Friday, July 30, 2021



The Persistance of Memory by Salvador Dali

Interstices of time can be like memories to the extent they’re non sequiturs. Reality as a continuity is akin to Godard’s "film is truth 24 frames a second and every cut is a lie." In much the way that the mind consolidated vision (between two eyes) and memory it also produces a picture or narrative. Naturally with no perceiving consciousness you're left with the old paradigm of the leaf falling in the forest and no one there to see it. Who is to know if there's any noumenal existence? It’s also mere conjecture that you're in collective agreement about the colors of the spectrum or Greenwich Mean Time or that “life” was any more than an evanescent dream after you’ve departed it.

Read "The Real Thing" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

Thursday, July 29, 2021

If you use Mail Chimp, you’ll probably discover your missives have gone to defunct addresses. It’s like supporters of the Big Lie who charged that many people who voted for Biden were dead. Actually, it’s a reverse séance, not the dead talking to you and making the lights flicker, but you trying to have the last word. There’s nothing more disconcerting than somebody who decides you’re not worth their time. Usually, it’s someone you didn’t give a fuck about anyway. However, you always want people to look at you as a contender and not someone who’s a nobody. So that’s the virtue of these old "dead letters." You can let those who've crossed over know about your great success, even though they’re no longer here. Let’s say someone’s kicked. Does that mean you're not going to have one last chance to demonstrate how wrong they were? Even in the case of unrequited love, the answer is a fervent yes. The only problem is, if you start to get replies from, you may be experiencing a psychic break.

Read "God Redux" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The First Three Minutes

The Times obituary of Steven Weinberg ("Steven Weinberg, Groundbreaking Nobelist in Physics, Dies at 88,NYT, 7/275/21), recounts how the famed cosmologist was asked by the Nobel Institute about the following quote from his The First Three Minutes: “the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.” The obit goes on to give his response. “What I meant by that statement is that there is no point to be discovered in nature itself; there is no cosmic plan for us. We are not actors in a drama that has been written with us playing the starring role. There are laws—we are discovering those laws—but they are impersonal, they are cold.” Weinberg was talking about the cosmic yawn, the disconcerting indifference that occurs when consciousness, setting out to ascertain ulterior motives and agency, is mocked. It’s a free country. No one is going to stop you from believing the parking space you have located is part of some divine plan and everything is as it’s supposed to be” as some religionists aver. In the same obit Weinberg says this about religion: “Anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest contribution to civilization.” Amen!

"It Ain't Over Until It's Over" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain’s life was like many of the exotic locales he visited--filled with both great color and danger. He visited Laos and ate the indigenous food with a peasant whose arms and legs had been blown off. He was in Lebanon sampling the cuisine when Hezbollah attacked. He ended up poolside at a luxury hotel while shells flew in the distance. He was in Libya. Kitchen Confidential, which made Bourdain, famous was not Julia Child or James Beard revealing their culinary secrets. His hugely popular CNN program Parts Unknown (which may have referred to breasts and thighs of animals or people as well as geographic places) was not Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It was hardly the stuff of the Food Network. CNN was actually the perfect placement for the show, since it treated eating as an almost political act. Bourdain was fascinated by Apocalypse Now. His trip into the Congo, an area probably not the domain of too many food journalists, was a journey into his own Heart of Darkness. Is it the food you’re after when you risk your life to eat it? Ask anyone who has dared to try the potentially lethal form of Japanese blowfish, fugu. He dined on cobra and joined the abattoir chopping off the head of a chicken he held in his bare hands. He traveled to 26 countries covering 662,000 miles after he gave up being a chef at Les Halles on lower Park Avenue. Like many romantics, he relished the act of seeking, of imagination over actually living. He toyed with domesticity in his second marriage in which he became, for a time, a devoted father. But he eventually gave it up falling into an obsessional relationship with Asia Argento who apparently had become his drug of choice (he had been a heroin addict). Morgan Neville's Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain has all the ingredients of a hagiography, due to both his subject's charisma and the devotion Bourdain commanded. But the movie is curiously sad. For a colorful personage who believed "the greatest sin was mediocrity," Bourdain, a one-time ju jitsu champion, ended up falling victim to his own outsized appetites.

