Empty Days

Sunday, October 17, 2004



Pollock.

Ed Harris made a film where he impersonated the american painter Jackson Pollock. I do not much care for his art, but the whole idea of what a strange thing it is to be a painter is the real point of the film - the idea itself is not about painting but rather about what people are made of and why they do what they do. The supposed uselessness of art strips this whole question to the bone. It is only seemingly less meaningless to be a lawyer than a painter - and in that sense this film is also about the illusion of meaning, or maybe what meaning really consists of.

To supplement the film comes this quote from Aleister Crowley, another odd character:

It is also desirable before beginning a formal meal to go through the following dialogue: Knock 3-5-3: say, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." The person at the other end of the table replies: "What is thy Will?" You: "It is my Will to eat and drink." He: "To what end?" You: "That my body may be fortified thereby." He: "To what end?" You: "That I may accomplish the Great Work." He: "Love is the law, love under will." You, with a single knock: "Fall to." When alone make a monologue of it: thus, Knock 3-5-3. Do what, etc. It is my Will to, etc., that my body, etc., that I may, etc., Love is, etc. Knock: and begin to eat.

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of performing these small ceremonies regularly, and being as nearly accurate as possible with regard to the times. You must not mind stopping in the middle of a crowded thoroughfare - lorries or no lorries - and saying the Adorations; and you must not mind snubbing your guest - or your host - if he or she should prove ignorant of his or her share of the dialogue. It is perhaps because these matters are so petty and trivial in appearance that they afford so excellent a training. They teach you concentration, mindfulness, moral and social courage, and a host of other virtues.


Lorries or no lorries.





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