27 December 2010

Salt on Everything

There just has to be a better use for cops. During this post-blizzard 2010, I was out in the late afternoon and early evening snapping pictures that eventually froze my fingers. I couldn't remember where I left my gloves the night before. Anyway, how many cop vans did I see? Maybe it was the same two, following me around. At any rate, every 5 to 10 minutes--there, on any given street, a slowly passing van, sirens muted but silently judging; 5-0 lurking like perverts through snow covered asphalt.

Honestly, someone should snap on a snow plow to the vans, or give the officers shovels to help the many citizens they're suppose to "serve" and "protect"--maybe they should drive Mud trucks and sell coffee and hot chocolate. Anything other than patrolling like watchmen, like sentinels, doing nothing besides making one feel guilty for being innocent. There's a lot of melting salt that needs to be spread, and I can clearly recall there being a great number of police officers, a surplus of flatfoots with the same confused look on their faces, like a badge, that shines like a rabbit in headlights. They're just waiting for a simple task, something that matches their abilities--salt spreading!

26 December 2010

The Anti-Social Network

A dear friend of mine, upon observing my inactivity on facebook, sent me a concerned text. It was on Christmas and while simultaneously wishing me a merry one, she made sure to see I was "okay". I was, and so I put her concerns to rest. We continued on about projects we were involved in. My friend is a poet and a photographer. She's trying to put together a gallery to exhibit her work in The Bronx. I told her, as I've told many others when they ask such things, that I have been working on noise music and writing short stories. I feel this to be an overstatement but nevertheless it is what buys up my time, on the few sparse occasions when my time is for sale.

Her concern made me realize that deactivating my facebook page--the action of doing such a thing--is possibly being understood as, a crisis or overwhelming problem to which the attention necessary to face it has left no room for facebook participation.

I recently met up with some friends I haven't seen in a while--I wonder now, how surprised they were to find me full of spirit and emptied of any dejection impressed by my socially networked silence. Fact of the matter, when I think about it at all, I'm very well in mind to say I've never felt as much myself as I have this late Fall and early Winter. Is it only a coincidence that I've been off facebook for almost just as long? And while it is definitely true that I have narrowed down my immediate friends to one or two, I'd not deny friendship to any of the friends on that profile friend list. But because facebook has become the most standard way of social communication exchange, I am taking pure advantage in remaining mute, as that is the surest way to have silence for yourself. And I need that silence, very much now. I need all the negative space onto which to place one subject, watching the contrast and how it communicates. I feel as I've placed myself under self-examination--preserving that which makes me who I am, and carefully taking full notice of the elements that threaten the homeostasis of that identity. Or maybe its not that at all, perhaps I just want to be alone and share myself with only someone as fucked up as I am. If the latter is in fact true, then my silence is only one exercised by distraction--as I'm too busy stripping off my layers to notice I'm removing certain ties that are bound to those tossed factions.

16 November 2010

No to N.O.

I was recently invited to fly out with a friend to New Orleans. It was very last minute and though free, would've still cost me some hours at work. I was upset that I could not go, more upset that it was due to my job. I consider myself responsible and try to maintain myself as a reliable stronghold of dependability but I often contradict this by following impulses; and letting my passion race forward in blind, frantic stubbornness. I will not be flying out to New Orleans for 3 days but I will be waking early for the rest of the year, dragging my face into a variation of a shirt and coat daily, to push myself out the door and into a city for a job that does nothing but kill the last of my yearly diminishing vitality.

To be fair, my job is very light on stress with many perks and pleasant, if not entertaining enough co-workers who help one to pass the time--but in general its just time I'd rather have to myself, I can't deny the futility in what I do. I can't help but see that it doesn't really matter to me and moreover, I feel its ridiculous that it should matter to anyone.

I tell myself I should stalk craigslist and look for an open window, a fresh start in a new job--brush out my resume and look for something better (whatever "better" means). The thing is, I don't want to work! My job is so chill and I still hate it! Hate the hours the most, its all a matter of time; Time is what I'm not willing to share. On the weekends I hide from the world, I stay in my cold room and make music that I also hide from the world--I want exclusivity, I want to grab all I can of what I call my life and draw a line, exclaim, "this part is only mine!"

28 September 2010

While Listening to Eno's Dark Trees

I came at the draw. At the absolute. I knew only what I heard with these new ears of mine. I walked slowly and forward. I discerned limited amounts of space, time however, fell heavy and thick on me, from above like syrupy rain. I knew nothing of control--or measure. I walked pass the solid forms and soon the darkened ambiguity of tone. I held breaths and reached ahead for fear of collision. I wasn't sure but walked all the same, I wasn't there but nowhere else, absolutely soluble, solubly inabsolute. I stepped further and narrowed my heart beat. I made quiet of my nerves and tension, I exhaled and closed my eyes--there was no difference between such darkness. Only in my mind forms did visit, tones made way, spoke and danced. Branches held most of my air, like bronchi, like grape stems, I made usual my question of ease, I made content my answer of truth, nothing was here at its best. I ran dry of heat. I drew close and motioned terribly to an exit. I guessed at words and spoke at phantoms. Taking useless turns with decisions. It came to me there. At the bed, at the end of the night, at the edge of my lips, at the only moment left. I moved forward, opening my eyes and walking them to you with something to say.

22 September 2010

I Need the Time but I Got the Energy

This afternoon I felt, among other things, a decent amount of energy. Good energy. The kind of energy you become conceited about. I couldn't keep still and what seemed then like a permanent smile, had conquered my face. I wanted to create something; that, I knew instantly. That energy is very familiar, when your senses open like floodgates and roaring waves of external influence crashes in all at once, sweeping away the standstill, the paralyzed, and uninspired. I was walking around like a crackhead, hearing songs in my mind and laughing at invisible jokes--

Only problem, I was at work, on the busiest work day of the week.

My thing about my energy is if its there, I am going to use it--there's no such thing as storing it for later with me. I want it all and I want it now. Wasting all that good energy on work was and still feels like a shame. I didn't even have time to write this entry at work, I had to wait till I got home and then only after an epic power nap. No one is ever around when I feel that way, at least not anyone that I would want around me. Its always a solitary experience to feel excited by and with creative energy. "Is that premeditation or is it by design?" as Illogic asks.

Anyway who cares! As far as energy goes, all I have to say is there's more where that came from--Its probably as easy as convincing my body that 3-5 hours of sleep per day/night doesn't help and may possibly account for why I'm generally too tired to do anything but work during the week. When I confess that I do do more than just work during the week, I remember why I'm so exhausted most mornings and am obsessed with my face on the very seldom occasion when I don't look like a zombie in the early AM. I mean, these bags under my eyes are carrying enough for 4 vacations and its been 4 years since my last vacation.

17 September 2010

Suddenly Last Summer

Letter to a Rainy Day

Good friend, as you drop lightly, from the room where I type this letter I can glance over my shoulder and through a window observe the gray you've casted and framed. It is September and the air has cooled. In the morning I commute on trains that once again carry students, still refreshed by their summer vacations, some sobered by the dawn of their freshmen year. Everyone looks so stern and rigid, stubborn as the last leaves that cling to branches; everyone has returned to September with their collection of reluctance, anticipation, and nostalgia. Memories of past Septembers, prospects promised by a fading summer, threats whispered by a not too distant winter--the day you fall upon, my dear friend, is a subtle Friday where no one can any longer doubt, September has arrived.

