“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Saturday, March 10, 2007

LI apologizes for the poor quality of the programming this week, surfers

It is nice to see that, according to the NYT, the author of “Party Til You Puke” – Andrew W.K. now wants to discuss the merits of Martin Buber with his fans.


Mr. W. K. — the initials stand for his real last name, Wilkes-Krier — is a connoisseur of excitement, as anyone who has seen his hair-flinging performances or videos can attest. Lately he’s been exuberant about ideas, like the nature of coincidences and paradoxes and solipsism. Also pancakes. Over lunch near his apartment in Midtown, he ordered a stack of blueberry-banana-chocolate-chip-walnut, a blend of every flavor the restaurant offered — and slowly made a mash of them as he talked about his new passion: thinking.

He has been reading the works of the philosopher Martin Buber, among others, and contemplating consciousness. “I have been very into the idea that the only way the external world exists is by you observing it, and that the only way you can interact with that external world through that observation is to intend it to be,” he said, his eyes closed in concentration. He opened them to eat observably a strip of bacon.”


This is Martin Buber’s theory of reality as a tv to which you hold a channel changer – which has pretty much satisfied us for the last fifty years. The problem with that interaction is that the internal world might come out of you into the external world in big spontaneous doses if you party til you puke, but such are the chances of life.

Well, LI has been closing our eyes, too, trying to think our way through various intractable problems this week. We have been – okay? – a piss poor blogger this week. Sorry. Not only that, but we’ve been making little money doing the stuff that Melena Ryzik – the reporter who interviewed Mr. W-K – is doing in this article: smirkily affirming the prejudices of the reader. We have not queried a newspaper or magazine regarding a thousand words to fill up a couple of columns since – since early February. Although we did just get some nice feedback from a professor whose article on Russian cinema we edited, who advised us to radically raise our prices. So there you go. We are going to have to plea for work a little bit in the next week, probably on this site. Sorry.

While Mr. W-K wrestles with couch potato idealism, we’ve been thinking about a line that popped into our head whilst running around the lake yesterday: we turn everything we touch into mythology.

This wasn’t exactly a thought, and it wasn’t exactly a line of poetry – it was a freefloating externality, a stray, something overheard as the language talks to the language via my brain, a singleton – which is, of course, why I run around the lake. Loosen your thoughts until they are no longer your thoughts. Unlike W-K or Baudelaire (Flairant dans tous les coins les hasards de la rime/ Trébuchant sur les mots comme sur les paves/ Heurtant parfois des vers depuis longtemps rêvés), I try to turn potential ‘verse’ into propositions – I chop its head off, I pluck it, I gut it, I cut it into pieces. I couldn’t say that this line came out of nowhere – lately, as my suffering readers know, I’ve been thinking about the destiny of figures that are unloosed in literature and life, especially the buffoon and the sage, and how that destiny impinges on the social like the way a particular style will impinge on a text – a nuance that isn’t caught by discourse or the truth table.

Could it really be true that everything we touch turns into mythology? Are human beings machines for making myths?

Well: here’s a dialogue in the Upanishads that gives us two sides on this issue, which ends on a note of pure Beckett. I hope Mr. W-K finishes his Martin Buber soon, so he can move on to the Upanishads. Maybe I should write him a letter.

There was a man of the Garga family called Proud Balaki, who was a speaker. He said to Ajatasatru, the king of Benares, ‘I will tell you about Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, ‘For this proposal I give you a thousand (cows). People indeed rush saying "Janaka, Janaka". (I too have some of his qualities.)’
II-i-2: Gargya said, ‘That being who is in the sun, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, ‘Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as all-surpassing, as the head of all beings and as resplendent. He who meditates upon him as such becomes all-surpassing, the head of all beings and resplendent.
II-i-3: Gargya said, ‘that being who is in the moon, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as the great, white-robed, radiant Soma.’ He who meditates upon him as such has abundant Soma pressed in his principal and auxiliary sacrifices every day, and his food never gets short.
II-i-4: Gargya said, ‘That being who is in lightning, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as powerful’. He who meditates upon him as such becomes powerful, and his progeny too becomes powerful.
II-i-5: Gargya said, ‘This being who is in the ether, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as full and unmoving’. He who meditates upon him as such is filled with progeny and cattle, and his progeny is never extinct from this world.
II-i-6: Gargya said, ‘This being who is in air, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as the Lord, as irresistible, and as the unvanquished army.’ He who meditates upon him as such ever becomes victorious and invincible, and conquers his enemies.
II-i-7: Gargya said, ‘This being who is in fire, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as forbearing’. He who meditates upon him as such becomes forbearing, and his progeny too becomes forbearing.
II-i-8: Gargya said, ‘This being who is in water, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as agreeable’. He who meditates upon him as such has only agreeable things coming to him, and not contrary ones; also from him are born children who are agreeable.
II-i-9: Gargya said, ‘This being who is in a looking-glass, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as shining’. He who meditates upon him as such becomes shining, and his progeny too becomes shining. He also outshines all those with whom he comes in contact.
II-i-10: Gargya said, ‘This sound that issues behind a man as he walks, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as life’. He who meditates upon him as such attains his full term of life in this world, and life does not depart from him before the completion of that term.
II-i-11: Gargya said, ‘This being who is in the quarters, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as second and as non-separating’. He who meditates upon him as such gets companions, and his followers never depart from him.
II-i-12: Gargya said, ‘This being who identifies himself with the shadow, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as death’. He who meditates upon him as such attains his full term of life in this world, and death does not overtake him before the completion of that term.
II-i-13: Gargya said, ‘This being who is in the self, I meditate upon as Brahman’. Ajatasatru said, "Please don’t talk about him. I meditate upon him as self-possessed.’ He who meditates upon him as such becomes self-possessed, and his progeny too becomes self-possessed. Gargya remained silent.
II-i-14: Ajatasatru said, ‘is this all ?’ ‘This is all’. ‘By knowing this much one cannot know (Brahman)’. Gargya said, ‘I approach you as a student’.

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