The Last Word


Indolent.  That”s the last word.


Offering up this word ends the pretense.  Ends the effort.  Ends the need for effort.  Maybe the effort was never worth it because it always seemed like a double effort or an effort folded over, already too daunting to think about.  I must make an effort in order to, then, consequently, make an effort.  I must make an effort in order to acquire the credible veneer of one who seems to spend his time making an effort.  Even the effort I afforded this paragraph, glibly relying as it does on the repeated use of a word, was folded over, was a cover-up, an attempt to indolently get through to the end without too much effort.


I take walks most days.  It”s boring and meditative.  I am a prisoner of the Other.  I grapple with what the Other might want.  Lacan 101.  I offer up my thoughts.  I gather up self-appraising notions.  I craft aphoristic codas.  I pretend I”m a wordsmith.  I get the jump on time by making phrases.  I stand there waiting for myself to catch up.  It”s all very tiring and obsessive.  So, on the walk today, I proposed to the Other to offer up a word that sums it all up, that accomplishes the perfect self-evaluation.  Once I proposed this, the word came fairly quickly.  Indolent.  I am indolent.  I have always been indolent.  I, baring unforeseen interventions, will always be indolent.  I further told the Other that once I offered the word, I would be free of a large number of its demands.  I would be off the inflatable hello kitty


And so I am.  Yes, the Other will still pester me about other matters, but I now can be at peace over so many things connected with questions of energy and activity.  I consider this a very Lichtenbergian achievement, by the way, one the brethren will accept without too much condemnation.  I do question, however, whether or not I can still hold the office of “Aphorist.”  I can only continue to hold it if all accept that I bear the title ironically.  More ironically than when originally bestowed.  I was, I must confess, quite invested in the appearance of “accomplishment” and of my possessing certain “powers” that went along with the title.  I made a certain amount of effort to try and keep that all propped up.  But the truth is, it”s work.  And it”s the kind of expenditure that is akin to treading water while trying to wave and appearing to float effortlessly.  I am a treader trying to pass as a floater.  And for all I know people on the shore are discussing it among themselves:  he looks so contorted trying to hide the fact he”s treading; does he really think we think he”s floating?  Every floater knows floating doesn”t look like that.  And so on.


I expect there to be some condemnation, of course.  The full truth of the word indolent includes a certain amount of the ignoble.  In other words, indolent is mobile casino not a characterization tinged with irony.  It”s just true.  And its despicable dimension is also true.  I don”t celebrate it, but I don”t hide it.  I am indolent.  Don”t expect much.


And so I can conclude at a moment”s notice.  I will not fret over the fact that what I have rendered here in no way sounds like the symphony of summation I unfolded during my walk.  The word has freed me from that.  And freed me from worrying about crafting pithy final sentences.  I am now giving a last bit of effort to recalling any details from my walking meditation that I can include.  I stop typing to do that now.


I resume.  Why indolent and not lazy?  A touch of vanity, I think.  Also true to my nature.  Indolent implies that I did as a youth show some earnest effort, that I earnestly worked at my vocabulary lists.  But I don”t think I have ever included the word in my working vocabulary.  It was kind of an accidental recall.  Sure, I”ve read it in books.  The fact that I would assure you of that is also part of my character.  Indolent evokes for me a certain atmosphere, one in which the word lazy certainly has a place, but which also includes other paralyzing and paradoxical elements.  And I offer that previous  sentence rather than an autobiographical fantasia.  Nothing to hide, just intimidated by the effort it would require to weave all that into this.


One other thing.  Maybe two further things.  I have been in trance-like states of absorption in which something like creative expression has taken place.  Those moments seem, in retrospect, effortless, but they tend to be self-contained ends in themselves.  No way to turn back and recapture, no way to exploit for future glory.  So not part of the equation, I think.  Also, I find certain distancing conventions impossible to undertake.  It is very difficult to fictionalize, for instance, so that avenue is not really open to me.  And maybe not really that interesting to me.  Which, too, may be due to indolence.  Taking upon myself the burden of others, of sharing their worlds–no energy for that.  So no energy for making up lives and shouldering their cares.  Abstractions have always been more amenable. Perhaps because I can pick them up and set them down without burdening myself too much.  Abstractions lend themselves more easily to the trance-like improvisatory play I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.  But still, it”s a laborious seizing of elements.  Best to leave it to those who do it like breathing.


Anything further?  Nope.  That”s it.




14 Thoughts on “The Last Word

  1. Painfully self-aware. I don’t think I care know myself that well. It would only result in self-loathing. I get enough of that already. Living outside of my own head is what makes life bearable. So, yeah, I take daily walks, too. Birds are nice.

  2. (Most of us are treading in some way or other.)

  3. I see it as the shadow side of cheery Lichtenbergianism. Going for Jungian integration, don’t you know.

  4. Turff on July 19, 2012 at 10:42 am said:

    Ever tried to tread water while fully dressed? Wearing boots? It’s like that.

  5. marc on July 20, 2012 at 9:34 am said:

    That sounds as if it’s exhausting. I toast you from my lounger on the shore. Or at poolside. Or ringside.

  6. marc on July 20, 2012 at 2:48 pm said:

    Or at fireside, of course.

  7. marc on July 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm said:

    Just another Artaudian tired of signaling through the flames. You know how it is.

  8. dale on July 22, 2012 at 4:42 pm said:

    What the hell are you people doing up there? he asked, knowing the answer will be nothing, didn’t you even read it?

  9. marc on July 23, 2012 at 7:05 am said:

    Someone has to remain committed to Orthodoxy, to the Old Religion. To actual existing Lichtenbergianism.

  10. Jeff on July 24, 2012 at 9:59 am said:

    Hear hear!

  11. I must point out, however, that Marc betrays the orthodoxy in at least one key respect. He has been the most consistent (and dare I say the most poignant) BLOGGER on this site. Maybe in all of his fretting and treading he’s found his true calling. Essayist.

  12. marc on July 25, 2012 at 4:52 am said:

    It is orthodox to dash off hyper-conscious dispatches, even to expend enormous amounts of time and effort doing so. It’s hedging up one’s wits against the sad absence, turning one’s back on the truth of the…Deficit. The more “waste,” the better. I daresay my brethren are engaged are engaged in that most pernicious heresy: the secret and silent labor on Great Work, the distilling and collecting of Mojo. Prudent economics.

  13. marc on July 25, 2012 at 9:24 am said:

    We must not lose touch with the farce of our founding. We must not. (Pardon. Filled with zeal after re-reading The Charter…It will pass.)

  14. jeff on July 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm said:

    Well, I’m glad SOMEONE is keeping us on track. I raise my cup again to you, good sir.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation