Damn, I apologize, I simply can’t help myself, more associations….
I was driving my truck earlier and maybe the movement over the road was the catalyst for one of those ‘Holy Shite’ moments which illustrate for me the immensity of Ulysses.
I was thinking of my last reply and how words and ideas are fixed kernels stored away in our brains, and how the fixity, the staticness, although humankind’s greatest strength is also ironically our greatest hurdle.
It’s a truth lying at the heart of these genuine Zen words (as opposed to the overthought philosophy of Pirsing’s Zen and the Art words):
“The satori plane can never be reached by the rationalistic plane, however ingeniously it may be handled.”— D.T. Suzuki, Living By Zen, pg. 94
And then again at the heart of these words of wisdom from another angle:
“To learn about myself there must be no word, no knowledge, no symbol, no image; then I am actively learning.”—Krishnamurti, You Are The World, pg. 23
Both refer to the same thing, comprehending and indeed being one with the Flow.
Then I thought: Molly is all flow, her final chapter river of thoughts and associations are devoid of fixed ideas and yet all the more valid as a result…..
And then BANGO! I had one of those Holy Shite moments growth and a familiarity with Ulysses can trigger.
When we first meet Molly in episode four she is emerging from sleep and Bloom has brought her breakfast up. She asks him the meaning of a word, metempsychosis. “Yes,” she says, “Who’s he when he’s at home?”
Bloom answers her with more fixed and static ideas, saying: “Metempsychosis. It’s Greek: from the Greek. That means the transmigration of souls.”
And she blurts out “O, rocks!”
Don’t give me your fixed and dead word ideas, give me something that is flowing! She’s saying.
Bloom then tries again: “Some people believe that we go on living in another body after death……”
And finishes up: “Metempsychosis is what the ancient Greeks called it. They used to believe you could be changed into an animal or a tree, for instance.”
That’s more like it Poldy!
Anyway, was that Joyce’s intention when he had Molly reply “Rocks”? It fits.
And that for me is part of the amazing beauty, wonder and immensity of Ulysses.
As we grow, as our comprehension of the profound mystery of Life expands, Ulysses grows larger and larger too, until it seems to encompass all walks and facets of Life’s abundant wonders.
Like I said, damn.
Federico Salas said:
I think this is valid because in Finnegan’s Wake, if i’m not wrong, in the Anna Livia Plurabelle monologue which is the dialogue between the two women across the river washing clothes, this flow you talk about ends up in one woman becoming a ROCK and the other one becoming a TREE. Representing the rock explanation which is a basic definition and a branched explanation, the one of the trees.
Could very well be, Frederico, but to be honest I’ve only read snatches of the Wake, plus A Skeleton Key of course. Better things to do with my time, I suppose I’ve mostly felt. I drive truck for days, even weeks at a time and do carry a copy in the bunk, but rarely pick it up.
For me, I used the notion of a rock in the sense of a fixed dead thing, our synaptic idea blocks as equally fixed and dead. The challenge is to look out upon our world not with the burden of these fixed and dead thoughts and preconceptions but with a living flowing comprehension of it.
Here’s a line which will be in my next video, on episode nine of Ulysses:
“Well, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock these last few years, and in a poetic sense most of us are either hiding under or trapped beneath the massive inanimate stone of dead preconceptions and learning that hinders our growth, here at the Cafe Ulysses is not merely a modern day retelling of Homer’s Odyssey, but the continuation and culmination of Joyce’s own growth towards world citizenship, artistry and Shamanism.”
“In a poetic sense” is another way of putting such a living, flowing comprehension of the world.
Thanks for the comment and all the best.