THE DUSTY TRAIL, THE WITHERING JUNGLE, AND THE LONESOME YOUTH: REMEMBERING ZARATHUSTRA

dusty path…And it happened that as I was traveling on the Dusty Trail, as I weaved through the denseness of a thick, Withering Jungle that had long ago begun to decay, I noticed how much of the flora this deterioration had infected, withering once-colourful flowers into black lumps of crispy, dead petals. My heart quivered with sadness; my hands trembled with rage. I looked around desperately, hoping someone was around with whom to share my great discontent: my panic at what I was seeing in front of me, my fear of the possibility that I too may begin withering and crumbling, leaving nothing but broken pieces of a man to carry my name and breath into the auras of the future. But I saw no one; I was alone.

But I knew that I simply could not go on my own selfish way after having seen this, just leaving it to continue to rot,  hoping someone else may find it so that they may fix it. There had to be a root: there had to be an infected piece at the base, where the nutrients flowed into the soil – a reason why Color and Freedom had been taken away from these jungles, and why Darkness and Dullness had taken their place, reigning over the Living. So I veered from the dusty path on which I’d been walking and broke through a thick net of jagged branches and black lumps to my left that had once been flowers and leaves — when Freedom still reigned — but which were now void of everything…even Death.

But it happened that as I walked deeper and deeper through this swamp of branches and dead trees, I began hearing ghostly whispers and even macabre howls that sounded like tortured souls emanating from within the bowels of the jungle; at other times they sounded like vultures or demonic creatures screeching far in the horizon and swooping down on me.  But there was nothing there. At other times I’d see shrubs shaking or swaying, and I’d feel something run past me but, again, there was nothing there. Panic was taking hold….My Solitude in this place became magnified, which made my goal – to reach the root of the problem and fix it – seem ludicrous and suicidal, and my faith wavered as my knees buckled with fear in the face of the utter lonesomeness in which I found myself.

I felt like I wanted to turn back, like I should let the demons scare me…like I should let them win, for I knew they were purposefully scaring me; that they wanted me to turn back so as to let them continue to Absorb the Life of this Wonderful Jungle and to Control the Freedom of Growth and Evolution. And just then, just when I’d reached the climax of my horror, my mind had a flashback to an earlier time – to a time of formation – when I had read a tale that, until then, had only seemed like wonderful poetry lauding the soul…like beautiful words…But at that very moment, the words were actually the catalyst I needed to renew my strength and faith and to finish that Great Trek I had started…if not for myself, for the ecstasy that is seeing Life Grow…

And so it happened that I remembered a tale that had found Zarathustra walking “alone through the mountains surrounding the town which is called The Motley Cow,” where he’d suddenly found the same young man who had been avoiding him on days past, leaning against a Lonesome Tree Atop the Mountain, and “looking wearily into the valley.” Gripping the “tree under which the youth was sitting,” Thus Spoke Zarathustra:

“If I wanted to shake this tree with my hands I should not be able to do it. But the wind, which we do not see, tortures and bends it in whatever direction it pleases. It is by invisible hands that we are bent and tortured the worst…But it is with man as it is with the tree. The more he aspires to the height and light, the more strongly do his roots strive earthward, downward, into the dark, the deep – into evil…”

And with these words I began to feel anew. Then, upon realizing that I’d have to cut and maim some branches – get rid of what wouldn’t let me pass, and even sacrifice some remaining, seemingly healthy petals to avoid further infection of the blooming ones, that is, of the Future to Come – my hands became heavy with doubt. And then again I remembered Zarathustra’s wise words:IMG_20130412_111235

“Some souls one will never discover, unless one invents them first.”

