Winter – 6

December 21, 2006 at 4:05 pm (Winter)


We forget the earth endures out of inner correction. Perhaps it is not fire we have to fear, but the ice. That is what the old Tibetan glimpsed. He could see the ocean because it was very close to us. The scent of the sea was already in the air.

At some point we went off the calendar, off time into empty space. There are no reference points, nothing familiar to use as a marker. There is nothing to be counted. In the brightness of early afternoon, the Winter sun on the fresh fallen Snow sparkles like diamonds. Thousands of diamonds – all of snow.

So the net has strands that go from jewel to jewel. From here we apparently can go to other places. We can go to wutai just the same way you go to strangercreek. Every town has its own address, just type it in.

What is hidden is apparent and what is apparent is hidden. What is missing and what has never been lost are the same. So many different worlds – all at a fingertip. Which will we choose to inhabit? Which will choose us?

To give such a matter due attention, one must become intoxicated to the point of near-madness. Tonight at the Café we are serving roast goose with red cabbage, strudel, and potato pancakes, with our usual assortment of wines, salads, appetizers and desserts.  After that we open the Woodfords. Fire and Ice – who has courage to mix them?

Permalink Leave a Comment

Winter – 5

December 19, 2006 at 3:34 pm (Winter)

Von Josti

It is night now and snow is starting to fall. Beautiful white flakes are falling through the clear crisp air. The earth has waited all year for this snow, to be blanketed in snow, to be erased in snow.

I am sitting here at the café alone. It’s late and the town is quite quiet. Melinda has left, all the chairs except one are stacked neatly on the tables, the floor is swept, the counters are clean, everything is in place, ready for the next day. In the arc of the streetlight the snowflakes flutter through the air like tiny feathers.

We need to know when enough is enough. We need to think of what might lie beyond this life. Everything we work so hard for is like working hard for things in a dream. If we don’t start laying in something for the future, we are going to have a hard winter. The apparent has no heart, no soul, no real meaning behind it. But nonetheless, it is in its way quite beautiful, astonishing beautiful at times. It is our heart though that gives it its beauty – it’s our heart that gives everything its luster.

That’s the heart that goes on the scales. Not too far from now. Maybe sooner than we think.Not the heart that is slowly hardening under the weight of too much pastry, rouladen and buttered spaetze, but the other heart, the one that has brought this world into being, and the one that can restore it.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Winter – 4

December 18, 2006 at 5:02 pm (Winter)

Von Josti

“Phenomena, inexplicable by any known laws, are occurring all over the world and revealing, as their cause, the actions of a free and intelligent force.”

                                                                Kardec, The Spirits’ Book

Intelligence is the boundary of perception. We see only what we have the intelligence to see. Frightened by the indeterminate, we have channeled our curiosity to increasingly narrow strictures. Only when these burst, only when sudden grace unfreezes the kaleidoscope of appearances fixed by our predispositions, only then do new worlds appear. It is easy to exhaust oneself in the horizontal, but appearance added to appearance only produces appearance. It does not reach the inexhaustible splendor of the vertical. To accomplish that, one has to find a different body of sense altogether.

It is our beliefs and perceptions that have frozen appearance. The most interesting fields of inquiry only open up when one removes belief as a constraint. Dissolved into the completeness of the present, everything moves about freely, entirely of its own accord, and new configurations become possible, even as old ones return. Once you’ve put an end to belief, then the ancient body, the one buried at the crossroads comes alive.

We must look for the cause of things in that which is not the work of thought. In this way, absence reveals a deeper presence. The vastness is in the tiniest of particles. First, there is nothing, then everything, then nothing again. Yet nothing ever changes. We are stilled by benevolent mysteries. We begin to speak then find we can’t say anything at all. Everything stays to the left of the equation – the signs are all there, but nothing can be added or subtracted. Plus infinity, minus infinity – it’s all the same.

Of course it takes a long time, a lifetime, to cease believing in things, maybe more than a lifetime. But even now, in our world of dark glass and faint light, we can make a small start, maybe, by each day believing one less thing than we believed the day before.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Winter – 3

December 17, 2006 at 5:31 pm (Winter)

Von Josti

There are old men who come into the Vienna Café each day for their dark coffee, their papers, and to argue politics and religion. It is for those who have no other occupation, something to get them out of bed, to see what is new, although they more than anyone know that there is very little that is new. But this is good. I, for one, am appreciative of whatever keeps us from falling into despair. For this reason, if no other, I like to keep a clean, well-lit café.

People do not appreciate the dangers of empty space, at least not consciously. Unconsciously of course, we do not allow ourselves much free rein. If we are given too much time alone we often become depressed. Always we must find something to do. One hears of many men who die shortly after retiring. They have reached the finish line and after the initial excitement wears off, they just don’t know what to do with themselves. Everyone around them is still engaged, still preoccupied, fighting the good fight, moving toward that line, that the disengaged know is not a line one ever really crosses.

