The Stoicism of the Stars


Detail of Partial Truth, Bruce Nauman, 1997

by Bobbi Lurie

send me your comments against a piece i didn’t write and i’ll write the piece according to your comments #callforsubmissions


Lois McEwan @LoisMcEwan 6m
BobbiLurie so if truth makes you suicidal, what lies make you want to live? #callforsubmissions

Lois McEwan @LoisMcEwan 15m
BobbiLurie I mean one, not you personally obvs

Katy Whimsy @Whimsykayak 1h
@BobbiLurie you could have explored more the nature of self/performance-of-self/projection/non-self on twitter. And used far longer words.

Russell Bennetts @RussellBennetts 31 Oct
BobbiLurie Sexy, but sparse for a leap year #callforsubmissions

Sean Fraser @TheatreSean 18h
@BobbiLurie True but it doesn’t explain why one must be imaginary or real.

Sean Fraser @TheatreSean 17h
BobbiLurie Sense of Humor?

Nicholas Rombes @Requiem102 3h
BobbiLurie “I think, in fact, it was Kristeva who first brought attention to Pinochet’s secret film production company” #callforsubmissions

Megan Kelly @gisellestopped 2h
BobbiLurie She simply said she knew she was fertile. Being able, wanting and actively trying to conceive are very separate states.

michael sikkema @thesikk 43s
BobbiLurie The post human bent to your work is problematic. The biotechnological interspecies sexual relationship was cringe worthy.

michael sikkema @thesikk 16s
BobbiLurie We need to be reminded of what is natural and proper rather than shown a hellish future of transgenic slaves and biocoding.

michael sikkema @thesikk 4m
BobbiLurie Your takedown of gender, race, species, sexuality, and identity is anarchic and dangerous. I liked the idea of intelligence

Jesse Miksic @miksimum 6 Nov
BobbiLurie This seems honest, but almost like someone else’s honesty, not your own? idk nbd just sayin


A Thistle of the Past

Artists glorify the imagination. And all people are artists when it comes to creating a “me.” Glorification of the imagination, and the imaginary “me,” is glorification of escape routes taken to avoid The Truth. Most of our energy is put into maintaining a fictitious self, a mask. We do this because we judge and are impacted by the judgments, or imagined judgments, of others.

Some human beings might manage to live in isolation but, even in isolation, it is impossible to experience a “self” unless it is in relationship to an “other.” The “other” makes us into an “I,” even if that other is a tree.

Being in relationship with a tree is a freeing experience. But in order to maintain most human relationships, better known as social contracts, we must be tolerant and pretend what the other says is true and what they do is right. We do this because we want to be liked. We want to be liked because our self is imaginary and only the “other’ can validate our progress in creating a self we might be proud of.

It is rare for people to ask the obvious question, which is: how can we possibly be happy when every relationship threatens the existence of our so-called “self”? Any number of “How To Make People Like You” books gives the advice of “flattery.” And we do this… we flatter and we agree or we ignore what is disagreeable…

…. until we don’t.

And when we don’t, the other doesn’t either. And so we keep searching outside ourselves for validation with another “other” one. The dream we carry of ourselves is that someday our imaginary self-image, projected into the future, will be proven to be true.

To be real is an internal affair.

To be imaginary is to believe one is loved by an “other.”

To be real is to love.

To be real in love means “to love in spite of,” for then one knows love is not the imaginary story… love goes beyond any story… it exists within the bodily sense of being alive.


For three years I worked in a suicide center. I conversed with the suicidal daily; they convinced me that facing one’s aloneness meant facing the truth.

It is rare to meet a person who faces the truth.

The unafraid one, the one who looks outside and sees not a birdbath but a bloodbath, the one with the clarity to notice that the bluebirds are attacking the sparrows, that is the one I am speaking to. Or of.


We write out of love.

In my attempt to express the simplicity of this, I must use shorter words, I must abandon conventional ideas about death, including the non-truth(s) of eulogies given by family members who never knew you, one, me, us, to begin with.

This brings one to the topic of how we, the innocent bystanders of our own demise, might find ways to speak of the horror which confronts those of us who spend too much time on Twitter and the Internet in an attempt to flee into imaginary lives.

The time has come for this to stop. This world of surveillance will not allow the continuation of our imaginary lives. The fact that some poorly-paid NSA clerk is interpreting these (my) words (and yours) (I am referring to you, The Comments Section) by putting them into a cut-up machine, makes Oulipo live again, in a way never intended by Raymond Queneau nor his many followers. This is something we must face.

