New Descriptions

by dschapman

As Wittgenstein once said, or might have said, though better; I am an eye, I am a limit of my vision; in other words, there is a self, and there is an otherness; existence – viewing, vision – predicates a duality, absolute and insurmountable. Existence is a game of limits, the form and the limit, concepts and songs; the roots, the trunk, and all the laden branches, hanging low with heavy fruit; selves within selves, others of others, repetition and insistence and outright fabrication; pride, thus vindicated.

I was once a living, breathing part of the world, the common terrestrial world, the world that exists to sustain us when we haven’t the self to sustain a world for ourselves, to create and malform it, skillfully, at will, or without the ambition, without the influence to do so. A world like people live in, a world as magnificent as any other, a blend of twisting light and confusion. I managed my own way about it, although it confused me, it seemed unmanageable. I would’ve done well, had I stayed within it; by drinking, by making a fool of my self, I managed my way and would’ve done well in the long run, as long as it had been, as long as my animal hunger permit me. The real world doesn’t take much; it takes indolence, self-indulgent and forgetful. It takes faithlessness. Faithless ways of the world; immoral, faceless, bare and rampant. Faithless games of the self; self-expanding, swept up in a current of social furor. Swept up, towards the sea. I was part of the world, swept up like a leaf in the strange and sea-like winds, up from the earth and over it, and back unto it somewhere else.

This was my world, and I lived it, confused and complaining, until one night, until my moment of clarity. One night the world expelled me; it fell away, rejected me, and I ungratefully left. I hid my face with my hands, and I placed a fig leaf over my groin, and I broke my back upon a pear tree. It saw my ungratefulness; it said to me, Be grateful. It said to me, You are no Vision, You are the Eye; you are on another end of limits, another set of space. It said to me, Take what you see, and correct it; build for yourself an estate in the wilderness, and tend in the center a garden. Remember your memories and leave them at that. Knowing good and evil, sensing self and other, stand strong in the tide and let it part itself around you; the river is yours to command, so command it. The world told me these things, and I listened. It was what someone else, some wise man = once said, in an ancient still-spoken tongue, and I had heard of it before, but never for myself had heard it. I listened well, given the moment to listen, the miraculous session of romance, an opportunity – seized. I awoke from the world and I knew then I loved it; I knew then I owed it my everything. I knew then shame, I felt in my knees a new humility, a new amnesia; and so too I knew then a certainty.

When the time comes for lying, it said to me, You will lie; when lies and hopeless reassurance are the only source of goodness, then you will lie, and you will offer hopeful reassurance. You will do what needs to be done to survive this; for this is eminently survivable. Do not be so weak; do not be disgraceful. Think of your parents; love you your parents; love you your friends, kiss with teary lips the ground you walk on, listen when it speaks. Do what you must do; lie when you must lie; give way to delusion, when delusion arrives. And when the time comes for honesty, when the time is right for open-eyed horror, then you will be honest, difficult and horrible though it may be. When it is possible, you will do; and when it is impossible, you will submit. Patience, either way; fortitude, a fight for salvation. Here is the world, it is shapes and it is puzzles, it is gears that spin and parts that pump, it is color and concepts and it is, in the sense of it, yours, and wholly yours alone. Do with it what you will; you are right to dislike it. You are right to admire it. You are right to succeed, and you are right if you fail; for you are you, and nothing other, there is nothing like you in this ether.

Free of the world, immune to decay, immune to the decadence, I created my own words, designed my own being. I am a construct of my own design, at home in my own constructions, alive in a world that I built up around me. I am the eye; I see me these visions, I step into my visions, foregoing my eye its precedence. Neither a prison nor a paradise, nothing like life, nothing like happiness; it must be just right, like time, remedial, and at its best boring. I have been blessed with this knowledge of good and evil; I have been blessed with a hammer and tongs, standing unsteady at the fronds of the fire, the fire of my forge booming deeper than thunder. In faith, I find consciousness; a faith of the conscious, a name scribbled into a tree with a penknife, the tree in the midst of the garden, my garden and my home. My words, my yearning, my earnestness, unmistakable, unmemorable, inexplicably endless. There is being, and there is explication, and they are limits of one another, sides of virtue, truth.