The output suffers enormously when the input consists entirely of half digested fragments of property: principles and policies, whatever pk said for the 30 min of class I managed to snag my attention on (I think I average like 60 seconds on and 60 off every class. You should see my notes. They’re awesome: “court said congress can(not?) do –??. thinks this is (not?) expansion of state (fed??) power, much like Madison (McCulloch?)”), and episodes of 30 rock that I may be watching for the 5th or 6th time. But can I quote a Liz Lemon to knock ya socks off! Can I ever.
So given this sorry state of things, here is the most interesting thing I’ve read in the past 2 months: “Part of normal human development is the refinement of sensory sensitivity: specifically, learning to notice less than we are able to. The world is awash in details of color, form, space, sound, texture, smell, but we can’t function if we perceive everything at once. So our sensory systems, concerned for our survival, organize to heighten attention to those things that are essential to our existence. The rest of the details are trifles to us, smoothed over, or missed altogether. But the world still holds those details.”
Isn’t it amazing that we filter the world in and out like that? And that every person’s mind might choose something different to fasten upon, to let go. So that we are all going on in slightly different versions of the same world. And this is why we all feel like the world we’re going around in is so different from everybody else’s worlds and we feel that we are all perpetually alone and lost and wandering. Because we are. Just kidding, we’re not! Good news!
We are all one.
To segue, I have been thinking about knowledge, our capacity for knowing things. How its dominance in the foreground can be shifted. Focused on or not. I could say something impressive here about depth of field, but I will not. Because I don’t remember. The point is that the focus on how adept we are with our brains can change, but it is still there. This thing that defines people (me).
Sometimes knowing things makes me feel like I’m gettin further away from understanding them. A bird. I see it. I hear it. I understand it. I learn its name, and it is different. Knowin its name or what kind of bird it is or whatever satisfies a part of my brain, and it makes another part of me, my soul if you will (oh please stop rolling your eyes), feel like it got a little bit farther away from it. At first it was: Me — Bird. Now it is: Me — World — Bird. Naming it put some part of it in my grasp, but another part, its birdness if you will, flew away. You like that? I have more.
I feel like putting my attention into knowing things is just a way to funnel out all the overwhelming broadness, the things that overwhelm us, into something more manageable, more know-able. To not overwhelm our senses. But the world still holds that broadness! :c :c :c
Or :? These are the emoticons.
Knowing that the broad, the big is still out there. That kills me (saves me?). I can’t go to bed if the party’s still goin on! (I can, but this is a metaphor here so just suspend the disbelief).
The hydra calls me but i am used to it It calls me Everybody But I know my name and do not answer
– – W.S. Merwin
Names take away the power. They cut us out of the cloth and the dark, the one we all come from, we go back to. You gotta know your name, know a thing’s name to make it safe.
Even though I was supposedly an English major, I couldn’t tell you what The Hydra is about, but I know it’s been maybe my favorite poem since I first read it a while ago. It just calls up something in me. It feels a certain way. For me, poetry, music, art are ways to leave names and words and knowin through those things behind for a while. The first time I read a poem it has to hit me past a level of liking the words or what the poet was trying to say. Just to feel the images or feel the confusion, feel the spaces between the words, and feel what came up in me, what spaces it opened up in my mind, what glimpse of paradise or reality or the deep. If it brings me close to the turtle (any Stephen King fans? The turtle that’s like, an infinite turtle in It. I don’t care what anybody says, Stephen King is one of the best contemporary writers of our time. I think that’s redundant. Whatever. Even though I hate when people say that things are THE MOST IMPORTANT or THE BEST or whatever, Stephen King is damn good. Perhaps THE MOST IMPORTANT. And really great at naming shit and knowing how naming things takes their power away.)
Anyways, once I’ve done the whole explication of a poem, it has a different meaning. Satisfyin to know, but different. Some of its power is gone for me, some of its beauty. Maybe most of the beauty that called me to it in the first place. Like in the medeival imagination, you name god through positive affiliation: god is great, god is good, god is light, and then by negative: god is dirt, god is a worm, god is sin. So you realize god cannot be called by a name, or that all names come but so close to capturing it. And that naming god is like saying you control him. So you might as well call him a worm as honey and ambrosia, because its all just as far from capturing what he is. I’m sorry, I mean SHE. What was I thinking.
Names, words, are the ability to circumscribe things with our minds, get both hands around them and squeeze (the life out them). Make them small, or at least not bigger than us, not pointing to the things we don’t know. Like cupping water from the pool in your hands: you take it out, you hold it. It stops being part of the water, starts being something you possess (shout out to property!). It falls back into the water though. You can’t keep it. You can’t know the water by knowin this handful. So why try? I feel most at home in the water, the pool, the deep end if you will (where else would I find such a depth of cliches and corniness. You tell me, friend.) I don’t want to cup my hands. I want to feel it all, to feel it all. My moon, my man. 1234!
Knowin what a poem is about, knowing what a song is about ruins a part of it, ruins that bigger thing. I bet you philosophers have a name for this. Yeah well guess what? See above for my opinion of you and your names.
Sometimes I think I am limited cus I really fight against just straight up knowledge. I fight against acquiring knowledge. It is a chore to get myself to learn things in a way other than that which feels intuitively right: just experiencing them, thinking about them, thinkin about how there is no real truth in what we learn cus we can’t know a thing’s nature by naming it.
But you know what? This sucks because, as everybody knows, knowledge is fucking useful.
You can know what something is called, what it does, how to use it, how to fix it, how to make the best of it. You can impress people with it. You can make life more interesting and useful with it. You can know words that help you explain what you are thinking so that people do not think you are an idiot. You can learn how to write what you are thinkin so that people do not think you are an idiot (who cares about people thinkin they’re an idiot? Certainly not me). You can get book prizes and whatnot. You can write blog posts that talk about how you hate knowing things, it’s so awfuuuuuuuulllllllllllllll. Oh word. Am I my own worst enemy?
So, this not-knowing thing is a problem, A) cus it is not so useful all the time in all the ways to just be sitting in that pool just running your hands through it thinkin about how big and awful and beautiful it is. And not wanting to pull it out in a bucket, take it home, drink from it, put it back. Even though we’d all die if we couldn’t do that. UGH. Why am I so stubborn? It really is a burden, folks, and B) because there are just so many levels of knowing and not knowin, and frankly, I am already at one of the higher tiers of “Knowin” because you really can’t go through high school, college and graduate school without knowing things, and obviously I must at some level enjoy knowing things or I wouldn’t be here, so this whole post was just bogus. “But I know things differently than the other law students know things!” Cry for me. Understand me. Know me?
Is there even anything to talk about anymore? I feel I’ve said it all. That’s that. I am a fraud.
Maybe I don’t know myself at all??? Maybe I’m just lazy. This is…always a possibility.
Anyways, back to business. The pool (maybe) has the most meaning for me. But its not so helpful in life. And I also don’t really spend too much time there, as it turns out. Definitely not in law school: well no sir, I did not quite catch the facts, but by god the feeling of this case. Infinite. Truly infinite. (a la stephen chbosky). So the moral of the story is that knowledge is obviously helpful, because it can maybe help us understand and not only just pull us away into the swaddled, blinded infancy of knowing. Or DOES IT? Maybe all of the knowing that I know has pulled me away from understanding life :C
It is a hard life, my friends. A very hard life for Powell, Infinite, Esq.
But it is so beautiful! How do you turn away from the beauty without being a sucker for the man?? Oh shit, looks like we’re back at square one. Trying to have it all.
Fuck. Be back later, gotta go read property.