Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Sleeping

"If there were no waking, would life be worth living?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean if there was life, but it was merely sleeping."
"It would be better than nothing I suppose. And anyway, you couldn't wake up if you weren't asleep in the first place."
"That's true too."

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Some Bloody Thing . . . again

[Did a few minor changes to recently posted piece below, & since there may be a reader who otherwise would fail to read it in its enhanced state, and rather than have that slightly impoverished state of being on my conscience, I'm posting the whole piece in its entirety again.]

"A wire, or a rope... or some bloody thing anyway, extending from one end of itself to the other, across a gulf, an emptiness; and on top of this, crossing over the rope, or whatever you call it, a man."
"Precariously balanced?"
"Of course precariously balanced.?"
"Dangerous this crossing over so?"
"Yes, very dangerous."
"Why was he up on it if it was so dangerous?"
"He was getting to the other side."
"The other side - that's very good. And what was so interesting about it so, this other side?"
"Nothing much."
"Nothing much!? And what was he going to do when he got over there?"
"He might wait for a bit, and then he'd come back again."
"Disappointed?"
"Disappointed? No, why would he be disappointed? Happy enough."
"Well happy is good right enough, but I thought he might be disappointed in there being nothing much over the other side having gone to all the trouble of getting over there.
So what's it all about so anyway if he wasn't disappointed - this over to the other side stuff and then back again?"
"Applause."
"Applause what?"
"Applause rising up from below."
"Below!? Below what?"
"Below from an audience."
"An audience!? You said nothing about an audience."
"I thought you might have guessed it from the applause."
"I was lacking in information, and anyway, you caught me unawares. And so tell me what's with all this applause then? What's it all about?"
"The audience expressing approval."
"I know that. I know all about applause. But why specifically the applause?"
"For your man on the rope crossing from one side to the other."
"And it was definitely the man they were applauding?"
"Of course the man! What else would they be applauding?"
"I don't know - the sides?"
"Why would they be applauding the bloody sides?! It was all about the man."
"And the rope?"
"Well I suppose yes - the man and the rope, the man on the rope."
"And your man not falling?"
"Obviously."
"And if he fell - more applause?"
"No! Why would they be applauding him if he fell?"
"I'd be far impressed by a man falling than a man crossing over. The falling is far more dangerous. Especially from a height like that."
"Yes, but that's why he's up on the rope. He's trying not to fall."
"But if he doesn't want to fall, why does he get up on the rope?"
"You wouldn't get a bloody audience there looking up if there was no man up on the rope!"
"And so he needs an audience to get him up on the rope?"
"Yes."
"And you need to get the man up on the rope to get the audience?"
"Yes."
"For the applause?"
"And the money."
"Oh money changes everything. And are they throwing it up at him so, the money? And him trying to catch it?"
"No! They just pay at the door to come in and watch."
"Oh a door. They think of everything. It's more mundane though. Wouldn't it be better my throwing the money up thing, and your man trying to catch it?"
"I don't know. Maybe."
"And is there a net?"
"No net."
"But sure that would make it all the more impressive if he fell so - the fact that he'd have no net."
"But the no net is all the more reason not to fall."
" That's true I suppose. And there was a ladder up, was there?"
"Two ladders."
"One on top of the other?"
"No, one on each side."
"So you could have one fellow going up one side, and another fellow going up the other?"
"You could."
"And what if when they got up there, instead of crossing over the rope, they just stood there staring at each other, and then after a while came back down again?"
"What about it?"
"Applause?"
"Why would anyone applaud that?"
"For the originality of it. Everyone expecting them to start doing some kind of crossing over, walking around or jumping or something; and instead just the standing and staring and coming back down again. It would be unusual. It would be a performance."
"It wouldn't be much of a performance."
"Maybe not. But if they sat down instead of standing up when they got up there. That might be good."
"I don't see how that would make it any better."
"Well, what if you had one of them standing up and the other one sitting down? Looking across at each other. Asymmetrical."
"There's no audience for that kind of thing."
"So you're saying it's the crossing over is all they're interested in?"
"Yes, that's what I'm saying."
"But it would be very psychological. You'd be wondering what the hell's going on."
"I'd say you'd be wondering if you could get your money back."
"Ah, you're very cynical."

