Maria & Luciana

I awoke to Ines staring at me. She had withdrawn to the far side of the bed. She asked me who Maria was. I did not know what she was talking about. Who is she? Tell me. I don’t know any Maria. Mentiroso. Tell me. Who is she? You talked to her all night in your sleep.

Apparently I was talking Spanish during the night, mumbling words but mostly calling out the name ‘Maria.’ I didn’t understand it either.

She continued with it and I was unable to convince her that I knew no Marias in Colombia. The deep wellspring of jealousy of the Colombian woman had been released. But we had sex and later, when she left for work, Ines seemed to have accepted that Maria existed only in my dreams.


Ines awoke very early the following morning and proceeded to make a tremendous racket in the kitchen preparing lunch for us, slamming cupboard doors and even broke the foot lever for opening the trash bin. I lay in bed listening to the Bogota rain. I wasn’t interested in finding out what was wrong.

In the evening she called me and said she was going to the discotheque with friends and would be gone all night and would return in the morning. I said ok. It was strange, but she could do what she wanted. Then she said it was a joke. Ok, I said. She would be home in 30 minutes. Ok. I wanted crepes and was going to make them for us. Good, she said. She loved crepes. Then she asked me if I cared for her. Yes. Mucho? Yes.

When she got home she was smiling and we hugged and kissed and she asked again if I cared for her. Si, tonta. Si, claro que si. We ate crepes and drank beer and everything seemed good again.

“Who is Luciana?” she said.

I smiled, thinking it was a joke.

“In truth. Who is Luciana?”

“I do not know a Luciana.”

Mentiroso. Last night you talked again to Maria. You said ‘Maria, Maria, por favor, por favor.’ Then you talked to Luciana.”

I laughed. I didn’t believe it.

Putas. They are prostitutes in Buga.”

“No, no, silly girl.”

Putas. They are prostitutes in Cali.”

They are not prostitutes. Que tonta eres.”

"Go to your prostitutes. In truth. Vete a Buga."

"Que tonteria. There is no Maria. There is no Luciana."

“No me quieres.” She looked very hurt.

“I am here with you now. I am not in Buga. I am not in Cali.”

It continued this way for awhile and then I told her I wouldn’t talk about it anymore. I had chosen to be with her in Bogota and not with my prostitute girlfriends. There wasn’t anything more to say about it. She could not accept that they did not exist but it was enough for now that I had chosen to be with her.

That night I lay in bed trying to think the names of Maria and Luciana out of my head. But you cannot think names out of your head. As I tried to think them away, Maria and Luciana only became more ingrained in the foreground of my mind. Then I realized I was thinking of other girl's names too and I tried to make those names go away. Then I started seeing the faces of other girls and their names and I became worried I would speak their names in the night. So I stopped all the thinking of girls and their names and I started to think of guys I knew and their names. That would be better. To speak a guy's name in the night. I thought of a few names and I repeated them silently to myself. I looked down at her, her head upon my shoulder, asleep now, her arm across my chest. She was a good girl. It would be a shame to ruin a good thing because I called out other girl’s names in the night.


The Will of God

202. When faced with cruelty or suffering, the strength of a person or a culture is measured by how readily it invokes the ‘will of God’ rather than attempting an explanation of its own. An even healthier culture credits its happiness and success to the ‘will of God.’

204. “Everything happens for a reason” has replaced “It was God’s will” as a response to suffering. The weakness of the former, an appeal to an explanation that has not yet been made, versus the stolid acceptance that puts an end to reasoning and the compulsion to explain.

208. A less robust culture is one built upon a foundation of explanation. The extreme vanity of the West consists in its refusal to accept any sort of mystery, to accept that explanation must come to an end. And where the sacred might still have a place, Western man explains: “Science just hasn’t solved that yet.”

209. To construct a culture upon the ideas of rationality and objectivity is to construct a fortress upon a flood plain. Though it may prove impregnable to other men, eventually comes the great flood to wash it away. 'The will of God', by contrast, is absolute and enduring safety.

220. In the presence of mystery men are made strong.

224. The 'will of God' has its opposite in the vanity of men. To accept mystery and the sacred over theory and the laws of nature arguably makes for stronger men (e.g. Muslims).*

239. The decline of Rome produced a Dark Age. What might a decline of the West produce? The West is significantly more reliant upon systems, and significantly less religious.
* It is today something of a pragmatic choice for a Western man to be religious. But there is no element of pragmatism or choice in the religious life of the Muslim. Hence their religiosity, their strength.


