A few years ago, I was bored. Really bored. It wasn’t momentary boredom but rather a fundamental, ongoing boredom. I started having conversations about the notion of boredom with friends and family. What did it mean to be bored? When is boredom experienced? Should it be met with acceptance or action? A lot of interesting things came out of these conversations but the one I found most useful was an intoduction to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of flow.
Suddenly the need for and importance of flow became so clear to me. And I started noticing the presence of the word “flow” in so many places; seemingly unrelated places, but then again connected in some way by the word itself.
It was there in my vinyasa flow yoga classes.
And again as a fundamental component of rap and hip hop’s rhythm and rhyme.
Most recently I came across it in Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. The utter beauty and cadence of Miller’s writing makes even his crassness appealing. And I have to agree with him: I love everything that flows.
“I love everything that flows,” said the great blind Milton of our times. I was thinking of him this morning when I awoke with a great bloody shout of joy: I was thinking of rivers and trees and all that world of night which he is exploring. Yes, I said to myself, I too love everything that flows: rivers, sewers, lava, semen, blood, bile, words, sentences. I love the amniotic fluid when it spills out of the bag. I love the kidney with its painful gallstones, its gravel and what-not; I love the urine that pours out scalding and the clap that runs endlessly; I love the words of hysterics and the sentences that flow on like dysentery and mirror all the sick images of the soul; I love the great rivers like the Amazon and the Orinoco, where crazy men like Moravagine float on through the dream and legend in an open boat and drown in the blind mouths of the river. I love everything that flows, even the menstrual flow that carries away the seed unfecund. I love scripts that flow, be they hieratic, esoteric, perverse, polymorph, or unilateral. I love everything that flows, everything that has time in it and becoming, that brings us back to the beginning where there is never end: the violence of the prophets, the obscenity that is ecstasy, the wisdom of the fanatic, the priest with his rubber litany, the foul words of the whore, the spittle that floats away in the gutter, the milk of the breast and the bitter honey that pours from the womb, all that is fluid, melting, dissolute and dissolvent, all the pus and dirt that in flowing is purified, that loses its sense of origin, that makes the great circuit toward death and dissolution. The great incestuous wish is to flow on, one with time, to merge the great image of the beyond with the here and now. A fatuous, suicidal wish that is constipated by words and paralyzed by thought.”