My situation, I noted, was not unlike the young man who had been sitting by the tree, who’d wavered after having climbed so high that he found himself entirely unaccompanied, even spiteful of himself and confused at his choice to Fly so High and so utterly alone; after having received the full brunt of those he’d left Under – with the Herd – and who now casted aspersions at him for having dared questioned and shaken their complacent and dormant acquiescence. There, isolated, bedevilled and mentally exhausted, he Thus Spoke to Zarathustra:

“I no longer trust myself since I aspire to the height, and nobody trusts me any more; how did this happen? I change too fast: my today refutes my yesterday. I often skip steps when I climb: no step forgives me that. When I am at the top I always find myself alone. Nobody speaks to me; the frost of loneliness makes me shiver. What do I want up high? My contempt and my longing grow at the same time; the higher I climb, the more I despise the climber. What does he want up high? How ashamed I am of my climbing and stumbling! How I mock at my violent panting! How I hate the flier! How weary I am up high!”

Calmly, Zarathustra responds thus:

“This tree stands lonely here in the mountains; it grew high above man and beast. And if it wanted to speak it would have nobody who could understand it, so high has it grown. Now it waits and waits – for what is it waiting? It dwells too near the seat of the clouds: surely, it waits for the first lighting.”

Unhinged by the magnificent revelation, and as he “wept bitterly,” the Youth, in turn, responds thus:

“Yes, Zarathustra! You are speaking the truth. I longed to go under when I aspired to the height, and you are the lightning for which I waited. Behold, what am I, now that you have appeared among us? It is the envy of you that has destroyed me.”

Putting “his arm around him” and leading him away, Zarathustra says to the Youth:

“It tears my heart. Better than your words tell it, your eyes tell me of all your dangers. You are not yet free, you will search for freedom. You are worn from your search and over-awake. You aspire to the free heights, your soul thirsts for the stars. But your wicked instincts, too, thirst for freedom. Your wild dogs want freedom; they bark with joy in their cellar when your spirit plans to open all prisons. To me you are still a prisoner who is plotting his freedom: alas, in such prisoners the soul becomes clever, but also deceitful and bad. And even the liberated spirit must still purify himself. Much prison mountain tree lightning 2and mustiness still remain in him: his eyes must still become pure.

“Indeed I know your danger,” he continued. “But by my love and hope I beseech you: do not throw away your love and hope!

“You still feel noble, and the others too feel your nobility, though they bear you a grudge and send you evil glances. Know that the noble stands in everybody’s way. The noble man stands in the way of the good too: and even if they call him one of the good, they thus want to do away with him. The noble man wants to create something new and a new virtue. The good want the old, and that the old be preserved. But this is not the danger of the noble man, that he might become one of the good, but a churl, a mocker, a destroyer.”

I was more calm. The shrubbery felt less jagged.

And Zarathustra’s words continued reciting themselves in my head, as if being whispered by a tiny being in my mind reading straight from the book:

“Alas, I knew noble men who lost their highest hope. Then they slandered all high hopes. Then they lived impudently in brief pleasures and barely cast their goals beyond the day. Spirit too is lust, so they said. Then the wings of their spirit broke: And now their spirit crawls about and soils what it gnaws. Once they thought of becoming heroes: now they are voluptuaries. The hero is for them an offense and a fright.

“But by my love and hope, I beseech you,” Zarathustra had said. “Do not throw away the hero in your soul! Hold holy your highest hope!”

And the voice intonating Zarathustra’s speech went on inside my muddled brain:

“‘He who seeks, easily gets lost. All loneliness is guilt’ – thus speaks the herd. And you have long belonged to the herd. The voice of the herd will still be audible in you. And when you will say, “I no longer have a common conscience with you,” it will be a lament and an agony. Behold, this agony itself was born of the common conscience, and the last glimmer of that conscience still glows on you affliction.

“But do you want to go the way of your affliction, which is the way to yourself? Then show me your right and your strength to do so. Are you a new strength and a new right? A first movement? A self-propelled wheel? Can you compel the very stars to revolve around you?

“Alas, there is so much lusting for the heights! There are so many convulsions of the ambitions. Show me that you are not one of the lustful and ambitious.

