what will you do with that stick I said to my friend
well, that was on the social media — and it was a small stick. my friend, he, was holding it in a selfie.
friendship falls away, out, comes undone, your friend so easily becomes your enemy. “O my friends, there is no friend,” etc.
so much insistence from (my friends on) the left (on the social media) arguing that friendship “isn’t possible under capitalism.” that might be true; I don’t know. there’s a universe of not-knowing in me, of uncertainty.
but if it’s true, isn’t friendliness possible under any and all conditions. it’s sourced from interiority and not condition. & it doesn’t require any certainty.
In fact I am not equipped to write on this topic, but I proposed to do it: “Unfriendliness in the art worlds I / we inhabit. Not under the terms of friendship, but under the terms of friendliness, as seen from Buddhist or yogic perspective. The ways friendliness is anti-capital, but unfriendliness reproduces the forms of competition capital thrives on.”
Why am I not equipped? Not exactly a student of divinity, of affect theory, of Marx, Montaigne, Emerson, Derrida, Christ, Aristotle, Ahmed, Tiqqun, the Buddha, etc.
Unfriendliness doesn’t seem to have been theorized often — weak affect? But it’s more pervasive than outright hostility, isn’t it — it’s even prerequisite; a water we swim in. Or I do? A friend suggested that unfriendliness is an internal state without an external object; this would twin it with friendliness as a quality of being. But I’m not sure I agree. This would point to a kind of… sourness of person, rather than an activity directed toward someone else.
We did agree that unfriendliness is an absence of a kind of care, caring.
Yesterday we saw a cat eating — something — a worm, a lizard, a small snake, a caterpillar? It was half itself and still twitching. The miniature acts of violence in nature.
I reflected on the sadistic acts that have been done to me, “sadists I have known.” When the abbess asked me to clean the men’s bathroom, and there was a fresh shit floating in the toilet, I reflected on the possibility of experiencing that activity neutrally, yet I experienced her tasking me with that task as sadistic. I “knew” when I saw the shit that when she’d smiled at me while giving me the task, she’d known the shit was there. Well, I cleaned the shit, and refused to clean the shower.
I was recently asked to introduce Todd Haynes’s 1991 New Queer Cinema classic Poison, an exposition of desire, ostracization, and aggression, in three parts, drawn loosely from the writings of Jean Genet. I said yes I’ll introduce it, but no I haven’t seen it. Which was a lie, but I didn’t know it. I’d certainly seen it, and more than once. Now why had I forgotten it? Or rather how had I forgotten the brutality, the beauty of it? Possibly I’m too old to keep holding so many scenes in mind or possibly I have developed a personality that wants to scrub the poison out.
Before re-viewing the film, I’d been thinking about the word poison, and the ways poison is in us and in things and the ways poison in its various speeds, fast or slow, invades or pervades us. In Agatha Christie’s fiction, poison is often applied as the method of making a body become deceased, for reasons of profit, hatred, avarice, jealousy, to couple up with a different someone, and so on. Strychnine, arsenic, cyanide, but also monkshood, belladonna, hemlock, taxine, anthrax, morphine; and also, simply, the sleeping tablet. Silent poisons, bitter ones, odorless and tasteless toxicants, poisons that are fast-acting and agonizing, poisons that are slow to accrue and mimic symptoms of benign illnesses. Administered in teas, in jams, in wine, in pleasant unguents, inside of or instead of other medicines. I was thinking of the ways our sources of sustenance are poisoned, our water, our food, our communities, our friendships, our love relationships. What seeps in to corrode, rust, rot, how it does, becomes pervasive in a group or in a person, in the soil or in the soul.
you heal that, you become that. I thought I wanted to go into the mountains and now I’m here. I feel the distance between myself and the ocean —
Energy follows thought.
Well, why write about that here? We mistake division, discrimination, for discernment.
a friend, an intimate one, who is no longer a friend, used to say she felt like an overeager puppy, tongue out, tail wagging, loping on her puppy paws forward to engage liked or admired others — on the campus, at the opening, at the reading — only to smack against the plate glass sliding door of their refusal. I always admired the implication of that sliding door. And for which others that door would open.
we’re socialized to refuse but acceptance is the primary state of being.
because I say it is! obviously.
our pride in negativity. our legacy in it. obviously.
