The sleek perfection of writing and reading
Reading and writing being two of my top-five activities I am perspicuously biased but because the feeling is persistent and deep I have to at least try to cast my dim, yellow, mental search-lights on it. My subjective conviction is that the written word permits the human spirit a manifestation that in its total sum of averaged mean “values” for clarity, emotionality, sublimity, insight [and who knows which other unquantifiable parameters] surpasses any other modes of being or communicating in the world. Sex is more sensual, images can be more sublime, scientific formulae more empirically valid, a motion picture better overwhelm your audio-visual receptors and the whispered words of a senior citizen be more wise but if you average it all out nothing, IMAO, gives you the type of Full-Spectrum emotio-intellectual impact of reading or writing.
The latter introduces order into ones jumbled everyday load of thoughts and suddenly, what was just a chaos of ideas and vague notions takes on a more solid structure as a blog, an article or even a story – themes are put together, ideas fleshed out and arranged in increasing order of relevance. Things begin falling into place and one’s life, day to day, week to week, year to year, is shown to be an intricately patterned process that has deeper levels of meaning than one was apt to be conscious of in the flux of the quotidian or the little epiphanies that precede the moment before one falls asleep. Such are naturally just a few of the enriching aspects of writing. Not to mention the absolute miracle of taking the infinite cosmos of sensori impressions and, by the genius of the human mind, sorting out the words, syntax, sentences whereby we end up with an ultimately finite chunk of text. This text, if well-crafted, has a meaningful, pleasing family-resemblance to the infinite we have to work through as human beings. Therefore I choose the adjective “sleek” by which I mean to signify “pared down but integral” maybe what remains on your subjective stick after you’ve taken experience and held it for a long time into the whirlwind of meaning-making.
As for reading, one of the all-time relevant adjectives of the ideal experience that reading conveys comes, in mon avis, from David F. Wallace: unalone. This is evidently very different from the romantic relationship sentiment of “the two which is One and the one which is Two”. Rather it means, in my lifeworld, that I am filled with the empathic sensation that somebody else has profoundly grappled in his/her own individual head with the important experiences of life and the human condition and then attempted to construct the delicate bridge to words and back.
Or better: I am not alone in my skull, somebody else is also alone, so it seems, but then in books these bony barriers are torn down or dissolved or tunneled through by the medium of the word. Meaning is shaped into ideas, which come in the form of words, which are free to interconnect. And my preferred medium of transport is the book, be it in paper or electronic, because it can cross the great dividers of time and space like none other. Almost none.
And reading certain sentences in great novels that climax a line of thought, narrative or character development is not just a revelation of the sublime, it is also for me [themba benedict mabona giger] epiphanic: now I know something more about life. Or in the extreme: now I have an opportunity to enjoy life more deeply. The image is that of being offered the best fruit from the tree of life. For me there really are very few other experiences where I come away with this sensation, or if so then long and far between, unlike the regular supply that is “delivered” by great lit.
However, these opinions might just be the consequence of my profession [or the late hour of the day], a profession which does not require me to directly interface with people and help to improve their life’s lot. Conversation, cooperation and solidarity – now that is true intersubjectivity, that is to be truly unalone. In other words, my love of the literary cult[ure] is fine but it might just go to show that I am, despite myself, trapped in a certain elitism that comes from dealing with written words rather than [suffering] people. If this is a sad state of affairs then I’m making a good-hearted effort not to see it in only that perspective.
Newsflash from one’s own mind, by which I mean the un-triviality of something new to be learned every day from inside oneself instead of outside
I find it tantalizing how people are very interested in “what is going on in the world” or “world affairs”. Mostly these are the dealings of politicos and/or celebrities that the readership have absolutely, positively no dealings with and who themselves, the famous people, probably could care less about the people who read about them. If it comes right down to it. This is an absurd situation because there is a disconnect in both directions and yet there is a medium [“world news”] that crosses this void and is in extremely high demand for doing so. On the level of sociology, psychology, media studies, etc one could run endless, massive, government-funded research-projects examining this with the latest methods of social science. I could try to be the head researcher of such a group and make a comfortable living, occasionally publishing articles and papers about the social significance of President Obama and Lady Kacka but… yeah.
What upsets me is that I suffer from the impression that many readers tend to pay more attention to “the news” and “world affairs” then to all the amazing new information that potentially accumulates in their minds about themselves everyday. [This hypothesis is derived from comparing ‘time spent studying iPhone/paper/laptop’ to ‘time spent gazing out the train’s window’]. I don’t think I fare better myself but I’ve begun running a subjective, caffeine-funded, end-of-working-day, non-empirical research project on the stuff I find out about myself each day. Some of it I jot down in a little notebook so that quite a few insights have been accumulating.
I got the idea from reading [somewhere] that if we could learn One thing about ourselves everyday, we’d be crazy by thirty and dead by fifty [or thereabouts]. There is the old trap: learning one new thing about oneself a day sounds so cliché and trivial and shallow that no self-respecting, post-modern comrade can do anything but wink and nudge and rib-poke at this. But the question is: who the hell makes an actual, good-faithed attempt at doing it and seeing what the results are? Does so without the impulse of turning it into [or following] a god-awful self-help manual? I suppose not too many.
I believe that there are real news happening in our own brain everyday and that it makes good sense to try to pay attention to what is going on there. For example watching people or stuff we have seen a thousand times and trying to come up with a new “fitting” word or description for it.
E.g. I have come to think of the rush-hour crash at the Zurich train station as “The Show” or also “The Real Deal”. This is far from definitive but for now it helps me make sense of certain things I see daily.
E.g. I’ve been thinking/imagining that I’m not status-oriented, that I am free of an overly comparative spirit but a certain figure, which I must not mention, is beginning to irk me beyond belief. I keep turning the figure over, comparing it, seeing how it relates to who I am and how it should change.
E.g. As a former Anthropologist-in-the-making I am shocked to say that there are people who appear to be essentially fake or strange-hearted; which does not mean that I don’t think they can change.
 In my anarchist opinion