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XLIX. Behind the Looking-Glass (Perceptions)

by | Jan 6, 2015 | Opus Magnum

floorI am sure that one day – which may occur in the past, present or future – you have felt, you feel or you will feel the way I feel right now.

Even though the sensations are simply there to be observed with indifference, detachment and, if necessary, with disdain, I’ve learned not to trust in my poor judgement, not to allow the current of passions to drag me away, nor to confide in those dark thoughts that continuously used to guide me with a feigned sweetness into and inside a labyrinth whose centre was (is) absent, non-existent.

Ariadne has vanished.

Not to trust oneself, that is not one – and perhaps it is not.

Like the carved ring of the King, whose inscription reminds us all that this too shall pass.

If I can experience this estranged sensation and savour it, it’s likely that at least someone out there can say that he has had that very same tasting in his life.

To perceive the slow and tedious passing of life, the worthless mechanical ballet that is unconsciously being performed in front of my very nose – on occasions in front of the left ear, or right one; to even sense, sometimes, that which we call life is walking at my back, and not due to a lack of interest from my part: it happens that I (and this could probably be also applied to you, dear reader) am not allowed to choose how I face the world, how I face the others, who at the same time, not that deep inside, are to me more than others; but in the end they inevitably become the other.

That incombustible pace: the inevitable and unstoppable heartbeat of life that we call time. A dense elapse of hours seasoned by an incessant choreography of faces, grimaces, gestures and colours.

And one, who is not (yet) one despite possessing only a sole vessel (body, plastic), and who is avid for experience, full of desire to grapple life with passion, with strength – lingers on through the looking glass.

Yet this adamant, stiff and sometimes cold, sometimes tepid but always stoical translucent sensation separates me from what I can see or hear; the certainty to have a severe barrier in front of me that isolates this spotless body which allows me to endure this experience we call life; this body that allows me to become a model for those barbaric others without a sense of fashion nor taste, and the severe barrier that isolates this complex being (though I know that this being has to be earned) from the others, from the reality that I can see, but I can never touch, never taste, never experience.

I cannot taste, hence I cannot know.

Vain and futile are the attempts to transgress this thin vitreous line.

A tenuous but sturdy and constant separation.

A sense of déjà vu invades me at the sight of that man who looks at me steadily in the eye. He usually appears to be interested in me (the very little which I know about that me), despite the fact that I never (apparently) seem to inspire in him anything at all.

On one side, me, I (multiplicity): on the other, the perpetual motion of the world.

Separation.

This is a brief account of my life, reader friends: a luxurious outlook of an endless and cadential parade of women, men, little boys and girls and gorgeous teenagers; grandfathers and grandmothers, great-great-great-great-grandparents and cats, and dogs; all that you can imagine, conceive and name, that I have already seen.

It is indeed funny the amount of things people – those we call the others – can do when they think (believe) that they are not being watched. Yet my eyes are always opened, constantly observing. From murders to rapes, from accommodation of the average male package to the coquettish make-up check. Whatever you are capable of imagining, I have seen it. All.

Yet I am always behind this conditioning and definite glass (momentously I hope), which I assume everyone possesses and suffers. If I inhabit this space carrying my own transparent cross, others shall presumably have theirs. Jesus is not mine.

Could this hellish separation be the veiled significance of the Genesis and its paradise lost?

I have been tempted myself by the occasional apples hanging from the decorative apple tree that usually accompanies the Summer collection, yet I have never tried one. Nor have I seen snakes around its branches. I think that if I really were in hell, I would not be able to enjoy, each December, the re-enactment of the birth of our Messiah, nor the Three Wise Kings and their humble gifts. Not a single ounce of hatred can be found in any of those representations.

Again, that man who sometimes has a beard covering his face, others an immaculate trimmed moustache, appears from nowhere, and stares at me.

Forms might be (and are) diverse and different in their appearance, yet the effect is always the same.

Separation.

One (that is not yet one, and might not even yet be) may not be able to see, nor to perceive the barrier of forgetfulness if it happens to be impeccably clean (I do remember a friend whose right leg was torn by the remains of what once was a perfectly polished sliding glass window), thus becoming an unsuspected presence through both the force of habit and the emphatic oblivion; but the last word is His.

For my part, I’ve tried (vainly) to trespass that thin vitreous line with grievous results: dislocated shoulders, neck torsions worthy of the Cirque du Soleil and many other embarrassing outcomes. I do remember one Christmas morning waking up with the unique sensation of feeling my lower lip caressing my right Achilles tendon; something that to my amazement ultimately proved not to be painful at all.

As I think of writing these very thoughts and accounts through the exercise of my memory on paper, I believe to intuit a common thread (though not Ariadne’s) which links all my attempts to break the overwhelming thin vitreous line: the need for some sort of physical treatment after each one of those futile exercises of utopia.