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Monday, 22 February 2016

Some Bloody Thing

"A wire, or a rope... or some bloody thing anyway, extending from one end of itself to the other, across a gulf, an emptiness; and on top of this, crossing over the rope, or whatever you call it, a man."
"Precariously balanced?"
"Of course precariously balanced.?"
"Dangerous this crossing over so?"
"Yes, very dangerous."
"Why was he up on it if it was so dangerous?"
"He was getting to the other side."
"The other side - that's very good. And what was so interesting about so, this other side?"
"Nothing much."
"Nothing much!? And what was he going to do when he got over there?"
"He might wait for a bit, and then he'd come back again."
"Disappointed?"
"Disappointed? No, why would he be disappointed? Happy enough."
"Well, happy is good I suppose, but I thought he might be disappointed in there being nothing much over the other side having gone to the trouble of getting over there. What's it all about so if he wasn't disappointed - this one to the other side and then back again?"
"Applause."
"Applause what?"
"Applause rising up from below."
"Below!? Below what?"
"Below from an audience."
"An audience!? You said nothing about an audience."
"I thought you might have guessed it from the applause."
"I was lacking in information, and anyway, you caught me unawares. And so tell me what's with all this applause then? What's it all about?"
"The audience expressing approval."
"I know that. I know all about applause. But why specifically the applause?"
"For your man on the rope crossing from one side to the other."
"And it was definitely the man they were applauding?"
"Of course the man! What else would they be applauding?"
"I don't know - the sides?"
"Why would they be applauding the bloody sides?! It was all about the man."
"And the rope?"
"Well I suppose yes - the man and the rope, the man on the rope."
"And your man not falling?"
"Obviously."
"And if he fell - more applause?"
"No! Why would they be applauding him if he fell?"
"I'd be far impressed by a man falling than a man crossing over. The falling is far more dangerous. Especially from a height like that."
"Yes, but that's why he's up on the rope. He's trying not to fall."
"But if he doesn't want to fall, why does he get up on the rope?"
"You wouldn't get a bloody audience there looking up if there was no man up on the rope!"
"And so he needs an audience to get him up on the rope?"
"Yes."
"And you need to get the man up on the rope to get the audience?"
"Yes."
"For the applause?"
"And the money."
"Oh money changes everything. And are they throwing it up at him so, the money? And him trying to catch it?"
"No! They just pay at the door to come in and watch."
"Oh a door. They think of everything. It's more mundane though. Wouldn't it be better my throwing the money up thing, and your man trying to catch it?"
"I don't know. Maybe."
"And is there a net?"
"No net."
"But sure that would make it all the more impressive if he fell so - the fact that he'd have no net."
"But the no net is all the more reason not to fall."
" That's true I suppose. And there was a ladder up, was there?"
"Two ladders."
"One on top of the other?"
"No, one on each side."
"So you could have one fellow going up one side, and another fellow going up the other?"
"You could."
"And what if when they got up there, instead of crossing over the rope, they just stood there staring at each other, and then after a while came back down again?"
"What about it?"
"Applause?"
"Why would anyone applaud that?"
"For the originality of it. Everyone expecting them to start doing some kind of crossing over, walking around or jumping or something; and instead just the standing and staring and coming back down again. It would be unusual. It would be a performance."
"It wouldn't be much of a performance."
"Maybe not. But if they sat down instead of standing up when they got up there. That might be good."
"I don't see how that would make it any better."
"Well, what if you had one of them standing up and the other one sitting down? Looking across at each other. Asymmetrical."
"There's no audience for that kind of thing."
"So you're saying it's the crossing over is all they're interested in?"
"Yes, that's what I'm saying."
"But it would be very psychological. You'd be wondering what the hell's going on."
"I'd say you'd be wondering if you could get your money back."
"Ah, you're very cynical."

Some Were Crossing

Some were crossing the bridge. They were scattered all over it, like a scene from, I don't know, something or other. One progressing satisfactorily at first would suddenly drop to his hands and knees and crawl back the way he came; another, a much rarer but not entirely unique instance, would stop and stare over the sides of the bridge, then rush and jump screaming into the great void below. Did any manage to traverse the bridge? Lets not get ahead of ourselves - which in our rush to get on with things I see we already have .
Those crossing over or attempting to do so were outnumbered, generally, greatly by onlookers stationed in a huddled mass just before the bridge's beginning - that is the side from which those crossing over commenced. No such mass or even huddle was stationed at the far side. They looked on, these onlookers, in what appeared to be an unusual state of excitement, an intermingling of fear and awe; and could it be that within each was a terrible longing to rush forward and begin to cross over also? More than likely there could, and it was from this huddled mass that those individuals who were crossing over emerged.

