berkeley pages Travelogue,

Subject: Launching of the HMS Yenni
Date: full moon's eve March, 17th-18th 2003

A bottle of Bordeax (Appelation Controlee'... of course), camembert, and sourdough walnut bread (for the regional flair).  Gheridelli dark chocolate, and a long conversation with the Owls.  While the male (I presume) says who-huhu hoo hoo, the female responds with a throaty huhu hooo hoooo only.  We talked for a while, but I got the sense I was inflicting jealousy.

With rounds of mantra, french wine and cheese, and singing with the owls benieth the full moon, the vessel is launched.  The night before was a bit of a wash, as she sprung a leak.  Two nights of rain had found their way in, not from above, but (metaphorically appropriately) from below!  I am embarrased to admit that my tent is hardly self-sufficient in the rain.  The design of the rainfly is such that it allows water to drain around the base.  This water, collects on the groundcloth, which guides it underneith the tent.  Then, due to the wicking properties of plastics, I found my feet getting alarmingly wet around five in the morningAn alarming fate, a dismaying fate indeed.  But the sacrifice of using a tent that is about as minimal as they come.  Just under four pounds, and super compact. 

Still, nothing a dryer and fifty cents doesn't fix.  So, resurrecting the tarp that existed on site when I arrived, I have sufficiently provided for a dry foundation.  The third night of rain did not penetrate my sanctum, where now I sit, benieth full moon and cloudless sky, two days later.  I have been reading Tommy Byrd's newest book's second chapter; contemplating my own further adventures...

I am nearly resolved to find employment in Japan.  I say nearly, since, by praxis in my life I do not "decide," but rather follow the winds of destiny to where they lead.  As it stands, I have been called in for not a single interview in the States, but have had two leads in Africa, and now three in Japan.  Given the choice, I choose the latter.  Nova, Geos, and Aeon are the three largest private English language schools in Japan;  I am scheduled for first interviews with them in March, April, and June.  In the meantime, I guess I will continue to pursue bay area employment as well, but, to be honest my heart isn't completely in it.  The latest phase of American Imperialism just does not inspire me.  I am feeling the call to expatriate. 

So no, I am beginning my study of Japan.  The story of my life.  What began as a casual perusal of Mahayana Buddhism after years of studying Theravada has escalated into this.  I stop paying attention to my path for fifteen minutes, and suddenly a new world is there before me.  To be young and free.  Its perplexing to say the least. 

The other day I saw a wild turkey on my way down the hill.  I thought of Ben Franklin, and how much better we would be for taking his suggestion.  What a better nation we would we be with THAT as our national symbol?  Less hubris, more humility.    My battery is dying, so I should wrap this up for now.  I'm sure there's more to say, but let this be a start...

Subject: a very strange day
Date: March 23rd

So where were we... oh yes.  Nowhere in particular.  Well, now we are in "au coquelet" or some shit.  Its a college coffee shop which stays open late, and has a nice menu.  A little too upscale, but at least they're not playing classical.  yet.

I had a very strange day.  It started out with a... wait.  this is still somewhat public.  It started out with a nice pleasant sunny morning and afternoon at my "home"  I had a little gift given to me as a thank you for a cigarette.  Just a stem to stem the tide of war-thoughts.  Nevertheless, It gave rise to all those insecurities about life, about place, about essential meaninglessnesses of existence, which persist even when one is living one's dream.  Even when one is getting laid, or at least laying tracks toward a beautiful destiny.  Indeed in such a mood as I was in this afternoon, an eye-openning which burns away all superfluous efforts and floods the soul with the essential emptiness of existence, in this mood I abided for some time.  As familiar as I am with this mood, it still never fails to cut me to the quick.  I stretch, establish concentration, contemplate the bound hands of experience and yet nothing succeeds to bring me to peace.  Instead I am still, as always, as all of us, lost, adrift in a sea of experience which no amount of breeding, spawning, enseminating or disseminating can prepare for.  Fore.  Four times forty times one may try to abide, to sate the flow of effleuriant realities, and yet no amount of budding or blooming will stand before shiva's eye, the third eye awake.  That eye which burns all before it, which consumes like a greedy, needful and spoiled child all that one would present to it.  Look upon the Hawks and they are suffering.  Look upon the spring crocuses and they are suffering.  Look upon the claimed an forested hills of Berkeley and they are suffering.  And by far, look upon one's own soul, it is certainly suffering, else one is not paying attention.  All the grasping and clinging and searching for meaning is for naught, for still we suffer.  And suffering still we abide in suffering on a bright and sunny day, having survived another rainy night, dry and warm benieth tarp, tent, and down. 

