Sunday, April 29, 2007

surface structure, deep whatever

We live with a world dominated by surface structure, novelty, or “whatever,” among those who can barely explore constructively where surface ends and depth begins, where “It's all about me” can barely think about life and Time realistically. Of course, an Appeal's always a matter of degree, giving way according to some interpretive interest that never comprehends totality.

—supposing you’re alive to have interest given, still giving. You wake from dreamless sleep to only then know you’ve been asleep. Had you not awakened, you’d be none the wiser about anything. Now, you may remember the nothingness of dreamless sleep only as recognition of no longer being asleep.

Life is strange, then you die—never to know that no dreamless sleeping is anymore alive. Death is to the living, nothing for the dead never knowing they're no longer “here.”

A distracted bicycler smashes into my windshield, then dies—then, no: She wakes up. But I saw her dead for too long, so my hand-wringing grief flows into days, weeks of chronic stress still living.

Words become background noise. Today, you're still alive to read, and I'm still alive to write. Many persons—too many—are like a speeding teen who believes the light won't turn red because he wishes it so—or what feels “reasonable” is so: The doctor only thinks she knows how much time you have to change, as time belongs to one’s power to create, as if God’s immanence is life favoring you because you feel good. But reality doesn't care about the strength of your conviction. Your self-esteeming confidence about what's what may have wagered well, insightfully, intelligently, or maybe not. In any case, reality isn't a function of self-confidence. Nature takes its course, regardless.

OK, so all manner of pragmatics can be explicated, all kinds of discursive appeal can be integrated, where constructive engagement may journey through large and difficult fields, landscapes—phenomenologies of topography educing topologies?

Surface structure, deep whatever.... One chooses a path which may eventually fork like a river delta of pathmaking choices—the whole game of chess—facing a horizon ever receding, whatever the choices made for ongoing days’ instillations of remaining life.

Choices are made, like Jasper Johns’ policy toward art: “Do something. Now, do something else” (or was that Rauschenberg?). The artist makes lemonade. Another’s death teaches.

Who is one to others? The apparent selfhood, the “personality” so named, is borne from a life-historicality that is ultimately beyond all comprehension. (Philosophers fail to agree about what consciousness is, let alone the life-historical selfhood that may be narrated over hundreds of pages, let alone entwining oneself in conceptual issues of narratability.)

We remain both intimately known and ultimately unknowable, proximally distinguished from kindredness (family and friends) as our intimately ownmost life, yet also maybe flowering within intimacy some deeply self-differentiating capacity for mysteries, say, some artistry loved in its unknowability, some capacity to find diffuse constellations in mind's sky portending pointillistically rich landscapes—an autopoietic ”regioning of that which regions” (Heidegger) bearing mental light, reason to live carefully and well and thankfully.