Hello, fish-eaters and those who don’t eat fish (I hope that covers everyone). And hello Elon Musk who reads this. Welcome.
My name is Tomasz Goetel. I write about what bothers me—I air my grievances.
If you would like to contact me, please send an email.
If you dig my writing and find my literate lubricity truly astounding and want to bestow your appreciation upon me. . . Buy me a coffee.1
An ordinary man. ‘Mine is a most peaceable disposition. My wishes are: a humble cottage with a thatched roof, but a good bed, good food, the freshest milk and butter, flowers before my window, and a few fine trees before my door; and if God wants to make my happiness complete, he will grant me the joy of seeing some six or seven of my enemies hanging from those trees. Before their death I shall, moved in my heart, forgive them all the wrong they did me in their lifetime. One must, it is true, forgive one’s enemies—but not before they have been hanged.’2
A fifty-something-year-old man of flesh and bone born and raised in Poland. The man who is born, suffers, and dies—above all, who dies; the man who eats and drinks and plays and sleeps and thinks and wills and gambles; the man who is seen and heard; the brother, the real brother (de Unamuno)3. Sometimes I feel I understand the Fall of Man better than anyone (Kafka). After so many adventures, it is time to contemplate being ready to finish with life as little badly as possible (Stendhal); the ‘finishing’ being contingent on whenever and wherever it’d be that The Boss would call me to His-self.
Vain. With a vexed spirit. A sinful, wretched man who no longer agrees to continue to be an inveterate lifelong liar arrogant asshole gambler—that is me. When I grow up, may I please be an old man and a good Christian and, if it’s not asking too much, may I please be a good friend to a neighbour.
It is very hard to leave Thailand. I accomplished that difficult departure in July 2020, after I had lived in the Kingdom of Patient Smiles since 2006. It was also in that July of 2020 that, after a 20-year long marriage with haṭhayoga, I filed for divorce. I used to have a yoga studio and teacher academy in Phuket. Going off the island for work, I taught quite a bit in Beijing and Shanghai, Koh Samui, Bangkok, Singapore, Bandung, Berlin, and Nyon close to Geneva. Made many friends. My final five years in the Kingdom were spent working as a detox counsellor in a Phuket clinic. I live in Spain now, more about that below.
Why the flying fish?
I see ‘a flying fish’ as an ancient symbol of a simultaneously of-this-world and out-of-this-world creature. A flying fish is simultaneously real and unreal, she is a paradox, an absurd, an oxymoron, a metaphor—and I relate to the possibility of being all those myself.
Being in water and being in flight. The former is a destiny that is imposed on one, the latter a destiny that is identical with the essence of one’s soul. A flying fish is the fish that has a soul. The soul is ungovernable.4
What if one was to break with worldliness but not break with his life as a citizen, not break with beauties of the arts, not break with intellectual culture, therefore not performing an entire saltus in aliud genus (“leap into another kind of being”)? One would be a flying fish.
A flying fish is a Christian creature. As Jacques Ellul tells me, “If the Christian is necessarily in the world, he is not of it. This means that his thought, his life, and his heart are not controlled by the world, and do not depend on the world, for they belong to another Master.”5 May I, by God’s Good Grace, not neglect the Most Important. May I not perish. “For of what use is existence to the creature if it cannot know his Maker?”6
In the dark times
In the dark times, I feel compelled to write. Perhaps, I must continue to put pen to paper in the spirit of my paternal grandfather, Ferdynand Goetel (1890-1960), the Polish writer and political activist who was forced to leave Poland after the WWII due to his involvement in the Nazi German investigation of the ‘Katyn massacre’ and died in exile in London.
In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing
About the dark times.
