STATU VARIABILIS

21 Aug

The habitus: the sum of everything you are and all around you too. The word that comes from recognizing that the nature v culture thing is all wrong. It’s a spectrum. It’s continuous. Your habitus is everything you are. Our habitus is the sum of us.

A nation-state makes for the foundation of habitus within a certain zone. The multinational corporation makes for much the same, diffused and transnational. 7-11s are fundamentally identical everywhere or try to be. Assumptions you have in Australia are not those you should make in Yemen. And always there are people, human individuals, oscillating in these spaces. People with their moods and their bodies, their suffering.  Every time the crowd changes in the 7-11, the 7-11 changes. The habitus is organic. The habitus is a game that moves.

Today the nation goes to the polls in general agreement that it’s a shit sandwich either way and I don’t care. I’m changing my habits. Or rather my habits are changing and I’m paying witness to it. Little things like Saturday is for drawing and a post every day ’round noon. I’m plugged into instinct.

But I have some very bad habits, plugged into me at a molecular level. Physical addictions: coffee, smoking; obsolete attitudes. I’m clearing the house. What clean space will emerge when the gunk has washed away and the past has been properly  filed in the catacombs? Will they emerge? These brave  new disciplines?

Your habitus is not, we all know, entirely up to you. You can’t decide what country you are born in, who your parents are, what their physical and cultural heritage is.  But in friendship, money, wardrobe and residence there are choices. Primal circumstance, what was once called ‘fate’:  surfeit of the gods’  dice games. Some are born to sweet delight, some to endless night, yes.  That’s the way of it. But you have choices.

You can choose not to eat but you will be hungry. Fight the passing of water enough, you burst. Go without for a day and you must fight sleep. You will lose eventually and it can break your mind.  Despite our technology, we are flotsam on a vast ocean we cannot understand entirely. And why this ocean sometimes seems determined to kill you and is at other times the source of all joy is a question we’ve asked for a hundred thousand years.

There are many answers and yet the whole eludes us. Statu variabilis. We stand here, constantly changing, helpless in the arc of life. I am changing, you are changing and tomorrow they that make the law in my country will change. A bit.

What else is there? Lots and lots. But this is the time and this is the record of the time and that’s all this time. Over. And out.

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