Friday, March 17, 2006

Am I dreaming? Yes I am. I am dreaming. I am man.

The present moment is the most sacred thing. What a nice idea, a statement with many interesting, enjoyable meanings. But the fact of the matter is something else. The sacredness of the present moment is not a metaphor taken from the vocabulary of religion. The sacred is religious and the present moment’s sacredness is the place of true religion, the religion of life. Formal religion labors to produce the sacred and in doing so interposes its labors between the self and the truth. Real religion begins in the leisure of the present moment. The leisure of the present is different from normal leisure. Normal leisure uses time, duration, to stand apart from life. The real leisure of the present occurs in the recognition that between oneself and now there is no time, no opportunity. Here there is not only nothing to do, but no chance of doing anything. The sacredness of the present is the calling of the real. It is the glow that calls us through time to stand in leisure before the presence of the real (a leisure that is all more leisurely in the midst of work!). The present is sacred because it contains the real. How? It contains the real, which cannot be contained, because it is infinitely small, because it is not a container at all, because it is incapable of containing anything else. The sacredness of the present is the intimate presence of the real. Intimate presence is the wearing away of distance and the building up of contact. Lovers on the threshold of achieving their desire pinch themselves and ask, “am I dreaming?” This is not rhetoric but an unconscious recognition and expression of what intimacy reveals. Intimacy reveals that we are dreaming, that in comparison to the reality of the real we are elsewhere and otherwise. The sacredness of the moment is an invitation to intimacy with the real. The most real response to this invitation is to offer oneself. Sacredness fills the space within the place of self-offering. Here the dreamer is offered to the real. By whom? By the one who speaks in the present, “I am dreaming.”

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Aesop Rulz!




Why? Because he is ugly and wise (like Socrates and Francis of Assisi). Because the goddess of hospitality gave him the gift of speech and wisdom. Because when people look upon him as a monster he looks "al ouerthwartly on them boldly" [boldly askance]. Because he fed scholars vinegared tongues of swine and oxen. Because he is always laughing. Because he spoke three fables to the stupid mob who threw him off a cliff at Delphi. Because he knows how to answer a question.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Shut the Gate (song lyrics)

Life on earth
Is really great.
One more day
I just can’t wait.
Bite the hook.
And take the bait.
Love my love
And love my hate.

Mark the hour
And set the date.
Hold your breath
And feel the fate.
Ape yourself
In every trait.
Say goodbye
And shut the gate.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Live Allegory! Live Allegory! Live Allegory!

One of Brooklyn's principal charms is the preponderance of Living Allegories, people who in their outstanding eccentricity, weirdness, dilapidation, etc. rise to the status of transcendental signifiers! Today, under the influence of teaching Dante this semester, I dream of an encyclopedia of these allegories, a massive gothic database of images and glosses in which Brooklyn's distorted glory can shine through in all of its conceptual splendor, where the Forms of Brooklyn are brought within human grasp. But for now, I am contented with the memory of a Living Allegory I saw a few months ago on the way to school:

A fat sweaty man
In a dark blue suit
Holding a stack of books
In one hand
His other
Holding up his pants!

Twelfth-Century Silver

"He crossed himself more than a hundred times in wonder at how Nature could have created such an ugly and base-born creature."

"Now is not the time to dream your life away but to frequent tournaments, engage in combat, and joust vigorously, whatever it might cost you."

(Chretien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances [Penguin, 1991], 304, 326)