A story about complexity

26Aug10

While I’m on a bit of religious tinted theme, something else occurs. Why are human relationships so complex? I mean more or less immediate relationships rather than on any big analytic scale. I mean in the pre-reflexive moments of you and I. Okay, so power, sex difference, economics and all the list of everything still intervenes but there is another reason.

Whatever the multiplicity of small reasons there might be it all comes down to a big reason: humans don’t like simplicity. We like mess. We like chaos and confusion. If we were all struck with blissful happiness overnight we’d call it an epidemic and start searching for a cure. Martial law would be declared. Except the army would be too busy throwing embraces around one another and wondering if such bon homie were fatal. I admit this could be wrong. I admit everything I say or think could be wrong. I have to say and think nonetheless.

So it is again. If we all fell silent for one day. If for a single day we were all quiet, still and simply observed things, observed ourselves we would be searching out the answer to the trauma for years to come. Academic departments would spring up devoted to its transmission. People would shun the Academy and a new oral tradition would prosper. Natural scientists and speculative thinkers of all disciplines would construct theory and metatheory. Historians would revise their lists: 9/11, Hiroshima, Dresden, The Plague of Bliss, The Day of Silence. Psychotherapy would militarise, erecting massive emergency trauma-care centres in every populated corner of the Earth. No radio or television set would ever be turned off for fear of the stains they cover over.

Neuroscientists write that our perceptual apparatus is so wired that we are not overwhelmed by the grandeur of the world- that we are geared only for survival. So it is. Even when we close our eyes. Unable to bear darkness our eyelids allow sunlight to filter through so we can see spots of colour. So it is. Unable to bear silence our hearing does not filter out our heartbeat and the fuzzy rush of blood through capillary and vessle.

I remember reading Beckett. I didn’t know he had been a male nurse in a psychiatric hospital when I began my training, although I had admired his words for years. He wrote that what he admired in psychotic patients was how they rejected the Big World and held so tightly to the Little World. Their own innerspace. It doesn’t take long to figure out this is his own Romance with madness- although I have met psychotic people who, when relieved of the voices in their heads- demand to have their medication stopped so they have an abundant consciousness again. What did Beckett get wrong? The fact that we lean towards one or the other all the time. We can’t quite overcome that old mind-body bollocks. Philosopher’s leap and bound with solutions and proofs. It doesn’t matter. Who doesn’t walk about day to day absolutely committed to the absurdity that they exist?

We don’t want it easy. We erect all our own problems. Forget Marx. Man never sets himself questions he can answer. Maybe woman does that, not being so inflated with a sense of self-importance. Man only sets himself impossible questions. To stave off contentment. To stave off happiness. To stave off liberation. Everywhere people scurry around proclaiming they want happiness, they want freedom, they want to be their authentic self. Everywhere people scurry to hold onto whatever drives a wedge between what they say and what they are. Durkha , suffering, is simply a condition of the world. By all means lets talk about it, lets figure it out where we can. If someone is hurting someone else or if a social system is causing pain then lets understand it, tear it down or mutate it into something better. But suffering itself?

So it is. There are reasons. All valid. All true. All perfectly certain at that moment. Things are what they are. They undergo all kinds of changes. They end. They begin again somewhere else. Matter and energy are constant. So are their shadows. God is hidden in the recesses, perfectly withdrawn. Scintillas sparkle and we confuse their flashing for fire. We dowse out the divine spark.

Some people escape this. Some people seem not to fall into this trap. Its not inauthenticity or false-consciousness or alienation or anything else like that. These things all rely on a split. They all rely on some truth competing with some false. The truth comes in the form of a lie. Illusion is the human reality. We make ourselves authentic and so generate ourselves. Technology is nature. Nature is technological. We don’t sit anywhere special. The universe is an accident. This is the essential gnostic truth. Whatever happens happens. Causation. Whatever. But the beginning. The initial conditions. It was a mistake. A vital error. And evil snuck into the world like a cascading pattern. So what? Evil exists. Durkha. Maybe we could fix it if we just stopped being so earnest. If we listened to evil instead of talking all over it.

We like complexity not because complexity is true. We just can’t help ourselves. We’re junkies. Maybe this is part of the appeal of advertising. The Image is simple. We have Advertising so we don’t die of too much reality. Yet we go on making it more difficult. And anyone who wants to sit still and shut up is a hippie. Anyone who wants to look at evil and say “i know what you are” is an idealist. Anyone how wants to be in reality and with reality instead of always swimming against it is living in a fantasy. We all live in a fantasy. Fantasy is real. Even now I keep writing. Even now I can’t stop typing. Who will read these words? Who will say ‘I’ve heard it all before’ or ‘dude likes the sound of his own voice’ or simply laugh at how stupid and wrongheaded it all is…how far from the mark and insulting.

We can’t help ourselves: the addict’s ultimate delusion. Men have kicked heroin after Vietnam without outside help. I’ve spoken to recovering alcoholics who detoxified themselves. We’re addicted. Some tell you its even part of how we’re wired. The is no wiring. Humans are machines. They are organic machines. The brain doesn’t stop developing, mutating, changing. We’re part of evolution, the necessary outcome of an accident. The only thing that is wired is the contingency of all wiring. The last irony: what does it mean? And so we’re still inside of it. As long as we ask that question. As long as we devote ourselves to complexity. Complexity is. So what? No one ever ruined themselves for the sake of the colour red or the craters on the far side of the moon. When will we stop hitting snooze? This has run away with itself…I’m still asleep.

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