Read "Diasporic Dining: A Comparison Between Bouley and Lunetta" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Gods That Failed

The Achilles’ heel of Marxism is its failure to account for psychology. In the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 Marx does deal with the alienation attendant upon factors like the division of labor. But the cure he would propose in Das Kapital would partake of the same impersonality as the disease. The legacy of the Industrial Revolution was the production line, a key facet of both the capitalist and communist economies. However, capitalism allowed for the entrepreneurial spirit, while agency and motivation are absent under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The price for economic freedom within the Marxist paradigm is individuality. Ironically Marxism and Psychoanalysis are actually both Gods that Failed to cite Koestler’s famous iteration. The acuity of Marx’s economic analysis (particularly of capitalism) was tantamount to psychoanalysis's understanding of the mind and brain. Yet both systems of thought have proved to be ineluctably tethered to the l9th century societies out of which they emerged. Deleuze and Guattari tried to merge Marxist precepts and psychoanalysis in The Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Imagine Marx ringing the bell at Berggasse l9, looking for help.

Read "Oedipus at Rest" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

Friday, July 23, 2021

Gone Fishing

If you have ever been on jury duty, you will remember the interrogative locution “and did there come a time?” posed to a witness when chronology is being confirmed. Fate comes out of the woodwork at a certain point in everyone’s life and becomes a visible player. You remember Tiresias from Oedipus. In The Lonely Man of Faith, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik asks  "Is it the Kierkegaardian anguish--an ontological fear nurtured by the awareness of nonbeing threatening one's existence--that assails me...?" When does finitude ever more real, imminent and palpable like a red Stop sign in the distance? A year or two or three from now, you might not be a thinking self-reflexive consciousness. It’s a tough nut to swallow for even the most philosophically inclined. No longer being a thinking being is not something, it's easy to get your hands around. The person in late middle age actually may marvel at the wherewithal of those in their late 80s and even 90s who carry on like life is forever while living at the edge of the abyss. Panic or acceptance or probably something in between is the modality many mortals fall into as their biological clocks continue to tick. Is it reassuring that life will go on after you're gone? Can you imagine your loved ones falling into the arms of a lover, trainer or therapist after they've said their goodbyes?

Read "It's Not a Rehearsal" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Seventh Seal

Too bad Bergman isn’t alive. He might have created a Seventh Seal for our time or Shame. All the ingredients are in place. You have a plague and the ensuing viral conspiracies like the QAnon movement--in which a lumpenproletariat fueled with dark imaginings journey to a promised land. In fact, a good part of the United States, at least the 46% that aren’t vaccinated, are playing chess with Death. Witch burnings occur in places like Charlottesville. Fire up the attendees at a January 6 Trump rally and these covens invade the once sacrosanct halls of congress crying out “where are you, Nancy?” The lynch mob of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys is ready to burn infidels at the stake. With the upsurge of the Delta variant and the specter of wildfires, you're faced with a vista of hell. Despite all the advances of medicine and science, the most affluent society on earth and the one time home of enlightenment thinking and democracy has become a medieval fiefdom where feudal state legislatures bow to Grand Inquisitors with names like Cyber Ninja.

Read "The Seven Ages of Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Trouble With Harry (1955)

photo: Paul Maritz

A zebra doesn’t change its stripes and a Trotskyite Partisan Review intellectual of the 60s is not going to become addicted to Grand Theft Auto, unless they become one of those self-invented personalities. You may remember back in high school or college those classmates who went to France during their junior year abroad and came back looking and talking like Jean Moreau or Jean Gabin. Or there were the kids who were sent off to Sweden and came home playing chess with Death. The fact is, at the end of the day, “the chickens” whether they be wandering Jewish intellectuals or Kennedy clones with Boston accents and gray shingled compounds in places like Hyannis or if they’re Upper West Side psychoanalysts, Wellfleet, come home to roost. Oh let’s not forget the ones who went to Rome and returned with their Mastroianni and Monica Vitti fixations, waving their hands in the air as Italian sounding words burst forth from their mouths like machine gun fire. “Everyone has to conform,” one of your parents' silent generation 50s friends may have lectured you during the 60s when you were about to "turn on, tune in and drop out" a la Timothy Leary--and finally became a Dead Head. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose or as Yeats said, “turning and turning in the widening gyre. A zebra may not change it's stripes, but what about the elephant  or the corpse (a la the l955 Hitchcock film) in the room?

