Saturday, February 14, 2009
Flying saucers, unicorns and top down delusion ...
So, I was listening to the jazz station on Comcast's Music Choice (because being a graduate student in English apparently requires one to "listen to" at least a modicum of the "good" stuff in order to check off yet another box in the "certified elitist" list) and hardcore Reggaeton started playing. I was reading at the time, and it took me a while to realize the switch, since most music, when reading, is really just nicely ordered background noise. When I did notice, I couldn't help but laugh.
Here I was, up to my eyeballs in education debt and trying to figure out how I could budget enough money for food for the next couple of weeks as I read Joyce's Dubliners and listened to a random assortment of sophisticated, energetic, clamor. I love (most) music, especially jazz, but sometimes, in specific situations, it's just sounding brass and tinkling symbols; when the Reggaeton started playing, I realized that this was such a situation.
* * *
I've already made the post(s) about the despair and utter loneliness that this path provides, about languishing under the weight of oppressive expectations, and sipping from the cup of vitriolic recompense--a cup distributed to those who thirst after a spot of recognition for their expended time and energy. I've sung the song, participated in the dance and listened to the tiny violin playing the soundtrack to sorrows of my new life. This isn't about that.
This is about the utter lunacy of it all. Seriously. In the span of a week, I read hundreds of pages of educated people talking about the whole of humanity, a whole to which they pride themselves on having no direct connection. From their ivory towers of, truth, art and love they regurgitate discriminatory axioms coined by enlightened minds of old--hoping that this time, after going through (partial) (re)digestion, the incongruous "axiomatic" bile will, unlike the time before, come out as a well-ordered testament of progress.
I sit (on my room-mates couch) reading books (bought with borrowed money) that go from talking about the importance of "civilization" to pontificating on how arbitrary and meaningless life is. All the while, I become more and more pissed off at how I've let my (apparently meaningless and arbitrary) life revolve around questions and concepts that "say" both everything and nothing. Why is it so hard for people to see that the higher they are above the daily grind of existence, the easier it is for them to be sucked into the illusion of beating the system?
I am not, by any stretch of the imagination a Marxist, but why do we put a premium on an angle of vision that privileges the elevation of a select few individuals at the expense of a vast majority of others? This is an old, old, question, I know. But it seems that we gasp collectively every time something horrible happens as a consequence of us not fully coming to terms with what keeps the wheel of human history turning. Before I fall into the cycle of doom-saying and crazy-talk, I'll stop there.
Just know that now you have the reason for why I study science-fiction and fantasy. In the house of time where running from room to room, through this door and that, only leads you right back where you started, speculative fiction (at least for me) is a doorway in which you are afforded a view of what lies between; it is not a door that you go through, but one you stand in and observe how all of the rooms, at the end of the day, when the various decorations fall to ruin, and the illusion of distinctions disappears, are all the same.
At any rate, I guess I'll get back to reading...