Shadows of things that Will be, or shadows of things that May be?
Then Scrooge has some bad gravy, a nightmare about three ghosts, and he spends Christmas Day in a hysterical fit sending turkeys all about the city and giving everyone raises. He’s so happy not to be dead (as the third ghost suggested he soon would be) that he has a chuckling fit and bursts into tears, perhaps having gone insane. An unbelievable asshole but a day ago, Scrooge is now the picture of human kindness.
I, for one, don’t buy it. Despite Dickens’ assurance to the contrary, I think Scrooge came to his senses a few days later and started busting balls again. Tiny Tim died. No way he could have survived.
Later in life [Anthony Burgess] asked an American conductor to explain what makes English music English. The American answered, “Too much organ voluntary in Lincoln Cathedral, too much coronation in Westminster Abbey, too much lark ascending, too much clodhopping on the fucking village green.”
We humans can never be satisfied. Nor could satisfaction rest on a specific accomplishment or object. I think that it comes from the fact that we humans must be supremely adaptive. That means we must have a kind of generalized, non-specific attraction or yearning for more that can be applied to novel situations. If we were attracted to a few things only, how would we deal with choice and adaptation when we are confronted with something completely new?
Humans must always have a kind of unfulfilled need or yearning for “something more.” Nothing can fully satisfy us or we would not be prepared to make choices in the next novel situation. It is the unpredictable that we must be prepared for and this requires an open-ended attraction or yearning for “something more”. The general feeling that there must be something more to life keeps us open to the next situation. For that reason, we can never be fulfilled.
To be fulfilled means the journey is over. We have to love the journey, not where it ends.
One of the great strengths of the English language is the number of ways it provides to describe people who annoy us. True, German has the word “Backpfeifengesicht” – “a face in need of a punch” – but English overwhelms us with options, thanks partly to its abundance of vulgarisms. If I call you a “wanker” I mean something subtly different from a “dickhead”. (It can be hard to pinpoint these nuances without resort to further swearing, as demonstrated by users of urbandictionary.com, as they struggle to define a “prick”: “An all around fucktard, dickweed, assrat bastard.”) These differences aren’t just a matter of intensity. We can presumably all agree that Simon Cowell is a bit of a tosser. But his success makes it hard to dismiss him as a fuckwit, while it’s not clear he’s guilty of the malice that would condemn him as a shit.
When Julia was in 2nd grade, I taught poetry to her class, using Kenneth Koch’s Wishes, Lies, and Dreams, and Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?. The kids wrote really great poems for me. I would come in every other day for two weeks. That was actually one of my triumphs of teaching. Kids would come up to me years later and say, “Mr. Mayhew, how about a poem?”
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The “five open supersecrets” about bloggers, as Lee Siegel says in Against the Machine (quoted in Benjamin Kunkel’s review at N1BR), are:
I am not sure how these five secrets distinguish bloggers from anyone else, including those who write books. They are worth remembering, though.
The search for meaning is not man’s search. The real question is how to do any good, or as Etty Hillesum put it just days after learning for a certainty that the Germans “are after our total destruction,” the problem is one of “offering what little assistance I can wherever it has pleased God to place me.”
Or, as some wag once said, “in the most carefully constructed experiment under the most carefully controlled conditions, the organism will do whatever it damn well pleases.”
Yoga is not about doing…it is about being. The most important thing to remember is that you have everything you need right in you. Enter every practice without expectation or judgement. Enter every pose as if it were the very first time. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Don’t worry if you are stronger on the right than on the left. Don’t worry if you could do a pose yesterday that you can’t do today. You are exactly where you are meant to be…right here in this moment. Take the first step, and let yoga do the rest.
Everything you need to know about the connections between humans and demi-gods is down there in the subconscious – this is my cut-price Jungian theory. And writing is the sort of process that brings out those connections. With the conscious application of craft, things just pop up. It is like solving a cryptic-crossword clue.
In a recent email newsletter, David Byrne summed it up well:
I also have a funny feeling that, like much of our world that is disappearing onto servers and clouds, eBooks will become ephemeral. I have a sneaking feeling that like lost languages and manuscripts, most digital information will be lost to random glitches and changing formats. Much of our world will become unretrievable—like the wooden houses, music, and knowledge of our ancient predecessors. I have a few physical books that are 100 years old. Will we be able to read our eBooks in 100 years? Really?
Durham is growing its own crop of local businesses -- not just local artists and boutique eateries, but also a love of handmade crafts and the pleasure of both making and admiring objects that, as William Morris might say, are both useful and beautiful. The Horse & Buggy Press, a local letterpress, has some wonderful pictures for its Restored Radios exhibit, displaying American radios from the 1930s-50s restored by Asheboro resident Bob Gordon, age 81.
I know these radios were probably mass-manufactured, but damn -- just look at them and marvel at their decoration, their style, their solidity.
Forty years after Alvin Toffler popularised the term “information overload”, we might as well admit this: our efforts to fight it have failed. Unless you’re willing to be radical – to give up the internet completely, say – the recommended cures don’t work.
Resolve to check your email twice daily, and you’ll find many more messages waiting when you do. Go on an “information diet”, and it’s likely to end like any other diet: you’ll succumb and consume the bad stuff, with extra guilt.
So maybe we need to reframe things. The real problem isn’t too much information: it’s the feeling of being out of control. Why not focus, then, on finding ways to feel more in control – even if that’s based, in part, on self-deception?
You can’t change anything by fighting or resisting it. You change something by making it obsolete through superior methods.