Sunday, March 30, 2008
THE WILDERNESS OF MY ROOM
Like any space, every room begins as a wilderness-- and if the right kind of person has lived in it for a year or two, it becomes even moreso. Take for example my room: a special preserve, I call it, and I like to keep it that way, it's a matter of psychoecology, which is very important to me.
All my life I've done the best I could in that regard, working hard to preserve at least one remnant of wilderness in my daily life despite mothers, aunts, teachers and latterly, master sergeants and wives. As a result of those early and ongoing struggles I more than ever consider it my primal duty, on behalf of humankind, to foster the natural state of things. I therefore try to keep my room as close to that condition (natural plus ultra) as possible so I don't lapse into the illusory danger of thinking that I have my room under control and that even more could be under my control (today my room; tomorrow etc.). Hitler and Mussolini, a couple of obsessively punctilious guys, were like that: they had very neat rooms that led inevitably to spiffy uniforms and the illusion of neat countries, neat neighboring countries, neat populations etc.
The neat room is a dangerous illusion, as history is de facto continuously pointing out to society at large via various financial, political, religious and activist groups of righteous room cleaners and organizers of the human race in general, but we in the developed world never seem to learn, because we insist on trying to get all our kids to clean all their rooms, thereby instilling in them the erroneous belief (as with most beliefs) not only that it should be done, but that it can be done. "A place for everything and everything in its place" is the most inimical and least natural thing I've ever heard, it is the seed of tyranny. Il Duce had that embroidered on his underwear. This is where it gets insidious, or is it invidious... My dictionary is around here somewhere... In this corner I think, at the bottom of that stack under the lantern... Used to be with my thesaurus, which because of this pile of hats I just moved to-- hey this is interesting, I don't think I've ever read this, didn't know I had it, it's in the neopile-- discovery is a wonderful thing.
Shelves, for example, and drawers and their desks or whatever, impart the chronic and tragic misapprehension that our own thoughts, hence our creativity, are organized in such a way, when creativity clearly indicates otherwise (as evidenced by its loss through pigeonhole education). This has led for example to all the terrible poetry etc. we've had to endure down the ages, in amounts far exceeding the sublime bits that survive less and less each year, that came straight out of one wild room or another, created by the diminishing defenders of domestic wilderness.
Neatness interferes, whereas wilderness prevents senility, ever honing the mind to new sharpness. You think Einstein had a neat mind? DaVinci's was a mess; Beethoven, forget it. Creativity is anarchic, unpredictable and cannot be summoned, as can the devil of neatness. No discovery in the room, no discovery in the resident. That's a paraphrase of a Frost quote I've got in a book right about there, under the beeswax candles in one of those boxes in the corner, under the sweaters. Being one with the wilderness, like Tarzan or Geronimo, I know where all the vines, hideouts and escape routes are (there's a river in that direction, there's a butte over there, a canyon beyond etc.), which is quite enough to be getting on with. One only needs so much knowledge of where key things are; the rest is clutter.
My room has been purposely kept wild because at least some places on earth should be kept free of human interference, maintained as reverential venues where the primordial can still be experienced (such places are disappearing by the day). What greater insight can be gained in this modern world than by daily reminders of our primal origins, leading to fundamental understanding of what is truly possible? A room in its essence is our one clear chance at letting the world run free, insofar as this can be done in an enclosed space for which you're paying rent, mortgage, maintenance, depreciation or whatever, paid for via time spent in a painfully neat office, so why waste what may be one's only opportunity to experience the primordial on a regular basis?
In any case, its folly to argue with entropy; look at what it does to dictators.
You'll find none of that in my room.