6.01.2013

Compulsively Unlocking This Heart

I've always wanted to give something--a gift--something I'd need to open myself to receive, something beyond myself, something I believe is out there and waiting, something as good as the world, something the world deserves, something the world doesn't know it's missing, and I know that if I ever find this gift, I will find it by looking in my heart.

I have no other ambition.

I believe if it ever becomes real, it will look something like a book.  I've been working on a novel, but it isn't yet the gift I want to give.  

I need to talk about this work that isn't work.  Finishing this novel has nothing to do with the professional task of putting together a coherent sequence of words.  I could've done that five times over in the time I've been writing this novel if productivity were the only question.

What I need to talk about is my heart, because my heart is where the work happens.  Whatever words I choose, whatever imaginings I chart, whatever story I unfurl, none of it will come to the gift I want this novel to be if it doesn't flow from a heart that wants to give and can give because it deserves to give because it is giving with love.

I say I am writing but I am working with my heart.  If I am not writing, it's not inspiration that I'm waiting for--what I am working with is the orientation of my heart to the world.  I can feel it.  I can feel it when it's right.  I could throw out an unending sequence of words, cut them into novels, fit them to the market, make a career of it for myself, and it would feel worse than nothing if it didn't come from the right heart.  

Love.

I want to say that I know love when I feel it and I feel it when my heart is right.  

There are so many ways to lose the feeling of love.  The heart is never still, it is active and changing, and most importantly, it is responsive.  

I am forever listening to my heart and hoping to understand what it needs.  Sometimes I have to give it quiet.  And when it changes and has had too much of the silence, I need to give it a friendly chat with a good friend over a beer.  Maybe I need to read.  It could be an episode of Northern Exposure.  Sometimes my heart gets desperate for some rapturous excitement that carries me through an unexpected night.  Music.  Sometimes I need a lazy afternoon laying out and feeling sunshine on my skin.  There are an infinite number of calibrations to be made, and they are ever changing.  If it is music, there is the question of the song.  I decide what novel I will read next the way a doctor decides what medicine to prescribe his patient.

There is nothing worse for the heart than to work for money.  I become a dead-eyed, heartless, sleepwalking consumer, and once I reach that state, it requires tremendous effort to reawaken the human spark within myself.  And lately, I have been working hours upon hours for money.

I knew where this would take me.  Since I've had little free time, I've had to consciously choose how I would spend it, and so I've been meditating in my free evening hours before I go to sleep.  My hope is only to keep my heart awake while I endure this period, and so when the freedom of summer finally arrives, I will be ready for it and will be able to quickly return my heart to the right alignment.

When my heart is right, the words that come are the right words, and it's only through my right heart that the words will come together in the right way and open up to allow that inspired gift I've been dreaming of giving to flow through the words and from the words into another person's heart.

Some days, it comes easily.  Today, in the rain and the gloom, riding trams through this city just to arrive at a shopping center, surrounded by strangers and consumers, my heart clutched to a song, and I had to keep listening to it, again and again.  There is something in the loop that my heart needs to feel.  I must've listened to it ten times.  The feeling came in waves that made me want to weep, not for sadness or for joy, but for the feeling of understanding what my heart needs.

This was it:


2.21.2013

Instigate

How did I get here?  Where am I going?  What does any of it have to do with me?

--

In a freshman year writing class, we learned that the difference between popular and literary fiction is that pop fiction is 'plot driven' as opposed to literary fiction, which is 'character driven.'  Basically the point is that we read Hamlet because we are interested in the character of Hamlet, whereas we read The DaVinci Code because we are interested in the plot, the things that happen around the main character, the development of the action.  This distinction is useful to someone who is just beginning to learn about literature.

It is also very misleading.

I'm not interested in the distinction between popular and literary fiction.  I want to look more exactly at the true distinction between plot driven and character driven stories, specifically in their inception.

--

What is happening in the moment that begins everything?

