Life After Death.

Too much going on. Cant keep up. Sad thing is there seems to be so much worth it to write. So about a month ago my sister (T****) and her boyfriend (D****) moved in. It’s a temporary thing until they do, if they do, find their bearings down here. They come from Jhb. If it wasn’t mentioned before we are somewhere close to the Garden Route now. My mother also moved here a few months ago, she bought a house with a cottage that I live in with B. T**** & D**** stay in the house with mom. I did want to spend some time wallowing in self-pity in this entry. Something about feeling a bit overwhelmed, something to do with feeling lost. Some kind of reflection on the where the world seems to be headed, how the last thing it seems to need is words, words, and, more words. How many words there already seem to be. How quickly things fade despite being interesting. That sort of evolves into a what am I bothering with this journal for thing. I need to get that out my system once and for all, some kind of validation complex; recognition. It’s a dairy, not an aspiring best-seller, get over it, move on.

Index @ Livejournal. Index @ WordPress.
But is it that really? Isn’t it about trying to put a finger on some kind of deep-seated malaise? Of the list of synonyms for malaise I think melancholy is the closest fit in the sense I mean it. Of the list of synonyms for melancholy I think downhearted is the closest fit in the sense I mean it. Maybe. It feels like its about a move from wanting to do the whole leave a legacy behind thing, create an impression thing, make something out of myself thing, be a somebody thing, to… Wanting to be a nobody? Wanting to do nothing? Give up? Go from there to where exactly?

No… I think it might be more. Easy to put it into a something personal category, but I think it might not be. It has a bigger feel; it’s more all encompassing. Such a weird space. A void. It kind of fits in nicely with where the last entry ended. The “Let It Go” move. I’m not sure I can put this all together very well. I guess part of doing this is about a way to try make sense of it.

Somnambulants.
@ The Art of R.S.Connett; “RSC: My moods, yes, my grades, not at all. I was passed from grade to grade without learning to spell nor read. (These things came to me later in life) The inner city school system of San Francisco was overcrowded in my day, and children who did not keep up were passed on a “TRIAL” bases. I went from 1st through 6th grade, always on this “trial basis”, afraid they would put me back a grade if I screwed up. Inevitably, I did screw up, but the “trial” was a bluff. I was still depressed and angry. I was aggressive, sullen and violent little vandal. I ended up being tossed out (expelled) from the school district proper. I was sent to a “continuation school”. I cut most classes, spending my days in a cloud. At age 16. I dropped out in the 11th grade with straight “F’s”. However, my art did improve.”

There was something going on about the mind interfering, getting caught up in putting everything it observed into categories, figuring out what was good, what was bad, what was comfortable, what was uncomfortable, what suited it, what didn’t suit it. Whether it agreed with something or not, what fit in with strongly held beliefs, or personal opinions, what it disagreed with. What helped to achieve hidden agendas, what helped to meter out punishment or dish out revenge. Play the Game.

Well, maybe not that much. Just enough of something to make you not see, some kind of organic naturally occurring process underlying everything. The possibility that even without you having to lift a finger, or, whether you thought it was subject to your approval, stuff works, and it works perfectly. You might not agree with it, you might not like it, you might think without your effort it wont work, it wont happen, but, guess what? Surprise Surprise..; It Does.

Hmmm. Closer. But still not quite 100%. Anyway, it’s something along those lines that’s going on in the background, and it’s translating into a way of feeling. And then that translates into what I thought might be an insight. And that insight, if I can be somewhat arrogant enough to call it like that, translated into a decision I think I’ve made, and that decision should translate into a particular action. The particular action in this case is that I become an organ donor. Meh. Jumping the gun a bit. In fact; I just messed where I was going with this completely up. So. Maybe time to get into an actual conversation…

I’d seen something in the newspaper about a guy in Cape Town who’d started up a maggot breeding farm. I’m not sure what the situation is overseas but in South Africa breeding maggots on an industrial scale is a new thing, I think they said his was the first like it in this country. I marveled at what I read. I’ve had conversations with people about the future of food on this planet and I can completely see a demand being fulfilled with a product whose main ingredient is insect.

Something that kind of follows the same trajectory as that of soy bean, or textured vegetable protein products that have been rolled out as a cheap, “conscience free” substitute for meat. Being vegetarian I’ve even gone so far as to say if such a product ever got created I’d be the first to sign up for it. I’m not completely sure where I was coming from with that but I think it had to do with showing a bit of enthusiasm for an entrepreneurial idea. Something to invest in. A way to make money.