Though maybe, right now, I am falling into the illusion that makes me consider freedom as something real and achievable when, in fact, it is simply another scenario where I will be, inevitably, forced to enter the never ending wheel of choice and its fraudulent nature that makes us believe in freedom of choice whereas in fact we are only exercising the tedious habit of choosing what we have been taught to choose.

The greatest and only real freedom is to have no possible choice.

O! How I wish I could completely understand such a statement and enjoy the present (the constant gift of existence) without those preconceptions that separate me from that which is real and ultimately my fate.

I cannot recall a time in which no glass was placed between myself, this only multiplicity that is not yet a unity – therefore not mine – and the others who might be fundamentally and unawarely one, despite the millions which inhabit within each one of those sleepwalkers.

On occasion, I do feel observed and sometimes indicated (pointed at), be it with the finger, or be it with the chin. Some laugh, others seem to express, through their own eyes, an inkling of identification with me – or perhaps a sign of pity or a sign that others intuit that it is me who is trapped inside this body which, though fit and healthy, is essentially inert. Could it be that they are beginning to sense that which is separating us? If I had a voice, I could probably reach a little longer. It’s been a long time since I quit trying to make a voluntary use of my muscles. Not even after the most demanding exercises of memory am I able to recall that time (if any) when I was able to move.

I wish I could, at least, remember a single drop of the Lethe running down my body.

Voiceless and not being able to move voluntarily – yet aware of the matrix that was beginning to show its threads. If I really lost the use of already ignored abilities, then I can’t take the risk of losing my train of thought. Keep talking to yourselves.

Perhaps I’m just a mirror reflecting their ultimate reality, behind the thin vitreous line.

The others (people, sleepwalkers) tend to idolize me as a modern Adonis. They worship me as a plastic Messiah: their standing and impeccable Lord. They secretly want to become me, to be given a taste of what it feels like to dress, to look and to inspire the awe that I continuously see on the other’s faces. If they only knew what a living hell this existence is, such a childish aspiration would cease at once.

The constant repetition of a laudatory sentence that eventually is the same despite its many guises ends up in tedious mechanical hearing. Though immovable, the glass allows me to listen to the others. How grateful I am not to be able to stop perceiving the vocal vibrations – the reason why such a sense has not banished. At first, the continuous words of admiration that my circumstantial clothes inspired worked as an augmenter of the ego; but soon after the cycle of laudatory remarks begins, the tediousness overwhelms me. Though I must admit that I’m always at the avant-garde of the contemporary fashion world and I usually end up being a trendsetter. Truth be told, and written: Truth.

But here’s another question: do we choose what to wear? Do we really choose? Are we free? How can we be free if we cannot even choose not to choose?

Only when not choosing becomes a real option are we truly free to choose, or not to choose. Once you are free from choice you shall be purely free to only do what you have to, away from the infernal and everlasting circle of choice. Freedom is the state that shall be realized within us after experiencing the actual lack of real choice.

Or is it all the work of an invisible and macabre hand (hands) that commands, makes and unmakes at its sole will, also defining those garments that should cover our loaned (or perhaps borrowed) vessel?

Dear reader, I can hardly find any strength in order to dress myself. Most likely it’s not a disability: but the lack of use has made my muscles so thin and weak. All the memories I have are of this place, these lights, this job. Nothing goes further back in time than this eternal present.

The waters of the Lethe have not bathed me (would I be able to remember it anyway?), yet memory eludes me.

Why does this man seem so familiar to me? The moustachioed visitor is absent for the others, but violently present for me.

I hate to admit it, but I have grown really used to being dressed and pampered in this hollow, luxurious life style. I have become so accustomed to it that sometimes I feel like a man sized baby – an empty six-foot tall doll. The garments constantly change in a fashion that might seem random, but after attentive days of observations I discovered that my superiors must have some sort of secret power that allows them (I ignore how many bosses I have) to guess what people will wear in a near and certain (for them) future.

Some growing concern has been stinging my thoughts: I’m becoming more sensitive to sensations. Those involuntary senses are sharpening its functions, and the ones that need to be exercised, apparently are gaining or re-gaining some strength. I do think that last Tuesday I heard a roaring sound that seemed to have originated in the middle part of my upper body. What would that be? Am I sick? Dying? Luckily my health has been steady and strong: I’ve only suffered some fractures and dislocations throughout my life; also some minor skin problems that proved to be not at all painful.

I must admit that, on occasions, I feel as if I were a puppet, a plastic puppet, a distant cousin of Pinocchio: taken from here to there, without being able to choose my destination, my wardrobe, my hairstyle (though lately I can only recall the same hard motionless grooming on my head), not even the colour of my eyes. Despite having never shaven in my life, my face shows no sign of a shy beard or a humble mustachio.

Technology, a religion invented by scientists, allows us, in a matter of hours, to look (become) like other, which are others, but ultimately only the Other.