--

I've been thinking about dramatic tension, both in fiction and in life.

Character:  It happens quite often when I'm reading, or watching a movie or a tv show, or even noticing the actions of a friend, that I am painfully aware of how a current action will lead to future complications.  A character lies.  I know the character shouldn't lie, and I know that the lie will cause trouble.  But there it is.  That begins the story.  Now I will follow the rest of the story to its eventual resolution.  If the main character had not lied, there would be no problem, but there would also be no story and therefore no resolution.

Plot:  Hamlet's father was killed by Hamlet's uncle.  Hamlet's mother then married Hamlet's uncle.  The main character didn't do anything, and the story begins.

Is the problem created by the character, or is the problem thrust upon the character?  This is the distinction I'm looking at.

--

I sometimes feel cheated by character driven plots.  They make a mistake, I know it's a mistake as they're making it, and the rest of the story is a way of getting back to the calm that existed before the mistake.  Why do I have to follow all this?  I knew it was a mistake from the start.  Think of a sitcom: two characters agree to keep a secret from a third character.  There it is.  You know that this secret will cause some crisis, and eventually the secret will come out, and the consequences will have to be dealt with.  It feels cheap.  If only they hadn't . . .

And yet this is the way of free will, of being responsible for the stories of our lives.

Character driven plots are often launched in the moment that someone acts without awareness of the inevitable trajectory of consequence.   

Jay Gatsby pursues Daisy, a married woman.  Not only is Daisy married, she is also from a better class.  She is not appropriate to Gatsby.  Nevertheless, he tries.  As close as he might come, however, he must ultimately fail.  His death is the consequence of his choice to go after something he could never have.  Gatsby is responsible for his life and for his death.

Gatsby's problem is a manifestation of Gatsby.

It's a great story, but if Gatsby had been my friend, I would've wanted to tell him from the start to get his mind off Daisy.  In some way, I think less of Gatsby because he couldn't see the end of his own story.  In essence, Gatsby destroys himself.  And for what?  To make readers happy?

--

Everyone sees the mistake except for the one who makes it.  In both fiction and life.

With fiction, we are powerless to influence the character.  Gatsby will go after Daisy, no matter how strongly we protest.  And it's the same in life.  My friend is about to do something that I know will lead to problems.  But I am also old enough to know that I can't save him.  It is a mistake he needs to make.  The knot already exists inside of him, and he will create a tangled situation so that he can eventually figure out how to untangle it, both outside and inside of himself.  He needs to go through the process, and he needs to be the one to drive that process.  Insight cannot be mystically transferred--it must be earned.

--

What mistake am I making?  What knot am I weaving?  Do others see it?  Are my friends biting their tongues because they know they can't save me?  Am I already on the path to my own destruction?

--

Hamlet made no mistake.  The story takes him.  It would seem I should respect this more: he does not create a problem, he is merely forced to respond to a problem.  The universe itself seems to be tangling with Hamlet, and this would seem to make his actions more significant, perhaps even noble.  When Gatsby or King Lear are destroyed, it is a result of their own mistakes, and in some small way this prevents them from being fully heroic.  Hamlet does not cause his own death; he rises to meet the inevitable.

This is the way of fate and predestination.  This is heroic.

Is it realistic?  Does Fate really come in and mess with some people's lives? 

Yes.  A meteor.  An earthquake.  A war (providing you are a normal person and therefore lack the power to start a war.) 

On the other hand, there is the sense that Hamlet is somehow not quite a full personality.  In some way I think less of Hamlet because he is not responsible for his story.  He does not drive his own life.  We have no idea what kind of life he might've lived if Fate, outside circumstance, had not intervened.  Hamlet is dependent.  Hamlet is a reaction, he is acted upon, and I'm not inclined to praise passive characters.  In some way, the story of Hamlet has nothing to do with Hamlet: he's just the poor sucker who happened to get caught in an ugly situation.  Anybody could be Hamlet if thrown in that position.  And nobody wants to be an anybody.