“Alas, there are so many great thoughts which do no more than a bellows: they puff up and make emptier.

You call yourself free? Your dominant thought I want to hear, and not that you have escaped from a yoke. Are you one of those who had the right to escape from a yoke? There are some who threw away their last value when they threw away their servitude.

Free from what? As if that mattered to Zarathustra! But your eyes should tell me brightly: free for what?

IMG_20130406_094039The words lingered in my mind. The sharp audible contrast between the from and the for sounds were impactful, much more than a simply auditory curiosity…They meant a lot more…The Jungle in front of me began taking a new look, a new air about it – there seemed to be a new aura emanating from and palpitating in the centre, where all the jungle’s energy seemed to concentrate, and where I figured the poison would have to be bled….Tribal Drumming was filling the background, and my heart itself seemed to be navigating towards the Centre…The palpitations, I then realized, were coming from within me….And then the voice intonating Zarathustra’s song came back:

Can you give yourself your own evil and your own good and hang your own will over yourself as a law? Terrible it is to be alone with the judge and the avenger of one’s own law. Thus is a star thrown out into the void and into the icy breath of solitude. Today you are still suffering from the many, being one: today your courage and your hopes are still whole. But the time will come when solitude will make you weary, when your pride will double up, and your courage gnash its teeth. And you will cry, ‘I am alone!’ The time will come when that which seems high to you will no longer be in sight, and that which seems low will be all too near; even what seems sublime to you will frighten you like a ghost. And you will cry, ‘All is false!’

The words, again, were palpably true! My enthusiasm at giving a helping hand in the reconstruction of this Exotic Jungle had wavered; I had seen the black petals, and my skin had torn after getting caught on the jagged branches, and the sight of my own blood had made me think of turning back – of abandoning all hope and fight and sacrifice, and just run for the dusty path which, though still lonely, was decorated with artificial trees and plants that gave the impression of life…I had wavered…But the invoked words worked to placate my fear again and invigorate me with courage:

“There are feelings which want to kill the lonely; and if they do not succeed, well, then they themselves must die,” Zarathustra had said. And then he’d asked: “But are you capable of this – to be a murderer?” And I was now asking myself the same question:

I swallowed the thought with ambivalence, and my brain continued to recite Zarathustra:

“My brother, do you know the word ‘contempt’ yet? And the agony of your justice – being just to those who despise you? You force many to relearn about you; they charge it bitterly against you. You came close to them and yet passed by: that they will never forgive. You pass over and beyond them: but the higher you ascend, the smaller you appear to the eye of envy. But most of all they hate those who fly….”

Yes! I was beginning to realize that perhaps I was ready…And plus, by God! I had gotten my wings!

“‘How would you be just to me?’ you must say,” continued Zarathustra. “‘I choose your injustice as my proper lot.’ Injustice and filth they throw after the lonely one: but, my brother, if you would be a star, you must not shine less for them because of that.

“And beware of the good and the just!” I immediately remembered he’d warned against that very cautiously. “They like to crucify those who invent their own virtue for themselvesthey hate the lonely one. Beware also of holy simplicity! Everything that is not simple it considers unholy; it also likes to play with fire – the stake. And beware also of the attacks of your love! The lonely one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters. To some people you may not give your hand, only a paw; and I desire that your paw should also have claws.

“But the worst enemy you can encounter will always be you, yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caves and woods.” Under the circumstances – in the midst I was in – the reality of those words resonated within me, and made me feel enlarged.

“Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself. And your way leads past yourself and your seven devils. You will be a heretic to yourself and a witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and a villain. You must wish to consume yourself in your own flame: how could you wish to become new unless you had first become ashes!

“Lonely one, you are going the way of the creator: you will create a god for yourself out of your seven devils…”

My heart was beating faster…

Lonely one, you are going the way of the lover: yourself you love, and therefore you despise yourself, as only lovers despise. The lover would create because he despises. What does he know of love who did not have to despise precisely what he loved!”

