Thursday, December 3, 2009


I am reading the most earth-shattering, heart-breaking, mind-fucking masterpiece that I have ever read. And I have read many a book. It's called "House of Leaves" and is about a man who discovers a trunk of papers in an old dead man's apartment, and he constructs the book we're reading. The papers turn out to be the old man's commentary on a film that doesn't actually exist. We know this author has constructed a narrative out of ficticious subject not only because he hints at this himself at the very beginning, but because we discover he has coffee with Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote :P The film is about a man who discovers a hallway in his house that cannot possible exist, because the physical dimensions of the house do not allow for it.

At any rate, this novel has made me think about the different levels of reality. Reality is certainly a construct of our senses, but it is more than this. In it is contained the very nature of unreality. Reality exists, because it does not NOT exist. But it does not exist, in the fact that it also isn't. But what it isn't, it is and must be. Where it isn't it is soon to become. Reality is the macrocosm in which even unreality figures. Or perhaps, more accurately, Unreality is the macrocsom in which even reality figures.


Words are meaningless.

This axiom is a lie.

While words in and of themselves may possess no meaning, there is a world of meaning summoned by their presence. Every word in the english language carries with it associations that are personal to each individual. When we communicate, we use specific words in order to convey a message, but the most important message exists between each word. These pockets of silence, the pockets of absence, would not be possible without the use of language. Can language really be seen as arbitrary then?

We must learn to hear the voices that speak to us in silence. We must remember to hear that which is unspoken, and relate to each other on the emotional level as well as the rational one. We must not unlearn the language of our ancestors.

I think an entire essay could be written on the connotations of the word "a".

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Solitude vs Community

I've come to an interesting revelation about myself, about that within which drives me to act in certain ways. The other day I was boasting in a letter to someone that I was certainly improving on the strange, inhuman expectations I have about some people. I was quite impressed with the fact that I had not lost respect for an individual because he was not aware of a particular philosophical concept. However, two days after writing this letter, the man acted as a man and not as an intellectual icon... he showed an insensitivity and acted emotionally (or so it appeared to me). After observing these actions, I became very sad. I became aware of this gentleman as a man and not as the artificial ideal I had constructed on and around him.

This has made me realize that I love ideals, I love concepts... but not people. I have no interest in people as individuals... only in the abstract value I can deconstruct them into. I prefer to keep to myself, and quite often I distance myself from social interaction. I find it to be a diversion, an untrustworthy obstacle that tears me from my chosen path... it leads away from wisdom and contemplation. I don't like people, because they remind me that I, too, am human. And to me, being an imperfect human being seems like something that should be corrected.

This is foolish. I understand this. Elevating and debasing yourself both lead to the dehumanization of the Self. One must marry the two aspects, in order to find balance. In fact, I am beginning to wonder if perhaps the meaning of life is not found in Solitude at all... or rather that while the meaning of life can be found through Solitude,it can only be applied and UNDERSTOOD through Community.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Seven Jewish Children

Oh dear God. My friend is in a political theatre class this semestre, and she is studying the most interesting material. We had an hour long conversation yesterday about it, I almost feel like I'm taking the class vicariously through her. Heh. At any rate, she loaned me a copy of Caryl Churchill's latest play: "Seven Jewish Children." And... oh dear God.

This is a link for you to read and view it for yourself.

Critics call this play antisemitic. But I think you can be critical of a situation without being prejudiced. True, the language of this piece is quite strong, but the it is carefully chosen. Political theatre's intention is to make you angry, to outrage you into action, and that is what this piece does.

Perhaps it doesn't help that I'm biased here. I have always believed the creation of Israel to be a poor political move which did not consider future consequences. It was a quick-fix solution, meant to alleviate guilt. As a result, we (The West) are expected to side with Israel on every issue, and when some one doesn't... why, they're labelled as antisemitic.

But of course this is all complicated by the very real horror of the Holocaust.

This situation seems to me to mirror (or at least reflect) post-colonialism in Canada. In the past, perhaps rather insensitvely, I have spoken out against things that I could not know. I made a comment to the effect that yes, residential schools were terrible, but that doesn't mean an individual can blame their entire failings on the one situation, horrible as it was. In uttering this opinion I was hailed, at least to a degree, as a racist.

