A Hidden Optimism: Going On from the Last Essay

From Funny Times

In the last essay I seemed to compare people to primordial mud. Of course, I wrote it as a comedy, which is to say, the entire essay is excessively optimistic about people, and is only making a generously indulged joke on behalf of a gifted species at the verge of developing into a new form of life and intelligence. But if people approach it pessimistically (I don’t see how they can, given the parameters of my essays in general), then it would be received as ridicule. But I was writing this in resonance with Beckett’s approach. He also tempts people to read him pessimistically. But everything he wrote was a double-entendre. A different kind of humor is revealed when you discover his hidden optimism.

These essays presume several optimistic things (and I don’t expect agreement and I’m not looking for debate, only the willingness to entertain the angle of vision as long as it lasts):

1) that human beings are troubled, but gifted animals; and

2) That human beings are at the verge of realizing a new form of intelligence, a new way of being.

Hence, the metaphor of a primordial awakening.

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Giving Up and Going On: Probing the Alchemical Frequency of Beckett’s Comedies (Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable)

“This cursed first person, it is really too red a herring.”

“Keep going, going no, call that going, call that on”


Dear reader: In your presence, I find a wider vantage point, not just this isolated center drowning in a soup of conflict and useless chatter, which is myself. If I’m only talking to myself I get lost in my Self. But with three of us, there is space enough for reflection.

Writing adjusts the frequency of attention. I don’t believe in myself too literally when I write. I probe rather than believe. The personal voice becomes a transparent drama. So I can see the Self with less vested interest, which means a little more honestly. Here, chains of meaning are still too short to be declared a lively intelligence. I’m mostly stagnant immaturities, a primordial ooze. The brain is bubbling with small sentiences, the grim grammar of a force that can’t quite commit to living with a longer attention span.

But here there is space to make these broader linkages and begin crawling to solid ground.

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