'See how without confusion it isall that it is, and how flawlessits grace is. Running or walking, the wayis the same. Be still. Be still.“He moves your bones, and the way is clear.”' -- Wendell Berry, "Grace."
Come on in, we've got the truth surrounded, the phenomenologists suggest from the other room. You cannot hold it in your hand, and your hands are hardly true, themselves, but they are the boxes around which you contain the hands you imagine you have. You have precision only in your own imagination, and there is any other precision only in the out-there somewhere. The real is up on the shelf that you can't quite reach.
Oh, no. No fear: I'm not going to get into all that rot. Tulips have streaks, and you can like them or not. It's none of my business how solid you think things are. It's enough for me to start with a scary word like "phenomenology" and a scary jangle like the previous. I don't want to spend any time doing that particular treadmill dance.
No, it's enough for me to say that I, the Geogre, have had little rest in the concept that all my concepts and percepts match, that there is an ideal that I can know, and that there is a real that I can know without a category or concept. I'm plentifully puzzled by Wittgenstein, and I do not know if the blue house is blue, really. I do not know what I would do, if I met a man who was blue, too, because words might fail me, and then I'd really make a lot of noise.
I have to give credit for these thoughts to Jimi Hendrix. I got one of his CD's on sale a couple of days ago, and I finally put it in the car CD player today. It's hard for me to be in a receptive state for exciting music when I'm in my car or at home or at work, so it can be a while. Mainly I just listen to Wimpy Hill music and wait for Garrison Killer to come on the radio, when I know it's time to take my Geritol to help with my iron-poor blood. (Hey, it beats listening to Hawaiian nose flute music on subscription satellite.)
So, I was listening to "Purple Haze" and "Wind Calls Mary" (and Mary never returns the calls), and I noticed that both songs have incredible amounts of hiss on them. In fact, they're both absolutely awash with "bad" recording technology. Compact Discs are digital things, and they are absolutely faithful, and that means that they reproduce everything from the master tapes, and that means that the noise you hear on a Hendrix CD is the noise that was on the tape, and not the noise produced by a piece of your sock that went rogue and landed in front of your record needle.
I hate the fact that this hiss was present and that it was so precise. The CD meant that I could hear things that I had otherwise not made out. For example, at the end of "Purple Haze," there is someone-not-Hendrix saying "Purple haze! Purple haze! Purple haze!" Whoever he was, he sounds ridiculous, retarded, and revolting. I preferred having a hiss there, a hiss of imprecision, not the hiss of precision. It's better to have the ambiguity as a part of the process than as part of a clean, mechanical injection.
Ever heard "Wild Thing?" It's great, right? The band involved, the Troggs, were too drunk to speak, just drunk enough to fight, and too stupid to compose, and yet this great song comes out of a five and ten cent studio. Great guitar sound, isn't it? Listen on a CD, and you can tell where that guitar sound comes from: it comes from the snare drum rattle. The drums weren't isolated, so the "fuzz" is actually bleed through. Weren't you happier not knowing that?
You know the beginning of Sergio Leone's masterpiece, "A Fistful of Dollars?" There is a great theme song by Ennio Morricone. Whoowahai! Whoowahai! Great!
I heard it on a CD, and, unfortunately, I could make out the male voices. They are, I am sorry to say, saying, "We can fight! We can fight."
I will avoid, at all costs, hearing the flying monkey guard song from The Wizard of Oz. I do not want to know that it's not "Oh-ee-oh, Oh-eeeeee-oh."
You know, I think I'm happier, now, in my older age, in having not even a small, vague, squishy clue about truth. Or rather, I am happy because I have a vague clue, but no proof. I have an approximation of a truth, and that seems a great deal better to me than one that has been inked in.
The healthiest dogs are mutts. The most beautiful people are generally mixed "race." Heterogeneous is most often strong. At the same time, knowing only somewhat, having the operative misprision, the effort that results in nearly there, is immensely comforting to me. I can live in a room whose color may be blue. If I need to get up to the very top shelf to get to the real, I can jump. Otherwise, I prefer to know that I don't have a handle on things.