There is an element of personal responsibility that everyone, every sufferer, must acknowledge. As a Woman, I see discrimination and oppression against my sex. But I ALSO see how some women contribute to their suffering. While the event is not something you can control, your own personal reaction to it can be. Being a survivor is not a choice, but being a Victim is. And being a Victim does NOT make it acceptable for you to turn into a perpetrator.

But back to the Churchill piece. Why is it wrong to examine a situation from the other side? In expressing views that, while contrary to popular opinion, some people certainly have, you are opening up the subject to debate, for discourse. It seems to me that one should be able to analyze all sides of history, not just the novel written by the victor.

Furthermore, Churchill invited the Board of Deputies into the rehearsal process, in order to incorporate the Jewish Voice. However, knowing Churchill to be a Palestinian sympathizer, they rejected the invitation. The play is therefore focused on the Palestinian plight because the Israeli Voice refused to speak.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Pro-Choice Rant

I have often been "accused" of being a femininst. I espouse beliefs that are rooted in the concept of gender equality, and people immediately classify me as belonging to this Movement. However, a Feminist will take one look at my belief structure and immediately dismiss me as a non-feminist or anti-feminist simply because of one opinion that falls outside of the Feminist world view.

I am against abortion. This does not mean I am "anti-choice." I am absolutely pro-choice. If you have CHOSEN to have unprotected sex, then you have CHOSEN to accept the consequences of doing so. Abortion should be reserved for extreme cases, for those unable to foresee the consequences of their actions, such as children and individuals who are severely mentally unstable, and for those who did not consent to this process, like victims of rape. You can spout off whatever rhetoric you want (give me all the documentation about pre-natal development, and try to convince me that a fetus is not a person) but you will never convince me that abortion is a valid form of birth control. It is not.

There are so many preventitive meausures a person can take to avoid pregnancy. If you fucked up, man up, and take responsibility for your actions. Think on this: with so many decent and good people who want children but are unable to have them, with miscarriages and stillborn births all over the world, what gives you the right to extinguish a life before it is given the opportuinity to exist?

You know why the second coming hasn't happened yet? Because the second Mary had an abortion. Fuck.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Strange Dream

I had the most bizzarre dream I have ever had the other night. It began with a long staff, and from the end of the staff came bolts of electricity. The staff was stirring the cosmos, and the bolts of electricity circled and created a very strange spiral. I looked up and saw a man in a mask holding the stick. His head looked very much like a ram's head. Three columns appeared, all of varrying height, but posed so that they ran like steps, from shortest to longest. On all of these columns were strange etchings, strange symbols that I was not familiar with. The masked man was standing on the shortest pillar, and began walking across the three, using them as steps; as he did so I thought, or heard (I'm not sure whether it was my own thought, or a thought expressed by an external source) 'The two-horned god rises on the backs of the Three Ages.'

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Absence

I just realized that I have not discussed my new ideas pertaining to the Absence. In the past month, a month of silence brought on by the death of my computer, I have had several revelations, all of which pertained to an idea I have been slowly developing over the past year or so: the importance of Absence.

Reading Plato's 'Apology of Socrates' brought the concept of Absence to my attention through the mention of Socrates' daemon. Socrates' daemon was a voice that Socrates heard since childhood(ish), and it guided him away from dangerous actions. Now, when Socrates was sentenced to death, he had no fear, not because the voice told him everything was okay, but because it had remained silent. Socrates thought that had he been engaging in dangerous behaviour through the method of his defense, the voice would have surely spoken and warned him. Thus, Socrates was reassured of an afterlife NOT by the Presence of the voice, but through its ABSENCE. This made me realize that the Presence can be found only THROUGH the Absence. In the same way Hindu philosophers say Shunya (emptiness) is full of something we cannot perceive, the Absence is full of the Presence, and it is only when we experience the Absence in its entirety that we are able to begin to understand the Presence.

I thought perhaps that this is why we, in this time, are so aware of the Absence of God; we feel the Absence everywhere and in everything, and mistakenly believe that the Absence is Void, that it is nothingness. BUT nothingness must have some substance we can use to qualify it, or how would we be able to experience it? Indeed, nothingness is that Other substance through which we expierience life. It is the principle of what is not that leads us to undertand that which is. Our entire existence, or rather the collective understanding of that existence, is dependent upon that dichotomous relationship, and it is only through the acceptance and understanding of nothingness, of Absence, that we can experience life in its entirety. Perhaps the reason we feel the Absence of God so intensely is so that we are given the opportuinity to experience the Presence more fully.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The world is beautiful to me now. For a long time I was terribly unhappy, both with myself and with my environment. I hid my suffering well, and even those closest to me had no idea how severely an event which occurred over three years ago affected me. I made myself "ok", because I had no other option. Last year the process of recovery and of acceptance truly began, and now... Now? Has it completed? No, certainly not. But it continues, and will continue. And I'm ok with that. (Bah. I am such a sentimental bear!)

