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.’
Hello, fish-eaters and those who don’t eat fish. (I think that covers everyone.) Welcome.
My name is Tomasz Goetel. I write about what bothers me—I air my grievances.
A 50-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; the man who is seen and heard; the brother, the real brother” (—Miguel de Unamuno).
In a world where everything “evolves” (i.e. fluctuates) at the speed of light, where nothing has permanent validity (neither rules, nor things, or human beings, or morality, or phantoms, or proportions), I am as real as (a) being gets, alright? Vain, with a vexed spirit, a sinful, wretched man who due to his tragic sense of life doesn’t want to allow himself to be a lifelong liar arrogant asshole—that is me. When I grow up, may I please be a good Christian and, if it’s not asking too much, may I please be a good friend to my neighbor.
In the dark times
In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing
About the dark times.
~Bertolt Brecht, Motto (fragment)
Write out of necessity. Cannot not write. Need to express whatever it is that bothers me. Must take something simple and complicate it. Sometimes, must write to express my gratitude. Other times, there’s a burning desire to find an answer to a question or two. 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.
Well. Where I wrote in the previous paragraph that sometimes I “must write to express my gratitude”… That isn’t true. I mean I probably lied. Not that I’m ungrateful, it’s just that writing out of gratitude would be so dreadfully boring. Boring to write. Boring to read. I’m sorry for being unreliable.
Writing is very, very difficult for me. Or to me? I’m not so sure. You see?
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.
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 Joyce’s Ulysses.
If you would like to contact me, please send an email.
Where I am
My fate has something to do with the sea and islands; I’ve been partial to Hvar, Hawaii, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Key West, Sint Maarten, Bali, West Java, and Phuket.
It is very hard to leave Thailand. I accomplished that difficult departure in July 2020, after I had lived in the Kingdom since 2006, working as a yoga studio and teacher academy owner, with the final five years spent as a detox counsellor in a Phuket clinic. It was also in July 2020 that after a 20-year long marriage with hatha yoga, I filed for divorce.
Today, I live on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza.I work as a farmer in privately-owned experimental cultivation of a certain magnificent herb.
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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 I write posts in the Polish language.
“Is yoga dead?”
There’s also another tab above at the top menu, the “Yoga varia”. There, I will be 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 a separate category of posts.
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. The 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.
What if one was to break with worldliness but not break with his life as a citizen, not break with the beauties of the arts, not break with intellectual culture, therefore not performing and entire saltus in aliud genus (“leap into another kind of being”)? One would be a flying fish.
Or, as my teacher 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.”
May we, by God’s Grace, not neglect the Most Important and not perish.
“For of what use is existence to the creature if it cannot know its Maker?”
From Heine, H., Thoughts and Ideas (Gedanken und Einfälle), that is my favorite quote. For you German lovers out there, here’s the original: ‘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.’
We are lonely people with nowhere to go and each of us alone is going nowhere fast. Interventions 2020, Michel Houellebecq: “(…) Of course, everyone fails, and the loneliness is excruciating. The death of God in the West was the prelude to a formidable metaphysical soap opera, which continues to this day. Any historian of mentalities would be able to reconstruct the details of the stages; let’s just say that Christianity succeeded in this masterstroke of combining a fierce belief in the individual—compared to the epistles of Saint Paul, the whole of ancient culture seems to us today curiously civilized and monotone—with the promise of eternal participation in the Absolute Being. After the dream had faded, various attempts were made to promise individual humans a minimum of being—to reconcile the dream of being that they carried inside them with the haunting omnipresence of becoming. All of these attempts so far have failed, and unhappiness has continued to spread.” People have nowhere to go “because they are nowhere at home; to develop means of communication for people who have nothing more to say; to facilitate the possibilities of interaction between people who no longer want to enter into a relationship with anyone.”
I’ve been told that the herb was very much enjoyed by Walter Benjamin when he visited Ibiza in 1933 in order to undertake a review of his life while he lowered his necessities of existence to a “minimum that could hardly be lowered any further”—both of which I am busy with at the moment. “I pluck flowers on the brink of subsistence”, Benjamin said when he was here, staying in San Antonio de Portmany, not far from where our plantation has been. Well, I’m pleased to follow in the footsteps of the greats.
Ellul, J., The Presence of the Kingdom, (1989).
Athanasius: On the Incarnation (‘De Incarnatione Verbi Dei’), III, 11.