Friday, April 15, 2011

A Lion's Mane

There is always so much to say, and none of it is quite right.  A poet knows this, but his words are not closer to the heart of the matter for that knowledge.  No, they are rather further, because they clothe a fundamental mystery inside an intractable but mundane one.  What good is that?

Perhaps it is best, instead, to shut up and listen?  Ah, but where is the joy in that?  Why read Kerouac, for example, if you'll only ever read him?  Isn't the point to talk, to live?  (Isn't talking living?)

While we're at it, what is a mystic anyway?  Am I one?  I am an astrologer, after all, and while I don't pretend to know why or how it works, sometimes a chart opens up like a flower, or the universe, and I feel aware.

There's no room for such talk these days, though.  Our life unfolds 140 characters at a time, our thoughts no longer ours, but distributed, collective.  Where is poetry in that?  Or is that all poetry is?  Where is Keroac, then?  Where is mysticism and where is the soul?

No matter how hard I try, I can only write about myself.  Whether I write in a private journal, or in an anonymous Internet forum, or on this blog, or even in an academic paper, the words I produce are a reflection of my soul.  A very selfish, myopic, and even arrogant reflection.

What's wrong with self-confidence?  Ah, it always comes with self-doubt, for one thing.  Confidence - the need to express one's own perceived greatness - is flanked by fear that one's greatness is an illusion.  The simple-minded will say "that's not confidence at all, then.  Confidence is silent."  Ah, but a lion still roars, does it not?  And its mane is ever visible.

Who gives a shit about confidence, though?  It doesn't matter at all.  What does?  Heh, that's what we in the question-asking business like to call "a good question."  Problem is, it isn't actually a good question at all.  It's a terrible question, in fact, because it's obvious and totally unanswerable.  Because of these two facts, men throughout history have killed and died because they believed someone knew the answer, and there was never a way to weigh the value of those answers other than through rhetoric, violence, or both.*

* And, really, is there any difference between rhetoric and violence?  One is to the mind what the other is to the body.  I'll let the reader choose which is which.

Of course I, too, am guilty.  Of rhetoric, of violence, presuming to know what is important and what is not.  And yet, as I get older (slowly at first, but faster and faster) I find myself more and more confused - yes, as the cliche goes - but also more and more bored with my confusion.

Oh, I will be forever curious, forever a leaner, forever joyful (forever does not mean what you think it means).  But the "complex" and "outside-the-box" (the most ironic cliche there is) thoughts, when they become commonplace, do not readily give way to something more complex and more interesting or innovative.  Having grasped paradox itself, the thrill of intellectual discovery is, if not crushed, at least transformed.

I suppose the real question is, then, what is my purpose?  Now that I have a direction, a job to do, a path to travel, I must strive to understand why I am traveling that, and what I might achieve (is the wrong word) while on it?

I might as well ask: "What is being?"

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