This has brought me to think upon the subject of love. A while ago a Friend was telling me that he thought love was nothing more than a narcissistic object cathexis, wherein the beloved is invested with the idealized image of Self. My response to that was: "You obviously have never been in love." I now understand that the kind of love this man was referring to was False love (or "True Love" in its cliched (clicheed?) sense). I have experienced both forms... one I attempted to construct into my ideal, and the other... the other was a genuine acceptance of things as they were. It was a basic settling, and not a desire or expectation for/of.. well.. anything. Of course, all of this is complicated by the necessary element of sexuality.. which I'm not going to even attempt to factor in, as it's not something rational discourse can begin to do justice to. And now I've lost my train of thought... heh.

I suppose what I was trying to say, essentially, is that love is not an Ideal. It is not Romantic. It is something that develops over time, and if not uprooted prematurely (which it often is, generally for valid reasons) is something that could happen between any two people.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oh, I get it!

I have had a revelation. It came to me out of nowhere really, as I was in the shower. I was thinking about a play called 'Equus' that is all about ritual, and it made me think about ritualistic practices in general.
About two years ago I was having a discussion about ritual with a former friend of mine. We have contrasting views as to its validity. At the time, I could not understand why one would resort to a ritual in order to explore the emotional self. I asked her what the purpose was of pretending, instead of dealing with the issue directly. She was rather offended, (understandably so, I think) and cried out, 'It's NOT pretending!'

I finally understand what she means. Ritual is performance art. It is as valid as any other art form. In the same way I can reach my Self through figurative language, through poetry, and through theatre, others can reach their inner self through ritual. I used to be unable to comprehend how it was possible to reach the self through a ritual that was created by another, and that because its structure was constructed by a foreign entity it could not possibly lead the individual onto the path towards self-realization. But it's just like literature... or looking at a painting. The creative process comes not from the literal construction of the artwork, but through an internal interpretation. It is a structure erected for the communication with the divine, but it is only a structure. It is the responsibility of the individual to make that communication.

I get it. I finally get it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How are We, that We are not One?

I have had an epiphany. Last night I had a frightening dream about the end of the world... and that God appeared as a type of funnel cloud in the sky (spiral imagery), though it did not speak. It started to rain, but I knew the world was going to burst into flame. I was alone, looking at the storm brewing, and my father called me into the house. Everyone was cowering in the cellar, and I was terrified of death, of dying. We all prayed some kind absurd prayer, one of those meaningless repititions of "Our Father". I was afraid of being turned into dust, and in the dream I shook myself awake out of a desire to know the Presence of God.

I lay awake thinking of the utter Absence of this Presence I had wanted to feel. This brought me to think about the own nature of my existence, and where the self resides... like in that song "is it in your head or between your sides"... I started thinking about the many selves contained within my Self, and wondering whether or not this Self I like to think of as one separate unity is not in truth a compilation of many selves, each with their own separate consciousness. And if that is the case, my desire for individuality really negates itself... And then out of nowhere I said aloud, "How are we, that we are not One?"

How are we, that we are not One? What is that a reference to? Did I mean, "How can I be many if I am contained within one concrete substance?" Or was this an even deeper thought... Did I mean, "How are we, as people and gods, capable of separating ourselves, when we are indeed all connected on some deeper and more essential plane of existence?" OR was I espousing the beliefs of apophatic theology??

It was a very strange experience

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Modern Face of the Other?

I've been reading Foucault again, and it made me think about the natural progression of the Other. Foucault describes the natural progression as beginning with the lepper, in which exclusion is as necessary to the sufferer as to the society; after the threat of leprosy dissipated, it was replaced by criminality and houses of correction; and soon that socially constructed Other was replaced with the face of Madness. I believe that science has subdued our anxiety of the Madman, and has now replaced it with a fear of the Aged.

