Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Virtue of Strong Ideas

I'm Drunk.  On South African wine.  In the middle of fucking nowhere with my Italian girlfriend gone wild.  The only thing that keeps me going is olive oil.  And the stash of French films I have guarded for those impossible nights; yearning for anything that isn't simple. 

The nature, the people, all pristine, almost untouched - pure - the only word that comes to mind.  I gather that for some, expecially those who are sick of the modern, civilized world - this is paradise.  A respite away from ambition and energy.  But I'd rather choose a place with both good and evil, rather than a place that is good by default; because it is forgotten.

What feels strange is the terrible incapacity for people here to feel tragedy.  Tragedy, that deep sense of it, comes only to those who were great once.  Having fallen, knowing full well what they were capable of.  But here, no.  There is no barometer of success and little anxiety as a result.  Some may envy this, especially those who despise what is done in the name of progress; environmental degradation; war; human exploitation.  But it is easy to forget what beauty also comes from these horrors.  I don't justify civilization and developed societies, though, more and more, it does seem that once you've bitten the Apple, there is no going back to Paradise.  

Especially if there is no internet.       

I smoke Dunhills and listen to jazz and cook spinach risottos and go to the racist white guy's cafe to drink espresso from his 6000 dollar coffee machine.  In the middle of nowhere, as if he exists only for my edification.  The great coffee and cosmopolitan food remind me how certain places can be replicated, anywhere, all the way here in Africa, even.  It makes me sick, but it tastes so good.  A homemade banana muffin, some espresso and wireless, and I've orgasmed.  How pathetic.  

This place is fucked.  By disease and christianity.  I can't figure out which is worse.  And here I am .  A New Yorker, of third world descent trying to save....I won't even try to live up to such pretension.  I just want freedom and to be left alone to write my short stories, and enough to live in a huge bungalow with a maid who can't iron.  

I read books on colonial history and see little difference in what I do and what the British did in the past.  They were probably much more succesful.  We half ass it, though I can't say I don't touch peoples lives; I do.  But so much more can be done; if only we controlled the place more.  Instead we need to appease donors who need to appease corrupt governments.  We are the middlemen, enriching our careers, and having our adventures, providing a service and doing effective and worthy work.  But nothing will change if governments are not held to account and if people here don't start producing something of value to the world.  Everything else is just fighting fire.  

But hey, at least we are trying, and personally, spiritually the experience moves me, deeper into parts of myself and my belief systems.    


This time I refuse to deal with the absurdity and impossibility of the situation with nihilistic cynicism.  There has to be another way to deal with the failures of the world, ourselves.  At the very least, it feels good to confront this, and myself, in the process.     

Love from the heart of darkness, dear reader.  I miss you. 

1 comment:

NKW said...

poignant. your written voice is so authentic