Read "Is Your Self-Invention a Success?" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


Truth is a little like Absolute Zero, which you may remember is O on the Kelvin scare, or -273.15C. Truth is also like the speed of light which  is approached but not achieved without the transformation into pure energy. It’s a long and winding road peopled with mythological creatures like the deadly Charybdis and Scylla, which threatened Odysseus, but which, in fact, are avatars of emotion. Misconceptions and preconceptions are enablers that facilitate distortions of reality. You might have engineered a whole vengeful narrative which will ultimately enable you to ship off, and that may be the point. In fact by turning the dial a little bit from the course on which you’re set, you may unleash whole new realms of unsung possibility. For instance, it’s fun and even exhilarating to create a comic strip of a rival’s life, in which their bothersome little traits are set in stone, but once the thrill of dismissal has past, you’re left drowning in a seemingly unfathomable well of anger and emptiness. How much easier to clear the obstacles in your path as you edge more closely to an accurate perception of so-called reality! Distortions produce adrenalin, but however much fun they are, these will not succeed in getting you to your destination in time or indeed at all.

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Happy Ending

A “happy ending” is famously what you get when you go to some massage parlors, but the urban mythology overshadows the more literal meanings of the word—common parlance before the advent of a certain specialty of the sex industry. A "happy ending" refers to the denouement of a certain kind of story. Fairytales most obviously have "happy endings." A writer named Laurie Colwin once wrote a book entitled Happy All the Time which is not a book that Schopenhauer or his contemporary spokesman Michel Houellebecq would have plucked off the shelves. If you’re a pessimist or depressive, even if you’re a pessimistic or depressed Quaker, you might not like stories that have "happy endings." Most thrillers and genre detective works, which are not noirs like James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity or The Postman Always Rings Twice, have "happy endings." The pleasure of these derives from the way in which the world is reonstituted and made intact again, like in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, which ran in the West End from l952-2020, epitomizes this kind of resolution. And then a "happy ending" can refer to the kind of life where one dies in one’s sleep. You might even have a "happy ending" before your "happy ending." Nelson Rockefeller died in flagrante with his mistress, something which didn’t make his wife, Happy, live up to her name. 

"Read "What is Happiness?" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

Friday, July 16, 2021

Customized Liturgy

obsessive handwashing (photo: Lasklintwallmalmquvist)

There's a liturgical element to routine. Waking up each day, repeating  even basic ones like the three S’s has the quality of prayer. Inevitably some degree of magical thinking is involved. When you don’t restate your commitment, it’s as if you’ve sinned. An imagined nest of vipers threatens to be unleashed the minute you attempt to free yourself. You'll have an Adamic fall. Of course, there are those whose compulsions find other outlets. If you're constantly inebriated and full of yourself, you're unlikely to worship at the altar of repetition. But even those who forswear the obvious mantras tend to be creatures of habit. Most psychohistories reveal, there’s even a predictability within seeming irregularity. For instance, reason and human ingenuity were recently  employed to break the code of the famed Zodiac killer ("I've Cracked Zodiac, a French Engineer Says. Online Sleuths Skeptical,NYT, 6/22/21). The plan might not be obvious, but ultimately one discovers a method in the madness. 

Read "Sh*t or Get Off the Pot" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Abnormal People

Sally Rooney’s Normal People is really about abnormal people or psychology. It’s also about aspiring for the undefinable dream of normalcy or simply fitting in. Her main character Marianne likes to be hit during sex; she models for a Swedish photographer blindfolded with her wrists bound. Her paraphilias are what separates her from her best friend and sometime lover Connell. In one scene,  they’ve gotten back together after many ups and downs. They proclaim their love for each other. It looks like they’re finally ready. They’ll become a couple, until she says "you can do anything you want with me" and asks "will you hit me?" The way Rooney masterfully writes the interchange underscores the fine line between bonding and self-abnegation. The romantic yearnings segue almost seamlessly into fetishism. Marianne had previously been in a relationship with a character named Jamie who beat and choked her during sex and she has an abusive brother. Connell pulls away in flagrante; it’s a decisive moment since he can’t tolerate what she’s revealed. Her emotions swing from passionate love to a feeling of emptiness and desolation, though it’s the almost seamless tie between the two that's disconcertingly being described. Passion in German is Leidenschaft. The prefix means suffer, for instance like Wagner's  doomed lovers, Tristan and Isolde.

