Having my way with Ulysses

The difficulties of interpretation.

A small cronopio was looking for the key to the street door on the night table, the night table in the bedroom, the bedroom in the house, the house in the street. Here the cronopio paused, for to go into the street, he needed the key to the door.2:06 am

First it happens, then it means something. Rarely, the bolt of lightning will hit one directly (perhaps from a forty five degree angle like a shot off a shovel) and there within the simultaneity of the electrical discharge and the acoustic report you know as it’s going down that this now this is it is this moment (this very instant) that means already in advance and simultaneously what it will come to mean. But really what are the odds of an event and its significance occurring simultaneously? We can’t know all the conditions so there must be some sort of calculable probability. Twenty to one? And this is assuming of course that there is indeed such a thing as simultaneity, but this is no time for parlor games. There is no simultaneity, event and meaning intersect only with lovers, and there is no free will. Oh yes, also: do not risk, do not expect, do not be disappointed, be satisfied, sustain no positive loss, bring positive gain to others. Now, finish carving that on the tablet, make a duplicate to use as light to the gentiles, and bear it down the mountains in your arms, the secret of the race, graven in the language of prediction.

Madam, when comes the stork bird for thee?

 Hardly, or not at all, able to bend his knees, the whole man moved like a stork.

10:48 pm

Oh come on.  You sit in here with this pack of fools pretending to care about a woman in there who’s giving birth for christsakes, asking me something like that.  None of your damn business and when the end comes after a sudden at the moment though lingering labor it’s all diet and quiet and on your merry way out the damn door with the rest of the screaming bastards.  And to look at me like that up and down like that and ask me a question like that like its your business.  Oh big man. Well go fill your unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, you jackass, I hope you get struck by lightning. I have a letter to write.

And all this while poured with rain.

Sunday 3 July 1664: Then up and spent the evening walking with my wife talking and it thundering and lightning all the evening, and this yeare have had the most of thunder and lightning they say of any in man's memory, and so it is, it seems, in France and everywhere else. So to prayers and to bed.10:18 pm

Dear Diary,

I’m starting over. I’m going for the absolute purity of awareness, right, I want to have total awareness of all things I experience, all the minutiae of the detail of it all, while I’m living it. While I’m in it.  So tearing out the pages and this is day one.  Aleph Alpha nought nought one.  I think trying to write this thing in the third person made me sound like an asshole. Alec Bannon took a picture of Milly Bloom. Alec Bannon said so long to his cousins and will see them again shortly.  Come on. Nobody ever anywhere will read these written words, I know that, but I still don’t want to sound like a total douche. Ok. So. Writing down my experience of appearances in the world.  Sensations.  Flow of time. Haircut. Good. The mundane.  Perfect.  So. Itchy skin on my neck. Sharp little bits of hair. Sharp little bits of hair poking inward while I. Well this is lame. I don’t want to write about itchy haircut hair. Ok, try again. It is raining. Infinite rain. Wet. Wetness. Wettening. Wetly.  Wet wetness wettens wetly wet. Wet wet wet.  Word lost meaning. Damn. That was going somewhere too. Ok think. Think think think.  Perceive my subjective point of view. There was one big stroke of lightning just now and lots of thunder. A phenomenon.  Phenomena have temporal features so. Am I still writing about my subjective experience?  The appearance of phenomena and thinking about the appearance of phenomena enone themselves.  Then they spread out a unity through time. Through. Well, whatever it is. So I’m still good. My temporal features are different from those of any single phenomenon because I can enfuture myself. Goals, some of which I can change.  Some of which require the exercise of my free will.  Some of which involve a certain young for her age, large for her age,  beefy girl.  Skittish.  Will take some persuading but probably not much. Ok. Sticking with present phenomena which automatically continue being what they have been.  A phenomenon has its own temporality. Infinite rain. See? Just look at it. And just one big stroke of lightning and lots of thunder with it. Wait. That off a bit. Seems off. Or is time a structure of the knowing mind? Then lightning and thunder as phenomena appearing in the world has no temporality of their own.  That’s not right.  Ok stick with my subjective point of view. My pure experience of my own lived experience as I experience it. My experience of experiencing experiences I experience. That’s it exactly. That’s what this is about. Sensations. The flow of time, that’s what counts.  Look there’s Malachi Mulligan.  Wonder where he’s going.

