Monday, November 12, 2007

Walking the Plank

Jan Cox did not, to my recollection, ever dwell on a peculiar resistance to pursuing This Kind of Stuff, as he sometimes called the quest. Now perhaps he did in Magnus Machina, and I just missed it, but regardless, I am referring to what some mystical writers called the horror vacuii. The picture that came to mind is of walking across a wooden floor. Your feet may easily stay on one plank and your transit be the kind of mechanical repetition that vanishes without notice. But imagine this----your path is the same but you are crossing on a plank which has no adjoining lumber. You are not crossing a floor, but a narrow beam. For most, (not all) this would immediately change the stakes. For some a mechanical motion would become a challenging feat.

The balance that was careless and effective, becomes a goal perhaps out of reach, and the failure to attain it has penalties. The awareness of emptiness can become debilitating. The surroundings which insulated one, but were unnoticed, become desirable in their absence. This physical picture also outlines a mental complexity when the action is not physical but mental---the action is maintaining one's attention, and the sketch just drawn can illuminate the resistance to keeping one's balance on the mental beam of focused attention. The barest glimpse of success, the diminishment of thought,can be repellent and the glimpse exemplify a meaning of the phrase horror vacuii. One reason Jan may not have mentioned it is that I am wrong. Regardless, my story points to a nice summary. Walking the plank, maintaining a focused attention, implies death: a death which may be scary, but the death talked about here is the death of the irrelevant and unnecessary, -- the death of the self.

Of course he did talk about the misconceptions surrounding this phrase, the death of the self, and we can discuss that soon. Of course you could just go to his web site, now. Soon I will be linking this blog to his site but for now you could just type, www.jancox.com.

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CresceNet said...
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