Diary of a Madman: Aphorisms, Maxims and Allegories

Privy to a Conversation...

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...“And what is ‘Real’?” he asked, methodically, cryptically.
“Well, how things are. – The sky, the moon, the stars, this tavern…death.”
“Is there a thing that you would call the opposite of death?”
“Of course, life.”
“And what is it, to be alive?”
“Drawing breath, a heart beat…I suppose.”
“Is it so simple as that?” he said, reclined.
“No…no, it isn’t. I’m at a loss as to what else to say, though.”
“Would you say that life, to be alive, must do some or another thing?”
“I would – but, I don’t know what.”
“But you would concede that life, to be alive, is in the doing?”
“I would have to.”
“And death is in the not doing, therefore?”
“Yes. I suppose that’s how it would have to be.”
“Then I’ll return to something I asked you earlier. You were given myriad of paths upon the death of Elizabeth. Did you, or did you not, choose a course of action after her death?”
“It’s just not that simple.”
“It is. Answer the question, if you would.”
“I would have to say that I just don’t know then.”
“And is not knowing a doing or a not doing?”
“It would be a not doing…” The room began a slow spin.
“Well then we are landed smack in the heart of a conundrum, old friend. I want to ask something else of you, and I want you to answer simply, by what must be deduced from what we have agreed upon thus far.” He paused, leaned onto the frame of the bar, against his forearms, nonchalantly chaffing his palms together, drew a long breath, held it, and injected his eyes – those eyes – into my Being, “Are you alive…?” His release of breath was not accompanied with a blink.

The room then seemed to…discontinue – deceased in time. Everything was beleaguered, and now fraught with drought of motion. I felt dizzy, disorientated. I looked down, and in so doing noticed for the first time a small handgun in an ankle holster peering from underneath the edging of the man’s pant leg, lurking just under the cuff.

“No. I am n- …not alive.” Grabbing me by the back of the neck, he pulled my face to within mere inches of his own, and sneered, “You’re god damn right.” – then, deliberately, gently, as if releasing a caught bird to freedom, let go his hold.

“I think that it is time for another drink, don’t you?” he rapped, again, on the bar. He looked at me, studying…then veered away. His gape went missing for an age, and then materialized once more.

“Incidentally, I have no idea who this Elizabeth or her family is. It was a charming description of her, however; thank you for that.”

I felt my jaw go completely slack.

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  1. Aemma's Avatar
    Question is though is Elizabeth a necessary catalyst in order for self-awarenessness to develop in this chap or not? ;)
  2. SuuT's Avatar
    And your answer is?
  3. Aemma's Avatar
    Apologies SuuT, I hadn't seen your comment until this evening. :)

    Hmm to answer my own question, I would have to say at first blush, it depends on your point of view. But my gut tells me a veritable no.

    The protagonist of your story appears to be having a conversation with his Shadow Aspect and is being challenged pretty much point blank as to whether or not he's been living his life or rather, as he's been more pointedly asked in a manner of speaking, has been 'doing life'. We find out that the protagonist hasn't been living despite the audience's assumed understanding that the protagonist had been 'doing life' up until Elizabeth's death, an assumed significant other in the protagonist's life. But this is the clincher in the end I believe, the audience's natural assumption that Elizabeth is actually significant; she is not, so indicates the Shadow Aspect by the very fact that he admits to not even knowing who Elizabeth is.

    That Elizabeth is present or not (or ever was) becomes immaterial in terms of looking at the protagonist's awareness of Self: [I]a true lucid moment of enlightenment[/I] occurred for the protagonist (how lucky he is!), quite separate from the external realities of his life--indeed a great "a-ha!" moment that many (if not most) of us will not ever experience.

    Inasmuch as one could even go so far as to characterise this Shadow Aspect as 'The Old Man'--Odin--himself, the environment is just right, isn't it? The sharing of a couple of drinks and the subsequent freeing of the mind and spirit allows the protagonist to have this very edifying conversation which leads to his special moment of insight.

    Therefore the catalyst is not the death of Elizabeth but the catalyst is that which has freed the protagonist's mind, the Spirit released through the imbibing of spirits as it were. ;)

    Sounds like it was a damn good bottle of mead! ;)

    And why the notion of the Shadow Aspect you might ask? The first sentence of your story is telling, I believe. The Shadow Aspect is the first character to speak and asks 'what is 'Real'?' One could possibly imagine a bit of the conversation leading up to the opening sentence: The protagonist has been having a conversation already with the Shadow Aspect and he finally tells him to shut up and tells it that it is not real, leading the Shadow Aspect to then answer...well, you know the rest of the story. :D It seems quite clear that the protagonist is having a conversation with a part of his Self, in this case, the slightly antagonistic, in-your-face Shadow Aspect.

    Well there's a bit of a Jungian take on things anyway. Whether or not I'm in any kind of ballpark as to anything of true substance remains to be seen of course.

    So...wha'd'ya think?
    Updated 02-23-2009 at 03:30 AM by Aemma
  4. SuuT's Avatar
    Damn. That's better than my blog post, Aemma.

  5. Aemma's Avatar
    [QUOTE=SuuT;bt96]Damn. That's better than my blog post, Aemma. :D

    Excellent. :)[/QUOTE]

    Ahh go on!............no I mean it, do go on! :p (I'm just being a brat dontcha know. ;))

    Thanks SuuT.
    Updated 02-23-2009 at 06:53 PM by Aemma (typo)