You have to cast the iron while it’s hot, they say. Supposedly that also applies to memories: write them down or crystallize them in some other form while they’re still fresh. Well, I beg to differ. In most cases, it actually makes more sense to pause and let the retrospective dust settle (provided you take your ginkgo regularly) before making any judgments. Because from a distance, you will see much more clearly what stands out and deserves to be remembered and what is just white noise sloshing through your brain. The issue is particularly relevant when it comes to so called “events”. By that I mean all things that lend themselves to a narrative format – weddings, accidents, conflicts at work, shopping sprees, fist fights, nights out, romantic encounters and, finally, vacations. The latter are the worst because in most cases nobody cares about them anyway. Which is not surprising considering that most narratives of a vacation start with A (“I really wasn’t sure what to pack, so I took everything”) and end with Z (“When we got home, the letterbox was full with birth announcements”). What happens in between is usually told in excruciating, unfiltered detail that makes you want to jump out of the window. Incidentally, I went on a trip to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro back in July and have been torn ever since about what to make of my experiences there. On the one hand, quite a few people were genuinely interested to read about them and probably consider me a chronic procrastinator by now. On the other hand, I wanted to spare them the aggravation of a proper travelogue. Hence I decided to do what’s most appropriate, considering the circumstances: wait, let the dust settle, have things take shape and share a few select observations that really stuck with me. Walking the walk – Needless to say, it takes a lot of walking to get to the peak: through rain forest, marshlands and vast expanses of alpine stone desert, on trails and barely recognizable paths, over roots, boulders and ice. I was with my friend N., so we talked a lot, especially in the beginning, in order to get to know our guides and the other helpers. That’s fun. But there’s only that much to say when you walk eight to fourteen hours a day. So you have a lot of time to think. Strangely, that didn’t occur to me right away. In fact, it took a conscious effort to realize that my mind was engaged in thoughts. But once you realize you’re thinking, the question becomes: what are you actually thinking about? It’s an odd question in a way, and yet it’s not. Because this is not the focused, problem-solving type of thinking. It’s the random and incoherent type that resembles a thunderstorm of neurons firing ideas, pictures and faces with breathtaking speed. That’s why I have a hard time reconstructing what went through my head during the days of the ascent. There might have been things like: what do you want to change in your life and how? What’s important? What are you capable of? When are you going to wear that snazzy new suit that’s hanging in your closet unused? How have you failed yourself and others? Hell, aren’t you a great guy anyway? Who and what do you care about? Who do you want to be? The long stretches of silence when climbing a mountain seem perfect for pondering these big philosophical questions, but they don’t seem to produce anything tangible. The mind flies off on one tangent and then another and then the next one – they’re loosely related in the sense that they’re the result of all the eclectic information that has been accumulating in your head over time, but ultimately disconnected. You think, but sub-consciously rather than actively, and that’s a distraction. The guides are keenly aware of the volatile nature of the mind, because what they advise you to do is the opposite of thinking. They make you follow a rigorous daily routine and focus on the immediately following activity, the upcoming steep ascent, the next meal. It’s a difficult challenge for the mentally restless but useful and necessary. The further you progress, the greater the effects of the altitude and the less connected you feel to what’s below. Hence the mind tends to wander even more. Above 3500 meters, you look down at the immense cloud blanket and get an intense sense of remoteness. However, the “escape” that one hopes for is an illusion – it’s a transitory phenomenon and it takes a lot of effort to maintain it for more than a few hours at a time. It disappears as soon as you catch yourself – thinking. Hemingway – I always wanted to read “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” on Mount Kilimanjaro. Ok, that’s a lie. But I did it anyway. Bundled up in my all seasons sleeping bag and equipped with a headlight, it took me about half an hour to breeze through the 25 pages of Hemingway’s short story. It always struck me as odd that two dozen pages can be considered a famous author’s finest work. Reading them on the exact mountain that so prominently features in the title, disappointingly, didn’t help to prove that point, because the mountain doesn’t matter. It is one of many ways in which the story defies expectations – that is actually one of its greatest and most disturbing qualities. Kilimanjaro is a supporting act in the plot at best, an extra at worst. It is a looming, mysterious