Thursday, July 12, 2007

Infantile Nihilism.

Even the hermit has his publicity, he being "The Hermit." And all have privacy, it being an impenetrable cave of seclusion from the light of knowledge. The covered body is not a privacy and neither is the secretive mind, all being open to others to an extent, if only by extrapolation. It's a matter of over-lapping degree: I cannot know another truly, and yet I can know all there is to know of the most hidden mind because even the most insane and unique is still Human. Mostly I and the world do not care, being absorbed in private matters and concerns that barely touch on the lives of others. With age the distance grows. Privacy is indifference; publicity is indifference. Within the mosaic of Humanness, one tessera is as important as another, and none less so. Every man's death diminishes me, and I shrug. The bell tolls, and I continue on my private path unconcerned.

I see people in my appointed daily rounds, glancing at this one or that, and giving them little heed, sensing them as there, and moving on. When one is hit by lightening, I stop and smile, and then I move on anyway. When a friend close suffers, I grieve, but it's a private matter, situated within the realm of publicity but tenuously, a drop in the ocean of the universal. I am contained and bound within by my identity and my privacy therein. I have my private notebook of responses for this or that occasion. It's large and it's got many pages still to be filled, more to add should the pages run out. But it's based from front to back on a single thesis. All the pages rest on a foundation. That foundation is private, alone for me to consult or to disregard as I will, but always there and immovable, one I might stumble against or bang my head on. It is solid and it will outlast my privacy. I see people, I move around them, I step over them, I might even step on them; but I seldom ever step off the path of the private life I have. I'm not stopping at Vanity Fair. I have my own places to go and things to do and life to live. So do others, though they often seem to think I must follow them regardless. I do refer to others, men such as Eric Hoffer who claims that those with no business of their own to mind will soon mind yours. No, I go as I will, alone if I need. It's private. Anyone who cares to can likely watch me as I do my daily dues. It's all public.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Many seem to mistakenly believe that protruding privacies on the public is a matter of legitimate publicity, while in fact it's a public nuisance, an invasion of the privacy of others. Protagoras might well happily exclaim "All is vanity, there is nothing new under the Sun."

It is a matter of indifference if a 20 year old boy turns his smiling face to me in the evening and shows his pale visage covered in tribal tattoos. Not my business what he does to his face. That's a private matter. Perhaps his inner foundation is sandy, but it's not my concern. That he's turned himself inside out is maybe too bad but another day will erase him from my memory. He makes no lasting impression. What is of deep concern to me is the problem of inside out society, the publicity we share, like it or no like it. That society's face is marred and it's personality is baseless, that is the problem of our publicity that concerns me as a traveler. I don't care what individuals do, it not being my business for the most part. All the public displays of privacies don't phase me in the least. The lack of privacies within our collective publicities is a problem that concerns me much. A baseless idiocy, the Greek "idiocy" that is the storm of blank leaves flying across the mindscape, that concerns me.

I'll be sitting at the Vancouver Public Library in the atrium this evening from 7-9:00 p.m. near the Blenz coffee bar. It's a public place, though when I occupy a table it becomes a private matter of my space. You might be welcome to sit and join me. Come. Find out.


truepeers said...

"The lack of privacies within our collective publicities is a problem that concerns me much"

-yes, the public is only defined because we, as individuals, have deferred our desire to appropriate whatever it is that is public. In deferring physical or metaphysical appropriation, we must re-present the public, re-create it in the transcendent domain of representations we all share. When we represent our nation appropriately, when we represent ourselves by reference to the public good, we take on substance as a private individual who has earned certain public rights, all rights being essentially a public matter. One cannot really have a right to privacy, since the right can only be conferred publicly.

See you tonight.

dag said...

Looking forward to it, "Peers, as always.

Your thesis is a bit arcane for the average reader, I fear, but it's accessible to anyone with the patience to attend our get-togethers if they care to question in person, to tease out the fullness of the argument involved. It's worth it if only for the fun of the conversation.