There is no better time to consider the Apocalypse than when the house is full of night and any animals out there killing beyond the window are doing it in a perfect quiet.
The problem with a failing memory is that revelations become but passing moods seen from the future as slopes of feeling, the hillocks of ideas that were heedlessly dropped while out walking in the before.
Earlier I was reading Mister Kafka on the occasion of his 130th birthday.
Yesterday -in 1941- Joseph Stalin, in his first address after the German invasion, called upon the Soviet people to carry out a scorched earth policy of resistance.
Tomorrow -in 1964- Martin Flood, an Australian game show winner, was born.
Where were we?
There’s a lot of where were we when trying to move forward. It’s like a scorched leg burnt in an unknown (to you) fire or pretty much any disfigurement you might come across. You know that this flesh was at some point unremarkable but only in theory. The skin you see now is ruined.
A man who drools has always been a drooler. He exists in a universe of drooling only. This is normal. And if he’s unlucky he knows that you know this. Resigned to their part, perhaps, have you noticed that none of these men discuss it?
Kafka was saying something about keeping on, not stopping or caring at all as regards what other people might think or say. Can’t remember rightly. He was surprisingly energetic, definitive about it. A quiet man raising his voice. Stalin was the opposite of this. Martin Flood I don’t know about it.
What I do know is that connections make remembering easier when one thing triggers the thought of the next. This is a common technique for teaching people who are already good or unbroken in their remembering to be yet better and I wonder if I had done these types of courses earlier (typically by way of what was known as ”correspondence” at one time) whether these muscles would now be in better condition.
Lost my thread. Kafka led me to Cormac McCarthy or to reading a piece that mentioned McCarthy and then somewhere mentioned something that McCarthy mentioned:
In “1491,” a history of the Americas and their contact with Columbus, Charles Mann offers a startling image from inside this apocalypse: in 1784, a Lakota winter count—a kind of pictorial history that memorialized the year—depicted “a pox-scarred man, alone in a tipi, shooting himself.”
It’s true that we think of the Apocalypse to be something that is still as yet uncome. The last round of the final game of which there will be no replay or review or further opportunity of any kind to regroup, to send in the scrubs.
And what he was saying, what was being said overall, was this notion that the real Apocalypse, putting aside any ideas of judgment or redemption, would be blankly total and (nicely put) sufficiently sufficient that there wouldn’t be anyone left to even know or say the word afterwards. An idea or concept that by happening would negate itself.
I have always thought, or imagined in a secondary way, there would be insects left, but perhaps not. This is how I’ve always considered the environmental matter of us or people like us ruining it for everyone else: there would still be insects. Fat ticks, free about the land. Not apparently. Not in the proper Apocalypse. In the proper Apocalypse it would just be the unknowing void that was left. The Earth a ground pebble.
And my connection or revelation, as I remember it, was that not only were we lucky to get born (individually) as regards not only being the successful swimmer but also being a swimmer at all, but that we were doubly lucky because we were living (or are) in this bit between the beginning and the end.
I believe the idea made me happy for a while. I can understand that. Self-interest being what it is for us all. But the second time I was thinking about it and freshly because of forgetting, here in the perfect quiet, I found myself less impressed. Not depressed as such, just aware of a certain pointlessness.
I can see that it might be considered something of an advantage to have (at least) two opportunities to consider something. Two lots of feelings with the second not being influenced by comfortably rationalizing the certainty of the first. But there is, within this -how to say it?- uncertainty.
Sometimes I look forward to the forgetting. The thought of it is like having a specific physical skill. Under-valued or even unconsidered altogether by the majority of people (apart from those who wish so dearly to forget, but cannot).
Mostly however I write myself notes and wonder later when reading them what it was that the other man so urgently wished me to know.
It is the schizophrenia of small pieces forced to collect. The first man waving and the second man, with water in his lungs, aware of little more than a tiredness in his arms which is even now so steady in its spreading.