~Bertolt Brecht, Motto (fragment)
In my writing, may the Good Lord please not allow me to become that kind of writer who a philosopher ironically called a “beautiful soul”—the one who denounces chaos present in the world while forgetting to include himself in it.7
R. D. Laing (1927-1989) writes in the introduction to his The Politics of Experience, (1967):
“Few books today are forgivable. Black on the canvas, silence on the screen, an empty white sheet of paper, are perhaps feasible. There is little conjunction of truth and social ‘reality’. Around us are pseudo-events, to which we adjust with a false consciousness adapted to see these events as true and real, and even as beautiful. In the society of men the truth resides now less in what things are than in what they are not. Our social realities are so ugly if seen in the light of exiled truth, and beauty is almost no longer possible if it is not a lie.
What is to be done? We who are still half alive, living in the often fibrillating heartland of a senescent capitalism – can we do more than reflect the decay around and within us? Can we do more than sing our sad and bitter songs of disillusion and defeat?
Writing is very, very difficult for me.8
Now, what is this Substack about? Please read my first “welcome” post where you are asked for your attention so that my self-publications on the internets may be explained—and there’s another bit about the little me.
Where I am
My fate has something to do with the sea and islands; I’ve been partial to Hvar, Hawaii, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Sint Maarten, Bali, West Java, and Phuket. Today, I live in on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza.
Ibiza? Ah, nothing but a bloody babalonic Abbey of Thelema anti-monastery, if you ask me. I won’t explain. Suffice to say that telluric worldviews, tattooed-up neo-feminists and their chemically caustic shadows cast onto cacao ceremonies, Reiki “healing”, crystal fetishism, astrological ramblings, and general paganism worn on a sleeve with leathers and feathers are not my thing. (New Age has got old and may need a face lift.)
Where was I? . . . My Lord, how badly this is written. I’m sitting in a cafe as I write this and I’m so distracted. Look at the fine shoulders of this young woman who has just walked in, a holiday aura around her. . . Oh, yes. Ibiza. Why am I here? I work as a farmer in privately-owned experimental cultivation of a certain magnificent herb which on this island grows like wild mushrooms after rain.
What next? I do not know. I keep on going—that’s about all there is to say.
Subscribe, in order to have new posts go directly to your inbox. (No spam, ever.)
Comment on my posts, or not. I hope you would. Or, like me, read quietly, read alone.
“Ryba po polsku”
Please notice that within “The Flying Fish”, there’s “Ryba po polsku” (a tab, at the top menu) where my posts in the Polish language are collected.
“Is yoga dead?”
There’s also another tab above at the top menu, the “Yoga varia”. There, I am asking whether yoga is dead because I’ve noticed a ghost called ‘online yoga’ that haunts the internet in limbo. Have other yoga-related questions, too, and I muse about those over there in that separate category of posts.
“A Good Death”
An amicus morti out there, anyone? I’m seeking advice on how to die a good death according to Christian precepts. Within a humble lay man’s (i.e., mine) exploration of poetic, theological, and philosophical thought on how to “die well” that I immerse myself in, it seems to me that dying well has much to do with living well.9 See more here.
I’m broke. Have you ever been so broke that your bank is charging you money for not having enough. . . money? “Insufficient funds”, they call it—I agree with that. “Sir, you only have €20. You can’t only have €20. We will have to charge you. . .” They charged me €15. That’s how much it costs to only have €20.
Next month, I will have “negative money”, I suppose. Right? Negative €10—that’s how much I’ll have. I’m so broke that I’m stealing 2004 jokes from Louis CK. I used to have a link saved up to his video to give him credit but I lost that link. What can I do. But the good news is that anyone can buy me a coffee.
From Heine, H., Thoughts and Ideas (Gedanken und Einfälle), that is my favorite quote. Here’s the original for my sauerkraut-loving Readers to enjoy: ‘Ich habe die friedlichste Gesinnung. Meine Wünsche sind: eine bescheidene Hütte, ein Strohdach, aber ein gutes Beet, gutes Essen, Milch und Butter, sehr frisch, vor dem Fenster Blumen, vor der Tür einige schöne Bäume, und wenn der liebe Gott mich ganz glücklich machen will, läßt er mich die Freude erleben, daß an diesen Bäumen etwa sechs bis sieben meiner Feinde aufgehängt werden. Mit gerührtem Herzen werde ich ihnen vor ihrem Tode alle Unbill verzeihen, die sie mir im Leben zugefügt — Ja, man muß seinen Feinden verzeihen, aber nicht früher, als bis sie gehenkt worden.’
