I like to travel. I do not know if I like it because I go somewhere or if it's because I leave somewhere else. This remains a mystery to me. My wanderlust remains both unquenchable and satisfying, if only because I cannot take it apart and analyze it. It's just a mystery to me. I do not know why I long for something Other. I just do. If I ever find out what I'm looking for, I may actually find it and then the game is over. So wander I will. Here are some photos from my Christmas-time wanderings.
looking out from a bridge in some flooded town
somebody's back yard
i shall stay here when i make my first million
my father is absent in this foto because it is he who is holding the camera
the natives think me odd for photographing their roads, i think. shake their heads and mutter unintelligible italian epithets of scorn.
if by some freak genetic accident you happen to be born into a royal family, you get to wake up every morning to views like this one.
"Someday I want to be rich. Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That's how rich I want to be." - Rita Rudner
A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw his life. He knows the 'why' for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any 'how.' - Viktor Frankl, paraphrasing Nietzsche
A mere five minutes of your time to read this.
Brannon McAllister, of Portland Studios infamy, has now relocated to a new blog. You may find his complete works, naked to the public eye, on this intriguing new site.
Critics everywhere are perking up and taking notice of the site's revolutionarily spartan design, publishing a chorus of praise in their website critique journals. Comments have included the following:
"A postmodern take on minimalism."
"What Philip Glass is to the auditory medium, Brannon McAllister is to visual media."
"Mr. McAllister (if that's his real name?) has strapped onto his shoulders the prophet's mantle for his generation of artists."
"I was zugzwanged."
"McAllister confines his visual medium entirely to greys and blacks, ostensibly to protest the apallingly consumeristic use of white by the repressionistic bourgeouise corporate pigs of Apple."
"Refreshingly simple yet not simplistic."
As you can see, the critics fawn on him. Visit the site thrice daily.
Zugunruhe: migratory restlessness; the migratory drive in animals, especially birds
The 4 mournful rings of the clock are just a vague memory now, the metallic gongs floating around lazily throughout and around my mind, nearly lost in the hazy chambers of sleepy thought. The digital alarm clock on my desk blinks the time at me, signaling through his worrisome blinks that 5 a.m. is fast approaching. When the time comes I’ll get no metallic gonging from him, just red mournful blinks.
Pathetic fallacy, I think is the name of what I just did. Attributing human emotions or responses to inanimate things. The clock is mournful? I begin to suspect that I’m going mad. Mournful blinks? I speculate that I’m actually just projecting my own emotional data onto the clock in some psychologically complex scheme in order to imagine sympathy from my physical context. Interpreting the data of my perfectly neutral surroundings to match my own emotions. Well, at least someone agrees with me, even if it is just a clock...
It’s a little late to be pursuing my destiny, admittedly, but alas, sometimes one has to fit it in where he can. I like calling my work "pursuit of destiny"; it has a certain gravitas to it. So I pursue it. The tasks at hand are unfinished. They call for order, hard work, pain-staking midnight-oil--burning diligence. They command me to lean studiously over my desk and pore over every last word on every last page of every last project. I lean back in my chair and with some effort prop my feet on my bookshelf. Heavy eyelids cover my eyes in long, weary blinks. To my left my desk, heavy-laden with stacks of papers all clamoring for my attention. To my right the open window, opened to a dark cool silent world outside, not clamoring for my attention, not uttering a word.
“I’m pursuing my destiny” is what I tell myself because I know that if I don’t then I won’t finish the paper and if I don’t finish the paper I’ll get bad grades and if I get bad grades I’ll end up working fast-food, halfway through a degree that was probably unmarketable anyway. My claim of destiny-pursuit keep me focused. It may or may not be true, but who cares—it gets my papers done. Foma, Kurt Vonnegut would call it. Convenient fiction. As if writing a paper of recycled ideas is in any way connected to destiny. Destiny my foot. It’s structure I’ve imposed on my mind to get things done.
It’s 9 till 5 and before I’m finished rambling my thoughts will be shattered again by the metallic rings of the wall clock down the hall. Probably what I’ll realize when I finish rambling is that if I were pursuing my real destiny I’d be a bit closer to a ring and a 9-5. That’s what people tell me anyway. And I’ll concede that they’re probably right. But I still steadfastly maintain that it’ll take me a while to see how exactly they’re right. I’m still biding my time. Now is the time to float around lazily in exploration, trying to figure out which end is up, what I believe, and all those other explorations allowed to the young. If you’re still in that exploratory stage, “settle down” is a bad word, worthy of getting your mouth soaped. Now is the time to indulge in wanderlust until it has run its course.
It’s a dark cool silent world outside, not clamoring for my attention. And I’m not clamoring for its attention. Right now I just ingest the sound of silence, stumbling through the hazy chambers of my own thought and hoping that in time the destiny will be uncovered and so will my eyes.
What I’ve got to offer the world is no ring, just weary but worry-free red-eyed blinks and the promise to do something useful with my existence within the next decade.
Oh dear. This is funny.
I think this is a warning to those of us striving for 'relevance.' The problem with enveloping your message in the culture's ephemeral trends is that the culture's ephemeral trends are just plain ephemeral. This photo essay is fine example of the culture's tendency to make itself entirely worthy of the mockery of future generations.
From French Marxist critic Louis Althusser, noting the authority mechanisms utilized by rulers in the past:
"The reproduction of the relations of productions is secured [or to say w/o using Marxist jargon, the way the rulers enforce their rule] . . . by the ideological superstructure [which includes the educational and religious systems]."
"The Ideological State Apparatuses . . . [work toward] the reproduction of the relations of production [i.e., they exist to make you conform to the system of those in power]."
"They [religious authorities] forged the Beautiful Lies so that, in the belief that they were obeying God, men would in fact obey the Priests and Despots."
In other words, people in every culture have recognized for centuries that in order to ensure obedience from your underlings, it's very useful to add divine sanction to your words.
It's a very useful authority mechanism: If you disobey anything I say, you're not just disobeyng me--you're disobeying God.