Monday Morning Surrealism


I do not know the name or date of the above Magritte painting, if it is indeed a Magritte and not a clever imitation. I hurriedly pulled it off Google Image Search (where all Monday Morning Surrealisms come from) and set it as my background last Thursday when I brought in my computer to resolve a technical question. I was not sure if my usual background (below), with the monster leering with its one eye at the nude woman, would be offensive:

Redon Odilon, "The Cyclops," 1914

Redon Odilon, "The Cyclops," 1914

I have lied to you just now. Or, my truth has been transfigured into falsehood. Such alchemy abounds! I must now check my tap for wine, and check to see if the soap is now bread; if a friend were to stop by and use the lavatory, there could be much embarrassment.

But back to the matter of my lie: I wrote that I set the Magritte painting as my background “last Thursday.” In truth, I have written it today. It is Thursday, 10 September. But in a minute I shall save this draft of a post, and leave it untouched for five days, when it is appropriate to publish the new edition of Monday Morning Surrealism. Should I tell you now it is Monday 14 Sept., I would be lying. Yet I have established I am false in insisting it is Thursday, 10 Sept. No matter what date I give, I lie.

Or are both true at once? Have I stumbled into a new refutation of time? Could it be Thursday and Monday at once? If we admit this, what of the weekend? It is a grim thing to think that which sustains us through the labor of the week is but a figment. Or might they be wrapped up in this meta-day as well? Surely it is no more absurd to say one day is five than to say it is two. But what of Tuesday? Am I mistaken in following only my Monday schedule and neglecting my Tuesday-Thursday classes; or am I there already? I must be; and I must also be at my graduation, my birth, my death, and my first reading of Schopenhauer’s Welt als Wille und Vorstellung.

If Thursday and Monday be one, it can only be that all time exists in once in one eternal simultaneity. Thus is slain the chimera that is the present, which we are naively taught is both fix’d in immediacy, but also forever behind and before us. We may dismiss it as an illusion engendered by the limitation of perception, as the feeble mind blocks out the greater part of infinity.

The Daily Dish, Gawker, Feministing, Politico, delete these from your bookmarks. What have these other blogs done for you? See! I have given you the immortality of the present moment, which is a quality of every moment in infinite time, even as all eternity is compact within it. I have taught you to transcend those two accidents of nature, death and birth. What more can those other blogs give you? They will only lie, and speak of this “time” which they would say will destroy you. Should you believe them, you should liver under an aspect of death, and so be dead. Only I have refuted them. I am Thursday; I am the world.  

Yet I cannot accept your laurels yet. Even if this theory is true as I write it (or rather, as I appear to write that which has always been written), it still might be untrue by the time our figment has passed into Monday. Should I die this weekend, this post would go unpublished and unread; then it should be  nothing. A potentiality never realized. My theory would be as truth and falsehood in Hobbes’ state of nature:

Truth and Falsehood are are attributes of Speach and not of Things. And where Speach is not is not, there is neither Truth nor Falsehood. (L.4.105)

Before the state, the geometer imagined solitary humanity to be mute, or capable only of bestial howls, heard by no one, signifying nothing. Each lived in the private worlds within themselves, the theater of the senses. Mute brutes could not pass to and fro between the worlds that lie in the minds of others, having no idea how to picture them. Only once social intercourse was initiated could sense impressions be represented and communicated–but so, too, could illusion. Privation takes on the new quality of falsehood when it is communicated to us; for it is not an error egendered by the limits of the senses, or the interpretation of their data as in the case of all prior illusions. Falsehood is as bewitchment, when a man or woman sweeps us into a world that is not by the power of their voice alone, confounds our actions by forcing our wills towards objects of naught but fancy.

Bafflement was not born with language; but only when we have it can we pass off confusion or nonsense for philosophizing. The geometer reckoned in linguistic society, some empty grunts might be mistaken for speech by the listener and the speaker, as when words are tortured into such irreconcilable paradoxes as “immaterial body.” This Hobbes taught us; for this we owe him so much. Yet see how I have repaid him! By leading my readers into another trap of obscuring words in the above paragraphs, a labyrinth whose twists and turns confound one to make them doubt those things closest to them, reality and time. There is nothing in the senses nor in reason to make us doubt them. Only in words, words, words.

O! Unravel my nerves like so much string, twist my joints from their axles like so many wheels, unwind the spring of my heart, only do not let me sin against Sofia! My life, my love!


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