Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ups and Downs of a Dream

Ups and Downs of a Dream

Yes, I’m bitching about my miserable failure as a photographer. 
It’s my blog, after all: So there.

     In 2009, as part of my creative endeavors, I retook my lifelong fascination in photography. I had given it up, again –something that I do every so often given the rise and fall of circumstances that favor, or not any endeavor– a few years before given the rising cost of 35mm and the lack of professionals labs at my disposal. And, not being physically able to actually work in a lab myself –barring any interest in having a very close association with 911 operators– and the lack of enthusiasm for my work, I put away my old Canon, and devoted my time to other projects. But in 2009 I was on a deadline imposed by friends to publish my next book, long overdue in all sense of the word, and given my disappointment with my first book I decided that I had to take complete matters in designing the covers. So I needed a photo, or two, to illustrate the covers and was up in arms as to what to do. Not 35mm, not that I didn't like it, but no complete control over the final product, I thought, so digital. I wasn't impressed with digital before, even though I had had the opportunity to do some work in the medium, and I had some experience with the editing software, so it really wasn't a big leap. And so, after considering my options, I bought my first dslr camera. I still remember what some of my friends told me as I told them I was once again coming out of my self-imposed retirement: “You will have hundreds of girls after you wanting their pictures taken once they know you are a photographer.” Really... Of course I doubted it, but you never know. So I started announcing and advertising, on the low, that I was a photographer. I won’t go into details but in 2010 I had two shootings for the cover and by summer I not only had composed the covers for my book, but actually had very nice photos to boot. Nice enough to actually start posting them in some of the primary art photography sites on the web.

     So I started working digitally, slowly getting the hand of it, and eventually got myself updated in all the necessary accouterments of a digital studio: camera, lenses, editing software, etc. Slowly, but surely I started to work, one shooting here, another there. New ideas were being jotted down and some people were being lined up for new shootings. Nice work being produced, but mostly I was getting my bearings in the digital workflow, translating my knowledge of 35mm film to the digital realm. And some nice things eventually developed. A second book got its covers. My digital portfolio grew some. And two photo books were created as result of my endeavors. The models loved the images –and yes, I shamelessly thanked them for their support tin my work–, people liked the photos created, friends were enthusiastically overjoyed at my return to the medium, and everyone had their favorite photo or two –and of course their criticism of one or two–, but mostly well received overall. And people were actually starting to state their interest in forming part of my work.

     Then, as always, comes the moment it all goes down the proverbial drain. Not that I was doing great –this was mostly a personal endeavor for artistic pleasures, and the personal and sometimes private satisfaction of both model and artist–; and fortunately I hadn't taken it up again as a career choice –never did care for the business/commercial side of the art– otherwise I would probably be a starving artiste. So there really wasn't that long of a drain to go down. As things started to play out, people started to talk and judge without knowing. In the end the interests remained but the availability of live collaboration waned into nonexistence. Oh, everyone wants to see and know, and some say that they are interested, but the nervous cough would rise as soon as the idea of collaborating comes up. And the courteous bowing out of any pending project would soon follow suit. The rumors, the “what ifs”, the “oh, mys”, among other things. Call it peer pressure, or fear of the other –if not of themselves–, I guess it always comes to that: what people think one does, what they imagine it is all about.

     So for the last year (2012) I have gone from enthusiastically creative to wallowing about waiting for anything to fall on my lap, figuratively of course…I know, I know: nothing will happen if I don't look for it. But actually I have. I have asked, and offered, and discussed, and presented, and…well, I guess there is not much more to say but… STRIKE 3! YOU’RE OUT! Or, I’m out, actually. No luck, a few maybes, and an “I’ll let you know” here and there, but mostly it has been “Interesting, but it’s not for me.” Not that I mind, if it’s not for someone, it’s not for someone. But when it's actually people who have or do model…well, that’s another story…

     And, no. I do not blame those who have truly encouraged me and given me their total support in the realization of my work. They were there when I needed them, and have supported me and still do to this day.

     Eventually, it is mostly I who has failed to make a statement with my work. In a world driven by commodity worth, I have not sold myself well. I have not sold anything at all. And I guess I never will. I never wanted to. I guess it is that little element of financial, fame and celebrity expectancy, or lack thereof that turns everyone off. Not that I wouldn't mind a showing, or selling a book. But it’s not the primary reason for my work. And there is the internet; it does function as a way to expose my work to the world. And I wouldn't mind having some feedback, some real interest and sense of my work, but unfortunately the internet is filled with so many jerks that one does wonder if it’s really worth it.

