Fremdgehen

It is the last day of this Autumn’s Bernese school vacation, and of the city parliament’s recess. On November 30th there are city wide elections, and it could be that I am re-elected or it could be that I am not re-elected. I am not the campaign animal, and life is more than usual busy around here.

Last night I told Ivo at the Dojo that today I was not showing up today for the usual Friday night training which he leads, and that I was elsewhere. Given that the conversation took place in German, the word that I used was “fremdgehen” to express that I was breaking the routine. Am I being unfaithful tonight? Hardly. Am I cheating on my partner? Cheating, no! Not working out with one of my most regular Aikido partners, yes! I have been training with Ivo on a regular basis for many years.

Yesterday in a private rant over email to a friend I asked myself what was it that I am doing in this town given that my closest and dear friends are all elsewhere from Zurich and Zug through Tokyo, Paris, Rome and the family is scattered through Oman, Los Angeles and a few other corners of this world. In the moment of recalling how far my friends are, I forgot that one of my strongest ties to Berne is the Dojo. Come to think of it, my relationship to the Dojo intensified when a few years ago I made some plans about leaving it. The reasoning then was that if I was going to leave, then I wanted to take with me as much Aikido as possible. What I did not take into account then was how very slow my body is in learning this thing called Aikido. No regrets here, but… I just did not have a clue.

The word priority has been on my mind for a while now. Once, long ago, I was accused of not knowing how to set priorities right. After years of resistance to that idea, I must confess that that is true indeed. Given who accused me of such crime, this one makes for a whole story in itself. Suffice to say that that person actually stood under official protection of the government and drove around in a bullet proof car. Needless to say that I avoided riding in that car. Those are the glamour points of that personality, then there is all the other stuff about being human and extremely vulnerable beyond what a bullet proof car can protect against, and that is what makes for a great story. It is a story that I may never write.

The whole bit of being unfaithful, in which ever context you may choose, just does not compute with me. I think that it is impossible to go against one’s nature, priorities here or there. When it comes to people there are no priorities, and when it comes to work and activity, there is something called choice. Priority? Is that not just another word for choice. Choice is a bit more binary, and frankly I can not deal with anything beyond binary. Confession: I have been spending way too much time with the work of a man named John Baez, and I am starting to feel like a bit of an idiot since I tend to get lost in the beauty of his fiction. But I always get lost in the beauty of fiction, be it the one from Christoph Geiser, be it the one from John Baez!

I have also been spending a fair amount of time in research libraries and databases. I have been writing and writing, and for the most part I do not recognise myself. Something about this year being about death is coming through in my life. Some part of me has died, and that is not a bad thing. Recently somebody told me that having suddenly lost the life’s partner was like walking around with a part of the self missing. I was stunned by the words. I know that feeling. I have walked around like that for over forty years, and it is that part of me that I have let go, the missing part. The missing part is dead.

Fremdgehen. Yes! I am walking around unburdened by what was missing. I love change, truly do. And to think that the adventure just begun is truly intoxicating!

Now…

Loads happening right here. Theoretical Man is happening at a rate that I do not quite feel ready for, or so it always is in life. The future always meets me unprepared. Really! I have been served a few whopping surprises in the past few weeks. This is good, very good indeed! I am also at times impossible with my friends and this will range from behaviours that have me telling them to get lost and stay away from me, to being overwhelming in my need to communicate. Mileage always varies with me, steady-state was never quite my domain of endeavour.

I am working on the issue of identity. It is one of the tallest orders regardless in which context you decide to pick that one apart. Identity is one of the first issues that any novelist ever tackles. Read James Joyce’s Ulysses, read Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy, read Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and you will find studies in identity beautifully and critically packed as works of literary art. I was blessed by the gift of identity in a way that has me feeling like I have had unprotected intercourse with it, and am now not only impregnated with its DNA, but also virally infected by it. Identity is another key to the man-theoretical, as knowledge and paradox are its accessories.

I have wondered for whom I am writing Theoretical Man, and once again, like with fiction, I find that it too is written for me. I want to understand what it is that I have somehow connected in my mind as being the puzzle of human existence. The only way that I am ever going to understand it, find its flaws, and gain some satisfaction, is if I write it and thus expose my mind’s machinations and fantasies. All of this is done in the name of nonfiction, all of this is done in the name of human inquiry in action to use Peter Reason‘s expression.

My inspiration is coming from the digital culture that I am embedded in. That is, inspiration is coming from what I read, from what I have learned, from the interactions, from the relationships, from the conversations and from what I am learning at all loci of my existence. I was surprised to see David’s first reactions to what I have been rattling off here. In particular I do like the reality aspects he brings in, and the questions that he is asking.

On occasions I do experiment with putting myself in the bin of the transhumanists, but often I prefer to call it trans-humanism. In a sense some of this can be looked as being beyond humanism and I have also played with the expression “Quantum Humanism.” And here we are right back to the question of identity. How do we classify this theory? How do we label it? Where does it belong to? How do we transact with it?

Still, to be in a place where people firmly believe that life can be artificially enhanced and augmented to the point of immortality, goes against my own tao. My own tao does not believe in much at all, it is a non-believing tao, and that is exactly who is informing my reasoning and writing.