Chrysalis’ End [Chronicles of Infection, excerpt: 14mar’10]


Suddenly things have changed. The Infected One thinks that perhaps he had better stand still for a moment and consider the situation. The nature of how things have changed, which things exactly have changed and how these things constitute his life.


There had been, before the moment of change, of course the certainty that change would come. A conviction born from an incorrect truism that has been bandied about for ages: the only thing that is constant, is change. But change is not constant, change is the diametrical opposite of constant. Thus the right way of putting it might be: the only thing that is constant, is nothing OR there is nothing but continuous change.


So anyway, the Infected One, like MLK or Malcom X but in a less socially significant way, has known that change has been afoot all the while. The difference this time was/has been that it is significant. It signifies something. What? In regard to this point the Infected One can only speculate: a) that his years of University training [entomology and cultural studies] are finally beginning to pay off  a2) that it is good that he has not spent any of his lottery winnings b) that, perhaps, he did not write all those hundreds of applications in vain [OR that one of them did not land in the subterranean strong-box he had written about] c) that one of his favorite metaphors or simile is being expanded on d) that his employer sees something in him that he himself is blind to, a certain entelechy he has been grievously unaware of.


Let us consider c). The Infected One [whose present malady is that of hyper-thermic activity and a metastasis of ideas] has enjoyed thinking of himself in terms of having antenna, those long, sensitive protrusions from the head that make him capable of detecting subtle activities taking place in his environs and the world at large [e.g. in Kyoto he had once used them to predict and earth-quake and save millions of lives]. The antenna symbolize his penchant for considering things very closely and then trying to prey them, however unfortunately, apart and thus form an idea of how they might function.


One could then go on to extrapolate or superproject the symbol of the antenna further [down along the rest of his anatomy] and end up with The Infected One as, not an insect sui generis but rather a sapient, neotopian[1] figure/character, a liminal being halfway between homo sapiens sapiens [oh you tragic beast!] and a small arthropod that has six legs and generally one or two pairs of wings; the subphylum Hexapoda. A hybrid, combining animal intensity with human conditionality. This scenario the Infected One has played through as well, so he tries to push his imagination just a small, logical step further.


The Infected One is coming out of his domestic, literary, non-professional, free-wheeling Chrysalis. Enters the world of work, of the seriously professional culture sphere. The temptation is to think of it neatly metaphorical: that he has gone from being a caterpillar who randomly moved across the world and nibbled at one employ here and at another job there, to the pupa who stayed at home, in its room, day and night, shades drawn, devouring books, the internet and writing up an amber-colored exoskeleton of blog entries and short stories.


And now has come the day [“suddenly things have changed”] on which he is eclosing[2] into the “real” world or life. That the Infected One might now be reaching the stage of imago: the final and fully developed adult stage of an insect, typically winged OR an unconscious, idealized mental image of someone, that influences a person’s behavior. That he has arrived: School of Media & worker in the culture industry. The Infected One for now enjoys the thought that these transformations are not just transient, idealized images of himself but something permanent.


At the same time he thinks that it is probably better to create an inner distance of safeguard as in the motion picture „The air I breathe“ [he imports this artifact despite the well-known injunction that inter-textual references will always weaken a literary effort[3]]. Quote: „Does the butterfly that comes out of the cocoon know that it has become a butterfly or does it still think of itself as a caterpillar?“ The Infected One wagers on that the chatepelose [the hairy cat] must know because, why, it can fly! It has lost its appetite for leaves and stems and instead goes for pollen, flinging its proboscis down into the sweet innards of flowers. And lastly, herky-jerky forward toiling has now become fluttery flight from one flower to the next. Things have changed: the body and the environment and the quality of life. He thinks that perhaps he should even finally get rid of his BMW, which is after all fouling up the atmosphere and the future of any potential children of his.


The Infected One’s Q.o.L seems to have changed for the better. He is being taught the skills of his trade, writing for a thousands-strong readership, that he wishes he would have been taught a long time ago. Always having loved the written word he wonders why it took him so long to understand that he should make it his profession rather than hobby. But the past is a country of no return, a frozen estate to which the imperative of change no longer applies. Except, that is, looking back in interpretation: so this is what that meant.


Other changes in The I. O’s Q.o.L: he has become a participating member of the culture industry. Not the strictly mechanical sections of it but one those intent on creating aesthetic surplus value. To a degree that is almost painfully self-reflexive this has happened with a company/publication/employer who before, in the previous century, had employed one of the two role models he considers constructive to his own realization of potential [entelechy: the supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism or other system]. He loves this word like none other for reasons he has not yet fully come to understand. It implies the sweet co-presence of everything one will ever be able to achieve in life in the here&now, it suggests that time as progression along a straight line is very insufficient.


To put it more bluntly: the Infected One is now in the position that the Immune One was in many decades ago, which in turn brings to mind the image of Nikes that can never be filled. But he should not get the images mixed up here: there are no shoes; the Infected One needs to blaze his own trail, write up his own monument. Good luck. He pushes these thoughts aside, they are too anxiety- and paralysis- and great-expectations-inducing to be of any help.


The main point is this: suddenly he is no longer isolated in his little room, hammering away at his McIntosh[4] like Sisyphus. Suddenly there is the possibility that people might be touched, somewhere, sometime, by the words he manages to type out.


You! You could be touched. I touch you, can you feel it?


This possibility vitalizes the Infected One and he begins thinking many-a-thought, brainstorming, brain-tempesting, stupendous clouds of imagination that overcast his ability to think clearly or be sharply analytical. But this latest infection is one he is happy to live with for a while as long as he can keep his imago from entirely becoming himself. Time to go drive that BMW off of a cliff into Lake Luceria.



[1] He has been thinking about his style of writing for a long time, trying to imagine a category [because if you don’t designate yourself, somebody else will] that could be fitting. It is “neotopian” that is, trying to create new places and ways-of-life that do not exist in present reality but that are not totally beyond the possibility. They can be thought, thus they might also be realized [if indeed they are desirable]. The problem with so much modern writing being that, despite all its brilliance, it mostly lacks vision, that is, it presents no alternative to the present ideologies, order of things, social arrangements, etc. Such writing is, in a very real sense, impotent.


[2] No typo. This word exists, have fun looking it up, it’s a good one.


[3] Do you agree? I disagree. It means you are willing to engage with the good thinking that has come before and ALSO refer your readers to it.


[4] A dessert apple of a variety native to North America, with deep red skin. Wordplay all day, baby 😉

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About tmabona

writer, reader [bolano, DW, bellow, deLillo], runner, badmintoneer
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