29 February 2016

Postcard Project Revisited

As I pass fifty postcards posted, and probably closer to a hundred made and mailed, I must call myself into question: What am I doing here?

If I am trying to share with a wider audience, then I am failing. As far as I can tell, I have about ten faithful readers. (This is a good exercise for sublimating the fragility of my ego.) I am not above self-promotion, but neither am I very interested in it. I have been putting off a few ideas to widen my audience, in fact. When I do fret about it, internally or externally, I am immediately aware of the pathetic sound of dross. It is similar to me of the feeling I get when I attempt to synthesize the sublime into some sort of linear coherence.
Which does lead me to what I am doing here: I am synthesizing my sublime -- transcendent and despairing -- into a parceled, non-linear coherence. Reviewing my cards is like watching the arc of my philosophical/spiritual/artistic development in a statistical scatter graph in many dimensions. This was not at all my intention when I began, or even when I began formalizing and sharing. Here is an explanation of my original intent.
I can see now, that I am creating an historic documentation of an informal world view as it examines itself and develops. The form itself is of course feeding back to that development. Its not that I think in the 4.5 x 6 inch boundary, but that I am engaged in a one sided conversation without feedback or reference that would normally be of no more significance than the thoughts that whirl around in my head and fade out of memory. Regardless of the limitations and looseness and loneliness of my form, the structure of writing and the vulnerability of sharing creates responsibilities to both internal veracity and posterity. This is all a lot to say about so flippant a "project", but I take it seriously (but not too self-seriously, I hope):
I have gotten to the point where, on a variety of subjects, I could reference a postcard that would at least begin a conversation on my perspective. I am often tempted to do that,or to tack the link to some specific card onto an online conversation. I have also gotten to the point where I feel that anyone who would take the time to read each and every postcard as part of a larger tangentially connected whole, would have a pretty good sense of the person they are engaging, that is me.

So, taking this project -- that has become a project, that has grown legs enough to have essentially taken over my blog, that has ushered along and matured a perspective to make the more static ideas of my novel fall into question, taking this project as it is -- not seriously, but engaging it, I move forward with the intent of mass and momentum:

I will self promote while hopefully barring my ego from the process. 

I am constantly curious about serious, educated and well developed philosophical ideas as well as ideas in science, the arts,religion and literature. I have no interest in specializing in any of these; I enjoy remaining a dilettante, in fact I feel it is a helpful tool for a writer, but I would like to cultivate a type of feedback that could be transformative to the development of my perspective.

I will be more formal about my postings, aiming for one each Monday afternoon. If you enjoy catching my postcards, that gives you something to look forward to. 

I will continue to make, write and send postcards

Postcard 52

"When you go out, are you pretending to be someone else?" "I'm always pretending to be something else."
The more I approach the true me, the greater the void of true me becomes -- a central emptiness, gravity without mass, light and heat emanating without a source. I'm a black star. All the me's that I pretend shoot out like wavelengths, complimenting or clashing, overlapping or tangential. Some are comfortable and easily slipped into. Comfortable and grasping. Some are stiff and formal, cool and easy, fun or necessary, kicked off with relief like work-boots at the end of the day. I am called all these things, but I am none of them. I am the intersection where they all vanish. I am the dark of the cliff they drop into slumber from. 
When I am terrified, I grasp at one or another, or I plunge some person or thing or identity of self, or some idea of God into the void, and it tightens up and fills, but snaps back. It is insatiable, this self, of others.
But, if I push all that away (with affection), the banks fall off and the masslessness expands. There are no horizons. I float and I expand empty to the blank self that is true. The many selves are distant, bright and comforting like a clear night sky. All the others are shoreline I don't need; I have gills.
I'm a blackstar. Not a father, not a carpenter, not a lover, not a man, not a thinker, not a writer. I'm a blackstar.

