On Having No Head

Highlights from March 5th, 2021.

It took me no time at all to notice that this nothing, this hole where a head should have been was no ordinary vacancy, no mere nothing. On the contrary, it was very much occupied. It was a vast emptiness vastly filled, a nothing that found room for everything - room for grass, trees, shadowy distant hills, and far above them snow-peaks like a row of angular clouds riding the blue sky. I had lost a head and gained a world.

Apparently this yawning cavern, this unoccupied base of all my operations, this nearest but virtually unknown region, this magical locality where I thought I kept my head, is in fact more like a beacon-fire so fierce that all things approaching it are instantly and utterly consumed, in order that its world-illuminating brilliance and clarity shall never for a moment be obscured.

Meeting you, there is for me only one face - yours - and I can never get face-to-face with you. In fact, we trade faces, and this is a most precious and intimate exchange of appearances.

Do I spend my life embedded inside a solid, man-shaped block (roughly six feet by two by one), or outside that block, or perhaps both inside and outside it? The fact is: things aren’t like that at all. There are no obstructions here, no inside or outside, no room or lack of room, no hiding place or shelter: I can find no home here to live in or to be locked out of, and not an inch of ground to build it on. But this homelessness suits me perfectly - a void needs no housing.

A child is apt to ask why others have heads and he hasn’t, or declare that he’s nothing, not present, invisible. Carlos, at his third birthday party, when asked to locate various aunts and uncles, pointed to each in turn correctly. Then someone asked him where Carlos was. He waved his hands aimlessly: Carlos could not locate Carlos.

Incoming Links