It is only a few days before fall officially opens. If counted in steps, it is no more than three forward; fall, stands away just as far and no further--she knows there's no need to move, everyone is walking towards her. Perhaps friend, you are the last rain of the summer. How would you feel if you were? No one usually takes note of such things. A gray Friday with fields of clouds like a silver fleece of cotton, covering us in from above; the last Friday of the season. With it, what shall the summer take? What is it you're washing away? Don't answer any of these. Hopefully these questions aren't boring you. It is my only intention to take note of you, address you, introduce myself and say farewell when the time comes. Still, you must notice it yourself, do you not? The change in the air. Everything gains gravity, heavies and becomes dense. The cold, first as a breeze then a restless chill, will soon howl in an icy frenzy. This is when the soul hibernates, so to speak. Hiding in the deep warmths of the heart, safely tucked and wrapped in all the electricity that plainly vibrated through the skin during the spring and exploded throughout the summer. The soul is away and the rest of the body and mind, observing its absence, searches for their missing peer. The less its available, the more desperately valuable the soul becomes as winter approaches through fall. Without our soul, our lives gain weight; the lightness with which we commanded action swells into a clumsy bulk.

Have you ever observed this about us my friend? Our life under our calendar also follows its own set of seasons. Soul and Sol are more than homonymously linked. Within you, your soul shifts, expands and contracts; leans forward intensely, and later withdraws in arctic ambience. At its closest, the soul is magnificently ignored, its in use like a pair of good legs that walk almost involuntarily without the step by step command of the mind or body. When hidden, its adamantly desired, analyzed and stressed for its lack of presence. Here, I laugh. Embarrassed at my words. I am getting ahead of myself--sorry. I don't mean to imply these things to be true, its only my imagination getting carried away like a newly wedded wife out from the altar. If there were such a material or immaterial as a soul, and if it were impressionably receptive of environment--then what a thought to imagine the season of a soul. The shying of a soul, decreasing in size and brightness, buried carefully and living off the energy it stored during its fall season. Which leads us back to September and the sense of seriousness and responsibility, much contrasting the frivolity of June and the two and third months that follow.

Anyway, so long friend. I've kept you long enough, you are a saint for reading my wrinkled thoughts. Goodbye, thank you for the morning.

16 September 2010

For in That Sleep of Death What Dreams May Come

In the Solid Solitude of a Dreamer

My sleepy eyes, your quiet little smile, the heavy evening over us like a sheet--no, not a sheet, over us like a casket that we must carry into the burial of the night, the hours dug out as by the spade of want and need. Prayers for the morning by the forward pulse of our lips and their secret names that part backward, out of rooms and into the dream of a bedroom. There it be that my sleepy eyes whisper out through the fog of sense to find you, that which it seeks, that which appears there for it. A tremor possessed hesitance when across does this feeling take you by the face, blooming your cheeks and reflexes pull like a curtain and the actors dance upon the merciless stage. Wish I to close my eyes and invite gravity to wrap its hold tight about me, press these rhythms dry from the sponge that beats nervously in the closet of my chest. Take care to note my shade, make haste to observe its shift, its discord, its improvised maladjustment and obscurity; from whatever clarity of light it may find an object from which to cast its contrasting signature. Hollow me from that quiet smile, make louder your worry, your distrust, your instinct and its prejudiced prophesy. As my eyes beg to close, shut you out and myself within myself--A perfect dream will make true desires of me till the dawn, my dawn and the dusk of my sleep.

14 September 2010

A Beautiful Mind

The Mating Mind

After finishing Dawkins' classic The Selfish Gene, what remained clear in my mind was certain mentions of game theory and sexual selection. Wishing to read further into the subject of the latter, my search began, delivering myself into a few bookstores each offering me, in return, the same result for Matt Ridley's The Red Queen. It wasn't available at any of the bookstores I visited, though I did find it on Amazon. Matt Ridley and his work were sited on The Selfish Gene, it deals with sexual selection and its shaping of natural animal behavior. I discovered The Mating Mind on the shelves where The Red Queen should've sat had it been available.

Since hearing of sexual selection, I've been a bit awe inspired by this additional concept to the natural selection evolution theory. I feel, as does The Mating Mind's author Geoffrey Miller, that sexual selection has been rather slighted if not downright ignored by not just the ridiculous curriculum offered by my limited public schooling; but by cultural and social avenues through which one cannot escape hearing about evolution regardless of your education. Evolution in general is a very tricky, need-less-to-say sensitive, topic. There are too many impressions based on impressions just as there are many incorrect notions of Christianity based on inferences rather than what's actually written in the bible. I had an idea of what evolution was before I knew Darwin's first name, I still have yet to read Origin of Species but its ideas have been presented to me countlessly through pop mediums and scientific references such as Richard Dawkins and Geoffrey Miller, to name the most recent. Still, the phrase "something lost in translation" seems paramount to note. Most of what I thought I knew about evolution was generally related but not accurate to Darwin's original findings. I usually thought of biological evolution in terms of natural selection and survival of the fittest.

It never dawned on me that a more subtle, intimate force may act on Life, where sexual choice determines the behavior, appearance, or evolution of a species. Once you hear it, it seems obvious; after all, most species regenerate through sexual reproduction, passing their genes to the next generation. Even if you hold on to the ideas of competition for survival, wouldn't it seem logical that sexual mates are discriminated for weak traits and chosen for favorable traits that will benefit the offspring and thus, the next generation will be healthy enough to carry on the genetic legacy.

Geoffrey Miller's book was a serendipitous find because it focuses on Human Nature. The Red Queen, I imagine to be a general examination of what sexual selection is, not necessarily grounding itself on one life form as an exclusive example. The full title of Miller's work leaves no room for doubt regarding the book's topic, The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature. Miller is not only insightful but also playful and fun even when borderline corky. He references Hamlet as easily as he does David Bowie or Howard Hawks' Bringing Up Baby, he illustrates vivid scenarios that seem comedic but are effective at once at communicating the message without wasting energy on extremely scientific terminology and complex analogies. The chapters are all broken up into small passages that make for good pacing. The passages are all titled and relevantly add up to the chapter which in turn adds up to the book itself--at first, this annoyed me because it felt like I was being undermined as a reader but after a few chapters you become grateful for the easy-reading layout, considering the otherwise complex material. I applaud how light this book is to read, I feel it could be really easy to make this subject very complicated and confusing.

Despite my overall joy at being properly introduced to sexual selection by Miller. What The Mating Mind has also achieved is the opening of a smaller pair of eyes that now cannot close and fiendishly analyze human behavior in terms of sexual selection. To be told that my intelligence and its displays are fitness indicators for the opposite sex, this brings about an insecure self-conscious pause to me as an "artist". Meaning, if my drawings, paintings, music, jokes, morals, and even this entry about The Mating Mind, are all executed at some level to get attention from females, that sort of bums me out, makes me feel one-dimensional. Although Miller clearly states his stance, Artists are Artists and they are such for their own reasons but the practice and adaptations available to them for when they feel the need to create were evolved in our ancestors due to pressures of displaying the mind as an advertisement of genetic fitness. And that males have a more natural need to be creative, though they are not any better equipped for creativity than females. This differs tremendously from the impression of human intelligence I previously held, that intelligence is the survival tool us humans evolved as a result of being otherwise, a delicately designed species and that art, music, etc. were side-effects; based on adaptations originally meant for exclusive survivalist functions.

Finishing The Mating Mind clears up many curiosities I had after The Selfish Gene about sexual selection and leaves me with fresh obscurities about the human senses; cognition and neuroscience. I want to learn more about the specific adaptations that encourage and support our creativity. I'm as excited by the doors sexual selection had opened for me as I am mournful of the romantic ignorance it has partially buried. Still, for the most part a really great read. I'm really interested in what my female friends would have to say about this book. According to Miller, women read more than we do and faster, but men write more books.

08 September 2010

Its Been a Long Hot Day's Travel into the Cool Evening

Last Days of Summer

I slept really well last night. I placed myself in bed at about 2:40 AM after pacing about in a spontaneous frenzy when a friend drew up questions on life and living. I won't get to into it but she spoke about feeling unsatisfied. I can relate. I was surprised I was able to drift into sleep the way I did, usually when such thoughts climb into my brain its nothing less of a war to ignore them and find a quiet corner to escape into unconsciousness. Nevertheless, at about 3:32 AM I awoke as if in the blink of an eye, amazed I had slipped away. Interestingly enough, my phone was off, it was the first time in weeks, perhaps months, that I had shut down my phone before going to bed.