I was trembling faster and harder, realizing the events that were going to take place; realizing what my brain, guided by the great feelings of love the speech had reminded me of, was now telling me I should do if we were to arrive at the Centre, which now was an arm’s length away…With tears in my eyes, and with a sublime understanding of the reasons for the very violent acts which my arms were executing, a machete came down with all the force of a thousand horses and chopped the rotten though still living branches, flowers and shrubs that blocked the Centre. My heart was heavy with sadness, feeling myself a destroyer of life….but my mind was fixed on the prize: on that vortex from which life flowed outward, and which, until now, had been saturated by venomous weeds masqueraded as unhealthy roses. And Zarathustra’s words came rushing back:

“Go into your loneliness with your love and with your creation, my brother; and only much later will justice limp after you.

“With my tears go into your loneliness, my brother. I love him who wants to create over and beyond himself and thus perishes.”

And Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

thick jungle 2And as I reached the Center, though alone, I felt accompanied by the spirit of the Jungle, which, upon feeling my first efforts of Liberating it, seemed to dance and rejoice with the enthusiasm of someone who’s been given their sight back, or whose suffocating muzzle has finally been removed. And with every breath that I inhaled and exhaled, the Jungle seemed to swell as it breathed with me, and we became one…

…And so it happened, that the Jungle regained its colour, and I my strength.

Todo lo que quería saber sobre Venezuela

ARTÍCULO ORIGINAL: Todo lo que quería saber sobre Venezuela.

Todo lo que quería saber sobre Venezuela

¿Qué son más interesantes, las conferencias o las preguntas que se plantean después de ellas? Reproduzco algunas que me formularon durante una gira por Europa, con las respuestas.

En todas partes me inquieren: -¿Y la salud del Presidente?

-Lo veo en plena posesión de sus facultades físicas y mentales.

Cuando indagan sobre el sistema electoral venezolano, les leo la declaración donde el ex presidente Carter afirma que es uno de los más perfectos del mundo, mientras que el de Estados Unidos es uno de los menos perfectos del planeta.

En Frankfurt, capital financiera de Europa, camino por calles donde se suceden los comercios en quiebra. En la Casa Sindical DGB Haus un sindicalista inquiere: -¿Ha hecho algo Venezuela para romper la dependencia hacia los hidrocarburos?

-Culminó una campaña nacional para sustituir bombillos fotovoltaicos por fluorescentes. Tenemos dos represas hidroeléctricas gigantescas, la del Guri y la de Caroachi, y desde 2002 estamos construyendo la Manuel Piar, que ahorrará unos 25 millones de barriles de petróleo por año. Como en el resto del mundo, apenas empezamos la sustitución por energías renovables, pero empezamos bien.

En el aeropuerto de Estocolmo un retrato mural glorifica a Ingmar Bergman, a quien las autoridades suecas persiguieron, humillaron públicamente y escarnecieron por una insignificante deuda de impuestos. En el II Seminario Nórdico de Medios de Comunicación y América Latina en el ABF-Huset, me inquieren sobre las medidas para frenar la agresión de los monopolios mediáticos contra las democracias.

-Legislación, para obligar a informar en forma veraz, imparcial y oportuna, limitar la emisión de publicidad, evitar la incitación al racismo y la discriminación racial y establecer la responsabilidad de los comunicadores. Emisoras alternativas, de servicio público o comunitarias, para equilibrar el abrumador predominio numérico de los medios privados. Educación del público, para enseñarle a descifrar los códigos mediáticos y advertir sus engaños.

En el Centrum fur Marxistica Samballstudien un provocador con acento antillano me pregunta si estoy de acuerdo con implantar un sistema tipo cubano en Estocolmo.

-Estoy de acuerdo en que haya un sistema tipo cubano en Cuba.

En Belgrado recorro avenidas donde todavía edificios públicos bombardeados permanecen como amasijos de cabillas y cascote incinerado, hasta la Academia Megatrends, donde un estudiante se queja: -Nos cobran matrículas educativas altísimas.