T**** & D**** having moved down here recently, about a month ago now I think are still unemployed. D**** was telling me about how his brother, currently living in the U.K., had mentioned in one of their telephone conversations he was thinking of coming back to S.A. He’s been in touch with someone who was prepared to help him start up a farming operation, I guess all it takes is having a bit of cash to throw around. The idea annoyed me immensely. There’s probably a better way to describe what I felt – a bit uneasy. A couple of thoughts cross my mind.

The first is if you have a bit of cash and want to turn that into starting up a business from which to earn a living you want to choose something that’s easy. Something that isn’t going to eat you up and spit you out. Farming can only ever be something fraught with a great deal of difficulty. My first thought was if someone is romancing D****’s brother about being able to make cash from farming it’s only because they can make a bit of cash out of him. Instead of say any of that I asked D**** if his brother had something to fall back on if the farming idea didn’t work out for him.

There’s more I could get into about the farming thing, but not right now. I think part of the deal with D****’s brother coming here and opening a business involves the possibility of D**** being able to make something of himself. Now here is something that is immensely frustrating. My sisters boyfriend is currently unemployed, his last job she organised for him he quit almost a year ago, is young enough to be her son, didn’t finish school, hasn’t got a drivers license – not even a learners license, and proposed to her a year after he met her, on Christmas.

Keepers of the Gourd Flower.
@ The Art of R.S.Connett; “In 1995 my house burned down, all the way down to the ground. I was alone with a house full of lit candles. I awoke with the room engulfed in flames. I barely had time to run out the door. In fact, the soles of my feet were burned from the burning floor. I was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The real harm was the total destruction of my home of 20 plus years. I had nothing, not even cloths. In that home was an immense art collection, including many of my own pieces. I was (am) an avid collector. This was a phenomenal life time collection of art and artifacts. All of it gone in a moment. I was in shock. I created no artwork for almost 10 years after this event. I almost died of self pity. Eventually, I dragged myself out of my despair. I began painting again. For the first time I realized the frailty and shortness of my existence.”

She’s my sister, color me jade; I’m jaded. We live in a country where employment equity means good luck getting this job if you are white. And here he is white and not even with a certificate from finishing school? Good luck with that. So if the brother comes down and opens doors for this guy it would be a mighty fine thing, perfect, very pretty, beautiful. Maybe I’m a little invested in whatever his brother does working out for him. It works out for him, it works out for D****, it works out for D****, it works out for my sister.

Okay so there’s a bunch of words I wasn’t expecting to appear. Might leave it in just to create a bit of context, or something. I’m going to add that I don’t think how I feel is anything personal, I think its almost as inevitable as the result of any particular kind of recipe – the end result of this bunch of ingredients is pretty much anyone is going to have their doubts in a situation like this. And here I was thinking this would be so quick to do, the point I wanted to make was so clear in my head, so well defined. At some point it was, now maybe not so much. So D**** had told me this about what his brother was wanting to do, and I was back in the cottage the next day seething in the great injustice of it all, when I remembered something about what I’d read in the paper.

In fact didn’t I still have it laying around here somewhere? I scratched around a bit and wouldn’t you know it there it was! So I took the paper over to the house, asked my mother where they were (wasn’t it a bit rude to barge in and demand this information from her? Not acknowledging her?) and ceremoniously handed it over to them in their bedroom (why were they in the bedroom?). After explaining how the paper said a maggot breeding farm works and what the potential of running such an operation was, I suggested D**** have a word with his brother about trying to get into that instead of farming.

And then later on we took a walk in the dark, went to say goodnight to mom (why was she looking so drained, so haggard, so fragile?). The kids were in bed already (why were they in bed already?). As we were leaving mom was talking about her brother (Uncle H) that lives overseas, he’d booked some flight tickets to come visit in December. It made me remember the maggot breeding thing, so I asked mom whether T**** & D**** had mentioned it to her. I gave her the rundown and enthusiastically expressed how we could rally the family together to invest in the idea, turn it into a family business. My stepfather (G*****) was back where my mother had come from still contracting while he figured out what he wanted to do with himself. Maybe he could channel his energy into this instead, apart from keeping him busy it would also provide jobs for my sister and her boyfriend.

