Friday, September 17, 2010
5 AM. Up, I guess, since my nose filled and made unconscious breathing impossible. Not an impossible night but a disturbed one. Thank God –thank Ed Carter! – for his recliner, which makes everything easier.
Yesterday I re-read Shadow Dancing In The USA, a book by Michael Ventura that I discovered in 1986 and reviewed for the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. I was surprised to see that his first essay concerned how we are not unitary individuals, but communities.
You shouldn’t take that as license to convince yourself that our exposition is mere rehashing of things you’ve read. The process of creating the successor culture to Western materialism-as-paradigm is not in the hands of any one person, and therefore the same bits of truth will be found by more than one, and will be combined differently in accordance with material from the rest of their experience. So, to find that a new discovery via the guys upstairs reinforces or even repeats material obtained elsewhere, else-when, does not mean that we are plagiarizing. If anything it may mean that the initial seed – the earlier exposure to the idea – has prepared the soil for further development. The you of 2010 is not the same perhaps as it would have been if the you of 1986 had not read that collection of ideas and contemplated. Think of yourselves as not only being members of your own wagon train, but scouts for other wagon trains, as well. Not quite mapmakers, perhaps, but sketching the terrain for your comrades.
Well, there is a tremendous lot in that book that I think of as my knowledge, that I see now I probably adopted from him.
Nothing wrong with the process. The only concept of “ownership of ideas” that makes sense is not “I invented it and it’s mine,” but “this resonates, and I hereby annex it.” Unlike material objects, ideas may be equally owned by unlimited numbers, and will be found to be different for each because the person possessing it will find it relevant to other ideas and experiences each in its own way. Even within a person-group, one strand-mind may glom onto an idea and another reject it, or one may associate it with one set of beliefs and another associate it with another, each changing it, perhaps unrecognizably, in the process. Ideas, perceptions, mental constraints, are no more individual and unitary than anything else.
It has taken nearly half an hour to write these three journal pages, and I can’t understand where the time went. Normally in half an hour I write four or five pages unless I – or you – get stuck. But I’ve written right along and yet have so little. It is as if I had gone elsewhere, or had spaced out, and had come back needing to find a cover story for why I hadn’t done more.
“Who are you going to believe, me or your own lying eyes?”
Great, I’m talking to Groucho Marx now. (That’s just a joke!) That’s one conversation I will skip.