Saturday, June 24, 2006

"And in the middle of investigation, I break down"

Think how we learn to use the expressions "Now I know how to go on," "Now I can go on" and others; in what family of language games we learn their use.

We can also imagine the case where nothing at all occurred in B's mind except that he suddenly said "Now I know how to go on"--perhaps with a feeling of relief; and that he did in fact go on working out the series without using the formula. And in this case too we should say--in certain circumstances--that he did know how to go on.
--Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, section 179
Unlike B, however, I have no clue how to go on. Knowing that would mean knowing, first, the situation in which one has found oneself, and, second, at least some of the options for what one would do next, given that situation; it's often helpful to have some idea how one got into the particular situation, as well, as it often gives clues. So things are fragmented in the Goldman household. I do the "next things" that are obvious to me--go to work, unpack boxes, throw away garbage. I make lists of things I have yet to do (get a working goddamned land line, which would enable me to buzz people into my apartment for example, or make a phone call on something other than a cell phone; get parking permits for guests, because parking is restricted on many of the streets in the neighborhood; buy groceries so I can cook something; sort through the Big Wad of Paper; hang pictures). I participate in entertainments and amusements of various sorts with friends (and enjoy them). All of this can occupy a fair amount of time. But then I look at the calendar and I remember what I was doing a year ago: preparing to go out to dinner with Dave, his family, and my family, would be the correct description.

I look around me, and I wonder how the hell I got here. I can identify each step, I can elaborate and enumerate to beat the band, but the steps do not add up in any way that makes sense to me. Dave says--and I know he means--that he would do anything to have me back, but I don't have a clue where "back" would be at this point. Back to what? And, please understand, that is not a criticism of Dave, but, rather, of me.
I wanted to put that picture before him, and his acceptance of the picture consists in his now being inclined to regard a given case differently: that is, to compare it with this rather than that set of pictures.
Philosophical Investigations, section 144
Here's the thing: very little that has happened in the past six months came completely out of the blue. There were precursors, or similar things, or whatever, over the seven and a half years we've known each other. Even some things that seem to have changed in the past month or so have, in some ways, mostly been reinterpreted. The reinterpretation is pretty dramatic, mind you, but it's not a big surprise, if that makes any sense (and I'm being intentionally vague, because a lot of it isn't my information).

Given the precursors, then, I increasingly feel that I should have acted differently--years ago. Those of you who remember Dave's post from a few months ago might be saying, "But, but, but, what about that stuff he did and said!" And, yes, you're right, but every relationship has two people in it. I'm neither stupid, nor naive, nor willfully ignorant.

I suppose if I could come up with some kind of useful analogy it would help--something about straws and camels' backs, or about ropes breaking would seem obvious, but they do not feel right to me. It's more like seeing the same situation through different pairs of glasses, each of which filters the scene in a different way. All (or most of) the information is there, no matter which glasses you wear, but your view of the information really differs dramatically. Not a good one, I suppose, but the best I can do now.

In any case, all the analogies in the world don't help me sort through this for more than a few minutes at a time. I think I have some clarity about this or that thing, this or that aspect (just to continue the Wittgensteinian theme, for those of you who've read him), but I cannot get all of the pieces to fit together. It's like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle, except the pieces in front of you are from more than one puzzle, and you don't have a complete version of any of the puzzles. There--there's your analogy for the night. Meanwhile, I've committed myself to hooking up electronica, and/or sorting papers, because sitting here having a pity party will not help.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Dave, not craw said...

I meant back in my life as more than just a "friend," back to some sort of daily routine together, back to sharing the trials and tribulations. I didn't mean to suggest that we could- or should- ever have what we thought we had.

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Larry Jones said...

I don't know from Wittgenstein. Does it help you to analyze this? You will break down at some point if you haven't already. It doesn't make you a bad person. As horrible as you may feel, maybe the best thing is to acknowledge that you may have made a mistake, wallow and grieve for a bit and to heck with the next thing.

Wouldn't it be great if we could learn our lessons without pain, without making mistakes? But of course then we wouldn't learn anything.

Thinking of you tonight.

2:32 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

"You never give me your money, you only give me your funny papers, and in the middle of negotiation, I break down"

Good choice.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Yeah, though I used the later line because it was more accurate AND a play on the Philosophical Investigations.

3:48 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

yeah, I got that. ;)

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Dave, not craw said...

In case anyone is/has been paying attention, June 26 is our anniversary. If that weren't enough, it's a crappy day outside. I wish I could say something to make Emma feel better... but we just seem to exacerbate things when we talk (a.k.a. this morning, on the phone).
I'm sorry, Emma... I really, really am.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Me, too, Dave; me, too.

5:11 AM  
Anonymous Lisa Marie said...

This whole situation is just wrenching. I feel the need to say something -- but nothing I would say would be appropriate or helpful.

So. Just...be good to yourself, Em'.

11:31 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Yes, best wishes to both of you. I hope you find the balm you need.

8:18 PM  

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