Heck if it took off even B and myself could get involved. Uncle H was on his way down soon and as far as I knew had some cash to throw around, was going to be looking for a house to buy here that he could stay at a few months at a time. Why not speak to him and suss out whether he’d be interested in investing? We could even speak to some more family in Cape Town that might be interested in investing (Uncle C and Uncle N). Gees, and then there was my second sister and her new husband (T*** and R*****) that were looking to move down here and buy a smallholding.

Mom fended me off with stuff about research, supply and demand, overheads etc. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I registered her resistance. It probably is well founded. I veered off on another tangent; spoke about how to breed flies and feed maggots all you needed was waste. That instead of need to pay someone for their waste you could probably offer a waste removal service, and get people to pay you for it instead. An abattoir for example probably had more waste than it knew what to do with. An abattoir. See the wheels of this well greased machine that is my speech come screeching to a grinding halt.

I guess if there is one subject that generates a little excitement among us it’s the subject of meat. Both B and myself are vegetarian, as is T**** and D****. It’s a tricky terrain to navigate and I think pretty much all of us have a different take on it. So many of us being in the same space is pretty much a new thing and figuring out how this goes down among a crowd that aren’t vegetarian remains to be seen, the general vibe at the moment is everyone trying to be polite. I’m not sure it’s going to stay like that – time will tell.

Feast of the HaveNots.
@ The Art of R.S.Connett; “Though overwhelmingly lush and densely populated with decorative life forms, this is not a world that escapes death, as in his painting of a human skull in “Cemetery Flowers”, or plant-like creature taking root in a mummified corpse. However, Connett believes that each life form is destined to regenerate and evolve, and that plants, animals and even inanimate objects can possess an energy which is a form of life.”

Mom said T**** and D**** wouldn’t like the idea of working somewhere that involved waste from an abattoir. I felt my head turn red, or the metaphorical equivalent. What is it with people who are not in a position to negotiate, or be fussy, people that are desperate to make things work and yet are squeamish about the detail? Hmmm… yeah there’s that, but. Apart from the vegetarian thing there’s more, there’s the ‘spiritual development’ thing. There’s no way I’m going to be able to explain this all very well. Back in the real world I was telling mom how my sister needs to start getting to grips with the meat thing. I think in some way this was a continuation of an earlier conversation I had had with her, I don’t think it ended very well. In that particular case I was trying to explain that I was trying to put myself in a space where, if something happens or works out the way it does, even if the immediate impression you have of the experience is unpleasant, to try figure out a behind the scenes possibility that you are more comfortable with.

In essence why walk around thinking everything is fucked up, that stuff that happens to you, to the world, is personal and unjust? Is it possible that you are just missing a part of the picture, that if you had a more complete picture you’d be able to see why whatever is IS, and not have to attach a negative impression. Maybe that’s just airy fairy bullshit, something to comfort yourself with so you can sleep at night, but what’s the alternative? Walking around miserable not being able to achieve anything, paralyzed by dread and despair?

I’d had the misfortune of picking the meat thing as demonstrating an example of this. It probably wasn’t the best example to use, and the part that I use as a behind the scenes possibility to try feel more comfortable about it probably doesn’t make that much sense. I did point out at the time it wasn’t something I’d completely thought through yet, that the thinking was still in it’s infancy, that all I was doing was trying to use it as an example of a point I was trying to make. I guess picking a less controversial subject would have made things a little easier. Picking a subject that had a more convincing behind the scenes possibility as well even. I said that if you look at the average life of a (cow) their life is ended at a more or less reasonable point. That if we left cows alone and they lived their life out in the wild in general they probably wouldn’t live for that much longer than they do than when they get bred for slaughter. That you could probably draw a parallel between their experience in the slaughterhouse and what it might be like getting wiped out by an injury in the wild or by disease or by a predator – that the end wasn’t going to be very pleasant in either case.

The drag life out thing is mostly a human beings endeavor. And comes with it’s own baggage. That in general our life reaches a peak (as with all life) around the point that we can reproduce, and raise offspring. That once this primal objective is achieved it’s pretty much all downhill from there. Mostly we just cling to life to avoid death. Or at least so it seems to me. And somehow we attach some kind of warm and fuzzy sentiment to living happily ever after? I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy – it sounds more like a curse. From this perspective a (cow) is blessed with a more or less guaranteed end at just about the right moment. They don’t become fodder for the real matrix like we do; our aging and inevitably declining health an opportunity to get milked by the medical profession for health insurance (instead of milked by machines for battery power).