The morning was dark--my room, a cool, distant gray and the temptation to pull the sheets over my head, and return to the cuddle of sleep was only dismissed by the currents of energy that begged for movement. I was too awake to be tired but the day was perfect for a tired body. I could feel a breeze through the blinds, I should've made breakfast because I certainly had the time for it but instead a rested on the living room sofa, by the window. I made sure to not forget Miller's Mating Mind, I had some catching up to do. I could hear a 2 or 5 train in the far off distance reminding me to walk to Third Ave. so as to not be mocked by the 5 trains, who have returned to their express rush hour service and therefore no longer stop at my station in the morning or afternoon.

This change of train service, though expected, further reminds me that the summer is indeed closing. Somehow, the end of August made me sad. I'm not sure why. I suppose it might be due to September being a pretty good indication of the end of summer but my summer wasn't that amazing. Don't get me wrong, my summer wasn't lame or as awful as it could've been but in no way was it a grand old party, a memorable milestone that landmarks a prime era of life. It was alright and mostly hot and difficult, I want Fall to walk into the year, its something I look forward to in fact, which is why I'm not sure why the end of August made me somewhat melancholy. I've had better summers, but all the same I'll miss this one. I feel the year drawing into a serious air; a darker, heavier tone and an absolute demand of me from it.

If anything, what this summer supplied for me were a series of carefree days, days in which I wasn't responsible for anything creatively, I just walked and listened, observed and responded very minimally, perhaps a nod or a soft smile--definitely no albums, no paintings, no drawing journals or volume of instrumentals. I did write, I've re-opened that door; with words I am re-learning what language is to me and how to use it for the new things I've been storing inside myself.

Imaginary Keys, Imaginary Locks

Before the Lightning Hits the Clock

My creativity is like a lightning bolt. Useless. Sure, you can marvel at it, awe at its power, its sudden mystique and unattainability. But for all practical purposes, its useless, un-utilitarian. All useful electricity needs direction, needs a current, otherwise its just a quick lightning bolt that sparks a quick flash of light, startles you, but for the most part is gone just as suddenly as it came, without any real impact or impression.

2:31 in the Morning Before Sleep

My Adrenaline is the Only Poem I Can Offer

I wish I could still write from a bleeding heart. I wish I were lying when I say its dried out. My romance is a ghost, or better yet its a blink, or a twitch, an involuntary movement, independent of me. A muscle spasm that acts mechanically, automatically, like the tongue of an alligator connecting nerves and muscles to its locking jaws. You place a romantic situation before me and I can react romantically but its really all gone. Not the act, just the words. I cannot write poems and love letters like I did when I was younger--I felt they meant something then, they came directly from the pipeline that lead to the explosion of feeling that could find no other exit, success or failure, it jumped out regardless. But after jumping out so often, it developed technique and style, became aware of itself, grew mirrors and admired what it saw. I cannot write a poem without finding almost default feelings that approach my lips like ready-wrapped presents at department stores. This is why these days, I prefer the unexpected surprises of actions over love letters, my words have been replaced by smiles and body movements; by the heart beat itself rather than any iambic pentameter or metronome. I'll speak the truth when I just keep silent and move because I don't have time to think up or analyze a rhythm or strategy--I don't have the luxury of preparation, so instinct seems the only choice. Maybe it'll succeed maybe it'll fail, that's irrelevant, all that matters is that it once again, is coming from that familiar pipeline I thought would never find its way back to the explosion. Its been awhile, I miss that explosion.

04 September 2010

And We Sing the Body Electric

Bodysong (2003) - Directed by Simon Pummell; with original film score composed by Jonny Greenwood.

Birth. Growth. Sex. Violence. Death. Dreams

These are the words that appear under the title as the film closes, right before the ending credits roll. These six subjects flesh out the main body of this somewhat visual essay that, accompanied by Greenwood's hauntingly tense yet fragile score, follows the human body from life to death. The film compiles footage, both vintage archival and contemporary, mostly amateur but seasoned with biological content such as x-rays and cells under microscopic observation. And even though it spans a large history of time, there isn't an adherence to a chronological narrative other than that of womb to tomb. The film doesn't reel from past to present, which makes sense as the six subjects mentioned are not specific to one particular time spanned throughout the film. Similarly, Bodysong isn't faithful to one country, people, or culture. Again, the six subjects are internationally worldwide; so much so, that there are some instances in the film that you have no idea what nationality, race, or social status the people represented happen to be--they slowly disappear in details and become solely, Common Human.

Pummell achieves this, I think, by grouping the images as he does so confluently. The subjects are immediately recognized long before they're spelled out for you at the end. Identifying the six subjects is what helps you forget any difference between us; regardless of geography, religion, sexual preference, etc. we were all born, we all grow and we will all die. Sex, violence, and dreams are not as strictly certain as Birth, Growth, and Death but they repeat often enough in various if not all parts of the world that it isn't by very much that we can consider them lesser of a certainty.

The film maintains an unbiased eye, open and absorbent. The explicit frankness of the Sex portion is just as innocent as the preceding childhood images from the Growth segments. The frankness of the Violence segments are what make them unsettling but they too also seem innocent. In seeing images of crowds and riots, I found myself unconcerned with who was right or wrong--there was no judgement of the violence, only the admittance of its existence. Perhaps its this unbiased presentation which inspired Pummell to set the footage to music, much like a silent film, and leave the human voice out up until the final portion of Bodysong. He chose, to begin this group, examples of deaf subjects learning to pronounce words through alternative therapy, which felt very much like the earlier footage of watching toddlers taking their first steps. From there, Pummell builds speech and language as well as expression through art. The collage is never random. Its to a great affect that the voice finally makes it appearance in the film. After all the footage, which quite effectively spoke volumes visually, I was very pleased and impressed with any sound produced by the human voice. It was a very coherent journey.

What Bodysong results in, for me, is a film that delivers a quick impression of human activity. Its a snap shot that holds you for a moment, the way you would pause if you were shown a photograph of yourself taken while you weren't aware. You feel yourself to be naturally beautiful but you're also embarrassed by the unconsciousness of it all. You feel unfamiliar as well as slightly insulted--like you're viewing a stranger who possesses a very true, if not one of the truest, confessions about you. It gives you an objective glimpse into how nature possibly views us. We're all one, the way an apple is an apple regardless of what sound your mouth makes when you pronounce the word in your language, that names the particular fruit. Bodysong is a human portrait, a general definition. Its a grouping of physical grammars, which effectively summarize who and what a human is. This solidarity is the answer, if it is of any extraterrestrial wonder, what are humans? And how do they spend their time on that planet?

29 August 2010

September 11, 2001: Apparently Living in Infamy

The Smoke in the Far Distance

I guess everyone you meet in New York City, that is, if you propose enough time and conversation with the person, and supposing they've lived in New York City long enough, will have their own 9/11 story. Its a date we were reminded of daily for an entire year after its occurrence. Most of us remember the night before and the day after. There wasn't much of anything else on anyone's mind in New York City for the rest of that week, perhaps for the rest of that month. And it might've not just been exclusive to New York City; to say there wasn't much of anything else on anyone's mind in the rest of the country, might not be that far or conceited of a stretch. Going back to my opening sentence, perhaps regardless of where the person lived at the time, everyone has a 9/11 story to tell.

The week of 9/11 was the week after my grandmother died. Technically a week but in actuality, a full seven days had not yet passed since Friday September 7, 2001, when in the early AM, on a hospital bed, Dominga Baptista-Encarnacion passed away. A date was scheduled with Ortiz Funeral Home but had to be moved because many of our relatives were not allowed in New York City, via bridge, boat, or airport. The funeral for which I awoke on the morning of Tuesday September 11, 2001 happened to occupy a much grander day for Death. Postponed for Friday the 14th, I would spend the late afternoon after the funeral in a housing projects' staircase, awkwardly entertaining a girl who wanted to do more than just sit in poorly lit silence.