Hamlet's problem is a manifestation of the world.  In itself, this problem reveals nothing about him.

--

I think about the personal crises I've lived through, and most of them have resulted from my unwillingness or inability to see the consequences of my own actions.  I can also think of at least one crisis that absolutely came from outside myself. 

I don't know what difference any of this makes.

--

I'm thinking about my novel.  As written, one of my characters causes his own problem.  Thus this section is character driven.  But I could change it.  It wouldn't take much to reconstellate the situation so that only the universe could be said to be responsible for the problem that launches the action.  All of this is just a question of editing.

--

This question disturbs me deeply.

11.08.2012

Lies the War Taught Me

Circa 2005 I subbed for a health class in a high school near Tampa.  I found a videocassette on the teacher's desk with a note that said, Play.  It looked to be an easy hour.

This after-school special's plot: some high school kids go to a house party while someone's parents are away, and the bad kid offers the good kids a joint.  The good kids are afraid not to look cool, so they all take hits.  Needless to say, previously innocent couples cheat on each other and have unprotected sex with people to whom they weren't even attracted.  The girls get pregnant, and everyone gets AIDS.

I was so furious that I stopped the tape a half hour before class ended.

--

Though I personally find opera disagreeable, I accept that others can subject themselves to it without deleterious effect.  Certainly, opera isn't for everyone, but even I must admit that it does no harm to those who indulge in it.

I would never encourage anyone to try marijuana.  It's like opera, or living abroad.  You must be allowed to come to it on your own, and only if you want to.  I'm not cut out for opera.  I get cagey and feel physical discomfort when I'm forced to endure it. It feels so unnatural to me that I want to say opera is downright wrong.  Marijuana could be like this for some people.  For some it's all songbirds and angelic choirs.  Others merely find it relaxing.  We're all a little bit different.

--

In elementary school, police officers came to our classrooms and gave drug presentations.  We learned that if you smoke a joint, first you lose your friends.  Then you fail all of your classes.  At this point, you smoke weed around the clock because you are hopelessly depressed.  Then you steal from your family.  Finally, your family kicks you out and you become homeless.

We were innocent and impressionable.  Even I believed those police officers.  Authority figures had always taught us that we could trust authority figures.  I thought they were trying to protect me.

--

Colorado and Washington state legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in this year's election.

--

I caught administrative hell for stopping that video.  The regular teacher returned two minutes before the bell and saw what I'd done.  She chastised me and reported my crime to some bureaucrat or another.  I was so enraged that I couldn't have cared less.  I certainly wasn't about to apologize.

I refused to be the one in a position of power who disseminates blatant lies.  It would've been easy.  I only had to let it happen.  The lies didn't even have to come out of my own mouth: the administration had provided me with a technological mouth that would do all the lying for me.

--

Here is the problem: the specific informational content of the lie is irrelevant.  Whether the lie is that smoking a joint will transform you into a homeless person with AIDS or that work will make you free, the thing to keep your eye on is the abuse of power and the societal pressure on the individual for the sake of deceit.

Those of us who have lived through the era of prohibition have had our minds warped by both the authorities and our peers.  The lie is blatant and simple to understand.  The facts that disprove the lie are obvious and everywhere.  So, for the lie to survive, we must force our minds to change, and the human mind is pliable.  We are not greatly inclined to critical thinking.  We are social animals, and it is more important for us to belong to a community than it is for us to see the truth.  Our mind has little trouble sacrificing the truth for the sake of belonging.

--

What kind of community do we create when we unite ourselves in a lie?

--

It goes deep.  It is still inside me.  This is conditioning in the clinical sense, and it is irreversible.  The lie is frozen somewhere in my neural network, and as much as I can undermine it with evidence, I can never completely erase it.  All of us will die with the scars of the lie intact.