She prayed to God the Allruthful to have his dear soul in his undeathliness.

Now there is none alive to whom I dare express my heart openly. I know to be true that for a man it is a noble virtue to bind fast his soul's locker, to hold closed his treasure chamber, and think what he will. Nor may a weary mind resist what happens nor yet provide help for turbulent thoughts. For those desirous of favorable opinion are often dejected, bound fast in their breast chamber. So must I, my mindsoul often miserable, separated from home, far from my noble family, repressed and fettered since long ago my most precious friend was covered in the concealing darkness of earth. And I, abject, from there journeyed madly, in winter sorrow, over waves bound together into ice, seeking God's dreary home. Where I, far or near, might find my familiar mead-hall, or someone who would comfort my loneliness, entertain me with pleasures.10:01 pm

I died two and a half years ago and thank God too.  Nearly seven years with that woman after me and I don’t think I could have held her off much longer. Always fussing over me like I was hers. Brushing my coat. Dropping hints until I was worn out with it. Not my type at all, not even close. And I regret now that I never felt I could tell her why, openly. Besides, she was just too bitter. Too, what’s the word, irritated all the time.  Angry.  Easily pissed off.  Irate over every little thing, and the longer I put her off the worse she got. Thank god for stomach cancer. I reached that last end that was my death and hallelujah I’m better off.  And she should just answer an ad or something.  Find a man that way because her personality isn’t going to win her any prizes. I prefer them a little more accommodating, like that one married to the heavyset singer who was another woman after me around that same time. Let’s hope he pops off young, naked for to go as he came. He would comfort my loneliness and I would entertain him with pleasures. He’s more my type. Mildhearted, you understand, loth to irk.

Thus Spake Zaraϑuštra

Also Spuke Zerothruster.9:39 am

Who am I?  So many have told of me and have spoken with my mouth.  They say I invented magic and then poof! I made astrology appear.  With that I gained the foreknowledge of truth that diligent stargazing affords the patient.  But those who lived my life didn’t stop there, oh no, not when it was relentlessly clear that I had invented truth itself.  Believe me.  That’s when my magic, they tell me, turned to the black variety and I became fearsome.  Those closest loved me, especially for the words they said with my voice.  He that stealeth from the poor lendeth to the lord.  I became for some a prophet of God!  Imagine that.  Nietzsche even said that the priests, those poets of the Veda, were unfit to unfasten my sandals.  Of course I too was a Vedic Priest.  As I understand, in that capacity I wrote millions and millions of lines of verse.  To give myself enough time for such a task, I invented the week.  You’re welcome.  And born from necessity, I invented hieroglyphics; I used them to hide my invention of Alchemy.  Well to speak the truth that element of my curriculum vitae never quite stuck; Those who move Hermes Trismegistus’ mouth had that particular market cornered.  Better PR.  In my later career I denied to oblivion many deities so I could invent a singular monotheistic morality.  Then Nietzsche used my voice to deny morality in favor of truth, my prior invention.  Ay me.  Well, what could I do?  My life is an accomplishment of others.  Rather grand and famous others too, I might add.  I was the teacher of Pythagoras, they say.  Plato liked the words in my mouth so much that he passed them off as his own.  Excuse me, Socrates’ own.  I was even Yeats’ pen pal!  There’s a laugh to rival the one I had on the day I was born.  My head came out pulsating and there I was, infant tiny thing giggling away.  To my mother’s horror my head could repel the touch of a hand.  You can’t touch this.  Oh a unique birth to be sure.  And rather an unnatural death as well.  I’m rather proud of this one.  By the time of my doom people were calling me a living star.  Can you imagine?  Me, a star!  So how does a star die?  I was murdered by another star.  Was it really a meteor?  Maybe lightning?  You’re asking me?  You show me what’s real.  I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t there.

