From the old scourges of religious inquisitions to the later philosophical materialism to a headier modern science and its excavation of deep-space where gods were once wont to roam, there’s little doubt that our perceptions of reality are changing.
The difference between past and present states of consciousness seem of little note but to a few isolated thinkers who fight their own minds (and bodies) for a symbolic truth which would put our futures into perspective.
The distinctly human capacity to turn mental fantasy into physical reality (notwithstanding the assumptions of psychiatry) is as obvious and concrete as… well, cement; though some more philosophic natures may wonder which is the realer reality: the world of nature and the body or the mind’s fantasies realized upon them?
From the sacrificial rites of Communion to the state-management of sexual union, the line between sane and insane, between quirky and quixotic, merges and converges in the no-man’s land beneath the surface of conscious knowing: the so-called unconscious psyche. It is there where nature’s secrets shape human realities.
So says Marty “Little Bit” Moore, a self-described visionary, who is not only a bit of a self-touted eccentric but a self-proclaimed scoundrel as well. His latest book (self-published), Tinkering With The Self, is the stark manifesto of a self-inspired unconventionality which is beginning to attract a cult following — mostly among self-absorbed, rural hipsters of the sensation type with a scantily-concealed penchant for scatology.
In it, he differentiates between the human world of cognition and a more diffuse and natural animal awareness. He states that the latter simply “is” and is self-generating, while the former must be constantly and rigorously maintained with great conscious effort. Though, he says, they are inextricably intertwined within the deeper self, they must be separated out in that same dual self to arrive at any semblance of an objective view of our behavior.
Intrigued by his philosophy, I met with Dr. Moore to get a glimpse of the “self” behind the frozen, commercial image smiling enigmatically from the mass-produced jackets of the tens of books he has proffered out of the back of his van in shopping malls near and far.
His tireless efforts to spread his self-styled gospel have taken him from his small hometown of Maynardville, Tenn. to such exotic cities as Paris and Rome (Tenn. and Ga. respectively). I caught up with Dr. Moore at the Lonsdale Thrift Store in Knoxville as he wrapped up another hectic day of book-signings. He was “trying to get a jump on business” as he pre-signed them and stacked them in his van.
I pulled out my lap-top to jot notes as we sat in folding chairs behind the bare cinder-block structure. “All life begins and ends with the individual body and its concrete manifestation in corporeal space.” he began. I pressed “Enter” at the end of the line on the screen as he continued:
“All self-awareness begins with the body’s image, it’s psychic manifestation in time.” As I continued to type, the words just ran off into the margin and disappeared. I pressed “Enter” again. Nothing happened. I pressed it again and again as he proceeded:
“That is precisely where the problem of the human condition begins…” The more I pressed “Enter”, the more words disappeared beyond the margin as my laptop began to delete every word following the one I typed before it– each after the other into oblivion. I hit “Insert”. Nothing.
I punched the “Backspace” button repeatedly in frustration, and the words reappeared in the correct format for an instant, and then suddenly the screen went blank. Frantically, I stabbed at the “Page Down” button as Dr. Moore went on, “What consciousness perceives…” Several blank pages flew by, and the words I typed reappeared — only jumbled up, some outside the margin, some inside. I single-clicked.
“You see, images are what consciousness perceives, and in that sense the objects we see are really semi-imaginary — representations of the world through a psychic medium…” I double-clicked for functions I’d intended to place on my dashboard but had been distracted from by the constant formatting problems. “Goddammit!” I muttered as I banged keys randomly.
“Man and nature, mind and body, male and female, dark and light: all are constructive metaphors for the conscious discrimination of ourselves through the opposing poles of psychic energy which define who we are…” Flustered and embarrassed, I suddenly realized I was there in actual space and time — with a real live someone else watching me. I closed my laptop, trying fiercely to maintain my composure. “Could you repeat that?“
“Thought and emotion are as opposed as…” Before he could finish, I flung my laptop to the pavement in a delayed but uncontrolled fit of rage and watched with animal pleasure as it shattered into pieces. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief: “Wheew…” I looked at him. “I mean, Goddam! You know?” It was like I saw him there and everything, but I didn’t really care what he thought or felt, I was so angry.
Calmly, Dr. Moore leaned back, peering at me quizzically, and crossed his legs. Upon lifting his leg, a prolonged, high-pitched squeal emitted from his pants, as if air were slowly being let out of the pinched end of a balloon. A sudden breeze blew from behind him at that instant and a pungent odor hung in my nostrils; though as quickly it held me, it let go. I threw my arms up as if to ward off a blow and then chuckled despite the initial shock. He laughed:
“Eloquent the inspiration words may bring/Stirring syllables through lofty lecture halls may ring;/But the Word, too, soon must fade and thought grow grey/As restless spirits from the body steal astray./Somber sermons stunt the soul with heady brew./Some may drowse or fidget, hearts may weary grow;/ But laughter peals and stirs the heart anew/When nature’s music toots out from below.”
Something in me was deeply moved, though I had not the sophisticated primitivity to express it at will.