22 February 2016

Postcard 51

My son has a shirt that reads: I am a noun. Shouldn't it read, I ask: I is a noun? I am that I am, says the Lord, I am the great I am, cast over dark waters, vibrating precisely at the frequency of existence. Forgetting divinity and those origins, there is something magic about words and we know it. Were the earliest words a claim of 'I', of 'you', of 'that'? Does it matter if the purpose is to claim what we are 'is what we are not'? Somewhere in our heads a delicate thing is created: a self, a vague triangulation between the ego, id and superego, or the conscious and subconscious, or whet ever set of that which is, is what is not that we struggle to hold on to with words. The cost of self is separation. The tools we use to bridge separation are words. The work of words is to separate.
What a bridge!
Sit in silence with another, eyes have held and broken, touch has reached out and been returned. The still and fragile you that is only what is not, is perhaps in communion, for it hungers and strains like a vacuum. And here it is: fraternity, affection, comfort, love -- a friend, parent, child, sibling, lover, even a fortuitous stranger. 
Here it is! 
What then, having received for that moment all that we long for, what do we want? Confirmation, security, reciprocation. Are you getting this, is your self with mine, are we a we from what is not we? That moment will pass and if we grow wise we find that we cannot be filled but temporarily through the reciprocation of an other. If we are wise, we know that we are un-fillable, and the vessel is a shell to be born from. If we continue in our wisdom, our love grows to fill the un-fillable and when we get to the end, words fall away

15 February 2016

Postcard 50

A writer who doesn't trust language is a like a priest who hates God, a Bodhisattva who denies free will, a groom who believes in the sanctity of nothing, a lawyer who knows there is no legal justice.... Let me tell you about the vanity of dolphins. Dolphins love mirrors. It is true. Give a dolphin a mirror and they will return to it again and again. Are they bored? No, there are plenty of other dolphins to play with. These creatures, to whom hearing and touch are certainly more central than vision, are enamored of their own visual selves. They see themselves and think something along the lines of "that's me!" I wonder if they think that when they vocalize, and I suspect not. Sound projects out and shares the (perceived) instancy of thought. Who could deny that dolphins have a hedonistic joy? I recall the Douglas Adams quote (look it up). My point is that there seems to be a binding between language and self. The words are for identifying between what is and what is not. Say I call a thing a 'tree'. There are many things that are trees, but I most clearly have eliminated what is not a 'tree', so that you know that at least I ma not talking about those things. Now say it out loud: I, Me, My, Mine. You have established a 'you', but only in regard to what you are not. Not the table, not air, not they or them, not bird. Its good to do because I could describe those things so they are indistinguishable from you. A collection of star-furnaced matter, an organized bunch of carbon, a seemingly choice-given being, a person. But you know there is a you that is not those things exactly. What is it then? And where does it come from? Where is it now? As we grow aware and begin speaking, we become better at separating things. And as we grow older and more sophisticated, we continue and our self-seeking identities become more defined. Brittle sculptures. I wonder if, when we die, it collapses and we realize and experience: we are like everything else

08 February 2016

Postcard 49

At my grandfather's house, at the top of a low alpine mountain, there is a glass cased cabinet. A curio cabinet with glass shelves as well. In there are artifacts from a traveler's life and mission trips around the world: South America, Madagascar, Borneo. There's a large blue butterfly pinned to felt. There's an ostrich egg, creamy and brittle, meticulously carved with lines and shapes, rhythmic and sharp. Mysterious or even meaningless glyphs dyed a deep burnt-umber brown. It has not left that case as long as I have been alive. It is to me a totem without context, as familiar as grandma's many button jars. Though it seems to be, it is hardly a static object. Like you and I, it is gliding seamlessly through time, always moving further from the mind and intent that crafted it. Always shedding meaning, and in its place, gathering like dust the growing likelihood of its annihilation: the catastrophe, the clumsy child, the errant maid, invisible chisels of entropy. I try to forget the seeming irrelevant fact that at thousand of feet of elevation, it is careening along infinitesimally faster that I am here by the sea. Irrelevant, but poignantly true. In comparison, there is little to separate the idea of that egg (platonically, the form) from the idea or form of a book. In fact, there is little that separates that delicate and empty egg, traveling as it is, away from intention and toward non-existence, from a word spoken or a thought produced in the shell of a mind. Each is cloaked in meaning like the feathers of a cormorant: illustrious and drab, loo light for water, too heavy for air, washed up on a beach like a rag, or clothing an ancient royal, but always frangible and changing.