It seems to me

9:24 am

What are you doing?  Me?  Oh, I’m typing.  Right now I am typing.  I am typing now.  Here, you see?  You can’t see.  But what are you doing right now?  Listen, I don’t know your now.  I can’t know it.  Nobody can and you can’t know mine.  Picture us together.  Go ahead.  No, not like that, sheesh!  Picture us together standing in a field.  We are standing and we see two bolts of lightning strike simultaneously one on the left horizon and one on the right horizon but a bit in front too so we can see them strike down at the same TIME HOLY SHIT GET DOWN!  That was close.  Did you feel that?  Did you feel it?  Ok, now rewind, the same lighting strikes are going to happen but this time we are going to stand next to one of them.  I know, I know.  Trust me.  Ok, now we are standing next to where one of them will hit and here IT COMES HOLY FUCKING CHRIST!  That was too close.  Sorry.  You ok?  You sure?  OK.  And look fast over there, the other lightning strike.  Did you see it?  5 seconds I’d say.  Those were the same ones (we rewound, remember?) but they are not simultaneous anymore because it took time for the light from that lightning strike over there to reach us over here.  Ok, so why did I drag you out into this field and nearly kill you?  Sorry again by the way, truely.  Because I wanted you to see for yourself that simultaneity is relative depending on our position.  The now of any event, typing for me and whetever it is that you are doing now (reading I presume, and whatever else you are doing.  I’m looking at you sunshine.)  You can’t know any now moment unless you know where and how fast.  Can any now moment be objective?  Don’t answer that.  It can’t.  It is relativity my dear, it’s relative.  And without objective now moments, how can we have such things as lapses of time?  Don’t answer that either.  We can’t.  If there is no absolute now dividing before from after, then no part of succession can have objective status.  Do you see where I’m going?  When I am going?  If successive moments in time depend on our frame of reference, whether we are standing here or there say, the moment we call now cannot be a feature of reality unto itself.  Relativity, you see.  Causality is gone.  Nothing can be said to cause anything now that the now has become so slippery, so protean.  Hume says causality is a fiction of the mind, Kant says that the only knowable objective world is a product of the mind, Einstein says successive time is our most persistant illusion.  I say this means that we have no free will.  But don’t ask me, let’s ask God.  Hey God.  God.  GOOOOD!

God [appears in a thunderclap]:  What do you want I’m busy.

No you’re not.  Don’t you exist in eternity?  You can’t need time to do things if you have all of it.

God:  Ok, you got me.  I was bluffing.  So what do you want?  And before you ask, I am not getting anyone to sleep with you and I don’t care if your team wins.  Conflicts of interest, you understand.  You see the bind I’d be in if everybody asks for opposite things.  So hurry up, what do you want?

A question, oh lord, supreme one, heavenly father, mother of heaven, holiest of holies, most beneficient

God:  Skip the filler, just get to it, cut to the chase, come on, I haven’t got all day.  Figures of speech, mind you.

Do you know everything?

God:  Yes.  Duh.  You got me here so at least ask me something challenging.

Well, if you know everything, then you know everything that has happened and you know everything that is going to happen.  You know all the past and all the future.

God:  Yes, I know everything that is a part of everything.  Yawn.

So if you already know everything that is going to happen, then everything we are ever going to do is already done, decided for us.  Written down in advance.

God: Yup.

Do we have free will?

God [blushing]:  Oh!  Shit.  Didn’t expect you to ask that question.  Well I did, but.  Uh. Um.  Yeah.  Yeah.  You have free will.  Sure.  Why wouldn’t you have free will?  You have it.  You have lots of it.  Yeah.  Um.  Anyway.   I hear sombody calling me.  My phone.  That’s my phone.  Got to take that call.  Coming!

[Exeunt]

I have no free will.  I am a servant to three masters, a woman for whom I would not kneel, a church for whom I will not kneel, and a third for whom I ask others to kneel, although mostly I have to take care of those jobs myself.