La Guajira (Part 1)

We stayed at the home of her mother in the pueblo of Villanueva on a dry, sun-baked plain between two ranges of mountains. On the plain the trees grew low and wide and cattle, moving slowly in the heat, grazed in the dry grasses. Mototaxistas pulled their passengers in two-wheeled chariots through the dusty streets of the pueblo and it was very hot in the sun and we did not go out of the house until evening. Then, in the evening, we walked through the streets lined with cinderblock homes, greeting neighbors and friends, and had sweet pan de queso and jugos naturales under the great trees of the plaza.

The following day it rained and the sky went black and there was thunder and lightning and the streets of Villanueva ran with muddy water. When the storm passed it was bright again but cool and the people celebrated the rain and sat in chairs outside their homes as the sun went down and they were still there after dark. Her brother drove us through the pueblo and pointed out the discotheque and the pavilion where vallenato was performed and we made plans for Sunday, when he was not working in the coal mine, that we would drink together for the entire day, first beer than whisky. Aguardiente is too expensive here and whisky is preferred, he said. Yes, by god, then we will drink that then.

In the morning a mototaxista delivered her blind grandfather and I sat with him on the porch and he told me of the rivers. His eyes watered as he told me of the great Magdalena which ran throughout the country and I remembered to him that I had bathed in it once outside of Buga in the Cauca Valley. The Magdalena was a fine river, he said, but there were finer ones even. The white cat rubbed against my leg as he spoke to me. Then I excused myself from the cat and the blind man and had a breakfast of yuca arepas and sweet coffee.

That afternoon it was very hot and we sat in the shade of the mango tree and drank chilled whisky. Every ten minutes her brother or cousin or uncle or father would stand and pour out the shot for each of us and replace the bottle in a small metal pail filled with ice. Vallenato played loudly from the corner bar and the domino players smacked at the table and argued. It was very hot and after the first bottle the women pulled down green mangos from the branches of the tree and returned with the fruit sliced and salted for us to eat.


Bogota 2

                             centro comercial

                        outdoor gym



Science and Myth

“Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same” —Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 6.42

“Whoever concerns himself with the Greeks should be ever mindful that an unrestrained thirst for knowledge for its own sake barbarizes men just as much as a hatred of knowledge.”—Nietzsche, Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks

33. Western man lacks the attitude for the ethical or aesthetic: He looks to science for the meaning of the world. Economics instructs him on how to act in it. His technology he accepts as the limits of his world.

42. Myth leaves the world as it is, but changes man’s attitude towards it. Myth provides a clarity about the world that changes man’s feeling about it. His clarity exists as a feeling, an aesthetic experience of the world. It is a clarity that leaves the world unchanged. Science, in contrast, attempts to produce a clarity absent any feeling by breaking the world down and separating it and, in the service of technology, by transforming it.

45. To be without a feeling towards the world or other men is to be without any ethics, any aesthetic sense. The man of science calls this objectivity. The man of economics calls this rationality. To Western men these are privileged and valuable positions. (These are the attributes of the autistic.)

64. Western man wants to take orders. What is orderly can be made to function more efficiently. He conceives life in terms of his systems and their smooth running. The threat to the functioning of his systems is the meaning of life.


The man who wanders knows the divinities.
The man who sits causes the divinities to withdraw.


64. Transcendence is the act of the desperate individual, a retreat from the world. He attempts to separate himself from the world because he lacks the courage to live differently in it, to change it. To listen to the call of an inner life is a coward’s project.

66. In transcendence he throws away his life. He follows the misdirection of errant philosophers. It is a denial of the world built upon a fallacy of thinking/language (dualism: mind/body separation). He who transcends is a living suicide.

69. To be transfigured is to change one’s form of life. There is no retreat. To transfigure is to be transformed by way of action in the world. To transfigure is to affirm the world, to ecstatically embrace it and to be visibly changedboth individual and the world.

79. If I am changed my aspect on the world is changed. My world is changed. I am the limits of the world.

Bogota 1

           mi cuadra

          de la ventana

   mi hogareƱa cocina para mi

      good wall for a mugging

    siempre con jugos naturales

                 home gym
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