berkeley pages Travelogue,

Subject: Hegel Picks a Fight
Date: March 13th, 2003

The Owls are calling to anyone who'll listen, "who-huhu-whooo who!"   The deer stare at me quizzically as I whistle Dvorak's New World Symphony while climbing up the jeep trail.  The low cloud diffuses the city light, illuminating the landscape so that tonight I can see every step. The night's chill penetrates my sweat-dampened teeshirt and the smells of sage and chapparal waft in the three-in-the-morning air. My fingers are chilled, but still I type by candle light, laptop perched atop a milk crate, sitting in my squat on the backside of Charter Hill.

My heart is overjoyed. Yet another monumental task has been undertook. I started Hegel's Science of Logic which I have dreaded since the Spring break of 1993 which I spent reading Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. I knew at the time that that was only a primer for what was to come, and finally, the day has come. It occurred to me that I had never actually held the book in my hands. I have searched used and new book stores alike for a copy, and never have I found one.  Its not the sort of book that people read.  Its more the type of literature that haunts you from afar, like Finnigan's Wake, or The Bible.  Its one of those books you know from the start that you are doomed to misunderstand, and be more confused upon completing than you were from the outset. Today I made it to page 90, which is exactly eight pages from the start of the book proper. Derrida has written several hundred pages of diatribe against the notion of the preface, mostly using Hegel as his punching bag.

The morning started with me trying desperately not to flirt back to this amazing high school girl who was skipping class with two of her friends. We talks about AP classes, and well, skipping school, about the internet, you know small talk, and the whole time I bit my lip. Julia, Maurine, and "Mouse." I'm still trying to remember of whom Julia reminds me, but its basically every girl I've ever longed for from afar...

After the requisite internet time at Elodie, including an unfairly long diatribe to my mom (sorry mom!) I... I am starting to see my breath... hmmm. Must be about 45 degrees then. And I just stumbled over my skateboard, spilling the candle in an attempt to retrieve my water bottle. Damn perils of the home office!  Oh well, straightening up a bit, I put my pack inside the tent (finally pitched a tent after two weeks) and now I'll just leave the candle on the ground... so I found the South/South East Asia library. They apparently have cornered the market on Pali Dictionaries. Of the five available, the smallest, thinnest, most poorly bound one turns out to be the most useful. The three volume, "critical pali dictionary" has the first two and a half volumes dedicated to words starting with "A" and then only goes up to "K" but since its alphebetized by the order in Pali, this tells us very little. I've never understood why they romanize the script but maintain the alphabetization of the original Pali letters.  I mean either you know pali script or not. If you do, then, well dammit, use the pali script.  And if you don't then... oh never mind... I needed to translate a word rendered as "sahajata" In my translation of the Patthana, it was rendered "Conascence"... Now, I consulted the fucking OED. Conascence is NOT a word. Nascence is barely a word. Its classified "rare" and Nascent itself is used in atomic physics and the 19th century. This illustrates one of the major hurtles facing the non-pali speaker trying to study the Abhidhamma. Translators who have spent WAY too long in Acedemia... not enough time camping out under trees. Clearly if they are translating into English, they could at least be so kind as to translate into ENGLISH instead of inventing metalanguages. Mrs. Rhys Davids of the Pali Text Society, bless her soul, is fond of the word "Intellection" with all kinds of fancy modifiers. She translates into Freudian english to make matters worse.... But enough of this... I'm getting cold...

So apart from a brief break for a slice of pesto pizza with mushroom and basil topping, a beer and my one cigarette for the day, I spent the entire day in the library. I found a concise, consistant, and complete listing of the Pali, Chinese, and Tibetan Canon of Buddhist texts, for the first time in several years of research!!! Why are things like THAT so hard to come by??? So mysteries continue to unfold at an accelerating rate. I can't contain my joy anymore.

But what is most odd of all, is the Job hunt. I've sent out dozens of resumes to every quarter, looking for jobs in several fields; Computers, Architecture, NGO, Volunteer positions, Temp gigs, Software testing... So far the only responses I've gotten back are for Boeing Computer Security jobs in Kent, Washington working on top secret government projects (no FUCKING way a, cause its kent, and b, cause its military) , a LEAD on a VOLUNTEER position in Ghana, and Teaching English in Japan.... So now, It looks like I may be headed to Japan for a year.  Which is fine. I don't have anything else to do, and that still dovetails nicely with plans for grad school... Besides, Who wouldn't want to live in Tokyo? I donno. I hadn't really given the logistics any thought until, well, two days ago; now I'm trying to sort it all out... I could be over there as soon as early June!