One might step forward, even with an air of calmness and confidence, and proceed some little way, but then at more or less the very initials of the bridge's perimeters stop almost mid-stride and then remain there, rigid, stuck. A couple of officials then step forward and matter-of-factly but not unkindly steer him slowly back to the crowd. He would come to to find himself sat on a firm but comfortable chair, holding, wherever it had come from, a hot cup of tea.
At other times you might get from the larger body three or four to spring forward together all but telepathically in one tight mass, moving like some crab or insect, straight lines all at the same hurried speed, abrupt stops and then off at a bit of an angle till the next halt and re-alignment. Such groups never progressed far however. One of the group would break apart suddenly - everything was suddenly with them - and come frantically running back - again in straight lines, adjusted where necessary - whereupon the cohesion of the remainder would instantly fall apart and all would return, now scattered, fragmented, but despite perhaps appearances, still unified in purpose - but in reverse so to speak.

One who had set off across the bridge might make good initial progress, but then momentum would slow and cease; he sits down on the bridge and remains there a great length, unmoving. He looks confused, doesn't seem to know why he is atop this bridge; perhaps no longer even realises he is atop a bridge. Such occasions generally resolved themselves with the person raising himself, turning around and finding his way slowly and perhaps even unconsciously back towards the beginning of the bridge, momentum gaining as he approaches the crowd of onlookers. Are they exercising some gravitational pull, these onlookers, their greater human mass attracting his lesser? The mood on his return is welcoming but not untouched by some awkwardness or embarrassment, though it's doubtful whether he notices this, still dazed as he seems, as if from some stunning blow.

But it would be wrong to imply this was the invariable resolution in such cases. One returning from his aborted journey could suddenly stop and seem to grow uncertain, looking about him, backwards and forwards, over the edges of the bridge as if trying to remember something, and finally begin to move off in the original direction again towards the far end of the bridge, away from the onlookers, who observed such instances with much restrained excitement. A sensitive soul might, if in their midst, have felt himself to be amongst a swarming field of attractions and repulsions, of yearning for him to keep going away, mixed even in the same individual human source with a contrary desire for him to return.
Generally though such about-turns turned out to be merely momentary respites in the journey back to and beyond the start of the bridge; the typical journey consisting of a series of such movements and counter-movements, but with each movement back roughly twice the distance as the movement away, and thus until he finds himself back with the group again.

But not necessarily always. The journey of some, for now at least, never finds a final resolution. What might have appeared to an ignorant observer to be a random succession of stops and starts, backwards and forwards, and sometimes sideways, was the playing out of a grand drama, of wakefulness and sleep, courage and cowardice, overwhelming surges of consciousness and unconsciousness, but without any final victory to either side of the bridge, not without though countless intimations of victory to either side.

But did any cross over so? Yes. One might, after an age of such movement as just described, stride forward certainly, with no more signs of tension, and cross over, perhaps turning to wave back, or was it to beckon, before disappearing from view. You might even get someone making the journey from beginning to end without stops or starts, all without trauma, but whether hypothetically or in actuality I'm not sure. Following any victorious crossing great surges would occur, the bridge thronged with optimistic souls making greater or lesser headway; it tending to take quite a length before such activity dying down and movement returning to normal.

There were some by the way who hated the bridge and those crossing or looking to cross it. They spoke in whispers amongst themselves of what might be done, and from their lips would emerge the innocent suggestion that mightn’t it be a good idea to close down the bridge, to block it off. It was dangerous. Think of those poor souls who leapt to their deaths, and yes such instances were most rare but still, such people needed to be protected.
And where were they going anyway with their bridge? Wasn’t this wish to cross over an insult to life over here? If we sealed it off then everyone could gather together and help with the ordering of this world; and there was incidentally much excellent work being done in this area already. There were great advancements being made. And so, never mind just closing off the bridge, why not blow it up altogether? What need had we of it?

Friday, 22 January 2016

Sunday, 17 January 2016