     Have I given up? No, not really…but I have scaled back enormously in the time and efforts that I used to spend, both economically as emotionally, in the design and confection of new projects. I take a photo here and a photo there, nothing that really inspires me, though other people seem to like it, mostly landscapes or street photography.

     What is funny, at least to me, though not in a “HA HA” way, is that everybody keeps asking: “Where is your new stuff?” “Any new photos?” “How is it going?” “When are we going to see your new project?”…What can I say? Sorry, nothing new to show, slim pickings, I guess. Everybody has been too busy, and it has been difficult to get together to work. In the design stage, soon as I get some things finalized I’ll have something to show. Sure, everybody wants a peek, we’re good at peeking through keyholes and from behind venetian blinds; you know who you are… but to tell the truth, and let’s be honest now: if no one wants to play, there can’t be a game…

Wednesday, December 26, 2012



        I see time passing

Tuesday, December 18, 2012



     Life is a series of moments, each composed of a bunch of particles swirling endlessly in search of meaning…perchance, once in a blue moon, one is its realization, playfully becoming in the surroundings of the moment. … Life writes itself, whether we wish it or not. Sometimes we are allowed to dip our quills in the ink and place our distinctive marks upon the crumpled planes of time: sometimes we are softly consumed by the silent shapes that sensuously surround our play space with the urgency of being. … Lustily, I dip my quill like blistered fingers in the chaos that feeds life, drinking blindly of its essence to discover the true thirst that drowns my voice in the twisted entrails of a forgotten dream.

Thursday, December 13, 2012



la hora se ahoga
en el brioso silencio del corazón…

Sunday, November 25, 2012

thieves of time

Thieves of time.

(or On taking a photo.)

The idea of taking a photo is the idea of freezing time, of making a moment eternal, of dissecting visually what is hidden in the present, in the now. Contrary to popular belief, one only knows the present through a reflective rumination of the just-past, by the instant remembrance of the recently perceived. How much does one really see when one looks at the world? How much does one perceive of the moment seen? Does one really see the world, or does one only re/construct it to one’s individual or collective content as it rushes past, placing unawares upon one’s field of vision, details lost in the wavering meanderings of one´s thoughtless sight —or, rather, of one’s sightless thought?
Time betrays knowing. It impedes and steals the capacity of apprehending and comprehending what transpires before one. One is reduced to perceive life via the constraints of one’s embodied senses and the limits of one’s field of perception, which —dependent on the acuity and quality of one’s perceptual organs, and one’s ability to interpret the insurmountable quantity of sensory data impressed upon one— distracts one from really comprehending what lies beyond the shadows of the fullness of the moment.
The camera, then, functions primarily as an extension of one’s visual organ: it allows for the taker to capture the moment with great —or, in some cases, estranged— accuracy and detail. Like thieves, the camera becomes an essential tool for those who wish to steal time of its fleetingness: of stealing time in its place/space of being. It augments the visual sense of perception allowing one to “see” more than we usually see. It grants one the ability to see what one may sense but never actually see.
As photographer the instant one depresses the release button to fire the camera one makes a conscious decision to stop time in its tracks. One deliberately attempts to purloin a moment from its innocence in expectations that it will reveal some hidden truth.
You see, one “takes” a photo. One “takes” time from its place of being. One captures the moment from its habitat, its space. And in the process one re/creates the act of villainy with impunity for the simple joy of being able to. Whether it be a mere superficial platitude or an act of a deeper sense of meaning, the act of pressing the release button is a selfish act, an act of thievery in the name of truth, in the hope that by stealing space’s time one will reveal a deeper and/or hidden truth only present in the ephemeral moment of the now.

Saturday, November 24, 2012



el abismo me
arropa con la incer-
tidumbre del ser


In the night the rains
wash away my sullen tears.
Softly they give way.


El frio de las
sabanas anuncian
tu ausencia


by the emptiness
that lies abreast


eres mentira
que sigilosamente
turba mi razón


love breaks
and one falls upon
slumber’s wake

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

una mano sedienta

una mano sedienta

una mano sedienta
se desliza
por el erguido lomo
de mi razón

Monday, November 19, 2012



la sombra se inmola
sobre el vía crucis de tu cuerpo.

