End MV Conversation
“For Christ’s sake,” I said, “Give it up. I never said I had all the
answers. That’s your department, remember? Anyway, it’s my life not
yours. I’ll live it my way. Right or wrong I’ll live it my way. You
are my misfortune, that’s all, a misfortune. Perhaps you have
forgotten our deal?”
“No, I have not. Of that you can be sure,” MV responded. “Your talk of
a meaningless life has left me a bit perplexed, however. You seem to
be saying that a void pressures a person into creating angles, `angles
in the void,’ your reference, not mine. You also say that those angles
are self-perpetuating and keep existence moving along. So, I want to
know, without them, the angles, what? The world blinks out of existence?”
“No. Without them, culture wouldn’t exist.” I said. “That’s where
culture comes from. And that’s all we are, a mixture of culture.”
“Are you sure,” replied MV, “What about the less pronounced cultures,
the ones produced by bees and ants?”
“That’s not the same thing. We are aware that we live in culture,” I
responded. “Insects are not aware in the same way. Besides, we are
also aware, at least some of us anyway, that we can’t live outside of
culture. We’re not talking bumblebees here.”
“Okay,” said MV. “Explain the void. According to you, it works to
create culture—the angles of the void, right! You, on the other hand,
fill up the void by trying to escape from it, and by extension escape
from culture, right!”
“I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but that sound’s about
right,” I said.
“Well then, if culture didn’t exist, you wouldn’t exist either, not to
mention your `freedom to escape the void.’ Right?”
“I suppose so.”
“And yet you believe in nothingness. See the contradiction!
How can there be `no footing in nothingness’ when your
desire to escape turns that nothingness into something? Doesn’t that
make nothingness a co-conspirator in the very thing that it negates?
If there is no way out of emptiness, `no footing in nothingness,’ then
how do you explain your escape? The fact that you keep yourself at a
distance from the void, a distance that varies no less, is proof
that nothingness cannot exist without culture. In fact, the two are one.
Between you and the void, a relationship exists that requires both
nothingness and culture to exist, and that co-dependent relationship
means, my melancholy friend, that there is more to nothingness than
you surmise. Do you get the picture yet?”
“Listen,” I said, “As far as I am concerned you’re just another one
of those angles. Your purpose, like the purpose of every other angle,
is to make the void unrecognizable. The only thing that makes you
different is that I have a harder time getting rid of you. But that
can be fixed. Unless things have changed, my uninvited guest, it is
time for you to depart. Go! Get out of my head. I want you out
of my head, now!”
“Okay,” said MV. “But just one last word before I go. If I am just
another angle, then why do you put up with me? If everything is just
`filler,’ then why do you persist in looking for answers? What’s wrong
with that picture? If you really believed that everything was just
`filler’ you couldn’t live with yourself. You’d be better off dead.
But that’s not the case; you’re desperate for answers. Admit it. You
hide behind labels and generalities that suck the life out of what’s
really important. I will go, but you will welcome me back because you
know I can help you find those answers; enough said!”
“You have nothing to say to me that I haven’t already heard,” I said.
“You are just a fragmented part of my psyche. What you know, I already
know. You may think you know something I don’t know, but in the end
whatever you know could not possibly make a difference, so just go
away. Leave me alone.”
“I’m going,” MV replied, “but on your way home as you glance down
at that diseased and dying cat you will remember me as you ask yourself
if you can afford to forget me!”
[Later, in reflection and solitude] Strange! I feel like Descartes must have felt when he ended his meditations with the realization that existence exists; that is, with his “cogitio ergo sum,” which was the same thing. How could it be any different? How could anything be questioned unless a questioning subject existed? Essentially, Descartes turned existence on its head when he concluded: I doubt, therefore I exist. That seems to be where I am at right now. If there are answers outside of the percept/product continuum, then those answers must not be a product of anything. Products lie inside the continuum. As a “product,” the percept/product continuum is always ahead of me. But, I am in the act of grasping, of comprehension, before I comprehend anything. If I am to find a consciousness that is percept/product free, I suspect I will find it in this “act of grasping,” in this “act” of comprehension. I must therefore, if I am to acquire this consciousness, stop moving forward in consciousness, and instead, move in full retreat.
In the world, clouds, trees, flowers, and campfires, all the “things of the world,” are perceptions given to me as I give myself to them. My subjective consciousness, in this respect, becomes objective. All “objects of consciousness,” in this way, participate in the percept/product continuum.
Because, “I am not what I am, and I am what I am not,” I can conclude that I am both “not-me and me,” simultaneously. This is certainly a strange statement. But, I believe, it is a true statement. It’s as if I had just stepped across the threshold into Alice’s “looking glass
world.” Over there, or should I say over here, through the glass, the faster I run toward something, the farther away from it I get. In this place, it becomes impossible to know anything about what’s “really real.” In this world, “being my possibilities,” is the closest I can get to “being me.” Once I actually become something, I am forced to be something, or someone, other than who I am. So there it is– whatever it is. “Consciousness is a slippery and strange bed-fella,” indeed.
Perhaps consciousness is at a transitional stage in our evolution, and something will eventually push it into a higher plane of consciousness, where we will finally understand why we are what we are not. Perhaps death is an incomprehensible part of the whole and sooner or later, we will evolve into more than the sum of our parts. Absurd? I do not know! At least, here, in this world, we can still have another cup of tea, or was it Treacle? I’m not sure anymore!