--

Children need authority figures.  And maybe adolescents need those authority figures to be wrong at some point so that the adolescent can learn to trust his own judgment.  This is tricky territory.  I used to think that it was good that we have this lie about marijuana so that a person can transgress authority by the simple smoking of a joint.  It becomes a symbolic act that indicates the transition into adulthood.  All your life you were taught that marijuana makes you a homeless AIDS patient, but now you use your own mind and you know the truth.  You smoke that joint, you cross that border, and you are now acting in accordance with the judgment you were born to exercise.  You come through the experience safely, and you have gained something for it.  You have come to trust in your self, even against the pressure of the world around you.

It sounds nice, doesn't it?  Who says our culture has lost touch with ritual?

But this is a rationalization born of a mind infected by the lie.

--

When a mind is compelled to accept a lie, its ability to think clearly is compromised.  We learn to accept whatever lies we judge to be convenient.

--

Marijuana is not important.  It is merely as if our culture had declared that eating a slice of pizza will cause you to become a homeless AIDS patient.  We haven't denied ourselves something vital.  We could thrive as a culture even without pizza.  Sure, you might complain about the lives destroyed by prison sentences, families torn apart, all for a simple slice of pepperoni.  You could complain about the wasted billions that could've been put to good use.  But it's not like we declared war on arithmetic or vitamin C.  We can get along fine without pizza or marijuana.

So what's the big deal anyways?

--

Our minds are pliable.

We can ply our minds to the truth, or to lies.  We *must* choose, and our choice defines us.

--


The voters of Washington state and Colorado have decided that it is better to live in truth than to accommodate a lie.


--

Truth and love must overcome lies and hate -- Vaclav Havel.

8.12.2012

Loaded

[Three men on a park-bench.  In the background, a flagpole with an American flag, and a cellphone tower disguised as a cross.]

Bob: And don't get me started about this shooting out in wherever it was.

Jack: What's this country coming to.

Bill: Yup.

Jack: Now they're gonna try to say we need even more gun laws.

Bill: You know they will.  The media won't even wait for the families to mourn before they get started on that.

Bob: As if criminals care about laws.

Jack: They'd take away an honest man's right to defend himself.

Bob: Yup.  They sure will.

Bill: That's the way things are going.

[collective sigh]

Jack: There's a guy at my church, a strange one, let me tell you, and he's always going on, in church mind you, just this last Sunday too, he don't even wait till we're out in the parking lot, he's going on about how Jesus would be against guns.

Bob: Ain't nothing sacred.  No decency these days.  No class.

Bill: How'd the pastor take care of him?

Jack: He talked about how it was our Christian duty to protect our loved ones.  You could tell he was angry about it cause he didn't really talk too much, and believe me, this guy loves to talk.  I wish he'd get his sermons done quicker, to be honest.  I'm sitting there thinking, Get to the point, if ya got one, but the wife says he's good.  Still, this guy had some quotes from the gospel, knew em by heart, and I been thinking about it since.

Bob: Oh yeah?

Bill:  Don't forget that the devil himself can quote scripture.

Bob: Ain't that the truth.

Jack: I forget the exact quote, but he brought up the one about turn the other cheek--

Bill: Oh, come on!

Jack: Yeah, and also the thing in the garden, when the soldiers come to take Jesus.  This guy claims that one of the apostles tried to defend The Lord with a blade, and the apostle attacked the soldier, but Jesus said it was wrong.  And then Jesus even healed the soldier.

Bill:  That don't prove nothing!

Jack: The guy says this means we should try to heal our enemy, even when he's attacking us, even when we know our enemy is gonna take us to our own death, instead of defending ourselves.

Bob: That's just so wrong, I mean, you can't take things outta context like that.  You gotta, like, look at all the other parts too.

Bill: Devil quoting scripture, is what it is.

Bob: Yup.

Jack: It did seem like a socialist kinda interpretation, I gotta say.  I wouldn't be surprised if this guy really is a socialist, even if he says he's a Christian.  The other thing he goes on about is helping the poor.

