Identity & Flipping Numbers like Coins

What exactly is it about the arbitrary changing of numbers, parceling of time, divisions and subdivisions of existent moments, that prompts and wriggles us to consider change – feel obligated or massaged toward it – dream of it?  I can say that in all my dizzying thoughts about it – how society and culture (Petrie-dish like) inundate and stimulate individuated personal alterations – I cannot figure out why crossword-puzzle-like taxonomies and designations of life-fragments labeled by stick-systems of reference, mathematical calculations and so forth stimulate (simulate?) desires, wishes, regrets, metamorphic movements in the human gang…

Be that as it may, today is the first day of the first month of the year containing 0-1-2-3 (my wife comments what a delightful play that  must be for numerologists), and while my beloved is out signing up at the Y and beginning self-care with new devotion, I am denuding my desk, dusting and polishing its surface, taking revised stock of the pounds of books that weight its surface, reorganizing, selecting, making hard choices about what is necessary for me TODAY with some forward thinking.  The numbers have changed.  The game must be different, no?

In the process, I open a drawer I apparently haven’t for a very long time, coming across a miniature moleskine notebook, first entry dated January 2003!  A decade ago, how interesting!  I leaf through…and here are some of the things that capture my attention:

  • a quote from my son Aidan (he would have been 5 at the time) on being unable to remember something:  “it’s in my brain, I just can’t find the right aisle.”
  • and Steinbeck: “its inhabitants, as the man once said, ‘whore, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches,’ by which he meant everybody.  Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said ‘saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,’ and he would have meant the same thing.”
  • Cixous: “it is this hunger for flesh and for tears, our appetite for living, that, at the tip of forsaken fingers, makes a pencil grow.”
  • Handke:  “in any case, I experienced moments of extreme speechlessness and needed to formulate them – the motive that has led men to write from time immemorial.”
  • “Books should not flatter our sense of self.  They should investigate it.  I read another person in order to get better at interrogating my own unexamined narrative” – Richard Powers

The last entry reads like this…”We used to always pick models or icons we wanted to be like: have what they had, whole persona and possessions – WHO would I want to be?  … When does it hit you that you only want to be you with some other life?”

Wonder where I was…a kind of number-flipping query…

further to go….2013

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10 thoughts on “Identity & Flipping Numbers like Coins

  1. I love your son’s quote-made me chuckle. My oldest would have been about 5 back in 2003 too. It’s funny but each year I forget more and more-my brain must have too may aisles 🙂

  2. It seems we were both doing similar things in the last few days. Like you, I organized my desk by filing or throwing out old papers, notebooks, etc. I found myself reading notes of my attempts to comprehend various philosophical arguments. It’s nice to reflect on how far we’ve come – in whatever journey that may be. I think I’ll make a habit of doing this at least once a year. May the next decade be as rewarding as the last!

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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