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Sunday, August 10, 2003

Brownian Emotion

Sitting here now writing myself this email since my computer and journal scripts are buried deep in my car. Martin's plump and fluffy allergen generator snores nearby, arms stretched toward the rising moon like a road-kill balloon. Carnitas in the fridge, leftovers from dinner, a twenty minute walk down windy roads in the dark to the last restaurant open on a Sunday night. I was surprised on the way back in this fairly urban setting by a rather large deer and her fawn bolting out of someone's front yard as I passed. Martin is gone; he left this morning. I arrived this evening, following the ten hour drive from Portland that became thirteen after stop-and-go traffic beginning somewhere out in the desert and lasting for four hours and a hundred miles. I oddly woke up unprovoked at 5am this morning after going to bed at 1am, and decided in the name of novelty to stay up, experience morning, and head out early. But I think I would have arrived almost as soon if I'd just slept in.

Don came in second in his 7.5 mile race, swimming up-wind in cold, choppy Maine waters for almost six hours. What a nut. :) For further proof, he kept this which I made god knows how many years ago, probably when visiting them in Brookings:

I jotted up to Seattle a few days ago to visit Greg and Lyle. Everywhere we went, the food was great. Indian, Mexican, Caribbean, Afghani--twas all delicious. Here's Greg and the household canines:

And here's me demonstrating bad posture at the top of a hike:

I'd have stayed another couple of days but my cat allergies left me in a useless haze so I headed south a little earlier than expected.

I've never been to Martin's before today, so I gave myself the tour. Amidst the chaos, I found a superb collection of DVDs and popped in Donnie Darko which has now made my top list. It's a love story, though that's probably the last thing most would think to mention about it.

I ponder the elements of Hollywood young love. Purity and innocence are the trappings; but it is really about being affected, about being overtaken by the connection, lost within the kiss. Those Hollywood moments, those distilled essences of the human condition expertly rendered for our vicarious visceral enjoyment, standing in for the reality our self-conscious fears and rational wills have smothered away. The Hollywood moment is almost defined by its contextual ignorance, as if the purity that so makes the moment can only be found in obliviousness to all of the details for which the moment is supposed to be an abstraction. And perhaps that is the truth of it, that our lizard brains are not after the impossible synchrony but rather blind trust and devotion, that the only true love is unconditional love, and by that I do mean stupid, blind, and irrational (from most any perspective but evolution's).

In a sense we have transcended love, replaced it with personal values, with likes and wants and shoulds. And when it still happens, we bandage it up with rationalizations that will some day unravel as all rationalizations must.

Free will is at stake now, in this modern world of popularized psychology and philosophy. Who would surrender their will to their amygdala? Most people would, but few will ever know it and fewer will accept it.

Perhaps the future belongs to the autistics, less bound by this irrationality, truly modern beings. Love may be becoming obsolete like the appendix, someday to be little more than an opaque vestige of past generations lingering in the Hollywood archives.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com