Tuesday, March 10, 2020

unstable possibilities

“Menshiki nodded. “It is. Instead of a stable truth, I choose unstable possibilities. I choose to surrender myself to that instability. Do you think that’s unnatural?”

Haruki Murakami; Killing Commendatore

Well it is very hard to give a definitive answer to that question. Like when lighting a cigarette; the best moment is when you take a drag while still craving the nicotine. The moment the crave is gone, smoking becomes pointless and joyless. But there is an ephemeral and fleeting moment where the crave and the act of smoking intersect. So the best thing to do is to prolong and savor the first drag after a long crave. That is what makes the first cigarette of the morning special. Even on a historical level, the initial days of revolutions are the best part; it is during these days that new possibilities open before normality (and betrayal) sets in. This makes the proposition of permanent revolution so enticing even if impractical and often a recipe for permanent terror. But in contrast there is the enduring image of static utopias, a sort of eternal present, which reminds me of the pictures of people in gardens as depicted on some pamphlet distributed by the Jehovah witnesses, not to mention the mushroom village of the smurfs. So damn reassuring but distant. But still all this could well be within reach in our small imperfect islands. For when one sees beauty in imperfections, on can also find enduring happiness. Than there is fear of being thrown off course. It is a fear evoked in the hellish visions found in the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, a sensation of hopelessness which offers no possibility of redemption but which still regales us with a bestiary of torment. And yes torment can become a way of prolonging an instability which is no longer pregnant with possibility. This recalls the feeling of when you wake up from a dream which you can't remember but which you know left you stranded, away from the island of the day before, which you can never reach despite all the efforts made. Than there is the joy of hibernation. The possibilities remain shelved and acknowledged, but you can keep afloat in blissful detachment. It is like keeping possibilities frozen in a time capsule. Yet spring always lurks at a corner and with global warming, spring sometimes does come prematurely.

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