There is nothing I must not look at, no truth I must hide from, nothing I will not see. Yes, no doubt there will be much I never will understand, through failure to read the right books, or failure of curiosity, or outright stupidity. But I will never be willfully ignorant. I decided that a long time ago. How long ago? When I learned of Freud and unconscious motivations. That hiding your own ugliness from yourself makes you sick. But it seems now that that choice was already there, as if it were waiting for me to discover it, as if I had somehow made it long before, during childhood, and like an old stuffed animal, an old favorite, it was waiting all of that time for me to come back to it.
I’ve never been convinced of the airfoil. Certainly wings work; birds and airplanes observably do fly. But those airflow diagrams don’t tell the whole story. What could they hide? Not antigravity, surely. But I know a sales pitch when I see one. There’s more to that story, if I could ask the right question.
Let no mystery be too forbidding, no truth too horrible to consider. And there are horrible truths out there. Consider: When a man dies, he shits. We learn at a young age to control ourselves, and we keep control, give or take an accident or a bad virus, for the entirity of our lives. When we sleep our muscle tone relaxes, but we don’t lose our shit. Not until we die.
Christ was a man. Whatever else he was, he was a man, and that means that when he died, he shit. Something you don’t see in religious art: Christ’s shit on the crucifix. We get the blood and the wounds, and the eyes upraised — to God, in agony. I saw a Renaissance painting where they were taking Him down from the cross. They had propped a ladder against it, and they were peeling Him away, one hand still nailed up. An awkward job. It was considered remarkable for its realism. But there was no shit.
The crucifixion: no shit. A kind of a joke.
Now here’s a question for you: I’m an atheist. Always have been. Why do I think so much about Christ? Never used to. Getting superstitious maybe.
This cheeseburger I’m eating: used to be a cow. And I like cows: I’m against cruelty to them on principle. Why do I find it so difficult to become vegetarian? No, there’s no shortage of rotten facts in the world. Can’t go around avoiding them; might as well look at them squarely. I think it’s kind of funny that the worst Freud could think of was seeing your parents having sex. Strangely naive. Sweet, in a way. If only that were the worst we had to face.
Psychoanalytic theory as a tool for avoidance?
No, we avoid false comfort. Not out of ruggedness or even intellectual integrity, but because we’re too smart to stop asking questions, and we see through it. Me and my brain. The royal we. Like that girl I had once who wouldn’t stop asking questions, and wasn’t satisfied until she’d settled on something mean, something about how I didn’t love her. And I didn’t, either. Never made that connection; I always thought she was being a cunt. But it was a kind of insight at work. And insight is my thing, or so I tell myself, and here I don’t recognize it in others. What’s with that? Pride, I guess. What is a girl I don’t love doing having insights about me? What a blow to your self-esteem, to realize you’re not humble enough.
About time to go. Many thanks to the cow who, Christ-like, died for my sin. Although it had considerably less to say on that point, of course. And it hardly died to save me from the death eternal. Well, I suppose it did, if only temporarily. Crucified on a MacDonald’s menu. What a way to go.