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Devil's in the Details

There are tyrants on the world stage and in the bedroom, but Trump may be exemplary. If you didn’t believe in the devil you may have changed your mind by now. In fact, when you think about it, Trump is very much like The Joker. He is the anti-Christ to say Obama’s superhero. If you were casting Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor, the former president would be perfect for the part. One wishes that Trump conformed to the soubriquet Hannah Arendt invented for Eichmann, “the banality of evil.” But actually he’s not the man in the glass booth who claimed he was taking orders. He cackles confidently like some arch villain in a comic book when he talks about how his baseless class action suit against Facebook, Twitter and Google will be the first of many. You cannot sue a private company on First Amendment issues, as Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe pointed out on CNN. However, Trump is the Lord of Misrule. By the time you’ve amassed the evidence against him for January 6, he's initiated a new attack (currently he's demanding to know why there have been no investigations into the shooting of the insurrectionist Ashley Babbitt). Ha ha, there have been all the requisite investigations. One of his greatest of transgressions is the violation of that increasingly rare commodity known as truth. Trump is the Houdini of misinformation. Back in his lair, Mar-A-Lago, the dybukk is already brewing a new poisonous potion for the body politic, which will hee hee hee, also ignite a spate of fundraising letters.

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Your Impossible Whopper

Burger King has come up with an ingenious locution for its meatless creation. The Impossible Whopper! A "whopper" is, by definition, something that’s over the top, but it can also be a lie or perhaps a lie that’s over the top—which might also be a delusion or grandiose dream. The Impossible Whopper is currently priced at $5.99, but it’s the perfect food for someone who suffers from grandiosity and low self-esteem, seemingly unlikely bedfellows which happen to be signature traits of the addictive personality. If you’re a piece of shit at the center of the universe, you’re going to love biting into this bewitching Hail Mary of food stuffs. When you go to a fast food place, you’re likely to miss the subtleties, since you’re in a hurry. For instance, the Big Mac is saying something, but its message is simpler as in Wendy's famed “where’s the beef?” And let’s not forget not forget that chain's "Terminator," the “Baconator” which exists in a world of its own. The Impossible Whopper may have your name on it, if you tell fibs that no one believes (which is a maladaptive form of larceny) or if you’re a romantic who’s in love with the invisible and unattainable and always prefers that which doesn’t exist to that which is sitting before you on your plate.

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Monday, July 12, 2021

Affinities for Abstraction: Women Artists on Eastern Long Island,1950-2020


"Affinities for Abstraction" at the Parrish

“Affinities For Abstraction: Women Artists on Eastern Long Island, 1950-2020” at the Parrish deals with five "seminal" female abstractionist painters Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler who lived and worked on the East End of Long Island and 35 other female artists whose who also lived, worked or visited in the same area at one time or another. Any discussion about the Eastern End of Long Island and artistic personalities would probably have to deal with the "anxiety of affluence" as well as the "anxiety of influence"--due to the enormous changes that have affected the area in the period  the show examines. The exhibit naturally comprises the work of many legendary artists with large personalities, but sometimes it's the strategies employed by a less known artist that are notable. For instance Sue Williams' “Irritated  Weave” (2001) is filled with sqiggles that resembles the styrofoam floats children use in pools. Here is what the artist says, “I like to think my lines just float, and if I could, eliminate the backgrounds." She also remarks “Having a plan is great, but when you stop having a plan something good can happen, too.” The show delineates the risk-taking and ambitious use of canvas and paint characteristic of a Frankenthaler, but one of the pleasures are the small subtle moments and gestures which illustrate the way each individual artist approaches the challenge of abstraction. Perhaps Joan Mitchell said it best in an earlier era, “The freedom in my work is quite controlled.”

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star



Friday, July 9, 2021

Persevere or Perseverate?

