A Genealogy of Analysis

We cannot take for granted the human mental activity termed analysis, that is grouped, tightly or loosely, with rationality, logicality, and often Procrustean binarism. Where did such violent patterns of thought arise from to be a mainstay of the modern human experience? Thought patterns that have a curious mind pondering, and ultimately encouraging a body—or many bodies—to enact such blood spilling dissections of the natural world. To get at a plausible answer, I believe we must use another mental activity still afforded us (i.e. imagination?) that can have us walking in some earlier, less or even pre-analytical time. Perhaps if we use such an imaginative temporal transportation adequately, we can see the peculiar analytical flap of the butterfly’s wings that rippled into the hurricane of analytic violence that so consumes the human psyche and the wider world we have today compacted.

The Stark Natural Impurity of Purities

Purities are the fruits ripest for a mind to cling to and ponder to develop an analytic binary: that which is the pure thing, and the impure milieu defined as a background to surrounding the pureness. To get at such pure fruit, we could take our imaginations back temporally to the experience of an early migratory human in a forest gathering tinder for a fire. Such an activity is not unimaginable though it probably displays a crude understanding of paleolithic life; nevertheless, it will serve as a starting point.

We should pose the question: what in that forest environment was pure enough to stand out from the rest that she would take particular note to develop a discourse to pass on to others? The only “thing” that I can think of (but perhaps your imagination will afford you a better example) that is pure and startling enough to wrench her from her gathering task would be her stumbling upon a recently dead body of another human. Such a drastic encounter would probably force her, after much emotional processing, to conceptualize death as something other than life. The purely differentness of death from daily living would stand out to any having their first encounter. From this simple life-death binary it is possible that if she didn’t suppress the whole experience out of a traumatic response, that she would then be opened to seeing death in non-human entities as well, such as a fallen tree, animals she might eat, and so on.

This life-death binary is a possible beginning to the analysis we have inherited mentally, culturally, institutionally today, but I would like to problematize that such an event could actually have had the staying power to grow into the scientific and philosophical knives with which we currently dice up reality. I don’t think a single concept—even one as shaking as death—could pull a migratory people into developing a particularly divisive language and an educational culture dedicated to replicating such ideas in the minds of their children and grandchildren. I see such primal occurrences, if they happened at all, as likely to be ripples that returned to the ocean; carcasses left behind to decay as the migration pushed forward, away from a previous locale.

The Relaxed Acceleration of the Western Analytic Mind

The particular analysis we of the westernized world have inherited must have an origin of sorts, and one place I would posit as distinctly possible is in the Pre-Socratic philosophizing of ancient Greece. A sea such as the Ionian (or Aegean) offers itself as such an analytic purity to the mind of one not interested in empiricism, who is not attuned to the subtleties of catching fish or other nautical pursuits. Thales—a name for a thinking (wo)man or group of thinking (wo)men—was just such a person who had a privileged position, including the leisure time to gaze at water and conceptualize it as a purity. After finding this pure fluid mixed in with other substances—not least of which would have been fruit—Thales went on to posit that this purity of water was what made up everything. Though no documentary evidence exists, it is quite possible that among a small group there was a fervor of thought and activity exploring this idea that water composed everything, and there were many fruits and animals slain (blood would be evidence), and wells dug, in the search of proof of waters omni-presence. This idea of a purity certainly impressed itself on the minds of these specific characters, and their bodily actions were sure to complement their thinking patterns. Out of Thales came other ontological originary elemental positings (air, fire) by the Ionian school that favored different purities for different reasons.

Thus oneness was posited in the minds of a particular place that would genealogically endure, and a few generations later “twoness” would arise from Plato and any proto-Platonists on the scene. Again, empiricism is sheltered out for it is damaging to the rational categories so constructed by the philosopher. History tells us of a marching forward of these ideas that would not be stamped out by the Persian Empire, nor defeated by the Carthaginians, nor permanently lost to the middle ages. We are the inheritors of such a tradition, but we are also those who could freely choose a different path, and to let go of analytics if we so dared, not using paths blazed before us that direct our activities forward.

