Saturday, January 23, 2016

Jack Scott writes

One Black Swan (pt 12)

Nothing now to lose, here is at last my theory. 
It’s been said that History is inadvertent fallacy at best;
at worst, deceptively self-serving,
that any attempt to record factual account 
helplessly becomes a work of fiction. 
Fiction’s door often opens on the path,
becomes clear and open to and through non-fiction
toward what you’re looking for.
Let me insert into this record here
that I have no idea what I am talking about.
This is pure invention stemming from my ignorance. 
If I have to bore a tunnel into time and crawl through it 
to get at the truth I seek I must find out how to do it. 
In the theater of confusion it seems it’s up to me. 
to write my own play and then produce it. 
It’s title is The Rubicon. 

My war with science is absurdly ludicrous;
science is the windshield, I the bug
in an uncontested non-encounter,
but in fiction we’re on equal footing. 
I won’t be writing science fiction,
but stripping science down to its shorts
and dressing it in fiction, hand woven clothing
once I decide which will be the warp,
the lengthwise, longest threads
across which run the fibers of the filling woof.
I’ll let synchronicity decide, I’m overdue a visit, 
or did it come like Santa Claus and decline my cookies?
I’m also overdue a visit from serendipity.

I’m not waiting for the world to reconcile with me.
I’m looking for a world that I can reconcile with.
I entertain larger possibilities in silence and alone.
I have no argument to present and not a thing to prove
that can be proven in my time.
The future is a world I will never visit.

There was a time before which man could not exist in any form.
Then, very slow to take the stage,
after waiting in the wings so long, quadrupedally
we’re now told we’ve had a brief life span
after rising to the occasion with two feet upon the ground,
freeing up the other two to put to better use.
Perhaps too brief for credibility
if we believe what’s cast in print as granite
about the length of time available since then.
Does evolution have a lifespan?
Metamorphosis seems to have one.
Is it possible we’ve been through this more than once before,
in dramatic moth-like cycles with near death experiences:
The Five Extinctions? 
And evolution, which contains them -
there’s been ample time for more than one. 
We might be later than we think.
and we might have started earlier. 
Who can possibly imagine, or begin to,
this expanse of time during which,
however slowly, things were going on. 

We’ve had time and determination, true grit,
necessity, the orphan of no choice. 
Every orchid has to die, but first it wants to bloom.
We’ve shivered through ice ages, (We’re still in one.)
withered through some blazing deserts,
been conserved as seed crop 
through one or more so-called extinctions.
Obviously man did not exist before man could exist,
although they generate a parade of reputations
based on guesswork,
fossils are notoriously unreliable as evidence of themselves,
especially in their absence.
Reconstructions are figments, mystically artistic fabrications
of entire prehistoric animals
fancied from single isolated pieces of bone.
(Or are they artistically mystical?)
(What the fuck does prehistoric mean?)
How do they do it?
They don’t, it can’t be done.
More core-boring samples.
More slide shows of the unknown.
Although they do get some things right,
they’re very good at being wrong. 

Evolution is a one-way river never running backwards.
Susceptible to being temporarily dammed,
it is never blocked completely,
ever capable of carving new channels,
following the bloodlines of least resistance.
Extinction is a necessity of evolution,
an intrinsic element, not a catastrophe.
Moving onward with all its denizens
except those who could no longer swim
and never learned to float,
its fresh vacancies are soon occupied
by other life looking for more and better room to grow.
Even so-called “Extinction Events”
are weeding processes, never total decimation of all life,
genocides removing competition and predators
of those next in line to fill abandoned space.
When interrupted, evolution
just picks up again where it was curtailed.
There is no guarantee that what proceeds from there
is a carbon copy of what might otherwise have been. 

Not a thing stayed put;
continents strained and shifted, were pushed
slower than the rate of fingernails’ growth.
Time was in a sense irrelevant, without deadline or schedule;
Though it seemed to not exist, it was defined by change. 
Behind all scenes unanimation had always been going on
given raw materials spun by heat and light
and a kind of magic. 
Things evolving, becoming . . . always becoming . . .
something different, something more.
When finally, in no hurry, with no rush,
the living seed began to sprout,
the life we care about began to happen.
We weren’t there to chart it,
so missed more than a page or two of this nonfiction myth.
Later, man could not resist conjuring how this came to be
and around the globe seemed to be in some agreement,
even reaching , one could say, separate consensus.
Tsk, tsk, tsk, religion got there first
and their version tends to be as good as any. 

