There is that hidden desire, so strong, to join and communicate, to have all of that life - all of the memories, the thoughts, the dreams, the passions - transmit and pass across the barriers between selves. Instead of broadcasting and receiving there must be something deeper, and the soul endlessly longs for this communion, be it diabolical, in the end, or self-destructive (filled with grim disillusionment and death), or so beautiful it is heartbreaking. There are the endless days, so similar in one's memories, of dreaming and waiting - or lying in wait, some would say. Life passes away...one year, two, five, ten, dreams stacked on top of each other and sinking down, pressing each other under their own weight. There are the days (their dates are meaningless) when one shifts from the bed to the table to the chair and back again, pulls the covers over one's head, drifts into that black and white world where waking and sleeping do not differ, they do not matter. Delicious dreams, pale in their intensity but still almost satisfying because they are at least more than reality...dreams of the future, of pasts that could have happened, of a present where the most complex desires are met by a corresponding facility and richness of life, an understanding world, an outside and Other that doesn't have to hear words in order to glimpse meanings. How beautiful it would be to never have to speak again. To live as if in a dream, to not feel the world pull back away from you as you reached towards it, to walk through walls and sleep in streets, to float through the earth, the sky, to pass through other souls. How beautiful to be alive and dead at the same time.
The dialectic calls for an eventual unity in order to reach a satisfying state of being...but I don't see that happening. I only see the anxiety of attachment as a counterpoint to the anxiety of separation, the fears of one complementing the suffering of the other. How can one desire and be satisfied in the same moment? And so I tell myself, "stay to readiness, decrease the pain if possible, be wary, learn from experience, cherish what you do find, do not ask for a path you can not walk down." I repeat Old Testament lessons and evaluations to myself, I page in my mind through thousands of years of mistakes and causes, effects and consequences, penalties and repentance. I levy the weight of mankind's collective suffering against my own passion and still see my own desires burning bright, feeding on lessons learned as if all rationalizations were just fodder for irrational will, for longing that resembles fate. There is, in the heart, that aching necessity to join with the Other that we pause and clothe with words like "attachment" or "love". It is these, but it is so much more. And in the intensity of this desire, one of course fears burning right through other human beings in order to reach existence...and the ironic pose says: "And there, being and existence will slip right through your fingers." Be careful what you wish for. Blood, sun, sand, wind, water, fear, longing, darkness, death, fire. Cold white stars.
So Mullen's text centers on the ironic pose and the separation from life...from one's own life specifically. The ironic pose (descending from the German Romantics) says to remove one's self from one's life, step back, measure and evaluate it, determine causes and effects, determine motives and instincts, behaviors and ideals. Trace all connections between belief and experience, between desire and action...and then look at their opposites, determine the way other beings believe, act, desire. The ending act of faith is to see one's life as being just one option among many, as one world among multiple realities, as one path on a bridge over an abyss where every other path ends and begins, and then to choose one's life with all of its attendant suffering, all of its frustrations, all of its anxiety. The act of faith involves descending to life again, descending to belief. This is Kierkegaard in opposition to the bourgeois world of happiness and self-satisfaction, of "inner peace". Inner peace does not exist...there is only war forever. And in finding one's self in harmony with existence, with nature and our world, there is the matching of the inner with the outer, the realization of the disturbances of chaos in the external matching the chaos inside the human soul. With harmony peace ceases to exist. So with my precious dialectic, what of it? Shattered. There is only separation and attachment, anxiety and the temporary quiescence, and a longing that never ends. In the end, there isn't any kind of "acceptance" of these facts. Acceptance isn't possible...one just lives, one survives.
Survival, after all, is our most basic and natural instinct.U. Amtey
28 November 2004