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Flux, Tattoos, Snakes, And The Irrational Discontinuity Beneath All The Changeless Things

So not much has changed except everything, but most of the distinctions are blurred so it continues to look as if not much has changed. I love crazy ideas that fuck with the obvious. Like, you know how scientists say that, within a span of 7 years, every cell in your body has regenerated? That’s the kind of shit that gets my attention. Because that means I could see you today and, then, when I see you again in 7 years, you would be an absolutely different entity. Nothing of the you I knew will be the same and yet we’d still call you you. If your name is Jim, the ONLY thing that remains the same is the word “Jim”. Now we can start goofing with ideas like reality itself being constructed with the bones of grammar. There’s no selfsame person to whom we apply the name Jim; Jim is the word that gathers up and calls forth the Jimhoodness of this thing we call a “person named Jim”.

Is this the truth? Real? Verified by science? Who cares? It either interests you or it doesn’t. For me crazy ideas are generative; they open up alternative ways to live in and experience the world, which makes everything a lot more interesting and exciting than what everybody takes to be so obvious. People who hear this and say with sputtery disdain “Of COURSE we’re still US! Myah Myah Myah. So OBVIOUS! DUH!” have already stopped reading this post. If you’ve made it this far, we must be interested in the same kind of goofy things. Or if you’re forcing yourself to keep reading just so you can say “See? Black Hockey Stupid FACE is a stupid pretentious TWAT,” you might go look into reading some self-help books, partner. Go light. Take it slow.

For Hakuun Yasutani, being regenerated every 7 years is a far cry from radical. In his commentary on Dogen’s Genjokoan, Flowers Fall, he mentions that our bodies are created and destroyed 6,400,099,980 times a day. (!!!)—how can you not love Buddhism? Ideas like that are so exciting (and probably borne out by quantum physics but, again, science schmience). The frickin implications are boundless. Ultimately unfathomable. But, at the very least, wouldn’t it be a tad bit liberating to conceive of yourself as being in the midst of a constant process of rejuvenation as opposed to being the same old sack of shit for 80 years. The former generates awe and poetry. The latter generates, well, a sack of shit—albeit an OBVIOUS sack of shit. Commonsense, as they say.

Anyway, not much has changed except everything. I got a tattoo of Miro’s Bleu II across my hip, a painting that expresses Miro’s obsession with the landscape of dream and infinity. How many of you noted, just now, the way I leapt from ceaseless flux to the permanence of a tattoo? Stay on your toes. Me and Gwen are taking off for 2 weeks to go stay in a little cottage on the shore of a little island. I am for the most part excited about this trip except my study of the island revealed an above average density of snakes, like, everywhere. My imagination wavers between a smiling Gwen in a black bikini on the sunny beach and the need to watch my step on an island sized Indiana Jones snake pit. I’ll need to train for my half-marathon on the island and snakes. I’m beginning to lose control of this post’s sentence structure snakes. I’m exaggerating, of course. Mostly. Or not. Snakes are fucked up. Though none of the island’s snakes are poisonous, none of them have legs and they generate locomotion with naught but pure evil. One of the prevalent species is called the smooth green snake and this motherfucker is a bright and horrible shade of green found only in the palette of nightmares. Gwen grew up in the Indonesian jungle so she’s acclimated to an occasional python in the tree or cobra on the path but, as far as I’m concerned, fuck a green snake.

From the cool comfort of this airport, waiting to fly to Chicago, I can logically appreciate the fact that my fear of snakes is completely irrational. However, in the presence of an actual snake, fear’s irrationality trumps logical appreciation. Fear of snakes simmers beneath the skin, in my blood, lurking, like a coiled up snake, in the cellar of my brain. My frontal lobes can tell me all day long how they’re not poisonous or they don’t bite or it’s only 6 inches. But a real snake slashes into me like that streak of red on Miro’s blue background. From whence this fear of the serpent?

I’m still sober, quickly approaching a year, but focusing only on not taking a drink during the day in which I happen to find myself. For instance, today is June 29th and, certainly, I can get my head to a pillow tonight without taking a drink or 9. Each moment, 6,400,099,980 times a day, is a decision, a prayer, not only for me but for you as well: that your island vacation may be free of snakes, that someday, everyday and every moment, you arise into a sense of renewal, and that consciousness itself will appear to you as a great and constant prayer. Nothing need change, and everything after.