Having my way with Ulysses

In what final satisfaction did these antagonistic sentiments and reflections, reduced to their simplest forms, converge?


3:25 am

[Scene: Two lovers in bed, AE with Lizzie Twigg: coiled head to toe they quietly discuss the fixity of their volatility and the volatilization of their fixation, until within his fixedness AE has become nothing and feeling everything, Lizzie becomes volitive. They communicate intermittently in increasingly more laconic narrations. Also a small angry dog is trying to take up as much space as possible between them. It’s so cute! Come here little puppy, come here. What a good doggie. Who’s a good doggie? Oh Jesus God! He’s all teeth! Get off me! Like petting a piranha with fur.]

AE: It’s just that we define ourselves contrarily to each other. I am me because I am not you, and you are you because you are not me. We are poles apart.

Lizzie: We are the same person, AE, don’t you feel it?  After all the mutual deaths we have died? Resurrection, translation, return, distillation, putrefaction, decay, still you don’t know you had it backwards the whole time. You were resurrecting in the wrong direction.

AE: I know. I know it. I just wanted to be the material representation of eternality, in linear time. Just once. Just for a little while. Only long enough to re-experience that feeling of linearity. Don’t you miss it? And feel what it could be, to be linear and eternal simultaneously.

Lizzie: But you can’t just translate yourself into linearity and say I’m back, everybody, I’ve  gained bodily entry into eternity and now look at me! Look at what happened to Lazarus. No. If you want to see how a human mortal finds a place within eternity, that’s not going to cut it. That gets you nothing.

AE: Nothing’s not nothing. Don’t knock nothing.

Lizzie: No, nothing’s not nothing.

AE: I was trying be the eternal temporalized. I wanted to be the all at onceness linearized. I wanted to square that circle, just once. Just the one time and be it and feel it, really feel what it is to be the coexistence of the infinite and the finite.

Lizzie: Be eternality living in linearity? Darling, you’ve done it. You’ve been there already. The infinite and the finite are the same things whichever side you’re on, if you really must take sides, can’t you tell? Just look at us, two beings contrarily defined yet coexisting as aspects of the same reality.

AE: I know. I get it. You don’t have to scratch me like that.

Lizzie: That wasn’t me, but here’s a flash of light for you AE: when we were mortals we didn’t have to go around worrying all the time about gaining bodily entry into eternity: eternity had already gained bodily entry into us. We have always already been since time immemorial and forevermore, the material representation of eternality.

AE: We are God.

Lizzie: Exactly. We are already a squared circle: we can take a finite form, but our infinite selves are in there too.

AE: We are a circle, containing everything.

Lizzie: Everything and nothing.

[At rest relatively to themselves and to each other, the lovers settle into silent contemplation. Small birds rise gently, sweetly, from Lizzie and from AE. Hundreds of them flitter up in swirling concentric patterns bringing with them, as if reflected from the sheen of their feathers, an increasing luminosity of ruby light. Thousands of little birds, aeons of them, softly forming clouds as soft as what do you call it gossamer, the clouds forming mist, the mist gently drifting downward covering the lovers, the lovers blurring about the edges. Together they coalesce and dissolve, their bodies languid, breathing, watching their spirits unrestrained, circling, birds rising into mist falling, like self knowing wheels revolving uniformly: self knowing and self known.]

A solution of the secular problem of the quadrature of the circle.

Mortals are immortals and immortals are mortals, the one living the others' death and dying the others' life.

2:53 am

A circle is a circle because it is not a square. A square is a square because it is not a circle. Well now duh. So why do it? Why would anybody for any reason (with any reason) want to square the circle? Why take the one (let’s say the square: all pointed and anchored, so angular, and such fixity (a place for everything and everything in its place) such certainty) and try to make it anything but what it is? it’s good the way it is. Leave it alone. Who needs a turning of this into that when you already have both this and that. And look at that that: smooth and continuous. arcing around, no beginning no end: doesn’t know if it is coming or going, really, and frankly doesn’t care. You can’t pin that down: where to put the pin? Tell me precisely where. Go ahead. Like any coastline regardless of adjacent ocean, the closer you get, the more places for pinning. With circles its turtles all the way down. You would think the square would have no problem becoming a circle, it’s made of such nice round numbers, but sister circle is just so damn big, no matter how small she is. The maddening thing about her is that she flaunts her shape at us no matter how we want to see her. Looks like the perfect place for keeping things in. But how can such a perfect container, (with all the appearance of finite enclosure) harbor such infinities beyond reason? In becomes out. Where does she put it all? No wonder people behave like such lunatics trying to fit their square pegs into her round holes. This is now that, ta daaa! Imagine. And why? Once that’s done there’d be nothing left for them to do. Nothing left for anybody to do. What else could there possibly be? You’re done. You’ve just made the independent discovery of a goldseam of inexhaustible ore. You can go ahead now and buy your own island, no problem, and get down to watching the money riding in with the waves. Would be nice. It could be an art, even, cultivating the purest of possible devotions to one’s own pleasure. Could do anything. Arrange beehives according to humane principles, and the like. Join capital with opportunity and the thing required is done. Maybe even start my own religion. The Holy Church of the Sacred Squircle. No. Don’t like the holy church part. Squirclism. That’s better. I like that much better.

