by Penny Rimbaud

To be as much requires a beginning as does not to be, while, in turn, both suggest an ending. Never before, never again; stasis. Then where or what are the parameters? Only the silence, only the emptiness. Then, out of the void, a voice, ‘tis not I; hush, this is the silence’, and that is the question. The threads are golden; Ophelia follows the tides.

We exist, but now consider the landscape, embrace an ocean, observe the constellations and we exist no more; no past, no future, but still we exist. We exist in time, but time does not exist. We exist in space, but there is no space. We are this, but this has already passed us by, ceased to be. We are that, but that is always way beyond us. So then, do we exist only that we might be undone or is it rather that we exist that we might yet become? The threads are multiple.

We are handed down words as representations of things which in themselves have nothing to say; second-hand cast-offs in a dictionary of obsolescence. Does a tree say it’s a tree or even know that it is? Then why is it that we so like to presume on its behalf? “Ooh, look at that tree,” when a tree is clearly no more a tree than a banana skin. In their essential fauxness, words allude to give form to the formless which manifest as events that are the stuff and nonsense of the material world; psychological webs, the mind and its meanderings, the this and that of neurotic natter, fanciful rhetoric and, at best, metaphorical suggestion. And this also is the glue of attachment, the complex fragmented mess that we like to call the ‘real world’ all held together by the tacky tangle of illusory time and the singular separation of equally illusory space. Illusory, yes, but time and time again we are seduced by the lie. Thereby we become divorced from the greater forces of the universal to be deluded by sentimental tales of personalisation, possession, pride and prejudice; but, be warned, we cannot and will not be individuated and survive.

Trapped in tight little cul-de-sacs of self-absorption, yet deluding itself with conceits of free will, the psychological self, commonly known as ego, asks the questions and, ever-willing to compound the delusion, is quick to give the answers. Yes, no, on, off; the binary madness of ‘cogito ergo sum’ manifesting as agitated algorithms of mind. It is thus that we create our own fate, get beaten down by ourselves and, whilst denying our complicity, look beyond our illusory self to cast the blame. ‘J’accuse’, and the deadly missiles of ignorance are launched; the virus of negativity, cancerous in distillation, invisible in presence, blown on the winds of false prophecy. Self set against self, devouring self and other; the great divide. I think therefore … but think not and thereby give way to silence. There is no self to answer to.

So, driven by the consensual, and unable to see one thing without another, our muddled minds manufacture dualities which are the very root of doubt, the Yin Yang of fear, lurking in the shadows, ready to devour. It is from here that, to allay the darkness, we project it onto others, confusing sorrow with joy, hate with love, one with the other, any other, making opposites of them. Yet for all this, the all or nothing of the absolute determines that one remains the other as the other remains the one; true singularity in the manifold. Total being.

Negativity offers no solutions because it is counter-creative, counter-intuitive and counter-life. Hate is the ugly face of distorted love, fear is the invidious knowledge of our studied denialism; but the heart beats beyond these conceits, speaks out in its silent way against the heresy, ‘there is no blame to be cast out; it is you alone. There is no ‘other’ to look to. Look, then, to yourself, your hidden self. I will guide you, for it is only here that the answers abide, in silence.’ Then, most surely, rather than merely being a part of something, we become the all of everything, never apart, beyond expression, multi-dimensional and multi-directional, assured in the undoing.

‘I am heed and I am warnings. Cast off all ideas of self that self might arise untrammelled beyond your meagre imaginings. Come now, do you fear the idea that beyond idea you might not exist, that you might be no more than mere occasion, a slight upon breath? Then gasp, gasp at the magnificence beyond, unfold oceanic in defiance of the tempests – or cower serf-like in dusty cells of convention, conformity and indifference. Look now, the prison doors are open. There is no further to go, no more to be said.’

Acceptance of the materialist narrative is nothing less than self-imposed slavery. We are not, then how is it that we so blithely accept that we are, and, thereby, our containment? We define our own sorrows, freeze in the resultant fears and cheerily wear the mask of victimhood as if it were no more than cosmetic. Escape? But how? There are no clues to be given nor tricks to be played, quite simply, there is nothing to be attained and no path to follow. It is as is and that is that.

Silence. Silence now. We are never alone because we are as one, infinitive in expansion and unlimited in potential. Then what holds us back? What is the preventative? Why the inhibition? In short, what is stopping us?

Freedom is an existent reality: take it. Only you and the you that is not you; only the silence and the silence that is not silence. No more than this; to move on, but to remain here, there and everywhere. No more than that. There is no form, still less content. Each beginning is an ending, each ending a beginning; it is all a matter of attitude. And still the heart beats.

I have known these things yet know nothing, and in knowing nothing have grown to know these things. Freedom is an existent reality, take it now.

Whoops, missed it.


Penny Rimbaud, is a writer, poet, philosopher, painter, musician and activist. He was a member of the performance art groups EXIT and Ceres Confusion, and in 1972 was co-founder of the Stonehenge Free Festival. In 1977, alongside Steve Ignorant, he co-founded and played drums in the seminal anarchist punk band Crass.

Illustration by Gee Vaucher.



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