17 January 2012

The Mosaic Sadness, Part 4

(cont'd from previous post)

Sorry about the length of the previous post. I wanted to put up the entire chapter. I'll try to keep posts in this series shorter going forward.

So, to recap: Josh has S.A.D. [Seasonal Affective Disorder], though it is unstated. An unstated pun. Sadness, unacknowledged, is likewise a specter hanging over him—which appears, literally, in an earlier ghostly visitation (dream) scene.

How does he deal? He starts by questioning who he is—the right move philosophically: "differential man" whose ultimate end, of course, is perfect integrity, pure identity, ultimate aloneness, and death. He negotiates his way through the bustling humanity of Grand Central Station. He mourns what he perceives his condition to be—short daylight, overworked, over-stressed, confused, etc. Then comes the crucial question: "Where is the light?" Of course, true to the rules of comedy, the answer comes in the form of something woefully inadequate: the full spectrum lamp. And, ditto, it burns him. Slapstick, yo.

Josh then experiences a natural run of emotional reactions to this grievous situation: denial, anger, mindless busy-ness (running aimlessly around the halls kicking trashcans), etc. He even has an authoritarian impulse when he sees how certain associates leave their lights on and their coats on their chairs to make their bosses think they're burning the midnight oil. But then, he comes to himself; he collects his wits and sets into the task before him, despite his serious exhaustion. Even though he is not yet aware of his ultimate Mosaic sadness, he has a taste of it. His is the response of the healthy psyche: just get myself through one more day and do what I have to do to go on.

Then, in a true revelation of Josh's character, he exercises what a lot of us here on internet refer to as 'the Kind': even though he's furious at his associate for her shoddy work and for abandoning it to him and for putting this additional burden on his already stressed out life, he recognizes her limitations—her personhood—and bites back on his instinctive inhumanity. He is, to my mind, a paragon here—even though he has yet to experience the great epiphany that is central to the novel w/r/t (a) the psychodynamics that have shaped his current trajectory, (b) the true ground of his being, and (c) what I'm calling here the Mosaic sadness.

[to be continued]


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I didn't quite get where you were coming from at first (with the S.A.D.).

Randal Graves said...

Oh, *I* get it, you just want your novel to turn us all into pantywaists who will put up with any ole crap, well no thanks, hippie.

Re: post length, you prefaced it with "hey, here's a whole chapter." Don't sweat it, post what you want, we'll read.