Rendered Fat Content


Alfred Stieglitz: Listening to the Crickets (c. 1900)

"Impossible and necessary …"

I this week declared myself Antifa because I consider myself vehemently anti-fascist. Who wouldn't be? An old acquaintance called me out, noting that a shadowy group considered to have been responsible for much anonymous street violence travels under the Antifa label, but then so, too, does a deeply anonymous collective of hackers who have uncovered considerable elite wrong-doing, and so, too, does a loose association of equality-seekers who protest financial elitism, which seems the very soul of fascism. The problem might lie in the Anti- label, what philosophers refer to as the 'negative space' identifier. Yesterday, as my dentist fitted a new cap onto one of my molars, he asked me to try to determine if it fit properly, a state I might recognize because I wouldn't notice any difference when I bite down. A positive space target would have provided an experience from which to judge success rather than the absence of an experience. We worked until I decided that I couldn't feel any difference, but I left with doubts that I'd succeeded in properly reporting success. Negative spaces work like that.

My Anti- feelings toward fascism fail to characterize what I'd consider an adequate replacement for fascism's presence.
I could declare myself pro-democracy, I guess, and thereby more positively define my position. Againsts provide little leverage and leave alternatives securely within an infinite other. Like a four year-old, I can mostly tell you what I do not want, expecting others to read my mind and delight me with an alternative. It requires more maturity than a four your-old possesses to positively address desire. Not even adults always seem capable of asking for what they'd prefer, rejecting what they don't want in lieu of stating what they need. I am Antifa, but what does that make me? What's my positive face?

Social media largely runs on negative space. It seems terribly complain-y, poking in opposition rather than positively asserting. It often negatively compares, charting others as Don't Bes, who have taken positions to be avoided and/or reviled. It encourages elitist, superior perspective, passing judgements, posing conclusions, casting aspersions. Each of these acts leave few fingerprints because they inhabit the negative realm. Because they are not anchored in anything, they can be seen as representing anything. One man's ceiling becomes another man's floor. One man's wall becomes another's downfall. One's perspective retreats in favor of adopting some pre-positioned meme, either for or against, but mostly against something, in fierce opposition, disloyal and insistent.

It's the cheapest stupid human trick to live in opposition, to inhabit negative space, to "be" Anti-. It might be the purest form of human relation to be in favor of something, to inhabit some powerfully positive space. When The Muse and I were in exile, we inhabited space separate from our heart's desire, negative space by default, for we couldn't seem to help but constantly compare and find our present wanting. This created a powerful if awfully strange attractor which ultimately drove us back into the arms of our heart's desire home. The difference seems more than merely palpable, but profound. We now inhabit a space so positive that much of the evil clearly inhabiting this world cannot penetrate its perimeter. Further, we're activists now more of preservation than revolution. We defend our decency against all comers and absolutely refuse to spend our time here complaining. If something needs doing, we do it with minimal grousing. We dare not ever hold grudges for they represent the ultimate Anti- and are by default, always self-destructive. They represent the Anti- personal experience, the Anti-self, the Anti-Christ.

I remain Antifa, but not merely against. I intend to represent a decent existence, one perhaps far from perfect but one always deliberately trending toward the more perfect, like our union, but never toward absolute perfection. My Anti- in this situation simply moves in an opposite direction to counterbalance indiscretion. Fascists always, always, always seek dominion. To be Anti- to that, one might seek communion instead. It's hard to see ignorant others smirking at me and to decide to see them as more family than enemy. It's more than hard. It borders on the absolutely impossible. Impossible and necessary, just like any fully human condition.


Another Narrow Escape
This writing week left more than August behind. It took The Muse and I more than a thousand miles and left us at the end of another of our Oregon Trails. Each time we drive out of the East, I'm reminded of the family stories left behind by ancestors of the hardships and determination that resulted in my own foothold here. Everyone alive now had similar ancestors, though not all have been as fortunate as I to know a few of their stories. A sense of continuity emerges for me from coming out of the East. For us westerners, East connotes backwards. It's where the past resides, where dreams remain unrequited. The West, once we arrive, always seems like a dream come true. It's where our future resides. Our future as well as our presence, freshly renewed from another brush with East-ness. It was another narrow escape (aren't they all?), but we managed it.

I began this writing week far away from The Villa, out in the world, demonstrating my
Morebility. "… we're addicted, just as certainly as we predicted that whatever we obsess becomes destined to become its opposite."

I considered how exiles end or if they ever end in
ExilesEnd. "The parts of the exile we loved, and there were many, we've abandoned to end the exile, the sole imperative we knew since we were first thrown out of the garden and into the wider world. We gained a garden at the cost of losing that world, a fair deal."

To counterbalance our outward bound
MakingTime, I wrote about our return trip TakingTime. "The thief in the night stalks regardless. Give me, this time seems to say, a thief for this day, one TakingTime as it damned well pleases and not just passing it by."

I appreciatively noticed us dawdling our way back home in
Trans-IT-ioning. " … we inhabit an essential adolescence, where we can still make snap a decision to visit The Golden Spike and thereby deferring arrival into our future together for another half day, Trans-IT-ioning all the way home."

I explored The Muse's hotel elitism and another transition with
HotPillow, which tied with FairWeather for the most popular piece this period. " I, for one, warmly anticipate down-grading to staying in a succession of HotPillow joints. The beds might be worse but the stories seem better."

I noticed that the terms under which we returned from this excursion left The Muse and I
Resettling rather than simply returning. "Those times when one steps into forever for the seemingly first time leave a real impression. Who cares if its ninety percent illusion? We're forever starting over, never really finished, our work mostly new beginnings."

I ended my writing week attending a disappointing regional fair in
FairWeather. "I'm telling you, this future takes some serious getting used to. Nostalgia seems a much more reliable companion, rarely disappointing."

This week marked significant movement. The Muse retired and we acquired a fresh perspective on our future. We experienced mobility's paradox, ended another exile, and took our time rather than making it or making it up. We slow-walk transitioned. We tried staying in a HotPillow joint before resettling in lieu of returning. FairWeather followed us all the way with nostalgia greeting us upon our arrival. The hero never returned from his journey, for he was utterly changed by the experience so that there was little left of his former self to return or resettle. Maybe he returned the Anti-hero? Thanks for peeking in!

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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