That is a very strange book. a little arduous, actually, but definitely worth it. i wrote some stuff to kind of react to it, so as i get it typed up, it'll go here.
but that doesnt really begin to cover it. its hard to describe how if affects you, because by the time you're done with it, you're not totally sure you've changed at all. but then, a body of work that so completely baffles all description, something like that that draws you in...it has to change you, doesnt it? Isn't that the nature of things?
I don't know, a lot of people i know would tell me to get over it; that it's just a book. heh. so's the bible, but whatever.
the first night i was reading it, i found myself afraid of the dark for the first time. as a child, i was more afraid of what might be in the dark, but that night, it was the dark itself. it kind of reminded me of an episode of the outer limits i saw once, where a young man inherits a gigantic house from his blind uncle. (funny, i guess, for those of you who've read it- it's always the blind guy's fault) the young man is left with a strict warning to never let a shadow be cast in that house. and he's being very literal- there are light bulbs in every single drawer and nook and cranny or every room and piece of furniture in the building.
on his first night, he begins to go to bed by turning out a single light. as i recall, he immediately hears a sound, and flips the light back on, flash frying the shadow of his hand on the table. the next day, he goes out and buys painters tarp, a big metal tube, a spotlight, a bunch of birds, and a bunch of radios. he singles out a room and fills it with light, a seals it with painters trap. he points the spotlight down the tube, which is the only way across the tarp, then he simultaneously shuts off all the lights in the house, except for the room he's in.
he listens on the radios as each bird is consumed with a short, sharp squeak, and as the shadows roar down the tunnel, he turns on the spotlight. the light from the spotlight is bright enough to cast a shadow on the wall behind him,, which promptly tries to strangle him. in desperation, he turns the light on himself, killing the shadow, but blinding himself. the final shot is of the same man, now older, and still blind. much like his uncle, he can never be sure the the shadows have died, and so, despite his blindness, insists on lighting every single draw, nook, or cranny in the building.
huh. im rambling, much the way truant does- in the same font, no less.
but this episode, like house of leaves, and like many of nietzche's writings, left me pondering the nature of the abyss. is this a mere primal instinct, this fear of the insensate void? is it mere survival that prompts us to act in the matter that we do when confronted with it? or do we spiritually fear a literal abyss, a place that exists somewhere, probably everywhere, where all things are lost, mutilated, destroyed, consumed, and gone with out a trace? it is a human feeling, to be sure, that dates back to the oldest civilizations. we know it first as Ahriman in Mesopotamia, although im certain there are gods older still with terrible, unpronouncible names, all of whom are associated with darkness and loss. is it the face of fear itself, existing only to spur us onward? perhaps all it does is paint what we cannot fathom. they say theatre is the oldest religion, and indeed, there is something familiar about it all. constructing moments, lives, and worlds from a black, blank space.everyone involved in a production at some fundamental level are all saying the same thing: "this is what will be. this is what is." the statement of which is itself an act of creation.
i find it interesting that in our quest to conquer fear, we have only denied it. most modern religions place before us a place of endless light, a place to go to, as opposed to run from. those religions that make use of fear created an alternate space, one of unending pain and suffering and remorse, but on the whole, still full of light and substance, and more importantly, other people. the only religion i know that is treated with any credibility in the wide world that still addresses this fear is the church of latter day saints and their outer darkness. it is not a prison, however. it is only through a conscious denial of god, and active rejection of his teachings. one must choose the void in order to be consigned to it.
whatever else im thinking and feeling at the moment would make no sense if i were to try it here. ive got a couple of poem type things that maybe will illuminate for you where im headed.