-En Venezuela mucho más del 80% de los educandos cursan en institutos públicos, gratuitos en todos los niveles, salvo en algunos postgrados. Dedicamos mucho más del 6% del Producto Interno Bruto a la Educación; entre 2009 y 2011 la inversión educativa creció 1.800%. En la última década el gobierno ha creado 20 casas de educación universitaria, cuatro institutos universitarios de tecnología, 6 universidades politécnicas y 10 nuevas universidades; la matrícula en educación superior se duplicó de 894.418 educandos en 2000 a 2.109.331 en 2009. Estudian 9.329.703 personas: uno de cada tres venezolanos.

También en Belgrado me preguntan: -¿Algunos movimientos derechistas que operaron en Serbia exportan sus tácticas a Venezuela?

-Nuestra derecha importa tanto su ideología como sus símbolos. Algunos estudiantes acomodados usaron disfraces de manitas blancas, lucieron camisetas con el puño de Otpor, se bajaron los pantalones para enseñar el trasero. Pero el hábito no hace al gobernante.

En el Foro convocado por nuestra Misión en La Haya un diplomático inquiere:-¿Recibe la oposición financiamientos externos?

-La investigadora Eva Golinger ha demostrado que fondos de la USAID, del National Endowment for Democracy y de ONG foráneas mantienen a la oposición. En Wikileaks consta que varios opositores fueron a pedir dinero a la embajada de Estados Unidos, y como no les contestaron de inmediato, repitieron la petición en inglés.

Alguien se preocupa por el retiro de Venezuela de la Comisión y la Corte Interamericana de los Derechos Humanos de la Organización de Estados Americanos.

-La OEA ha legitimado todas las intervenciones armadas de Estados Unidos contra América Latina y el Caribe; su Comisión de Derechos Humanos reconoció de facto la dictadura surgida del golpe de Estado del 2012 en Venezuela y no tomó medidas a favor del presidente legítimo, que se encontraba secuestrado. Ni Estados Unidos ni Canadá se han sometido nunca a esos organismos. Tampoco tenemos que someternos nosotros, sobre todo cuando intentan suplantar a nuestros tribunales y sentenciar en cuestiones que afectan el orden constitucional interno.

Largo rato tardo en convencer a una periodista de que no, el Consejo de Estado no decidirá la sucesión presidencial, de que el orden de suceder está en la Constitución Bolivariana, sancionada en referendo por la abrumadora mayoría de la población.

En Hamburgo, durante un siglo destino de nuestras exportaciones de café y cacao, paso horas embriagadoras en el Museo Naval fotografiando modelos de carabelas, navíos de línea, acorazados: todas las flotas con las cuales Europa irrumpió al asalto del mundo. En el Spanisches Kulturinstitut Cervantes una dama se inquieta por la inseguridad.

-Hasta 2008 el Instituto Nacional de Estadística registraba unos mil homicidios por año. El año inmediato el INE hace una Encuesta sobre Percepción Ciudadana de Inseguridad entre 5.000 personas, las cuales opinan que en Venezuela habrá unos 19.000 homicidios anuales. Pero una opinión no es un homicidio. Por el contrario, la suma total de delitos bajó de 155.080 en 2009, a 143,774 en 2010 y 129.210 en 2012. Todos los que hoy delinquen se formaron cuando mandaba la oposición. En ese entonces se podía enviar a un ciudadano a cumplir trabajos forzados durante años mediante un simple memorando que lo acusara de no tener oficio o profesión conocida. También, se detenía ilegalmente a barrios completos, y se los liberaba a capricho. Las mayores tasas delictivas se registran en estados donde la oposición gobierna: Zulia, Táchira, Carabobo, Miranda. El proceso bolivariano ha creado una Policía Nacional, una Universidad Experimental de la Seguridad y un Ministerio de Asuntos Penitenciarios.