In general, events rarely inspire a strong emotional reaction from me. Whether my grandmother's death, a terrorist attack, or a sexually curious girl--my unaffected distance made me weightless to any gravity any of these respectively offered. As I sat on those steps in the projects staircase, I wasn't distracted by my grandmother, or Death at all for that matter. It wasn't that I was reflecting on my nineteen year old life, and couldn't respond to obvious hints from the girl seated beside me. It wasn't 9/11. She didn't care, I didn't care--I just sort of didn't like her and was nervous to be there absorbing her intentions. By the time I cleared out, abruptly and perhaps a bit embarrassed, I could honestly say that I wasn't at all thinking of 9/11.

The South Bronx, September 11, 2001 - On rooftops, neighbors watched the smoke in the far distance; children returned from dismissed classes, adults from dismissed jobs. Images, repeated on television gave you a bizarre surreality, like watching a film on screen and then opening a window and seeing the scene become real. Yet, from The South Bronx it seemed so small, out of our reach even. There was a certain level of disconnection on that morning, a certain amount of unaffected coldness towards the September 11th Attack--towards terrorism--towards the future. Its not that I or some of my friends didn't care, we just didn't one hundred percent feel as if it was happening to us. In fact, nothing had happened to us, we each awoke in our beds and if it wasn't for Television or Radio, we wouldn't have known about 9/11 until later in the day or evening, maybe not even till the next day. Of course there was one out of five of us who felt the impact and felt like joining the armed forces, we laughed at him. We spent the afternoon at the barber's shop, someone was getting a shape-up and we said things like,

"Its payback for all the fucked up shit this country does to the middle east."

"Thats what we get for not minding our own business."

"That shit would never happen in The Bronx."

"That shit was sad though--people jumping, people on fire, thats a fucked up way to die."

There are some people who live and die in The Bronx, who were raised and schooled in The Bronx, who eat, sleep, and work in The Bronx, who fuck in The Bronx, get married and have kids in The Bronx. They take vacations to other states, to visit family not to experience a new area; some go to caribbean islands, mostly to party. Manhattan is like Las Vegas to them, a party town, one which they couldn't imagine becoming a permanent part of, one in which what happens there, remains there. Its a bright light circus, a club hopping spectacle--as strange as the idea of viewing The Bronx as a small town, especially considering how close it is to Manhattan (its one of the 5 boroughs after all) some of its residents have small town mentalities.

Everyone had a different reaction, I am not the spokesperson for The Bronx, some people attacked convenient stores during that week, there was a strong anti-arabic atmosphere in the air, ignorant and brash. Others were scared, locked inside, for them the attack was just the beginning, a war was on the verge of breaking open, spilling onto our streets, shattering like a cracked glass that finally gives. There were others who were just confused, who were overwhelmed by excess tragedy and minimal explanation, not necessarily having a reaction, only numb and stunned by the interruption of it all. I'm certain this wasn't limited to only The Bronx, but that's what I saw because that's where I spent the week.

So my friends and I didn't take 9/11 seriously. In the weeks that followed most of us were of the opinion the whole event was staged to get us into war, in a general we-have-no-real-evidence-to-prove-this sort of way; nor did we care to investigate. The birth of Post 9/11 had changed the view of not only the skyline but also our perspectives. In the months that followed Innocence and Trust were concepts that were tested by the governing actions of the country we lived under. Danger and Fear were the new unofficial ad campaigns; boosting isolation and encouraging technological communication (text messages, myspace, facebook). We didn't have cellphones and television wasn't that interesting prior to 9/11, people needed to stay home and safe, to constantly be in contact with one another. Bush "stealing" the 2000 election was hardly an issue as most people forgot about it by then, For myself, it was like pointillism, where you had to stand back to see the full picture. The closer you stood geographically and emotionally, the more the mess of dots would distort the image. American flags annoyed me, angry veterans shook me to Casper, soldiers with firearms in subway stations professed me to a Masters Degree in Paranoia and Anxiety. Whenever I look back I remember how I almost fooled around in projects staircase on the same day as my grandmother's funeral, I remember how much I hate Parkchester because I spent a full, rainy Monday, September 10th out there dropping fliers for NYC mayoral candidate, Mark Green (election day was 9/11). I remember when the 2nd plane hit, up until the two towers fell. I was in bed, listening to the television in the adjacent living room; my sister had yelled out to me to come and watch, I was too tired.

Today, almost a decade later, the event is even further away. Its as if everything that happened after that date went out of its way to normalize the September 11th Attack. To blend the sudden surprise of the attack with a surreal world of constant surveillance, constant diminishing freedoms, desensitized acceptance of our "War on Terror" which might as well be the War with Eurasia or East Asia. Misinformation, distraction, pills for ignoring what should be your natural reaction to this brave new world. Staring at the Seurat becomes more difficult as every time you move back a bit further they blow up the image, enlarging the picture until you, the viewer, either gives in and joins the distortion or leaves the gallery all together.

28 August 2010

There's No Spark, No Light in the Dark

On Decisions Made During Seemingly Insignificant Moments

Life being a series of decisions, one can spend countless amounts of time and energy analyzing whether one's actions (or inactions) were played out intelligently. Wondering if one has made the right choice or performed at their possibly best, considering their circumstance(s). Your mind may flood with "should I have said no?" "Should I have spoken up?" "Should I have waited or hurried?" "Should I have anticipated and/or prepared this?" If you're conscious then most likely every significant action has a gravity that acts upon it through these after-thoughts. There is such a thing as a past but its full of spotlit moments for which these questions hang over like a banner. For every decision you make, a thousand doubts can manifest instantly--just standing at a street corner, awaiting a red signal can become a conference of mind, especially if the vehicles are far enough. "I should've crossed?" "Could I have crossed?" "I could've been across the street by now." "I should've been across the street--down the next block by now." "All this time thinking could've been me crossing and reaching the other side by now." "Why didn't I cross?"

Us humans possess a terrible ordeal called Intelligence, better yet, self-consciousness. "Thus conscience does make cowards" as Hamlet concludes in his famous soliloquy. "And the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, and enterprises of great pitch and moment with this regard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action." When I first read Hamlet, which was relatively recently after years of a general impression painted by pop culture, I realized that To Be or Not To Be, though mortally interpreted as To Live or Not To Live could also be translated as To Act or Not To Act. Especially with the final words in the quote, "turn awry and lose the name of action." Hamlet is almost realizing that over-analyzing and over-plotting may in fact dull the passion of the act itself--in the play, avenging of his father's murder. We can all identify with Hamlet in that we've all experienced at one time or another, a moment when conviction waned as a result of thinking too much. When logic stepped into the picture and rationalized brash impulse. Which can be quite helpful in certain circumstances like marrying a stranger but absolutely destroy much lighter moments, say like complimenting a stranger, who may become your significant other; whom in time perhaps you'll marry.

I am no enemy to self-consciousness, I feel if we are aware of other people then it is only natural that we be aware of ourselves. We live too close to one another to ignore the proximity--to pretend we don't observe our behaviors, to compare, contrast, judge, and imitate one another. In studying others, we look inward and study how we relate, we establish ideas of preference, and judge what comfort individually means for ourselves.

The problem with constantly looking inward and organizing information; filing away, neatly, all the data before arriving at an answer, besides the time wasted, the problem is the un-exercised muscles of instinct. Through experience, one's mind and body should become more and more unified. As an adult, one's coordination to perform the act of walking is so seamless and mathematically precise, that it feels as if one's mind isn't involved, in the slightest bit, with one's moving legs--as if the body were acting on its own, without thought. The older you get, the more confident you'll become if you practice acting on impulse. Even if the impulses result in mistakes, these are the mistakes you'll learn from, thus writing new involuntary codes into the physical language of your impulse. "Go with your heart," a cliche that only got to that memetic point through some degree of reinforcement by truth, will in fact work someday, as it learns from trial and error. But Self-Consciousness has a huge prejudice against Humility.

