Follow by Email

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2360 - 2363

 2360. So, what was going on in Grandmother’s mind, far from being just an insignificant event in the brain of an old schizophrenic woman, was actually the functioning of a law of nature, which can be seen in the thought processes of individuals, and in the political processes of states.

2361. Plato in his “Laws,” speculated that all cities are at war with other cities, families with other families, and individuals are always at war with other individuals.

 2362. He goes on to conclude that individuals are always at war with themselves, and he suggests that the greatest victory an individual can achieve is the victory over the self. You can read it for yourself, it is all there in the first three pages of Book 1 of the Laws.

 2363. Plato was a very famous political theorists, and his ideas resonate even now, even as the form of the  architecture of his age still can still be seen in endless examples of civic buildings worldwide, but regardless of how well regarded Plato’s ideas may still be, the notion that a person has to vanquish the self is just wishful, misguided thinking.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2356 - 2359

 2356. Relations between East and West had long been embittered by ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes. Prominent among these were the issues of the source of the Holy Spirit, whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist, the Pope’s claim to universal jurisdiction, and the place of Constantinople in relation to the Pentarchy. 

2357. In the year 1053 the first step was taken in the process which led to the formal schism.  The Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius ordered the closure of all Latin churches in Constantinople. According to the historian John Bagnell Bury, Cerularius' purpose in closing the Latin churches was "to cut short any attempt at conciliation.”

2358. In the above paragraphs one comes across words like ecclesiastical, jurisdiction,  and pentarchy, and unpronounceable names like Chalcedonian and Cerularius, but this should not obscure the fact that the ancient Christian church was sundered in two in the ancient world over arguments about what kind of bread to use in a church service.

2359. But ultimately this splitting up of a huge historic organization is inevitable once an institution reaches a certain size. The splitting of an organism into two sections, and the subsequent two sections going to war with each other seems to almost be a law of nature.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2352 - 2355

 2352. You might further point out that all those things, the astrology postings, the fragments of dreams, the unexpected contradictory voices in one’s head are all part of the same system, the soul of a person struggling to ascertain a path to take, when the road signs once in use have completely disappeared from view.

 2353. But you are wrong, very wrong. The bifurcation of the guiding voice in one’s mind is inevitable in times of crisis. It has a long and important history, and must be faced by everyone at some time or other. This splitting of the guiding voice happens over and over again in human history as well. I will point to just one of countless important examples.

 2354.  The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split in the Catholic Church from 1378 until 1418. Several men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreements, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance. The rival claims to the papal chair hurt the reputation of the office. The Western Schism is sometimes called the Great Schism, although this term is also applied to the East-West Schism of 1054.

2355. The East–West Schism is the medieval division of Chalcedonian Christianity into Eastern and Western Latin branches, which later became commonly known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively

Monday, October 28, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2348 - 2351

 2348. This couple could not come to an agreement. Far from it. The argument became more and more intense, they were both shouting at once, and then Grandmother heard the sound of crockery being smashed. After the crockery was smashed there was a long silence, and then the sound of more crockery breaking.

2349. Often, in an argument, when the stage of the smashing of crockery is reached, it is followed by a long silence. The silence after the broken crockery sound is never ever indicative of a truce, or a meeting of minds about the cause of an argument. No, it is the silence of intransigence, the sound of the complete breakdown of communication.  

2350. I know what you are going to say about this argument taking place in Grandmother’s mind. You are going to dismiss it out of hand by saying, “Who on earth could possible care what imaginary nonsense is going in the head of some senile old lady who has obviously suffered all her life from schizophrenia.”

 2351. Those voices of hers are just the fleeting remnants of the contradictions in her unconscious mind, and are of no more importance that the fragments of dreams we remember when we wake up. Any person who wants to take directions in their life from half remembered dreams, may as well start depending on reading tea leaves, of consulting fortune tellers. This, I imaging, is what you are going to say to me.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2344 - 2347

 2344. But, she soon realized God had not changed his mind about Coromo’s papers, the unheard of was happening, there were two voices in her head, and they were having an argument. For a long moment she was under the mistaken impression that the voice was just engaged in a back and forth about the question, but no, she realized, it was two different voices. She could tell because God’s voice had a characteristic nasal sound to it and this new voice was more feminine and almost seductive. 

 2345. If you had been able to just listen to the sound of these two voices, without even knowing what was being said, you would get the impression that a husband and wife were having an argument in a nearby apartment. 