Sunday, November 18, 2012



con cuerpo erguido
sobre ondulada planicie
de jadeante deseo

con manos ásperas
que bruscamente trazan
los delicados orígenes del ser

con lengua aguda
que sedosamente se desliza
entre las cálidas trampas del cuerpo

con diáfanos ojos
que imprudentemente satisfacen
las sedientas permutaciones
de escarlatina voz: miénteme

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sobre el valor del arte

Sobre el valor del arte

Pregunta que me surge recientemente:

¿Qué es ser autor? Si uno no vende su libro, ¿es uno autor? o ¿es lo económico lo que valida a uno como autor?

Interesantemente, la pregunta surge de mi reciente reflexión sobre la fotografía con algunas personas, y la aparente sorpresa de todos de que realmente tome fotos buenas/artísticas, pero que no me interese cobrar por el trabajo fotográfico o vender las fotos...En primer lugar, me es sorprendente que se sorprendan de que tome fotos buenas y de carácter artístico. ¿Qué rayos pensaban que tomaba? ¿Instagram?

Pero la verdadera sorpresa para todos es que no cobro. Aparentemente, según puedo inferir, si no cobro o no vendo las fotos no soy aceptable como fotógrafo. Hace pensar: ¿qué hace a uno un fotógrafo? ¿Vender las fotos? ¿Cobrar por una sesión?

Y lo mismo me pregunto sobre el arte en general.

¿Qué define al artista? ¿Es uno artista porque vende su obra? ¿Es su obra arte porque es arte? o ¿es arte por que se vende? ¿Porque se compra? ¿Tendría el arte valor si no estuviera cotizado económicamente? Y, si es lo económico lo que le da importancia, entonces ¿por qué pretender valorar algo que su único valor es adquisitivo? ¿Es el arte únicamente valorable por la capacidad de engendrar dinero? ¿Por la irracional competencia económica que crea la obra en una subasta?

¿Es el valor económico lo único que le da valor a las cosas?

Sólo me preguntaba…

Saturday, October 13, 2012

diatriba fotografica

diatriba fotográfica

Cada otro día alguien me pregunta qué busco en mis fotos,  me sugieren que explique qué es lo que intento re/presentar, cuál es la razón de la obra…pero la realidad es que piden lo imposible. No se puede realmente expresar en palabras aquello que es en su momento, acto, relación entre dos: modelo y cámara/fotógrafo. Como el baile, el amor, la relación entre dos es única y sólo real en su momento. Yo no busco nada, espero la revelación de todo, lo que se da es el resultado de ese encuentro entre dos personas que, en un momento y en un espacio, deciden registrar para la perpetuidad el intento de encontrarse entre los dos. Ese momento es-o no-capturado por la cámara. Las imágenes son trazos de ese encuentro, de ese revelar de seres en un momento, en tiempo o espacio. Pero es recuerdo, igual de efímero que la memoria, ya que inscribe su propia realidad al ser revelada, procesada, observada, disfrutada, comentada, olvidada. Qué real fue el momento, qué real es su inscripción gráfica. ¿Soy esa persona ahí, plasmada en matices, enmarcada por el plano visual? ¿O soy la persona que observa ese objeto refractivo, imágenes de un momento estático que en su brillo tientan la memoria como burdo recuerdo del ser? La verdad es que uno es, y no es. La imagen es un mero recuerdo de un instante, fuera de contexto, fuera de razón. Ese es el dilema, el mundo trata de darle razón al sin sentido, al momento vivido, a la ocasión. No es mi interés darle razón o sentido, sino vivirlo. Y las fotos terminan siendo registros del atrevimiento de ser, libre de toda atadura, contextura, opinión: soy.
Así que, unas ideas inconexas  para reflexionar:

Uno enfrenta el temor a sí mismo…a qué dirán, a qué diré de mi mismo…

Nos gusta mirar, pero no nos gusta que nos miren…por lo menos no con los ojos con los cuales nosotros miramos a los demás, a uno mismo… esa es la tentación de ser: el temor a ser.

