Aha! Do I spy another lost soul who has succumbed to that deadly sin, sloth? Head down, shoulders hunched. Your name, sir? As I might have guessed, you receive no mention on the preeminent databases of the successful. Shame on you, sir, that you have so mistaken the purpose of your existence as to have spent on yourself all those profits which rightfully belonged, with compound interest, to the glory of God’s creation. No doubt you have been dealt a cruel blow or two, sir. Haven’t we all? The importance of such setbacks is that they provide the opportunity for spiritual growth towards the redemption of original sin for this and future generations if we learn the right lessons. Have you sought professional help or considered further study? What invisible thing are you staring at, anyway?
I gaze at the birds outside my window and see an animal which evolved a house.
Yes, it is difficult to love another person, to share lives of empty oneness resonating pleasurably in miraculous presence each with the other like the ripples we launch on the billabong before they rebound chaotically at the limits of our consciousness, where we project shadows and light, depths and banks, reflection and blindness, expectation and recrimination, desire and satiety, and ideas of creatureliness, proper course, perfection and finitude. Indeed, that love is so rare for most people that they exclude it from their experience as impossibly ideal, even pathologize it, and instead luxuriate sentimentally in comparable experiences of solitude: sunsets, the entrancing behaviour of children, favourite pieces of music, and secret dreams of ghosts; knowing full well that each facsimile of loving physicality shares with the others a certain sensuality, an immersion of the self, as it craves the dissolution of its boundaries, in what we knew once as that ‘oceanic’ feeling, aware that joy is not imbibed like wine, but exuded by the glass.
None of this self-discovery business needs to be anxious, dear reader, even in the event that it is not merely incidental that we are at Easter once again and throngs of candles will soon be wending their way through the nightscapes of Christian cities. To take part in such a procession is not usually the privilege of the sensualist, but he is nevertheless bedazzled by the extraordinary synchronicity of the annual procession and midnight transits of the Easter Moon and the Southern Cross. Have candle holders never wondered about the night sky which grounded the followers of Jesus after their prophet’s martyrdom? What were they staring at, indeed, when tomorrow became today? The one thing you cannot hide from the senses is meaning! But hark, the sensualist is not gawping at the Moon, but in the opposite direction, and the Moon’s gaze is boring through the back of his head, or would be, if the Moon and sensualist were not one and the same. The sensualist’s art is the transparency of walls. Is the Full Moon in Libra or Virgo? Take your pick.
About 650 kms east-northeast of Tokelau and roughly halfway between Samoa and Kiribati in the South Pacific, the Moon is directly overhead. At the Moon’s distance, the Earth hides an arm’s length fingerwidth of the sky (2°), which does not even cover the Sun, because the Moon is square to the nodes, and 5° out of alignment. If that is not how you imagine it, the Moon’s diameter is half an arm’s length fingerwidth for an observer on Earth!
What the Kiwi sensualist is looking behind is a bit broader, about 90 arm’s length fingerwidths in fact. Like millions of ancestors before him, he is trying to see the underworld. Why? How will that ameliorate human suffering and maximize the value of our legacy? Those latter questions cannot even be comprehended by the sensualist, but the reason he is trying to see the underworld is because it is his. What he imagines he cannot see will vanish with his death as surely as will the visible artefact we imagine he can see. The relationships he cherishes with ancestors, antipodeans and archetypes of his own psyche will be no less tangible than his family, community and society when his Country vacates itself. Is the Spaniard’s underworld real because the Kiwi can see it, and the Spaniard real in the Kiwi’s underworld?
Is the unreality of these personages not a sign of mental illness?
Islamists may be slaughtering each other in Mali, Libya, Nigeria, Yemen, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia, or any other Muslim society struggling in these postcolonial times with the ideas of community, property and space; Britain, ‘America’ and Israel may have torn themselves apart in order to stitch their citizenry up again; the Belt and Road may continue to park excavators and graders all over former Soviet Socialist Republics: but in every one of those ‘countries’ with their legal definitions and contested boundaries the sensualists are creating Country with their senses, and long may the mutual creations of their transparencies continue.
Bodhisattvas who claim more presence than a fool are invited to help the tree-huggers.
The sensualist is a lover, not a fighter. He doesn’t change the world, he adapts, which he reckons is the same thing. He annoys the totalitarian left and right by defying perfection and evading definition. Reviled as Lumpenproletariat and Bogan, he is seen as having adapted identity quite out of business and himself out of the equation! Well, I regard him as a hero. Who else, thrown into the sewer we know as the Late Anthropocene, can so delightedly get down and crawl on the floor of a country pub with a stranger’s infant, narrowly escaping lynching as a pedophile; be so enthralled with social media on the crowded train which has just obliterated a motorist who ignored the warning bells; or be so happy going to bed because a covenant is at the top of the sky?
I may allow myself anything I want in my imagination, for soon I too will die. Remember, no smiling until Sunday!