I got the perfect example to fit the burning theory I’d advanced when Diane was over, but I got it later, way after I had already speechified in the most horrendous, abstract manner. This happens often with me, because I’m head over heels with inspiration. I often get a revelation before I know how it applies. Because, of course, I don’t derive it from anything at all. I am just gifted; I see things backwards. I am also useless, since I only ramp up examples after I’ve missed the occasion, where they would have been handy, handy as hell. Well! The perfect example of my current thesis, I could have told Diane, is the way historians try to reconcile disputes between partisan politicians, by calling in from the past “the founding fathers”. This is a perfect example of the process that typifies all debate lately. This sequence is so familiar now that it seems normal; it is habitual, like in society itself, to try to answer what amounts to an intragenerational squabble, with a cold shower of ancient history. What the “founding fathers”, or what perhaps the Constitution itself actually intends, appears as the solution to a debate between parties that are at loggerheads . . . over an issue that has to do with . .. events in the recent past. I go over and over this. If I can put it in this skeletal fashion, what we have is attempted resolutions by reference to what actually happened in the historical past; this is the past which we cannot touch. Advanced to quell a dispute between two other parties representing, willy-nilly, the Present and the Recent Past. Which are at loggerheads. I hate it when I have to use italics, I need more words like: loggerheads.
But, the reason why this is so familiar is simple: there is no issue in which these two parties are not in disagreement. For the simple reason that established facts never fit a shifting reality. Which is another way of saying that within the course of one lifetime, cause and effect are not operating the way one would expect. But here I go again off the deep end! Into a world of abstractions, onto a field littered with . . . arrowheads or something. Or broken glass. Its like trying to get out of the parking lot, and backing up and running into every car on the way. It is obvious what always happens. History is dragged into the room like a referee to settle a dispute between two parties who represent, variously, points of view derived from (1) direct opinion or (2) received knowledge. Received knowledge is ever being encroached upon of course by new fangled methods of research, which is exploding due to information technology. Direct opinion is wrong every time! Everything is exploding! Until someone, and it is who is first to microphone nowadays, calls for an authority, a historical perspective, a context–of course! We wouldn’t be debating, if we weren’t in the arena–I mean the world (often, one speaks in metaphors)–which was here before us. As has been right along. So if we can get back to the founding principles, the ground on which we stand, then . . . Someone let me out of this lecture hall!
Yes. This fantastic proposition always flies, because everyone is so fundamentally ignorant that whoever gets to the idea that the past can be a judge automatically gets the floor. No matter that this process produçes nothing but delusion. And lately, science, that big baby, has made a grab and a heist of the whole subject of the origin of the universe! God! Now I really am drowning. It is unfortunate for me I guess that I brought this up, to myself, while backing out of the parking lot in the shopping mall. Or maybe it is fortunate, that that is the place, the parking lot. Though actually that is not the place, but only where I put myself in my imagination, of course! Where I really am is here, in my office, typing, barricaded, considering my options. I came in the house about two-thirty, after making a dangerous trip to the Plaza, and the telephone was ringing. I picked it up, but the person must have just hung up, for the line was dead. Of course the calls coming in on this telephone, the one in the front hallway, the huge heavy one that is connected by actual phone wires, are categorically different than the ones I get on my cellphone. I lead two lives, you see. And they are in a debate.