Cloud Mind Shadow

“I believe that only a dreamer who has fear neither of life nor death will discover this infinitesimal iota of force which will hurtle the cosmos into whack – instantaneously.”

What do you do when you have no fear of life and death? Perhaps you sit outside a quiet pub and drink a beer on a mild September afternoon. And dream. This moment belongs to you: a moment to do nothing. You live a lifetime in such a moment.

“For him who is obliged to dream with eyes wide open all movement is in reverse, all action broken into kaleidoscopic fragments.”

The ideologues have it in reverse, with their emphasis on seizing opportunity: if you keep your eyes open for every opportunity to act (to “get on”, to “add value”) then you’re living like an animal. Gilles Deleuze said that this is what it means to be an animal: always on the lookout, always on alert. If you live like this you’ll never know what it can mean to be human, a rational being whose mind encompasses the earth and sky, and the cloud rolling above and shadows that move below are this human beer-drunk mind moving away and back into itself. If you live for opportunity you will remain warily separate from the human nature-mind of cloud and shadow. Clouds mean rain, shadows mean danger. Keep your eyes open.

“I believe, as I walk through the horror of the present, that only those who have the courage to close their eyes, only those whose permanent absence from the condition known as reality can affect our fate . . .”

On every inhabited planet in every galaxy of every universe is the same “identical misery . . . identical insanity.” It will be back to the same insanity once I finish this beer. But for now everything seems in order. The cosmos? It’s all in whack as long as I can sit in this peace in the cool air. A moment alone with myself. A lifetime before the deluge.

(I’ve been reading Black Spring by Henry Miller, published by Alma Classics in 2012. Most of the quotations in this post are from the chapter entitled “Walking Up and Down in China.”)

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