Entry: the smell of decomposing bananas...is taking over my senses Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wow, I bet you thought this thing would never get updated...in fact, I nearly forgot about this whole endeavor, until recent stress has driven me to find means of relief other than just sleeping (which I don't really have time for) and eating (which invokes a vicious cycle of guilt-complexes). 

I came to the realization that 19 credits is a bit much.  Especially since, although I'm technically at 19 credits, I only get actual credit for 18, because I do not want to have to pay more than the absorbitant amount that I've already bled for . . .what?  Oh yeah, an education, which is essential for the quality of the rest of my life, and yet what I will be paying for the duration of my life.  I love free-market capitalism and the wonderful ideals it fosters.  I hope somebody comes up with a way to charge me money for air, because, let's face it, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and there's vast entrepreneurial opportunity to be had in restricting and re-distributing breathable air.  Think of the economy!  Think of the explosion of jobs!  Because capitalism doesn't create dependency...nooooo, far from it, we simply harness the producing potentials of dependencies that God granted us!

That's right....this isn't a blog entry unless I include at least one mini-rant.

I should be getting started on the 200-pages I have yet to read before tomorrow.  Pssshh.

In my attempt to find the text of some TS Eliot poems online, I couldn't help but chuckle at the following juxtaposition:  Eliot's sublime Preludes flanked by the raunchy photo of a scantily-clad woman, hands cupping her crotch, and the brilliantly original slogan: "Single and ready for ACTION!" Hmmmm....I bet Eliot would have laughed....and then frowned.

I'm trying to figure out what my existence will look like after I graduate this spring.  So far, I've only been able to conjure romantic notions of living in an artistically austere apartment in the throbbing heart of the city, being thus inspired by a bohemian lifestyle to devote myself to reading, writing, and other creative endeavors...this contrasts with another, deeper fear that I will instead end up in a friendless suburbian blah, entrenched in a meaningless job, without either inspiration or motivation.

And yet prior to this is what my existence will look like next semester, in Guatemala....of course I have imaginative pre-conceptions of what this will be, but usually my pre-conceptions utterly fail to even remotely anticipate the depth of experience as it spins out in reality, thus I hesitate to even consider; and yet another unknown, in the vast sea of unknowns that confronts me. 

This seems to reflect that fact that I am never an isolated being in the here-and-now present reality.  I can never fully experience present reality independent of past memory and future expectations.  Indeed, my cognitive processes are insubstantial if emptied of the impact of past and future.  Herein lies the irony of time: our very existence is materially confined, defined, and dependent upon this category, and yet we must transcend it to have any meaningful existence whatsoever.  This paradox confronts us most obviously in the memory of loved ones.  Disney has siezed upon the formulaic sentiment that our loved ones, though no longer with us, "live on" in our delightful memories.  Of course, this abstract remembrance in my individual mind surely bears no correlation with the external existence of that person...yet, is there any way in which that person can be said to existence outside of time, in abstract form....

Nevermind, I lost that train of thought.

But speaking of which, I just saw Martin Scorsese's new film "The Departed," which I'd highly, highly recommend.  There are a billion different ways in which I could describe the affective genius of this film, but I'll just let it speak for itself. 

Gosh.  Somehow, in my long departure from updating this thing, I've lost my ability to blog with relative ease.  Whereas before this was something I enjoyed, and was truly relaxing, and even inspiring, now I feel like I'm struggling to concoct something artificial - like a letter to my Grandma, or a paper I've left until the last moment.  (Not that my letters to my Grandma are artificial in the sense of being deceptive; rather, they simply fail to capture essential elements of my life and consciousness, and thus feel rather contrived.)

And yet, I hate having to just plow through periods of my life without regularly stopping to reflect - even if I only have time to reflect upon one menial aspect.  So for now, I'll satisfy myself by reflecting on a sentiment that has been confronting me in many different forms lately:  the notion that life is a lot more...liveable...when I quit worrying about things, quit trying to remain in absolute control at all times, quit trying to juggle a dozen crystal plates without dropping any - in short, quit trying to attain perfection.  Theologian Rudolf Bultmann (and his philosophical influence, Heidegger), captured this as a prominent message of the New Testament - that we cannot live authentic existences while being enslaved to transitory, meaningless things.  Instead, we must "submit," and release ourselves to the openness of the future.  (I know, that was a horrendous simplification, which does great injustice to Bultmann, Heidegger, and any intelligent mind, but hey, its 2am, and I ran out of caffeine hours ago.) For me, this "submitting" comes in the form of taking myself less seriously, by letting go of ambition - this stifling desire/illusion that I must somehow attain "greatness" in order to lead a meaningful existence - as well as my tendencies toward perfectionism, which are really a veiled form of ambition.  When I free myself from this, I also free myself to engage in one of life's greatest joys - merely sitting back and observing, reflecting, and learning.  Isn't this what all art comes down to?  Observing, by way of re-creating or imitating.  My apprehension of beauty is really just an observation, without feeling any compulsion or pressure to further my own being.

I plan to elaborate on that theme more in the future, but for now, the stench of my kitchen garbage is dangerously overwhelming, so I think I had better leave the room and be off to bed....

The White Birds

    I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea!
    We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can fade and flee;
    And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky,
    Has awaked in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that may not die.
    A weariness comes from those dreamers, dewdabbled, the lily and rose;
    Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes,
    Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in the fall of the dew:
    For I would we were changed to white birds on the wandering foam: I and you!
    I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore,
    Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come near us no more;
    Soon far from the rose and the lily and fret of the flames would we be,
    Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam of the sea!.

-W.B. Yeats


October 14, 2006   11:18 PM PDT
Hello Liz.

It was nice to hear your always intriguing thoughts. Have a great remainder of the weekend!


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