Tuesday, March 02, 2010


"There is always something ghostly about living constantly in a well ordered state. You can not step into the street or drink a glass of water or get on a streetcar without touching the balanced levers of a gigantic apparatus of laws and interrelations , setting them in motion. . . . ."

So one denies their existence, just as the average citizen denies the air, maintaining that it is empty space. But all these things that one denied, these colorless, odorless, tasteless, weightless, and morally indefinable things such as water, air, space, money, and the passing of time, turn out in truth to be the most important things of all, and this gives life a certain spooky quality."
Robert Musil "The Man Without Qualities"

Read those lengthy quotes again, and then ponder on them for about five good minutes. If you are still around after that continue reading, if not well then you probably do not need to be reading this blog anyway. Think of the census that is about to take place this year, is that the apparatus of a well ordered state. I, myself, did not answer the census back in 2000, so am I really counted as a person, as an American, as someone who pays (most of) their taxes, and (most of their bills)? Can you go anywhere outside of your house without running into some arm of the "state" some lever or device that the government has put into place to affect your life? Maybe it is for the better, or maybe it is for the worse, but can you even go to buy stamps at the local post office without being affected by the modern state? The answer is clearly, certainly, and surely, no, no you can not. Is this a good thing? My job, one could argue, makes me an apparatus of the "state." Which is quite a larf if you knew me in person, and would be even funnier if you knew me many moons ago in my rabble rousting days (ah college the joys of self-discovery and sticking it to "the man"). I am not sure if we any longer deny the existence of these levers of power, but I sometimes thing that we wish we could. Musil was writing in the late 1920s and early 1930s, when maybe air was a little more odorless and colourless. Not so much today. Of those things he lists as being denied that the most important things of all, I would have to name two of them as more important than others. One of which is money, and to say this makes me want to throw up, but money makes our world go around. Don't believe me? Try going without it for just twenty four hours. Just one day try to not have to spend one red cent. Maybe you can do it, maybe it is not as difficult as I think, but just give it a shot, and see how hard it might be. It might be simple, but would it be any fun? I am a prole, I was born a prole, I was raised a prole, and I will die a prole, so money was the one thing we did not have an overabundance of, but we sure thought it would be nice to have some. It pains me a great deal to realize the fact that money makes a lot of things a whole lot easier to do or obtain, but there it is. The second of those most important things is the passing of time, even the fifteen or so minutes that it has taken me to write all these brilliant thoughts (if I do say so myself) down, could have probably been spent in some other, more productive way. What that way is or was could depend on a lot of things, but the argument is still there for the having. Ever had to wait on someone or something? Of course you have, we all have, we do it everyday, and will probably be waiting on some fool waiter to bring the check when the world comes to a fiery end. That is time passing, time you were wishing would move faster. "Wishing our lives away" is what some people would call it. "I wish that bastard would hurry up and get here already." As the clock moves, and strikes the passing of another hour of the limited (oh so very limited) hours you are allotted on this planet, do you take five or ten minutes out of those quickly passing sixty to mark the time? Do you think about "those most important things," or are you just wondering when the fucking dishwasher will stop making so much damn racket? I wish I could say that I notice those "morally indefinable" things more than you average sea horse, but truth be told, I don't. I do not know if that makes me a bad person, or just a stupid one, but I know that it is something that I should work on improving. Water finds its own level, do people? Do we as a "person" have a level that we reach, and then can go no higher no matter how hard we try? At what point does potential cease, and we have actualized ourselves as a person? It is spooky when at a certain age you look back, and reflect upon how you got where you are in life, and wonder how the fuck it happened. Was the path you took to get here the "right" path, the only path that led to this one spot, at this one time that makes you what you are today? What about all those other "roads less travelled" that you could have (should have?) taken? Would those lead you to a higher sense of purpose and being? Is it too late for you to retrace your steps (a few steps at least), and go back to a fork in your own road that might led you to a greater happiness? I am not sure there is an answer, and maybe asking the question just wastes time that could be better spent waiting for the next Simpson's episode to start.

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