February 15, 2005

On Not Going Back

The myth of eternal return seems to be a pretty important myth in human history. Maybe one could say it is part of, if not the whole, genesis of history, the first symbol made by homo faber.--to go back. This is how our mind works and learns after all--by seeing the same person, place, or thing more than once, by review. There has always been a need in each person, as far as I've been able to learn in my human limitations (and more precisely, Jeff's limitations), to construct an order on some level and in some capacity, to make things fit. Along the threads of myth, religion, art, science, business, technology, etc. there is this act of return--whether to a "Golden Age," to a homeland that was lost, to an original state of sinless purity, to God, to a place of redemption, or to the soul's pre-incarnate state; to a piece's resolution, to the end which is in its beginning, to a final revelation; or to a presaged conclusion, to an unexpected dislodging of one's hypothesis, and to an equilibrium between customer and vendor (often disguised thus to mask a deeper imbalance). The inevitability of experiencing some of these innumerable thoughts and acts, which occupy incredibly different stages and strata of our life experiences, gives us a feeling that "not going back" is something unnative and thus to be feared, accused, and condemned.

We always use this concept of coming and going. The Japanese say it every day in their phrase "行ってらっしゃい" ( itte rasshai or, "I'm going and coming back"). Perhaps I don't understand the deepest significance of this phrase, that is, how it is felt by Japanese people who have said it upon leaving home since they were able to speak. What I notice is that in it, no matter how much or little people consider the phrase, is the light of a promise. It is the same as saying something as casual as "I'm going, see you later." What does this light of promise illuminate? The myth of eternal return leads us....where? That is a question that is cryptic, old, and most likely few people will willingly suffer through another proposed answer to it. It is a question that we might have to give up, which many people have given up, but do not forget.

There is a difference between the pleasure of love and the pleasure of having a need satisfied. Maybe. I am talking out of my ass, perhaps, by putting my foot in the door of lofty academic-sounding prose, replete with statements like the one just now begging to be deleted. What I mean is that there is a difference between going out into one's life in uncertainty, which is closest to and perhaps is paradoxically a/the/some truth, than 'going out' with the certainty of a personal and fallible crutch, a symbol, myth, or tool that one turns to for protection from annihilation--a talisman, a "save" button on one's life, The pleasure of love, being that which asks for no return, achieves fulness in a kind of emptiness, in having nothing for oneself, in unconditionally giving to a loved one even if that means losing them. Love is for the sake of another. In turn, the pleasure of having a need satisfied is for the sake of the benefits that this satisfaction brings. At the end of these cycles, our fulfilled needs bring us through a state of surfeit to a new round of needing, myth-making, while at the end of love we are left only with love and yet that is enough. I speak sometimes as if I know all of this and am not guessing based on premonitions, apparitions, glimpses, stories, characters, events, acts, fears, and knowledge that I have come across in my experience as someone who has tried recently--and failed many times--not to take the short cut back to the starting point.

Can "going back," the homecoming of our whole life, really be possible? No, of course it cannot. It can be reenacted in the mind and the heart, but it can never be the same. Am I saying that the only tool for us to learn and grow is also that which gets us lost, or sticks us back at square one? Where did I get this fucking metaphor anyways, now that I am talking about the game of life--move one square, one day along....oops roll again, you are dissatisfied...go back to go...That die is choice, right? Each one of us is a piece of this world, we are all members. Maybe I am disagreeing with you right now. Maybe I am lying to you. Despite this strange, discordant music, we still try to make it all work out, even if it isn't possible. Even if it is not possible to conquer death, it is possible to conquer our fear of it. Is that all there is to these projects of spirituality, to come to terms with our inherently ephemeral condition? What about our inherently eternal condition? Or our paradoxical condition? Or the condition that puts where we are right now, unique in every way?

So, because we love irony and pointless writing here at "mujoukan.blogspot.com," to review:

*We can review our life only once.

*That last statement was redundantly singular.

*The phrase "to go back" or "going back" is a riddle, an impossibility, and like M.C. Escher's drawings they contain a disturbing beauty.

*If you keep going, you'll know when you get there.

*Reflection and review are vitally different.


Post a Comment

<< Home