Desnudos revelamos nuestras debilidades, nuestros temores, nuestro ser queda descubierto…pero el cuerpo sólo es otra capa, una que deseamos no tener, que ocultamos por vergüenza a ser, a no ser lo que creemos que somos, a no ser lo que quisiéramos que creyeran de nosotros…

El cuerpo es…nosotros sus prisioneros lo negamos, o lo embelesamos con el ofensivo desdén de nuestras ofensas ante el ser…

La tentación del cuerpo es la tentación del olvido: el olvido de ser.

Celebramos el ser, negando ser.

¿Qué somos cuando no nos podemos ocultar tras las pobres telas con que nos embalamos día tras día?

A veces hace falta gritar, no con la voz, sino con el cuerpo…

La mirada delata la intención. La intención se arropa en pretextos. El cuerpo es oclusión ambiental del ser.

Ser es un atrevimiento de tu parte…revélate.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Of Meanings and Meaning

"Of Meanings and Meaning:"
A Slightly Bushwhacked Reality and a Non-Sense of Being
in Monty Python´s The Meaning of Life
and Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983) opens with a somewhat sobering discourse on Being by a school of fish. The dialogue brazenly thrusts the audience into the irony of complacency, of believing we are just as happy as a school of fish. Yet in the accustomed rigor (mortis) of their salutations the fish eventually note that something is rather amiss: 

First Fish: Morning.
Second Fish: Morning.
Third Fish: Morning.
Fourth Fish: Morning.
Third Fish: Morning.
First Fish: Morning.
Second Fish: Morning.
Fourth Fish: What's new?
First Fish: Not much.
Fifth and Sixth Fish: Morning.
The Others: Morning, morning, morning.
First Fish: Frank was just asking what's new.
Fifth Fish: Was he?
First Fish: Yeah. Uh huh...
Third Fish: Hey, look. Howard's being eaten.
Second Fish: Is he?

[They move forward to watch a waiter serving a large grilled fish to a large man.]

Second Fish: Makes you think doesn't it?
Fourth Fish: I mean... what's it all about?
Fifth Fish: Beats me.

 Does it? Does it really make one think? And about what? What is it? Truth is it actually beats all of us who dare to ponder what’s it all about. The fish’s exchange pointedly scores the meaning of The Meaning of Life, and its multiple meanings (if any is to be had). But what is this it that we wish to figure out? In essence: Is it Life? Or is it Death? This is not only the motive of the movie but of man’s existence per se, as the opening song to Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life attests to:

Why are we here, what is life all about?
Is God really real, or is there some doubt?
Well tonight we're going to sort it all out,
For tonight it's the Meaning of Life.

What's the point of all these hoax?
Is it the chicken and egg time, are we all just yolks?
Or perhaps, we're just one of God's little jokes,
Well ca c'est the Meaning of Life.

Is life just a game where we make up the rules
While we're searching for something to say
Or are we just simple spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DNA?

What is life? What is our fate?
Is there Heaven and Hell? Do we reincarnate?
Is mankind evolving or is it too late?
Well tonight here's the Meaning of Life.

For millions this life is a sad vale of tears
Sitting round with really nothing to say
While scientists say we're just simply spiralling coils
Of self-replicating DNA.

So just why, why are we here?
And just what, what, what, what do we fear?
Well ce soir, for a change, it will all be made clear,
For this is the Meaning of Life -c'est le sens de la vie-
This is the Meaning of Life.

So many questions. Not many answers, at least no real answer, to any of them. Life and Death. Humanity, since before Darwin’s time, and definitively after, hasn’t had it so tough. It is not so much that there is no “credible” goal to be attained but that the beginning of it all is somewhat iffy, to say the least. Whence we came, where we go. These questions underlie the essence of the ever “Why?” And why not? From Creationists to Evolutionists, Science and Faith have battled, sometimes hand in hand, to acquire the knowledge of our beginnings. Philosophers and Cosmologists have pondered our beginnings. Psalmists and Mythologists have pondered our end. Children ask where babies come from and where the dearly departed go to. Adults hide their lack of knowledge with winsome wishes of eternal youth and dire threats of eternal punishment. “So just why, why are we here? And just what, what, what, what do we fear?”

Truth is we just don’t know, and sometimes we just don’t care: but that is another matter. Or maybe not. Maybe it is the matter at hand, the fact that in the end, when push comes to shove, and one ends up eventually shoved into the coffin, the truth is that we don’t really care. And why should we? Nobody else seems to.

