Deeper magic from before the dawn of time. Because eating the cake is never enough. You know we’re waiting for something beyond what we can see and touch, because even the dawn of time, that Big Bang when we really get started, or, if you look a little farther, right now, is never quite enough to satisfy. That’s why we seem to need the even deeper magic from before, beyond and Outside our experience. And did anyone ever mention you can’t have your cake and eat it too? You know why they say that? Because you have to either live in this moment or wait for another one. And what they mean is you should wait, for a Better World. Oh yes, wait. ‘Cause if you eat your cake now you won’t have it any more, and everyone wants to have cake, right? Wait, did I ever say I wanted to “have” cake? Aren’t there contrasting parables about not storing up your grain, or hoarding your talents, and that birds and grass are happy even without “having” anything? Oh, those radical Leftist Christians rallying against acquisitiveness and greed!
Don’t believe it. We always have our cake and eat it too. You can’t have one without the other. How can you eat the cake if you didn’t spend some time wanting it first? You can’t; even if you’re a dog you anticipate the treat. To lose yourself in deeper magic from before the dawn of time you’d have to be dead. Then you wouldn’t count anymore, not independently. And so, the deep magic we have in the present is just the eating, just the reveling, and despite our fears (or hopes) of where that may lead, it’s worse than it seems: not only does the reveling lead nowhere but it’s also unachievable. You can’t get there. Sorry Bohemian, your journey is just that, a journey. You have no place to lay your head, not even Noplace. No break, not really one moment of eating the cake that isn’t shot through with anticipation of eating it. You can’t take one bite and just enjoy it. Do I dare to eat a peach is the philosophical question of daring to think about these things, be aware while eating the cake. The ultimate hubris (even though the philosophers would tell you it’s only natural to think about things while you do them, they secretly admire the proletariat freedom to just enjoy things, and so J. Alfred Prufrock is afraid of losing his teeth, missing out on sex, and dying; thank you T.S. Elliot, for sharing this perspective, but, sorry, this admiration for those who just do things is ill-founded: nobody, not even a dog, just does things). I can try to lose myself in eating cake or peach but will inevitably feel the pull of the bungee cord of human reflection drawing me back to thinking about it. If I jump in while conscious of the cost, the ramifications, the inevitable pull-back, the alternatives, something different may happen. Do I dare to think about eating cake, the cake that I must forever both have and eat, that no matter how hard I try I cannot stop having and eating? That’s the thing the Buddhists understand but the Western philosophers miss: the thinking about it mingled with the doing it is the real daring. And the Western philosophers are doing exactly that. They should pat themselves on the back!
Why is it all reversed? You can’t have your cake and eat it too is wrong, you can’t not have your cake and eat it too. Do I dare to eat a peach is actually do I dare to think about eating a peach. The core of the Christian Gospel is radically leftist even though Conservative and Christian are words that travel intimately with each other. Try too hard to do anything and you end up with the opposite.
What about this: sentimentality rots the core of our lives, it’s maybe one of several ways to ruin everything. I listen to Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd and see two miniature rat terriers lying side-by-side on a woman’s lap outside the cafe and recall the times I lost myself in that song waiting for another time to come. There’s a lot of Waiting in rock music. And of course isn’t there also a lot of Eating Cake — do I miss something to say there’s a lot of Waiting to Eat Cake? Kind of crosses all the Political Divides because I could say I like Little People’s Mickey Mouse Operation better than Lynyrd Skynyrd, but would it actually be true? I can’t bring myself to mention any politician’s name but what would it help? If a woman breaks the Presidential Glass Ceiling this year does that speak more about her or about our society’s need for her (and for her opposite) now? Can I deny I get a good feeling when I hear the opening bars of Titanium by David Guetta, though I’ve got to slog through the rest to get to another, anemic rush when the woman shouts “I am Titanium”? If I have the right speakers the off-beat bass is good, if I’m distracted during the build-up I may start thinking again the song is cool. But there’s almost nothing left for me in that song but sentimentality. And guess what? The sentimentality, while it rots the core of our lives, cleanses us. Your core rots out, you’re left with nothing, an empty husk, and then you go on and let yourself get filled up with something new. So it goes: we begin this paragraph with the claim sentimentality is our best shot at destroying ourselves and yet its rot is the lifeblood of renewal, laying down the sod for the growth of new things. Because to eat cake you must have someone go out and plant it, grow it and harvest it, and after all humans don’t know how to eat grass… But if there were no cake we’d stop eating it, yet we wouldn’t stop trying to have something even while we’re eating it and saying it’s impossible, and always getting it backwards, except for the part we may notice about humans always thinking about things and never just doing them.