Un obrero se refiere al generalizado desempleo, falta de habitaciones e irrespeto a los derechos del trabajador en Europa, que entre otras formas se manifiesta por la tercerización laboral.

-En Venezuela está en marcha un ambicioso plan para construir dos millones de viviendas para los trabajadores. El año 2011 las lluvias dejaron cien mil compatriotas sin hogar: se los ha alojado en ministerios, en edificios públicos, hasta en hoteles de lujo mientras se los provee de techo. A mediados de los noventa, un acuerdo entre el gremio patronal, la cúpula sindical y el gobierno privó a los trabajadores de sus prestaciones sociales, que la nueva Ley del Trabajo les ha restituido. Esta norma también prohíbe categóricamente la tercerización, vale decir, la contratación de los trabajadores a través de entes ficticios para negarles el reclamo de sus derechos. La tasa de desempleo en Venezuela es de 6%, en contraste con la desocupación de 25% en España.

En la Universidad Friedrich Schiller de Jena un estudiante me pregunta: -¿De verdad sienten los latinoamericanos la necesidad de unirse?

-Alemania fue hasta el siglo XIX una diversidad de principados antagónicos ¿Sintieron los alemanes la necesidad de unirse como una sola nación? Alemania fue hasta finales del siglo XX dos Alemanias ¿Será que sintieron los alemanes la necesidad de unificarse? ¿Y por qué los latinoamericanos no?

¿Sobre cuántas cosas más no me preguntan en todas partes? Acerca de las repercusiones de la decisión electoral en Venezuela en los procesos de integración latinoamericana, que serían significativas. Con respecto al Socialismo del Siglo XXI. Sobre las compras de armamentos, explicables cuando Estados Unidos eleva a 47 sus bases en la región y un país vecino tiene medio millón de hombres en su presupuesto militar. Acerca de una supuesta masacre de indígenas por mineros ilegales, que recorre los medios del mundo a pesar de que por ninguna parte aparece ni una sola prueba de que haya ocurrido, ni un solo desmentido ante la falta de pruebas. Acerca de las semejanzas y diferencias entre los movimientos sociales de Venezuela y América Latina y los de Europa. Los latinoamericanos también preguntamos muchísimo antes de comprender que sólo nosotros podíamos darnos nuestras propias respuestas.

Salto a Weimar, eludo la casa del cortesano Goethe y doy una larga caminata hasta el archivo del recalcitrante Nietzsche. Su marmórea mascarilla mortuoria me interroga si el Reino de la Libertad no será el paso necesario para la transmutación de todos los valores.

En el helado crepúsculo de Frankfurt, entre edificios que parecen frascos de perfume las grúas terminan el rascacielos del Banco Europeo mientras el euro se derrumba. Una señora me pregunta si es verdad que los bolivarianos preparan una ley para prohibir la minifalda.

-Sí, pero sólo a las damas suficientemente ingenuas para creerlo.

brittoluis@gmail.com

DEEPER INTO THE OCEAN

19 SEPTEMBER 2012, 3:42 P.M.

His eyes opened with the early Morning Sun Rays and the Songs of the tiny birds perched on the tree outside his window clamoring for nourishment at the top of their little lungs. His eyes still felt heavy and groggy, but it would pass soon, he knew, because his brain was, for some reason, intact. It did not feel tired or particularly awake either; it was just aware of its own presence and that of the Life taking shape outside of his window. He sat up as he finished opening his eyes, wiping away the last remnants of sleepiness from his face with his right hand, which was still half-asleep. The million pins puncturing his skin this early in the morning were shocking, but they weren’t unpleasant: they seemed to vibe to the Tune outside his window, and they felt right.

As he finished getting up he realized, with amazement, that he was floating and bobbing around in an Ocean.  His room was the same, and nothing seemed to be getting wet. But he just bobbed there – half his body under the water, and half above it.

