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Music is everything and nothing. It is useless and no limit can be set on its use. Music takes me to places of illimitable sensual and insensate joy, accessing points of ecstasy that no angelic lover could ever locate, or plunging me into gibbering weeping hells of pain that no torturer could devise. Music makes me write this sort of maundering adolescent nonsense without embarrassment. Music is in fact the dog's bollocks. Nothing else comes close.
Indeed, very few people are aware that in each of our fingers, located somewhere between the first phalange, the mesophalange, and the metaphalange, there is a tiny brain. The fact is that the other organ which we call the brain, the one with which we came into the world, the one which we transport around in our head and which transports us so that we can transport it, has only ever had very general, vague, diffuse and, above all, unimaginative ideas about what the hands and fingers should do. For example, if the brain-in-our-head suddenly gets an idea for a painting, a sculpture, a piece of music or literature, or a clay figurine, it simply sends a signal to that effect and then waits to see what will happen
Science fiction is a dialogue, a tennis match, in which the Idea is volleyed from one side of the net to the other. Ridiculous to say that someone 'stole' an idea: no, no, a thousand times no. The point is the volley, and how it's carried, and what statement is made by the answering 'statement.' In other words if Burroughs initiates a time-gate and says it works randomly, and then Norton has time gates confounded with the Perilous Seat, the Siege Perilous of the Round Table, and locates it in a bar on a rainy night do you see both the humor and the volley in the tennis match?
-when he thinks of the starry-eyed puerility and narcissism of these fantasies now, a rough decade later, Schmidt experiences a kind of full-framed internal wince, that type of embarrassment-before-self that makes our most mortifying memories objects of fascination and repulsion at once, though in Terry Schmidt's case a certain amount of introspection and psychotherapy had enabled him to understand that his professional fantasies were not in the main all that unique, that a large percentage I bright young men and women locate the impetus behind their career choice in the belief that they are fundamentally different from the common run of man, unique and in certain crucial ways superior, more as it were central, meaningful--what else could explain the fact that they can and will make a difference in their chosen field simply by the fact that thy themselves have been at the exact center of all they've experienced for the whole 20 years of their conscious lives?
...all the suffering that humanity ever knew can be traced to the one fact that no man in the history of the Galaxy, until Hari Seldon, and very few men thereafter, could really understand one another. Every human being lived behind an impenetrable wall of choking mist within which no other but he existed. Occasionally there were the dim signals from deep within the cavern in which another man was located - so that each might grope toward the other. Yet because they did not know one another, and could not understand one another, and dared not trust one another, and felt from infancy the terrors and insecurity of that ultimate isolation - there was the hunted fear of man for man, the savage rapacity of man toward man.
Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid it is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this dark world AND to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. You can defend "[American] Psycho" as being a sort of performative digest of late-eighties social problems, but it's no more than that.
Of course we have a Tomorrow on the map…located east of Today and west of Yesterday…and we have no end of "times" in fairyland. Spring-time, long time, short time, new-moon time, good-night time, next time…but no last time, because that is too sad a time for fairyland; old time, young time…because if there is an old time there ought to be a young time, too; mountain time…because that has such a fascinating sound; night-time and day-time…but no bed-time or school-time; Christmas-time; no only time, because that also is too sad…but lost time, because it is so nice to find it; some time, good time, fast time, slow time, half-past kissing-time, going-home time, and time immemorial…which is one of the most beautiful phrases in the world.
