Trotted through Tijuana on a mustang
Salvaje coyote aullando al luna
Como se dice ‘be with me’?
Estoy encantado con tu lengua
Immediately after graduating from college I drove down to Santa Cruz to spend my first summer as a high school counselor at this Christian camp in the redwood forest. The camp would host a couple thousand adolescents throughout the summer, ages ranging from entering middle school to leaving high school. I would spend two weeks at a time leading groups of twenty to forty high school students with three other counselors and two directors. The students would spend a week camping underneath the redwoods in contemplation of God & others & ourselves, & then spend the following week doing service to the forest, meaning carving & maintaining the trails, pushing back the invasive species, and other services of harmony. This modern day monastery was neighbored down the forest road a couple miles by a Buddhist monastery also firmly nuzzled in the Santa Cruz redwood forest. This forest was incredibly old. About a mile from our grounds was the mother tree, taller than the Statue of Liberty, and doesn’t fit in a 35mm lens, which is all I had on me. Living in the forest was living in the belly of an ancient being. Being in the forest was like marveling at grace and terror, the sublime, and an opportunity for many to sublimate their identities from the materialistic and consumeristic world below. To state, I no longer identify with the foundational beliefs of that community, not necessarily that I disagree, but I no longer agree that it’s foundational. I do believe that a divine spirit and a light spirit and a dark spirit moved about that place. To call it Jesus makes just as much sense of it as anything else.
In this sacred forest I would explore the trails for an hour or so at a time, running mostly, which was an entirely ecstatic experience for me. My favorite trail was one called the Shadowbrook, and as the name implies shadowed a brook that cut through the forest, and then a ravine that birthed out of a waterfall. Years later on a road trip with Jacob we camped off the shadowbrook. We hiked the brook and at one point discovered that it turns into a pool, maybe ten feet at its deepest, clear and floored by river rocks, with trees that extended overhead as a patchy canopy. Swimming in the middle I watched the light reflect off the water & shine onto the branches and leaves overhead. The spotlights danced like the water, moved like liquid. I was enchanted.”
In my room I watch the shadows of the tree dance through the light on the walls.
The shadows are the simulacra and the light is the reflection. Reflection is a property of being, the ability to reflect what is cast upon you onto something else. It can be used as a means of sharing or slicing. It has the effect of making you glow and lights up what it bounces towards. Reflection makes an object a medium for light, so that they reflected do not see the light because they are the light.”
Reflection implies thinking backwards, & asking questions to the past. If I am a reflection of something, and then some third party thinks that I am the light, am I then the light? Sure the initial source can change the direction of the light so that I am dependent upon that above which is above, but what is the source? Is it the sun, or another flame? Does all light come from one and the same?
When there is no source, this is the problem expressed by the notion of simulacra.
Simulacra is a copy of a copy. See this word Rhino - that is not a rhino, it is a symbol for a rhino. This symbol invokes the thought of a Rhino in your head. That is another symbol, as your thought of a rhino is not an actual rhino, it is a reflection of your prior exposure to the concept of rhino. Thus the word rhino communicates meaning to you and through you as a copy of a copy. All words thus are simulacra.
This is innocent enough except that it applies to all aspects of our lives because we react off of our concepts & constructs of reality, not what it really is. So we think we have a confidence about how reality works, when in reality we are only exposed to reflections of reflections of reflections through our entire history of thought, we are doomed to it, and thus we live in a simulated reality.”
What do you want to do? You keep on living because what else are you gonna do. You are free to do anything else. You might blame the structure and you might change the structure, you are free to do that if you can. If you can’t, then realize your place in the realm of things and how it’s been for you all along. Then go do what you want.
We’re stuck here for a time reflecting copied symbols of meaning to each other communicating and moving this light we’ve inherited forward with new nuanced reflections meanwhile trying to bask in the glow for as long as we can.
Even if you leave you reflect tragedy. It is a gigantic cultural web of meaning that we are all stuck in & if you somehow leave then you are ostracized and/or shoved into the looney bin. Great being a free citizen, ain’t it?”
Yeah but like I’m not crazy so I’m not going to go crazy. What now?
What do you mean what now? Get out there & reflect some meaning! You are free to do it however you choose, and yet you never know the implications of your movements, so realize ignorance. It could be all for nothing, so don’t get all worked up about it if that’s not what you want. Be free! Believe what you want, or believe nothing & live with that, or try to come up with an alternative. Welcome to the Simulacra Era!”
The book started “Congratulations on beginning your journey with ‘the basic perspective’. You will learn, even by just reading this first page that
I closed the book. I hated anything that said ‘I will’. I didn’t believe in the future tense, nor in the concept of a ‘will’. I had to close the book out of principle.”
I woke up. I couldn’t remember my dream. It was spirally and unordered, like a world with a different philosophy and boundaries of physics. Yet, an impression of the dream still felt warm upon my mind.
Why do I keep having these dreams?
There was a book, and I was in a forest, and did I realize I was dreaming? I was in a copied reality or something like that. I don’t know, it was just a weird dream.