Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mirror, mirror is the world

Catoptronia.

Give a Gemini a language & idea puzzle, like what do we like instead of “Pronoia” (the suspicion that the universe is constantly conspiring to make you happy)? What would be the word for suspecting that the world is a film you’re making? That “reality” is only what we believe, mirrored back to us. Catoptronia – “the suspicion that reality/the external world, is a mirror.” KD, being a Gemini, loved the puzzle of finding the word, having Scorpio rising, she has the genes of a relentless detective. It’s as perfect a word can be if it's stitched together from ancient Greek by an American.

I’d told KD about my big Ah-ha moment of the week. In September, when I was taking "coffee breaks" at the dockside to weep out the stress overload, I seized on a small incident at work that motivated me to keep showing up. I blogged about the student who asked me “Is anyone going to show us how to use this library?” I wrote that it reminded me I didn’t work for the university, I worked for her – for all the students who needed that little bit of help. So shoot me, I’m a hallmark card.

Or shoot me because two weeks later, when we gave orientation tours and talks, she was the student standing at the new book section, reading and paying no attention whatsoever.

Lately, I’ve connected those incidents with a sequence from Crash. A Persian immigrant shopkeeper, thinking a locksmith has been responsible for a break-in at his shop, hunts down the address of the locksmith and tries to shoot him. The locksmith’s child, seeing that her father is in danger and believing in an invisible cloak he’s given her, telling her she safe and bulletproof because she’s wearing it, runs and flings herself in front of her father just as the shopkeeper fires. Unknown to the shopkeeper, his own daughter has filled the gun with blanks. In the next scene, the shopkeeper’s daughter finds him sitting on the floor at the back of the shop. His life has utterly changed. His eyes are filled with tears, his face shines with the light of peace and redemption because he believes the little girl was an angel, sent to save him. It’s illusion after illusion after illusion.

And here’s the thing that was the Ah-ha to me – It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that I romanticized the student’s distress and found in it a positive reason to keep pushing myself out the door at a time when I was scared that one more day at work might bring a heart attack. And it doesn’t matter that it was only the shopkeeper’s illusion that redeemed him. It only matters that consciousness changes. It only matters to find strength to keep going, and to keep going with a little hope in your heart.

See KD's blog and her definition and quotes on the word she's so diligently constructed here.

This is for you, DM.


12 comments:

zhoen said...

Illusion revealing truth.

LJ said...

Maybe the universe does conspire...if not to delight us, at least to help us find meaning.

Anonymous said...

I love KD's "hill to die on" thing. Whoever coined that deserves a beer. I may well tattoo that on my wrist.

As for Tomlinson:

I'm reminded of Tony's (of Tony's toy talk) quote from a crit many years ago;
"Whatever you say about an artwork that you really consider, know this, is a statement you make of yourself."

I was stunned.

A year later, Gary (from the photo dept.) said damned near the same thing (albeit in a working class irish sort of way).

Mirrors broke, the earth heaved and birds rained from the trees. Within three years I was a devoted (insert dummy theology here) and brushed-right-the-feck-up armchair Jungian.

Listen:

Every truly profound earth-mover I've ever had, was me or my ego mistaking something for something else. Acknowleging this doen't weaken it's effects in the slightest. Penicillin was discovered by accident --but it still whoops infections.

Only illusion has ever revealed truth to me. It's a finer combatant than truth has ever been against it.

-marko

LJ said...

You're in fine form, Marko. Beautifully said.

herhimnbryn said...

You have to be present to see the meaning do you not? To be open to possibilities? Using your allseeing eye?
Reckon you are lj and you do.

Anonymous said...

A student that needs someone to show her how to use a library is really
pathetic; but she probably knows how to use google and her blogspot on cellphone. What a turn of events we see. Where is the originality and natural inquiry? I was castigated for asking "why", but I still ask "why".
Perhaps we need to turn off all electronics for a year.
I'm surprised that you don't read any Atwood, being Canadian and all?
Peace anyway

Darkmind said...

Thanks LJ...for everything...

LJ said...

DM..you are entirely, utterly welcome, love. Glad to see you back.

Goatman...What on earth makes you think I don't read Atwood? I love Atwood. One of my favorite books of all time is an old one, "Lady Oracle." But I've read most of the others, too. I'm trying to think what the connection is...which book you're thinking of...
As to electronics. You're right. Working in a library, with actual print "media" we see an increasing lack of understanding that not everything is available on the internet, and often an increasing unwillingness to actually climb a set of stairs, search for a call number and open a book. Often there is a sense, too, that students expect to have things delivered whole, without effort on their part. But countering that is the fact that many discover evenutally a love of books and a knack for research - once you unglue them from their keyboards and cell phones.
And PS - if you could see the madhouse in my library for the first week of term (we have not had a staff increase since 1970 - and the student population has tripled), you'd understand why she was frustrated. Still, having said that, paying attention when we did give orientation might have been a good notion, huh? And I'm glad, antique that I am, that I was raised to ask "why" and to search for answers, even when they were elusive...

Anonymous said...

Hi,
It's that I didn't notice Atwood in your list of reading stuff on the profile. I was referring to her only generally since someone from your fair country allowed as to how she (Atwood) is on the reading list of many high schools--"Alias Grace", I believe. I first read "The Blind Assassin" as it was a christmas gift a few years back; didn't think I'd like it initially, I think because of the cover photo, but turns out I was hooked after reading it. I love her similes!
By the way, thanks for visiting my humble blog. The miniker "goatman" is cause I once had a '65 GTO (sold the rusty bucket last year) and they are referred to ,by those in the know, as "goats".

LJ said...

Goatman...if I ever attempted to list the number of books and authors I love, I'd need a whole blog just for that. I probably dropped the most obvious (to me)ones...Alice Munro, Atwood, Timothy Findley etc.
And apparently, I'm not in the know. I thought maybe you were a Capricorn. Or terribly stubborn. Or soon, goat pictures would appear with the ducks!
So much for my psychic powers.

phlegmfatale said...

perception IS reality.

LJ said...

PF - Well, it's our reality I think. But I often wonder how it would look if didn't see through so many filters. Whether, in fact, there would be anything there at all...