Thursday, December 5, 2013
I have always been...
...flabbergasted to the point of stupefaction by intellectual complacency.
Self-satisfaction and metaphysical obliviousness are expressed in myriad versions. Even some folks who read W.G. Sebald manage to constrict themselves within a Sebaldness to the exclusion of anything else -- it beats anything I've ever seen! Such literary specialists have allowed themselves to become blithe and daft from hyperventilating into a single paper sack, so to speak. Yes, Sebald opens us up to a universal suspicion about the nature of time and entropy. But that opening should retain its spiritual openness. The reader shouldn't then shrink his own world view into a microscopic obsession with Sebald. That goes for any other form of intellectual pathology coalescing around a fixed idea.
The world is big and too unusual for any kind of existential complacency.
Read New York literary critics, read science articles, read writers on the performing arts, read economists, philosophers, theologians, sports analysts, cultural mandarins. Read all that stuff until you realize those folks are self-blinded to the chronic peculiarity of being, to the uncanny fact of fact and event as such. The depth of their complacency is beyond measure, therefore causing a squeamishness in their observer.
Trust instead the wandering, eclectic hobo, in black cape and drenched rain hat. He or she walks with a limp and is usually found on the questionable side of the road. He or she has a bag of mysteries slung over his or her shoulder. Restless, forever moving, our intellectual hobo has darting, dubious eyes that never settle on one object, has a physiognomy that reveals perplexed wonder, speaks a language that is not at home among the sound of smug voices.