Wednesday, February 21, 2018

David Russell writes

The blow struck; a quota of people saw in coming. Débris is everywhere, crumpled, buckled, rusted, torn – panic-stricken hordes scurry through it and around it in desperate attempts to ensure their survival; there seem to be no other cool heads around. Desperate crowds may turn on each other in panic, become warring factions. Maybe I’m the only detached, clear-headed person in a maelstrom of panic. In spite of all the evidence, I retain a shred of optimism about conditions of reflective peace returning, and project the focus of my stability into the middle future, however hypothetical that might be. 

 I am determined to reconstruct the truth, the totality, to synthesise internal experience and the perspective of external observation, gut reaction and analytical cool, always keeping my supplementary eyes in focus. I have to synthesise multiple perspective. If I achieve this balance, I shall have proved myself to be an agent of reconstruction, as well as an authentic time traveller, concretised my own fiction. This will be a difficult task, as now tim, and life, turned multilinear. I proved immune to vaccination by oblivion, which left me in much positive pain. If I have to give my life in this attempt, I am confident that some cool customer will retrieve my diary and my laptop from the rubble. 


Being involved in a road accident is always traumatic. The collision and rupture of dynamic artifice – flames terrifying in heat and light, stench of burning leather, rubber and all – flashes a microcosm of a global holocaust, a brief ‘clip’ of what is to come. I witnessed others, and had several narrow escapes. But finally, at the peak of a self-confident ‘high’ I crashed into someone – with a flashier car than mine; that person was badly injured; it was certainly my fault – I had been speeding, cutting corners in order to get somewhere quickly, which of course I didn’t reach – probably wouldn’t have passed the breathalyser anyway – a personal emergency caused by an SOS message on my mobile in the middle of a massive raving party. As per the Highway Code, hat bloke should have sounded his horn when he was coming out of the side road, and my mirror, admittedly, was a bit wonky. To my surprise, I was acquitted after an intensive grilling, on grounds of being under abnormal stress; but the agony of that experience made me want to flee to the ends of the earth, to past history – get to the essence of the greater pain to put the lesser one in perspective. Some people are impulsive and spontaneous, whilst others are intrinsically lethargic – only aroused and motivated by disasters; humanity is being taught a massive lesson. So the pincers were closing on me: I was faced with the alternatives of settling down in a rut or taking a decisive step to escape enervating entrapment. 

I was transported, and learned my lessons, by parallel shocks – emotional ones to counterpoint the physical ones in a sort of cross-weave pattern; there is an ultimate affinity between accidents and volatile people, though the most careful and methodical are not immune from them. Caught in their stinging mesh, I was flung across the world, to find my bearings. I had to cross the world in order to do so. My one consolation was that I had a choice of direction. I had to go to the most unstable region in the world in order to recover my equilibrium.

Chile, or Chilli in the language of its indigenous peoples, means ‘where the world ends’. This seems to be the only country in the world named after Armageddon – the Great Underworld blasted and forced up to the surface! Apparently earthquakes abound in Mongolia, but perhaps the earth’s crust is stronger there; I must check it out thoroughly. One thinks of gold smelted in the massive fires, then those piles of ingots generating bankruptcy for those desperate Spaniards, feeding those insatiable wars, in the Netherlands and elsewhere, ever after. The poorer terrain can have the greater resilience. The discovery of gold could be the prime explosive, capable of detonating the whole world – gold, later deputised by masses of choking paper and brittle plastic. I was haunted by the idea of engineering an explosion, which I would either have to suppress, circumvent or engineer – sometimes such things have to be done to curtail conflagrations like forest fires or exploding oil wells – supplements to rain. I always feel the world is being inflated to near bursting point, crude mercenary economics making a chronic thinning of the crust. I comfort myself by saying that there will be a global holocaust after my decease. I came to realise that Chile may echo the heights of its mountains in many respects, epitomise the world by being the most volatile, unstable zone on earth, with all its earthquakes and volcanoes, as well as its being the centre of the unremitting 300 year war with the Mapuche, the native Chileans, probably the world’s most sustained human conflict – a veritable encapsulation of the world’s anxieties, reverberating now in Iraq, Afghanistan and many parts of Africa. Chile, for all its long, straggling shape, is a sort of global centre. The world is the epicentre of its greatest earthquake zone. Our vision is best dichotomised by the world’s highest peaks. Nice to think of ice capping the lava to make gigantic geysers, modulating a global refrigerator and gas oven, heating, comforting and preserving.


The clock on my wall has stopped – it probably needs a new battery; that makes me think – is a token halt in time portentous? The clock could have run both from the mains and with a battery. What if all the world’s clocks and watches were paralysed by some global, seismic force – spanning the oceans and the poles, and then could be reactivated to scroll backwards and forwards according to any individual’s caprice? Can one reflect and force oneself back into the past by sheer willpower? I think so, as its relics remain tangible, if fragmentary. Could there be worldwide computer jams, paralysis of new technology, where all the archaic construction methods have to be re-learned and reapplied, all those mountains of discarded apparatus levelled? Sometimes sophisticated systems overdevelop into fragility, generate their own self-destruction, while the more elementary ones have greater resilience and adaptability. Dotted around the world there are precious pockets of stubborn preservers of archaic lore. They put on the vital brakes to protect the ecosphere. The equilibrium of the world depends on a quota of its population freezing time, or moving backwards in it. Otherwise all the bubbles will burst – after all, the world is shaped rather like a bubble. In its earliest stages, it could burst just as easily. 


Being desperate to personalise history and put myself, and my halo, in the midst of its vortex (and be an icon of time, sustaining my self-willed power of dream-flight), I spent many hours in the Central Registry, poring over the family trees, only to find all their roots tangled and distorted by stones – for a century of two backwards, until I got perplexed by all the dubious intersections and missing pieces – masses of cases of disputed parentage and, inevitably, a high degree of illegitimacy. Ultimately, everyone is a bit mixed-up and cross-bred, ‘pure blood’ is probably just an ideal, fabricated to consolidate power; humanity is a rainbow – its spectrum embracing blurred boundaries. Nor are we finally divorced from the animal kingdom.

So much for the human roots: as for the botanical ones, I felt that some of those mighty trees must have had nails knocked into them for extra strength by the first explorers, for now they are duly gnarled by the centuries, but super-durable. Hunched and grotesque, they look as if they have been stunted and crippled by drought, yet they have survived, resilient and ugly, probably safe from all the blights too – they must have scared all the germs off after absorbing them and surviving them. Countless crowds, plodding forwards and backwards in time in slow-motion lemming desperation, tramping parallel to each other, perpetuating an illusion of stasis. They are convinced of their happiness in their eternal circles. 

 Yes; I extrapolated and distilled a personality interface from the masses of historical data I had read. I even found a lookalike portrait – willed my doppelganger fabrication into quasi-organic life – a character who burst out of his book-shell and superseded his author. Spiriting myself into the form of a volunteer Conquistador, fancying myself as an adventurer (and perhaps something of a strutting Hidalgo), I had blindly volunteered for that expedition against the Indigenous people, thinking it would gain me fortune and honour and, in the process, further enhance the greatness of my country (I adopted Spain, though remaining British in spirit. Those illusory objectives were intrinsically brittle, predestined for dissolution like salt crystals – but replaced by something of infinitely greater import, seeing, and seething, into the inner earth itself – respecting it, not sucking out its oil like a guzzling parasite.

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