The heart of the matter
Once, we supposed that by burrowing into the world, and taking things apart, we would eventually arrive at pure essences, at unbequeathed virgins hidden behind thick layered harems of dust, grime and exactitude. At the heart of the matter. When we ‘arrived’ there, it wasn’t a holy calmness we found: in the material world, the electron touched herself in perverse sensuality – neither here nor there, frolicking with virtualities, teasing the impossible, mocking our gaze; in the intellectual world, we surveyed the ancient ruins of Reason, overrun by visiting hordes from less austere realms; in the moral world, where we supposed ‘love’ to be the resolute bedrock for all things, we noticed a queer undergrowth, a flourishing carnality of considerations. Mere chaos.
In other words, we are finding that the heart of the matter is not a simple creed, stable ground, conquering Truth, or an exalted state. And that there is nothing ‘pure’ or finished about the world. The heart knows something we don’t – and this is that one and one often equals less; that life cannot be computed in terms of ends and purposes; that the idea that our lives are a lone feverish hunt for happiness is a conspiratorial compromise and, as such, what we all want and long for is not given or uncontested; and that behind the curtains, when the neon lights flicker out and our masks come off, when the candle-stained scripts rest exhausted from all the handling, our most astonishing fear is ourselves – strange, perverse, wild, indeterminate, and powerful. If we touched the heart of the matter, it wouldn’t be satisfaction we will feel. When the saints go marching in, it isn’t eternal rest they will find. Nothing is still or settled. The heart of the matter is a gasp, a bleeding cut, a haptic involution, a self-touching encounter, an event horizon that takes us in and belches us out in stranger versions of where we first began.