synthetic zero


July 29, 2004

I just finished reading Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, an autobiographical comic book story about her childhood during the time of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. I highly recommend it. It is funny, gripping, poignant --- but best of all, it gives you an eerie sense of what it would be like to have really been there --- not a tale told from an exotic perspective, but rather one which allows you to really empathize with the concrete reality of something insane and bewildering happening in the middle of everyday life. The translation is marvelous, also --- the original was written in French, but the English feels very natural, and reading it, I felt as though I could imagine something like the Islamic Revolution as if it had happened in Kansas or California --- it really underlines the fact that this happened not simply to foreigners living in a strange land, but to ordinary people like you and me. Many moments I was driven to tears --- quite a book.

July 28, 2004

Today a whole bunch of stuff happened.

Afterwards, I was sitting on the toilet in my office building at 1:30am with my laptop, hooked into the wireless network, having just parked the car right outside (I had gotten there via an odd series of events ...) and I started to think about the stuff. That happened. I was thinking, nobody but me experienced those events. They all had a specific significance to me, like a movie, they were and are my story, but, after I die, that memory will be gone. It seemed so dramatic, to me, yet the stuff that happened --- its significance is greater to me than to anybody else. Even if I wrote down the details of it, I'm not sure you'd find it interesting. No one will ever know all that stuff that happened. And eventually its meaning will be lost; I will be dead, etc.

It's hard to believe that all these things, these rich experiences that seem to comprise a vivid life, will just be gone, erased. But maybe they won't be erased, exactly. They are part of the matrix of my reality right now, and I am not separate from the rest of the universe. Future and past, all connected. So it will be lost, and forgotten, yet it will still be there, somehow.

July 27, 2004

Turned 39 today.

New events coming up: next Wednesday, August 4, please come to Wanda Ortiz's loft and see some art and some films curated by me. We will be doing another loft event back at 305 E 140th Street, 4th Floor in October, as well, so please send in your ideas and work.

July 26, 2004

Just got back from a quick weekend trip to Montreal. I've been working like mad and it was a relief to just spend some time in an exotic city. I met my friend Ashley (from Toronto) there and we bummed around town for a couple of days, checking out neighborhoods and restaurants and sights. Overall I'd say the cuisine is quite good, at least from the semi-random sampling I had. Also saw the best movie theater I have ever seen (the AMC Pepsi Forum). I've been thinking of moving to Canada for some time now. Montreal is a definite possibility.

On the drive back I thought about what I really want to do with my life from here on out. I need to somehow transmit something that is vivid and passionate to me, but I am not entirely sure how. It seems so private to me, so personal, and yet ... it must be possible to share it. It's not something that I can easily describe. It has something to do with this: it is possible to open up to a world that is always right here, vast, ever-present, and exceptionally vivid and useful, but it requires being willing and able to drop your stories and preconceptions about the way things are, just a little. But it is not this fact that I want to relate --- I want to relate the concrete reality of this opening up, somehow, or at least something about it.

this right here

July 15, 2004

Today I was thinking about time. In ordinary time, you think of things moving from the past to the future. However, after doing a variety of meditation and martial arts practices over the years, I started to get the sense that one could pick up on the future, that time also might have a quality of future-to-past causality, like a gentle backwash. Of course, I'm not certain of this, but I've had so many strange experiences along these lines that I can't dismiss this possibility. But the problem here, is that if you buy into this picture, you might start to feel, at each passing moment, that you need to be responsive now to what might be a connection with the future. This can lead to a somewhat frenetic attempt to always pay attention to subtle feelings or signals regarding the future.

But if you drop your experience of time as being entirely past-to-future, then it's a bit odd to be constantly trying to jump to respond to what seem to be "signals" --- if there is a nonlinear, nonlocal quality to time, then perhaps one should also drop the idea that you have to be constantly on the lookout for such moments of needing to "move" or "change course," etc. You can think of a movement not as something you need to deal with, make happen, etc. but rather as something that may, in fact, already be there, which requires a lot less in the way of frenetic jumping to and more in the way of relaxing into what is already there. It might just be that we have to find a way to cooperate with it.

July 5, 2004

I'm sitting in a sidewalk cafe in Union Square, watching the young people walk around me --- I finally feel a definite generation gap. These are the New York Abercrombie and Fitch/Britney Spears kids, with little trace of Gen X grunginess or irony in most of them. I haven't really felt this sort of a gap much before --- for whatever reason, the style of my peers my age seemed to perpetuate for a long time, way down into people in their mid-20's, even... but much below that, and it is a new story. They all seem so clean-cut, conventional looking... just kind of uncool. Uncool is the new cool.

Although there goes a young punk looking girl with a sour expression. So much for my generational overgeneralizations.

July 1, 2004

Natalie woke me this morning with a phone call while I was nearing the end of a long dream in which I was at a retreat where we were having an experimental film festival, Miranda was attending the retreat but didn't show at the film event, there were also Shintaido people there (the martial art I used to do). It was a long dream, I actually watched several films in the dream (alas, I don't remember much about them now.) There was a sequence involving moving the retreat from one location to another, and nobody had allocated space for me in a truck, but then I found something. It was quite involved and detailed and merged several aspects of my life together. I'm glad Natalie woke me so I could remember this dream.

I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 --- I liked it, though I can think of many arguments he didn't make in the film --- and he didn't really come to any conclusions, just raised a variety of questions. The most damning charge he makes in the film, I think, is how disconnected and spacey our President is... that came across. I'm glad, however, that the movie was popular in many parts of the country --- and that Bush's poll numbers have started to drift downward, steadily, bit by bit. I am afraid, however, that an improving economy and more stability in Iraq will lead to just enough of a boost for Bush that he will squeak in this fall.