Saturday, April 02, 2011

Inner emigration has ended...

That's a fit term to describe the kind of dual consciousness that I experienced from 9/11 to about a year ago. The term comes from Germany during the '30s to describe people who, though not emigrating abroad, didn't buy into what was going on and instead turned inward, creating their own unique works and takes on life. Obviously, the post-9/11 world does not compare to Germany during this time, but the term is the closest fit. Something similar happened with folks in the Soviet Union during the Brezhnev years, another historical parallel that's also overblown somewhat. In any case, I combined outward advocacy, protesting, doing stuff, with an inward turn against a culture that had in my opinion totally gone crazy and that had gone against much of what I felt the country I grew up in was based on. I also actually emigrated, from the South East in Florida to the Northwest in Washington State, and have been here now for over seven years. What can I say?

During the time from 9/11 to roughly the beginning of April of last year (the subsequent year was one of transition back to the world), I created a sort of intricate baroque, hermetic, system of thought and worldview, much of it directly documented on this website, that had virtually nothing in common with the patriotic hysteria, knee-jerk nationalism, xenophobia, and Islam and Muslim-bashing going on around me. But, even if you retreat into yourself, for it to really mean anything you eventually have to come out again. Otherwise, you've just created a nice looking prison, or a living death, as Seneca terms this sort of retreat from life in his letters. For the inward turn to mean anything the person has to at some point come out once more and become part of the world.

Lots and lots of bejeweled tortoises were constructed, that I now am going to exhume. In Huysmans' "Against Nature", about a decadent aristocrat similarly displeased with life who retreats into a self created world, Des Esseintes commissions a craftsman to put jewels into a living tortoise's shell so that it can be put on exotic rugs and move around making interesting patterns. When the tortoise with the jewels is released onto the rug he shudders and then keels over, figuratively speaking, because his shell with the jewels on it is too heavy for him.

Let's share our baroque tortoises, our experiments with obscurity, in order to show the world some of what was done in secret while the rest of the country went nuts.

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