near the banks of Chaos River. 


P.S.  Yeah, post-commute-blues, feeling sorry for myself.  But this did help re-center me, and - as Jackie Gleason used to say - "Awaaay we go!" 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Earthly Reality...

Salvete, qui hoc in loco advenietis.

My son texted me a question - only rhetorical, really; but I thought I'd post my reply.  We were discussing Frank Miller, celebrated hard-ass of comicsdom.  My son texted:

"Why are people like Frank Miller so cranky?"

And I replied:

"They have a superiority complex, you might say; they despise the quiescent, the average, the sinful, the foolish.  Their condition and outlook is biological; it's winnerism; it's Nature.  As inevitable as Al-Qaeda or viruses...."

The un-said part was this:  "And, as it is with viruses or Al-Qaeda, or with people like Frank Miller or Friedrich Nietzche or David Duke, it's the simple duty of decent people to resist them, see past them, and to say yes to life, instead of hatred."