Writing Practice 11/29/2018 – The kami…

The Songs of Trees, p. 100. The kami is both water and absence of water.

It is light and darkness. It is the way of love and the way of indifference. Not hate, or war, for those imply a passion for, or against, something. Thus the opposite of passion is impassion.

The kami comes upon one when he or she is sleeping. It is a breath of night wind, through an open window, even around the cracks in the door. it steals in and silently takes over the soul, infusing its receptor with an air of invincibility, a feeling of all-reachingness, a sussurration of serendipity, a unanimity of thought and action unrivaled in the mortal plane.

The kami is an idea, an ideal, more than anything physical, or even spiritual. For if it were physical it could be defined, measured, captured, tamed. If it were a spiritual, perhaps other-dimensional, it could weakly interact with the objects, the people, the places and things of this world, and we could see its effects. We could see how, like gravity, or electromagnetism, it impacts the world even though it is not of the world.

But the kami does not behave as such. It does not behave at all. It has no pattern to its action, inaction, or combination of the two. It tries not, it fails not. It simply is. And if one were to attempt to understand the kami, to hold its concepts in your mind, to believe that you are external enough, observant enough, independent enough to be able to take in and objectively evaluate the kami, then you are simply showing your ignorance of the reality of the kami and of you.

For even this little we see, or imagine, of the kami is as if through a darkly-veiled glass. We see, we feel, we know, only what it wants us to know. Perhaps the kami is only one miniscule, minute, remote tendril of some great, vast, interstellar consciousness. Perhaps it is magnanimous, perhaps malignant. There is no way for us to tell.

Perhaps the kami is an aggregation of miniature experiences, floating through the ether with no more intentionality than the Yellow River. Again, we have no way to measure, to conceive, to understand, apart from what it has deigned to reveal to us. And should we believe?

There is a camp which says the kami is all it says it is, and we should believe. That this is the first of many steps along humanity’s path to enlightenment: the absence of skepticism. And that from that starting point we shall be able, with the help from the kami and those who follow, to eventually reach that Nirvana so many long for, and so few seek.

But not me. I shall retain my pensiveness, my apprehension. I shall continue to wait. To ask. To wonder. To believe – not in the kami, but in the self, for that, as Descartes so elegantly put it, albeit in not so many words, is all I really can do.

Extremely Bad Advice – Unluckily In Love

Dear SJ, I think I’ve fallen in love with my counselor. I’ve been seeing her for nearly a decade, every week, almost without fail. At first it was just because I was having so much anxiety over the economy (2008 and all), and then it was my kids’ birth, and then it was my dad’s death, and then it was losing my job, and then it was my wife having an affair. It seems like these things just keep coming at me, and throughout it all she’s been there, a comfort, a safe place, someone I can confide in and she’ll never judge me for how I’m thinking.

I want to tell her how much I love her. In fact, I think she loves me, too. She’s always smiling when I come to the door, and she never says I’m doing anything wrong, even when I was out of work and didn’t bother looking for a job for six months. She texts me every week a couple of happy quotes, on top of the messages to remind me of the session time, which has been set in stone for years, so I know she’s thinking about me too. I don’t want to miss out on a good thing, and if she’s for real, I’d would consider leaving my wife. If she’s not, I don’t know how I can face finding a new counselor for all the terrible crap I know is coming my way in the future. What should I do? LOVESICK IN LUBBOCK

Dear LOVESICK,

Well, it’s pretty clear that you’re in what you think is a tough situation. I don’t think so, because I’d never let myself get so far down in that pigsty that I felt I needed a counselor, anyway, but since you’re here, let’s get to it.

First, forget about your wife. It’s obvious that she’s not the one for you. She may have pooped out a couple of meatbags for half your DNA, but since she was willing to have an affair, that means she’s not as invested in the relationship as you need her to be. Regrets, shmegrets. If she really cared about you two things would never have happened.

One, you would never have felt the need to confide in a counselor in the first place. Well-adjusted adults do just fine baring their souls to their life-partners and listening sympathetically (or is it just pathetically?) in reciprocation. The fact that you did not get this from her and, consequently, needed to seek validation from a counselor indicates she is has not been, and will not be in the future, a good fit for you.

It’s clear she realized this long before you did. Thus the affair, which is #2 that wouldn’t have happened if she really cared about you. You couldn’t meet her needs, she probably tried to “open a dialogue” and you shot her down, so she went elsewhere. Surprised it took you this long to figure that out.

But back to your problem with the counselor. It’s also no surprise that this person who listened to your “issues” (frankly, I’ve never seen one a good weekend out at the lake can’t clear up) is now the one you think you should be with. See above, point one, and try to make sense of it all. I’ll give you a minute. I know it’s difficult to do logic problems of the “Since B then A” type with your Neander-skull, so here’s a hint: It’s because people who bare their souls to one another consider each other life-partners, and vice versa. You think she’s the one for you because she listened. It ain’t true, but it’s what you think.

So, we’ve taken care of the guilt you have about leaving your own wife, and identified that you believe you’ll be happier with your counselor. Why not go for it, right?

Well, I’m here to tell you that the era of simply declaring your love is long gone. These days, you need an obscenely extravagant gesture to get anything out of a woman. State’s Exhibit #1, the rise of the “Prom-Posal”, complete with self-indulgent live streams and blast replays to prove they have three more pubic hairs than their best friend or something. Ugh. Have I mentioned I hate society? But it’s what the world has degenerated into, so in order to win the game you must play by the rules.

Thus to get your counselor to agree to be with you, an obscenely extravagant gesture on your part is order. Forget spelling things out in food, or hiding in a cake, or hiring a band or something. Those have all been done before. And no, I’m not going to suggest you kidnap her or murder-suicide or anything illegal. (Long-time readers are spurting coffee onto their keyboards and shouting “WHAT?!?!?!” right now.) Those are too cliché. You need something unique.

So here’s what I suggest. First, buy the building where she rents office space. Over the next year, as other tenants’ leases renew, raise their rent to 10x the current amount. If they’re smart they’ll stop renting from you and move out. If they aren’t, hey, extra bank for you. Eventually all the rooms but hers will be empty. Offer to let her have the largest office for just the same rent as she was paying before. You can frame this as “A token of my appreciation for your loyalty.” She, having heard of the ridiculous increases in everyone else’s rent, will be so moved by your gratitude that she will accept immediately.

Then, when moving day comes, all you have to do is wait in the big empty office with a bottle of champagne and a dozen roses, and wearing nothing but a big shiny bow around your waist. She’ll get the hint and soon you two will be living happily ever after. Good luck. You’re gonna need it.