Finding is losing something else.
I think about, perhaps even mourn,
what I lost to find this.
Brautigan shot himself in the head with a .44 Magnum. His decomposing body was found a month later with this suicide note:
Messy, isn’t it?
Courtesy of my childhood in India I usually have a good immunity. I don’t typically suffer from travellers worries and neither do I have to constantly moderate my dietary habits. But right now, I reckon due a combination of factors, I am down with an infection of quite severe nature unseen in a very long time. It is pan respiratory infection affecting the sinuses, pharynx, larynx and the lungs. The fever and the weakness are debilitating. The head feels pregnant with twins. Though I Had no fancy ideas of going out, all I wanted was a better presentation when I meet people. And perhaps more importantly my concentration, so that, if I did not venture out , I could use my time studying or working in the room.
The room that I am spending most of my time reminded me of Wittgenstein. Did you know Wittgenstein lived in a single room for most of his life? It was a fairly spacious room with low windows and a bed, a desk, a wash basin in the far corner and a stand with a tea pot . There were two - or perhaps even more additional chairs to receive visitors. Wittgenstein worked mostly using the desk and preserved his works in shoe boxes that were stacked one above another.
As I am lying in the bed, weak and with an inflamed throat, gazing at the walls of this room, I can’t help but agree with Wittgenstein - really that is all a man needs. And when I say, man, I exclude the child and the woman, who both , in my view, fall beyond the basic need.
Of course Wittgenstein’s room is more than fifty years back. I am tempted to add a modern computer ( preferably a laptop) with an Internet connection, but frankly am not sure yet. While I think of the future, it seems quite basic, but while I look back at the past I feel it is a luxury. So I am still undecided about that.
Then I’ll have all my time to devote on three things - 1. First of course, is nature of the things in the universe. A big ambitious question, but pretty basic too. Since all metaphysics is subject to the knowledge ( epistemology ) of that point in time, contemporary up-to-date knowledge is vital. Hence the argument for the laptop and the access to Internet. Should we be given no laptop and access to the net, then I would prefer contact with a friend, a well adjusted person, with a day time job, one who is socially mobile across classes without effort, an astute observer and reporter - without a great compulsion to change the observed to what he /she perceives as better. Last but not the least, the said person should have no sexual desire towards to me. Though I would prefer to receive the person from time to time, I would not encourage it too often , just to emphasise to myself the meeting’s worth. I would be very happy with a long meeting once a fortnight and regular contact by means of letters.
Then I’ll have the space - for the second question - the old Socratic one - how best a man can choose to lead his life ? Whilst it is an question of conduct and therefore ethics, it is perhaps less absolute in relation to the first question. But still it is a basic question?
Finally, since I have a bound ego as identity It would be impossible to eliminate all forms of desire. So I will channelise all my fragmented wants into the third thing - a desire that has two components A. How best can I reach a state ( for the lack of better word ) where I do not have a preceding influence to dictate my choices as well as a consequent impact upon others? And finally, B. What is the means or practice to attain a peaceful, calm death?
Anything more than this for a being endowed with human consciousness is surplus.
If you order a cappuccino anytime after noon whilst being out with me, I will judge you. Well, judge as in not a damning negative judgment of your being, as often the term gets used, but more like a ‘note to self’. But trust me when I say I totally understand the compulsion to have a Cappuccino whilst being out - we are a generation that is born into a world of a capitalist coffee-shop chains. Purists be damned, we have accustomed ourselves into ordering what we like to drink, when we wish to drink. And if you are an American, you might as well order whipped cream!
But if you order a cappuccino after 12 noon, especially after a meal, I can’t help making a judgement. I’m not a purist - neither can I say I haven’t ordered cappuccino PM on days of weakness. I of all the people understand , but the judgment is not of dietary taste but of lack of knowledge.
Well, someone has asked me the above question. I’m not sure if it’s by a spam or a person, but if it was a person , I would feel bad if I didn’t respond.
And my answer is a question, But what success?
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to.
Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
~ CATCH 22