We care because we wish to be happy, to traverse this world and reap its bounties, and to spread our (mis)fortunes to others. We sail the seas of discord to pounce upon the hapless Black Knights who ruthlessly dare to impede our destiny. Even so we still dare to ask: 

Brian: Have I got a big nose, mum?
Mother: Oh, stop thinking about sex!
Brian: I wasn't!
Mother: You're always on about it. Morning, noon and night "Will the girls like this, will the girls like that? Is it too big, is it too small?"
Leper I: A fish, sir?
Monty Python’s Life of Brian

 So I am back to the fishes. But I’ll deal with that later. Brian is surrounded by others who were/are marked at one point or other in life by their misfortunes and who deem him their savior. But Brian is not who he seems to be, doubly. First, he is not what others have led themselves to believe he is, from the bumbling Wise Men who happen upon the wrong stable on his birth to the men and women who follow him up to the time he is crucified as the messiah. But Brian knows he is not that person. Secondly, he has also been misled about who he really is. His Mother has hidden the truth about his nose. He knows not his nose. His real fear is not to be who he thinks he is, to be betrayed by what his nose knows:

Mother: know when you were asking me about your...
Brian: My nose?
Mother: Yes, well...there's a reason it's like it is, Brian.
Brian: What is it?
Mother: Oh, well, I suppose I should have told you a long time ago, but...
Brian: What?
Mother: Well, Brian, your father isn't Mr. Cohen.
Brian: I never thought he was!
Mother: Now none of your cheek! He was a Roman, Brian. He was a centurion in the Roman army.
Brian: You were raped?!
Mother: first, yes.
Brian: Who was it?
Mother: Huh...Naughtius Maximus his name was. Hmm...promised me the known world, he did. I was to be taken to Rome, house by the Forums, slaves, asses' milk, as much gold as I could eat. Then he, having his way with me he had; voom! Like a rat out of an aqueduct.
Brian: He's a bastard!
Mother: Yes, and next time you go on about the "bloody Romans", don't forget you're one of them.
Brian: I'm not a Roman mum, and I never will be. I'm a kike, a jid, a heebe, a hooknose! I'm kosher, mum! I'm a red-sea pedestrian and proud of it!
Brian closing door [Bladonk]
Mother:, sex, sex, that's all they think about, eh? Hm. Well, how are you then, officer?
—Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Well maybe not about that exactly. Yet that is what humanity worries about: their appearances and how they are judged by others (especially of the other sex), and eventually by oneself. Brian is and is not what he purports to be. He is kosher yet not. And that is the essence of his misfortune. He carries Being and Non-being—Life and Death—in his dual nature. And it being unknown to him, and his rejection of it, is in the end his misfortune. It is the misfortune of all to lose one’s identity.

Brian: Did you say ex-leper?
Ex-leper: That's right, sir. Sixteen years behind a bell and fradock, sir.
Brian: Oh...what happened?
Ex-leper: I was cured, sir.
Brian: Cured?
Ex-leper: Yes, a bloody miracle, sir. God bless you!
Brian: Oh, who cured you?
Ex-leper: Jesus did, sir. I was hopping along, minding my own business, all of a sudden up he comes, cures me. One minute I'm a leper with a trade, next minute I'm alive and newsgone. Not so much as a bye or league! "You're cured, mate". Bloody do-gooder.
Brian: There's no pleasing some people.
Ex-leper: That's just what Jesus said, sir!
Monty Python’s Life of Brian

 No good deed goes unpunished. The story of Brian and the leper brings to mind that we are here NOT to help others, or better yet, not to help those who do not ask to be helped, or deserve to be helped. But how do we decide who deserves our aide? We don’t. We just thrust it upon the hapless dolt one happens to run into. Who favors who? Actually, no one. One meddles and muddles the waters of life. And in the end we multiply our bounty upon others. So how should the one feel about one’s misfortunes? Are our misfortunes really misfortunes? Is life really so rotten? Or is it just me? Crucified Brian is cajoled into turning his frowns into smiles by his fellow Crucifees:

If life seems jolly rotten, there's something you've forgotten,
and that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing,
when you're feeling in the dumps, don't be silly chumps,
just perch your lips and whistle, that's the key.
And always look on the bright side of life,
—Monty Python’s Life of Brian

It’s us. We put the frump in our rump and turn our smiles into frowns. By Jove, lift your spirits, and don’t be silly, “and always look on the bright side of life” even if you’re impalled on a cross. So why should I care? Really!? What is it all about? And more important, what is there in it for me? For as Brian is reminded on the Cross by Crucified Man III:

