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Ulysses

“He is, of course, attempting the impossible—to describe in words (which always lie) that which is beyond words.”—Timothy Leary, forward to Alan W. Watts’ The Joyous Cosmology

I’ve used that quote before, but pondering the latest Omphalos Cafe video uploaded to YouTube it, or something to that effect, comes to mind.

It’s in the nature of the beast I suppose, the beast being that incomprehensibly vast yet ultimately simple Thing called Life. We complicate it, oversystemitize it, lose it when we resort to that fabulous thing we alone evolved called ‘thought.’ Things, things, and more things: thoughts.

I titled the video The Ten Biggest Misconceptions Hindering the Reading, Understanding and Enjoyment of James Joyce’s Ulysses. It’s better, but I still cringe watching it. I need continually remind myself that it’s only my fifth video uploaded. They’ll get better, more natural in time. These things I speak of are not easy to convey. They’re ‘beyond words’ as Leary says.

Who calls Joyce’s masterpiece a “grand meditation upon all Life?” And yet to me that’s precisely what it is. The farther into it I sally—Life that is (and I’ve passed the fifty year point)—the more encompassing Joyce’s work appears.

“…[T]o describe in words (which always lie) that which is beyond words.” Of course Joyce lived those words. He understood their lying nature as well as That which is beyond them. Read Ulysses and you will see and experience words breaking down, dissolving. It is the work of a Buddha nature.

Finnegans Wake goes even farther. The words have disappeared entirely. Sure, he still employs letters and the printed page, but the words have melted into music and rhythm. If Life is beyond words, Joyce the consummate artist has gone beyond words to render it, portray it.

West is East and East is West…

And Life (beyond the words) is ALL there is….