This hardbacked landfish was taking in the rays at Prospect Park, proving that even those with a shell and a reason to hide don't always do it.
And who doesn't have a reason to hide? After all, a book is hidebound and will join you in your nook so you can go all solitary without having to hear your head's regular din of mad opinion.
This Sunday was packed with the public book and bookish and the arts of the hood. We Atlantic Anticked. Stumped for the kid's school. Went to an excellent talk by Douglas Rushkoff at the Dumbo Arts Festival. You should check out his new book Program or Be Programed. Look also at how the book is being made and sold. Books were such turtles when I first met them, always pretty much the same box and the same sell. Now they are a lot of animals and you can no longer know them by their tortoiseshell.
Tonight, in class, we are going to talk about Nietzsche, The Gay Science. I more often assign Human All Too Human, but was moved to this one this time by the rest of the reading list's sense of memory and history. Consider this:
Every great human being exerts a retroactive force: for his sake all of history is placed in the balance again, and a thousand secrets of the past crawl out of their hiding places--into his sunshine. There is no way of telling what may yet become part of history. Perhaps the past is still essentially undiscovered! So many retroactive forces are still needed!
I don't exactly care about the "great human" bing thing. The claim works fine if you start it with the notion that Everything and Everyone exerts a retroactive force. By who they are to everyone else, and by their experience of the world, everyone changes the world (by influence and in interpretation). The particular way they are makes everything that has come before have a slightly new meaning: A million odd things in history were in a sense leading up to you. That is their new meaning, a meaning due to you. You come along and make a mint selling chewable gums and some other historical ruminant entrepreneur, freshening breath for a price, forgotten these two thousand years, but real, becomes perforce your forerunner. You got functions you don't know about, and even your funk has functions.
There are reasons this matters, to do with why you matter, and others, too, not least that such meditations take one's mind off one's money and one's money off one's mind. (I wanna be billionaire so frikken bad.)
I hope you are all doing well or at least not giving up entirely. Back to school can be a brute, even from a distance. Take deep breaths, forge ahead with resolution. If the days are overwhelming and your report all a muddle of fatigue, consider hoping for one very lovely moment in any day and if you get it, gilt a frame around it, get one of those museum wall lights and set your chair before it, find a cat to pet, click its pause like a remote control and idle away an evening time-slot, perhaps between Jeopardy and primetime. Don't kill yourself and I shall return to encourage you again.