For life is quite absurd, and death's the final word,
you must always face the curtain with a bow,
forget about your sin, give the audience a grin,
enjoy, it's your last chance anyhow.
So, always look on the bright side of death.
—Monty Python’s Life of Brian

So, why bother? What is it all about? What do we get out of all this suffering and caring? Pascal’s wager comes to mind, but with a grim twist (of fate and faith [or lack thereof]) 

I mean, what have you got to lose? You know, you come from
nothing, you're going back to nothing,
what have you lost? Nothing!
Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Nothing. Just a song and a dance and if we are lucky we can trade our harps and wings for the Pythonesque heaven where every day is Christmas. But is this it? Are we to be consumed by Being in a never ending Las Vegas review? Do we really want it to be Christmas every day, for ever and ever and ever, and…. Well you get the idea. Is this really all we have to look forward to? Then again, maybe not. The Pythons, as well as life itself, don’t give up in their quest to stick it to you. And so we have a revisionist theory of it. Of what it is really all about:

Lady Presenter[Michael Palin, in drag]: [briskly] Well, that's the End of the Film, now here's the Meaning of Life.

[An envelope is handed to her. She opens it in a business-like way.]

Thank you Brigitte. [She reads.]... Well, it's nothing special. Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. And finally, here are some completely gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors and to hopefully spark some sort of controversy which it seems is the only way these days to get the jaded video-sated public off their fucking arses and back in the sodding cinema. Family entertainment bollocks! What they want is filth, people doing things to each other with chainsaws during Tupperware parties, babysitters being stabbed with knitting needles by gay presidential candidates, vigilante groups strangling chickens, armed bands of theatre critics exterminating mutant goats - where's the fun in pictures? Oh well, there we are - here's the theme music. Goodnight. 
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

 It is about as complicated as it is simply put above. It is about what it should be and what it is. And it doesn´t bode well. The envelope contains simple rules of living, a do good and fare well simplicity that in all sense should be easy-peasy. But then the presenter pulls the rug on the goody-two-shoe ideals and spills the beans. We don’t want to really know what it is all about. And even if we did we don’t want to hear it. We want sex, violence, drugs and to be blown out of our minds with gratuitous images blasted into our minds. We want psychedelic images that rock our senses out of the doldrums of life. Life is a bore, and death is a non-entity (at least for the living). Just blow our socks off with magnificent explosions and lots of gore. With promises of better and bigger spectacles that confound all imagination in 3-D, Smellovision, shake-your-bootie mega complexes of total debauchery. Hell! Let the innards fly! Ahem. Yes, it is about entertaining the naughty in us via a somewhat acepticized media. For this media only appears to be, but is not, in essence, it. It is a protective film, a rubber of a sort, through which we see (and feel) what titillates our senses without becoming a part of it. We feed our base needs without becoming impregnated by them. Our mores swell, not our wombs, we are free to promiscuously explore without the repercussions of the physical act. For there is no act: only illusion.

Well, maybe it is not all that it was cracked-up to be, hey guv? Kind of a let down, you know? But what did you expect? It is Python, and after all it is only a movie. It is the course of our Being, and somewhat of our Un-Being, that we are essentially the arses that we pretend to be. Life is jaded. So is Death. And so are the rest of the minutiae that make up our Being. How prophetic these words were/are to our sorry existence. We care not. We only want instant gratification, and then—Poof!—it’s gone. We can’t seem to get enough. In fact, we can’t seem to get any(thing). Nudge. Nudge. Wink. Wink. Know what I mean? That Life is devoid of Being. That Being is nonsensical, and we are just going along for the ride. But there is no ride. We do not go along any-thing. There is no “Why” because there is no it. This is our fear. 

Cheer up, you old bugger! Come on! Give us a grin! There you are!
See? The end of the film. Incidentally, this record is available in the forehands.
—Monty Python’s Life of Brian

And what about poor Howard? You didn’t think I would forget what motivated this rambling excuse of a proposal now, did you? Now. Now. Don’t you fret. That’s right. It is a piece of shit, and then we die—or in Howard’s case one becomes another’s grilled entry. And there is nothing one can do about it. Go figure, ol’ chap. We’ve been screwed by the all mighty joke of existence. But don’t you fret. Just clear your throat a bit—beware of the bones—and join Brian and me (and the rest of humanity) in song, for Howard hey? 

Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it,
life's a laugh, and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show, people laughing as you go,
just remember that the last laugh is on you!
And always look on the bright side of life
—Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Walter J. Mucher Serra
Spring 2006

On Kairós, Love and a Cup of Tea

On Kairós, Love and a Cup of Tea*

“Yes, that's it,” said the Hatter with a sigh:
 “it's always tea-time, and we've no time to
 wash the things between whiles.” 
—Lewis Carroll 
Alice's Adventure in Wonderland

Asked about Time, I question Space. Why is it we freely question notions of Time yet we take Space for granted? It forms the basis for an untethered reality that in all our meandering we allow for one true Cartesian premise, that all that is known is known by Space. A locality. A place which is “capable” of holding all contents differed and deferred only by a Husserlian dance of perceptual non-entity: Time. Not since the words of Heraclitus, trounced Derrideanly, do we question, as Nietzsche did, the locale as much as what the locale held. This abysmal nonsense of decentered marginalia that prance lightly upon phallic linguistic thrones is but one step towards true questioning, that is: what is the true relation between what we childishly call Space and so bravely tout as Time?

Consider how freely writers of all fields use the word “Time” in their titles as if ensnaring lustingly some elusive figure, a god or goddess (if not both, or neither), remnant to an ideological nether world of convoluted spatiotemporal spasms. Quaintly we prance, tip toeing lightly over violated tulips to the tune of semiologically enhanced tomfoolery, spewing Southeast and Northwest notions from where none have ever lived, seen, nor smelled the illustrious coffee gingerly brewed from Juan Valdés proffered choice crops. For it is an adaptation of wanting: wanting to be, wanting to see, wanting to smell, to touch, to feel, even wanting to sleep with that which is not, nor ever should be, for its Space nor its Time is one's. It is what ethnicity, culture, gender, race, nationality, speech ... eventually; “Being” is all about who we are is what we make of when and where. Somalia, Hong Kong, Chile, Uruguay, Timbuktu, and even Puerto Rico, yes, even Puerto Rico is about when as much as about where. For it is this marriage of Time and Space which allows a what to question who. How? By becoming the perfect Space for the perfect Time to do so. Click. And here we are. Two pieces of a puzzle, a quantum puzzle of Einsteinian dimensions which naïvely comes together to allow questioning. Who questions? The Ego. What does it question? Who it is. Redundant, no? But this redundancy is, un/fortunately, life itself. It is the ever constant questioning of who by what can question in an everlasting act of re-affirmation.

Now, you might ask what this has to do with kairós. Ah! There lies the rub. It is exactly this which allows the questioner and the questioned to become, temporarily, One. For the locale of questioning and the act of questioning must come together creating questioning itself. Mumble jumble, you may say. True, but since it has already been established that knowledge is all mumble jumble anyway, I'll mumble a bit more.

Let me put this aside for a while and ask, rhetorically: Where does Love fit in? Ah! Young Grasshopper. Love is the keystone to this artifice. For, as Empedocles noted long ago, it is Love which makes the world go around. Without love, nothing would come to be. And without its negation, nothing would be done away with. Love, my son, is Love, and it titillates as it nurtures our very existence. And I'm not talking about that sappy, mushy Love which we feel towards others, for that is unwholesome Love. Nor do I mean that high-o'-mighty, transcendental Love of that which we cannot partake, for that is a fool's Love. What I'm talking about is about a Love of the self, by the self, and for the self: an egotistical Love which, in the end, is the only true Love unto Being.

You see, we spend our lives looking for Love, and trying to give Love, in puppies, children, men, women, the latest issue of “Catwomen from Space”, whatever. But this love is only a mirror of the Love we wish upon ourselves. It is a lustful, wanton Love; One that suffocates itself in its blinded, meaningless being. But one must be careful not to fall into a narcissistic Love, a Love of one's outer being, for that is also a shadow of its real potential. No. True Love of the Self forgets the “it” as it wanders aimlessly in the all.

