Monday, 23 February 2015

On the Ultimate VIP.

Who is the most important person in the world? Obama? The Dalai Lama? The farmer who grows the food that keeps us all alive?

No, I am.

I say that because I’m coming to the tentative suspicion that the world of phenomenal reality – the world of mountains and murderers and music and call girls and cows that burp methane into the atmosphere – is but a contrivance, a stage on which the 7 billion real worlds can go about constructing themselves. I am at the centre of one of those worlds, and in it I’m the most important person.

(Isn’t it odd that this suspicion follows hot on the heels of another suspicion that I’m not actually anybody, and neither is anybody else? Is that a form of oxymoron? Maybe, but it sounds kind of smart if you have the mind to see it that way. Sounding smart to a small minority is fun, especially when they can’t answer back and put you right on what smartness is.)

So anyway, I’ve realised that this is why I prefer novels – good novels – to textbooks. And who decides what qualifies to be called a good novel? I do, obviously. The way I see it, textbooks only teach you about the stage, whereas a good novel teaches you about the nature of the most important person. That’s if you have the mind to let it, of course.

(I asked myself which novel taught me most about myself. It was a tough one, but eventually I went for Lolita. It taught me about worlds colliding and destroying each other. It brought out my grief instinct. And as a little aside, Nabokov was the answer to two different questions on University Challenge tonight. He was the only thing that was. Coincidence, I suppose.)

I came by these pointless thoughts as my current reading brought me close to the conclusion of A Bend in the River. For all it’s lauded as a classic of modern literature, I’ve found it mostly tedious. I realised that it’s because the world of the protagonist and my world have nothing in common. There’s no overlap, so while I’ve learned a bit about the stage – Africa in this case – I haven’t learned anything about Me.

Maybe I should write another novel, all about the world in which I am the most important person. The problem is, I still don’t know who I am and probably never shall. And suppose I get to the end and decide that I’m not anybody after all. Do I tear it up like a Buddhist sand mandala?

To conclude: The reason I’m wasting half an hour on a stream of consciousness that will be of little or no interest to anybody else is that I’ve had nothing to write to the blog for the past few days, at least nothing I’d want anybody to read. Seems I still haven’t.

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