presence that acts as a gateway to the afterlife. Except for its whiteness, the physical properties of the mountain aren’t even mentioned. What makes is difficult to appreciate “The Snows” is its desolate and dark tone. Here we are, witnessing a cynical, alcoholic writer die from a rotting leg, raving about his swashbuckling yet wasted life and raving at the “rich bitch” wife at his side. And although there is a spark of hope for salvation in the end, it turns out to be he last illusion before the lights go out. That said, it’s remarkable what depth or character Hemingway manages to achieve in the space of a short story. Not only do we learn about a destructive relationship and the inner life of a jaded character, but that character takes us on a ride through the Austrian Alps, the Hotel Crillon in Paris, the shores of Palm Beach, Constantinople, where “he had whored the whole time”, and to the front lines of World War I. Interestingly, he also proves my earlier point: “You kept from thinking and it was all marvelous.” Summit – You have to earn the summit attempt on the four preceding days. What you get in return is a surreal experience enhanced by some pain. We left base camp at 4700 meters around midnight to make the steep ascent to the crater rim 1000 meters higher up in complete darkness. What we’ve been told over and over again would now be put to the test: “pole, pole” (take it slow) and full focus on the here and now. In fact, the lack of oxygen, the cold and the darkness leave you no other choice: you are essentially in a vacuum. Not only can’t you see beyond the cone of light of your head torch and have a hard time breathing, you also maneuver in an environment devoid of purpose. Sure, you want to make it to the top, but you mustn’t think about it. Because the mind will play games with you. Many people fail because they are mentally on the summit already without having done the physical work. It’s a recipe for disaster. To avoid it, you have to force yourself into a self-imposed mental exile and block out any distractions. And all will be marvelous. Once you’re in this zone, a number of strange things happen. Suddenly, time is condensed into infinitesimally small increments: the next step, the next breath, the next rock you tread on. The mind adapts to the physical necessities and limitations and lets go of any dead weight. It focuses on the task at hand, getting your ass to the peak, and nothing else. So there’s not only a temporal dimension to this but also a spatial one: the direction is unambiguously upward. This mental reduction of the effort into basic units of time and space is incredibly powerful. In fact, it is all you need. Thinking about eventualities has no value in this context – it is only the next increment that counts. If all human endeavors were as easy as climbing a mountain, the approach of breaking down reality into manageable pieces would be the panacea to much confusion and wasted energy. Well, they aren’t. That’s the beauty of mountaineering, I guess: while the body is engaged, the mind is at ease – relieved of a constant pressure to imagine, invent and analyze.
Partial Recall: Kilimanjaro
I remember well the things Zadie Smith said about her father, her loss, her longing, her life without him, I remembered it all as I sat with my daughter in the movie theater watching “Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart”, a sad and smart French animation movie about a boy who was born with a heart of ice. He is saved by the midwife who implants a cuckoo clock where his heart used to be. He has to be careful for the rest of his life she time and time again implores him, he has to avoid all excitement because his cuckoo heart would not support it. But most of all, she says, he has to be careful not to fall in love. By now the midwife has taken the place of the mother who has left the son in her care, she is a good mother to him, watchful and supportive and not egoistical in her love for him – but is she really? Because after all, what is the message: Don’t stray to far, don’t have fun, don’t let anybody take my place. This is the life she sees for him in all her love. Maybe she herself does not even realize it how large her control is over his heart – he realizes it quickly when he meets this lovely short-sighted girl singing on the town-square. He is destined to love her even if it might destroy him. It turns out also to kill his mother who cannot support him leaving. The movie is beautiful in its soft Tim Burton gothic style, there are songs and music, and at some point my daughter snuggled up to me. It was sweet, and in some way we sat there as lovers, because this is what we have learned a movie theater is, right, a dark place for people with physical intentions. It was a weird mix of emotions, I felt strong and protrective. But then again, you never know how the other feels, really, do you?
“Pero el amor, esa palabra“ (Rayuela, by Julio Cortazar, born on August 26th, 1914)
When I think of Love, I could think of a very other Love than the one you just pictured. Images-of Love-Industry: Making Love. Sitting at a Table in agreed silence. People in heavy arguments. „They don´t live up to what is expected from them?“ What exactly do you mean? The images on love we create or the expectations the ones we love impose on us?
