It’s August, and as I do every year I am going to disconnect from the Internet a bit. It’s necessary therapy — particularly so this year, I think, as I think the quality of recent posts has been noticeably off.
I also need to take some time to think about just what I want to say in these pages. In particular, I am increasingly struck by the extent to which we live in a hallucinatory society, in which up is down, realities are falsehoods, and wishes and mirages are imagined to be realities; in which we must all agree, on pain of commination and social exile, that the things that matter most are the things that matter least; in which the past and future have foreshortened into virtual insignificance — leaving us rootless and aimless, with neither heritage to cherish nor posterity to protect, adrift in a meaningless present. If our past is remembered only to be despised as a litany of sin and error and unwisdom, then we are stewards of nothing; if our existing reality is reduced to a mere, anodyne subjectivity, we have nothing to bequeath. Severed in this way from our root-stock, sliced away above and below until nothing remains but the deracinated individual in the present moment, we are atoms. We are dust.
A story: long ago my late friend Don Grolnick was playing a gig at one of the jazz clubs in Greenwich Village. It was one of those sweltering, steamy July nights in New York City, and Don and some of the others in the band were outside during a break. One of the city’s wandering lunatics, a large and wild-looking man, ran up out of the murk and confronted them.
“DO YOU KNOW I COULD KILL YOU ALL??” he demanded. It was an edgy moment.
Don shrugged, and with characteristic aplomb, replied:
“That may be true. But why bring it up?”
That’s the question I’ll be asking myself over the next few weeks. There may be posts, but probably not many. As always, please feel free to browse our ever-expanding archives, and to try the “Random Post” link at upper right.