We should be both sorrowful and proud when friends depart, they finding the world in distress and applying their immense energies and talents to its re-balancing. The ecologists thus leave Seattle, twist about the earth on cloudy threads, leaving our human hive behind in order to join the company of northern wolves and whales among ice floes. The professor of East Asia is thus left to his own devices on the lip of savage order in North America, to navigating urban canyons with his little BMX bike, to weaving through the fish-cutters and the nicotine babble of the sans-abri, heaving South on immense trains, finding comfort in a keyboard, in the solidity of a text under the hand, heavily, just as the snow cap sits with false confidence of ultimate mastery atop that volcano in the window.
Alerts, warnings, tectonic plates? May as well go fishing in the Baltic, say the ecologists, preparing their mouths for languages whose vowels intimate a predisposition to underwater battles.
Zarathustra hardly needed such friendship. In his scaling of the grand berg, Nietzsche’s hero said “O Solitude, my home!” but he should have remembered that Bach was a man, and not a “stream,” and thus contributes eternal company, rendering solitude impossible even in the company of clean brooks. The thinking naturalist, likewise, should give alpine recourse, quarter to the urban bourgeoisie who fancies himself an ecological literate. The urbanite can indeed send himself immediately to the mountain if need be. Home, and the order of the planets around it, that central point, is thus rendered as an acoustic condition, a “Tonkosmos”, a gathering source! Shouldn’t a true musician be at “home” anywhere (close the eye-apertures, turn off the absorptive lens of the camera to unfurl the colored geometric map), and be able “transport” the storm of Bach in a cerebral flood, immediately to a mountaintop, momentarily? Able to throw one’s Geist atop an abandoned prison on the taiga, for but a demi-second? To an alleyway in Pyongyang, for the length of time it takes to counter a song of failed enslavement with a gleaming bloc of trinitary chords? For a split second, might it be possible to throw one’s spirit to another continent, for the cello bow to flick in between the force majeure of a hatchet and an enemy of a vile and suppressed state? Flinging one’s consciousness in this way, a kind of promiscuous and harmless globalism, might promise nothing, might smack of an amateur penchant toward that artform of the engineer of the soul, the cinema, but it must far more advanced than all this pointing and clicking, this affixing of dreck, which suffices at present for “interconnectivity.” It fails here, fails! But yet exists, until the extinguishing…
And thus the prolix windup concludes, the true purpose of this post being the introduction of a fully encouraging development: the appearance of a UN-affiliated group on transnational environmentalism in Northeast Asia, a group whose page is laden with fascinating papers on such things as tigers leaping across the Tumen river, and why the wind blows as it does toward Peking.