Which club(s) of suffering should you join? Just the regular, common or garden variety, I guess, or to put it another way: the glory that is to be human is to suffer. At times . . . unless you are sitting on a narrow boat pleasantly stoned or drunk, no longer care worn, a soft joy emanating from the dark waters in which everything is lost, promising dreamless eternal sleep, no heaven or hell to disturb the debris half buried in the wasted pollutants of a mere century – the merest nanosecond in the ungraspable vastness of the timeless universe. Can we turn night into day? No problem. Can I find words and shape them into meanings that are to the point of this moment? No, generally not, but even in the murkiest waters one might capture a rare glint and paste it on to an imaginary page.
These fragments of words that are already beginning to build up a strata, to be buried and twisted by heat and upheaval, bring to mind Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams which I was lucky enough to notice and go and see last weekend – though not in 3D which is not available at our local cinema. The mixture of these drawings of animals from 30,000 plus years ago and Herzog’s idiosyncratic commentary, propelled a movement into a near timeless space in which the 30,000 years evaporated, a movement in which they are us and we are them through the work of what we call art. Art that takes us into the caves of being – dance in particular comes to mind – and another German film director, Wim Wenders, has a film out Pina, a tribute to the work of the late Pina Bausch, a choreographer, who from what I’ve seen of her work was able to take us ‘back’ into the cave of our being; a me/not-me constellation. Genetic? Archetypal? Difficult to find words of sufficient accuracy and seemingly beyond the confines of rational attempts to think of reality; rather than launching into the more direct efforts of art.
Then I take a sideways step, sideways, backwards, forwards – are there such directions? (And there is Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home – was the buried cave also Dylan’s territory?) – to the Mass which at best I experience as a timeless place and in a strange way without words, or at least words that have become sound, polished and sculpted over the centuries by repetition and no shortage of conflict. Whereas, often, in my day to day life, I feel the persecution of managing to do less and less in a time that floods down the plug hole with ever increasing speed.
It is as though we know it was wrong to ever want to travel faster than walking but the addiction to speed was always going to be irresistible.