Thursday, June 19, 2008
Down Another Rabbit Hole
A badly- formed entry, but I've got motivation to read this evening more than writing.
I'm not sure how these things happen, but every book I've opened today--and I've been pretty random these past two days, actually--all seem somehow related, though the connection is something I have to look more deeply into. Mandeville's ambiguous Fable of the Bees links in some mysterious way with the idea residing in the difficult mess of prose of Rene Daumal's philosophical treatise You've Always Been Wrong [I found there also is, in translation, his last, unfinished novel Mount Analogue, subtitled A Symbolically Non-Euclidian Adventures in Mountain Climbing (!)], which speaks of sleepwalking, and laughter as a means of rejection, rebellion, of negation. This ties in, perhaps, with Herrmann Broch's The Sleepwalkers which I read a couple of times five years ago, perhaps also with Demons of Heimito von Doderer. And for some reason this reminded me of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor chapter. I open Karamazov to, not the chapter in question, but to two pages before. Oddly enough, Euclidean thought shows up here (how often does one run into that word in a day outside of discussions of geometry?) and rejection, rebellion is here, too:
Atheist Ivan and newbie monk Alyosha are in heated discussion:
"Oh yes, when the mother and the torturer whose hounds tore her son to pieces embrace each other, and all three cry out with tears: 'Just art Thou, oh Lord,' then of course the crown of knowledge will have come and everything will be explained. [...] It may well be that if I live until that moment, or rise again in order to see it, I myself will perhaps cry out with all the rest, looking at the mother embracing her child's tormentor: 'Just art Thou, Oh Lord!" but I do not want to cry out with them. While there's still time, I hasten to defend myself against it, and therefore I absolutely renounce all higher harmony. It is not worth one little tear of even one tormented child who beat her chest with her little fist and prayed to 'dear God' in a stinking outhouse with her unredeemed tears! Not worth it, because her tears remained unredeemed. They must be redeemed, otherwise there can be no harmony. But how will you redeem them? Is it possible? [...] And if the suffering of children goes to make up the sum of suffering needed to buy truth, then I assert beforehand that the whole of truth is not worth such a price. I do not, finally want the mother to embrace the tormentor who let his dogs tear her son to pieces! She dare not forgive him! Let her forgive him for herself, if she wants to, let her forgive the tormentor her immeasurable maternal suffering, but she has no right to forgive the suffering of her child who was torn to pieces... And if that is so, if they dare not forgive, then where is the harmony? Besides, they have put too high a price on harmony; we can't afford to pay so much for admission. And therefore I hasten to return my ticket. And it is my duty, if only as an honest man, to return it as far ahead of time as possible. Which is what I am doing. It's not that I don't accept God, Alyosha, I just most respectfully return the ticket."
"That is rebellion," Alyosha said softly...
Rebellion, negation, Euclidean thought, remaining wakeful. I'm not sure why all the books I open all tumble these ideas end over end. I strive for connections--and further fodder for essays.
photo: Davo, taken at Archie McPhee's, Ballard, Washington
My vague interest in the Queens of the Stone Age is officially over. Regardless as to what a dick one is being, referring to sexual orientation as pejorative is out in my book. Fine, the lead singer is sick. Fine, the guy may have been an asshole. But calling him a fucking faggot? No more concerts for me, thanks.