Need-less-to-say, especially since Thom Yorke has sung it for us, over-analysis, "gets you down...it gets you down. You traveled far. What have you found? That there's no time. There's no time. To analyze. To think things through. To make sense." As Hamlet stands alone contemplating action, measuring his conviction and patience, his constitution for morality and hypocrisy Yorke sings to him, "A self-fulfilling prophesy of endless possibility. You roll in reams across the street--In algebra, in algebra. The fences you cannot climb. The sentences that do not rhyme...it gets you down." Prophesy is a very crucial concept in over-analysis. Well, prophecy is too romantic a word, foresight and anticipation are more modestly accurate. Our ability to look ahead, and hope situations arrive in a pleasing manner --in a favorable pre-planned program that we can rehearse and thereby control.This need for control is usually constructed by past memories that have conformed individuals into requiring second chances in order to retry their actions with knowledge of how everything will turn out. Crossing a street during a green light is extremely important if its happened that the opportunity to perform this action was provided before in the past but not exercised.

I'm so blinded by the past I can't see where the future lies; that's right, the future lies, past tells the truth, the present is open and this empty box is the proof...

Cryptic One's lyrics very vividly describes the predicament of a choice, the inability to successfully determine, through analysis, spontaneous decisions--However, when faced with To Act or Not To Act, my advice is take a walk, and at some point look down at your legs. See as they move, as they coordinate step after step, notice how you don't have to think about every muscle, its without your personal command that this amazing synchronization is collecting into a movement, into an action. Act. Act now and sort everything out later. Its the only way to pass insignificant moments from present to future within a random universe.

18 August 2010

And Nature Said Let Us Make Genes in Our Image


In the beginning, after the Creation, Nature (God) had just finished with Adam, the first single-cell. Nature had promised Adam all the living things of Earth, they would all somehow be the property of this first single-cell. Nature soon realized that Adam desired a companion, a way to survive and a proliferation that Nature itself also desired from Adam. This was when Adam was introduced to a process called reproduction, and he was split in half--this second half was called Eve. She was an exact replicate of Adam, equal in every way, without even a gender to separate the two from one another. Nature then instructed the two to propagate the garden, to spread over Eden and fully populate it.

It wasn't long before all of Eden was home to single-cells, copies of copies--very few altering from the majority. Some of the single-cells grouped into multi-celled units. These minute complexities inspired more absorption of energies. Eden was not equipped for the necessities of all the multi-celled units; Adam and Eve soon found that they had exhausted all of their resources. All except for the Tree of Knowledge, whose energy they were forbidden to use. The Tree of Knowledge was golden and far away but its fruit fell daily onto the garden. Within each ray of light that shone from the tree's branches, more than enough sufficient energy was to be discovered. But Nature had not permitted its usage. All would've remained as such if Evolution had not crawled into the garden and spoke onto Eve, "surely you shall not really die if you disobeyed Nature." Eve had designed a method called photosynthesis, and used energy from the Tree of Knowledge, she taught Adam and together they had solved their problem of limited resources--as the Tree daily shone and provided Knowledge.

For disobeying Nature, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. They were banished in the sense that Eden was removed from Earth, either buried beneath it or hidden above it. Photosynthesis had established a new excess of oxygen and carbon dioxide which Eden never carried, never intended. This banishment East of Eden, was an atmosphere that sheltered Earth and inspired complex forms of multi-celled units. And here we still are. Adam and Eve within us, the Tree of Knowledge above us, and Evolution constantly whispering new suggestions.

16 August 2010

Awaiting Water From the Overcast

Water: Beautiful Mother, Home, and Soul

Today under an overcast morning sky, I anticipated water. The wild silver fumes of clouds that puff over expansively remind me that they were once parts of oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes, any language of water affected enough by heat to condensate. Water is quite a pleasing notion to me, ever the symbol for such ideas as change, birth and purity, life and consciousness--it is quite difficult to not be drawn to it. Accounting for 70% of the Earth's surface and a similar 70% of our interior human bodies, its not so easily an ignorable element. Exiting the 6 station at Astor Place, I look up and marvel at the compilation of Earth's aquatic surfaces holding their breath in a gaseous phase, I think of Baudelaire's poem which ends, "Eh, qu' aimes-tu donc, extraordinaire etranger?" to which the etranger replies, "J'aime les nuages...les nuages qui passent...la bas...la bas...les merveilleux nuages!" Over there...over there...the marvelous clouds.

Whether poured into a tall drinking glass or spraying out from a shower head; whether lubricating a tube-slide at an amusement park or obscuring distance through a dense fog--from pools to beaches, fountains to waterfalls, ice cubes and vapors, streams, brooks, geysers and rapids; fire hoses and hydrotherapy--Water, from all its uses to its most sub-molecular levels of design, seems to me one of the most wonderful inventions of nature. Of nature and perhaps, of the universe.

I was by the Hudson yesterday. Resting on the grass, reading The Mating Mind, and watching the sky begin its sentimental songs of farewell through the blushing colors of dusk. I sat up and glanced over at the river. Before even reaching the Hudson, I could see the river from a distance, as I walked down Bank, right in the middle of the street against the seldom traffic. Between rows of apartment houses that shrank into a converging vantage point, a blue horizon--that with sun-reflecting glints, sparkled; a blue horizon stood like a wall at the eventual seemingly dead-end of Bank Street. Of course one knows better, Bank Street doesn't end with the Hudson, it ends with the Westside Highway--which one has to wait an expensive amount of time before a red light allows you to dissect across, onto the bike path and promenade of Hudson River Park.

When I glanced over to the river, it was the sparks, like spontaneous electric snaps that jumped from the wavy surface of the water, that caught my attention. Among all the separate waves that interacted, shifting this way and that, affected by the wind and the slightest movement from boats, vessels or lifeforms above or below--among the waves, the sun reflected and shimmered, like gilded coins, falling from the sun's palms and bouncing on the skin of the river before sinking within. I thought about randomness. I observed the lack of pattern from where the sparks would jump; contrary to anticipation, they would appear from no apparent set sequence or order. Just as the waves themselves had no apparent, determinable pattern, nor did the shards of sun that surfed them. I got my mind thinking about sparks of life, the human soul if you'd humor me such a term. I thought that this must be what it looks like from a universal perspective--that all life, each individual can be represented as a falling gilded coin; that the surface is the momentary life they live until finally submerging. The spark is the bounce of life, its wave which we ride only for the most temporary of time and space. Our souls are probably such a thing, dropping from an eminent source onto a reflective surface, a liquid mirror and we all appear as random specks. No sooner do we surface than we submerge, never again to repeat. Only we don't really submerge because we were never truly on the surface in the first place; we were only a reflection of the source to which we return. We are all the source, collectively.

This talk of souls and sources, reflection and randomness, is in fact, only randomness. It is definitely not the point I meant to arrive at. I meant to only illustrate my love for water, how it calms me and how mesmerizing it can be to just stare at that moving element, or technically two elements dancing as a compound. Its so pure and gracing; if nothing else is, water is truth--Truth, yet its surreal and consistent but flexible. "Be formless, shapeless--like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water in a bottle it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash, be water my friend," Bruce Lee tells us. Put water in a human...? It has adapted to us, water has taken our shape and acts through us but can we in turn take from its example, to be true yet remain surreal; be consistent yet flexible.

All He Can Say


He told her she's a walking poem written by Neruda. Said her dark skin reminds him of a tree but feels like a dolphin. Her eyes dug into his heart and blinded his pulse, the curve of her lips swung like hips to the dance of her smile; she was a song he hadn't learn the words to yet. Repeating her spanish name in his head, trying to trace the shape of her from each letter, tonguing the syllables, tasting every corner of the pronunciation; she was enough to press against and have her pull from his mouth a word, a promise, a lie, a truth, a joke, a name, a question, an answer, an excuse, an insult, a tease, an apology, an idea, a confession, a kiss, a groan, a smile, a whisper, a bite, a growl, a whistle, a sip, a pout; anything, anything that he felt would strike a reaction out of that face, that body, that mind--such an achievement would be like watching God create light based upon your request.