Same suit, same moustachioed man staring at me. He seems to be scanning me.

One day I’m here, the other over there, and I look around and I see what now is obvious to me – that I am doomed to live beneath (behind) the glass of existence. I still cannot recall of a vitreous-less time.

Perhaps it’s the force of habit, but I’m starting to feel a certain compulsive reflex in my stomach whenever I observe people eating or drinking. As far as I can remember, my mouth has always been dry; though I can tell you that these last days I’ve been sensing an odd change in the consistency of my oral cavity – It used to be hollowed and dry. Now, I can clearly feel a little protuberance that seems to be of a muscular nature (I can barely move it) and some moisture inside the mouth. Am I dying? Why does it become more moist whenever I see others eating?

How can someone die without having ever been born?

We are all trapped in the same situation; even though you, dear reader, are thinking that the scene described above is not one that could ever happen to you.

Paradoxically (perhaps such is essence of reality) is this very same ruthless negative affirmation which indicates that you are (and will be) the prey of the very same hunter which you are denying.

Just like the Prophet (let the Glory be with Him) affirmed that we would commit, during the course of our life, that very fault or sin we condemn or criticize in the other.

The only sin I do admit and recognize is the secret pride that I feel when the sleepwalkers copy my style. Sometimes they look at me steadily; sometimes they consult with whomever is accompanying them; sometimes they decide by themselves (ironic), and in a matter of minutes, I see them leaving with a shirt that I wore yesterday, or a chic corduroy jacket which is actually caressing my shoulders at this very moment.

Vain pride.

What is happening to me? Why does my mouth get dry whenever a nice looking woman stares at me? Why are her eyes fixated at the middle part of my body? Is it because today I’m wearing tight boxers? Is it normal to feel humidity on the palm of my hands? Did I just feel something moving in that middle part?

I am much more than a perfect face with unpolluted hair and undaunted eyes; white pale skin due to the lack of sun… because I, dear reader, I’m tyrannized in this sunless world of nothing but work, work and work.

At least I am lucky to have a job that requires me to be – to be without being.

I think I dreamed once about this man, and a sword. The mustachio is gone, and now he appears to be a younger bearded version of him.

Nude in front of unknown others: a situation that – though highly improvable – has occurred on some few embarrassing occasions. I can be aware despite the colossal and modest effort of my memory, which vainly tries to force oblivion.

By chance or faith, it is when I am divested of all garments that I’m less noticed and admired by the others (which are millions).

I’m having trouble in making my mind travel back and forth in time. This present moment is becoming the only thing I’m capable of remembering. This ever-present work that has made me indifferent to heat and cold; though I think I felt something watery last Friday when I was wearing a camel overcoat. Is that sweat?

Or was it the forgotten drop from the Lethe river?

The memory of such lost sensations is still there – I can perceive them. I can sense the key to what appears to be a past life, another dimension. Until today, I had almost forgotten what those sensations felt like; I could not even grasp a distant remembrance of a memory of an after-taste of those sensations.

Today is different: before, I had to reason, to intuit them through the others – always the others – who showed or illustrated to me that concept through the varied wardrobe that flowed in front of my eyes as a parade that lasted all year.

Today is different: memories are coming back.

The muscular appendage in my mouth is getting bigger; I can already touch with it something that feels like bone all around the previously hollowed roof of my mouth – something that is slippery, probably because of the humidity covering it.

I’ve always worked with different partners, who at the same time have always felt like being the same, one equal to the other. Please note, dear reader, that I did not use the word identical, because equality is one of the guises used by diversity.

On occasions, I believed to really know my colleagues, but only to later discover that it was simply an illusion; if that the other does not know him or herself, inevitably they will show me a face (among thousands) which might be believed to be the real one – whereas reality lies beneath the masks.

I’m not longer surprised by their continuous and sometimes flamboyant changes of style, manners, poses; they mutate completely (in appearance) and become another (which are others, and are not) in order to remain the same.

A puppet. Another distant cousin of Pinocchio.

Absence within the change.

Men are alike in their appearance, just as it is so with women.

Within, there is another universe, or various, perhaps incessantly changing.

The bones inside my mouth are starting to hurt; something pointy is coming out of that moist (and pink according to the constant thin vitreous line) hardness. I’m in pain.

I am a being who tries to Be, who wants to evolve, grow, develop, walk with eyes wide open (it’s better to wear out one’s vessel by walking, than to take good care by remaining at one place), to learn how and what is to be learned, to know, to experience – breaking the glass that separates reality from fiction.

Maybe, someday, I will succeed.

The strange man, as if he were even younger and tattooed, seems to have a hammer in his hand.

I do feel my muscles gaining more strength; yes, that muscle in the middle part of my body as well.

My hope densifies when the lights are out.

And I remind myself of something that is becoming harder to not to forget every day: this too shall pass.

Thoughts and Mind Wanderings of a Store Mannequin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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