“Homo sum: nihil humani a me alienum puto, dijo el cómico latino. Y yo diría más bien, nullum hominem a me alienum puto; soy hombre, a ningún otro hombre estimo extraño. Porque el adjetivo humanus me es tan sospechoso como su sustantivo abstracto humanitas, la humanidad. Ni lo humano ni la humanidad, ni el adjetivo simple, ni el sustantivado, sino el sustantivo concreto: el hombre. El hombre de carne y hueso, el que nace, sufre y muere—sobre todo muere—, el que come y bebe y juega y duerme y piensa y quiere, el hombre que se ve y a quien se oye, el hermano, el verdadero hermano.”—Del sentimiento trágico de la vida, (1911), Miguel de Unamuno
“The soul—this enigmatic something which we feel when we hear the word used, but of which the essence baffles all science, the divine spark in this living body which in this divinely cruel, divinely indifferent world has either to rule or to submit —is the counter-pole of the light-world about us (…) The more solitary the being and the more resolute it is in forming its own world against all other conjunctures of worlds in the environment, the more definite and strong the cast of its soul.”—Oswald Spengler
“To be governed means to be, in every transaction, in every movement, noted, recorded, counted, valued, stamped, quoted, patented, licensed, authorized, postulated, admonished, prevented, reformed, rectified, corrected by beings who have neither title, nor science, nor virtue.”—Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Ellul, J., The Presence of the Kingdom, (1989).
Athanasius: On the Incarnation (‘De Incarnatione Verbi Dei’), III, 11. I do not quote Anthanasius of Alexandria here, and Master Jacques Ellul above, because I agree with their statements. I do not understand them and their words, but I have some respect. For my Readers who see linguistic symbols such as “God”, “God’s Grace”, “The Creator”, “The Way, the Truth and the Life” (written with capital W’s and T’s and L’s) as mumbo-jumbo while being more modern and “scientifically-oriented”, may I present an alternative quote for consideration, from Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker: “The scientific and technical world of modern man is the result of his daring enterprise, knowledge without love” (The History of Nature, 1949).
It was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel that said that. I am not a follower of that charlatan even though his slavish followers, let’s call them Neo-Hegelians are a plenty (see, as examples, one Slavoj Žižek, one Wolfgang Giegerich, and, in my view and not only mine, also one Jordan Peterson). Hegel’s work is not my cup of tea. As Maestro Arthur von Danzig wrote, “May Hegel’s philosophy of absolute nonsense—three-fourths cash and one-fourth crazy fancies—continue to pass for unfathomable wisdom without anyone suggesting as an appropriate motto for his writings Shakespeare’s words: “Such stuff as madmen tongue and brain not”, or, as an emblematical vignette, the cuttle-fish with its ink-bag, creating a cloud of darkness around it to prevent people from seeing what it is, with the device: mea caligine tutus (“safe in my mist”)”. If only Schopenhauer knew how right he was. Marxism as an adaptation of super-materialistic and super-collectivistic Hegelianism, was bound to ruin many generations to come, including my own.
Hegel could never make a cup of tea, could he. Every time he tried to make one, he turned it into a process so colossally complex that the cup was never ready, was it. It was perpetually becoming.
A few years ago, I wrote and published a small book for yoga teachers and everyone who speaks for a living, you can see more about that book if you want to. As a two-year now-defunct project called Save Me From Ruin, I edited and published to Amazon (yeah, I know) and Kobo over 40 books, usually in both paperback and electronic versions, from the public domain. Among those books, the bestseller has been one insane Irishman’s Ulysses.
“Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”
—Titus 2:11–13 KJV