Friday, June 19, 2009

upon the virtue of order.


Order, simple coherence, symmetry, flow, way, course


            I maintain simple order.

            The virtues that correspond to a Democracy, which presupposes a legal, political, and ideally financial equality, presupposes certain virtues, long since worked out by John Dewey. Industriousness and Independence combine to make for an autonomous Self – the citizen. For the citizen to have power over decision making, education must be universal, and this means, everybody must be taxed to educate all our youth. We ought also to strive that these youths read the same books, especially the American Classics of Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, and Melville. But what ought to be most emphasized in a democracy is directness of speech: transparency, immediacy, simplicity, images, everything translated to simple, easy consumption. The American rhetoric is the invention and perfecting of sloganistic discourse. In rhetorical history, we live in the era of the slogan.

            I would prefer our religious people to quit saying “this not that,” and I dispute Whitman with his “this, this, this, this,” for I prefer a “this over that,” and therefore, not quite a democracy, but an environment where a man who makes himself more creative is given more materials and space to create.

What is the idea beyond structuring? Leave each room a little neater then you found it. Leave each person a better person than you found him. Let your hands idly clean while you ponder your thoughts.

Recognize that your life is a nexus of systems, and that each system must be balanced, at equilibrium. Tensions build, flows release. But if tensions are too tense, you become cramped and disabled, and if you are too released, you become bored and depressed. Every system must be autonomous, must work out its logic, and you must do the least part of tweaking at the center.

Maintain simple order in all things: money, goals, friendships, work, property. Less is better, simplicity best.

Utter order is only good if it is your order. An order imposed upon you is tyranny, totalitarianism, and you must maximize your clutter, mount your Kaos dragon, in order to burn Anarchy across the face of Rome—and fiddle while it flames! The Perfect Lotus grows from the weltering mud. Yes, and when she has flowered into Brahma seeds, she thrusts those seeds back down into the mud.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I scowl at my friends’ libraries, and when I saw the video of Derrida’s cavernous library, I pitied the man. Who would want such excess? I prefer my tight three shelves: Profunda, Alexandria, and Serma. I give the one-time-reads away, I sell them in exchange for new books, or at worse I chop off the cover art and put it into my visipad. These three recommendations – reduce, reuse, recycle – should be spiritualized, as all practices can be, made into sublime standards of ideas.

Your learning is a gymnasium: you learn through your body, and you learn by your body. Reduce the flab on your gut, remove the purple in your veins, rest away the sandbags from under your eyes—for your health will inflect your writings and studies. There is no mental education without physical exercise. Order your body.

I attempt to put my diet and job into value units. An extra two hours at work is worth a new book to study. An extra serving of vegetables and fruit is a twenty minutes more writing time at night, but a piece of candy costs me twenty minutes of night energy. If I work six hours at my job, I am able to write more that night than if I had the day off.

Restaurants tell their waitresses: hands full in, hands full out. After you drop off the dirty dishes, carry back the clean dishes. If you must drive to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, what else do you need? Do you need to buy stamps while you’re out? Quarters for the laundry machine? Can you listen to recorded lectures on the drive? Your every last gesture must increase your wealth. If you produce waste, don’t hire somebody to dispose of it, but market it for a profit.

Make your actions thick. Transform your daily tasks into religious rituals. Consecrate your floss. Family meals become togetherness, orientation, relaxation, nourishment of soul as well as body.

Tighten all circles. Do not let your orbit get so wide that you are plucked clean off. Return always to your favorite writers, your favorite people. Do most what you love most. If you regard a painful duty as necessary, learn how to love it. If you must live amidst thieves, learn how thieves think. If you must raise an autistic child, keep a notebook on what you learn. All experience is purchase power , and yet remains money, in that there is no end to what you can purchase with it. It is like a poem which you can sell a hundred times to a hundred magazines.