Tenacity and perseverance are traits that tend to be admired. Even a Buddhist practice based on meditation requires it. Try sitting still for an extended period of time. Or consider one of those silent retreats  where you aren’t allowed to talk--for days. Clearing the brain and thinking about nothing turns out to be work. Of course, there can be a negative side to such drive. People who can’t regulate their will often self-implode. It’s one thing to push the legs in a race and another to smash your head against a wall when you come in second. Sometimes people who persevere in a bad marriage, or a job that’s going nowhere, are merely deluded. Can it be said that a certain degree of tenacity is required to let go of a hopeless situation? Sisyphus is paradigm of the kind of enervating tenacity that leads to inanition. A good competitor assesses his opponent; grandmasters know when to resign. Simply leaping into the void is likely to lead to free fall. A Hail Mary in football is just that; it’s a prayer that, by definition, is seldom answered--with a touchdown. Then there are those who persevere to wake themselves up from the sleep of death.

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Thursday, July 8, 2021

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

No doubt Facebook and Twitter had to ban Trump, particularly due to the metastasis of misinformation leading to January 6. NowTrump is filing a laughable class action suit against them and Google--which is basically simply a fundraiser. However, this form of suppression is a touchy matter since it's a two-edged sword to the extent that it can be used in all kinds of contexts. Remember the famous Schenck case  for which Oliver Wendall Holmes famously penned the decision? But would it be possible for liberal cable networks like CNN to take another tact? What if Donald Trump were invited to express his disinformation for as long as he wanted, with no panel of fact checkers to parse his statements? One of the things you often hear from those who insist the election was rigged is that they got their information from Tucker Carlson or Newsmax. There are even people who think Trump is still president. By having Trump on CNN, you would bring millions of viewers over to another source of information. Whether they get on before the bully pulpit or after, they would at least be able to experience another news source reporting thatTrump is not likely to be reinstated in August. What would the program be called The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Wednesday, July 7, 2021


“Yesterday” is the famous Beatles song, but what does the word imply? Normally yesterday would be simply a more evolved form of today. But taking the broadest definition of the word referring to another epoch of time, the significance becomes murky. Is it the pandemic, or the comorbidities of political and racial unrest? The world is going through a period of discontinuity, a "paradigm shift" to employ the famous Thomas Kuhn locution when a new age has dawned within a relatively short period of chronological time. If the Ice Age was initiated when an asteroid hit the earth, humankind has essentially endured another one of those catastrophes in which though the race itself survived, it was unutterably altered in a way that makes us all like the aliens descending to earth, Stranger(s) in a Strange Land. The only difference is that the actual net effect won’t be totally evident until the dust settles. Just imagine yourself coming out of Grand Central and walking onto Vanderbilt Avenue, passing landmarks like the Yale Club as you walked toward Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue. At rush hour the streets were packed in the days before the threat of Covid shut the city down. Today, in the aftermath, the famed forest of midtown skyscrapers still remains haunted and empty, with no one knowing what part of the work force will resume its normal routines in structured office environments. If you grew up during the 60s, "yesterday" is still when "Yesterday" was a hit, regardless of the Proustian "madeleine."

Read "Yesterday" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Summer of Soul

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson’s Summer of Soul documents the Black Cultural Festival held in Manhattan’s Mt. Morris, now Marcus Garvey Park over six Sundays in l969. It was erroneously termed the “Black Woodstock” due to the fact that it occurred while Woodstock was happening. With the exception of the fact that “Sly and the Family Stone” performed at both, the two events had little in common. Most significantly Woodstock would attain an almost mythic cultural status while the events documented in Summer of Soul would fall into the oblivion of cultural apartheid. Numerous attempts had been made to interest film companies in the footage which contains performances by Stevie Wonder, David Ruffin, Gladys Night and the Pips, The Fifth Dimension, the Staples Singers, Ray Barretto, Mahalia Jackson, together with an almost evangelical rendition of a tone poem performed by Nina Simone, deriving from the Off-Broadway theater work To Be Young, Gifted and Black, all to no avail. Whether deriving from Pentacostal or evangelical sources, almost all the performances exuded "spiritual music." There was a mission to Summer of Soul. No matter that the performances were expertly recorded with four cameras, one of which was trained on the audience and with a video technology that was far more advanced than the usual 16mm film used to shoot documentaries. Where Woodstock was devoted to free love and psychedelics, Summer of Soul describes a political event that was highly influenced by the assassinations of Martin Luther King,  Malcolm X, JFK and Robert Kennedy. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a young journalist at the Times winning a fight with her boss A.M. Rosenthal over using “black” instead of “negro” in a headline, all underscore the particularly political as opposed to hedonistic nature of an undertaking where security was provided by The Black Panthers. Summer of Soul is not simply a concert film like Michael Wadleigh's Woodstock; in fact, the testimony of those who participated and attended, then and now, and it's significance to Black Power is one of its most compelling aspects. And it isn't only black identity that the movie trumpets, but individuality. Performers like Stevie Wonder (19 at the time) and Sly were jumping out of their Zoot suits. "Just because you introduced Sly didn't mean he is there" was one of  the observations made about the singer's unique performance style.The other major historical event that Summer of Soul records is the landing on the moon, which is met with little enthusiasm by Harlem residents who wonder why the millions spent on Apollo 11 couldn’t have gone to feed the hungry. 

