16 May 2013

First thing supine dancer and *conductus* (air conductor) workout, then a sweet congee much like oatmeal and an egg; took longer to remove the shell and season the egg than to eat the Egg in two bites. One tends to ritual.

In the Grand High Shakespeare ReRead and Massacree, finished Love’s Labours Lost and Acts 1..3 of Measure for Measure. Once I finish M for M I shall have Richard II (good play), Titus Andronicus (sucks), Various Poems and The Winter’s Tale, I believe, to go to finish re-reading. I need not to race to the finish but to read slow, since this project is teaching me much about S and the language.

One reason I am engaging in this project is that while I say “I read the collected works of Shakespeare in 1962 except for the Merry Wives of Windsor” I did so callowly and inattentively, and may have skipped more than one. I did not read The Two Noble Kinsmen because it was considered apocrypha before modern text analyzers were developed. It wasn’t mentioned by my authority, one Marcette Chute of the Folger Shakespeare Library and author of “Stories from Shakespeare” and “Shakespeare of London”.

I may not have completed certain plays in the Chute canon out of boredom. I know I finished the great plays, Othello, Henry V and so on, especially where as in the case of Henry V and The Tempest I was able to see TV or live performances. But I may have bogged down in fHamlet.

For this reason, that my 1962 Grand High Read while real enough may have been a myth in part, today’s reread just serves to confirm that whatever else obtains, I’ve read the canon. Except for The Two Noble Kinsmen. I have a sort of Phobia about that play now that I shall shortly overcome my Merry Wives of Windsor phobia; I have seen the Merry Wives in performance (on a DVD on the 1980s canonical BBC videos) and it makes sense.

It is strange but bookish folk may develop phobias about reading or completing certain books. I wouldn’t read Jane Austen when younger since I figured at the time she was for girls.

Many people start *Voyna i Mir* (War and Peace, and yes, I use the Russian name first through utter pretension and also to show some goddamn fellow-feeling with Russia speakers). They enjoy its panoramic depictions of Russia and its wonderful abundance of characters such as the transcendent Natasha, the ever wiser Pierre and the noble Andrei.

But rather like a coach that’s part of the retreat by Napoleon’s Grand Army, carrying camp followers, the reader like me gets bogged down, often somewhere in Tolstoy’s description of the retreat. We have usually seen the Hollywood version of the tale starring Audrey Hepburn as Natasha and Henry Fonda as Pierre, and the much better Bondarchuk version, truer as it is to Tolstoy’s pacing. But you have to do the footwork, you must READ, to be an intelligent person. “Aliteracy” (trusting to electronic media for news and versions of Important Books) creates the man without bones.

Stage IV as a Turing Machine??

This is interesting, for when I was diagnosed Stage IV, the writers on Stage IV cancers stressed that “there is no Stage V” which could be the voice of Doom. The only mitigation being that I don’t seem at this time to have metastasis other than to lymph nodes which makes me a IV-D1, and there is a D2.

I imaged this as the squares of a Turing machine (a mathematical abstraction defining the limits of computation as what an easily described, easily understood mechanical automaton could execute given enough time and memory “squares”) receding not to a known finish but into darkness.

The darkness over the distant Turing Machine squares represented my subconscious absorption of the Bible teaching, to which I’ve always subscribed, “behold, I come as a thief”: we can never know in the theological sense, that is with certainty, if the “signs and wonders” we see (plagues, earthquakes, comets) are end times and each time they have been witnessed (from the Plague of Justinian in the 600s, to the Black Death in the 1340s, the Holocaust, the world did NOT come to an end, and the Messiah did not come back.

Most *parousia* talk, as far as I’m concerned, is piffle, and blasphemous piffle, meant to frighten people into joining your damn storefront profit seeking church. We should always been doing good works or at a bare minimum not whack each other no matter when the Apocalypse returns.

We do not know when we’ll die. Jorge Luis Borges’ magnificent short story “The Library of Babel” says that given that the Library contains all possible combinations of letters “the true story of our deaths” will surely occur…as will countless incorrect reports. So in my imagination the squares, the days, recede into unknowability. The great Mystics made God’s unknowability a Perfection of Gods. The money-seeking Preachers who can rot in Hell for all I care claim to know things they should not.


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