10 August 2010

A Domestic Death

On things being too easy, on the absence of challenges and obstacles, on the attainability of goals without the compromising cost of energy--without the tests of will power, or gauges of endurance. The bitter battle scars that only sweeten the final victory--going back once again, to Icarus--Conflict must exist.

Sacrifice, risk, moral twilight...Whatever the end, remember that through the means, there will be blood. Is it justified? Does the passion equal the task? That is for the individual to decide upon self-analysis. But passion is what will get you there.

If there is a thought, act it. If there is an opportunity, take it. Jump in head first, sort it out as you go along. Moments are eternal parades of sequence, one proceeding the next down the corridors of infinity. When you see one you like, take hold of it and affect it, shake it in your hands and watch it stray away from its course and form a new line, a new procession of consequence. Expect contradiction from the parallel queue, await the unknown, be certain it will be uncomfortable and with much difficulty, it will wrap you in its intricate knots, that as sure as there is breath in your lungs it will strangle you dead at the throat. Of course, they are knots that you can no doubt untie but each with effort and time, all the while the temptation of the parallel queue begs you to return the moment, to forget the complex anarchy and ride the wave already prepared for you. Give it all up, it says--enticing you, massaging you with visions--Why should it be so difficult? Its so utterly unfair...there is pleasure, there is heaven, we've made it long before you got here. We labored years to design it; just so that when you got here you needn't worry about it.

Poor fellow, with its mind petted and not one muscle moving. Poor fellow, for whom life lives as a breathing death.

An Undisturbed Moment: Identifying One's Passion


"Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it."

So what is the glass onto which I pour out my heart? What is the catalyst to actions I cannot seize in the cage of logic or the command of restraint? When reaction is almost impulse and cheered by the battery of pure emotion, what invites this? As if my passion were itself a living parasite, momentarily set apart, seated with its legs crossed and a steaming cup of honey-camomille tea before it, I offer it this composition as a chance to answer for itself.

My passion leans forward, inhales the tea steam, the scent of cinnamon from the stick he tossed in the kettle. My passion cannot define itself without speaking about obsession. For you see, Obsession is my passion's Passion. Obsession is the evolution of memories, conditioning, and conflict all converging into a concentrated dose, that swims through your veins in boiling tempest. Its an addiction and my passion needs its fix constantly, ceaselessly at times. Absorbing obsession from my body; from any corner where it could locate a drop, a morsel, a single nucleus or atom of obsession. Its become that finally I've become an obsession-producing vehicle; a factory of fixed ideas, assembled and mounted onto a conveyor belt that ends right into the stomach of my passion.

How do I form my obsessions? I doubt my passion cares enough to wonder. But my obsessions come about easily enough, through thorough stimulation. I recently told a very attractive insomniac that "senses were made for sensations". Impressions that are strong enough, sharp and shocking enough to attach, cut, or vibrate my memory and its adrenaline, are the persistent, little fists that knock on the doors of habit. If something feels good, I want to repeat the feeling. After a certain amount of tolerance builds I have to escalate the methods in order to reproduce that feeling once again.

I have no passions only obsessions. But because of those obsessions I exercise my actions passionately. I see the world loudly, I feel the kingdom of galaxy as one shrinking wave in an ocean of universe. Pain becomes eternal agony, pleasure becomes exponential bliss, women become goddesses and words double-edged swords, songs are floating prayers that on their way to heaven, riding airwaves find my ears and dance under laser beams of thoughts. My obsession is attention, its looking at everything long enough to discover its oneness, its unique participation in a universe that continues to expand, continues to change so much so, that no two seconds within that universe have ever repeated--quite impressive if its at all true that the universe is in fact, infinite.

A kiss because nuclear fusion; sunsets, daily paintings; and evolution is the perfect instrumental for life to sing over. My passion finds these things, hurries forth and devours them, slowly like decomposition. My passion is a disease, an infection, its a cancerous appetite, never satisfied. My passion pulls on my obsessions and my obsessions pull on my attentions. It cracks open the doors of perception and peers in slightly, each inch begs for another inch until the door, wide open swallows me in. And why not? There are times when a person must jump into the water before learning to swim, not because one's life is in danger but because one's life is curious; that is passion.

With his hands clasped behind his head as he lies on the floor of our apartment, my passion nods his head approvingly of my description. He bites skin from his lips and returns to notice patterns on the paint-chipping ceiling. He's humming a melody unknown to me. Our apartment is usually an empty studio, nothing but windows, walls, a floor and a ceiling. I furnish the studio with obsessions, constantly pulling them in from outside, providing a home and place for their amusement as well as ours. My passion wears them out, each piece of furniture fades and eventually disappears. No sooner than I decorate a corner, or adorn a window, than my passion disassembles the hinges, chews the fabric, absorbs the varnish--returning the studio to a blank slate by the time I return with a new set of obsessions. It seems we won't rest till the whole universe has come and gone through the digestive system of our studio.

07 August 2010

Because We Never Found the Time Nor the Space


she used to be perfect. so marvelous, so full of potential and potency; she has been bled out, she has been reduced to a common denominator and removed of decoration. she has not been made naked--naked was her perfection; instead, she has been covered up, in clothes that loosely hang off her parts. i recall her confidence, her gait and balance--i see these things like cold far-distanced ghosts when we speak, humming from the shadow of her words. it is utmost saddening how i lost someone i barely got to know. i made the mistake of thinking there was time, it too was a ghost. she has been bled out, she has been taken in--away from where i can reach, far from where i would want to reach--naked was her perfection, naked were we two truths but only promises of ourselves, dreams within dreams. she used to be perfect. someone who knew a truth about herself simultaneously as i knew a truth about me, and the two went hand in hand. a truth that didn't move when the moment said, "go".

so we've been gulfed from one another ever since. she was an empire, a queen, a nebula and from her lips, stars were the promises that burned bright against the solid dark ceiling of shrinking nights. stars were the memories that now evaporate, separated by a yawning universe's stretch. there it was that i lost someone i barely got to know. someone like me, perfect and ready yet not moving, knowing the steps but waiting to be asked for the dance. i recall her voice, her laugh and its weight, where she'd place her eyes when we spoke. she's been covered up, in sheets that bury her, that fall disrespectfully from her parts. and the truths we were, hang there as well, spill clumsily between us as we try to stand you back on your two feet. but you're too weak and i get bored. i too used to be perfect.

06 August 2010

Today, Brooklyn was the Syringe with Which I Injected My Overdue Dose of Shilpa Ray

I really love this woman. Just got home from The Brooklyn Bowl where she took my heart and infected it with tiny micro-bacteria called "a good time". Incase you were wondering, I was the weirdo by the brick corner, who nodded his head slightly along with you but mainly just stared at a tigress, a living, full-blooded, growling tigress. A bottle of Jameson by her ankles and two flowers carelessly hanging from her hair, as she played the harmonium--air never sounded so sweet; and sweet never sounded so bitter, while bitter never punched like that before--and a punch never felt like a kiss until tonight.

04 August 2010

The Man Who Did Too Little

Movement of Applied Thought / Paralysis of an Action Withheld

An action is an idea set in motion. It is an orchestration of nervous and muscular systems synchronizing the evolution of a thought. Any act therefore can be said to be like words, extrenal communication of internalized impression. Idea pure of action is only potential--only theory, perfectly possible insofar as it is never tried; never practiced; prohibited from kinesis.

What one is to do for creative balance is merge the internal with the external; integrate the two worlds. Think of the line in the Our Father prayer, "Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven." There is truth to this implication of harmony. One plane should mirror the other; or in opposing, face the stressful complication of attempting to rationalize two conflicting dimensions simultaneously.

What of actions without thought? How can there be a conflict in such a situation where only one dimension is active? During these instinctive motions--rhyme without reason--the purest of ideations are sparked awake in momentary life spans. When Idea skips the brain altogether and directly inspires the neuro-muscular messengers, the branch-end instrumentalists that improvise movements based on memory and applied theory--this is pure, unfiltered mind. Creative balance becomes absent; as expected when two dimensions fuse into one. If nature and logic do in fact marry, binding at the very essence, then there must be present, Intelligence within impulsive reaction.