Now. Don't misunderstand me. I am not talking of a transcendental Love, either. Transcendental Love is static, dead. A weird remembrance of a forgotten utterance. It has no true feelings in its thanatic realm. It is too idealistic, a heaven for those weak of spirit. An anchor for deviant causes. It is no more than a bunch of gobbledy gook nonsense used by empty selves who do not truly search for meaning, but insist on it. My Love is True, centered in its marginality. For even my Self, in its infinite marginality, must take positions in favor and/or against. And it is in those decisions that a locale and a moment must spring up to re/center a/the question. For tea, of course. For example: What tea do I want? Where can I get it? Is it real tea: the one that comes as whole leaves, and, PLEASE, not that herbal stuff people want to pass off as tea? Or that tortured simulacra sold in bleached bags at the supermarket? Once I get the tea, do I want milk or sugar in my tea? Do I want both milk and sugar? Do I want neither? Where's the lemon? The honey? But that is not enough. True tea, to be truly enjoyed, must be concocted properly. A proper cup must be prewarmed as a proper kettle must properly boil water for the proper duration of steeping to occur (none of that blasphemous cold tea for me, no sir…ree). Not to mention whether the water is properly oxygenated for tea. Add the proper accompaniments of milk and sugar —though I am a lemon and honey man myself. There is something about the acidity of lemon mingling with the earthy sweetness of golden honey to bring life to a robust cup of black Chinese tea that.... But I digress. Yet, is this not what tea is all about? A ritual in which to digress in Time and Space allowing for non-spatiotemporal occurrences to occur? Is not tea-time a privileged moment in which so called normal Time and normal Space may be suspended in honor of a new experiential venture amidst the swiftly and savory curling tendrils of steam rising from the acidly-sweet laced hot cup of tea? All this said, one must ask: Do I want tea at all?

Ladies. Gentlemen. At the moment you ask you place it. But moments and places must come together properly, or they just won't come at all. For the above questions make sense to me temporally, but not spatially. Why? Because it may be tea-time, but who the hell drinks tea in Puerto Rico? At that locale, my moment for tea is nullified, and my being, as a teetotaler, suffers from spatiotemporal stillbirth.

Where does Love come in? Well, my “Love” for tea stems from my “egotistical love” for my-self, a Self which prefers tea to coffee. It brings forth a desire to construct a correct Space and a correct Time for tea so my Self may be ratified with a cup of properly brewed tea. So one looks for tea: in the supermarket, in specialty stores, in catalogs, and even in one's backyard. And, then, one scopes the scene, hoping for the proverbial hot water, carrying ceremoniously one's sacred tea sachet. And, if that becomes a burden, then one brews it and stows it away in a thermos, ready-to-drink.

True Love wanders below all that fluff. It lofts casually upon limbering egos that search unsearchingly between beings. True Love is felt and savored as a freshly brewed cup of tea, yet avoids becoming Being by being becoming, in essence, tea-time. This essence fluctuates in Time and Space, ordering it as it is ordered. Furthermore, this True Love makes you keep it hidden, away from other tea thirsting grubbers who would fall short of treason to snatch your last tea sachet away from you just for their own gratification. So you have to hoard it, and keep it a secret, lying constantly to your colleagues, friends, family, pet orangutan, about your sources, trying to keep your precious shipments safe from pfilchering leeches who'll sell their soul, or at least their grandmothers, for the taste of a well brewed cup of lusciously scented black china tea.

Egotistical spatiotemporal manipulations, then, require a knowledge, whether innate or experiential, which allows for the enacting of Being, one fueled by an intentional self-serving act of Love. The same can be said of our being here discoursing disparaging thoughts about Time, and I add Space. It forms from a junction of the proper Space for our encounter and the proper Time for its enacting with a touch of self-Love for the being of this collective. A collective which, as many know, did not come to be a while back. Kairotically, we must understand that that Time and that Space had not justly come together to the fruition of the then pretended collective maybe due to a lack of knowledgeable manipulations through true Love. As I said above, negation of Love allows for beings to come undone. It is this same manipulation of Time and Space through Love which has allowed me to create a Tea-Haven, a good, just, perfect, correct, proper Space where at the specified proper Time I may enjoy the luxuries of sipping a sensuously brewed cup of tea.

What fiends we are. Sad...but true. Of course, if you're wondering, no, ah, no, I don't have any, ah, tea with me. Sorry. ... Does anyone know where I can find some scones?
walter j mucher serra

* This paper was originally intended for a conference on kairós in honor of Dr. Manfred Kerkhoff of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, which, unfortunately, due to the lack of a proper Time and a proper Space, never came to be.