Bill: Christian, my ass.

Bob: Also, you gotta remember that Jesus didn't have no family to protect.

Jack & Bill: Huh?

Bob: He was a single guy, is all I'm saying.  He didn't have a wife and kids to protect.  He could afford to sacrifice himself.

Jack: So you're saying, if Jesus had a wife--

Bill: That's blasphemy.

Bob: What, you think he woulda had a husband?

[Jack laughs]

Bill: That's . . . downright un-American.

Bob: My point is, Jesus didn't have the kind of responsibilities we gotta think about.  Not only do I gotta protect my kids, I gotta protect myself so I can feed my kids.  Jesus never had that kind of responsibility.  That's why he could act the way he did.  It's nothing to be a saint when you ain't got no responsibility.

Bill: I think that socialist is getting into you now too.

Jack: I get what Bob is saying, though.  It's easy for God to come down and be this perfect human and lead this perfect life.  Sure he suffered like a man on the Cross, but they didn't have no IRS or orthodontists back then.

Bill:  That's for damn sure.

Bob: Amen to that.

Jack:  And things are different when you got mouths to feed and bills to pay.  You can't expect a normal person to try to live like God.  It's a totally different story.

Bob: It's like an eagle trying to live like a lamb.

Bill: Ain't nothing gonna come from that.

[collective sigh]

Bob: If The Good Lord had a gun, he coulda saved himself a lot of grief.

Bill: Now that's going too far.

Jack: Bill's right.  You can't joke about that.  Besides, he coulda had a army of angels if he wanted em.

[pause]

Bob: Huh.  Umm . . .

Bill: Don't you get started again.

Jack: You could hear him getting ready to start.  He ain't gonna be able to hold it back.

Bob: Fine.  So tell me why he didn't call that army of angels.

Bill: Because he had to make the sacrifice!  That's how he saved us from death.  He sacrificed himself for all of us!

Bob: That sounds like socialism, in a way.

Bill: You've had enough!  Look.  God is god.  You are you.  Jack is Jack.  I am me.  The three of us can't live like God, and that's all there is to it.

Jack: It's Pride to even think we can.

Bill: Exactly.

Bob: I'll tell you what I am proud of.

Jack: Lay off it, Bob.  Seriously.  You already done said enough.

Bob: I'm proud to be an American.

Bill: Well Hallelujah!

Jack: That ain't no sin I ever heard of.

Bob:  That's right.  A star-spangled, gun-toting soldier of Christ is what you can call me.

Bill: Houston, the prodigal son has landed.

7.09.2012

Fixing the Scene, Improvising the Player

I'm finding myself around sudden corners in this enchanted season, this midsummer carnival. Polarities have reversed, and I'm recognizing hidden facets of my self due specifically to the contrast between fixity and flexibility.

 I'm an Aquarius, which is a fixed sign. This thought just occurred to me, and I shouldn't be throwing out points that don't develop my thought so early in the writing, but it is here, and perhaps it reveals something.

How am I fixed, and how am I flexible? Why am I both?

Over the spring, I developed a vague plan to travel to Croatia at some point this summer since it's been years since I spent time by an ocean. A watery horizon does something special to my soul, and I felt my soul needed to be refreshed. But it won't happen. The truth is I now have no idea what will happen this season.

It's already happening.

--

I am perhaps exceptionally flexible when it comes to big pictures, worldviews, paradigms and so on. I have a talent for considering a belief system according to its own terms. Christianity, western science, Egyptian religion, Pythagorean mysticism, tribal mythology--I go at each how each asks me to approach it. This negative capability of mine is a symptom of my lack of a rigidly defined belief system.

I've seen a UFO. I can conceive of thousands of possible explanations for what I saw, and I haven't chosen any. There are myriad ways of thinking about the fact, and I have no desire to prematurely fix a specific angle of observation. I have a knack, or perhaps a need, for opening up new possibilities and appreciating their implications.