Nought Nowhere was Never Reached

But time between one and the other when was brief -- I mean the whens of waiting and of seeing heaven grow more radiant.2:26 am

Look at the stars if you can see them. I see clouds and darkness but I know the stars are there. No. I don’t know that. I know that they were there. The little lights which I do not see in the sky but possibly you do, come from a past which possibly had ceased to exist as a present before its probable spectators (excluding myself) had entered actual present existence. That which I do not see might not be there now, most certainly is not there now, as by now they will have red-shifted position. All those stars running off, taking their planets with them. Ours too. Such a fearsome isolation, all this expanding outwardly from each other, temporality stretching between us. So lonely, having no contact with each other. Yet if we did, our loneliness would compound. We could look up at the stars (I at starless clouds) into distances numbering nine to the ninth power to the ninth power and find our double, as if in a mirror shining back to us: we are here too. The joy of recognition; the first sighting of a lover! And then, and then. And then we will understand in advance the impostvidibility of the past. We will know as if we have already harkened back in a kind of retrospective arrangement that we are already and always have been ever alone. There is our lover, shimmering through lakes of dreams, seas of rains, gulfs of dews, oceans of fecundity, simultaneously loving us back yet already gone. Infinity rendered finite. We would be as the new moon with the old moon in our arms, but our state of solitude is one where there can be no entry. They are gone. The world is gone.

Three seekers of the pure truth.

They never listen to the voice of reason without being tied up by their prejudices, as Ulysses was by his fellow travelers, and giving them the order in advance: "Pull the rope tighter, the more I squirm and beg to be set free, until we will have lost sight of the Sirens."2:17 am

[Scene: Atop Mount Pisgah in Madaba, Jordan, Moses greets two more Moseses who have come to play a little chess, grill up some lamb, and argue, always argue. Always the same fight about the same damn thing.  Move on already.]

Moses: Welcome gentlemen, Moses, your face.  Not this again.

Moses Maimonides: [His badly scarred face sports wounds in varying stages of freshness. Some of them weep a yellow pus. Stinks. Moses, put a bandage on or something. A mask. Nobody wants to see that.]  Nothing.  A mirror.  Nothing.

Moses Mendelssohn: [Back bent double but nicely dressed]  Oh I’ve done that. Hurts.

Moses: You have to stop. This ridiculous pursuit. It must end. Let it go.

Moses Maimonides: I just wonder, if I could just, if I could just hear it from him once and for all.

Moses Mendelssohn: He was not Jewish. Aristotle was not a Jew. Don’t waste his time asking him that, please, man, have some dignity.  Remember who you are. From Moses to me there was none like you.  You talked Aristotle into the void! Why does his faith mean so much to you?  My closest friend is a, well, not a Christian per se, certainly not a Spinozist or some sort of athiest, more of a pantheist. He’s not Jewish anyway and you don’t see me trying to make him into a Jew.

Moses: It is Plato who is Jewish, not Aristotle. Or Socrates rather.

Moses Mendelssohn: Nonsense. Must anyone be anything? Aristotle. He dealt in reason: his philosophy conjures the purity of truth found only in mathematics. If this equals that then that equals this. Mathematics, not superstition. Most of humanity embark on the journey of life with delusion of superstitions and with the firm resolve to complete that journey with them.  You think a man who rejected the infinite and the void with an even greater resolve was a Jew?

Moses: Stop. Superstitions! I did not lead my people, God’s chosen people, all the way to the holy land for superstitions! With kids too! Are we there yet? Are we there yet? And feeding everybody, and everybody all cooped up together bickering and sick to death of each other already, and can we stop here, and can we stop there every five minutes.  I can’t tell you how many times I threatened to pull the whole thing over and turn around.

