Thursday, August 12, 2004

The fixed point

What is sacred, he asks. Fixed points, probably. The Absolute zero, say. Some axioms he can anchor his thoughts on, that tell him that he is, that distinguish his self from his perceptions. Without acknowledging it to himself, he has always been somewhat suspicious of “truth”. But he has been all too aware of the dangers of ending up in madland in his attempts to escape the thrall of perception. On top, he was never sure that there are any fixed points. But there was this whining, nagging, difficult otherness in him that defined sense in a different sense. It insists that truth, or what seems, can be peeled like an onion to search for fixed points or sacredness or purity or whatever, and in that journey (certainly futile, because there is no inside of an onion) lies a lot of fun. But maybe there is an asylum inside an onion? And here his normal self deliberately intends the pun, despite knowing jolly well that the pun is the lowest form of humour.

If you are confused, you follow your instincts. After five thousand years of civilization, our primary instinct is carnal – all that our history has done is rationalize it with knowledge, embellish it with frills and institutionalise it with norms. (Thankfully!) Therefore, when he, with all his selves, his confusion, his non-American values, his American experience, his five thousand years of history weighing down upon his axioms, walked into the café, it did not strike him as odd that he found what he thought was his moment of truth in a woman lighting a cigarette.