If your clothes hang for over a year in your closet, if your canned food catches rust, if your book needs its jacket dusted, if your clutter drawer can be dated by depth—throw it all out. They catch your energy, steal away energy by your unconscious acknowledgement of their place. Sacrifice your excess into investment. Gift your clutter into affection for friends. Storm your memories for fresh ideas. Rewrite your old stories. Copy out your old notes. Phoenix the old in the heat of renew.

The basis of health is right circulation. Circulate from the active to the restive, and when you are resting one faculty, exercise another. Any stagnancy, any varicose veins, fluff on the gut, any unread books on the shelf, snag the system. Lock up your limbs in your apartment and your poetic legs will also stiffen.

You need to travel, and then for long times not travel. Give away a few things, and take a few things. Alternate. Life itself is flux, to push you out of habitual orbit. Resist it at times, go with it at others.

Order means rotation. Simple order is a circle. Rotate your thinking spots, your study cubbies.

The straight line of creativity required the circle of pragmatic habit to control itself,

Unstiffen every muscle. When you spring clean, bring into the open every single thread you own, all your stuff, and learn if you have used it, and if you don’t use it consider if you can, and if not, give it away.

            Order is simplistic. The simpler the order and the more various parts therein, the greater the being. Our system must loosen every single piece of clutter, must exercise every last muscle, unstiffen the least of beings, and make every atom work for us. Insofar as I am cursed with boils from head to toe, so I will study the etiology of boils, the existential nature of pain. That is American: to put everything to work, to suffer no parasites. Benevolance for everything except parasites and infectors.

            Everything must circulate—allow no blood clots in the greater body of your world. Let no books rot on your shelf, let no garments conspire against you within your closet. Clean house often—a perpetual spring time.

            Order is the maintainer of increase. Exaggerations are superlatives that throw us out of balance, greatness is the superlative that gives a stronger balance. Edison and his 300,000 notebooks is great and balanced. Mozart with his focus on music is a great balance. An exaggeration is by nature unintentional. You must balance every extreme with an extreme in the other direction. When you have clutter, learn to shuffle.

Four things keep clean:

First the Mouth

Second the hands

Third the Genitals

Fourth your workstation

            I am charmed to dance with the broom, and amidst my menial labor, I count this best. Oh Sandra! How I shall miss the whisk of your dirty blonde hair! And what joy a clean sweep! To remove all the obstacles and impediments, which would force you to peck and nit-pick, instead delegating them to the corner, and then the leisurely waltz of the long broad strokes of a willing broom – the best. So too is it when sweeping out the cobwebs of your soul.

            Of the things you cannot move, and I do not mean merely cupboards and chairs, but the habits you can’t move, the routine you can’t shake, the friend you cannot vacation from, consider these your Archimedean lever, your immovable certainties by which you will structure and square everything circular. These are your fatal certainties. If you are fated, do not expend your energy wrestling against fate, but be smarter than Oedipus, and enjoy that motherly kiss. “Oh how I resist that I am prognosed to live one more year on this earth!” Well then! An early death has its uses too. How can you use this situation to furthery your goals in the meantime? And if you must work in a factory in a job you hate, this has power too.

            Know, therefore, how to summarize a chapter, a book, a conversation, a day, upon completion, and write it down, or at least enunciate it deliberately within your mind. You will demarcate the movements of the daily nonsense into usable lessons.

            Swing and sweep, touch and leap. Be ever structuring larger parts of your life by fewer systems and rules. Metaphors and metonymies are the favored types of comparison: a metaphor is a leap from this to the unexpected that, whereas the metonymy is the contiguity of this touching this. My fingertips are sewing machines in a metaphor, but by metonymy, I live by the finger flick. Think therefore your concepts all the way to end, till the earth shivers, and then you will have removed all half thought, half expressed, half leapt, half touched clutter from your life.

            For life is like the video game Tetris, a sort of animated jigsaw puzzle, where you win by fitting all the daily surprises together in a perfect block of order.

            Know therefore how to work like Hercules to achieve your goal. To write a book, you must write outlines, keep journals of your progress, write out wall maps on banner paper, configure countless diagrams and sentence structures: ten times more scaffolding then final work material.

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