Of course it is all a matter of perspective. Even unoccupied, the living are still quite active and engaged compared to the dead. In a town like Stranger Creek, where the living and the dead often mix it can be a source of strength to realize that while it becomes harder to strike up friendships with the occupied, there are many fascinating individuals who have a great deal of time on their hands and are eager to converse with whoever wants to converse with them.

Edgar Rice, one of our regulars here, is quite gregarious in this manner, often bringing new customers into the Café with him. I don’t know where he finds all these people. Last week, for example he had lunch with Nagai Kafu. A few weeks before, he brought in Georges Bataille. Of course Jorge Luis Borjes appears so often, we keep a table permanently reserved for him. I only mention the names you might have heard – as you may well imagine, for everyone whose name is well known, there are dozens who are quite without a name at all. I myself am quite curious to find out who the young red-haired girl is that is so fond of the Linzertorte Melinda makes, but Edgar doesn’t let me close to her.

I think Edgar’s popularity is due in some part to his discovery that you don’t have to write for the living, a fickle audience if there ever was one. There is much more satisfaction writing for the dead, who have the leisure and taste to appreciate subtleties that just go past your novelty seeking, celebrity dazed readers of today.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Winter – 2

December 16, 2006 at 3:05 pm (Winter)

Von Josti

Even though everything is in everything, not everything appears all at once. This is true of revelation as it is with anything else. Certain cities at certain times for certain people become transmission points. Everything comes together. People are seized with certain ideas, certain passions, and a certain resolve to bring these ideas and passions to life. Yet why this happens in such a way is something of a mystery.

History is considerably prejudiced against the invisible. The invisible rarely gets credit for anything. It is always this individual or that individual. In the front lines of history, the daily newspaper, rarely do events get reported without attributing their cause to certain personalities who happen to be in the general location at the time certain things took place. Of course these personalities try to accommodate this myopic view of events by reacting to events with various emotions, discoursing on them at length, claiming or denying responsibility or some other connection to these events, pretending to special knowledge about them, and so forth.

We imagine that individuals create movements when it is clearly movements that are creating individuals. Historians may identify various individuals and their ‘works’, then connect the dots and map out the movements of particular ideas and passions, but unless you a lover of maps, these only offer the most imprecise account of things. For movements are just the flowering of certain lines of imaginative speculation, stars that flare just as they die. Even as they draw attention one way, other lines of speculation flourish without ever being seen.

I have often wondered if the invisible forces that propel events do not cause certain literary and philosophical groups to reincarnate again and again to continue unfinished discussions and unresolved polemics, bringing to bear new arguments and fresh evidence. I have also wondered if certain poets and speculative philosophers have also returned many times as well, gathering at familiar establishments where wine is plentiful and revelations promising, to continue their slow unraveling of eternal mysteries.

If this is so perhaps it is the mystery itself that is the true individual in history, the true force that brings everything to bear in its quest for self-illumination. We are all its agents. And whether our work becomes known or not matters little for the mystery has measures that we can’t even imagine, that do not put much if any weight on human reckoning at all.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Winter – 1

December 14, 2006 at 1:04 pm (Winter)

Von Josti

“There must be something occult in everyone, something hidden away, a closed and secret signifier, that inhabits the ordinary.”


As the world begins to close in, and the darkness grows stronger, I think of the fabled jeweled net of Indra. I think, although I am here, in just a single place and time, a single city within that space and time, that mysteriously, all places and times, and all cities within space and time are here too. Their moments are our moments and our moments are theirs.

I think this net may be an actual, existing thing. When we talk of the patterns underlying experience, we think we are talking metaphorically.  We don’t think of these patterns as having any physicality, any actual tangibility.  We don’t sense the strings that run from one appearance to another.  The inner world in which they reside is just imagination. Yet perhaps we miss the fact that the medium of our inter-relatedness is inner-relatedness. We are separated in space and time only because there is no separation in space and time.  

But just as all the points on the net reflect each other, just so, there are different luminosities, different intensities, different translucencies appearing and disappearing. The jeweled net is not one of singular uniformity, but of vast spaces and intricate forms, sudden certainties and veiled ambiguities. There is physicality to inner space just as there is physicality to external space.

Looking out we see the lights, sparkling in the darkness.  Lights that rule us in deeper and more intimate ways than our various sciences reveal. But as with all forms of symbolic archeology, the end is in the beginning. Knowing what we want is the way to realizing what we want. It’s all in the strength and clarity of our desire. That is what is so difficult for us–letting our intention bare itself completely.

Permalink Leave a Comment