"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

05 October 2010

Renaissance Man

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

An old and simple question. What exactly do you want to define your existence? A fireman? An astronaut? A butcher? A cook? A baker? A candlestick maker?

For a very long time I equated growing up with growing old. Those broken, hollow-eyed withered things one might see sitting at a lonely park bench that might have had dreams and aspirations once upon a time, but either never had the strength to pursue them or had them beaten out. Even now, I catch myself saying I don't like grown-ups.

And, of course, I despise labels of any kind. I find asking or being asked what one does to be quite demeaning. As if the answer of being a plumber for money is also supposed to convey the sum and substance of that cat's existence, end of chat.

Fuck that noise...

When I was a whelp, I remember wanting to be an archaeologist. Perhaps it was the romance of bygone times and lost civilizations. Over the years and lifetimes, I have been hard pressed to find anyone who hasn't at least been vaguely howed and wowed by photographs of the Great Pyramid of Giza or the Roman Colosseum. Even dinosaur bones, although paleontology is a different discipline, it does involve digging around in the dirt, listening to mute riddles of the past, and playing with those puzzle pieces to paint a metaphoric picture.

The digging in the dirt bit was kind of a turn off. I have this hang up of liking to be clean. Said hang up was something I had to work around and through in order to make my attempts at gardening. That and keeping soap and water nearby for after the fact.

I was also very interested in zoology. That may have come from being a mercilessly bullied kid who found better companionship amongst species other than Homo sapiens. I wanted to move to Africa and study the animals of the Serengeti.

When I was fourteen, a man in a pet store told me I could be a zoologist if I wanted, but there was no money in it. My mother blamed that man for me loosing interest in that subject for many years. Ironically, this was around the time I was becoming more interested in creative endeavors like aborted attempts at drawing and the stringing together of words into stories. Not that those creative things are known for money making careers neither. Of course, I've never cared much for money. Money can't buy me love.

Being a stargazer, I kicked about the idea of astronomy. However, I suck worse than a black hole at math. There seems to be quite a bit of math involved in astronomy. I just like to look at the stars.

Every so often, in the years since I went to university, where I was studying philosophy and theology when I dropped out, I've considered going back. Those sciences, even and especially, archeology and zoology have been two things I've thought of studying. Still, as much as I love to learn things, I dislike institutions, be it of society, religion, or learning. I'm just not much of a joiner, well, other than this whole Terran biosphere thing I've been doing for thirty-eight years now, and my subscription to National Geographic, but, sometimes, even those things seems like too much effort.

I once told a friend of mine I wanted to be a renaissance man. You know the type; that cat who knows practically everything about everything. I have a friend like that these days, although I can't help but wonder if he'd blush to the bones at the analogy of knowing practically everything about everything.

Having published a book and done some other stories and poems, I guess it can be said I've done the creative artfag thing. Even though I never got a degree-the social construct of reality's way of showing you and swallow and regurgitate shit-I continued to study theology for quite a few years, so I guess one could say I've been some sort of dysfunctional and heretical mystic. There's a few cats I know who'd say I'm something of a chef, simply because I've been known to dabble about in a kitchen.

I catch myself wanting to add scientist to the list. Although, I think it would have to be like my studies of theology in succeeding years after university; self-taught, because experience has taught me that institutions and I do not play well together. Besides, I do not require a piece of paper to prove I know what I know. In my opinion, such things are for cats who are insecure and must prove something, or are cursed with terribly small genitalia, or perhaps both.

So it begins with me looking at some of the archeology books I have in my possession already. There's a book on physics and super string theory I have on reserve at the library, simple because I'm interested. I figure on going there searching for further archaeological tomes as well as ones on zoology.

"What will you do with it?"

Another old and simple question. One my grandmother liked to ask. She saw the acquisition of knowledge as a means to end. A way to improve one's station in life. As much as I love and respect my grandmother, even posthumously, I don't necessarily agree with that.

The cliche is knowledge is power, and I just like to know things. The whole of creation is my classroom. What will I do with the knowledge I acquire?

I'm not sure, but I'll let you know when I have it, and we'll all be surprised...

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