online: 17 october 2004

16 october 20048 matter in the wrong place

12:55: Parliament Hill. Grey clouds from the North Atlantic - moving quite quickly. Damp seats (I'm sitting on a plastic bag) and walls of drizzle half hiding parts of London. The tall buildings at Canary Wharf seem like solid grey lumps without windows. The grass is wet, the paths muddy, the trees look ready to drop their leaves. Raindrops fall on this handheld screen so I put it away...

(I continue on paper)... suddenly there is light round the city towers - the clouds there must be thinning, the details of buildings become visible. But here raindrops become frequent... So I fold up this paper and unfold my umbrella...

Station... the train arrives early. Now I'm in a coach with only 10 passengers. Three station cleaners enter with a dozen bags containing waste paper, plastic, fallen leaves, what else?, and on the way to where?...

'Waste is matter in the wrong place' - a saying of my father's. But I doubt if there is a right place for the matter we try to dispose of in such quantity (having moved it to 'wrong places' in the first instance!)... To resolve such a question requires thinking most sensitive to 'everything'. To solve this may be to solve the whole problem of living post-industrially!... for

Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement.

William Butler Yeats, in Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop, quoted by Norman O. Brown in Life Against Death, second edition Wesleyan University Press, Middletown Connecticut 1985, page 178.

Both Yeats and Brown have much to say about all this... Is the rain 'matter in the wrong place'? To some of us it is, to others it is life. Digital writing can be deleted without residue ... Yes, that could be our best lead into the whole question, of our collective craziness.

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