What about the invisible aspects of Love, encounters that pull us into somebody´s path of life and reflects his in ours? The kind of Love that turns somebody formally nobody into a reference on who you really are… There is a scene in Max Frisch´s „Stiller“ where a female character says something like: „I don´t want to be a woman for you. I want to be your woman. Like your father is not a father.“ How do we become that crucial to each other? How often does it happen? And what is it that happens between A and B so that they feel or long to feel that connected? That doomed to each other that they share aspects of life that are rarely pictured in the Love-Image-Industry? Don’t you think that feeling of Love ruining something is a feeling of people who don´t have that kind of connection? Of people who actually think of happiness when they think of Love rather than connection?
When the two of us started our conversation on Twitter what pulled me in was this difference in viewpoint. We tweeted a few little lines about Zadie Smith´s essay on the loss of her father. I saw a life-rooting Love reflected in that essay. After reading it I was left with the Impression that her father must have contributed in inexplicable ways to place her here on earth. They seemed to have had this connection; whereas you saw a lack of space for another Love in her immense attachment. I hope I got it right. Your position made me wonder. It was so completely new, not to say alien to me. It´s not that I haven´t heard of psychoanalysis, but I have only ever thought it not felt it as a concept of my life. It had simply never seemed plausible to me: only because one branch of our selves is rooted in one person why should it disturb another branch, the ones for lovers, kids, whatever… It´s like forcing a tree to root like a broomstick.
And now to your lesson on the narrative -I appreciate, by the way;) But because I have written a novel without writing a story, kind of an anti-novel, I have come to the conclusion that the non-story-telling will always be measured by the story-telling – not only by readers. Also by creators. Even the latter will feel the joy of disturbing an order. It is very tough to come to a point where you feel you are simply creating a new order – but even then critical and uncritical reception places you aside from the regular and thus again into order…. Even if you tell a contemplative story, tell them a story, Paul Auster once resumed the secret to his success in an arte interview. When you leave the story out, completely out, there will be only few people left who stick to it. Very few. For most of us thoughts and feelings in writing have to be contained to be bearable. I´m afraid it is the same with Life. It has to be contained in Love. And certainly the other way round. When I speak of Love I don’t like to mess it with addiction. I sometimes don´t even mess it with making Love. I simply mean the way certain people intertwine with who we are. Like Julio Cortazar – who this week would have turned 100 – wrote in Rayuela (the holy book of the non-narrative) about the way Maga questioned everything his protagonist thought about Life. Cortazar destroyed the narrative. But he placed Longing for Love and Reflections on Love and Life there. And thus created a thread, a timeline on Love and Life, Art and Philosophy… Feels like we are entering difficult ground…
How do our preconceptions shape the images we respond to, and the way we frame these images? We can frame images to challenge or reinforce prevailing perceptions of reality. The function of ideology is to legitimize a way of seeing – I will come back to this in connection with the Völkerschauen. Mainstream media present a subliminal text: female sexuality as passive, submissive; male sexuality as predatory – with the whole attention focused on erection and ejaculation.
I think this goes to the heart of what you say about a non-erect penis – it arises from a way of seeing male sexuality. Concerning your comments on Walk Hard and the lie it gives to rock ‘n’ roll’s sexed up image, I recall Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful’s comments that further gave the lie to this image. Even though masculinity presents itself as a monolithic image, with men being pressured to perform, being pressured into the mindset that they must manufacture an erection every time, male sexuality also involves a sometimes absence of desire, an inability to manufacture a “hard-on.” (The manufacture of viagra further increases this pressure.) Fifty Shades of Grey testify to the tenacity with which even women cling to these very conceptions of their own, in relation to male sexuality.
Thus, when I say that femaleoriented porn is a running away from real sexuality, what I mean is that, like male-oriented porn, it’s a lie against itself – in the sense that they both lie about the nature of sexuality; in the sense, that pornography, both male and female-oriented, presents a distorted image of male and female sexuality. It becomes an ideological imposition on male and female sexual feelings, expression and behavior.
