Thursday, June 21, 2007

Travel Dialogues 1

We know it's not linear. I, however, wish that it was always some painted line, from here to there, something simple, to get our berings. I can't spell check because in Germany alles auf Deutsch ist. Just an aside, for those who would make some sort of big deal out of it, maybe it is all spelled correctly anyway. So, hello, my media, my eternal life; never forgotten on the intra-net, just one document among others. We should ourselves feel lucky, because we can never truly die, we are promised a forever life, because we write, and the intra-net loves our writing. But I'm too drunk to continue this, really I'm just hoping for some pot...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Das Brief

I awoke early in the morning, this morning, and met my guide next to a tall statue of a naked man in a park nearby my hotel. Now, reflecting back, I am not at all pleased with his, it is true, entirely shoddy performance. We spent the greater part of our time together in perpetual argument; he trying to convince me of the most incredible, yes, absurd things, while I, defending myself against his every attack, waiting patiently to escape his company at the first opportunity.

It is nevertheless a very difficult battle, and when I finally must sit down and rest a bit, he joins me. We drink our beers largely in silence, like rivals with great respect for each other and, who, after a heated debate, eventually feel comfortable with all that might remain. The more I sit with this beer, taste its flavor, smell its aroma, enjoy its dark color, the more I begin to appreciate the view-point of my guide. I only hope then that he thinks the same. I face him, his eyes are closed, his head tilted back as though to absorb the warmth of the light into his cheeks; behind him are many tourists, also enjoying this square. Across the way two young people sit next to each other on a stone bench shaded by two full, magnificently green, but still young trees.

I felt suddenly as though I had been dreaming, I knew right away that I had let my guide take advantage of me, this was all just a rouse, an attempt to absorb me! I was still walking, still debating with my guide! He was clever, but I knew that when I hired him, still, this was a new trick. I understood the power of his words now, but it very well might be too late.

Wait! I am not in the square, but neither am I having a debate. I cannot recall one single detail of the debate, but that it must have already happened, in the square, but I cannot remember having arrived here, nevertheless, I guess, here I am. Knowing that is at least important, even if it only a lie, an effect of the debate I've had! Ah! To be independent! Even the force that drives me, as it were irresistibly, wishes that I were more independent, that, in other words, I was the driver instead. Where, however, I would go, would be then entirely up to chance; whether it be over mountain roads or icy peaks, or sub-Atlantic ice shelves; probably, however it would be nowhere, because all I’ve got anyway is the damn square, and my guide who's most certainly tricking me even now -- leading me down false paths. The only ice shelves I’ve ever been over are the ones I just spoke about, and the miracle that I even have any idea about them at all is probably owed entirely to my guide. He has in any case traveled far more, and to a greater range of places than I.

Examining him now, it is really hard not to conclude that he is altogether unimportant. He represents nothing; still his advice was never bad, never, that is to say, mendacious, just a little sneaky that’s all. I could easily live in this town (did I mention it is basically his home town?), I could become quite comfortable here it's true. But if that were the case then I wouldn't need my guide anymore. And the thought of something like life but without him is absolutely unthinkable. I need my guide, and so I must never, never, never move to this town.

Looking at myself now, my particular features, I am not really all that pleased, and I am wholly unchangeable, at least I feel that way now; when I’m finished, I’ll be forgotten. Still, I believe that I have at least some beauty, around the edges, at little bit of that light women prize so highly. And my guide, well he obviously won the debate, we made friends afterwards and agreed to meet each other tomorrow and do it all over again, against the possibility that someone, someday, might tell us what we’re doing.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Post #18

Walter Benjamin wrote this:

The past carries with it a temporal index by which it is referred to redemption. There is a secret agreement between past generations and the present one. Our coming was expected on earth. Like every generation that preceded us, we have been endowed with a weak Messianic power, a power to which the past has a claim. That claim cannot be settled cheaply.

If you’ll allow me some fancy, to which I think everybody is entitled by the way, I would like to discuss some of the possible implications of such a world-view. Especially, I would like to consider the consequences that an actual weak Messianic power would have, given some of the prevalent themes one finds throughout the history of institutionalized religion. I am speaking, of course, of that common, deplorable subjugation the Church often demands of its congregation. If it were true that each of us has just a little bit of (potential) history-moving power—which I think is a fairly adequate way, for our purposes, to describe Benjamin’s weak Messianic power—and if it were further true that this power is cumulative—that is, dependant upon the mass of (potential) history-moving powers, on the individual level, which have built up over the long course time—then the Church, that would be eschatological guide to paradise, by more often than not abusing its power and using the blind devotion of its children ever for its own malevolent ends, is worthy of nothing but the most cruel castigation. The claim is that we may all exercise our Messianic power towards that distant day when history ends and utopia flourishes. On that day the sacrifice of countless men and women throughout history, the sacrifice that was also their active Messianic power, is redeemed and progress realized. We then participate fully in what has so far only been dreamed. But the Church, who preaches that dream loudest of all, also bends its worshippers to the designs of short lived, power-hungry, butchers. And thus it thwarts what little potential each has, and prolongs the end of history absolutely. This is, of course, no less true of governments and massive corporations. They forget the dreams and the lives that have been given up for some greater good, they forget the actions of the smallest, who died and dies full of nothing but dreams of food, and those who are courageous enough to fight seriously for something better. These people, each one of them, you and me, willing to do anything to secure that brightest, if most unlikely, of futures. Ready to pay the cost. And so one important thing to remember is: to think on that gigantic sacrifice once in a while. If men of power thought on history, and were prepared to do the same…