Letters from the Depths of Solitude (The Thirty-Ninth)
The day is a waiting when writing strikes, which it invariably does.
Mozart cafe is a place loved by Austinites. It generally sells bitter coffee, I find, and has a terrible bakery–it’s a cafe’s know-how–cakes are always either raw, or too sweetened, of oily shine, and unnatural colors, and not tasty at all. If I am hungry walking into Mozart cafe, I can be sure I am walking out hungry too. Literally nothing to eat here.
It is a hot day, and you are cooked alive, blood boiling in waves of heat, but Mozart has outside decks with chairs and tables, decks ascending to the Colorado River, which fresh breath provides some relief. Despite the heat, it seems a waste to seat inside.
The Colorado River is blocked by a small dam, and in a water reservoir observable from my point of view, there is a mooring of boats. Their blue, red, and yellow sides, too bright to look at without squinting, display proud names: “MasterCraft,” “Mobius,” “Extreme,” or, more modestly, letters and numbers. X-184520.
Several magnificent pecans grow on the territory of the cafe, and provide a much-needed, albeit plume, rarified shade.
The style of the place is both provincial and urbane. That is something, one could claim, characteristic of Austin; it’s both refined and rough. There is a whole degree it should be and, indubitably, will be polished.
Visitors here are mostly white Americans, unsurprisingly, but there is a visible component of those who are likely to be immigrants of the first generation; women wholly clad, in this kind of heat, in scarves on heads and long black dresses. Secularization is kind of inevitable down the road if you live long enough in a post-Protestant country.
Dogs are allowed on decks, so there is always plenty of dogs; their long tongues out, breathing heavily, saliva drops on wooden planks.
I thought briefly about writing on Skype conversations and phone conversations. How you summon a spirit by way of commanding the voice to emerge out of nonexistence, and, if the Internet connection is decent, then maybe even the moving picture of a distant interlocutor. It’s a table-turning of sorts, a ritual in which not unoften a clairvoyant played a role of a medium. Some of these mediums were known to be skillful ventriloquists; others, easily hypnotized somnambulists; third, hystericized bodies, ofttimes female. Who were they indeed? Prophets or frauds, sibyls or deceivers, seers or wanderers in the fog of delusions themselves? All of it? Either way, they were mediators of the mundane and the material, and the world of thin elements, the kingdom of ethereal entities. They had access to the realm of the dead, and did not find themselves amongst the living.
Now, as you noted, medium is but a technological means of communication. The communication is happening between spaces, not between worlds. Or, between worlds inasmuch as it is between separate spaces. The world is material and thus does not exist (in some sense) outside of our immediate horizon of perception–and if it does, what do we know of it? What do we know of the space which we do not suffer, so to speak, and to which our senses are not exposed? We assume we do know, we want the world to coincide with our perceptions, and our experience largely supports our suppositions: the world kind of exist even when we do not perceive it.
I was always fascinated with solipsists, of which Fichte was the most consequential. He adjusted his philosophical system dramatically during his life time, which makes an early Fichte quite unlike an older Fichte. What I liked in particular is that it was I (Ich), which summoned an object out of its nonexistence, using something of a kernel of the object, the kernel around which I structures its perception. I did not really fathom is the kernels of objects at least exist objectively, and what it means to be objective in Fichte’s world, but there is something strangely precise here, in the object which, to be perceived, drops its kernel in Ich’s consciousness.
(Written in a cake cream on the balustrade.)