Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You Have To Have A Story



- What changed in the past few years?
- Not me, not the way I lived. The world changed. Everyone tells me I have to meet the world half way, I have to expect good and it will come.
- You don't think they're right?
- I tell them I expected good would come, and it came. For a long time I had good luck. And then I expected good and it didn't come. How do they explain that?
- What do they say?
- They laugh.
- Sorry, I'm laughing too.
- Go right ahead. A story began the moment the rule stopped working, and I love stories.
- What's the story?
- My story? I made an attempt to figure out what had happened and what to do about it.
- And? What did you figure out?
- I told a story of how developing technological society had expanded into all the unoccupied corners I had worked my life into, and I got squeezed out. And I'd had such a low opinion of that organization I was taken by surprise. I thought that if I wanted I could, once I got tired of being out, slip back in unnoticed. That turned out not to be true: I was spotted from a distance and blocked before I took more than a step. Do you know what I think? How I was identified so easily?
- No. How?
- By my stories.
- Is there something special about your stories?
- No. But having a story at all has become special and undesirable.
- Why? And I don't agree. People still have stories and still like telling them.
- What is opposite to having a story?
- Monotony?
- No, far from it. The opposite to having a story is excitement and ecstasy. Pornographic and mystical excitement and ecstasy.
- Are you saying there is nothing remarkable or moving in ecstasy and sex?
- I'm saying that there should be a personal, non quantifiable story leading up to the remarkable and moving experience.
- Should be for what?
- For you not be be caught up in the technological myth.
- Tell me again: what is the technological myth?
- To be always doing. Doing more, better, faster, more often.  All that happens when we are still - perception of beauty, truth, good - is left out.
- But pornography and mysticism are not actions, are they?
- No. They are a special kind of perception.
- What kind?
- The kind that is quantifiable, measurable. That we can learn to do better, more often, and quicker.
- I don't follow.
- I mean something straightforward: pornographic objects are meant to arouse quickly, and accomplish this by extremes of quantity in measurements of immediately visible, repeatedly seen shapes.  Access to mystical experience can be practiced so it can be more lasting, reached quicker and more often.
- There is a technology to having these experiences, pornographic and mystical.
- Exactly.
- People looking for pornographic and mystical experiences have a kind of story that ties them to the technological world. So?
- So pornography and mystical exercise increase the influence and pervasiveness of technology in society. When people are tied closer into the technological emphasis on doing they more easily forget what they are not doing, forget the possibility of good feeling in the world not tied to quantity and speed and efficiency. Forget the experience of beauty.
- That's why you called* the worship of speed and quantity and efficiency in the technological myth a "place holder" for the infinite? Because it was without beauty?
- Yes. Someone caught up in an organized world gets out of practice learning how to see individuals, reflect on one's own private experience. It is easier to step from the lack of individual practice in technological society to the lack of individual practice of pornography and mystical exercises. That ease or efficiency is part of the technological myth authorizes such a move.
- Having a real story is not easy.
- In both respects: not easy to have a story at all, and any story worth having is not going to be easy.

* Einstein & Intellectual Physics