There is an ontological, non-historical explanation for binaries/analysis which is forthcoming.

Appendage of Scattered Notes/Ideas:

modern work doesn’t enable an excess of leisure, being of a particular class of efficiency that we can have leisure as a byproduct. No, it was during leisure time that modern work tasks were codified in the mind and then later put into practice that now have us all toiling in varying degrees.

analytics are not created/initiated in the brain. They are purities in the external world, like “blueness”, straight edges, create the idea of analytics. Comes from purities, from a lack of sensitization; but if we are just open to our senses…

violent slashings create an idea of objects and geometry that must have been somewhere available in the greeks. They must have been looking at the sky too much.

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The Isle of the Uncastrated Elder Men, A Preface

Preface:
This is the sketch of a people that I imagine being plotted into some corner of a fiction with available real estate, such as George R.R. Martin’s world from “A Song of Ice and Fire”; feel free to imagine them elsewhere—I hope they can be general enough to be recontextualized at need and interpolated into somewhere meaningful for you.
Their story has been long and slowly evolving in the periphery of my mind, and I think it has as its genesis a certain obvious yet widely repressed insight that a female colleague of mine mentioned four years ago: men are no longer confident to be leaders in their households or even in their own lives, doubt gnaws at them (us). She placed this as being an unfortunate result from the lamentable feministic reorganization of western society during the 1960s, but I am not going to give it as specific a rooting for I don’t know enough recent history to say when the change began or accelerated. However, the fact that there has been a qualitative change in gender-power distribution from a patriarchal modality to something not entirely matriarchal, but a structure alienating to men at the least (I won’t speak for women on this issue), sometime over the last century or two, cannot be denied. To think that a shift of this magnitude can happen without serious repercussions in all spheres of human existence—psychological, social, and whatever others you want to fill in—would be to not appreciate the extent to which culture goes to the very depths in influencing our patterns of thinking and behavior; some of these shifts might be good, and some of them might be bad, it depends on how you choose to evaluate them. Certainly the manifestation of “man caves” and relationships where “she wears the pants” give enough street credit to this contemporary phenomenon existing.
It is coming from this knowledge that the story of “The Uncastrated Elder Men” was born. A group of men and “conservative” women set out to find a new society in which the old patriarchal values would be reclaimed. You can be the judge of whether or not you think their efforts will be lasting enough, or whether their ploy is very superficial and won’t be more than a generational fad(e).

Continued in: The Daughter Trade, Chapter One and Done

God’s Luck

It was a bright sunny morning, and when looking out the car window it was hard for Charley to recall what the reports confirmed earlier: that it had reached the lowest temperature in more than a decade.

“I wonder if the sun bouncing off the snow combined with the light hitting me already is equal to what we are daily missing out on if we were down in Costa Rica,” he had said this to his wife a few miles back. The county road had turned to let the south-eastering sun shine blindingly in through the driver’s side window, and the silent farmland coated with snow, couldn’t give back the sunlight quick enough.

“Yeah” she’d sighed, coming out of a thought, “you and your vitamin d obsession.” He had smiled. He knew she tolerated a great deal more of his oddities than any other partner might. “I wonder who else will be there, like besides your sibs and cousins.”

“Yeah, I don’t know,” he had said, “I guess that’s one of the problems with living so long: that you outlive all of your friends, or at the very least they are too old to be able to make the trip to the middle of nowhere.”

“A good middle of no where” he now added, recalling what he had said, and how counter it was to his positive valuations of untainted or mildly tainted rural land. “That reminds me of the joke my dad would say: ‘I’ll go to your funeral only if you come to mine’.”

After about ten more minutes of silence, and a few more forgetful left and right turns, they arrived to the funeral home, with only a touch of help from the GPS. “It isn’t in my blood to let machines dictate where I go; they are my tool, I will not be theirs” was one of Charley’s many mantras.

Charley opened the door and the wind immediately proceeded to close it. A second, more spirited attempt secured the door into an open position.