 2346.  For years you have been able  to hear this couple talking to each other, especially at about 6:30, when they have dinner. Never before have you ever heard them arguing about anything, but today you are horrified to realize that your neighbors and getting into a real row about something. You have no idea what it is about, but you like your neighbors, and it depresses you that they should argue, even though you know every relationship is going to have some disagreements. 

  2347. That is how it was for Grandmother. The voice in her head was now two voices, a male and a female. The man wanted Coromo to stay put and not go traveling, and the woman was adamant that Coromo had to follow his own inner voice, and do what he was obviously destined to do. It was none of Grandmother’s, God’s, are anyone else’s business if he was going to go to New York or not.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2340 - 2343

 2340.  He will get it into his head that New York is big and important and that our little village is of no account. There is hardly any way to keep this tragedy from happening. That is why the thing you have to do as soon as possible is to destroy all of those papers you have pertaining to his birth. 

 2341. I am talking about his birth certificate. Get all of that stuff together and burn it, before it is too late. He has not yet realized that he needs identification to go to New York, and without it he will have to be content to stay right here at home.

 2342. As was Grandmother’s habit from years of listening to the voice in her head, she began to follow the instructions she had been given, but she was interrupted by a second voice which contradicted the first.

2343. This did not bother her in the least, because she was used to God changing his mind, sometimes in mid sentence, and she knew that it was always necessary to let her voice finish speaking, because the conclusion could be something completely unexpected. She stood in the middle of the kitchen, just to the left of her kitchen table holding a cigar box in her hands, and waited to be told exactly what she should do.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2336 - 2339

 2336. These were the thoughts Grandmother was thinking as she sipped her tea, when the voice in her head suddenly burst into her mind through the back door, and tipping over her mental furniture, and disrupting her meditation began hectoring her in a shrill voice.

 2337. “Grandmother,” God shouted, He always addressed her as Grandmother, “you have to do something about Coromo before it is too late. He has got it into his thick head that he is going to use your money and his credit card I gave him and go to New York.”

 2338. God, how I regret the day when I got him to apply for that credit card, what a mistake that was, but you never know what sort of unexpected turn things are going to take when you are dealing with people like that.

2339. And then you go and give him all that money, and now, between the two of us, we have conspired to ruin his life. Because if that young man goes to New York, even for just a tourist excursion trip, when he gets back here he will never be the same, he will be corrupted forever.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2332 - 2335

  2332. Her eye was running up and down the stalks of the Brussel Sprout plants, and she was happy to remind herself that, long after those last red tomatoes were gone, the sprouts would be still there, impervious to any frost. Then there were the cabbages. She identified most with those cabbages, which were the same shape as she was, and just as tough, and reliable. 

2333. She was thinking about the enormous difference between cabbage and lettuce. Lettuce is so delicate and unpredictable. Perfect and succulent one day, and gone to seed the next. What ever kind of lettuce it is, if gives pleasure to everyone if only it is picked at the right moment, on the right day.

 2334. And cabbage is so similar looking, at least compared to a head of iceberg, the iceberg that everybody disregards. But iceberg lettuce can be long forgotten, snow can lay thick on the ground, and it can be below zero, yet cabbage in its sturdy overcoat is still there, willing and able to get a person through terrible times.

2335. Cabbage and turnips have so often been man’s salvation in times of tribulation, she was thinking, and yet nobody cares for them, and sometimes people will not bother to even harvest them. Grandmother considered herself to be just such another cabbage.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2328 - 2331

 2328.  This voice she listened to all her life had been a reliable source of every type of information and advice on every possible subject. Sometimes she would put questions to the voice, and sometimes her guardian would just begin to lecture her unexpectedly, right out of the blue.

 2329. The subjects God talked to Grandmother about were varied and unpredictable. God would begin talking about the condition of some plant long forgotten on a shelf in a neighbors house, and gradually that lecture about the plant would evolve into a pointed directive about something Grandmother was supposed to do, or not do in the near future.

 2330. Over the years she had become entirely dependent on the voice in her head. She was like a simple dutiful servant who is employed by a brilliant and understanding employer. It would never have cross her mind to contradict Him, and she was always anxious and happy to follow His directions.

2331. And then something dreadful happened. She was just enjoying her morning tea and looking out the window into the garden. The garden this time of year was all shriveled up and turning brown, and in between the gray and tan dried up foliage she could see the brilliant red of the last of the unpicked tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2324 - 2327

 2324. But we have been remiss about certain essentials of Coromo’s biography that have an important baring on his story. We have sand nothing previously about his parents. Who, for example, were his mother and father? What were they like? I have no idea. But his Grandmother knew something about it and shortly after the conversation in which she suggested to Coromo that he see the world, the voice in her head began to urge her to enlighten her grandson about his history.