Memento Mori.
@ The Art of R.S.Connett; “My favorite times were slow and silent. When our lines made the only ripple upon the water. The only sound was the soft lapping of the dark water against our boat, the sound of gulls, and my fathers breathing. I would try to match my breaths to my fathers as we sat in silence. I was a miniature version of him, looking into the dark waters thinking our thoughts. I wonder now what he was thinking. I wanted to be him. He was perfection. It was the perfect harmony of a father and son. It’s a precious jewel of a memory. In my painting are remembrances of the rocky cliffs and the calm waters of these pristine California coves. I wonder if they are still there as they were way back then? (Circa 1958) I wonder.”

I think at that point T**** asked mom if it really was “all downhill from there”. Mom shrugged. She got into it a bit then in a way that made me feel all sorts of insecure about what I was using as a behind the scenes possibility when it came to processing the whole meat making thing, and went right back to all sorts of nasty rather; basically preferring to carry the immediate and obvious and oppressive weight of that terrible thing instead and so, completely miss the point of what I was trying to say. It’s fine; let her carry it. I gave it my best shot. I’d rather opt out. All Apologies. I don’t feel like I can achieve anything carrying that weight, except maybe get depressed. In the meantime I guess I reassure myself that somewhere somehow someway, the meat thing makes sense even if I cant quite put my finger on the reason why.

And so, once again, back to the present, back to saying goodnight to mom and… pointing out that the whole point of Spiritual Development is to Develop Spiritually. I mean, that it’s an ongoing process, a journey, that it takes for you to make an effort trying to figure shit out, and to keep trying until you get it right. I think there’s an idea going on that is probably a bit more in the background than it should be involving Spirituality among a couple of us. I mean the vegetarian thing is part of that, but there was also the use of entheogens for a while back there and for T**** and D**** there’s a Hindu crush thing going on; a lot of statues of Buddha, tattoos of lotuses and Ohm signs, burning incense and meditation etc. I’d like to avoid sounding like a pretentious judgmental prick, I am the first to admit I’m not perfect and my effort when it comes to this isn’t on par with anything exceptional etc. That being said. All around us reality melts in a most disturbing fashion.

It’s easy to get distracted by the disturbance.

To think this is right or that is wrong, to think it’s your job to align with what you think is right and to avoid what you think is wrong. In the space I’m in, a space that took a lot of time to get to, the line between right and wrong gets ever more blurry. From a Spiritual Development perspective my opinion is the Universe is Divine and works 1000% perfectly. A lot of this right and wrong stuff is a mind thing, being imposed by people. The minute you inhabit that space, especially involving something you think is wrong, demonstrates a doubt in the Divinity of the Universe. I imagine part of the path involves trying hard, and considering the nature of the path I imagine trying damn hard, to remove as many doubts of the Divinity of the Universe you might have as possible.

And so now getting back to the meat thing. Yes it is particularly unpleasant, and definitely very challenging to imagine a happy ending. But the toughness of it might be an indication of how big a lesson you can learn if you can get your head around it. To avoid the subject and cling to a belief that from the perspective of Divinity it’s an oversight on the part of management is an option. It’s also a lost opportunity. Because a lot of this stuff involves the mind lets try to put it aside for a second. Imagine that the Universe is in charge and knows what it’s doing, with or without whatever your head has to say. You sit with a pile of waste from an abattoir. It attracts flies which lay eggs on it. The eggs hatch and maggots are born, the maggots eat the waste. The maggots are eaten by other living animals or perhaps used as fertilizer to grow plants which are in turn eaten by other living animals.

Dead Animal -> Maggot -> Living Animal. There’s Meat that’s Dead that becomes Meat that’s Alive. In essence the Meat has returned to Life. This is Life After Death. So what’s your problem? You have a problem with playing a part in this most perfect symphony? To get involved with the maggot farming thing is an opportunity to make good on what you think is a great injustice. It’s playing an active role in a magical process. This doesn’t sound like something to get squeamish about, it sounds like something to get excited about. The hang up here doesn’t involve the process or a shortcoming in how efficient the Universe is, a deficiency in Divinity. It involves a weak psychology and not being able to see properly.

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