How true is the underlying message of female-oriented porn’s focus on romance and relationship: there are not women who actively seek one night stands, women with high partner turn-over? Is not the underlying theme a reconfirmation of a mindset: men’s nature to “thrust,” women, to “open up?” (You’ll have to help me here, as I’m more familiar with mainstream porn than – to my shame as a filmmaker/ critic – with female-oriented porn.) It is possible there is something to say for Milbrath’s photos? It is that it privileges the female look. In this sense: even in these so-called liberated days girls can still be labeled “promiscuous,” few women could openly look at a man sexually – the way the man could look at her, approach a man sexually the way a man can approach her.
It seems there’s, in all of us, a more or less conscious residue of moral condemnation of female sexuality. “Groin Gazing” offer women the thrill, even if vicarious, of gazing at male penises without embarrassment.
But, like you so astutely observe, this gaze is framed by the pervasiveness of sexualised violence (usually directed against women.) The thing, as regards male sexuality, is to go beyond this one-sided sexual frame, to question assumptions: is a non-erect penis not part of male eroticism? I find what you say about German women looking at African men at the Völkerschauen interesting.
On the one hand, you have the public display of colonized people in a performance of Otherness. On the other hand, this performance offered a female spectate a frame through which to gaze at male sexuality.
When the German woman, herself the object of German male gaze, gazed at the African men (from a culturally superior position), she, quite apart from the voyeurism, de-objectified herself by exercising over them the same power exercised over her in her own culture – a one-sided gaze.
Here, before her, was that which had been denied her in her own culture: a male body to gaze upon and openly desire, to fear and fantasize about. (In a way, I’m reminded of Lupita and Fassbender’s characters in 12 Years A Slave: he – a white plantation owner – loves and desires a female black slave.
Yet, to deal with this transgressive love, he’s compelled to whip her.) It was, thus, only through their encounter with a culturally different male that these German women were able to openly affirm their desire and assert themselves – with regard to German men – as a subject.
In this lie the opposition of the German male: the German women’s gaze (at displayed African men) provoked fear and fantasy and was, literally speaking, a blow below the belt. A symbolic castration was, thus, projected on black sexuality: savage, threatening, animal-like.
As an aside, is it accidental (correct me if I’m wrong) that Milbrath’s photo series does not feature a single black model? Bourgeois society, through its myths, has produced an image of male and female sexuality that deprives sexuality of its humanity and fetishizes it.
(Pornography constitutes the clearest expression of this fetishism – with sex as the fetish.) These myths determine people’s definitions of themselves and others, and mutilates the feelings, desires and relationship possible between them.
One can safely say, to borrow from Wilhelm Reich, that bourgeois society is ideologically producing men and women who are incapable of tenderness and real sexual love because it needs such people in order to perpetuate itself.
Men and women are encouraged to define themselves in a culturally created way which they believe is natural. I’m reminded of French photographer, Scarlett Coten’s photo-exploration into reimagining the image of the Arab man.
Coten’s work was a role reversal (trying to unveil men in regions where most of the time, the attempt is to unveil women), trying to look beyond the accepted stereotype, exposing a more diverse, and perhaps softer image of the Arab man especially in intimate situations they don’t get to be seen.
In a way, this is what I mean by “Who is the looking woman?” Is she a woman trying to re-affirm a theses, a mindset, or a woman trying to shake the framework of her conditioned perception, trying to reconstruct her subjectivity? Of the two, I prefer the latter.
I was similarly attracted and disappointed by Milbrath’s photos, because they didn’t widen the possibilities of the female gaze, like you describe so well.
Indeed by only focusing on erect penises, for some women, especially if they had experiences with sexual harassment or rape – which, let’s not forget that 1 in 4 women have – it is not just desiring but also observing something that could harass you. On the other hand men seem vulnerable and needy, when you focus on their penis, which can be attractive as well as appalling; again, when they force their neediness on you – all of this also depends on the relation you have to this specific man, you look at and it is not easy to generalize the capacity of that gaze. I also wonder if herein lies one reason why male penises are hardly shown in films and on photos: they cannot hold up to the idealized image we have in our minds.
Non-erect penises look weak and defenseless and are in opposition to the powerful ideal they should culturally represent in our patriarchal culture. There is this scene in the film Walk Hard, a kind of persiflage on Rock’n’Roll life, where male musicians are shown with groupies in a hotel room.