When we look at the withered face of Age, we see in it that skeletal grin of Death. We try to disguise Age; we avoid it. We cut open our faces, lift up our skin, wear our masks, all in an attempt to conceal the Truth of our own mortality, to silence that uncomfortable wailing that is screaming back at us. And those prophets of death who cannot be silenced, the truly Aged who cannot hide their identity, we imprison in our own modern day lazar houses and asylums: the formidable Nursing Home.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Forever in search of the Middle Way

I have grown a lot in this past year. I have combined my world of silence and solitude with the world of community, and in doing so I have found myself. I have learned to be alone without being lonely, and to be silent without being silenced. I have put my artistic talents to use, have constucted purpose, and have gained respect among colleagues and mentors. I have also found he who is both my doppelganger and my shadow, he who enrages me and dissatisfies me, but from whom I have learned a great deal about myself. He is a funhouse mirror, and when I look into him I see a distorted reflection of myself, and the values I once held. Knowing him has been a privledge, although one may not think so, judging by the many many argurments we have had throughout the past year. Furthermore, this past year has taught me a lot about my own drives, and the very nature of my own existence. I still believe strongly in the necessary function of reason; that is not something I could ever reject. But I have learned about the folly of Excess.

Reading Ovid's Metamorphoses reaquainted me with the Icarus myth. I had always heard of the myth, but never actually read it, and so I was surprised to find that the orders of Daedalus were not, "Do not fly too close to the sun", but rather:

"Take care to fly a middle course, lest if you should sink
Too low the waves may weight your feathers, if
Too high, the heat may burn them."

THUS the myth of Icarus was NOT about Pride. In fact, the concept of Pride is nowhere mentioned. The myth is a warning about Excess. Icarus was to take the Middle Way, between the emotional chaos of the sea and the burning heights of rationality. Overindulgence in either leads to madness, and death. And I was also surprised when, in my psychology and literature class, my professor made the same claim. It reinforced my ideas completely, and gave me the confidence to know that what I percieved was Truth, or at least an aspect of it. I had thought that one must make a choice between the emotional and the rational. I had thought the two were separate entities that could never be reconciled. My fear of the one led me too close to the other, and I Fell. I had never considered a balance, never contemplated the Middle Way, but this Death has brought about rebirth.

I am aware now. And I hope the more emotional mind can see the importance of reason, as I can see the importance of emotion.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Age Rhetoric

Have faith. Trust in the process. Go with the flow.

I have heard these phrases quite often in the last few months, and each time I hear them I cringe inwardly. I don't understand how one can accept any of the three as a standard by which to live one's life. To me, when brought to their ultimate conclusion, all three presuppose mindless submission and result in the deferral of personal responsibity.

Have faith.

Submit to God. It is God's will. Do not question or rationalize. I think this is a dangerous ideology to live by, and in embracing such an ideology, not only is one doing oneself a disservice, but one is learning nothing from the teachings of the Bible. One example where mindless submission is averted in the Bible can be found in the book of Exodus. Moses ascended the mountain to have a conversation with God and codify His laws. He returns to the people, and finds that everyone is engaging in unacceptable behaviour, worshipping idols and whatnot. Now, Moses was angry, but his anger was nothing compared to the wrath of God. I mean, dude was pissed. He told Moses he was going to send floods and pestilence and destroy the people, saving only Moses and his kin. Moses objected to this. He questioned God's plan, rationalized the situation, and voiced an objection. What was the result? The Bible says: "And God changed His mind." (Anecdote taken from Jon).

Trust in the process.

What process? What does this even mean? It seems to me to be nothing more than rhetoric used to justify inaction. I could be wrong, and if I am misinterpreting this, please let me know.

Go with the flow.

Conform. Don't fight against the social tide. Don't question. Don't object. This is one of the worst phrases I have ever heard, and really, it terrifies me that so many people have chosen it as a type of mantra. Even if the flow is not a social flow, even if the "flow" is the flow of energy inside an individual, it is still a frightening ideology. One should be particularly cautious of one's own drives; questioning the Self is the only thing that can lead one onto the Noble Eightfold Path.

If, then, I have rejected these ideas, with what do I replace them? Surely, if one has uprooted an ideology, something must take its place; afterall, re-creation is indeed the most important aspect of destruction. Well, then, if replace it I must, the only doctrines I can think of are: reason, rationality, and justified objection.