I was in the fifth grade the first time I thought about turning thirty. My best friend Darcy and I came across a perpetual calendar in the back of the phone book, where you could look up any date in the future, and by using this little grid, determine what the day of the week would be. So we located our birthdays in the following year, mine in May and hers in September. I got Wednesday, a school night. She got a Friday. A small victory, but typical. Darcy was always the lucky one. Her skin tanned more quickly, her hair feathered more easily, and she didn't need braces. Her moonwalk was superior, as were her cart-wheels and her front handsprings (I couldn't handspring at all). She had a better sticker collection. More Michael Jackson pins. Forenze sweaters in turquoise, red, and peach (my mother allowed me none- said they were too trendy and expensive). And a pair of fifty-dollar Guess jeans with zippers at the ankles (ditto). Darcy had double-pierced ears and a sibling- even if it was just a brother, it was better than being an only child as I was.But at least I was a few months older and she would never quite catch up. That's when I decided to check out my thirtieth birthday- in a year so far away that it sounded like science fiction. It fell on a Sunday, which meant that my dashing husband and I would secure a responsible baby-sitter for our two (possibly three) children on that Saturday evening, dine at a fancy French restaurant with cloth napkins, and stay out past midnight, so technically we would be celebrating on my actual birthday. I would have just won a big case- somehow proven that an innocent man didn't do it. And my husband would toast me: "To Rachel, my beautiful wife, the mother of my chidren and the finest lawyer in Indy." I shared my fantasy with Darcy as we discovered that her thirtieth birthday fell on a Monday. Bummer for her. I watched her purse her lips as she processed this information."You know, Rachel, who cares what day of the week we turn thirty?" she said, shrugging a smooth, olive shoulder. "We'll be old by then. Birthdays don't matter when you get that old."I thought of my parents, who were in their thirties, and their lackluster approach to their own birthdays. My dad had just given my mom a toaster for her birthday because ours broke the week before. The new one toasted four slices at a time instead of just two. It wasn't much of a gift. But my mom had seemed pleased enough with her new appliance; nowhere did I detect the disappointment that I felt when my Christmas stash didn't quite meet expectations. So Darcy was probably right. Fun stuff like birthdays wouldn't matter as much by the time we reached thirty.The next time I really thought about being thirty was our senior year in high school, when Darcy and I started watching ths show Thirty Something together. It wasn't our favorite- we preferred cheerful sit-coms like Who's the Boss? and Growing Pains- but we watched it anyway. My big problem with Thirty Something was the whiny characters and their depressing issues that they seemed to bring upon themselves. I remember thinking that they should grow up, suck it up. Stop pondering the meaning of life and start making grocery lists. That was back when I thought my teenage years were dragging and my twenties would surealy last forever.Then I reached my twenties. And the early twenties did seem to last forever. When I heard acquaintances a few years older lament the end of their youth, I felt smug, not yet in the danger zone myself. I had plenty of time..
He is only happy when he can maintain himself - mentally and spiritually - at the intersection between a vertical line and horizontal one, in a state of perfect balance. For this, he needs to know where he is located every moment, both in his relationship to the divine and to his family here on earth. If he loses that balance, he loses his power.
In ancient times, people weren't just male or female, but one of three types: male/male, male/female, female/female. In other words, each person was made out of the components of two people. Everyone was happy with this arrangement and never really gave it much a thought. But then God took a knife and cut everybody in half, right down the middle. So after that the world was divided just into male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing other half.
Sallie Mae sounds like a naive and barefoot hillbilly girl but in fact they are a ruthless and aggressive conglomeration of bullies located in a tall brick building somewhere in Kansas. I picture it to be the tallest building in that state and I have decided they hire their employees straight out of prison.
A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of the life of Maud'Dib, then, take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV. And take the most special care that you locate Maud'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place.
It was so damn hard to find love in this world, to locate someone who could make you feel that there was a reason you'd been put on this earth. A child, I imagined, was the purest form of that. A child was the love you didn't have to look for, didn't have to prove anything to, didn't have to worry about losing. Which is why, when it happened, it hurt so badly.
Bill Door found a piece of chalk in the farm's old smithy, located a piece of board among the debris, and wrote very carefully for some time. Then he wedged the board in front of the henhouse and pointed Cyril toward it. THIS YOU WILL READ, he said. Cyril peered myopically at the "Cock-A Doodle-Doo" in heavy gothic script. Somewhere in his tiny mad chicken mind a very distinct and chilly understanding formed that he'd better learn to read very, very quickly.
The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through was longing... For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.