All is suffering, so why not read Hegel.  I have for the moment put aside Logic in favor of the more elementary Phenomenology of the Spirit.  If anything could be considered more or less elemental in the man's system.   Yet the one lays the foundation for the other, so if not elementary, at least it is a preface, containing a lengthy preface preceding an introduction preceding the onset of the text.  A preface which, now that I've survived, has reassured me of the good faith of the system-to-come.  And once I have suffered through this and the other, then I may move on to Saussure, and finally (?) Glas which is the end of the beginning of an understanding of Deconstruction, which is the beginning of the begining of understanding contemporary architecture.  For how can Gherry or Meiers claim the title of "Deconstructionist" without contradiction by the very act of building.  God.  Its all so... vast.  Higher education; a docorate, for example, couldn't possibly begin for me before I understand this one basic fact.  For no matter which path I dwell it always intersect these issues.

In Hegel, at least, for the first, I meet a man who is profoundly concerned with his system as it will be applied to the future of the living soul who comprehends his point.  Hegel works like this:  (and I laugh at that colon) (like this: : ":") thus is this hegel.  No I can't follow a colon such as that.  Let me sumarize the philosphy that has shaped the world-to-come, of whom a VERY SMALL HANDFUL fully comprehend his intent.  I don't know anyone who understands Hegel.  I myself, before starting out reading him am one of the few who even know WHY this is important.  Even the Nazis who claimed his philosophy as the Aryan birthright and the foundation for National Socialism couldn't claim to really really really understand what was so important about the method of Hegel, but rather latched on to the methodology, the distilled "Science" he professed, the philosophical method-as-science of it instead of the truly deeply beautiful quest he set before himeself. 

The more conventional opinion gets fixated on the antithesis of truth and falsity, the more it tends to expect that a given philosophical system to be either accepted or contradicted; and hence only finds acceptance or rejection.  It does not comprehend the diversity of philosophical systems as the progressive unfolding of truth, but rather sees simple disagreements. The bud disappears in the bursting-forth of the blossom, and one might say the former is refuted by the latter... Their fluid nature makes them moments of an organic unity in which they not only do not conflict, but in which each is as necessary as the other; and their mutual necessity alone constitutes the life of the whole. (2)"

Thus one might surmise that from the very outset of his vocation he anticipates its demise.  The Great Systematizer, he who set about to create THE Encyclopedia of philosophy, foresees his own death at the moment of its conception.  Such humility from one so bold as to present a most thorough and far-reaching exegesis of Truth...

Nevertheless, here I am reading Hegel in order to understand Saussure, in order to understand Heidegger in order to understand Derrida.  In order to put in appropriate context my reading of Kant, many moons ago, and my reading of Plato following that.  Indeed, Hegel is the hinge upon which contemporary philosophy bends, in that he was elemental in Freudianism and all that followed.   So thus that ":" of before.  Let's sumarize.

Hegel attempts to show that the only True Path for logic to follow is to define an inner and an outer.  As opposed to a purely linear oposition, he wants to show that Within Being are several factors, as internal, and that the moment of Consciousness exists within such and such system of organization of concepts, yet there is a greatest of all "Being" or "Notion" or "Idea" i think it is, which is "God" which subsumes all these categories of understanding.   The important part in all of this is the distinction of Internal vs. External, and the movement within or without, where opositions are both embedded inside a higher synthesis of ideas.  Where Being contains nothing within it.  A "Thing" in order for it to be a "thing" requires an other, and as such must contain that "other within its nature.  Its not an opposition of higher to lower, but inner to outer.  This finds play in Deleuze as the idea of the skin;  no inside or outside, but movements along a surface.  Derrida confront Hegel in Glas, and I can't begin that until I have some fundimental understanding of Hegel.  Blah, thus, in order to understand "Deconstruction" and what's fundimentally "wrong" with Gherry, creator of the Experience Music Project building, opposite which I worked for a year in Seattle, and which is much hated by even the arts community in Seattle,  may we mention not the Ghuggenheim Bilbao in Spain, which was the cornerstone of my trip to Europe, if not its SOUL Catalyst, (I don't know that I've really made that clear to anyone.  I bet most people think I went to Europe just to "do europe."  At least that was my party line... damn.  Have I ever been forthright?  So yah, I went to Europe to see THAT building, the one which exemplified my "philosophy" of architecture as I proffessed to Jill Kamas, prof of my second architecture studio, to whom, in retrospect, I owe so many appologies that it hurts that I can't locate her quite yet...)

But this is going nowhere.  Oh wait. Its cutting to the quick.  The distinction of inner/outer.  The abhidhamma, an effort to externalize a teaching only possibly conceived inside of the ultimate of renunciations, the renunciation of the illusory conception of self.  Fuck.  How do we get from Hegel to Derrida and back to Gherry (sp???) via 200BC Buddhist exegesis????  AAAAAHHHHHHH>>>>  And people wonder at me living under a tree.  That's the least of my concerns.

