Sept 30, 1996 12:54 AM
I am getting ready to travel for a month in Europe and South Africa and
the first time in years I have decided not to travel with a Power Book.
am not on AOL so there are not local access numbers wherever I go. In fact
I have to make a long distance call back here to Hawaii to get much net
work done. Even to pick up my e mail. So I will try it cold turkey; most
of this trip will be in South Africa out in the boonies I gather so access
isn't an issue. I mention this to introduce the idea that I am going to
off-line for a while. Until around Halloween.
A vague disquiet attends these long journeys, sometimes it seems that I
live in airports. To do a little of the international travel bit is
glamorous, whatever that is, but to do a lot of it is tedious and
potentially unhealthy. Ditto the celebrity and Great Man hip hop. Plus I
am very much in love with Hawaii and my life here. My life got bollixed
a few years ago with a divorce and slowly, o so slowly things are beginning
to feel normal, no longer reactive to the Great Event. But I am lazy, and
it is so nice to stay home on the hill with my girlfriend, talk, smoke,
make love, grow all kinds of plants, read, and surf the net. I enjoy
being a player in the culture, but it is not my first priority, my
priorities are more private than that. They provide the logic behind my
pursuit of the grail of high speed connection. So that I can play the
cultural dialogue game in 3- d with real audio, but can be secure and free
up here on the mountain. This is really the new archaic lifestyle: Self
employed consultant, off grid, Bohemian, essentially stateless and well
connected WWW and bandwidth wise. But living in the future in the present
has its tensions.
This matter we have been discussing, for example. The presence of the
Other and the paths to it, not something most families are wrapped up in.
Yet. Even to know about these things is to be isolated from the cheerful
Mom & Pop world of middle class sentimentality. Perhaps shamanism has
always had about it this feeling of being slightly ahead of itself. This
may be the key to the alienation that seems the sine qua non of the
shaman's relationship with the community. Part of it, but apart from it:
That is the shaman's attitude toward the village, the folk and the polis.
But I am rambling here. I will be in touch as I can. Keep the home fires
burning until you hear the hoof beats of my returning steed.
September 30, 1996
NOT TRAVEL WITH A POWERBOOK! Gonna do some time travel, right? No point
taking a Powerbook to Mesopotamia I guess. There was a time when leaving
the old Powerbook behind was almost a matter of course. Back in the Conestoga
wagon days, it must have been sad leaving your PB in Philadelphia knowing
there were no wall sockets where you were going. On the other hand, they
had pony express, the ancient equivalent of a 1 baud modem. Then there were
all those Mac users at the Alamo, including my great grandfather at six
removes, Dan'l Boone, besieged by the army of DOS users with Windows with
their cry "You can get more software for it!"
I can't upload on AOL either, other than email. Just use it to do my correspondence
without making a long distance call to my server. It costs me under 20 bucks
a month if I don't get reckless with it. Plus, not being very fancy in my
emailing requisites (this Orfeo thing Levy has going is positively Byzantine
- I answered one feedback letter and got 27 mailer daemon returns on it
the other day!) I like the format and dependability. I know some people
have a status problem with that and would prefer to write me at dead.net
- but the big hammer has its uses.
Glad to hear you hate traveling too. I love being in other places, just
don't like getting there. Burned out on that around '72 after four years
of traveling with the Dead - then a number of years going out solo. Too
much aggravation on the cells at my current age of 55.
But back to our subject. I've been rambling along waiting for inspiration
to strike as it inevitably does when writing to you, as per out contract
with the Other. Here's a trio to consider in interaction, one with the other,
and with ourselves as we perceive ourselves to be: the Other, the Doppelganger
(Double) & the Shadow. Too many mistake the Shadow for the Other. The
Other is not a projection, rather an autonomous potential source of absolutely
new impressions, which are, unfortunately, necessarily fielded through the
matrix of old impressions - there, more often than not, to be leveled, generalized,
filed and abandoned. No wonder as we get older we fail to remember our dreams
with the vivid memory of youth. We resist the new with fang and claw. And
statute. And then one day we see our Double: our own self, decisively removed
from ourself, standing on a street corner, or wandering down the Rue des
Invalides - and then the game is over. The Shadow, being that inalienable
alienated part of ourselves which fears the utterly foreign Other, which
is NOT a part of ourselves, finds it fears the Double even more than it
fears the Other, since the Double necessarily knows the particulars of its
dark existential existence which are NOT TO BE KNOWN by another. Murder,
if not simple insanity, may well be the outcome.
We are split so many ways it's hard to imagine anything so copacetic as
the Maslovian "Integrated Self" to be anything but a pipe dream.
The Shadow, by its very nature (I keep using that expression, failing to
find a good substitute) is all that is NOT assimilable. I tentatively offer
the assertion that assimilation should not be attempted- though that is
a heretical remark in light of mid-20th century psychology. It's not a question
of oil and water, but of water and potassium. I have a notion that partial
assimilation leads to suicide. How could one face that dark monstrosity
full on and not want to kill it? Yet it is common, and probably correct,
knowledge that the Shadow is connected with the vitalizing force, the libido,
or whatever. I think it's enough not to deny its existence and to strengthen
the ethical/moral side of one's nature as the only probable compensating
Have fun in South Africa, where these forces are still raising societal
Hell par excellence - I think it might be a proper paradigm for viewing
the remains of Apartheid. Which is the Shadow? Which is the Other?
Keep your powder dry,