 2325. Coromo never had a mother or a father, and as you know, he had been raised by his Grandmother. In such situations a boy growing up is bound to have ideas about who his parents were, and added to that, since two parents actually had existed, over time he was bound to hear comments and remarks which would become the basis of a story he constructed for himself about his “family,” and why it was that it did not exist.

 2326. This is what he knew. His mother had died in childbirth, and nobody was exactly sure who his father was. He had an aunt who claimed that his father was a local musician who later died of an overdose, and an Uncle who said that his father was a piano player who had emigrated to the United States.

2327. His Grandmother knew the truth of his parentage, but had been forbidden to speak about it by the voice in her head, but now, just as with his money and her advice to see the world, she was moved to disclose to Coromo the facts of his birth. Before she was able to do this however Grandmother had a profoundly upsetting experience.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2320 - 2323

 2320. He thought watching some movies that take place in New York would help his to get a more realistic image of what the experience of being in the city was going to be like. The movies were no help. Some were romantic comedies in which the city was presented in the daytime as a huge opulent, inviting place full of  expensive apartment houses, restaurants, and hotels presided over by affable doormen in smart uniforms.

 2321. Other movies he watched were crime thrillers which presented him with a vision of night in the city, full of crime and gun fire, drug addicts and degenerates in dark alleyways. And then there was “Taxi Driver.” He though about this and imagined he would have to retire before dark, but where he was going to retire to he had no idea, because the hotels with the doormen were obviously not going to be affordable.

 2322. At this time it was natural that all his ideas for a trip should exist in the form of dreamy conjecture because in fact there was no possible connection between his dreams reality. This did not matter. We have all known people with similar dreams. It is possible for some young woman, a waitress perhaps, to desire to make a trip to Paris. Years can go by and the dream remains unfulfilled but nevertheless does not dissipate. 

2323. Perhaps the driving force in such a desire to travel is simple romance, but a person can marry, raise children, and grow old and still the dream remains.

Grandmother, parts 2316 - 2319

 2316. The paperwork at the airport check in adds so many little costs that the bill resembles the receipt for a trip the hospital emergency room. Yes, there are hidden, unexpected, and accidental expenses as well as outright extortion on the part of hotels clerks and taxi drivers and in the end the unexpected expenses end up exceeding the basic costs of the hotel, restaurant and air fare.

 2317.  The tourist who is traveling is looked upon as a golden goose to be fleeced, but the traveler absorbs it all thinking, “This is a once in a life time event, don’t count the cost.”  So every traveler, unless they are very experienced, finds themselves in a phone booth pleading with their credit card company to extend their line of credit, or God knows what will happen to them, all alone now somewhere in Albania, laving lost their passport and other documents.

 2318. The sum total of Coromo’s assets came to 2487 dollars, if you added his credit card to his Grandmother’s money. I know it is incorrect to consider a line of credit as an asset, but such book keeping distinctions do not enter into the equation when a person is contemplating a drastic life altering decision.

2319. The idea to cast his fate to the wind and go to New York was arrived at eventually without Coromo ever adding up how much it would cost. He was going to go, he made up his mind, come what may. Having made this decision to go, he was confronted by a crisis of the imagination. He was unable to form any kind of convincing vision of what he was about to do. He tried to imagine what New York might be like, but the best he could manage was a series of mental still shots of things like the Statue of Liberty, and subway cars.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Grandmother, parts 2312 - 2315

 2312. What this was all leading up to perhaps by now you have guessed. Coromo was in the process of deciding to take a weeks vacation and make a trip to New York City. In actuality he had no good reason to go there, and yet he had many different reasons. The first was his Grandmother’s admonition to see the world, and the second had to do with a desire to seek out his paintings and see who had them and how there were doing.

 2313. It was as though his pictures had preceded him out into the larger world, and he had a desire to go find them and pay them a visit. He was like a parent who wants to visit his children who have move to a big city and set up on their own. 

 2314. This was his desire, but the math did not add up. If he combined his Grandmother’s money with his credit card balance it looked to him that he could just manage the trip, but only if didn’t run into any unexpected expenses.

2315. Unexpected expenses? Have you ever had the good fortune to make a trip to some foreign country either for work or as a vacation? Did you run into any unexpected expenses? I know for a fact, whom ever you are, that you ran into unexpected expenses. Those extra expenses begin the very moment you get into the taxi to go to the airport. The brochure you read said sixty dollars, but it was out of date and it is now ninety dollars.