Ever feel like you're living life doubled back on yourself? Me neither. But the echoes, the returns, the patterns, the coming-back-to's: I feel them quite profoundly. That, and the newness.
My life has flipped a figure of eight on me. I started off in this one place at a tender age. It was a place unchosen, and that always rankled me. Back then I didn't even know I was supposed to find myself. All I knew was a certain highway that took me to school and that I should regularly put twenty rands of petrol into the tank of my 1979 Mini Cooper Special so I didn't get stuck on said highway on the way there or home. All I knew was some kind of sense that there was, surely, more to life than this. Fast forward: life happened and those things that were more found me (this is the thing: I don't live life, it lives me). A couple of twists in the tale, the flick of a few switches, a toggle of hemispheres once then again, and next thing I know, here I am again. But the city is like a new and improved version and so am I. Wherever you go, there you are. Wherever you came from, there's your due. Those that leave always return to somewhere. Home is home. Again. And I'm here and it's good.
The psychic intersections, the missed off-ramps, the wrong turns: all right, beautiful. The mistakes corrected (or not), the cringe-worthy reminiscences, the judging-it-wrongs and trying-to-get-it-rights: no problem. What is it all about, if not tying ourselves up into magnificent knots and then trying to make our friends laugh with the stories of how we tried to untangle them?
This issue's organizing symbol has been interpreted in some fascinating ways. The fetish blindfold, self-pleasuring, so many kinds of longing that feel like they'll never end, naïve promises of inexhaustible love, a pair of juvenile breasts in a wet t-shirt, vampire birthdays (what's the point?), eternal damnation (ha!), mathematics translated into art, crossing over from one sex to the other, getting all tied up, and definitely lust (a lot of that). And more: unsurprisingly (forgive me the predictable pun) the infinity symbol has a limitless set of connotations.
The counterpoint: the only reason we are able to imagine infinity is because of the scarcity of almost everything in the material world. There is only so much coal and oil on the planet: we'll burn both until we run out and find ourselves in a place of no return; only then will we realize we should have been more careful. Such is human folly. Fresh, clean water isn't easy to come by for the majority of human beings. Food, safety, primary healthcare: also hard to access for many. Not enough to go around - or so we're expected to believe, otherwise why would we remain complacent in seeing others go without? But apparently - so I'm told - some resources in life are infinite: kindness, love, pleasure, friends. But just because they're limitless does not mean they should not be treated with care. The more care, the more love. The more communication, the more pleasure. The more thought, the more kindness. The more effort, the more friends. This is how goodness becomes infinite - through cultivation. By being nurtured, it keeps unfolding.
What I'm saying is that nothing becomes endless without a little work. Infinity doesn't just happen all by itself.
archive - issue 13