Foreign Language as barrier between Alternate Universe and Myself

Idea that were I ever to make the conversion from being an essentially “comic figure” to being an essentially “religious figure” –not to understand myself as a figure, but let us just say– if I were to become a person who could laugh at himself–; then I believe that would have to occur in a foreign language, that I would have to learn to think in a language other than English, which is something, I would add, almost impossible for me to conceive of.

(This very post, for example, would be of an entirely different character were I able to write it in French, by which of course I also mean something different from if it were merely translated into French.) (This would “indeed be a miracle of the order of the birth of Isaac,” if I were to speak in another tongue. “Indeed”, I would become a person who laughs easily, which would be like speaking another language.)

Whereas to become a tragic “figure”, I would need still more prolonged periods of silence and utter desocialization –would need to finish even less of my sentences. (Silence sometimes interrupted by music but never by speech. I could open the “hatch” of silence but not be permitted to disembark from the scuttled destroyer.)

Desocialization: perhaps that is the name of the herbal purgative that would get the “incurable actor and comic” out of my, at times, rather serious seeming (but only seeming) person. That would get the “figure” out. The real seriousness and toughness would get in through some such silent vow. Or perhaps a series of health tests is all that would be required to prevent me from thinking I am only a voice, that my body is the mere shell or cradle of the voice, the voice being the comedian, the voice being also the “grand figure” that will thunder because it alone knows what’s right and best in this instance, a voice that, in reality, is unattached to both intelligence and common sense and cannot be made to learn another language.


To be that religious figure, that is, to be a member of a religion, perhaps my thought is, I would need to be an “immigrant”, confront life on another’s terms, confront life where the norms are not my norms, where I’m a stranger, if I could change my language I could change my thinking, etc. Yet “my body would rather starve than speak another language.” Similarly, when I have experienced things in immigrant-fashion (let us say, when I have tried something “new”) instead of really encountering and participating in that new thing, I or retreat or burrow inward, where things remain old and familiar, despite the novel surroundings.

Very much so: as if God spoke only Spanish or French and I’m troubling over English and the things I say or don’t say in it. (Anything in Spanish, say, being more right than saying the right thing in English, which isn’t understood at all in the sacred places open to me.)

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