Waking Hours (from the Hybrid collection, Day of No Dead – Fiction & Anti-Fiction)

Waking Hours (Fiction)
The cat – in play-dead position, marble eyes rolled back – murmurs like a dreamer. Maybe she is prey in some exciting chase. Maybe the fluttering of her eyes and the quivering of her mouth are merely a reflex.

The man who looks like a child sits on the floor, dressed in a sweater and tie. The documentary film camera focuses on him for a (painfully) long time. Both deaf and blind, he’s forgotten how to speak and write. Incapable of dressing himself, and maybe of abstract thinking. When he spits and drools and slaps his cheek, listen to what he is saying.

The philosopher threw himself out the window. Maybe death’s delay was too much to take, and after years of deliberation he took the leap.

If you could pray, maybe you would ask to die a sudden death – unexpectedly. Or maybe you would choose. Time to pay. Time to pay.

Do not be sad when death arrives, someone somewhere must have once said. Welcome and accept it, rather than crying like a lost child.

The man-child can’t help it. He spits and dribbles. He winks.

The cat can’t help sleeping through most of the waking hours.

There are worse things than death.

Hand the man-child a banana and he’ll eat immediately. He may never think of a tree the way a philosopher thinks, but he can feel one with his hands and climb it without analyzing what makes a tree a tree.

If the man-child could speak, maybe he would say: This constant buzzing in my head. Make it stop – please. If you do, I’ll stop slapping and scratching and crawling on all four of these things you call hands and feet.

The philosopher threw himself out the window. Suddenly. Maybe it was merely a reflex. Contradiction. After several years of struggling to breathe.

Think before you leap.

The philosopher starts from the position of thinking.

The cat stares for hours on end, when she’s not sleeping. Maybe daydreaming. In between.

Waking Hours (Anti-Fiction)

If a cat – or any other mammal for that matter – is observed murmuring, its eyes fluttering, and its mouth quivering, can it be claimed that it is dreaming?

Psychology Today claims that animals do in fact dream. Scientists are confident that all mammals dream. In research conducted at MIT, “rats have been shown to dream about previously running a maze and researchers have also discovered that they have complex dreams.”

If rats can dream complexly, so can cats.

Of what exactly rats and cats dream, scientists are not sure of. Some speculate that future research will find the answers. For now, one can only imagine: running a maze, pouncing, playing, prey in some exciting chase.

*

In Werner Herzog’s 1971 film Land of Silence and Darkness, he includes footage of Heinrich Fleischmann, a man both deaf and blind, who has forgotten how to speak and write, and has lived in a stable with animals. He stumbles into a tree, feeling the trunk and branches and leaves.

Footage of a man both deaf and blind, Heinrich Fleischmann, is included in the film Land of Silence and Darkness. Fleischmann has forgotten how to speak and write. At some point, he lived in a stable with animals. The camera focuses – among other things – on him stumbling into a tree, feeling the trunk, branches and leaves.

We see Heinrich Fleischmann sitting on the floor, appearing as a man-child, dressed in a sweater and tie. Perhaps the camera seems to focus on him for a (painfully) long time because he is clearly deaf and blind, considering that we are aware that this film Land of Silence and Darkness is about the world of the deaf and blind. We see him eat a banana. We see him stumble into a tree, feeling the trunk and branches and leaves. Who wouldn’t feel moved? If we are not moved, this says something, though what exactly, one can’t be completely certain.

*

OBITUARY: Gilles Deleuze

” – he committed suicide by throwing himself from his flat in Paris – ”
Source: The Independent online archive, published Wednesday 08 November 1995.

“In 1995, he committed suicide, throwing himself from the window of his apartment.”
Source: Wikipedia.
“November 4, 1995. Avenue Niel, Paris. The broken body of an old man lies crumpled on the footpath. It is that of Gilles Deleuze, the philosopher. His apartment room window, three stories above, stands open. There is no suicide note, yet it is clear enough what has happened. After twenty-five years of increasing physical infirmity, the struggle to live had become too much for Deleuze and he took his life” (italics added).
Source: First Things, Issue Archive, May 2007.
First Things Masthead: “First Things is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.”

Fact or fiction?

Google News: The Post and Courier – Nov 6, 1995, Philosopher Gilles Deleuze commits suicide at 70, Associated Press
“The author of one of the world’s best selling philosophy books, “The Anti-Oedipus,” had suffered for years from a serious respiratory illness and recently underwent a tracheotomy.” Jump to new paragraph: “Deleuze was born in 1925 into a conservative Paris family.”

Read between the lines.

*

If you could pray, would you ask for a sudden death rather than a long-winded, expected one? Or would you pray for forgiveness for what you are about to do?

Do not be sad when death arrives, someone somewhere might have said. Welcome and accept it rather than crying like a lost child.

Fleischmann couldn’t help it.

Cats can’t help it.

Some say there are worse things than death.

A man like Fleischmann may not ever think the way a philosopher thinks, but he’ll immediately eat a banana or climb a tree immediately without stopping to think.

If he could speak, maybe he would say: This constant buzzing in my head. Make it stop please. If you do, I’ll stop slapping and scratching and crawling on all four of these things you call hands and feet.

Gilles Deleuze threw himself out the window. Whether it was sudden or done with forethought, no one really knows. Maybe he did it because he suffered for several years physically. Maybe.

Someone somewhere said: “Think before you leap,” so that it became a cliche, a platitude.

Philosophers normally start from a position of thinking. Maybe.

Cats can stare for hours even. Some say the dream. Daydream? Maybe. In between.

*

Addendum: What does one have to do with the other? Read carefully and if you do, it will all come together.

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