03 August 2010

My Evolving Comprehension of Charles Darwin Through the Natural Selection of Information

Diversification within Misinformed Opinions Evolving to Facts

It is of particular note how, over time, a person or idea may become a general summation--even distorted due to the passing of the information by insufficient transfer. Let's say as, the insufficient transfer of a rumor, that only expands into extreme hyperbole as it is repeated from ear to thirsty ear. So may it be that through this rushed migration, that hurries forth without fully gathering all its facts; basing ideas on impressions based on impressions--it is conceivably possible that the truth has been somewhat diluted.

I have drawn the threshold of evolutionary argument with certain individuals and whenever Darwin was brought up--he is simply summed up as the guy who said we came from monkeys. Mind you these arguments weren't the most intellectual. This is an over-simplification of the idea of Evolution that would successfully make the notion accessible to 1st graders. Perhaps it was the fact that Evolution was not fully delved into during my schooling that left us with the premature and only perspective we were proposed during our simpler youths. Coincidentally I was raised Catholic, or was attempted to be brought up Catholic by weekend Catholics. And though not one single word was ever spoken by my parents against Darwin or Evolution, I saw it elsewhere. "Humans came from monkeys"-- An entire book about species; subtle differences and similarities, about Natural Selection which collects evidence and gives life an interpretation in terms of how its come to survive--all this is summed up as, "humans came from monkeys." Darwin had might as well just wrote that line and repeated it for 200 pages.

Today I watched Creation, a film about Charles Darwin during his work on Origins. More specifically, the film is about his conflict with being a creationist while working on his theory of natural selection. Also, while reading The Mating mind by Geoffrey Miller, I came across a passage where he parked on Darwin for a moment and explained the 19th Century naturalist's contribution to sexual selection. So, in the past few days much information has been introduced to me that seeks to correct the impressions of Darwin, erroneously suggested to me from childhood.

I have never read Origins of Species or The Descent of Man. With my current attraction to the subject of evolution and human behavior one would've thought that these milestone contributions to that very subject would be the obvious starting points. However, I feel Darwin would appreciate my backward journey, following threads into the past, discovering through them, variations of forms, arriving at conceptual errors that went extinct, in contrast to successful adaptations that deemed fit for survival. Because since the time of its release, Origin of Species has branched out into many species of its original idea, creating for the book a lead role in an example of what it sets out to explain.

Alternate Route

It was my thought, not too long ago, that the way for me to push forward was to abandon my surroundings. I conspired to disappear and meet my grand adventure abroad, find what I may, surprise after surprise--and its a wonderful dream, a beautiful fancy but what of the one element that fails to be considered in my great escape plan. The one voice in my head that no distance may quiet, no ocean may paralyze, and no foreign language converse with--Love? No. Not at all love, even though it was heavily regarded before discovering what I was really after. Presence. Existence. I need to find that in this world I am able to grab hold of a small patch of universe, however temporary, and sign my name upon it. In time the small patch will expand and break apart the letters of my name; further down, each letter will be decomposed until nothing remains--nothing but time and space. Regardless of longevity, of lifespan and mortality, it isn't how long the signature will last that counts; its the fact that you were able to sign at all.

02 August 2010

Sex Makes the Survivalist Go 'Round

In keeping with my recent interest in biology, evolution, and human nature, I took to commencing Geoffrey Miller's The Mating Mind, How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature. I have not yet finished the first chapter and already I find myself in slight defense against the material Miller presents. I suppose it would be key to mention that I have a hard time separating Natural Selection from Sexual Selection or vise versa. The lack of such a perspective, which Miller states early enough for its importance and relevance to his argument, supports my favor towards the idea that reproduction is part of biological survival, rather than parallel to it.

I do not disagree with his main theory, namely that our human brain is more or less a peacock's tail, an ornamental display to enhance our chances of sexual choice by a prospective mate; that our minds have evolved as a result of intelligent mates being preferred over lesser intelligent ones--therefore such genes that encouraged intelligence were passed on from generation to generation while those that were not chosen as mates did not pass on their genes, for obvious reasons. This theory appears sound enough to me yet as I've mentioned above I need further convincing that the passing of these genes does not qualify as a form of survival.

For me, there are two ways of viewing reproduction in terms of survival, one is as a species and the other is genetically. In terms or species it can be said, reproduction is necessary in order to continue the generation or existence of the family, the entire species. In terms of the individual its not so different from its species only you're now viewing it from a genetic standpoint. The genes in a sense, become the species; replicating themselves and surviving through body to body reconstruction. Whether its the species or the genes, reproduction preserves the lineage or continuation of an organism. Sexual selection is an active mechanism within that preservation that favors the best genes to pass on down the line. What's happening is that the seemingly best traits are chosen for the future generation's survival, whether it be individual or as a species. This is how I understand so far.

Most of what I'm feeling from Miller's first chapter, which I am unfairly writing about as I've not yet fully finished reading--is that Miller's argument seems arbitrary, he seems to be picking a fight with ideas that could better his theory if he incorporated them rather than isolated. Then again, the book was released in 2000 and researched for ten years before, so perhaps his manner was the only way to penetrate the subject at all with any successful impact. His aim does seem more directed towards a reaction to further the curiosity of the matter than to define it once and for all. Or maybe I just need to shut up and read the entire work before criticizing it with my inferior non-biologist opinion.

29 July 2010

Lift the Veil; See the Palm Tree Garden


What is reality? What is perspective? Relativity is preferential to attention and consciousness; what a person attends to, dictates their interest, why shouldn't reality and how it is perceived be determined by what a person is willing to accept, willing to live with. Deception is the manipulation of truth, an illusion is not fully a lie as it is a truth under a false circumstance. But what is Truth? How significant is the preservation of Truth? I am firing all these ideas almost through a tommy gun in order to keep you, the reading party, from answering any one of the questions posed. In the case of this entry it is the question itself that is of importance, not the answer. Though I do hope that we both may find answers.

If real is what you can feel, smell, taste, and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain

-Morpheus (The Matrix)

You may agree that reality is subjective, it can be interpreted many ways because of other factors that affect the perception of reality. A child and an adult perceive the world differently, the same goes for the difference between a child and a newborn. Its still the same world but factors such as memories, education, practice--in one word, experience--experience plays a huge part in how we view, interact and accept the world around us. Now one can argue, reality is set stubbornly and certain aspects will remain unaltered regardless of interpretation. For instance the color red will always be the color red. We may not all have the same name for it, we may not all even actually see the same color but we know that a stop sign and a macintosh are both the agreed concept of red. However, precisely because red is only an agreed concept of red, what is to stop someone from calling red, green? We can never know for sure if what I see as red in my mind isn't what you see as green, but still call red because you were taught that whenever you see that particular color, red is the concept that describes it externally to the world. Have I lost anyone? Lets slow down.

Imagine a camera--No imagine two color cameras, both pointed at a red square of construction paper. Now Camera A takes a picture of the red paper and then Camera B does the same. When the pictures are developed it becomes noted that wherever the color red appears, Camera A shows the color green and Camera B shows the actual color red. Now for the sake of simplicity, lets make it that wherever the color green appears, Camera A shows the color red. You would say that Camera A was a faulty mechanism but what about if the world they were taking pictures of (interpreting) was in fact black and white? Now, in a black and white world what difference does it make whether Camera A shows green whenever the concept of red is written, so long as its consistent--so long as the color green always stands in for red it doesn't matter what name you give it.

If I started calling everything I know as red, green, the only problem I would run into is confusion and disagreement when I come in contact with someone else who doesn't share this name for the concept of red. Reality therefore is nothing more than an agreement. Coincidentally, sanity is similarly defined as an agreement of what's "normal". So what is reality? Does Truth have anything to do with it? If so, then it should be said that reality is Truth.

