Don’t ask me to dinner.
I’m not very good at playing nice anymore. I’m not very good at the sort of pseudo-cultured banter that passes for intelligent conversation anymore. Not long ago I found myself in the midst of one of those, all pleasant and polite psychiatrists and psychologists politely and pleasantly spending a few precious hours together. There was wine and cheese and snacks and I grew so bored of the conversation I would have had to awkwardly sneak out for a walk if I hadn’t come across the host’s teenage son willing to play guitar with me.
More recently me wife and I were dining at friends, pleasant and politely intelligent and educated people when it dawned on me I’d finally had enough.
You see, when you ask questions, I mean truly and genuinely ask questions and then listen intently and then, what’s more, ask the questions that the answer or answers to the first question elicited, you begin to formulate answers of your own. However, continue with such a program and a funny thing happens. If you do such things long enough—and most people never take it far enough, through perhaps an innate lack of deep curiosity or perhaps sheer laziness, the asking of questions and the seeking for answers dissolves, fades to irrelevancy.
One taps into what might be called the Living Truths. Questions and answers become peripheral, jejune, almost childish. There is Life, and that’s all.
Anyway, we were dining and the conversation—something to do with Christianity and spirituality, and psychology too—was pleasantly polite and I was asking my usual pleasant and polite questions when the talking stick was handed over to me and I thought “fuck it, I’ve had enough.”
Here’s the thing: how do you even join the conversation, the endless intelligent musings and half-baked philosophizings, when you’ve come to realize that everything we’ve ever been taught, the whole structure of Western thought, the whole set of concepts that underpin our intellectual and even our shaky spiritual world (and of course there’s a reason for all this) are built upon a false foundation?
It’s as if we’re all intelligently educated and wandering through a grand edifice that is our Western, and now largely the world’s, cultural heritage—thought, idea, spirituality et all—and it dawns on you that all the architectural elements of that edifice, no matter how ingeniously combined and beautifully wrought, make no sense, have no true organic center until you grasp the fact that they are the way they are because there is no foundation, or more accurately the young largely unformed structure was physically removed from its true organic foundation roots and transferred somewhere else some thousand or fourteen hundred years ago.
Ack, what a mouthful! And what’s more, how do you bring that notion into the whole matrix of polite and pleasant conversation?
So no, don’t ask me to dinner…
Unless you’re dining chez Omphalos Cafe.