It’s a sad reality that you can’t call an ambulance if you are already in the hospital. There are a great many strange ironies to life and many more of them that apply to humanity and its endless contradictions. As I walk through this world, I try to remind myself that I am in a mental institution. The patients are mad, the doctors are mad and the visitors are mad and you might find anyone pretending to be any of them at any time. All it takes is for someone to put on a lab coat or change into street clothes and voila! The appearance has transformed the character but... the eyes are still mad.
As I move among them I know that if I prod, or poke; ask the wrong question or look too closely, I will call attention to myself. There’s a pattern here. It has circumference and shape. You operate within it as a part of it or you swim through without calling attention to yourself because things feed here.
Do you want to understand the world? Take a scuba dive. Your malls are the emerald green limousines that pull along the periphery of your feeding zone. Do not forget that you are food too. Lao Tzu said, “Even a fish would survive if it would keep its mouth shut.” Then again, you have to open your mouth to eat. Animals cross the road for food or to mate. This is something to keep in mind because some things can make you reckless.
Vast shadows move in the deeps, trailed by their attendants...whole populations dart and scurry as one... or stand motionless. There is a trick of the light that makes things seem to be part of the landscape but they are not; camouflage is engaged. Green turns to blue. Yellow turns to brown and back again. There is beauty and mystery everywhere. There is appetite and desire as the scenery feeds on itself.
The world has its seasons the same as any year. It is like the phases of the moon. Sometimes more light and sometimes less; when you can see better it is easier to move. You don’t question your steps because the way is clear. In these times life has an ease and joyful industry. We know each other and ourselves as well.
At other times there is more shadow. Rumors come out of the shadows as if things were happening in places far away. Mystery has an appeal. What is there that might lie further in and beyond? In these times certain arts might be cultivated and lineages begun. Rulers would tend to be fair and just. Great art and high technology would flourish.
At other times, half of the world is light and half in shadow... people go in and out or do not return at all. There is a balance that holds for the most part but goes missing in places. War presents itself as one shadow tries to prevail over another until they fall like the leaves from the trees around them. It is to be expected that for some it is important to go to the furthest place of shadow or to the greatest concentration of light. Some know what is coming and some don’t care.
Then you find there is more shadow than light. What was occasional becomes routine. Something is always happening somewhere and it usually isn’t good. You learn to count your change and people lock their doors. You never know... that’s the thing about it... you never know. What used to happen somewhere you had never been now occurs in a neighboring town.
Finally we come to the time we are in today. We know nothing of the times when it was mostly light and very little of the times that followed that. We think we know a great deal about the time of shadows but how much can you really know about a shadow? History like everything else has been corrupted, revised and watered down. There is more fat than sinew. There are more excuses than answers. There are more justifications than corrections. Everything which is supposed to fix something only makes it worse.
There is never a time in the world where the light has gone out. It always concentrates somewhere. As much as darkness may permeate, light will concentrate and radiate. People get used to living in the shadows because they feel too vulnerable in the light. Then again, the only place they catch you is in the shadows... back to those ironies again.
We live in a time of judgment and summation. Everything that is happening is happening for the express reason of making a point about itself. The whole of existence has been put together for you to see what choice you will make. You might think of it as God goes to the movies. You might think of it as recycling.
Let’s say a cast of characters gets together and puts on a play. Let’s say the play just goes on and on and on. So the characters change places and play the different roles. Some are better at it than others. What began as a play becomes a real matter... people live and die. They’re not acting. If you could watch from a distance over a certain period of time you would get the idea that the whole affair was pointless. It starts to look like everyone is out for themselves and there’s not much entertainment for anyone on or off the stage when that happens unless you happen to appreciate that sort of thing. Toward the end most people do.
A certain portion of the actors or real life players begin to wake up to the situation; given that the situation has gotten so crass and banal that it starts to sound like klaxon horns going off in your head. Strangely enough, a good portion of the people doesn’t hear anything at all or if they do it sounds like a band playing their song. The people who have- or -are waking up know that nothing good can come of what they are seeing. To them it looks like madness. It looks like they are in a mental institution. Even more disturbing is the indication that the doctors are crazier than their patients.
Absurdity becomes the order of the day. Lying is considered a fine art and murder is a recreational sport. Sex is something you can buy over the counter and you can screw the wrapper or the contents and just dispose of whatever it was on your way out the door to somewhere else. While this side of it gets lost in the excess of the possibilities... on the other hand, you have the other side which has ratcheted up in the other direction headed for Torquemada Land. One side is waving their privates and the other is locking them down. It is, as the estimable Lao Tzu said, “fealty and order gone to waste.”
As the scene becomes increasingly more chaotic a door opens for those who have lost interest in the show. For the rest, the performance has intensified so that they cannot take their eyes off of the stage. Those who go through the door can lay aside their costumes. They are done. There is another world and perhaps it is like the one they are leaving only it is woven of a finer cloth. For the rest, it’s the recycling of persona for the next extended act over a long period of time in the same theater.
There isn’t anything more to life than this. Either one discovers who they are or they go on pretending to be all of the characters whose accomplishments impressed them. This is why most people don’t really resent the rich and powerful. They admire them. They know deep down that they’ll get their chance and they intend to behave exactly like them when they do.
Everyone knows that they have more than one life, no matter what they may tell you. Everyone is waiting in line for their chance at a temporary life in which to lord it over their fellows. They’ll set it all straight when the time comes. They’ll get their revenge and do as they please, just as their fellows did when they had their chance. I suppose you could call it some kind of rapture of the deep.
'Frogman' is track no. 2 of 8 on Visible and The Critical List's 1987 album
'La Vierge Sperme Danceur'
About this song (pops up)