The Oulipian ways of writers today must, in fact, be abandoned. The truth today, a truth not The Truth but a way to avoid The Truth, namely playing around with words to avoid inner angst, has become a thing of the past. The Truth is found during trying times like these, when suicide is increasing due to methods of avoidance being verbotten. With the NSA tracking every word which matches another word, which cannot possibly represent a coherent thought, in the barely-there imagination of our ubiquitous governmental cut-up machines…

… so if this essay is never published…


Please read my N+7 of previous paragraph:

The Oulipo weekends of youngsters today must, in fame, be abandoned. The twin today, a twin which is not The Twin but a weekend to avoid The Twin, namely playing around with worlds to avoid inner angst, has become a throat of the past. The Twin is found during trying toasts like these, when sun is increasing due to milks of avoidance bible verbotten. Today, with the NSA tracking every scattered world or worlds which barely represent a coherent thumb, worlds which set off a shockwave in the barely-there impression of our ubiquitous governmental damage-up maids …


Every year there is another leap
―U.G. Krishnamurti (the “other” K.)

The above is but a warning, which is wearying. It is the reason our troubled world needs more comedians, for comedians are the truth-tellers who speak The Truth, not only through their words but in the timing of their words, which ignites a physical response, meaning laughter.

It might seem that writing of comedians while writing of suicide is more than a bit of a leap. But 2013, the year this is being written, is a leap year. And one must face the fact that most comedians are truth-tellers and, in case one didn’t notice, outside of dentists and architects, comedians are the most chronically depressed people on the planet. Still, they laugh. That doesn’t mean they don’t commit suicide; it means they make you laugh before doing it.

The gods too are fond of a joke.

Still, “The Truth,” in capital letters gets lost due to all the hidden events, hidden truths, which keep us from The Truth.

There are endless examples in mankind’s horrific past, which might be used as an example of the place comedians dare not enter. Pulling one of the many horrors of human history out of a figurative hat, Pinochet’s reign of terror over Chile comes to mind. Thankfully, director Patricio Guzman made the most beautiful documentary I have ever seen about this horrific period in history. Guzman’s Nostalgia for the Light presents us with metaphors, which are both chilling and beautiful. This film is an example of why art does, truly, matter.

A far cry from Pinochet’s secret film production company, (take that as a symbol of what the ego does in terms of creating a false front) this film is the only film made about Pinochet’s Chile which shows the results of the dictator’s unimaginable cruelty, his lies and secrecy, while exemplifying the only possible truth: love.

It is love devoid of laughter.

Love devoid of laughter is the only way to leave the heart disarmed. Guzman juxtaposes astronomers researching humanity’s past, in an astronomical sense, with the struggle of Chilean women who still dig for fragments of bones, hands, feet, face, decades after their loved ones were executed.

Think what a loved one is. It is not a joke. But it is someone we can laugh with. Because we are able to share the truth with an “other.”

A loved one is someone we are fertile with. It is not generational but miraculous, in fact. To love anyone is a miracle. It is the state of feeling the other is you. It is a truth allowing one to face The Truth. It is a joke. It makes one laugh. It makes one cry. Because it’s simple and the mind complicates the simplicity of what it means to stop invented meanings, which only cause us to avoid living.

This writer, who is me, is speaking “post human.” I am speaking of love without an object. I am telling you, The Comments Section, that all the love you will ever feel for anyone or anything is in you now. I’m saying love comes from within. It isn’t ignited by the dazzling, short-lived effects of sexual attraction, which lead to yet more people being born. Sexual relations can, after all, be a way to avoid vanquishing fantasies into the sewers where they belong.

… once you perfect genetic engineering and transform human beings through chemical means or genetic engineering, you will certainly hand the means over to the state to control people without brainwashing.
―U.G. Krishnamurti (the “other” K.)

One must ask about “intelligence” just as one must ask about “awareness.” The idea of “intelligence” is only according to the one identifying with that particular way of comprehending and, possibly, doing things.

To quote something from My Best Friend’s Wedding, said by Julia Roberts, or that guy she thought she was in love with even though she really loved the gay guy, was something like, “You are the pond scum of the pond scum,” or something to do with mitochondria. It matters not what she or he said. It was just a film and every few years “science” refutes its previous “miracles.” For example, all of this “new” stuff about bacteria and gut cultures, this demand for probiotics: who knows what they’ll say in a few years? Hell, in a few years “they” might be transplanting brains, though I doubt that’s possible in this economy.

In other, smaller words, regardless of science or surveillance, only the human can soften “The Truth,” which is the reason for suicide, for suicide is always reasoned by love but also denied by it. So it might just be best to make peace within our selves and live from the heart rather than the head. In other words, “stop thinking.”

The Truth IS. It need not be symbolized by language, which is now under surveillance.

But there is greater comfort in the substance of silence than in the answer to a question.
―Thomas Merton

Aristotle said the greatest love is for the dead because they can give nothing back.

The truth need not be symbolized or expressed. It exists as Chilean women digging for the remains of their beloved, decades after death.

In this silence.

About the Author:

Bobbi Lurie’s fourth poetry collection, the morphine poems, was recently published by Otoliths. Her other books are Grief Suite, Letter from the Lawn and The Book I Never Read (CW Books). Her television reviews for Berfrois can be found here.