Meanwhile, I have to get back to N.C. for my sister's wedding in May 10th. Since I'm leaving for Japan first week of June, I kinda gotta go back to Seattle and sort things out, go meet my recruiter in Vancouver, and , hell, while I'm at it, visit Jessica Hester in Chicago, Josh and Amelia in Ann Arbor, Erik and Shiela in NYC, and... hmmm. I'm an old hand at the math for these kinds of trips, but it is a bit of a brain twister resembling the "fox, chicken and grain" brain teaser. Anyway, so It looks like, despite my best efforts, okay, feeble efforts, to establish myself in California, I am a resident in ID card alone. Oh and library card, and mailing address... but April/May is looking like Yet Another Roadtrip (YAR!).

Anyway, its 3:30 in the morning and I'm freezing my fingertips off. I'm gonna let you all get back to surfing internet porn, or emptying your inbox of spam from needful South African millionaires, or whatever it was you were doing when you got sucked into this rambling missive. As for the fuzzy logic that is directing my life, I hope it is making you feel comfortable in your warm house, with the stability and security one has when one is, surrounded by loved ones, and, well, getting laid... I have found a supplement for libido in esoteric Buddhism and abstruse western philosophical though, but as Solomon, The preacher says, (I paraphrase), "at least two together can be warm when they lay down at night, but how can one alone be warm?" Oh indeed all our labors are vanity and vexation of the spirit and there is no profit under the sun... It is lonely out here on the road. Freedom is a curse! Children, if you are reading this, take the road well travelled. Its cold and dark out here!

Oh well, I tried to warn you...

Part Two

So it is the next day.  I started to edit the above, but editing always feels dirty to me somehow.

Now I am sitting in the Freedom of Speech Cafe listening to "Me first and Gimme Gimmes" cover somewhere over the rainbow.  There was a man excersizing this freedom in a tone and volume only geeks know how to master.  I had to drown him out.  In a room full of Asian-Americans, white people and their tonalities really stand out.  I keep my mouth shut whereever possible.  I feel so... crude... by comparison to the soft-spoken asiatics.

So.  I acquired Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX today.  I kept running into a dilemma (delimma?)where GoLive was creating "incomplete" files.  What this means I'm not sure.  I open them in notepad, everything's fine.  I upload them to a Unix computer, and they take on additional lines at the end.  If I open them in "vi" from a command line, it tells me that the file is incomplete.  If I then save the file again, using vi, then its fine.  So I have the option of rewriting every file in vi, laboriously working through Adobe tech support, or switching apps.  I chose the latter.  And its the best thing I coulda done.  I am SO HAPPY with Dreamweaver.  It took me about five minutes to figure out the application, and about fifteen to solve some lingering formatting issues I could never solve with golive.  The slickest feature is a "code" tab that gives a full O'reilly's html code reference manual.  SUPER DUPER COOL!!!  I learned how to use page anchors, and where I was going wrong in formatting my ordered lists in about ten minutes.  Two lingering annoyances.  Beyond that, it just seems to be far more user friendly; it does have its own annoying quirks, but heck, you can't have everything.

for some reason today has just dissolved.  I hung out with Nari at Elodie this afternoon;  I was under the impression that if I went to the gym first, then lunch, then elodie that I'd have more hours in my day.  I was wrong.  Oh well, its 8pm, and I haven't set foot in the library yet.  However, I found out Gorilla Choir Night suffered a schism the one night I attended.  Now Michael is starting a rival music jam night at the house on Sundays.  I sensed the tension; whatshisname who owns the house was fairly domineering when he was playing; he was committed to songs, and to being the leader, and well, Michael is more an anarchist musically.  In a word, hippie drama.  I can't be bothered.  I am becoming such an isolationist these days.  My entire world view is becoming a laser guided focus on some distant point I can sense, but not see.  Anything that causes me to shift to the left or right of that plumbline decent into the future sheds off like detritus in a flood. 