Climate is a pulse of the largest being we know,
beating colder, warmer, colder, warmer,
in a throb of longer seasons uncontained by calendars,
seeking equilibrium and never finding it
for longer than a planetary heartbeat,
meaning not really, as far as we can tell. 
Ice ages come and go in cycles we will never know
and tides of oceans rise and fall by longer yardsticks, 
all rewindings of a larger clock. 

We drill down for oil ten thousand feet or deeper.
Finding not just a compost of dinosaurs, 
their rain forest and dinosaur chow and fodder, 
but a microorganismic stew of tiny plants and animals, 
an infinite zoo composted into mud and silt, 
sediment compressed into saturated rock called shale,
further modified by temperature and bacteria into gas,
or “boiled” down into pools of “liquid gold” 
at the bottoms of very long gone seas 
then squeezed even more by the mounting pressure   
of dead relatives dropping in on them 
so deep now, so very deep.
How’s that for good use of time?

So many measurements have been taken,
graphs constructed, formulae elaborated,
laws decreed, absolutes ordained. . .
To make a long tale short,
to simplify unknown complexity
we have established a system
of hypothesis and theory
and peerless peer review
based on predictability and repeatability
which we treat as fact.
Perhaps a wise decision
if it keeps us on the sane side of the madness called religion,
while blinding us, alas,
to the mad side of which science is our new religion.

Some figures are called absolutes, relatively speaking. 
How could we know these things we otherwise would not 
by looking at what we plainly can not see? 
Because we take the word of those who say they know.
Although so enshrined, the speed of light is not an absolute
although treated as a pet example,
compared with simultaneity which is instantaneous,
ergo: faster, fastest..
Entanglement is also such, as well as Reiki distant healing.
There are likely more exceptions.
Zero Kelvin and the Big Bang are limits approached,
but not quite reached.
Synchronicity is considered to be acausal, an orphan.
Electricians are worthy craftsmen manipulating energy
that no one understands or can explain.
When contradictions arise like simultaneity
they are ignored, or blankly not addressed.
Does it matter if everything is not completely neat and tidy? 
Yes, Virginia, there is mystery.

Once the planet was in plae there was still a lot time 
before things localized for us. 
Time was all there was again for the longest time. 
Ingredients were within it enough for many recipes.
Specialties of this house, 
neither tried nor served before,
have been set before us at this table,
more than we will ever know.

There was world enough
and on it time enough for carbon dating,
carbon copies of reproductive rights and wrongs, 
 of unrecorded trials and cycles,
phantom duplicates of what we take for fact  
and what we haven’t guessed at,
recurrences reduced to echoes of unheard utterance
of the newborn and of the stillborn
long dead before their voices
could be introduced as being first. 
Might there have been unrecorded cycles, 
multiple recurrences of past societies 
from the lighting of their candles to their snuffing out
primitive to cultured followed once again by extinction?

This long strand of life 
woven of so many threads, knotted by extinctions, 
rope on which the future hangs unbroken,
never really fully severed
despite some squeakers, all hurdles, not a wall.
Obviously, the proof is in the pudding,
not all eaten, not all served.  
It was, perhaps, a wrong assumption
that there was only one Stone Age.
How many have there really been?
There has been time for many.

Is there room for mystic speculation
or is that too fanciful?
Was its creation intrinsic to itself, and not akin to me?
The pride I take as custodian of this treasure,
if I dare to use that word, is dangerously seductive,
masking eggshellish fragility. 
Dare I bring up synchronicity, the sorcery that,
when it births something truly new
multiplies like bubbles in the bottom of a pot
as water comes to boil. 

I should be happy to be chosen, but was I?
Does it really work like that?
Have I experienced what no one else has?
How could I know that?
The dilemma of another
would be much the same as mine:
secretive, hidden, as if ashamed.
There are costs for this, charges demanded,
prices to pay, extracted,
burdens, oh yes, burdens.
Mutely isolated,
we could not even meet by chance
because of what we share.
We could never know each other. 
My find was preexisting . . .
halfway to forever either way. 
Could it have been there waiting . . .
for me or someone like me,
someone else to rise with its alarm,
as for a second dawn that day,
time come to wake again . . . to wake me?
Oh, it did.

In equal measure gods bestow, then snatch away.
What I’d been gifted in uniquity
they’ve stolen from my memory, lifted from my confidence. 
 and doubled my self-doubt,
a trade-off for Alzheimer’s?
Is this how madness ends? Begins?
Is this what insanity is like?
I’ve never seen it from the inside.
Between the issue and the ending,
here must subsist my sanity.

This is where I take my stand!
Closure and resolution are not gifts to be bestowed
by some external agency,
by something like “ ’scuse me god for having lived

and tripped on your mistakes.”
Those chaps who thought the wedding’s done,
went home with all the rice.

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