Saturday, April 23, 2011

Even The Clever Ought to Do Some Things

In the course of my advice taking, especially where I am expected to share, it is frequently pointed out that I trend toward intellectualization, and, moreover, that such a trend is, fair to middling, not a great strategy in life.  Honestly, I never regarded that as very likely the truth.  And,while I'm confident that a resolution to such questions are some distance from the human collective capacity at understanding, still, there are interesting ways to consider that damage caused and, more specifically, the damage I continue to cause, by intellectualization of, what in the end, is very likely to be stuff meant for the sacred; untouched by human minds.

Who doesn't wish to touch what they are intstructed not to?  But once touched, who considers the value of the same unaltered?  We, by the very nature of our being, sully what we wish to remain pristine: and moreover, complain at the rate (slow) the debauchery takes.... given the consequent lack of benefit to our collective coffers (economy.)  This view is unlikely to be arugued against by a clearheaded observer, but remains unutterable in the company of common sense.  Sunlight must be expended in the creation of energy... no matter how much you might which to bottle it.  Even on a cloudy day.

What is less romantic than intellectualization?  Your lady calls you (these days) while you drive home.  Once you get there, from the sound of her voice you can expect certain (surprise) lovely feelings.  It can't always be this way... so, no fool, you have the rational response.  While smiling, you move toward the refrigerator... while smiling she takes you to bed.  While smiling, later, you remove your leg from her twisted limbs. While smiling she forces you to lay victim to a backrub.  While moaning at the fact that this can't be the same life you, now, distantly recall sometimes sucks, you somehow manage to fumble at some kind of reciprocation to her talented removal of all pain in your short, harsh existence.  She looks deep into your eyes, and a very slight glassiness developing, as if she's just remembered that nothing, including very much yourselves, stays the same, she says, "how bout some beer and a movie... and please, sweetheart, smoke a cigarette.  Two or three won't kill you, and its drives me wild."  You're looking at her, wondering at her.  You reply, "By all means, I'll take you up on that offer, sweetie.  You'll have to excuse me, however, for the sheer sense of astonishment that I feel, when I consider, as I have been this entire evening, that you are bound for nothing more, in the end, then heat death." 

The look, as is entirely appropriate, she gives, is probably less elegant than the Second Law of Thermodynamics, but, unquestionably promises a great deal more, in terms of human affairs and actual living, then any discourse on entropy could ever, ever, ever promise. Yet, here we are, Lord.

Electrons (basically elegantly "supposed" concepts) do a great deal of stuff, as they make their way from the chloroplasts of plants and find their way to your girlfriends face.  But that doesn't mean she is joking, when she extorts that molested sunshine to tell you, "you probably shouldn't talk when I'm enjoying myself.  There's a sort of square of the distance relationship there."  Harsh.... but hey, they say in some Arab cultures women are the repositories of shame and consequence. In my culture they are thoroughfares of electrons taking the scenic route.  And do we men know it?  Go to jail.  Hang out on a ship of (generally recognized as) fools.  The VIP electrons you encounter there will pretend they're Nutrinos.

All the same... cleverness and amusement can only distance a dyed in the wool fool for so long.  Eventually he will question the nature of coitus en flagrante.  Which is not exactly a first person sort of thing.  Though it should be?  She nods.  Then... she shakes her head so sadly.  "Your mouth is a journey some thoughts shouldn't take."

It's nothing personal, honey, my thinking.  "Oh," she replies, the word containing so very much meaning that you just forgot about the promise of robots, forever.  Ray Kurzweil appears between you and says, magic being nothing less then technology yet developed, "you know, Andy, all this relationship needs, is a dash of nano-technnology, given the trends..."  She politely, charmingly, and skillfully asks Mr. Kurzweil to leave.  Then, when you ask if you should go as well, she turns, places her oddly smooth, attractive feet on the floorboards (which, are anything, but classicaly definable as "attractive."  Only the human perceptual frame can allow the foot to be nothing less than a foot.) Her back is as you imagine.  But her back is also real.  She says, "I flipped a coin in my head." You ask, "why did you do that."  She says, "He came up first."  

On your way to your home in the car, while driving, you remember her back, and assume it hasn't changed.  But, four years later you will have trouble recalling her entire appearance.  Which, will do wonders for your hard faught attempt to never metion to your new love, that four year old day, which your new love wouldn't guess in a million years to gift you with, the requieted, back rub, film and booze and cigarettes, part.  Which is fine.  You've willed a new kind of bovine attentiveness toward women, which, outside of certain sparkling exceptions, where you both are chatting like schoolgirls, works far better than Cartesian curiosity (to say nothing of detachment.)