They prominently walk by the steady camera half naked with non-erect and therefore harmless and powerless looking penises again and again, in order to scrutinize and challenge the intense Sex Drugs Rock’n’Roll cliché. So I think the gaze on the sole penis or on the whole male body differs in meaning. I fully agree with you on the scope of limitations that the acceptance of the male gaze leads to a personal and professional dead-end. We have to learn new forms of depicting men as desired and give men a chance to explore that, without being scorned.
The positive side of the desiring gaze is that being exposed to someone you trust can be very nice, comforting and giving. And men should be able to enjoy that like you and my boyfriend did. But I feel we are still far from that: One signifier of that is when men are staged in positions normally taken by women in commercials, they at times look ridiculed in an objectified way.
There was a Photographer who staged men in the exact same position like women are shown in American Apparel ads. These pictures make very clear how limited our viewing habits are: (besides that one should question the sexualized language of commercials altogether) they just don’t work, because we are not used to seeing men in these positions and most pictures made them look simply belittled – a belittled position we are used to seeing women in.
In that regard it would be interesting to discuss in detail how you think female-oriented porn also runs away from real sexuality into objectification and stereotypes. Which images or films do you have in mind? Another thing comes to my mind here, which is also an interesting topic in a discussion between a German women and a Nigerian man. Women looking at African men at the Völkerschauen, which took place until the 1940s in Berlin were criticized and ridiculed by the German press. These women were depicted as weird horny old maidens misguided by an exotic desire.
I find it remarkable that it was one of the first times when women looking at men was made an issue in modern times. Maybe it reflected the intimidation Germans felt towards African masculinity, so the desire towards them had to be belittled in public altogether.
One more question, what do you mean by “who is the looking woman”? You mean in our culture we have to create her subjectivity, for it is still unknown?
There is love, of course. People passing each other on the street with the sudden insight that life could be so much different if this moment did not pass. People sitting across a table not saying a word but knowing why they are there. People drifting apart and meeting again because without the other there is no room small enough not to feel empty. People fighting for nothing or just to make up for it. People making love. People sitting on a couch and reading and hearing the other breath and after a while one of them will move and the other will look up and not say a word and not smile and not move just because there is not need for that. Of course, there is all of this and much more. But there is also Love, the system, the pattern, the ideology that rules people*s lives and ruins people*s because they feel they do not live up to what is expected from them. It is like a writer forcing a narrative on something which cannot be bound by a narrative. I agree that this narrative might be necessary to get out of bed in the morning. Still, it helps to be suspicious of the motives behind it. Just as it helps to question the narrative necessity in novels, by the way.
Post Apocalyptic Psychology
– Hey, what’s up?
– Writing some. You?
– Studying a bit.
– Do you dare come home? I’ll pay the cab, I’m high and really lonely, and tomorrow you join me to Chinatown where I have to buy some stuff.
– I’m studying and have school tomorrow.
– Tomorrow there’s a national strike, come, I wanna play the guitar for you, I fetched it today from the luthier’s.
– No, buses won’t join the strike.
– They are going to after a few get burned by Moyanists.
– Yeah but that won’t happen in my way to school because it’s pretty close to my area, which is residential, not downtown.
– Aight, good luck with that, if you don’t go you tell me.
– Alright, it’s nice to do stuff when the sun is out as well.
– The sun goes out every time I smile, if you come I will take care of you and teach you that it’s always daytime somewhere…
– You’re calling me so I take care of you.
– No, so you have fun and dare to be more than you think you can… Taking care of you.
– How would that be?
– It’d be sexual but nothing sordid, but it doesn’t matter, if you don’t want to it’s not to be forced.
– I don’t know, I haven’t seen you in ages, I don’t know if you turn me on. And being more than what I think I can is fucking with you?
– Not if you see it that way… There’s a lot more and I need you to understand it, maybe it’s not meant to be yet, I had to try.
– I don’t see it in any way, maybe you should elaborate on it.
– It’s late, I know, maybe another day you dare, I wanna see you but it just never happens… It doesn’t matter… God only knows.
– If you don’t talk to me and don’t elaborate on it, then no. It’s not late to talk. You are awake, I’m awake too. Show me the astral trip.
– I have to kiss you for that.
– You can try to explain a bit with words how is it that I’d see beyond with you.
– Oofff! You’d see that nothing is just what you see… At least with me… At least now that I wanna see you, that you are more of a woman, more alive/sharper… Bah… I don’t know… I don’t know I don’t know…
– More alive or sharper?
