The politics of staring

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it no more succinctly than this, we cannot see things that stare us in the face until the hour comes that the mind is ripened.

Many people hallucinate and hear voices when no one is there. Society call them mad, out of their minds, demented, or a little loose in there (saying the word ‘loose’ while raising their hands above their heads and gesturing that two irritating Vs and checking if somebody else is listening). They are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. The other kind, the more villainous of sort  are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing, write their rants and rambles the entire time while they stare at their own wall of emptiness all day.

Spoliarium by Juan Luna. Photo taken by Randy Solis.

After work, and if I still have time left, I would spend it ensconced in front of my computer trying to decipher, by looking at the blinking cursor, which I hope it may, in all its humbleness, tell me the secret of the universe.

In my many attempts to unravel this secret, this cursor might have already revealed it to me a long time ago, only that I failed to stare at it as intently and did not recognize what should have been completely obvious. I missed it. Or because of my whining while writing, it decided to slip from my sight and decided never to manifest itself to me, ever.

The author before the painting Spoliarium by Juan Luna. Photo taken by Randy Solis.

But I am not the over-determined kind. I am not beholden to anything or anyone, even to the noble quest of knowing the secret of the universe. I guess it is because of this over-determinism why some people go mad. The wall stares at them and they thought it’s God. They stare back, and from that moment on they irretrievably fall in to a spiraling abyss other people call madness where no one will escape unscathed.


8 thoughts on “The politics of staring”

  1. dear john,

    now that you have visited the national museum, i just hope that paintings of the great masters inspire you more. it’s been a while since my last visit here in your blogpage. curious what you are pondering these days.

    have a happy weekend.

    1. nothing much, marvin. i’ve been working like crazy these days and writing seems to be too difficult to do. what is ironic is that i am teaching writing classes.

  2. That’s an absolutely incredible picture. Thanks for introducing me to it. I have never heard of this artist. I will look him up.

    1. Juan Luna is considered one of the best Filipino painters. During his time, he won a prestigious painting competition in Europe because of this painting, Spoliarium, that depicted a slain gladiator.

  3. Very well written, my friend. I don’t seek the answer to the mysteries of the universe. I seek for my own purpose in life. I seek for the meaning of my life. That alone requires a lot of time staring at walls.

    1. others say overdoing it [wall-staring] can be dangerous, but for some of us it is the only way to escape life’s inanities.

      thanks for passing by, demigoddess.

      it has stricken me as odd that we both have similar rants and complaints about life.

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