Touch (5): a recap of the beginning

Monday, 10. August 2009

continues from here

It is almost impossible to live life in touch with what is really happening, to be fully aware of the context of your own impact on the world and everything that impacts you. Mostly we just react to events or act out desires or those ridiculous fantasies that are our plans. The space we select for our habitation, essentially, is a private space, not a oneness with it all, probably because the very notion of identity depends on restricting consciousness to avoid a fear of dissolving insignificance, the state we fear the very most. In their own soap opera, everyone is a significant player.

That’s a lot of ideas for one paragraph but it’s the end of the first building block of whatever thesis I am groping for here and so I must pause to expand on it instead of skipping along as a I usually do, from one challenging statement to another. No, it isn’t your fault that you only half get what I’ve been talking about so far; it’s like that because I am taking us to the barriers of the box that retains us, using touch as a symbol and a doorway because it is a word that cannot be thought, spoken or experienced without the all-important two-way osmosis with the environment without which it means nothing. You touch the world; the world touches you. The world is to all extents and purposes real and largely incapable of being changed by you. It doesn’t care what you think and the tree in the forest does not cease to exist because no glorified ape happens to be stumbling out of his sauna into the snow. What exists is what exists; you have to accept that before you stop crawling and begin to toddle, long before you begin to twaddle and start the long decline into pretence, bitterness, self-centredness and bitter irony that is human adulthood so far.

By the way, I know that this doesn’t refer to you and you find my tone somewhat abusive. You have all told me, over again and thousands times, that you are happy with life or that your range of vision is so sophisticated and you are contented or challenged but winning or whatever twaddle you like to say. But I have seen your works and your structures, your relationships and your touch and I try to believe you, oh yes I do, so this bitter and disrespectful stuff written here is for some other people not as gifted, successful, popular, mature, wise and lovable as you are… I know you think your shit is together; you told me, as I say, in almost every single conversation of my life… And yet I have not ceased and am not corrected.

But anyway, for that other person who is not you, if you want to know what you hate about this, here is a recap of the first stumbling steps I have taken so far in the investigation called Touch.

Step one: the world is real, very real, and completely indifferent to your opinion of it, largely indifferent to your desires, actions and quest for happiness, totally unaffected by what you think, utterly despoiled by the way we as a species have so far touched it with our greedy, exploitative, cruel, violent, cunning, enslaving, arrogant and as far as possible smug, complacent, lazy and unaware little consciousness, deliberately restricting the view so we may centre all outcomes on Me. That’s how people currently are, though let’s hope it’s not immutable or we really are doomed.

And, actually, all of that stuff we think is the illusion. The real reality is that we are completely vulnerable to incoming reality from a world beyond our capture by understanding and that for us it is a matter of personal, spiritual and species life and death how our reciprocal touch on life responds to that. We must do better, much better, starting soon.

And so, despite all the pretty baubles of bourgeois art, eastern mysticism, Native American oneness with nature, the marvels of technology and science, the steady progress from brutal slavery to control by meme and advertising – despite psychoanalysis and the sixties and feminism and environmentalism and management training, yoga, massage, Desiderata and Bob Dylan – we have so far failed in spectacular fashion.

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