Monday, February 22, 2016

Rains on a moonlit night

It's an uneven patter and tippling on the roof I'm hearing. Some spots the roof causes to frequently drop more plops, and I hear those sounds and locations like familiar points in space. But this is a place, this is where I live, and I love, and I sleep, and I dream, and I write, and I grade, and I read, and I think, and I do these things, sometimes without you, more often without you, never could with you, never would with you, never want to without you, never knew you to know enough to know how to think the possibility of you, and sometimes with you here, the smell of you, the dull ache in my hips from you and the crusting trace of someone smiling her exhaustion away, it is what remains of you in my mind and in my memory, and it is what pulls me into you at a time like this when the rain around me echoes, chuckles, tickles, tupples, plonting its peaceless unceasing.

Rain in a warm bed cannot be spent alone. But how to spend it when you are never alone? Who to spend it with?

I have started hearing cats more often, only I know they're not real. They're inside my head but reflected off the inside of my skull, so I know it's not 'in my head' but actually inside it. Sorry, 'they' are the meows, not the cats. I didn't specify. Anyway, the sound is some strange harmony caused by sinus drainage and my inhaling through a nostril at just the right angle: just right, and it's a little cat meowing, just behind a cabin wall. And in a small, one-room cabin, any wall is that wall it's outside of, just pick the nearest one. For just a moment, I believe in the cat.

I choose to believe in the cat, even though I also know it's just a trick of the mind.

On the one hand, this kind of magical thinking is supposed to be false and mischevious. I have also diagnosed it as the distinct form of thinking exhibited by the Party in 1984, what everyone knows as doublethink. I have slowly been trying to make a case in the class that this is also the distinct form of philosophical resolution Plato says the summoners—who call us forth from our slumber inside the cave into the groggy morning of having to make an adult decision about justice—call us forth to think. Better: call us into our thinking. It is what I am also saying is the essence of John Stuart Mill's call to become our own devilish advocates when we cannot see any to challenge us: to tempt ourselves in our ownmost weaknesses by actually using all the dirty tricks the other side uses (it's no proof against our own corruption to say everyone is guilty of corruption, but if we stand uncorrupted, then nobody can say we're wrong to be right.). To know what countercharm to cast, you must know how the Music of the Honeyed Muse moves us to become the Many in our selves. Le Guin, and the Taoist tradition I find deeply satisfying in the Zhuangzi, helped me to understand how power is not the same thing as force, movement is not the same thing as chaos, and peacefulness is not the same thing as conciliation, and to understand in what way magic is a part of the universe.

Magic is tricking the mind from its being in either the one or the many. It is to see the possibility of both as already available to us. We have experience with this either through highly imaginative immersion into a collectively shared fantasy or through the flow experiences. Different means to a similar end: practice in developing the kind of mind that can be in two or more places at once.

Thus, the cat I believe in is not only inside my mind but inside my head, and for a small brief period of time, I understand and know both how the cat is more real than reality itself and how the cat is. To be inside your mind is to get outside your head. To get inside your head is to get outside your mind. This is the wisdom of the cat.

I have managed to experience this plentiful moment for nearly a whole second, now. It takes great skill to carry on with this feeling for one's whole life, but I want to believe.

It's still raining, and you're about to be home soon. You, you I don't know where you are, but I suspect you're wondering.
{Who suspects your wandering?}

And you, on you I am still waiting.

I want to believe. Not in you.

In them.

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Is this wise?
Is this yours?
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