… because the puzzle seemed ever more complex and he had begun to feel that this world-puzzle that he was so desperate to understand, that he was torturing himself trying to understand was really the puzzle of himself and the world at once, that they were in effect one and the same thing …
Destroy my desires, eradicate my ideals, show me something better, and I will follow you.
"We can justify any apologia simply by calling life a successive rejection of personalities. No apologia is any more than a romance - half a fiction - in which all the successive identities taken on and rejected by the writer as a function of linear time are treated as separate characters. The writing itself even constitutes another rejection, another "character" added to the past. So we do sell our souls: paying them away to history in little installments. It isn’t so much to pay for eyes clear enough to see past the fiction of continuity, the fiction of cause and effect, the fiction of a humanized history endowed with"reason.""
Thomas Pynchon - V., p. 335
Anything that can get drunk, he reasoned, must have some soul.
Born in Durham in ‘23,
By a pappy who was absentee,
Was took to a lynching at the neighborhood tree,
Whooped him a nigger when he was only three.
Roony, Roony Winsome, king of the decky-dance.
Pretty soon he started to grow,
Everyone knew he’d be a loving beau,
Cause down by the tracks he would frequently go
To change his luck at a dollar a throw.
Well he hit Winston-Salem with a rebel yell,
Found his self a pretty Southron belle
Was doing fine till her pappy raised hell
When he noticed her belly was beginning to swell.
Luckily the war up and came along,
He joined the army feeling brave and strong,
His patriotism didn’t last for long,
They put him in a foxhole where he didn’t belong.
He worked him a hustle with his first C.O.,
Got transferred back to a PIO,
Sat out the war in a fancy chateau,
Egging on the troops toward Tokyo.
When the war was over, his fighting done,
He hung up his khakis and his Garand gun
Came along to Noo York to have some fun,
But couldn’t find a job till ‘51.
Started writing copy for MCA
It wasn’t any fun but it was steady pay,
Sneaking out of work one lovely day
He met him a dolly called Mafi-yay.
Mafia thought he had a future ahead,
And looked like she knew how to bounce a bed
Old Roony must’ve been sick in the head
Cause pretty soon, they up and wed.
Now he’s got a record company,
A third of the profits plus salary,
A beautiful wife who wants to be free
So she can practice her Theory.
Roony, Roony Winsome, king of the decky-dance.
and had had to lie there, moist and paralyzed, curled fetal on his own sweat-shadow, and watch on the viewer a pale young guy about Hal’s age, with copper stubble and a red cowlick and flat blank affectless black doll’s eyes, stare into space stage-left while a brisk Albertan voiceover explained that Fenton here was a dyed-in-the-wool paranoid schizophrenic who believed that radioactive fluids were invading his skull and that hugely complex high-tech-type machines had been specially designed and programmed to pursue him without cease until they caught him and made brutal sport of him and buried him alive. It was an old late-millennial CBC public-interest Canadian news documentary, digitally sharpened and redisseminated under the InterLace imprimatur — InterLace could get kind of seedy and low-rent during early-morning off-hours, in terms of Spontaneous Disseminations.
And so but since the old CBC documentary’s thesis was turning out pretty clearly to be SCHIZOPHRENIA: BODY, the voiceover evinced great clipped good cheer as it explained that well, yes, poor old Fenton here was more or less hopeless as an extra-institutional functioning unit, but that, on the up-side, science could at least give his existence some sort of meaning by studying him very carefully to help learn how schizophrenia manifested itself in the human body’s brain… that, in other words, with the aid of cutting-edge Positron-Emission Topography or ‘P.E.T.’ technology (since supplanted wholly by Invasive Digitals, Orin hears the developmental psychology graduate student mutter to herself, watching rapt over her cup, unaware that Orin’s paralytically awake), they could scan and study how different parts of poor old Fenton’s dysfunctional brain emitted positrons in a whole different topography than your average hale and hearty nondelusional God-fearing Albertan’s brain, advancing science by injecting test-subject Fenton here with a special blood-brain-barrier-penetrating radioactive dye and then sticking him in the rotating body-sized receptacle of a P.E.T. Scanner — on the viewer, it’s an enormous gray-metal machine that looks like something co-designed by James Cameron and Fritz Lang, and now have a look at this Fenton fellow’s eyes as he starts to get the gist of what the voiceover’s saying — and in a terse old Public-TV cut they now showed subject Fenton in five-point canvas restraints whipping his copper-haired head from side to side as guys in mint-green surgical masks and caps inject him with radioactive fluids through a turkey-baster-sized syringe, then good old Fenton’s eyes bugging out in total foreseen horror as he’s rolled toward the huge gray P.E.T. device and slid like an unrisen loaf into the thing’s open maw until only his decay-colored sneakers are in view, and the body-sized receptacle rotates the test-subject counterclockwise, with brutal speed, so that the old sneakers point up and then left and then down and then right and then up, faster and faster, the machine’s blurps and tweets not even coming close to covering Fenton’s entombed howls as his worst delusional fears came true in digital stereo and you could hear the last surviving bits of his functional dye-permeated mind being screamed out of him for all time as the viewer digitally superimposed an image of Fenton’s ember-red and neutron-blue brain in the lower-right corner, where InterLace’s Time/Temp functions usually appear, and the brisk voiceover gave capsule histories of first paranoid schizophrenia and then P.E.T.