Now there was a certain man sick, named Lazarus

by dschapman

My name is Daniel. I am just a poor man, and sick.

I have been working lately to improve things but improvement seems like a juvenile myth. If I am one thing anymore, I am too old for juvenile mythology.

I went to the workshop and worked in the cold. When I work in the cold in the morning I feel like I am a different man. When I trudge through the snow with my lips blue I feel a little more like John Brown than I usually do. When I cut my hand on a blade I feel almost like I’m made of flesh and blood.

Time is always compressing. Where a year once took my entire life to live, it now takes a small – and always shrinking smaller – percentage of life, which is days, mere days – and those days shrink shorter, the speeding of the setting sun makes you uneasy; and the moment it has set, it is beginning to rise again. And the moment is gone – and it sets again.

As an animal caught in the compression of time, I have many different feelings. Sometimes the world feels like a glaze, slow and consistent, and it barely seems to move, although the glaze is never settled; sometimes, though, it feels like a sieve, like a quickly dwindling mouthful of air, and it combusts and collapses around me, too fast for me to comprehend it. It rushes through my body like oil through a pipe and it feels like rigor mortis.

As a vassal of time in an age of rescidence I can do nothing but hold out my palms and pray. I have become abstinent out of insularity and apathy and if it weren’t for my excessive indulgence of movies and food I would call my self monkish. Although it is true that I share a sympathy with the monks, I am monkish by accident, not by virtue. I am like the first leaf to fall from the tree; after a blaze of daring, not even my own, I am alone on the ground, and I’m dead. When the rest of the leaves fall the world will not even know I was there. And though they will know that there must have been a first leaf to have fallen, that leaf will live on only as an ideal, and the leaf will exist only a priori, then – I may as well have not even fallen at all.

(It was a mistake to try to analogize – analogy is dead. They say poetry is dead. Good! So be it. It has never done any good in the world. Not like laying bricks. Or air conditioning repair.)

There were miracles in the time of Christ and there are miracles today. That is the real stasis of time. The imperative of modernity presses in at all times, from all places; no man has ever been free from it. No force in the world can be wielded against it. The only logical thing to do is submit, but animals, thankfully, are not very logical. Submission is not even a thought in our heads.

The history of the world was made complete with Herodotus and everything since has been interpretation of the same simple principles, re-wording of the five basic signs. Nothing ever changes, least of all me. Although not all things stay the same.