“Brrr” his wife said, “I’m glad you created a parking spot for us right next to the door.”

They were greeted at the door by an elderly man distributing little cards with a biblical picture on one side, and his grandmother’s full name with life and death dates on the back side. Charley asked for a few of these seeing how large the man’s stash was, and knowing the event would be relatively small.

After a few more familial hellos and a trip to the bathroom, Charley decided to ask his dad where his grandmother’s casket being hidden or when it would arrive.

“Well Charles,” responded his father, “it being president’s day weekend and since she’s being cremated tomorrow anyways, we decided not to have her body here.”

“I think not embalming her and putting all that death fake-up stuff is more our style anyways,” Charley said, though he couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed that she wasn’t there, so he could look on her or be next to her and say and think some things.

His wife laughed, “what is your style then?”

“I dunno.. natural casket, maybe next of kin eating their deceased elder’s flesh. Those options always interested me,” he said with a wry smile.

After some more standing around and chasing his nieces and nephews through the old Victorian house a couple of times, the priest arrived and went into a side room to put on his special garbs for the memorial ceremony. The family members proceeded to the designated room where two dozen chairs in segmented rows of three and four awaited them.

His wife wanted a seat next to the edge in case she needed to escape to the bathroom, but Charley insisted they sit towards the middle next to the central aisle. He didn’t tell her, but he was planning to get up and say a few words about his grandmother when the opportunity presented itself. It never did.

The priest came in and started with some doctrine and air-signing a cross “In the name of the son, the fa… you may be seated.” The ceremony was a blur, an abridged version of a typical Sunday morning at any given church, with just occasional mentions of the name “Ruth”. Interspersed in the 35 minute session there were two hymnals with a collective off-key affect, the melody being executed quite differently than the composer had surely intended. And despite the religiosity of the hymns and his own lack of harmonic vocal abilities, Charley wholeheartedly joined the chorus, for collective singing was one of his ideals for humanity and something he felt there needed to be a great deal more of.

The ceremony waned as the back page of the program pamphlet was reached, and there were two final prayers before the end was reached. There was a growing feeling in Charley, a sense to it all, that this was an ode to god, rather than a memorial of his grandmother; they were pleading to god to take in Baba Ruth, reminding the omniscient One his promises and methods to take in good souls that have had faith in the biblical stories and the trinity, and in return to be granted life everlasting. He felt nauseous.

The ceremony ended with everyone immediately standing up, no anecdotal words being offered nor there being any chance to offer them. This was the priest’s show, and he was not having any special guests on today.

The rest of the day was a blur, as Charley uneasily thought of the lameness and unjustice done to his silent grandmother.

Later that night, he imagined himself rising from his chair and asserting a proper closure to the memorial service:

He nervously got up to speak, using not the strength of his own courage but the spirit of his grandmother within him, to speak out. Charley stood in front of the priest, who awkwardly looked on for he was unsure if this was following proper protocol, but this didn’t dissuade Charley from the tone of his words.

“Are we remembering Baba Ruth, or are we remembering how to recite arcane prayers? Well, I have a prayer, and maybe its not so much a prayer to god but a prayer for him. God, if thou art in heaven, fortunate are you if you are blessed with my grandmother’s presence. And if I am fortunate enough to go the same place as she, once my body has no more use of me, then lucky am I too. You are not the one I look forward to meeting upon my death. No, you have not earned my love as of yet. It is my grandmother who I am thoughtful of, and I didn’t think that we really needed to include you in our thoughts today. Somehow, perhaps by some trick of your omnipotency, you have displaced my grandmother as the focus of today. But this is true in words only. I am not focused on you, nor do I fear you enough to say these incantations. I do not fear the unknown, for I don’t know you. I only fear that my grandmother is gone… but then I remind myself that she lives on in all of us here, not because superstitious words are spoken or not spoken, but because of her actions while she was still alive. This has been the word of the lore, thanks be to Baba Ruth.”

Then everyone, including the priest, together said “A-women.”

 

In loving memory of Baba Ruth