– It’s the same.
– No, you can be alive full of everything and it has nothing to do with sharpness.
– It doesn’t have to do with words in a chat window… I assure you.
– Word are beautiful.
– Caresses are much more beautiful.
– So all this time you were waiting for me to become a woman?
– I don’t expect time, I expect sympathy.
– There was a lot of sympathy before.
– Before there were dangerous illusions, now I believe understanding and comprehension are possible. But maybe I came too early.
– What kind of dangerous illusions?
– Those were illusions, not dangerous. A teenager’s illusions.
– That’s why, nothing more dangerous than a teenager with illusions towards a teenager with no illusion.
– Yeah, only you weren’t a teenager anymore, you just stuck with the teen angst. It wasn’t dangerous because it was fleeting as every teenage illusion, or most of them.
– Men stick to the teen angst till he dies or remains alone.
– No, not men.
– Anyway, you’re right… Better during the day…
– You cook on a high flame, women are slow cooked, teenagers are cooked on a high flame.
– Haha. Let’s not generalize anymore, you don’t want to, I won’t insist. I’ll touch myself a bit and sleep with my guitar.
– No, clearly you don’t want to.
– No, I want almost everything, except bother someone else… I won’t bother you anymore.
– Sex ain’t McDonald’s. You want to say “ah” and form to immediately get on a cab to your house when I haven’t seen you in ages.
– I just love women, if it’s sex, it’s a thing of two, if it’s love it’s taking a lot of care.
– You even had a daughter, that’s how long I haven’t seen you.
– Sex moves me but it’s not my goal. I wanted to play for someone.
– You have really specific times for that. If we were Anne Rice’s vampires it’d be more suitable.
– To me, time is a farce of the human’s mind. All this happened already.
– I know it already happened.
– We are what we can be.
– But in this dimension there’s time as a measure. People can be even more than what they think possible.
– Then we see each other in this dimension, in another time… I’m good. I wasn’t before and that’s why I didn’t mess with you.
– However, you used to ask me to go to your house because you were alone and high after the witching hour before as well. I went once. What changed between those times and this one?
– I’ve never respected any girl as pretty and appealing as you, because there weren’t any, but now I have more to give and less to confuse…
– OK, that’s good.
– I take care of everyone now, including me.
– Thanks for the “pretty and appealing” part. Maybe I should witness it, I don’t know, I don’t imagine you that way.
– That’s why your illusion is no longer dangerous.
– Because there is no illusion.
– There always is.
– But if the way of seeing how you can take care of me and how you changed and how good you are now is, just as when you weren’t, telling me to go at 3AM, only now you would fuck me, how is that taking care of me?
– I wouldn’t do anything that I wouldn’t be able to confront tomorrow, being as loving as when I gave you that beautiful bath.
– To fuck I need to trust and I haven’t seen you in ages.
– Sex is for monkeys, I’m a wolf, I won’t want to fuck you if I see you are not eager, I haven’t done it before even though you were easy. And another thing, I don’t change, I learn.
– We all change.
– It’s a way of saying it, I’ve never taken advantage of you.
– I know.
– Are you still a virgin?
– Pff no. How funny. I was a late bloomer but I made up for lost time. I wouldn’t have held on it that longer.
– Time is not lost… I’m sorry I asked, I guess I’ll always want to take care of you but I don’t know if from me.
– From you what?
– I don’t keep you away from me because I’m not scared of hurting you anymore. Well, that’s it… I leave you alone… For now…
– OK. Did you continue seeing J? I remembered the time we went to his place.
– No, but we appreciate each other. J is a nice boy.
– What does that have to do with anything? I just asked because I’ve never seen him again.
– Did you make-out with him? Do you like Adventure Time?
– We kissed once, everybody wanted me to be with him but I didn’t like him.
– Everybody who… The ones who are never around?
– R, C, that group.
– Old people.
– It was funny because he wouldn’t dare because R told him that if he wanted anything with me it had to be serious, he couldn’t fool around with me, R took care of me. But I didn’t want anything with J. He was cute, though.
– L fucked him and I don’t know why I know that, but I know it fucked him up. Hehehe… How nosy I am.
– Everybody knows L fucked him.
