14 August 2007

A repost of a repost of a riposte: BigMuscle.com 5

To see the other BigMuscle.com meditative reposts, you can start at the beginning or go to the last one. I suggest the former, but you are, of course, allowed to do whatever the hell you want. It is the Internets, after all. This is the fifth in the series.

11 June 2003

Where do we begin, and where does the other leave off? Can we answer this question, or do we sometimes feel like love is joining flesh into seamless flesh at points of contact like joined twins? In the beginning, this union is exhilarating. Later it may be stifling as you find yourself trapped in another's skin, in another's desires, inside another's flesh and expectations, and the only way to escape is to chop off the other like you would your own arm. (The metaphor extends: later after the amputation of the other, the remainder can feel less like the phantom itch on the hand that no longer exists than the urge to reach or gesture with a limb that isn't there, that is no long attached, no longer a part but apart.)

But this metaphor covers over another: the union of the dyad is how it feels to the organism, on the other hand how the relation functions is another matter entirely. What is this metaphor that gets lost under those satisfactions and frustrations and loathings and self-loathings of loving and hating? The metaphor is one of reflection. We see ourselves in the mirror of the other without recognizing who we are looking at--and that indeterminate who is left open, because the me we misrecognize covers over the other's "me" (or "I"), and we never see him because we see what we want to see, which is further complicated by the fact that we almost never have conscious awareness of what we want to see in an other in the first place. This is best illustrated in the way we loathe another person because he has traits that we loathe in ourselves, yet we never recognize him as being like us, as being akin; much as we do when we see ourselves in a mirror looking unflattering; we turn away with a pained look of disgust. We turn away from ourselves. And so we never see. This dynamic lays bare the dynamic of Love.

A Rilke Post: The Lover

The Lover

That is my window. A moment ago
I woke up so softly.
I thought I would float.
To where does my life extend,
and where does the night begin?
I could think that everything
were still me all around;
translucent as a crystal's
depths, darkened, dumb.
I could also contain the stars
inside me still; so large
does my heart appear to me; so gladly
it released him away again
whom I began perhaps to love,
perhaps began to hold.
Strange, as something never-described
my fate looks at me.
For what am I laid under this
fragrant as a meadow,
moved here and there,
calling out at the same time and afraid
that someone will hear the call,
and determined to find my downfall
in another.

R. M. Rilke, Der neuen Gedichte anderer Teil [1908]
translation by L. Steve Schmersal, May 2003

Die Liebende

Das ist mein Fenster. Eben
bin ich so sanft erwacht.
Ich dachte, ich würde schweben.
Bis wohin reicht mein Leben,
und wo beginnt die Nacht?
Ich könnte meinen, alles
ware noch Ich ringsum;
durchsichtig wie eines Kristalles
Tiefe, verdunkelt, stumm.
Ich könnte noch auch die Sterne
fassen in mir; so groβ
scheint mir mein Herz; so gerne
lieβ es ihn wieder los
den ich vielleicht zu lieben,
vielleicht zu halten begann.
Fremd, wie nieberschrieben
sieht mich mein Schicksal an.
Was bin ich unter diese
Unendlichkeit gelegt,
duftend wie eine Wiese,
hin und her bewegt,
rufend zugleich und bange,
daβ einer den Ruf vernimmt,
und zum Untergange
in einem Andern bestimmt.

R. M. RilkeDer neuen Gedichte anderer Teil [1908]

07 August 2007

FAQ: The Bush Daughters

They are so mysterious. A classic from modernhumorist that I wish I'd written. But I didn't. The well isn't dry, only sandy, so I direct you to wetter places. From 2000.

The Bush children are so mysterious. No one seems to know anything about them. What can you tell me?
The President’s daughters, Jenna and Barbara, are fraternal twins. They are 19 years old and attend the University of Texas at Austin (Jenna) and Yale University (Barbara).

Q: What else?
Barbara is the dark-haired one; Jenna is blond.

Q: Oh, come on…what else?
Barbara was named for her maternal grandmother, Barbara Bush. She was her high school’s homecoming queen, loves sushi and she has been thrown into public life through no choice or desire of her own. Jenna was named for her paternal grandmother. Her favorite musician is Robert Earl Keen and, because of her father’s career, she will not be able to live a normal life.

Q: What else can you tell me about the Bush girls?
Barbara can produce a powerful magnetic field with her mind. She uses it not only to manipulate metal but, under certain rare circumstances, to alter the temporal stream and reverse the flow of time. Jenna has been described as the trendier twin, and wore a camel and bone cashmere ensemble to her father’s inauguration.

Q: What are their hobbies and accomplishments?
Jenna made a fortune in 1966 by inventing and patenting Wite-Out® brand correction fluid. She parlayed that money into a real estate empire that included a 200-acre manmade island off the coast of Baja California, where she established a utopian community. Barbara was born with the ability to summon and command the beasts of the forest and the birds of the air. A talented writer, she has authored 27 mystery novels under the pen name "Mary Higgins Clark."

Q: Does either of them have a boyfriend?
The girls prefer not to release any information about their personal lives. No doubt they have the normal social lives of any college students whose father is the President.

Q: What if one of them married Prince William of England?
In fact, it would be impossible for Prince William to marry one of the Bush girls because they are actually sixth cousins on their mother’s side!

Q: If they auditioned to be on MTV’s "The Real World," would they get in?
"Should Jenna or Barbara Bush want to try out for 'The Real World,' of course we would be delighted to consider them," said a fictional MTV spokesman who is completely made-up. "Of course, we would certainly take into account the security considerations, which might be a problem." The spokesman then added, "I’m not real, you know."

Q: What advice might other sons or daughters of presidents give Jenna and Barbara?
Chelsea Clinton’s brother Matthew had this to say: "The best thing to do is to remain completely unnoticed, so that no one even knows you exist. It’s not impossible."