Of course, shockingly, none of this has a thing at all to do with girls.  They are as subject to the ravages of philosophical objectivication as men.  It's just, your friends gift you with silences... the women are body snatched.  One disturbs more than the other.  Though, it could be argued, that it's frankly disturbing for a grown woman to explain what a bore is to a bore.  It's isn't exactly ice cream beneath a high intensity discharge light.  On a hot summer night.

Beside excellent advice as to how you might make your ankles seem bulkier (with big socks) the Second Law of Thermodynamics is impractical.  My legs would pass on a woman.  And women DO pass on them.  Then, like some strange foreigner straight off the boat, a woman comes along and wants to conspire with you to confuse people as to the outside diameter of your, what, femur? Tibia?  "It matters?" she says.  Reminding you of how much you like listening to her talk to her mother.  What is that strange muscularity of the human voice, Hal?  Sing me a song Hal.  Sing it like you used to.  Very funny the robot doesn't say.  Very very funny, mean human.

She reads these very words.... this one.... and this one... and this. And despite the fact that you, meaning me, regard.... this... as somewhat amusing, she gives you an empty looks, then squares her jaw and says, "You know, Andy... not so differently than my German mother, I have an affection for the stuff that is tangible, the stuff that is real.  You might regard your bank balance as an abstraction, I regard it as the most reliable of bedrock.  It is not my intention to mine it.  I appreciate it, like Hillary might, 'because it's there.'  Or rather, as sometimes is the case, 'because it's [not].  That the balance on the screen is made of electrons, reminds me of the sound of my Daddy's heart, when my ear lies on his chest. His heart, like the electrons, is not for me.  But it's so reliable, Andy.  You know what I mean?  Only rarely does the fungus leave the lichen.  Only when it is no longer needed.  You see how much less reliable my presence in your life seems when I talk this way?"  I nod, and say, "I hear you loud and clear, but just now I need to read about lichen."  "And listen to the song "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" she implies with that bizarrely expressive fury.  And I didn't even spurn her.  Formally.

Only a fool wouldn't be frustrated.  I sent a friend of mine, a therapist in a sense, a long early draft of my still unperfected essay/ blogpost "Nightmares For Sawyers", and he never responded to it.  Most people regard lengthy expressions of contemplative minds, a sort of, unvarnished good.  Extremely experienced social workers and psycologists are far more interested in normative behavior.  "Nightmare For Sawyers" is probably going to one day be a somewhat foundational essay in a collection I'll put together from this blog, about ecology, and congnitive implications in my/our consideration of the "natural" world and the more pedestrian one (questions of artificial unity and division.)  All that my friend wanted was a garden variety letter from me, about a garden variety foundation.  Love thrives on bricks and mortar.  No sonnet could outdo news of your homefire burning.  In such a light, the poet is the tawdry guy who earned his reputation.  Luckily, History regards the dead as somewhat necessarily so.  And once in the "proper" condition, History can make space that need not include all the details of your County Courthouse Platbook.  But while your alive, that Platbook will tell a dull tale that amounts to a path more likely to include the smile of a maid.  Shakespeare be damned.

As is the case with both Hal's song (in 2001) and Bogie's song (in Casablanca) the question comes down to "fundamentals applying" and the impermenence of existence. Will it be the "bicycle" or the "carriage"?  You better be a better singer, in somewhat better condition then Hal, should you wish Daisy to mistake your bicycle chariot for a fundamental thing, upon application.  She may, and properly so if she's a smart woman, apply your query to file thirteen. 

The last thing in the world required in even this pedestrian circumstance is some kind of intellectualization.  Any fixation of circumstance to the firmament of "understanding" must include some serious practical footwork. Outside that, your dreaming. 

It's funny, but, despite my fears, at times, I'm not dreaming.  This exercise, while for any number of real and imagined women, friends, family and yes, you, dear reader, is not a dream.  It's an exploration of the insanity implied my routine cognitive iteration.  At some point you step off and say, "all right." I know certain things, and they apply to certain things.  The danger is to go for knowing when doing is much better.  I have suffered plenty of times an ignorance of that fact.  However, my humor, here, so inexpertly applied, is meant to review for myself, and hopefully, you, that yeah, I'm a work in progress, but I deserve the life which includes attention to the basics, but also the gifts of the poets embrace. 

And I promise to consider the square of the distance, dear.

"No community can be truly had, where there is not space for the intolerable to abide."  ----I forget who said this, but it's a key theme of my annoyingly thoughtful friend, Jim.