He finished getting up and slowly inched towards the window in his shorts, shivering lightly as his skin popped with goose bumps and the hair on his body stood up because of the crispy morning. Despite the Light Rays that had awakened him, the morning’s air was heavy and it was obvious it would rain at any minute. When he swung the blinds open widely as he took the opportunity to let his bones in his arms adapt to the chilly morning and those in his legs to the freezing water, another cold breeze whistled by making a ‘wooooshhhhhhhh’ sound and violently swaying the tree outside his window. The tiny birds shut up for a second, but as soon as the gust had passed, they resumed their serenade.

He stood staring outside the window for a few minutes, contemplating the difference between a morning like this in the suburbs of Canada and the chilly Auroras that he once enjoyed in a far-away land in South America, where the cold ‘wooooshhhhhhhh’ would come directly from the Snow-Capped Mountains not 500 yards in front of the little wooden hut in the middle of Green Pastures that extended as far as the eye could see, and where his family had decided to stay for the weekend, visiting relatives that had chosen to seclude themselves and their cow and sheep herds away from the city-hell and far up in the mountains, where it took practice to adjust one’s breathing because the air was not only thin but so crisp that it felt like you were taking huge whiffs with a Mint plant shoved right up your nose; and where the water was so pure that city kids would complain that it tasted too “bland”…This was nothing like that, despite the beautiful orchestra that the birds had now assembled, and the chilly air that gave the impression of purity, and the Ocean that surrounded him…Then he shook himself out of his trance feeling nostalgic for a second, until he realized there was nothing he could do about that at this moment, and then, resigning himself to this depressing reality, he turned around and went to the washroom to cleanse himself, not feeling particularly anything but neutrality.

And so the day went on. People moved in and out of rooms and did this or that. The phone rang at times; at others the television was on. A guest of his brother would come in and out, and the dogs played in the backyard. Everyone seemed in tune with what they were doing – they all seem to know exactly what to do, and how to do it, and why they were doing it. And he watched this happen all day long with a remarkable impassivity. He was not moved left or right or down or up by anything. He just observed, with amazement, that no one even noticed the fact that he was bobbing in an Ocean. And he himself was amazed, for that matter, that no one else was floating too. He realized that everywhere he went, he was inside this Ocean, but no one else seemed to mind…or even get wet!

But at some point – while he performed some menial task that not even he cared for but felt compelled to do it for the sake of activity – he realized that indeed, as he had thought before but had chosen to ignore, something was wrong. He realized that there was indeed something bugging him, despite the fact he didn’t know what it was…but now, he thought, he was definitely closer to figuring it out.

It was precisely this impassivity, he realized, that had been brewing inside of him like water in a tea-pot, and now it was steaming. The paradox was hard to grip at first: how could it be, he thought, that despite feeling nothing – not feeling particularly sad, or depressed or anxious or worried, or happy or elated or excited, or horny or impotent – despite feeling absolutely nothing, he was feelingsomething…and what the hell did this fucking Ocean around him meant????…At first he couldn’t explain, but now it was becoming clear.

********

The thought of not feeling anything had crossed some wires inside, and now that was driving him mad. He sat on a stool in the basement staring at a wall while extremely loud music played in the background, and as he listened to the waves of violent sound he had hallucinations of past times and better times when he had not been captive of this godforsaken impassivity.

He recalled one night in Venezuela outside of a building where a girl he had met there lived. He was eating a sandwich prepared by a vendor with a mobile kiosk – one of the millions that roamed the city – while he waited for her to come down. When she came down, he ordered two more sandwiches and they sat down to eat them before they headed to the bar where they had planned on going earlier that night. They were talking about something when suddenly the mood had turned ugly and people sitting around them had begun to look up from their own conversations to witness this spectacle from these freaks in a foreign language. He could not recall what the argument was about, but he remembered it being very loud and full of swearing – he was sure the scene must have been antagonized by the fact that he had been drinking, which in those days he had been doing a lot of. Whatever the reason for the argument, he remembered two things. One was that it had passed within the next 15 minutes – as the countless list of those arguments had in the past – and that, like all those in the past, too, they had forgotten about it as they drank heavily in his apartment later that night and fucked savagely for the rest of the night until the first Sun-Light would begin to appear on the horizon and the various Rum and wine bottles bounced around the room empty. And the other thing he remembered was one distinct thing which seemed very relevant at this juncture in time, feeling impassive as he was.