So this day started out strangely.  It appears to be ending stranger still.  I came down coming down the mountain and first to storage unit, second to gym, shower, then to coffee shop, email, job applications (network admin.  Sunday is "find computer job day", look in the Sunday S.F. Chronicle day), then lunch/dinner (Lunner seeems to have stuck; though dinner originally was intended as opposed to "supper" I think, to convey just that)...  Then I filed my taxes, then I... I headed down to the "other" berkeley; San Pablo. 

I was invited to Michael's for a music night, a "loud" music night, to contrast the rigidity of "Guerella"(sp?) night on thursdays.  Well, I knocked, no one answered.  I called Nari, she wasn't in the basement, I called the house itself and michael was not around, apparently having found a "paying" job (apart from "pinking"). 

So I fell back on my contingency plan (always necessary when dealing with hippies) and went to the Acme.  One of a very few bars in the bay area that tolerate smoking inside.  There, I read a few pages of hegel, watched people die in our occupation of Iraq (which goddammit, people in our "civilized" country support.  Goddamn self-interest-ed bastards every last one of you.  Fuck the troops, fuck the president, fuck Saddam.  Occupying another sovereign nation for whatever reason is imperialism.  It didn't work out for Greece, or Egypt, or Rome, or Portugal, or Spain, or England, or well, it put us on top now, but where's the exit strategy that all who've come before us lacked?  Where is the learning from the mistakes of others?  Where is the morality?  Where is the ethics.  Where... oh never mind.  Life is suffering,  we are witnessing the seeds of our own distruction and nobody sees it.  Fuck you all America, you get what you deserve.  I tried to warn you.  You children will pay for your electing a man of small mind leader) (and the sins of the fathers will be... that sounds like something out of the Old testiment.   I guess if our God-fearing president can't even read his own bible, then fuck, which, no less he cites as source for his current philosophy of action...)

Arg.  Okay, so I'm a little dismayed at the blood that has been spilt for our freedom.  I guess I've spent too much time with hippies and forget that most of the world is like Buster.  Me first, and if it doesn't directly benefit me, then why would I do it, etc. 

Okay, calm down.  Where was I, oh yes, at Acme.  I had a girl hitting on me, with her boyfriend sitting RIGHT BESIDE HER.  She actually said, "so you should give me a call sometime" and "we should hang out" and " boyfriend, or whatever..."  I tore her number up into tiny pieces and distributed to separate trash cans on the way out the door...   And I had another, much older man try thrice to get my phone number.   After I asked a simple "why" he said "its not like I'm trying to FUCK you..." which tho I was trying to deny reacting as if, he thereby confirmed... and I had another ex-league pool player;  I the outsider to this bar had become "the kid", trying to coach me on the use of "a duck" which, as you all undoubtedly know, is a ball left right on the lip, and is used to set up a run, or to "own" the pocket, etc.   Anyway, so I beat him, mainly cause he was coaching me, and pissing me off.  But all this was in good fun.  I was not moved.  I was moved when I saw our troops firing into a building.  And the counter-protests in support of the war, and the complete missing of the point of the immorality of killing in the name of national interest...

Somehow all this has something to do with a girl name Carman whom I spent "some time" with the other day.  A barista at my favorite coffee shop, thus adding that unneeded level of drama to my otherwise stressful life.  LOL.  Anyway, life.  She just gets stranger.  I have an interview for a job in Japan next monday.  Wish me luck.  I'm definitely ready to expatriate.  To a country where everyone will more or less leave me alone to my abstruse studies, where the girls will ignore me.  Where I can privately suffer in my expatriatism, where I can mourn my loss of innocence.  Where I can be free and lonely.   I can't believe it just gets deeper.  I am happy, I am smiling, I am content.  I am in really great spirits.  This is the only difference between me now any ten years ago singing this same refrain: "nobody understands me."  The tragedy is that now I am haunted by the correlary: "Nobody understands."  And by extention: "Nobody understands themself" "...they're purpose"  "....meaning"  and most desperate and dispairing of all there is not a guru in the world who can explain "it" to me.  There is a saying, more a doctrine, an existential in Hinduism.  When the student is ready, the Guru appears.  I have come to realize that not until I am finished beating my head against this brick wall of philosophy, not until I have bled my last drop will my guru appear.  We all have our own threshold for pain.  Mine begins in the realization that I am completely alone, and there is nowhere in the world I can go to fix that.  No social circle to accept me.  No age-old friends to comfort me.  No wizzened sages to guide me. No unconditionally acceptible path, and certainly no lover that can comfort my soul.   Ultimately and utterly alone, thus I am free.   Boundless freedom begets boundless dispair.  And this dispair is the end of the rope.  The metaphorical "end of the rope" beyond which we are taught to fly. 

[don't worry mom, I'm fine.]

Hudson Cress, 2003. All rights reserved.
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.