(Source thoughts for the Poem - Could'a)
(From the Journals of the Kirk, Cassette Log inspiration 1987, reworked 2001)
Yesterday I though of how each person – each world – is a different place. Today I consider the intersection. No one person holds the same reservoir of sights, but “together” most of the things that I have seen are held somewhere in someone else. And conversely, I hold parts and fragments that make up small slivers in the lives of some other millions of folks.
For some sights, thousands and millions with shared set overlap. With other sights and memories, only a few.
So now, I think of those things that are only known by one mind or a few. I ride down these streets by night, so alone. I know the path, the feel of the streets, even the spring of my bike beneath my legs. At my first passing the street was new. Now the path is engraved. For me alone. Someone else may ride with me lost in the newness. For every home I pass, there is knowledge within. The thing is familiar to someone inside. For every book I see on a shelf … pages hidden to me -- The thing is known and filling in someone’s head. So I think of this too. For every person, there is a world of knowing without intersection. Thoughts, visions, imprints…. Sensations and history, that can never be know by another. I might try to enter your world, or you mine, but the best we can do is filter a portion of that experience through our own.
Here is a thought. I try to build in my mind a model – the set of ALL knowledge and sensation. Things that are known by most get stacked and build like a mountain. Things known by a lot, form the slopes, Things that are known alone flatten out on the horizon. Given the huge number of portals and varied visions, the thing would be huge. A monolith of sensation; “knowledge” supplied by earthworms and amoebas, tigers and zebra’s … one huge pantheon of knowing and sensation.
This is not a real thought now, but it has been my own. I consider the mono-sense-set. The omni-data of life. I am (or have been) tempted to call this thing ‘god’. But that would be a lie. God may ride in and trough His creation. He may hold each molecule in place and be closer than the air in our lungs … but Jehovah is not His creation. He is both distinct, and far larger than the sum of his creation.
Dear, I think I might be repeating yesterday. But this has been a big big thought. This next thing may sound like a contradiction, but I mean to explain myself.
I have been thinking, that each person is the center of the universe.
I’ve heard one definition of humanism that goes something like; “ Man is the measure of all things”
And I know, in as much as God holds the only true and objective vision, that this is a lie. God is the central thing, and sets the measure behind the stick…. For God is true even if every man is a liar. If my senses scream lies, or I delude myself in the mind or Spirit, there remains one who is undeluded, one who knows all truth without shadow. So when I say that each person is the “center” of the universe, I don’t mean is to say that man is the apex of the universe.
What I mean to say, is that in terms of experience, each person on the planet is “the” center of the universe.
For every person, time, distance, history, knowledge – radiate from himself. (Oh why can’t we come up with a gender-neutral word that doesn’t sound stupid?)
I judge distance and time in relation to myself. The world extends from me, even as it channels down my eyes. And as I have never seen through an other's eyes or used an other’s nose to smell with, every sensation I hold begins and ends in me … and it is just this same way for everyone else. The man in Tibet sees space extending from himself, just as the girl on the tightrope looks down and holds the world beneath her eyes. Her feet feel the distance and the sway.
So I think of this – for every car I pass in the dark, for every person on the street, for every person on TV or every person in print, is a world. A universe extending from them, and having meaning only to them. God may be behind their world, and comprehend the whole, but in human terms, the thing is unique to that person. So I think (of) just some of the worlds that exist. Or have…
I had this thought about two years ago. Watching TV, and of all things football (I never watch football). I think it was a Super Bowl or something big and the score was tight and the crowd revved. I thought how strange it must be to be that man, to hear the roar in your ears …But not to be the man as seen, but to be the man seeing. Some man had that sensation of an eighty thousand eyes on him, or a dozen million if we think TV. Some man felt the dollars in the scales and the pressure to produce. Some man felt the skin of ball and stampede of muscle against. And finally, some man saw the ball connect – as delivered from his arm, and heard the roar and felt the lifting up. And all at the same time that I downed another diet coke.
I think too of an other image. The one that is most strong was in the national Geographic. Some bloat-bellied kid in Africa. The kind from whom we turn, but stare and feel with for a second, lest we feel ourselves hard for turning too quick away. The thing I held in my hand was conditioned tree bark with ink, the imprint a surreal echo of the original event. Some thousands of production dollars latter, and the image of starvation pressed up at my senses. But I think now, somewhere behind the etched 2-D image was a person. Not the person being looked at by a lens, but the boy looking out from redded eyes at a white guy with a Nikon framing his pain. He looks down his leg and sees black stalks; he feels the dry and puts his hand of bone on a swollen abdomen. Someone was there. Someone was that person. Or still may be. I think even now. This person, if he has not died, is alive with me in the world sensing it and tasting it through parched lips.
For every talking head … for every beauty queen staring at us from the cover…. For every broken over bag lady … a world.
This then is the world … hands lifted at my face yelling “heil Hitler” … bodies jammed and looking at me in a field below the balcony as I deliver the Easter mass…. Bodies pressed against me as we move forward to the pull of “Just as I am.” There is the world from a hospital bed; I feel no leg … or shrapnel in my chest. Then there is the world above me …looking down with tender hands applying compress to my chest. I see the world with hair across my eyes … I feel the weight of rounded thighs… I feel Apollo breaking free … I feel the spear leave my hand…. I catch it on the other side. I am the man holding you to kiss … I am the woman being pulled into your clasp…. I have a hammer in my hand, aimed at a stake against your wrist. For every eye I see, is a world looking back … The world goes out from my worm brain like dirt on the horizon, the earth peels away beneath my Talons …I am the chicken on the block.
Dear, I’m sounding weird to myself. I guess what I meant to say is that … I am both terrified and amazed by the worlds in our midst. Why am I me … why don’t I hear the ring of Heil Hitler in my ears? Could I have been born that man? God forbid. But someone did, and that world -- as haunted as is was -- was real to someone.