An English In Kentucky


















Friday December 7th 2012    Tim Candler

    Since around the end of mid-September, which in early December always feels like a place that only exists on a distant planet, I have struggled with The Winter Solstice of 2012.   Easy enough to blame a preoccupation with a Mayan Dynasty and a prediction which basically says that this Winter Solstice marks the end of a titanic circle in time as observed in the movement of stars.  A something I believe is a complete folly on their part because an understanding of a circle in which there is a point of renewal on the circumference, utterly defeats a clear understanding of  "renewal" as defined in most understandings of "renewal", which is an understanding of  "renewal" within the circumference of the circle, in which case a mind is not addressing a circle, it's addressing an object within a continuum or on a straight line. Circles themselves simply repeat, on endlessly for ever and ever, the same old thing, day after day into eternity, a routine I can well understand sympathizing with.  But this Winter Solstice for Mayan thinkers, I'd argue, could be summarized in the following way.  It would be like saying, "Oh well, it's the end of the world again, better luck next time."  Surely I don't need to share with you the intensity of such a depressing twelve step idea of "renewal."  Our Planet and its Universe will never be in recovery, it does not sop its fill in the swimming pool of beer, it does not appear before the magistrate, and it will never be sent to anger management class, or driving school.  And frankly,  it does not respond to ceremony that includes popping the heads off chickens or enemy prisoners, or unsullied boys or girls according to which star might be where.  Nor does it in anyway grasp what those of us who are sanctimonious call "prayer."  Or staring heavenward with eyes closed. Or raising the palms of the hands.  Or risking further injury to already damaged knee caps.  Or putting the effigy of a fish on the tailgate of your pickup truck for any reason other than impressing girls or for political purposes. Or running around beating yourself with chains.  Or visiting Mecca, and then adding the word Hajji to your name.  Or contortions while sitting upon mats of any kind at all.  Or chanting.  Or claiming to have seen an angel.  The list goes on, increasingly outlandish and wholly peculiar.

     However, the species aboard our planet, do have the capacity to both effect and affect other species in often dramatic ways.  And here it's possible Mayan thinkers gave consideration to this notion of an ecology or a symbiosis amongst life forms, and possibly  it's from within this context of the content of a circle, rather than an ever repeating travel around a circumference, that Mayan thinkers grappled, as I do, with an understanding of "renewal."  They would have experienced the failure of harvest, the pressure on land from population increase. They would have been familiar with political discord, the problem of offering the wealthy a cohesive justification for being wealthy, war, armies, anti-union legislation and the panoply of  that set which accrues to the species I belong to.  And here when everything unravels, I guess it might be possible to be sporting and  say, "Oh well, it's the end of the world again, better luck next time."  And indeed, amongst species, it's possible to gather emotional support from thinking about titanic circles that go on repeating themselves endlessly, or at least until our Sun gasps its last breath and swallows most of our solar system.  And too, it's all very well sending vehicles off to accidently explore the Ort Cloud, contemplate the Job Creating potential of giving billionaires the opportunity to operate dune buggies on the moon, and that whole range of self serving adventures that accord to a rather facile view of progress that gives imbeciles like Ayn Rand and the Objectivists best seller status amongst the more practical morons who have never reached quite beyond "I'm Biggles in Wonderland."  And, I admit,  it's from this rather pugnacious point on a straight line of argument that I try to understanding  the relationship I have with a Solstice.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with species.  It has to do with a tilt in Earth's axis, a moment of stillness in which the thing that I am, might share consciousness and being, with both matter and time.  Call it "sanctimonious" if you wish to, but it's something I am increasingly less humble about, as I try to think of it as an act of mind that contains future, a something that preceded meaning, or interpretation, or words, or the semi-colon.  And here, the usual aftermath, the glow of longer days or the upheaval of longer nights, the uphill or the down hill, the failed harvest or whatever, should be no more than a predictable irritation  to the confines of the moment itself, even if the immediate aftermath does appear to usually end up with an equivalence to, "Oh well, it's the end of the world again, better luck next time."  Which is mostly a resignation by an individual life form to its place in collections of life forms, all of which are no more than brief caterwaul, and it should not be confused with our contact with forever or with the gist of our being and its origins while un-ravaged by need or preconception or other outside force, or bloody Biggles, or Xmas....  I could go on, and probably will, because a lengthening daylight is kind of like ice cream with Pecan bars, or another chance at perfecting the white bread and Tomato sandwich.

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