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Ah, so many little thoughts. I don't know how to put this all together, or even if it's worth trying, Oh well, here goes.
Ok, so I've decided to go into the city to buy some books, and I'm sitting at the bus stop reading a book by Gregory Bateson called "Steps to an Ecology of Mind". I have to say, this is one of those times that I am glad to have spent so many years at university. Sometimes I think I've wasted all those years, but sometimes... see, I can pick up this book, now, something that would have scared me to death four or five years ago, I can just pick it up and read it for fun. That's what university has meant to me. Anyway, this book is amazing, it really is. I start getting this sense of how everything that I do, my whole life, is part of a web of relations in which the parts all relate to each other in unique and transformative ways... anyhow, when the bus arrives, I put on my headphones and listen to some of the new Chris Smither album. Ok, and I'm walking through the city and looking at the faces and feeling alienated and horrible and all those things that you sometimes feel in the city, but at the same time thinking about how all of this stuff is connected in a giant cybernetic system, when "Desolation Row" comes on on the headphones. It's a Bob Dylan song that Smither is covering. Anyway, it's about desolation, the feeling of being lost in an endless wasteland where everything is the same... how did I put it yesterday? I asked a friend of mine, "do you ever feel, sometimes, like all the good things that are ever going to happen to you have already happened, like there's no point in going on because nothing interesting or exciting or fun is ever going to happen again?" Yeah, that's the wasteland feeling. You just see it stretching out in front of you, this endless waste, in a double sense of the word, because in one sense there's nothing there, it's barren... but in another sense, it's actually full of stuff, overflowing with rich possibilities and potentials, but these are all being wasted. Our futures, our lives, see? We can be anything but we huddle, scared, and do nothing, and what we could be, the lives we could be living, get wasted. Right, the wasteland of our lives, this is what "Desolation Row" is all about. So, anyway, I started thinking about this, listening to Smither's beautiful rendition of this amazing song, when suddenly, SUDDENLY out of nowhere, or out of this whole mix of thoughts and feelings and impressions and whatnot, suddenly I can feel how lost and empty and sad and alienated all these other people around me feel, and I feel connected to them though it. I could actually see their faces, in a way I haven't seen the faces of strangers in such a long time... I could see their sad eyes, feel their disappointment and tiredness and the malaise that they were feeling to be here in this awful city... and I felt sorry for them, I could understand them and I could understand myself through them. I don't want to exaggerate it because it was in one way quite a subtle shift in my mood, a subtle shift in my thoughts, and at the same time such a powerful event... because it made it ok. It made me... I felt reconciled to it, to them, myself, the world. It didn't last of course, but that doesn't take away the fact that it happened. I wouldn't even say I was happy about it having happened; grateful would be a better word.
It's so difficult to try and make these experience real with just words. Oh well.
"They're waiting for a train to take them home" - Chris Smither
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