‘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.’1
Hello, fish-eaters and those who don’t eat fish. (I think that covers everyone.) Welcome.
As a rule, I disagree with everything. Then, I look for exceptions.
My name is Tomasz Goetel. In “The Flying Fish”, I write about what bothers me.
More specifically, I write about the things that bother me within the things I know a bit about. What are the things I know about? Here are a few:
yoga, yoga teachers, and yoga studios (and their decline),
casinos, gambling, and the psychology of playing blackjack (and maybe poker) for a living,
a mid-life crisis and what to do with it,
how an appendectomy might lead to an unexpected personal reformation,
how to stay sane in the grip of lifestylism and other ideologies.
Table games on casino floors had been my university.
Yoga studios were the place of my postgraduate studies.
Thailand’s girlie bars and go-go clubs were the gardens where I smelled the flowers of life.
Switzerland’s collections of icons were the vineyards where I tasted the grapes planted by the angels of the One That Cannot Be Named.
I intend to write in “The Flying Fish”, because, for me, writing has been a necessary way of thinking things through. And thinking has been a way of breathing (or to put it less enigmatically, thinking has been as necessary as breathing). Reading Freud helped me articulate better one of the questions which I’ve been enjoying asking myself since high school: How can a writer (thinker) permit himself to give expression—jokingly, at the minimum—to psychological truths that are severely forbidden2 (as Heine expressed in the quote at the top of this page, for example).
And so, I hope, to write. And I hope that you will read my stuff and write comments—so that I can find out what you think.
Thanks. I kiss you on the mouth.
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Join the people
Comment, or not. I hope you would. Be part of a group of persons who passionately share your interests. Or, like myself, alone, become a flying fish.
Why the “flying fish”?
A flying fish is an ancient symbol of a simultaneously of-this-world and out-of-this-world creature.
The human creature inhibits the flesh and bones of the body, he or she recognizes the bodily autonomy and the bodily necessities that come with living in the material world. The human creature also inhibits his or her psyche, hijacked into anxiety and alienation by the technological society and its media. The creature’s sights, however, directed by conscious choice, by chance, by the creature’s Genius, or by the grace of God, may be set vertically: up, against gravity, toward another plane of existence, another mode of being transcending both the material as well as the psychic human condition. The mystical nature of the flying fish implies a rebirth to a non-conditioned, non-technical mode of being.
From Heine, H., Thoughts and Ideas (Gedanken und Einfälle), that is my favorite quote. 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.’
The photo below the quote is a screenshot I took (and photoshopped) of the protagonist from the fabulous Australian TV series Mr. Inbetween.
I’m either paraphrasing or just not being exact, bending things to my linking, and stealing—I do all those a lot in my thinking and writing. But the original source can be found in Freud, S. (1930), Civilization And Its Discontents. NB, I am not a fan of the old Sigmund, but I am grateful to him for his work nevertheless.