Forgotten Work

In the course of editing THE ZEN REVOLUTION, many scenes were cut. This is one of those pieces, from an earlier version of TZR titled THE PERFECTION OF A LEAF:

The smile draws you in, to a familiar repeating of slogans, clichés, things overheard on the bus, other people’s songs, simple transitions from boring notes played without conviction, warbling chromatic shifts of no discernible melodic distance or contrast, other than the close proximity of one fret to the next. If it doesn’t clamber and stifle one! Instantaneous birth, clap of amatol, clappity-clop of a wooden hand hammered to the board like automatic writing as the soul is trammeled flat, opaque, a small token of what it was moments before, given freely to the currents, an abandonment of life and thought, wild, void of meaning save the string of notes that breathes into life white hot. The soul is magnetized by this sort of convection, this channel through to the surface.

What about this “musician” who has nothing compelling him to the edge of the known? Are we the same? There is no thing in him that will catch fire. It is the vessel alone, without a soul – not fully human. There, I said it. He is not yet of the race: malformed, unfocused, doubtless risen with little thought to the enormous task of becoming so, and how quickly the line is drawn, the cage formed. The crab retreats into its shell, its nightmare world – when the onslaught, the source of breath, is so compelling in its razing through the forests just outside, out there. What is the point of protecting against it? To endure a tattered daydream life that begs to be snuffed out? From sheer exhaustion!

Yet how much meaning can there be? How much frenzy is optimal here? The years are few, perhaps too many, but the end is certain, and so what use these observations? It’s hard to judge any part of it, so transient and illucid. Who is the victor, the one who clamors to the top of attainment to see into the tangled cord of life, or my simple-minded friend with his guitar? If it comes to the same result, the struggle would seem a charade, except for the small matter of civilization and passing on the torch. Would life be so deeply intoxicating for either without the great luxury of our conveniences? How many images pass through their cortexes? And yet without the careful work of the mother, of raising the child in the bosom of modern society, the hard work of our forefathers, the human strain would turn feral in a single generation.
Beyond this “passing of the torch”, what is the value of human life? And why this constant striving for more? I’m pressed to divine it from every glimmer of an eye, every hot breath. It’s difficult to convey what I’ve seen, for the answer is such a long equation one has to detach completely from the world before it can be discerned, and it passes like lightning! If there’s such a thing as knowing with the whole body, that is how this thing must be perceived, as it rings and pulses and sings through every aspect of creation. How a mind is lost in it, and held lovingly, sweetly… there is the mystery, the press forward, the wellspring, the magnetism of the atom, the dark matter that takes us farther from the known, as far as life can contain, to the point that the mind is extinguished.

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