Moses Maimonides: And you did it for what? You died here!

Moses Mendelssohn: But the view, Moses, it’s soultransfiguring.  The light in the morning hours must be magnificent.

Moses: It’s a nice place to end up, I’ve got to say.

Moses Maimonides: Your barbeque pit is phenomenal, you could roast just about anything in there. How do you keep such a good smolder going?

Moses: Eternal fire. Really, it comes down to how you shape your burning bush. I like a nice pyramid with a pan of water next to it.

Moses Maimonides: Get that from the Egyptians?

Moses: Yup. You know, Moses, I’m going to ask Plato if he was Jewish. I just have to ask.

Moses Maimonides: I know, right?

Moses Mendelssohn: I can’t listen to these words.

Moses: It’s too late Moses, we are deep into the quicksand now. Our world without end is a different kind of world without end, so don’t give us your mathematical rationality. Parallel lines meet at infinity now.A = A + B.  Mathematics has been entangled in strings of its own making for infinities beyond infinities now.

Moses Maimonides: And all that bound into a finite space too.

Moses: Exactly. Everything is made from infinity and void as you well know. And was Aristotle a Jew? It was Socrates I’m sure of it, or Plato rather.  Was Aristotle Jewish? Let Moses ask him.  See what he can do.

Moses Mendelssohn: Fine. Go ahead Moses, it’s your face.

Moses: Good. Now how do you like your lamb?

Letting on to be awfully deeply interested in nothing

But they will teach us that Eternity is the Standing still of the Present Time, a Nunc-stans (as the Schools call it;) which neither they, nor any else understand, no more than they would a Hic-stans for an Infinite greatness of Place.

5:40 pm

This place is filled with bugs.  Look at that one there in the corner.  Oh wow, that’s a spider eating another spider.  No wait, not eating.  Well, that’s natural.  Told Joe I could wait for the money he owes me if he would talk to Myles about the Keyes ad.  He won’t do it.  Look at those spiders.  Right here with us, living lives.  Mating.  Sharing our houses strangers to us.  What civilization do they have, I wonder.  They crawl so close over everything we have, everything we’ve made.  Our art, our literature, our beds.  And we busy with our moderation and botheration and civilization and syphilisation to be much to them but goodfornothing gods lighting sideways on their lives smushing them so you wouldn’t see a trace of them after and leave them for our dogs to devour or wipe them off with something and into the trash with you, honey.  And here are these two in the corner just in time to be late to know that somebody will smash them before they are done and well, that’s natural.  Obliterated to nothingness.  Well, not nothingness.  Nothing is not nothing.  Think about zero, yeah?  What is it but a place holder.  It makes things clearer in writing down numbers so 1132 can be seen right away as different from 11032.  Zero is a quantity of nothing.  Until you try to divide something by zero.  Then nothing turns into something pretty quick.  It becomes a whole lot of something, infinite something.  Suddenly nothing is everything.  Those spiders are nothing.  Those spiders are the kings of infinite space.

Beastly dead

Why this text came to be written? It was intended to be a Trojan horse allowing a bit of mathematical esoterica to infiltrate surreptitously hence near-painlessly, the investigation of the messiness of raw nature. 8:30 am

Here’s what happened.  And it happened, by the way, not by accident of matter or the motion or immovability of things in the space we occupied, but encased within one of the ineffably ridiculous number of possible ways in which it could have gone down.  Buck had hold of my arm and I moved away from him and he asked so I finally told him look, do you remember what you said the day after my mother died?  I came to your place and your mother asked who was in your room and you said O it is only Dedalus whose mother is beastly dead.  I don’t care that he sees death all day and night at the hospital and the blood and the smells and the bits of meaningless matter.  What is dead, he said.  Anybody’s death, what does it matter but the matter that he has to shovel away.  I saw my mother die and I wouldn’t (couldn’t) humor her.  End of story (that particular version). Cranly said the same, just kneel and think what you want.  No.  What does the Sound care?  Look at it he said.  Well look at it.  It ebbs and it flows but it also swirls and eddies.  It can be anywhere do anything move in all directions simultaneously.  And when you look in infinite directions at its contact with dry (relatively) land, it is contained by nothing.  No different in length than the coast of Britain.  The Sound doesn’t have to care.  It doesn’t have my problems.