no doubt that s. had an aspiring soul. but he was also a mudwallower, lazy and selfish. so, anything he ever did requiring serious efforts raised his opinion of himself and gave him hope. g. had said that only super-efforts count and that idea became, if you will, his good side, and the impetus for change.
without knowing very much, with the little discipline he had acquired as an artist and the practice of daily sessions of quiet contemplation every morning, little by little, s. gained some traction. the germ of self-consciousness, though as fragile as a dry twig, became the potential 'center of gravity' he yearned for. to be constantly changing roles and being absorbed by life and ruled by his unruly emotions was a life style which had become threadbare and unacceptable.
s. assessed himself as having no life; no more than an amoeba bouncing from one wall to another.
so how do you acquire a real individuality with the ability to chose a direction and stick with a higher purpose than the broken functioning which could soon become a monster?
g. talked about obedience to another, a guide. so s. tried to follow advice. bob f. said, read mt. analogue. so he did. mitchell r. suggested that he had already read enough. always these contradictions. you still have to ponder deeply and often to muster the force necessary to do anything. to go from a to b takes great sincerity.
One day meeting with bob f. at “horn and hardarts”, s. asked,
“when are you going to introduce me to lord pentland?”.
“I’m not.” , f. replied solemnly, “but we will go on being friends, you know.”
s. took this so hard that tears welled up in his eyes. He thought he had been doing well, was showing signs of understanding the ideas and gaining a little ground. Consequently, he was extremely shaken by the news that he wouldn’t be starting in the ‘work’.
Then walking across town with f., they stopped at a light and bob announced, “I’m going to marry Julie.”.
“o.k.”, s. swallowed some spit.
“why tell me? You don’t need my permission.” Bob said,
“well, how do you feel about that?”
“I don’t feel anything.”, and they parted company.
sure, "mt. analogue" helped s. to absorb the idea that a guide is someone who has been where you want to go; so temporarily at least if you are obedient to the guide and sacrifice your self-will, it takes the form of training, not a loss of individuality at all, as one might fear. there must be some wholehearted trust. and you have to see and verify that it works. running on the ice takes attention.
try something different. put a stick in the spokes of the wheel of mechanical behavior; to see the subtle forces which cause the pattern to repeat itself. That was the idea.
That evening s. and Mitchell rudzinsky, the composer, met at “cedar tavern”. Together they downed about eight glasses of beer in about an hour and Mitchell told this story about ‘triunculus’. Mitchell was always telling stories.
“you don’t want to be like triunculus, do you?”, “who’s triunculus?”, wondered s.
S. suspected that he had made this one up on the spot.
“triunculus was a little boy who invented games, but he never played them. He wrote songs, but he never sang them. He even built lovely little sailboats, but he never sailed them.
One day a devil heard about him and decided to make an end of him.
Then he decided to just make a beginning of him and left him like that. Triunculus never did grow up.”
That night in his bed s. turned the day over in his mind and thought to himself.
“didn’t I cut my hair? Didn’t I get a job? Wasn’t I giving Julie $20 a week? What do they expect of me?
another night mitchell told the story of the prison. s. was sure he had made that one up too…
"a man was put in a dungeon. it was always dark and the rats were numerous. it wasn't safe to be there at all because the other prisoners would just as soon cut your throat as spit on you.
however there was a small group of good men who befriended him. and one night, the leader whispered that some of them were planning an escape and would he like to join them? "oh yes. definitely!"
"there's only one thing. you will have to grease your body." "what? what? grease my body?"