Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On Being Asked to Show my Tattoos

Chaining the skin to the past. As if I were not already tight enough bound to yesterday's opinions and preferences. Is it not enough that every corner business has a logo? Must my person be branded as well?

I am not a product. I will not be a billboard for myself.

Well, that was my first thought, that I am nobly resisting my objectification; but of course that's a crock. What rises up in me, mostly, is the desire to be seen as someone resisting his objectification. Which is no different, at bottom. A slightly different sort of object, that's all.

I continue to chew on this desire to be seen. It is a complicated one. What is blogging, but another manifestation of that desire? But it is the serpent whych eateth his own tayle. Because what I want is to be seen as I dream myself, as God hinted to me that I might someday be. I want to be seen as I really am, which is not even what I now am, let alone what I appear to be. But as soon as I am seen, I am seen as something, and I know -- late or soon, depending on how honest I am -- that I am not really that something. I am like those silly psychic investigators who try to take pictures and make recordings of spirits. If you can take a picture of something immaterial, then it's not immaterial. The price of getting a clear picture of a spirit is demonstrating beyond question that it's not a spirit.

And yet. Here is the flesh, that is palpably an object. "I am not my body," insists my teacher. Perfectly orthodoxly. That's what Buddhism says. The body may be precious, it may be a temple, but only as the house of a spirit. Does Buddhism make sense, without that ruling concept? Its practices still work -- that's not what I'm questioning, I know that by direct experience. But that doesn't mean its theory is right.

I crave to be seen, and desired, as flesh. It may be what I want most urgently. But does that craving make sense even on its own terms? I'm not sure. It may be one of those phantom desires that can never be fulfilled. Like the itch of an amputated limb. It has all the marks of that sort of desire.

And yet. I don't believe any desire is worthless. No desire is wrong, though any of them may lead to wrong. There is a certain reaching out, characteristic of all desire. And if I think that the body and the spirit are one, then it's not so simple as mistaking one for the other. It is, rather, mistaking the nature of both. Neither one can correctly be considered an object. Maybe seeing and being seen would have to be replaced by communion.

Always the longing. The one constant of my life.

You think too much. That is your problem, says Zorba, in the back of my mind. Thank you, Zhoen, by the way, for nominating Mole as a "thinking blog," (though I'm still trying to work it out and see if it comes round to a compliment :->)

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