The Truth is a slippery notion. The word melancholy is defined as low in spirits; sad; depressed but the word's etymology is broken down as the greek words melas (black) and chole (bile); black bile. Black bile in fact referred to melancholia's original medical analysis, it was thought to be caused by an imbalance in one of the four basic bodily liquids (blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm). Now regardless of how close this is to today's theory of melancholia and depression in general, to be a chemical or electrical imbalance--it is not true that it is directly caused by an imbalanced distribution of the four bodily liquids. But at one point this was true, or perceived to be true. As was that the Sun and the universe revolved around the Earth, or that that very same Earth was flat. Truths can always deceive, can always be improved or discovered to be lies. Todays lies can become tomorrow's truths, how are we to determine which are which? But regardless of our ability to identify Truth it should still exist. Think of a time when you told the truth but no one believed you, it doesn't matter that they (the majority) disagree with the truth, it is still true. Or does it matter?

If the universe is said to be infinite, then where do possibilities end? I'd say in such a universe there is just enough room for every possibility, at least once. With that in mind, what is the truth of reality? Its whatever helps you understand the universe as you've built it to be comprehensible to yourself. Or, its whatever helps you understand the universe as others have built it to be comprehensible to yourself, in agreement with others. Human brains are only utilized by 10% this isn't a mistake, 10% is all we need to survive and reproduce; anything in excess of 10% might interfere with that natural design. So there's 90% of a universe you don't perceive yet naively we can say we recognize a truth.

The truth is we know nothing, and the ever-expanding universe takes anything we think we know and pulls it apart through time and space, so what's a fact one second has the potential to be a farce the next.

But there is perspective and there is experience; these things are gathered internally and interpreted. Note that they may also be expressed but once again, it becomes lost in the interpretations of others with different perspectives and experiences than you, the expresser.So even the agreement of ideas is questionable as people form different impressions of expressions, however subtle or conscious they are to the fact. But perspectives and experiences do exist. What's to stop a person from living a fantasy? The answer is other people. We are social through thousands years of behavior, culture, and the practical fact that we (humans) are so many, that we can't really avoid one another. Even if we could avoid people for a lifetime we at least need a member of the opposite sex with which to reproduce, or a mother to give us birth. When we create something we need to see it reflected, we need assurance that it is real, so a painting, a symphony, a cake, a script, by its creator is usually let out into the world to be seen, and seen--the world will view a reflection of the creation's creator. So if we made a fantasy world, I bet we'd want at least one person to agree with it, to assure us that it isn't a fantasy.

Its not just a fairy tale thats written by me;

Its not just a loneliness between you and I--

If on magic mountain you find you can breathe

then stay, don't look back, to the blue woven sky

-Pink Love by Blonde Redhead

This finally leads me to one of the questions from above. How significant is the preservation of Truth? The truth is, that the Truth is very worth preserving when it's your Truth, when its essential to your universe and how you find comfort in experiencing it. It just so happens that many truths are agreed upon but every once in a while a radical notion appears that threatens "normalcy" that changes reality from one second to the next, as the universe expands. Living in a fantasy isn't bad so long as it isn't escapism--it has to be a truth, it has to be a reality. Your perspective and experience has to be able to test the boundaries of your fantasy and find it authentic, find it workable and able to assimilate itself to build new logic and physics within this universe.

I'll stop by reminding you that our universe is mostly unknown. The more we discover, the more questions arise; this entry is meant to be full of questions, even the postulated answers should inspire questions, either from you or myself when I return to read what I've written.

28 July 2010

Tie This Truth Round My Ankles Like a Rock, As I Go For A Swim


He asked, when did you get back into the city? She was quiet for a moment and then, "I never really left," that surprises him; he was waiting for a story--even a brief one told by a disdainful shrug. "I just said that 'cause I wasn't interested in seeing you."

They're walking down a street, its moderately warm but cool in comparison to the last few days. He feels like her voice changed--like its become plain with just the skeleton of words, nothing more. She finally glanced at him, curiously.

"You really are something else," he sighs. "You could've just lied. I mean why put it like that, so dry"

"What are you talking about?"

"Like, the way you said it...its just--"

"Dry? Nothing's 'dry' I don't even know what that means in context to what I told you." He hated how clear she was, how unaffected. Meanwhile his heart jerked, like a nervous mouth chewing thick steak.

"Its cold, like you're closing up all of a sudden--"

"I'm not closing up--"

"I'm just saying to make it a point to be so hard about it--"

"What? You want me to lie? I'm not gonna lie--its too much effort." He didn't know what to say and couldn't form words over the memories that flushed in his mind, like a stampede mixing into an audience of numbed emotions. Is she serious? Where is this coming from? What the fuck is happening? He felt tested, as if this was all a show to get a rouse out of him--She thinks I'm not gonna say anything and just walk her to her train, understanding where she's coming from.

"Its almost insulting that you told me the truth, its like you don't care." She didn't say anything to that until he was just about ready to repeat himself.

"its not that."

"What?" She wasn't speaking loud enough.

"I said its not that. Its just easier, the truth is effortless, with no weight--you don't have to hold anything up, you just let things..." She gestured ambiguously with her hands. "as they are."

"I'd rather be lied to." He snapped.

She laughed almost through a gasp, "why?" It seemed she found the notion comedic. Shaking her head and staring forward at the oncoming city.

"It harder, thats why. Its more of a thing to show you care."

"Show I care, by lying?" Her tone was biting.

"Sure," they stopped by a park bench. "Like, for my feelings--" he was starting to feel really stupid. "You can be subtle, postpone the truth until you can slowly take me there lie by lie."


"Lies aren't all bad--" She shook her head and groaned incredulously.

"I don't know." She wanted to say, but they're lies; what the fuck are you going to get out of something you know isn't true? But he was sensitive, his voice was shaky, he looked like he was shrinking and it seemed the more she responded to him the worse she made it for him. Why doesn't he just get angry and leave. She very much wanted him to.

"Do you care at all about me?" He almost didn't say it. He's had it in mind to say for the last 2 minutes. She doesn't even want to look at him, why is he asking me this, she wonders.

After an expended sigh she says, "we don't even know each other--not well, at least." Her voice was beginning to return; her words were dabbed in adhesive flesh.

"Lie to me, then. Thats exactly why you should lie to me--we don't know one another. Its all the show right now--its the best its gonna be between us, right now! So just lie to me, I want to know what it feels like when you try--when you're scared of what the truth can do, or how I'll react to it."

She broke out, "what are you talking about? You sound ridiculous--Do you know what you sound like? Do you hear yourself? Does it make sense to you? I don't want to deal with this, don't you get it?" She lowered her voice, "lie to you? Really? For what? I have..." I have no interest, is what she almost said. "Nothing."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, I have nothing to lie about, I have nothing to be scared about. Truth is the truth. I'm not scared of what it can do. Clearly I'm not interested or moved by you in a way that you could cause that effect in me."

"Because you don't care to impress me."

Did he say that? She was speechless for a second and started to laugh but stopped. As if the shaking of her head tossed the humor out of the moment.

"Do you really want me to? To lie, to force myself for your benefit. Who the fuck are you?! If you care about me, which I believe you don't, how could you, by only knowing me for a couple of nights, not even dates, just nights--but even if by some shitfuck of a chance you genuinely did care for me why would you force me to do something against my own better judgement. Do I not have judgement? Am I an idiot, that you have to advise me on how I should react to you--ignoring my own mind and instinct." He could tell she was finally bothered. His blood, he felt it boil inside him, rushing up to his head as she continued. "And you can't take what I've given you and be content; Lie to you? I lied to you when I said I was going to be away, I lied to you by trying to stay quiet and let you talk your peace and bounce but none of that is generous enough for you--you want me regardless of what I want. How could you even dare to think you care about me?"

because I don't care to impress you? She repeated in her head. He stared at her even when she looked away. So this is who you really are. It was like they both thought the same thing at the same time.