2009-09-10 / Musings

Got real?

Out at sea, what does one see? Reeling waves surround, all kinetic, hypnagogic. There is reeling without the solidity of rockings. Anchors away, spell unbound. The spaces between sing to us, calling like Sirens of white noise, of infinite possibility, merely emerging.

So you understand what the pirate feels when the ultimate question is posed, or imposed: Is that real? It sets this mind reeling.

Our word real comes from the Latin word for thing, but not just any thing. It refers to thing in legal context. This original reference is to solid things, like the real that is ground, land, property properly owned, measured, accounted. The real is fixed, permanent, immoveable.

It is something you can stand on, stand for, bank on, bank in. It is the fundamental fundament.

Yes, here we are on solid ground. And then, perhaps, by quaint chance, there is an abrupt variance in air temperature. The air above our line of sight becomes warmer than the air below. And from this temperature inversion there emerges, really, a mirage.

A mirage is a strange taste of the real. It is not like a hallucination, which is a conscious non-consensual perception in the absence of external stimuli. And it's not like a dream that does not involve wakefulness, or like imagery which is under voluntary control.

A mirage is more like an illusion than like these other flavors on the continuum of the reeling real/unreal. A mirage is a real optical phenomenon. It can be photographed. Yet mirages are manifestations of images in places in which they do not substantially exist. Mirages show images that are elsewhere. A mirage can be an inferior image, that is, an image that is seen below the location of the reality. Or it can be a superior image, an image seen above.

My favorite mirage is the fata morgana, named after Morgan le Fay, the troublemaking fairy shape-shifting half sister of King Arthur. In this mirage, an image normally concealed behind the horizon appears distorted in the sky.

All these mirage images are then interpreted by mind, given name. So we see the vision, and then we name. Hence the emerging presence of water in deserts or strange castles floating in skies.

Are we not all street magicians? Using the smoke and mirrors of our words and minds we bring into being no end of amazement. We trump trompe-l'oeil. We trick not only eye, but the weavings of all our narratives which we spill out with skill greater than any Anansi.

Are you for real? Or against real?

Are you inclined in the direction of the real, anaclitic, not overly intimate, no exchange of body fluids, of course, not off course, but flirtation energized?

Hard physics really flirts. Confer the Copenhagen Interpretation. (The Copenhagen Interpretation is fun, although perhaps not up to the wonderful, wonderful of Hans Christian Andersen or Danny Kaye.) In this interpretation of quantum reality there is no reality in the absence of observation. So, Berkeley, the tree that falls alone is not. In this real view, observation creates reality. Nietzsche would say that there are no realities, but only perceptions.

Funny that the ground of the real has now become essentially virtual.

The virtual, from the Latin virtus, calls us to remember roots, both linguistic and substantial. We remember manly strength and potent virtue and unfettered potential. This is no mere stimulation by the simulated.

This is new vision. We see that the best things in life, the real things, do not come in small packages. The best things in life are truly free. Free floating and free spirited, we are freegans wanting not, extravagantly wasting not. Real reeling piracy, we be.

— Rx is the FloridaW eekly muse who hopes to inspire profound mutiny in all those who care to read. Our Rx ma y be wearing a pir ate cloak of in visibility, but emanating fr om within this shado w is hope that readers will feel free to respond. Who kno ws: You may e ven inspir e the muse. Make contact if you dare.

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