Thursday, September 19, 2019

Oedipus, Complex

Imagining different endings can be a dangerous thing. That’s what Philip K. Dick did The Man in the High Castle, Philip Roth in The Plot Against America and most recently Quentin Tarantino in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The fantasy may be benevolent or invidious but it makes you start to think that history can be rewound like a reel of old-fashioned celluloid film. If only you had  gone by your gut instinct and forgot about the supermarket, you wouldn’t have had the fender bender, or the argument with your girlfriend or boyfriend that was the beginning of the end. You wouldn’t have seen or heard something or become the repository of knowlege you would rather not have been privy to. Reimagining history gives the impression that the past is somehow labile, manageable and prone to damage control. The fact is that nothing is ever rewound.  Nothing is ever rewritten. Nothing ever goes away. You can’t nip happenstance in the bud. Coitus interruptus is actually a misnomer since it implies that a sexual act has not occurred; in fact, human action is a little like premature ejaculation to the extent that it, in fact, reveals its effects before they've sometimes even occurred. It’s like some incurable congenital ailment which can’t, like diabetes or alcoholism, go into remission. Poor Oedipus he spends his whole life trying to a avoid the prophecy of the oracle and ends up bringing about the very thing he's trying to avoid.

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