Another way to talk about this is to say that I'm a sort of classical polytheist. Not in the sense that I believe in many gods, but that I am equally prepared to accept any god at any given moment. Metaphorically speaking, my acceptance of one god has no impact on my past or future acceptance of other gods. The story of Genesis and the theory of evolution hold equal places in my heart and imagination. I see no need to choose or advantage gained by doing so. Astral entities, gravitrons, miracles, a holographic universe, alien overlords, wormholes, and guardian angels all find a place in my picture of the world.

*They* say you have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything. And if you fell for that, a thousand and one ideologies are already on the market, prepackaged and ready for use. Be a rational atheist. Be a Jehovah's Witness. Be a polyamorist. Be a transhumanist. Be a socialist. Be a conservative Christian. Be a capitalist. Be a feminist. All of the work has already been done for you--the support materials will tell you what and what not to believe.

Except I have no interest in making that kind of choice. My big picture is loose, inclusive, and adaptable.

--

I am rigid and uncompromising with everyday activities. I'm sure any of my ex-girlfriends would confirm this for you.  Once I've decided to do something, it's very difficult to persuade me to do otherwise.  If I'm set on a plan to see a movie, for example, and you suddenly hear about some party that could be interesting, I will feel tremendous resistance to this new possibility.  If we are part of a group, and the group decides that the party sounds good, even if I quietly acquiesce to the change in plans, it'll take me a good amount of time before I get over the internal disturbance.  I feel like I'm changing the course of a river inside myself--it requires time and effort.

It's an unattractive quality.

This is the heart of this post.

--

I have no big pictures for this summer, and I don't even have a set daily or weekly schedule.

--

Whatever this summer becomes, it will be defined by the accumulation of small, everyday decisions.

--

I expected this post to be more than it is.

--

The readiness is all.

6.04.2012

A Real Dream

No Rainbow, a dream that visited me recently, has found its way in here:  Skive Magazine.


5.08.2012

Tetractys

John of Patmos didn't invent the Apocalypse, and Newton didn't invent gravity. These people were exceptional not for the products of their minds but for their ability to see what they saw.

Unfortunately for most of us, seeing isn't always so easy.  Luckily, in spooky moments, we're sometimes given a key.

--

I moved into a new flat last week, and I live here alone.  I realize how demented I must seem, but being able to afford a place of my own feels like a major personal triumph.  My experience since finishing grad school seemed to dictate that I had two options regarding my material situation: either I could do what felt right, natural, and moral, or I could be financially secure, which seems to be the predominant value of my society.  Das Man is strong with me--I have to wrestle that demon--and I overcome.  It took a decade of following my strange star through all manner of wilderness to finally find this place.  Here I am, in my own flat, paid for with guiltlessly acquired cash.  I've found my way to a dream life in an imaginary city.  I didn't have to compromise with what other people call the real world: I made my own.

--

When I got the keys to the flat, I was seeing it for the second time.  It had been repaired and cleaned in the meantime--it looked more presentable, and I was satisfied.  One detail:  above the bed were mirrors in a triangular formation.  I hadn't noticed them during my first visit.  I felt a bit uncomfortable with them, but I was generally satisfied with the flat, so I accepted the keys.

I looked at the mirrors again after the superintendent left.  They cover a fairly large area, and they are directly above the bed.  I thought, So, I've found my way into a porno lair.  I tried to let it go.  Ok, I told myself, I'm free and single anyway, and I'll get used to them.  A porno lair isn't what I would've called my style, but I've been told I flow well with change . . . I will adapt to those mirrors . . . it will be a kind of personal growth . . . into unfamiliar territory.

Truthfully I didn't think about the mirrors too much: I had my lessons to teach, and I still had yet to move my things.  I was in flux.  Though I slept in the new flat from Wednesday on, I didn't finish moving everything over until Saturday.  On Sunday, I went to IKEA to fill in some missing pieces.  I went to Tesco on Monday morning to fill in a few more.  The rest of Monday was beautiful: I had everything that was necessary, and I also received my copy of Philip K Dick's The Exegesis in the mail.

