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Saturday, December 31, 2011

OVER LUNCH

       constantin brancusi, blind



Stayed up late visiting with friends and watching the 1966 Japanese film, SWORD OF DOOM. A samurai slasher film in black and white. It was quite good as a film of its time, Japan coming back from the devastation of the war, filmmaking becoming a viable business long enough that a few directors were reaching into making films with something besides box office in mind, though box office still the first consideration. An early samurai film of the artful variety where everybody struck by a sword was compelled to let out a dying yell. It was mostly comic. When the big bad samurai arrived on the scene, Lucas said, "Lampshade Man." From then on, he was Lampshade Man. Big straw hat with a brim that went downward covering his face, holes in the weaving for him to see through. He looked like a floor lamp you might see in a Surrealist exhibition.



Been thinking more about friend I had lunch with yesterday. I felt like the child of a contrary man, obliged to be aware of all his buttons, what makes him explode in rage, what makes him say, "I don't approve of violence," every time the opportunity arises. He has buttons like a computer. Push this one and this happens. Push that one and that happens. I have to watch everything I say because he is a minefield of buttons. Like in the Mario Brothers computer game kids played where the guy would drop down a hole you didn't know was there. Like that. It's best to keep him talking, because then it's assured he will only hear what he wants to hear. I've heard it said by another of his friends, "he's so liberal he's conservative." That is well put. He has his own dogma as absolute as 17th Century Protestant dogma. He was talking about going to NY a few weeks ago to get with the Occupy Movement. I said, "There's one in Charlotte," where he came from, 100 miles down the interstate almost a straight line, knowing it was insufficient before I said it, just to be a bitch. No, he wanted to go where it matters. I said, "Do it."



In the course of my lifetime, I have known and lived successfully among some really blockheaded people. Men's heads tend more toward solidification than women's. Usually, when a woman is a blockhead, a man is behind it. Like the rule used to be that a man was behind every woman in prison. Women are allowed educations now and they're surpassing the men, because they don't have all the centuries of being required to fight in wars. It was the women's role to bear children, pass on the man's genes and mourn. In warrior culture, men are expected to fight. Ruling class men fight with mental strategies as in Kevin Spacey's recent film, MARGIN CALL. Middle class men fight as officers in military. Working class men shoot the guns. In our culture, men are encouraged not to be too smart. Also, women are encouraged not to be too bright. Men don't make passes as girls that wear glasses. Since Women's Liberation, the newer generations of women don't pay much attention to expectations. Women are surpassing men, because men's heads are so apt to atrophy. Take a look at Angela Merkel. Perhaps the most brilliant mind in politics today. I know that's not saying a lot, but I say, Praise the Lord, we've got one.



Every time at lunch with friend, I have to remind myself this is not the time to speak freely or of subtleties of any sort. Edit everything I say before I say it. That's easy. Parents taught me well long ago. Feels like home. I've known several old-time mountain preachers, and there's no conservative mind in this world beyond theirs, before the Reagan Era. It's been frightening over the last 30 years to see the liberation of the blockheaded man. It's a reaction to Women's Liberation. The blockheads gotta have their attention, too. Everybody has to be one way, in march step. Understanding not a factor, not allowed. Do what you're told. No deviation tolerated. War the ideal. No attention paid to collateral damage. Tough shit. I grew up trained not to care, but it never took. I can only say it's God's Grace. Thanks to God's Grace I want to be open to the flow. This is why I have such a time with friend. I have to shut down my open hatch, and consciously incorporate the experience with my flow. It's like big rocks in a mountain stream the water has to flow around. I tell myself over and over it's ok. I question myself over and over, do I have to be the only one disrespected? Answer comes back: no. Then I say something that pushes the volcano button. :D 



Strangely, I'm used to it. Half the people in the world are men and I'm one of them. Among them is as great a variety of kinds of people as among women. Male culture is the one I was trained up in. The whole coach phenomenon I never got. Gotta play football for the coach. It might have had to do with the DI at home was all I could handle. No more of same, please. My inner editor had a full-time job. He had to be awake all the time I was awake. Mother too, because she was subject to the man at home and the preacher man. I did not want to shut down the part of myself that wanted understanding. I wanted to be able to have empathy with the people around me, instead of blind judgment. I have to confess to plenty of blind judgment within. Perhaps this is why Brancusi's sculpture in the shape of a head with no features, white marble, almost an egg, called Blind, appeals to me so much. Blind is how I feel all the time. It seems like only in the moment that is Now is where I have sight. Rhododendron leaves in sunlight, shadows of leaves crossing leaves, a wind moving the leaves just enough to keep sunlight and shadows in continuous motion.



I don't know what I'm in writing this, Now or what? First thought was attention to thought as it's happening and putting it down with fingers is very much the Now. Yet, much of it, nearly all of it, if not all of it, is spent searching in memory, piecing together the world inside my head. That's not necessarily the world as it is outside my head. It's just another movie, but a bit more complex than an hour and a half story made with a camera and script. That's the fun of being a human, for me. The way we create entire worlds in our heads from memories, feelings, thoughts, imagination, reactions. The world we create in our heads is a map of the world we live in on the outside. We need to do that to get around in our lives. Everybody creates his/her own worlds. Sitting in a restaurant, the person across the table from me is in a completely different world from mine. We communicate where the circles of our interior worlds intersect.



We do our best to have the same world in all our minds, like standards for bolt making, so all turn to the right to tighten, left to loosen. It took a long time to see it, but I like that dimension of a lifetime as a human, everyone his/her own world, own culture, own belief system. It's all that and more we become acquainted with in the people who enter our lives. I love it. Language and culture the standards running through 7+ billion worlds on one planet. The world a composite of varieties. Monoculture doesn't seem to work too well among us, like it doesn't work so well in the world of plants. Like you cut a straight line ditch for water to flow through, the water will take the straight out of the ditch right away. Over years the straight line will become as crooked as any creek in the world. We humans don't flow very well in straight lines either.



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