Of miracle and mercy, and this strange existence
taken from I, FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM: a soul's soliloquy, from early writings by Jack Haas: this is a rare, online book
Ah, but perhaps I am delving into the mercy and miracle far too early. Let me back up a ways. Return with me, won’t you, to the time before my true being began.
I can recall most of my old life well. Or perhaps not so well. No matter. After all, it was mostly a classic befuddlement, with all the hints of squirming and guise. I awoke (I called it waking), was conscious, but not lucid. I called it consciousness. For days and years I wailed and clung onto the hegemony of being. There were many disparate occasions of both furtive and calm, but hardly a moment of reason. What was it all about? I haven't a clue. It is all rather a fabulous blur; the bread smelled wonderful, the wine was nice, the flowers, the trees, and the children all gravy. I opened my eyes, looked about for a while, was filled with awe and dolor, and that is about all worth the telling. So sad and so beautiful. Mostly it seems that I often just sat staring vacuously or not off into space. So much useless staring. I don't know why. It was all very strange. Very, very strange indeed.
Nothing seemed to happen in life but a splash like of colors, dancing in front of my oblivious eye. The pleroma and the profane were yet but scribbled rubric, laid incongruously over the timeless palimpsest of being.
It was like a pendulous oscillation which in its manifold turns drove me nearer to myself by the same distance it tore me apart. How else could I describe it? How else could it describe me?
Others called it life. I didn't know what to call it.
No one really knew what truly was up, and no one had the courage to dream.
It was all very strange. Very, very strange. I never knew a damn thing. No one ever does.
Coming into this world as I did- as we all do- like little god maggots growing in the shit and waiting for our wings that we might fly, I could never have imagined what was to happen. How could I? Who, after all, can know the unknowable? Who indeed?
It was all a vast, phantasmagoric festival of non-meaning. The Dream bloomed, charged and buoyant within me, as movements blended and engaged, made and unmade, ripped and mended into the fabric of our lives.
It was a harmony barely audible, through the bustle and clamor of the day, to which I danced with wild abandon upon this dead and spiritless earth. Like all others, I was trapped in this cosmic pandora, roaming hard and yet hobbled by the proximity of our woes; aflame and fluid in the directionless stream, I recognized pattern and intent, though I knew not what was intended; tangled in life's multiple cobwebs, like someone passed along the upstretched hands of an infinite crowd, I let myself be carried away by the directionless touch; touch was all that mattered, where I went was of no concern.
Like a worn vessel I listed into the seasonal winds to wherever the hell I was taken- swept into the infinite storm, the love, and the doldrums.
Oh yes, I still took part in everything. I went everywhere, thought every thought, loved every love, and suffered every pain, like all the rest, but none of it was mine- I did not belong and that is why I belonged. So you see where I was at then.
I was in the war, but I was no warrior, only an indifferent soldier gone AWOL in the glorious night; I was fugitive from both sides of the fight, caught in the soul's no-man's land, like a sacrifice the spoiled god's refused to take. There was no charge, no attack, no artillery from the rear, only incarceration, sublimation, obfuscation and decline, until the soul designed its own cage within the prison of time.
It was a strange concoction of merriment and writhing, in which the joy of life made the hurt that much more painful. The more I fled the thorns, the more I got pricked. The more I tried to grab the roses, the more I got pricked. The thicket grew around and through me. The more I ate, the more I breathed, the more I thought, hoped, attempted, or cursed, the more I got pricked. Oh, I fought hard against the crime of our earthly destinies.
In my ardor and peril, every moment was like furtively twisting about to see what had snuck up behind me, only to pinch my neck in the process, so that my eyes closed from the pain and ...I saw nothing; no rememberment, no joining, no glee. Only separation, amputation, and loss.
Come now, hold me tight. I am a man who bore false witness to himself, and then did not believe any of it; as if I never truly existed, and existence simply claimed that I existed.
Existence indeed. Of all the bizarre and stupid things that could be made.
I invented none of this. There it was, wham! Being occurred, and I staggered aimlessly about in the midst of it, imagining that I was me. I came to see the show and got pulled into the act.
There was no true being, no true me, only delusion; only not‑being amongst being (oh relax, and allow me these irreconcilable lucidities).
I suffered immeasurably from a spiritual handicap, a metaphysical disability- I had become detrimentally intimate with the all-encompassing mystery of being; like a pretend man who forgot who he was pretending to be; a somethingness lurking about, blindly lost within its own interminable shadow. As if I was the executor of a vast estate, but not an heir; the stepbuilder of stairs I would never climb. Me, just a little ha-ha puppet, brought out to entertain the yawning king; a tortured joke suffered out from the exiled Muse.
Oh, I was everyone's nobody. 'In', and 'of', and yet not-in, and not-of. I was continually meandering aimlessly about inside a self that was no longer mine, in a world that was no longer Thine.
It was all too much like a dream of my youth: I returned to where I was certain that my home had been, but when I arrived ...it was no longer there; in the place where once I had found belonging, there now existed only not‑belonging.
I was just a bottle without a message, floating absently about in the shoreless, infinite sea.
Who could breathe in life's thick, torpid densities? Where was the self that knew feeling? What of the manifest, in the glorious, unmanifest stream?
While everyone else had been carving out a niche for themselves in this life, I was filling mine in. While everyone else sought to be found, I inherently sought lostness; and by this I inexorably betrayed the continuity of the manifest, and fell in amongst the the chaotic, foreign beyond.
And for that the sun set, the moon rose, and the night became my homeland.
I, a refugee from being- I came to exist on the periphery of everything ...that is.
It was a fine, horrid enterprise that branched and widened, flooding out into my dreams.
In the vestiges of that engulfing miasma, dizzy in the peaceless calm, I flailed against life in a merriment of fears, and shivered around the lost fire.
I sang though I was mute, jumped though I was lame, and loved though my heart was hard as Hades'.
Cold in the stupor of reason, life bled listlessly from my soul.
Hardened in the chaos, I listened without hearing, touched without feeling, and changed without becoming myself.
Softened in the realm between victory and defeat, the Great Play consumed the player, but all that remained was the spent, broken shells of yesterday's home.
Exiled from the continuum, I performed intangible duties, healed secret ills, and reckoned with imperfect eyes.
Oh yes, here and there I grasped and held onto things, to thoughts, and to lies. Later or soon I was forced to let go.
When predicament ensconced the days, oblivion forsook them.
Resignation became my fountain and my thirst, while misery tangled about in the lyre.
Fear crept in through the fissures of my nothingness. Sadness purged it out. A hollow conduit of incompleteness was all that remained. Through this the Source oozed rapture and healing into my uncloseable wounds.
It was never enough. The distance itself was damnation. I was alone, absolutely alone, and only the pit of my troubled guts had the honest strength left to grieve it.
There you have it. Brace yourself hard into the inevitable, for there is no emancipation without the burn. There is no blockage, and no gain.
Still it was all a miracle, of that there is no dispute. How I saw it is all that can be said, not what it was I saw.
Aglow and wandering, free of context and meaning, writhing unkempt in the dark, terminal madness of becoming, it was the decadent insomnia of consciousness that held me gripped and staring. I was an Eye, casting about hither and yon, hunting frantically for a mirror to find itself within. To look, to see, to comprehend.
New Eden, old crime.
Early writings by Jack Haas: a rare, online book.