In New York, we ate a supper as fresh as Earth’s flesh, beheld a meteor flash bright and burn low over a Hudson River town at dusk, and streamed episodes of Stranger Things. Perched quietly the next morning at a local coffee shop’s window counter, we alternately fused into Saturday’s unfolding street energy and lost ourselves inside.
He read The Spell of the Sensuous. I read Matter and Desire.
Pointing to a passage, he read aloud that Husserl, by placing unprecedented weight on the subjective, had been accused of promoting a philosophy of solipsism, rendering communication idiosyncratic and indecipherable. But there we were, two planets orbiting closely, conversing on the subject.
“What is communication,” I wondered, "but our sending up of little flares toward one another?”
If words are passed as if by torch, physically—and yet invisibly— I imagined them commandeered by homunculi in atomic-sized submarines, a la the 1960’s sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage. If they travelled upon waves, were they an infinitely replicating production line of sound energy, like the visual-image “icons” Lucretius said touched the eye? If words crossed our solipsistic divide via electro-sonic bridges, like neurotransmitters navigating across synapses in the brain, then future machinery might detect tiny sparks crackling in a spontaneous, vital dance like small lanterns bobbing up and down along a river brook.
Almost by accident, but through some effort of communication, we discovered we harbored different meanings and images for psyche. If psychology was originally intended, I said, as ‘study of the psyche,’ then it was dead—replaced by cognitive neuroscience and the analytical-leaning philosophy of mind. He said he thought psyche had a long association to the brain’s anatomy, dating back to Hippocrates. Though, personally, he thought of it as a soul-like, inherent non-materiality.
“You mean like pneuma, or prana?” I said.
I said psyche felt more like an emerging personal mythology, created through a vector of actions, like a storyline; always becoming even if, somehow, always known.
Flares lit edges of our outer rings. Discrete reveals exposed a deeper layer’s glow, sharing glimpses, brief alchemical mixings of our spheres. Tiny bridges alight and lead us across mists where smaller arcs of light form and reform, solve, resolve, dissolve. A prickly sense of real ushers in electro-kinesthetic waves that track upon the surface of my skin.
Amy Rubinis a writer and entrepreneur living in Indianapolis. Her short-form nonfiction essay appeared in openDemocracy and two lyric essays were short-listed for New Philosopher magazine’s Writer’s Award. Her poetry appeared in Whirlwind, Yellow Chair Review, and Mused.