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Monday, July 5, 2021

Coming in From the Cold

Why do people flock to hot sunny climes? Yes, cities like Chicago and New York are cold in the winter, but do you really want to be exposed to the light of day, particularly when it takes the form of a blazing sun which is hard to escape? Let’s say you travel to one of these Caribbean paradises subliminally seeking euphoria. Chances are you’re going to be disappointed. If it’s a French island like Guadalupe, you'll find yourself on beaches filled with beautiful topless, even totally naked women who are likely to be as much a distraction to heterosexual men as they are to their increasingly irritated wives who have to contend with their husband's inevitable neck problems. Surgeons often do a land office business in the early spring, as they attempt to repair the damage caused by heads which have been made to turn too much. These destinations are in fact paradises, but so was the Garden of Eden, where temptation brought about the Adamic fall--for which humankind has been suffering ever since. So what’s the bottom line? Get a warm coat and enjoy those gray February days when you can look forward to coming in from the cold to sit by the flames of a roaring fire. You'll be in good company with George Smiley.

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Friday, July 2, 2021

Radical Acceptance

photo: NASA et al

Someday you’ll simply cease to exist. Even Hemlock Society “lifers”  may not desire this condition, but if you look at the brighter side, it’s actually a liberating prospect. For a comparatively infinitesimal period of time, you’re charged with molding a rather intractable and resistant material. It’s a Sisyphean project where two steps forward are followed by two steps back. No sooner have you dammed the hole then a new crack in the fabric of what's essentially an illusion appears. Even the illusion termed "existence" begins to fray from the dawn of consciousness. When you’re born, you begin to die. Turtles have a lifespan that’s comparable to humans but at least they have a shell, which acts like sunglasses to prevent the overexposure and seduction of light. Homo Sapiens with their "eyes wide shut" to cite the ingenious Stanley Kubrick locution, are condemned to a perennial state of wistfulness that only ends with the termination of their "analysis" or life—whichever comes first. Striving is tantamount to controlling and “desire”as the Buddhists say, “is the beginning of suffering." You're here for a short stay. You have to mind the three S's, shave, shit and shower, but, otherwise, when all is said and done, why continue to fight? Why not just lie back, accept and enjoy the view.

Read "The Seven Ages of One Man" by Francis Levy, The East Hampton Star

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Passion Play

 Jesus and John at Oberamergau 

Why is it that sometimes it feels as if your wheels are greased and others as if you had cement shoes? There are those who associate effortlessness with inevitability or necessity. Speed bumps or impediments become reasons to abandon the ship or vehicle. But there's an art to negotiating adverse conditions, in having the patience to figure one’s way around impediments or obstacles. It can even be said goals which are harder to reach end up being more prized and valued. You might not value the plug that fits easily into the jug on the first go round simply because there's been no figurative hoop to jump. Is this a more complicated way of stating the old “no pain, no gain,” maxim. Partly. and it can be equated to love. There are those who fall into each other’s arms so easily that the relationship seems preordained. Passion is the guiding force, but then when great waves of lust recede such lovers may feel like strangers who have little in common still less to talk about. Romantic classics like A Man and A Women follow a classic formula, but in real time, the routine of everyday life will inevitably play a role. Sometimes it’s the couple that has to work to understand each other and whose appetites are not whet with grand gestures that end up building the most long-lasting relationships. Slow and steady wins the race is another obvious maxim which may apply to those whose emotions play out in fits and starts.

Read "Pornosophy: Loving Sex?" by Francis Levy, HuffPost