“Most of what we take to be individuality is conceptual,” writes our friend Norman Fischer.
Which is to say, our distinctions are conceptual.
Why is this pertinent here?
“was hating” — past progressive.
friendship: object, a thing, a noun
friendly: adverb, adjective, a manner, an action, a way of being, an activity
Are these words:
antiseptic, arctic, brittle, chill, chilly, cold, coldish, cool, frosty, gelid, glacial, icy, wintry
bloodless, heartless, pitiless, unfeeling; undemonstrative, unresponsive; apathetic, indifferent, uninterested; aloof, detached, dispassionate, impersonal, offish, standoffish; unsociable, unsocial
cattiness, invidiousness, malevolence, malice, maliciousness, malignancy, malignity, meanness, spite, spitefulness; aversion, disgust, distaste, odium, repugnance, repulsion, revulsion; animosity, antagonism, antipathy, bitterness, contempt, disdain, enmity, grudge, hostility, jealousy, pique, resentment, scorn; bile, jaundice, rancor, spleen, venom, virulence, vitriol
More fun to read than these words:
affable, affectionate, amiable, amicable, attentive, cordial, familiar, neighborly, receptive, sympathetic, welcoming, faithful, kind, benevolent, benign, comradely, conciliatory, convivial, genial, peaceable, propitious, solicitous
agreeable, approachable, good-tempered, gracious, nice, sweet; gregarious, hospitable, sociable; jolly, jovial, merry; brotherly, fraternal, sisterly; close, familiar, intimate, adoring; devoted, lovesome, tender, loving
compassionate, kind, kindhearted; demonstrative, expressive; passionate, eager, enthusiastic
I watched Poison and I went to sleep and in the morning I was groggy and couldn’t quite wake up, my dreams were: I was riding in the back of a van going up into the mountains, where I was going in a hurry, but the van I noticed had no driver, and I was the only passenger. As the van was hurtling forward I climbed up to the front to drive it, but the seat was too small and I couldn’t quite find the steering wheel, and my view through the windshield was frustrated by a square monitor on which I was supposed to be watching a picture of the road made by a camera mounted on the roof, but the screen kept shorting out, and it was raining and the road was getting slick, and the windshield was fogging up and the screen was flickering in and out of view and I couldn’t quite see around it and the rain was coming down very fast and the van was going very fast and I couldn’t apply the brakes quite right and as my alarm was going off I was pouring clear clean water from a silver chalice, my thermos, into a silver cup from a long ways up, and the stream of the water was the musical chiming stream-like flow coming from my iPhone and the bedtime app.
A few years back, some friends and some friends of friends organized a seminar in friendship, called Friendship as a Way of Life, after the 1981 interview with M. Foucault. None of the people involved in the seminar are friends with each other anymore, so I’ve heard; they fell out. I have the syllabus, though I didn’t read much from it. It’s heavily weighted to a western canon. Let me know if you can balance it in another direction.
Would they still be friends had they made their study in compassion, in friendliness, instead. I’m not judging.
The Boddhisatva Maitreya, the one who practices friendship, the Buddha of the future, who will bring the dharma when the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha, the Buddha of the current age, have disintegrated, when no one on earth practices the dharma any longer.
Maitreya, from the Sanskrit maitri, “friendliness”, “loving-kindness”, from the noun mitra, “friend”.
Maitreya is the Buddha of the next age, much as Shakyamuni is the Buddha of our age. He resides in Tushita heaven waiting for his final rebirth. As befits his highest rebirth, he wears the garments and jewels of a prince, though his halo clearly demarks his deified status. He can be identified by the sacred water flask in his left hand.
The messianic savior Maitreya is identified by the flask he holds in his lower hand. He is seated in a yogic posture on a double-lotus cushion and extends spiritual protection to believers with his raised hand, here displayed with the palm facing inwards, not outwards as is conventional. This icon has a superbly preserved metal surface, complete with silver inlay on the eyes and forehead mark (urna).
Maitreya, the messianic bodhisattva characterized as the Buddha of the Future, stands in a graciously exaggerated posture, the body beautifully counterbalanced. He holds his raised hand in the gesture of exposition (vitarka mudra