Ah, April 1. And I had been breathlessly preoccupiedly waiting the work day to begin…today I begin a journey into The Maximus Poems by Charles Olson, after a gentling scan into The Anxiety of Influence by Harold Bloom, both of which “just happened” to arrive at my local library yesterday – arbitrary arrivals from my Interlibrary Loan list of “wants”. Fool or not, nose in book, pack on back, and harried by wolves, it is what I do (am?). Here I go! (no fooling) 🙂 (why have I not seen so many cliffs and falls just ahead?)
From most points of view, life is a system. Enormous and elaborate interlacing activities keep it going on. Biology, physics, religion, mathematics and logic; semiotics, psychology, aesthetics and history; chemistry and health, poetry and politics, philosophy and fame – all intricate reverberant systems of night (and possibly?!) infinite interconnections – visible and invisible, conscious and unconscious.
I feel it all the time. I’m “affected.”
Hubbub over sports, havoc of war, hullabaloo of cosmology and genetics. Tentacles of memory, omens from the past, illnesses and love. My own aches and pains. Allergies, anxiety, pleasure and joy. Tastes, values. All of/in these indecipherably interlocking worlds of living things, views, theories, events and conundrums. Words, images, feelings. Wires, energy, matter. Signals, symbols.
I feel it. I’m “affected.” Always.
An hypothetically infinite ganglia or swarm of influences and infections — a finite and mortal middle-aged male inhabiting a very small space made of receptors, pores, nerves, cells and liquids: constantly thrumming, sloshing, snap-crackling, emoting and perceiving a cosmos of effects/affects.
This is why I keep saying: I get it, I’m totally “a/effected.”
The situation is perhaps similar to a paramecium channeling a bolt of lightning. Most likely the little sucker survives in some fashion – but what the – ?
How do we manage?
No wonder we blitz out, dull, “veg,” “pass out,” sleep. Drugs, fantastical entertainments, thrills, spills and crack-ups…anything to direct/divert the universe-sized charges incessantly overwhelming us.
Something struck me today. In our growing history of surviving, perhaps even thriving, how have humans as a species often overcome overwhelming difficulties? Well sure, all of the ways mentioned above: escape, denial, “tuning out,” apathy, ignorance, fantasy, insanity or violence, danger and so on, but when we are perceived (perceive ourselves) to “advance” “progress” or “grow” – what is the method? (When we can interpret one apart from “accident” or “effect”?)
Have we not repeatedly immersed ourselves in our reality (“the way things are”) and used them to our benefit rather than detriment? Technology, science, arts and beliefs – the seeking of the facts, turning them to our interests or needs, finding fulfillment and challenge – furtherance – survival.
What snapped in me today (I’ve had years of “managing” my “e/affectedness” thorugh alcohol, isolation or the dependence of my children) is this: if our inquiries and theories by and large agree/propose that “life” is one phenomenal, inescapable and gargantuan set of layered and inter/intra-relational systems, then “relating/relationships,” their process(es) and effects are precisely where the work, the living, the surviving (perhaps thriving) emphases ought to be engaged.
That balancing, recharging, nourishing, coping, diversion and awareness might be best figured out right where it happens – in systems of relationships. That where we are “affected” and what “effected” by is precisely where our greatest opportunity to “effect” must be. Our process of relating, our relationships with/in the cosmos of possibilities, is our living. What we know or think seems to tell us – our attention, our “solutions,” our being belongs there: in relationship.
Thank you Holly (my wife), Scott (my dearest friend), children (all of you, my charges) – and others – you truly regulate me in this world.