synthetic zero


April 28, 2008

I've heard a rumor that a certain extremely well-loved and much-missed blogger may be starting up again. More when I find out more.

Moved into the new loft! It's strangely relaxing to be here --- it changes my experience of the city; I feel more at home, more relaxed, as though I have a place to rest, to be. The space works. It's gratifying because while the loft was under construction, we were worried it might not be as nice as we'd originally thought ... but, moved in --- it really does work, the thought and design we put into it, etc. It's been a long project and lots of delays and lots of people involved ... but it's finally here.

In Los Angeles over the weekend: in the process of digging up a lot of old photos and videos and films for my parents' big anniversary party coming up, we found some ancient Super 8 films. On Craigslist I found this funny guy who repairs Super 8 projectors as a hobby and resells them. Not only this, but in a city as large as Los Angeles, he happened to live right in my hometown of Gardena. My dad and I went by and spent an amusing hour talking with him as he repaired a Super 8 projector for us and got it working, then sold it to us for $95. Money well spent. Got to Fry's in time to look at the newest HD cameras and buy one --- it was fun to go through all those old Super 8 films and transfer them to HD video. A day of old technology and new technology, mixed, and old and new memories, mixed. As we captured the films to HD video, my dad and I also talked about what we were seeing, creating a new layered trace: the films, and my father and I talking about the films... I mentioned this to my dad as we were doing it, and he said, "I know."

On a different subject, a quote from Rumi: "I can break off from anyone, except that presence within. Anyone can bring gifts. Give me someone who takes away." Spirituality and the spiritual life is often construed as something that requires all sorts of things --- beliefs, rituals, rites, etc. What Rumi is alluding to is that in fact, what's really at its core is subtraction, not addition. Nothing, no practice, no belief, no sage or savior, is strictly speaking needed, though practices and sages and so forth can be helpful, they are only helpful insofar as they help you see what you always already are. They're ladders, and, as Wittgenstein said, they can and should be thrown away after you've climbed up them. If your spiritual ladders don't lead you to a place where you realize you didn't need the ladder in the first place, then there's something still left to subtract. That's a story few religions are willing to tell openly, but it's a story that would help so many people if it were told.