Insomnia Cures Immortality, Details at Eleven!

Listen! (Link may not work, it is to the aria The Trumpet Shall Sound from Handel’s Messiah as staged by Claus Guth in a very innovative way…as an opera taking place in a modern business hotel! When I click it I get “this video is currently unavailable”. I recommend, strongly, that you do as I did, which was to buy the DVD: it’s also on BluRay.)

Two Cures for Insomnia

Lift your arms above your head and try to balance them there. You will probably fall asleep and they will fall to your side.

Look out the window rather than turning on the TV or even the lights to read a book, for before electric light it was Man’s Fate to be in darkness at night.

The Olympics

Go for the gold? Why? To impress rich men in yachts in the Isle of Dogs?

Bassanio goes for the lead i’ th’old play, The Merchant of Venice:

You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair and choose as true!
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content and seek no new,
If you be well pleased with this
And hold your fortune for your bliss,
Turn you where your lady is
And claim her with a loving kiss.

It pleased me in 1984 to run twenty miles. “A lonely impulse of delight”, like Yeat’s “Irish Airman” in his poem “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death”. “It’s a treat, being a long distance runner.”

It pleased me last March to run two miles on my kid’s birthday even though I wondered at the finish will I ever run again.

I’m going for the lead. This would be to run again albeit how slow.

The question is what immortality would even feel like. The Emperor in the old Hans Christian Anderson Chinoiserie is given immortality by the Nightingale. But that wouldn’t be a continuation of his former life, in which he get guilt, did wrong, and preferred a mechanism to the real thing.

Siehe, ich sage euch ein Geheimnis: Wir werden nicht alle entschlafen, wir werden aber alle verwandelt werden;

Und dasselbe plötzlich, in einem Augenblick, zur Zeit der letzten Posaune. Denn es wird die Posaune schallen, und die Toten werden auferstehen unverweslich, und wir werden verwandelt werden.

I met a man who said these words to me
About “immortality”: it is not what
You would expect, and it is not, you see,
A thing that starts here or there like that.
How many times could you seriously endure
A single marriage in all its complexity
What children become, the pain that is pure
The uncertain hours of waiting, perplexity?
What you say you want is a trick of memory;
Von Neumann said off the top of his head,
The brain forgets nothing in its treasury
The brain retains the bread and pain for the dead.
And then we go on, carrying this weight
Up the side of the mountain. We love what we hate.

– Edward G. Nilges 2010


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