Although probably melodramatizing things as most women do, he thought, she had hit a nerve when she told him that part of his insanity – which she often described as being not only evident but simultaneously erotic as well as dangerous and frightening – was due to the fact that he was never able to simply be…

“You can’t just chill out, can you!!??” she had screamed at him hysterically, calling the attention of everyone. “You always have to be feeeeling something,” she said as she squeezed her fists so tightly they turned white. “You’re either in the clouds – happy, ecstatic, high – whether on drugs or not!!…..Or you’re in Hell – in despair! Why can’t you just Chilll!!!”

Well goddamn, he thought, the truth is the truth. What had been bugging him so much was the fact that nothing had happened and that he had been, at a very subconscious (or perhaps unconscious) level looking for a High….or a Low…Basically for anything that had made him feel something.

He had gotten tired of the routine. He realized that he didn’t even want to go to the bars where he used to frequent in the weekends with a posse of other degenerates and fiends like himself, looking for trouble, for drink and for wild and loose women…which was easy to find in those days…and still is today, for matter, if one wants and knows where to look. But now he was not looking for any of that. All that High that came in those days was gone now – at least at this particular moment.

And the Lows, too, for that matter. As he sat there in the basement staring at the wall and letting the music slowly chip away at his ear drums, he realized that he couldn’t even feel that despair and sadness that had consumed him a few months ago at the loss of a beautiful and dearly loved girl whom he had already – foolishly, I may add – envisioned a future with. He had, for months, dragged himself with the snakes and the worms as he descended into a personal hell of catatonic depression. Though the point had never been to kill himself, he had probably consumed more alcohol on a daily basis in the following six months than he had in the past couple of years….But now all that was gone. He didn’t – or couldn’t, he feared – even feel that. He was just…There…Not really Up or Down…but just…there…

But he knew he wanted none of that back. He didn’t want those sleepless nights, fueled by chemical reactions to all sorts of legal and illegal stimulants that would be the razon d’etre for the insanity that would undoubtedly ensue as the nights went on, which would end in violence and shame, at the lowest points, and indiscriminate and perverse fun, at the highest. He also knew that he did not want that despair that would also keep him up at nights and that would transform into horrible hallucinations of a reality he wished were true but knew in his heart could never return: when he’d see the face of that lovely girl assuring everything will be ok, only to lure him into a savage trap that would end with maimed limbs or a distorted psyche.

No…He wanted none of that. He wanted something knew. He realized then that all day, despite his apparent impassivity – and all this time, for that matter – all these days and weeks and months when he had been looking under stones and in heaven and in hell…all this time when he had felt thatimpassivity…all this restlessness and disgust with the routine that he knew he was once part of….all of this had meant something: that he now looked for something Beautiful. He wanted action, sure, that was indisputable – he wanted to see the world, to travel it, to know it, to digest it, to let others know of what is happening with no censorship at all….But he wanted to see something Beautiful, first. He wanted to be blinded by something so Amazing that he’d be left speechless…Something like what that Lovely Girl had once meant. He wanted to be Shocked out of this impassivity…of this routine…of this dormancy….of this complacency…

**********

So now he looks for it. He has left home. He is walking without shoes outside, letting the rain cleanse him of that old and antiquated view. He wants to look forward. He wants to see past the Horizon. So he’s decided to submerge himself, and now, as I write these last words, I can only see the trail of his kicking feet under the water, as he goes deeper and deeper into that Ocean that has apparently been Sourrounding him all his Life.