Unsticking

Paper_roses_kollwitzstrasse_berlin_20_november_2010

A former British Prime Minister earned the nickname ‘Teflon Tony’, for his uncanny ability to slide away shining and unscathed from even the best-levelled criticism and accusation.

Blair was the advance guard of sleekly armoured evasion, the first and last mascot worth nicknaming before his knack prevailed so widely that it passed from being noteworthy to being interminably,  voicelessly endured. These interesting times flip reality pancakes from one non-stick vessel to another, to which no thing we might dare to think of as the truth will adhere. You can oppose this state of things, and the odds are that you will be morally and factually correct in so doing. But the further and faster protest is cast, greater is the likelihood that it will hit a powerfully-bonded surface of denial, which spins at such velocity that truth cannot gain traction. Or, truth takes hold only where there is a predisposition to attach it.

Last week I came unstuck from inside, unexpectedly. Under a mild and thankfully transient depression, I experienced a strange sensation of coming existentially unglued. Things I as I am supposed to believe, want, feel or think wouldn’t stay moored in me, but gave way to a shiftlessness that made anything so tied down and definitive as a thought or a belief seem ridiculous.

In truth, this is only an amped-up version of how I feel anyway: sceptical of received social and institutional charades, skirting through life without touching the sides. Frustrated and relieved by this reflex of slipping.

It’s a truism now, though it depends where you look for truth, that we each create our own reality. Projections of the I flip upside-down and expand to fill the world. A strand of me observes the truth in this, but it’s a belief that won’t stay moored, as I continually wonder too if privatized myopias are really all there is to see.

If at root I’m asking what a Teflon-coated reality out there has to do, if anything, with my inner unsticking, there’s the reducing choice of saying that I’m merely projecting. Or, the prospect of wondering whether my projections dispose me to take note of things that are also worth observing for their own, and wider, sakes.

In my absence, I’ve been delighted at the growing readership for these sideways thoughts and photographs: many thanks to you all for looking and reading, and staying on through the hiatus 🙂

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One thought on “Unsticking

  1. Tony, thanks again for your insights. One of the signals of depression I notice – and which differentiates it from a low mood – is that it seems to insist very precisely on its realism. This can flip into bleak fatalism, an invitation literally to die; but it strikes me that it might otherwise be taken as an invitation to pay clearer attention to what my normal everyday functioning prefers to deny about the reciprocal state of self and world. I’ll have an eye out for "Lincoln’s Melancholia" – also sensing somehow that Rilke might help.

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