Japan.  I don't know where that came from, honestly.  I seem to be specializing in surprising myself these days.  I came to Berkeley for personal shock value... Japan seems to be more of the same.  Now I have to fucking learn JAPANESE all the sudden.  Add that to the list...  Thank god for computers.  This lil laptop has become an extension of my brain.  Tho' I don't know much, this laptop contains tutorials in a dozen things, projects aplenty, infinite entertainment and communication possibilities... my oh my...

so I found out today that the subway system in Tokyo is beyond belief.  I counted 15 lines in an amazing X-ing pattern that is beautiful.  I'll throw a link in somewhere someday.  Also found out that they're on 110v and that our computers are all cross-compatible.  That means I can take my network when I move.  I can see it now... alone in a bare studio apartment with no amenities, sitting on the floor surrounded by three computers; wires everywhere.  a sleeping bag in the corner... funny.   I also found out that the Library of Tokyo has 776 books on Buddhism in English, and 37 books authored all or in part by Derrida in English translation... So, in short, at a minimum, I can continue the lifestyle I'm living now, but in Tokyo... life is truely strange.

"Oh baby baby its a wild world...":  Everything is better when its done Punk Rock style...

So what else. Oh nothing really.  I am gearing up for a month crossing the country.   Haven't talked to the folks in NYC just yet... But otherwise, everyone's on board with the plan.  Now to finalize dates...  I swear, hanging out on this campus I feel like a minority.  Like there's no need to go to Japan to feel foreign.  Looking up from my laptop I see a sea of asian faces.  There are exactly two white faces and 40+ brown faces.  This place rocks.  I want to launch into a self-deconstructive analysis hinging on the concept of foreignness, citing travelogue and life-events, Hudson's inability to "attach" to place or culture, about his persistant externality to whichever society he is aligned with, from pre-school forward.  I want to analyse moments of ambiguity, turning points where Hudson has shifted to new modes of life spontaneously, segments in the past-narrative where he's co-habitted incompatible realities (hippie comune/fine dining restaurant; factory-worker/college student/ashram resident; corporate geek/capital hill hipster; backpacker/sunyasin, etc).  Thus in this foregone analysis I would have demonstrated that the notion of "hudson" and "identity" are forever at odds.  That the primary distance that he has travelled is not a from-place-of-birth, but from-mode-of-comfort, or perhaps, better still, his "travel" has been one of self analysis through differance in the Derridian sense.  To differ and defer.  To set aside that which is known and to take the side against that which is known to be false identity... I would have shown in that study that Hudson has never so much as travelled a single step, therefore, since if his travel is concieved as a distance from identity, and identity is forever elusive of his grasp, then the travel-from is indeed a travel-to which has merely been a shedding of layers, as of an onion, a travel inside which moreover negates the presense or movement without.  For if the inside remains constant, and the external moves in a constant "movement of difference" or "differance", then the two constants result in a never-has-travelled, never has moved, never has changed...

but I will spare you that for now...

Oh, I forgot to address the subject of this diatribe... err... travelogue... er weblog... er whatever this is... Hegel picks a fight: check this out!

"As we know, in the oriental systems, principly in Buddhism, nothing, the void, is the absolute principle. Against that simple and one sided abstraction the deep-thinking Heraclitus brought forward the higher, total concept of becoming and said: being as little is, as nothing is, or all flows, which means, all is becoming. The popular, especially oriental proverbs, that all that exists has the germ of death in its very birth, that at death, on the other hand, is the entrance into new life, express at bottom the same union of being and nothing. But these expressions have a substratum in which the transition takes place; being and nothing are held apart in time, are concieved as alternating in it, but are not thought in their abstraction and consequently, too, not so that they are in themselves absolutely the same." (83-4)

okay, I want blood.  Admittedly, nearly nothing of the scholastic tradition was translated in 1812, but shit.  I can't let that stand unrefuted in DIRECT MORTAL COMBAT.  Hegel must die.  Oh wait... anyway, I am very excited to find that Hegel in many places cites eastern philosophical concepts.  It should make my task of dismantling his misconceptions about reality much easier.  In this instance, he didn't have the texts available to see that the Buddha was very much with him on his idealism.  Buddha's concept of "nothing" went far beyond anything Hegel attempted.   But then, I won't really be able to say that for certain until I can fully hold both texts in my head with their ensuing exegetical traditions simultaneously and integrate them.  Fuck.  I need more hours in the day!

Hudson Cress, 2003. All rights reserved.  You may think me mad, but you only know half the story!
Disclaimer: All events and people are part of the elaborate fiction that is my private reality. Any resemblence to actual people or events is purely coincidental.