Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Old Man River

Tomorrow my elder brother has the first of his 4 (minimum) operations to replace hips and knees. The ops themselves are not that much anymore, but there is general anesthesia, secondary infections, recovery, re-hab, and pre-existing conditions that may complicate things.

Earlier I was listening to the film Show Boat, and zeroed in on the song Old Man River, and I thought how interesting that sequence of arts is - a sequence being the novel and its history, the play and its history, the films, and the revivals.

I thought of Paul Robeson, and the mystic of the music that tells the story of oppression below the surface of white consciousness, slipping like water through an old earthen dam in that would collapse one day.

To be tired of living and to be scared of dying was sharp-pointed: was it uniquely American in its truly anti-Zorba spirit of abject acquiescence of a vicious status quo between the poles of life and death?

Later, upon waking from my nap, I saw my younger brother, who had passed just over a month ago. We took a ride over the ontology falls of the dream Zambezi, and things went really quite fast.
However, he said that Death is absolute certitude.
I asked whether he meant something like,
"The only sure things are death and taxes."

It was sort of like it.
We went to the dark sea where I had fallen once through the icy depths of despair, and it was a black, black sea with a wind not too strong blowing over the face of it. It was a dark, endless abyssal ocean without horizon of hope.
We jumped in, and it was about 2 feet deep!
So we walked about a bit.
And he indicated that was certitude: no abyss, no descent, just sure and steady sea floor beneath us.

What need is there of all the human tricks of knowledge in Death? In absolute certitude, there is no need of cunning, intelligence, curiosity, or fear.

Certitude never changes.

(By contrast, the final scene in the film Take Shelter discovers to us the bottom of the sea, where we did not step in, but the ocean was ripped from us, where the inconstant water has pulled far away, preparing to sweep in and change Everything.
Here the bottom of the ocean requires flight, cunning, fear, hope, technology of escape... as if we can gaze upon it, but only stand firm for a fleeting second.)


No comments: