Attending Not-thinking [A Short Story]

To essay or not to essay, that might be a question in a flash, another thing made in non-fiction is still a fiction of a kind, no? All philosophy is another endeavor in fiction, or another fictional endeavor in thinking? To endeavor or not to endeavor; oh the intrepid thinker, the intrepid defender of democracy. Democracy does need defending, she does need support, words, words and more words, articulate, words intelligent, words passionate . . .

To essay a subject is to put that subject on trial, to test the ideas of the essayer on the thesis therein. Yes, essay is a verb as well as a noun. An essay essays, you could say, and perhaps I might be bold and say you should say that I essay, you essay, she, he or it essays–how does an it essay anything? Persons essay subjects, maybe objects? None other than a person philosophizes, of course. A pig does not philosophize, nor do chairs, tables or rocks; raccoons, bears, lions and scarecrows do not philosophize, therefore they do not learn how to die. I am bold, am I not in asserting that it is a human thing to wonder about dying? Only humans learn how to die, unless we are going to say that whales and dolphins do–maybe I should refrain from generalizations we fear making, mostly out of our fear that our own opinion might not be accepted if we do not perpetually doubt what we collectively think–mostly out of the need today to imagine we cannot think, that thinking itself is doubtful, that knowing anything is also doubtful, which is why the essay, as a form of writing inherited from Montaigne, is dying. To die or not to die on the pages of my essays; to essay my dying;I tried to my mother’s after I had failed nine months before to essay my father’s dying.

We don’t believe we know anything therefore how can we write about doubting the assumed limits of our knowledge? I understand that the culture that gave us the traditions of the essay over the last five centuries is waning fast. But we do not recognize that it is our adopted guiding metaphysics of thinking that has lead us to near ruin–yes, near ruin. Our epistemology–our theory of the limits of knowing, of what is knowable, of knowledge itself–is one that has undermined our ability to manage democracy effectively for the People, finding itself more in line with making everyone a member of a state serving Public, not the am as the people. Public and People have never been synonyms except in the results of degraded literacy. This has lead us down one or another lost paths toward a society ruled by more monied money leading to more powerful and far reaching power in the hands of fewer and fewer people. Why do I use ‘we,’ when I could use ‘I’ to similar yet quite different effect, effects, how does the I affect me and affect you differently than the we I use; I am or we are?

Yes, Mr. Frost, thinking has come to mirror voting, voting in place of thinking; one not supposed to be the other, but now as close as any two mutually and contingently synonymous terms can be–the action of voting being exactly what we have made out of our thinking, or what we believe is thinking. Voting without thinking, or thinking that has become like voting is to vote based on what is no longer thinking but in itself voting–circularity intended tom illustrate, but unavoidable due to our own convolutions we like to parade as thinking seriously, another way we reinforce not thinking or unthinking or de-thinking. We wonder how we get the politicians we get, chosen in the way we chose our lunch, or how we may want our hamburger cooked, today medium well, tomorrow medium rare with cheese.

I do not expect anyone on-line to read this past the one hundred word count without fading away, drifting away–attention is not what it used to be and yes, it is true that it used to be better. It is one of our greatest fallacies, used to support a cult of the new, that there is no other time than Now, to assert that every age has been opposed by the time that came before, most specifically to lend validity that whatever is new is not only good but best. It’s amazing to me how in and by this process of what we might call thinking, no matter how limited, history would have to be progressive. Do you think history is progressive? To say that history is progressive is like saying the ocean is progressive–it is not! This should not be a post, I know. It should be one of the pages entries. I think I will transfer it after posting it. Two pages is too long for our attention span, and I assume that this can be generalized in a non-specific, non-scientific way. The latter is for another essay–one where the dogmas of science or scientizing have dominated our thinking and have lead us nearly to mishandle Ebola (and I still insist that managing fear and erring on the side of extreme caution should mandate that anyone who has had contact should submit to quarantine without court order. Yes, Hickox is wrong. There will be a period, if she does develop symptoms, when she will have been contagious before she learns of them from monitoring. Unless she monitors her temperature several times an hour, there could be hours between the times she monitors and hours of time when she has been contagious before learning of her symptoms. I do not understand the limits of idiocy present in educated people today.) I do not want to suppose that you are idiots.

It’s interesting that when we use the internet we get on line, all of us waiting, attending to the perpetuation of standing still frozen in expectation. Yes, the internet–all of us have become like Didi and Gogo, waiting for something, someone who never comes. Yes, Mr. Beckett, the myth of Sisyphus has been revisited.


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