– I don’t know if she could, but why are we talking about this?
– About her traumatizing J? I don’t know, it’s funny.
– I asked you if you like Adventure Time.
– Adventure Time is good, I like Regular Show better.
– Yeah and Rigby. Genius.
– Totally, those toons are the best thing ever.
– Yeah, totally.
– Pops is amazing.
– Muscle Man hahahaha
– My mooom.
– No, Muscle Man.
– I don’t know, but this is what we could be talking about in person, I was a fool to scare you with my sexopathy. Hi Five Ghost.
– If you’d tell me to hop on a cab to talk, I would still have school tomorrow.
– OK, then study and rest.
– I’m studying while we talk.
– OK… BMo it’s the best of Adventure Time.
– I haven’t seen much, I should watch more Adventure Time.
– Studying Post-apocalyptic Psychology.
– That too.
– And Princess Bubblegum is so B.
– There are Regular Show emojis, this is amazing!
– I love Marceline.
– Yeah, Marceline is great.
– She plays an axe bass like Kiss’ Gene Simons.
– Yeah, she’s great.
– I’m off. I’ll insist another day… That’s what women like, right? Hahaha kidding.
– Hahaha funny.
– Kisses, beautiful.
– When you let too much time go by, we forget. Bisous!
– I wish I could forget what’s good for me to forget about.
– It’s not good to forget, it’s nice to remember. The brain keeps in its depths the things that truly affect us. If you remember, you can overcome it. I meant something different, anyway.
– We’ll see… Take a lot of care. I appreciate you very much, I want to see you soon in whatever plan we can.
– You’ll say.
– I’ve said too much already.
– No, you spoke about some topics, you didn’t make any plans.
– Hahah, you’re funny. Anyway, this time in the middle of the week, if you want to chat, great, but I don’t think I can go to your house and listen to you play the guitar, that’s what I meant. In more daily-life-friendly hours or if it’s the weekend, but I live far, so not too late.
– Alright… I’ll try.
– It’s just that I’m always running… Well, it will happen eventually. Kisses, kisses and more kisses.
– Well, when you know you’ll have some free time not so spontaneously. Bisous!!
I’m a writer and though I don’t have to tell a story every time I write I love to tell one every now and then. There is a sense of coherence a story gives us, call it comfort from all those unfnished threads in our lives. Love can set characters in motion and thus creates action. I believe it does the same to our lives. It makes us move, boast, pretend, yearn, laugh, fear and cry. It makes us want to come closer. Or away from it. Sure, what you say is right: there would be no lovesickness, no unfulfilled longing. There would be no fear of loss and no fear of pain, no fear of dependence and no fear of being humiliated by the ones we love. No fear of abandonment and one-way-love. And yet, to deconstruct Love in a way you would deconstruct Christianity feels utterly wrong. Yes. We do have an academic-intellectual narrative about the ways we invented Love, above all Romantic Love. The One you might compare to Christianity, today’s neurosis, played out best as a marketing instrument for whatsoever, particularly our lives. But only because there is a nausea in certain manifestations of Love doesnt’t mean that Love in itself is. I know this sounds like Old Communists’ Rhetorics, claiming just cause Russia failed doesn’t mean Communism failed. But to rid us of Love is to rid us of our most human aspect: our vulnerability towards others, most of all the ones we love. Would this leave more space for action? Maybe. But I am not sure at all whether I would want to live in a world inhabited by human beings acting free from Love. Fear can make us better. And what if we are not yet at a level where we live Real Love. What if we lived out Bad Love most of our days…
This is the interesting thing about Love, as you say, because like a lot of ideologies and religions it produces the suffering it pretends to do away with. Without Love there would not be lovesickness. Without Love there would be not unfulfilled longing. There might be more action without love and less fear. Less doubt. Less self-hatred. It reminds me of christianity creating the sins it pretends to forgive.
So this is asking me to be the Advocate of Love…. The only bourgeois thing about Love is to believe that Love is bourgeois, just construction, invisible, wish. Sitting by the ocean I see Love in little gestures, gazes, in the tense bodies of fathers watching their kids playing and fighting with the vastness of mediterranean elements – though most of the beaches neatly tailored for tourists… I see Love mostly where it isn’t cause you see longing eating up the unloved bodies and eyes…