Exploratory Psychic Surgery

Disputes about Daylight Savings time are making the news. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati decreed that clocks would not be move forward by an hour until April 20; in response, the Maronite Church said it would disregard the decision and would set clocks forward by an hour on Saturday evening as had been long-planned. Efforts to control Time continue to rumble about elsewhere, too. Residents of Greenland have moved their clocks forward, into Daylight Savings Time, for the last time (if action by the country’s parliament, the Inatsisartu, remains intact). Conversations and debates continue around the globe, exploring the pros and cons of adopting permanent structural changes to the ways in which humans experience Time. Humans have about as much chance altering Time as we do adjusting Gravity. No matter how extensive our efforts to adjust scales to account for gravitational aberrations, gravity will respond only to universal forces far more powerful than anything humans can bring to bear. The same is true with time. Humans can pretend to exercise control over time by changing the ways we respond to the position of the sun or the moon or whatever else we might choose. But make no mistake about it: we are not changing Time; we change only the ways in which we react to its passage. We cannot adequately define precisely what constitutes Time; we have  less than a snowball’s chance in Hell of bending Time to suit us. In fact, if we examine ourselves from sufficient distance, we will see that Time changes us. Not the other way around. But, still, we assert our superiority over elements of the universe whose powers clearly are superior to our own. The idea, obviously, is to convince enough of the gullible and easily-led to believe they have control over the machinery of existence that controls them. It is funny and pathetic, except for the fact that it is inconceivably sad—yet, still, pathetic.

Time and Gravity really are the same as time and gravity; the only difference is cosmetic. For some reason, capital letters seem to carry with them a certain degree of gravitas,  unavailable to their lower-case cousins. The same inexplicable cosmetic variations exist for Life and life, as well as for Death and death. As for Eternity and eternity, the jury is still out. If I were a betting Man/man, I would put my money on capital letters, if only because Capitalism seems to have considerably more “oomph” than mere capitalism. Discussions of Capitalism almost always lead, eventually, to conversations about Greed. Indeed, the relationships between Capitalism and Greed seem far closer, at times, than the relationships between either Capitalism and capitalism or Greed and greed.

Humans chip away at the foundations of language every hour of every day. Language cannot remain intact for long because humans insist on “improving” it by adding or subtracting syllables or words. People transform beautifully complex linguistic expressions into cheap, tawdry, simple abbreviations. LOL. For God’s sake! Is nothing sacred? How can people brutalize spectacularly sculptural declarations, in the form of incomprehensibly beautiful paragraphs, by tearing away crucial pieces and replacing them with tacky, incoherent utterances?


I write too much. And what I write often is insufficiently interesting to merit a reader’s attention from beginning to end. Essentially, that coincides with a judgment that my writing is meaningless bullshit. And, in fact, it can be just that. But buried beneath the layers of linguistic dung are, I believe, shreds of worthy ideas. Even the nonsense carries with it a few strings of meritorious thought; tiny seeds of ideas that, given adequate nutrition and enough water, can transform random weeds into lush carpets of kudzu. Kudzu signals the erasure of Western civilization, supplanted by Eastern philosophy adapted to new landscapes. Neither Eastern nor Western philosophy is sufficient; nor is either complete. That is because both schools of thought are hemispheric. That is, both capture only fractional components of reality and both pieces of the larger whole are seen through prismatic fragments; the result is partial blindness to Truth and Beauty. Knowledge, untainted by Interpretation, can be attained only by experiencing true Spherical philosophies—ways of considering, seeing, and understanding reality that encompass all perspectives. And those perspectives must be experienced in the context of their interactions with each and all of the other perspectives within and beyond the sphere. It sounds complex, but actually it is simplicity in its most honest and obvious form.


Characters from some of my past writing are stirring. Their attempts to crawl out of their cryogenic chambers into the light and heat of a new season are getting my attention. Lugubria, Inebria, Phaelaysho, Rumour, and countless others are shouting at me, insisting it is time to get to know them better. They urge me to remove the nails that keep the doors shut to the Fourth Estate Tavern and Scrawl and Cobra. Calypso Kneeblood and Garcia, too, urge me to release them from the tombs I constructed inside my head. Concubinia, a newer addition to the cast of characters, leaves me hints that I should embark on a voyage of writing, too, that might lead me to enlightenment. I have left the hypothetical town of Struggles, Arkansas in limbo for too long. It is high time I should work to rebuild some of its crumbling infrastructure and to revive some of the crumbling lives of some of its poverty-stricken residents. That little town boasts an overflowing reservoir of intellectual expression, unlike any other town in Arkansas. Or, for that matter, anywhere else. Calypso Kneeblood lives inside my head, by the way. He has constructed an unimposing A-frame at the intersection of my brain stem and cerebellum, with pathways leading from his front porch to the frontal lobe and the occipital lobe. Wait! It is after 9 a.m.! Horrors!


My “regular” readers have probably left for the day, assuming my writing has finally dried up. Too bad. I was just thinking about them and was going to share with them some secrets that I share only with a few of the people with whom I am closest and value most. Such is life. I’m off to explore what breakfast and a shower can do for my state of mind.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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