Et in Arcadia Ego: workout log 7 July 2012

Nicholas Poussin, Et in Arcadia Ego (I, too, was [is] in Arcadia), 1637/8, Louvre

I think the Poussin scholar (and traitor, sad to say) Anthony Blunt was the one who noted that the name of the painting is ambiguous. It could mean either, I too was also in Arcadia, or I too (death?) is also here, in Arcadia. Literally I think it means “and in Arcadia I”.

Is Poussin mourning a former inhabitant of the land of Arcadia, the Isle of the Blessed, or, is he saying that Death is also in Arcadia? Actually, wikipedia’s article does a fairly good job on the meaning of the theme which indeed probably is that even in the sheltered, aristocratic and Arcadian world, death is a reality.

Be that as it may, another terrific morning, with the humidity lessened by a cleansing shower and breeze as I walked to Hung Shing Yeh Beach for a 30 minute water dance and swim. The elephant ears and banana trees were gleaming wet and dripping and all was most glorious indeed.

Nuts! “It was all…shining, it was Adam and Maiden…the spellbound horses walking warm…out of the whinnying green stable…on to the fields of praise” (Dylan Thomas).

Water a little dirty since this is what happens when it rains here but in this down-market Beggar’s Arcady, one can’t be too fussy.

Somewhat of a dirty night, sleeplessness, no pain. Quit Stilnox, had, as expected, rebound insomnia. Dealt with it using cognitive therapy:

1. When you are lying still you only think you’re not getting sleep usually are getting some

2. You often enter a state that was common before electric light one of watchful wakefulness, where people in “a world lit only by fire” would rise around midnight to talk and pray quietly until about one AM. This state is very useful for serenity and well-being in my experience because I’ve experienced it in Yosemite, and Minnesota, in the wilderness where there’s no electric light.

3. Don’t count sheep.

4. A window is best for looking out at the night. Most films (including, for me, last night, that Franco-American modern silent, The Artist) are either so good they’ll keep you up or so bad you’ll throw up.

5. Eventually, everyone except perhaps Funes the Memorious, a character in a Borges short story who remembers everything and cannot sleep owing to that fact, falls asleep. Insomnia, like many other diseases, is a self reflexive thing: the rash cannot dry and yet will not be healed by moisture, in insomnia we have to think about insomnia. We never feel ourselves let go, in general, although the physicist Richard Feynman did claim to know the moment of sleep, and I sensed it under heavy pain medication last month.

It might even be what Kant meant by the thing in itself which the sensory organs can never perceive.

So I just lay there and allowed myself to drift as the day came. I’ll probably get loads of sleep tonight and the goal is not to have to depend on an artificial sleeping aid. The last artificial sleeping aid for me, after all, was Jim Beam in 1984 and while Mr Beam has his charms he is a hard taskmaster even with club soda…you know, where you ride the bubbles down…ah yes…even though Mr Beam is a charming gentleman Mr Beam always gets paid.

I did go back to “Tramadol” a mild “opioide” with warm milk just at night, tho alongside Panadol. I have a considerable supply. This may be misuse since it’s for pain not sleeping, and the sciatic pain is almost gone. The goal remains getting rid of all pain meds followed by a sixty minute test run and evaluation to see if I’ll ever run again. But I had this irritating cough located in the throat based possibly on aspirating a little vomitus last week. It went away.

I need a personal physician but that again would be exploitation for it’s an infinite regress. It is cruel mockery in Republican BS about health care to speak as if the ordinary American is a sweet old lady who “wants to talk to her doctor” and is scared of death panels with Negroes on them (for this manipulation of white fear goes back to Reconstruction).

For one thing, the ordinary American ain’t exactly what you’d call a sweet old lady. For another, he don’t got no doctor except his new best friend, Dr Patel, in the ‘mergency room.

True story: I was getting my father’s medications in 2003 in the Valparaiso (IN) Walgreens, and had noticed with disgust “Easter baskets” for boys with guns in them. An actual sweet old lady is in line before me. Pharmacist sends her away empty handed since the medication wasn’t covered by her insurance and off she went.

In all fairness this was rectified shortly thereafter for some sweet old ladies by a much-ballyhoo’d Republican plan.

My personal health care mega-solution was something a little shop soiled since it’s out of the 1980s, it was just running my head off. It is true that this pretty much ended all forms of infectious disease in my case for twenty years. But it induced a complacency about getting regular medical checkups and now I’m perhaps paying the price…although many cancers are not caught in standard tests.

The Western world certainly thought its shit didn’t stink in the 1980s.


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