--

[PKD is a major hero of mine.  Prior to discovering VALIS, I basically stuck to canonical literary fiction, if only because those were the writers with true style.  Admittedly, the subject matter of those works rarely interested me.  It takes work for me to relate to a suburban car salesman who is bored with his marriage--I can't imagine myself constrained in such experience; I can't even imagine that the universe would allow it--but that's what we call realism.  If the writer is good, sure, I can do it, and it gives me insight into that lifestyle.  But give me a drifter who suddenly receives direct telepathic communication with an alien intelligence, and I identify immediately.  The world I live in is full of such weirdnesses--it happens all the time, whether I provoke it or not.  I mean, that's what I'm writing about now.  PKD was the first decent writer I read who described reality as I experience it.

But he was a madman, in a way.  During February and March of 1974 (he referred to this experience as 2-3-74) a lot of strange things happened to PKD.  A pink beam of light invaded his brain and gave him information about all sorts of things.  There were insights into the true natures of time, identity, and reality.  The pink beam of light told PKD that his son had a hernia that would kill him; doctors later confirmed that his son did in fact have a hernia, and they successfully treated it.  The pink beam not only expounded on metaphysical truths, it saved his son's life, and thereby proved that it was good.  He also received visions of three eyed aliens and robots with DNA.

The key that provoked this madness of insight was a piece of jewelry.  A delivery girl came to his house, and when he opened the door, PKD noticed her necklace.



He asked the girl what it was, and she said it was the ichthys--the true name of what many call the jesus fish: a symbol of the early Christians.  Revelations fell on PKD for the following two months.  He would later conclude that seeing the ichthys helped him to unforget what he had always known.


The Exegesis was PKD's attempt, through over 8,000 handwritten pages, to understand what had happened to him during 2-3-74.]

--

I read the introduction to The Exegesis on Monday night, after my Czech lesson.  It was wonderful to finally have a relaxed moment in my own flat.  When I finished the introduction, I put the book back on my shelf; I'm currently in the middle of reading Murakami's 1Q84.

When I sat back down, there was my mirror.

I saw what it was.

I'd seen it as a triangle; maybe I'd even understood it as a step pyramid.  But no.  On my wall, right there above my bed, directly before my unseeing eyes--for several days!--was the tetractys.



(Ichthys . . . tetractys . . . did my subconscious process this similarity of sound without throwing up the result into active consciousness, and thus my subconscious awareness of the sound of the word 'tetractys' allowed me to finally see the physical shape before me?!)

The impossible thing about this is that I've been drawing the tetractys for years--it's an obsession.  I had two of them, which I'd drawn myself, on the wall of my old flat.  It is inconceivable to me that I didn't notice it during my first visit to this flat, and then I lived with it for six days!

--

I have no idea what is before my own eyes.

--

Here is a prayer of the Pythagoreans:
“Bless us, divine number, thou who generated gods and men! O holy, holy Tetractys, thou that containest the root and source of the eternally flowing creation! For the divine number begins with the profound, pure unity until it comes to the holy four; then it begets the mother of all, the all-comprising, all-bounding, the first-born, the never-swerving, the never-tiring holy ten, the keyholder of all.”
--

Though this symbol has been firmly lodged in my imagination for many years--I think since high school, but I can't remember when it first caught my attention--I have the nagging sensation that, despite all my research, I have only the most superficial understanding of it.  When I find myself drawing it, and I have drawn it hundreds, if not thousands of times . . . I mean it's compulsive . . . I feel I'm a bit like Spielberg's character in Close Encounters who cannot stop drawing his mountain.

There is something important about this symbol that I don't understand.

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My previous Lightning, Mirror post grew from my discovery that the hieroglyph for the ankh, which is another powerful symbol for me, also carries the meaning of 'mirror'.