While in general I avoid the use of torture - torture locates the opponent and mobilizes resistance - the threat of torture is useful to induce in the subject the appropriate feeling of helplessness and gratitude to the interrogator for withholding it. And torture can be employed to advantage as a penalty when the subject is far enough along with the treatment to accept punishment as deserved. To this end I devised several forms of disciplinary procedure. One was known as the Switchboard. Electric drills that can be turned on at any time are clamped against the subject's teeth; and he is instructed to operate an arbitrary switchboard, to put certain connections in certain sockets in response to bells and lights. Every time he makes a mistake the drills are turned on for twenty seconds. The signals are gradually speeded up beyond his reaction time. Half an hour on the Switchboard and the subject breaks down like an overloaded thinking machine.
I pulled into the Grand Union parking lot and drove to the end of the mall where the bank was located. I parked at a safe distance from other cars, exited the BMW, and set the alarm. You want me to stay with the car in case someone's riding around with a bomb in his backseat looking for a place to put it?" Lula asked. Not necessary. Ranger says the car has sensors."Ranger give you a car with bomb sensors? The head of the CIA don't even have a car with bomb sensors. I hear they give him a stick with a mirror on the end of it.
Presently, I sense within me the slightest touch. The harmony of one chord lingers in my mind. It fuses, divides, searches--but for what? I open my eyes, position the fingers of my right hand on the buttons, and play out a series of permutations. After a time, I am able, as if by will, to locate the first four notes. They drift down from inward skies, softly, as early morning sunlight. They find me; these are the notes I have been seeking. I hold down the chord key and press the individual notes over and over again. The four notes seem to desire further notes, another chord. I strain to hear the chord that follows. The first four notes lead me to the next five, then to another chord and three more notes. It is a melody. Not a complete song, but the first phrase of one. I play the three chords and twelve notes, also, over and over again. It is a song, I realize, I know.
Touch"You are alreadyasleep. I lowermyself in next toyou, my skin slightlynumb with the restraintof habits, the patina ofself, the black frostof outsideness, so that evenunclothed it isa resilient chillyhardness, a superficiallymalleable, deadrubbery texture. You are a moundof bedclothes, where the catin sleep bracesits paws against yourcalf through the blankets, and kneads each paw in turn. Meanwhile and slowly. I feel a is it my own warmth surfacing orthe ferment of your wholebody that in darkness beneaththe cover is stealingbit by bit to breakdown that chill. You turn andhold me tightly, doyou know who. I am or am Iyour mother orthe nearest human being tohold on to in a dreamed pogrom. What I, now loosened, sink into is an oldbig place, it isthere already, foryou are alreadythere, and the catgot there before you, yetit is hard to locate. What is more, the place isnot found but seepsfrom our touch incontinuous creation, darkenclosing cocoon roundourselves alone, darkwide realm where we walk with everyone.
The fateful law of human semiotics is this: that of all the objects in the entire Cosmos which the sign-user can apprehend through the conjoining of signifier and signified (word uttered and thing beheld), there is one which forever escapes his comprehension--and that is the sign-user himself...The self of the sign-user can never be grasped, because, once the self locates itself at the dead center of its world, there is no signified to which a signifier can be joined to make a sign. The self has no sign of itself. No signifier applies. All signifiers apply equally.
I take my meals -- with the exception of the breakfasts, which have thus far been even more deplorable than the breakfasts we shared as medical students in London -- at a squalid inn located in the vicinity, where every meal is a burnt offering, and nothing is thought the worse for the addition of a little dirt and grime, and a seasoning of insects.
So far as we feel sympathy, we feel we are not accomplices to what caused the suffering. Our sympathy proclaims our innocence as well as our impotence. To that extent, it can be (for all our good intentions) an impertinent- if not inappropriate- response. To set aside the sympathy we extend to others beset by war and murderous politics for a reflection on how our privileges are located on the same map as their suffering, and may- in ways we might prefer not to imagine- be linked to their suffering, as the wealth as some may imply the destitution of others, is a task for which the painful, stirring images supply only an initial spark.