Talking Heads / Crosseyed and Painless Talking Heads / Crosseyed and Painless

Lost my shape Trying to act casual! Can’t stop I might end up in the hospital I’m changing my shape I feel like an accident They’re back! To explain their experience Isn’t it weird Looks too obscure to me Wasting away And that was their policy I’m ready to leave I push the fact in front of me Facts lost Facts are never what they seem to be Nothing there! No information left of any kind Lifting my head Looking for danger signs There was a line There was a formula Sharp as a knife Facts cut a hole in us There was a line There was a formula Sharp as a knife Facts cut a hole in us I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting… I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting… I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting… The feeling returns Whenever we close out eyes Lifting my head looking around inside The island of doubt It’s like the taste of medicine Working by hindsight Got the message from the oxygen Making a list Find the cost of opportunity Doing it right Facts are useless in emergencies The feeling returns Whenever we close our eyes Lifting my head Looking around inside. Facts are simple and facts are straight Facts are lazy and facts are late Facts all come with points of view Facts don’t do what I want them to Facts just twist the truth around Facts are living turned inside out Facts are getting the best of them Facts are nothing on the face of things Facts don’t stain the furniture Facts go out and slam the door Facts are written all over your face Facts continue to change their shape I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting… I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting… I’m still waiting…I’m still waiting…
      Such a great song… Such a great video. It is indicative of an aspect of human culture in its evolution through time that rather than losing it, such great songs like this one actually gain pertinence. Even now, perhaps especially now, this first line sets up a primeval pattern in human existence in its modern context. When man first entered the cave, his sensory perception deprived to the minimum, the mind began its first strides inward and consciousness was, if not born, conceived. I came across a later manifestation of this rite of passage from somewhere in, likely, the 900’s ad in the written memory of the Slavic east in an excerpt from the Russian Primary Chronicle. I discovered it at a time in my life when I was becoming more and more isolated from family and friends–when I was finally beginning to shed those “childish things…” my chemical escapism. I was so freaked out by what I read , I had to put down the book and then come back to it again later… then again the next day–and I still had a hard time introducing it into my schema of understanding.
The passage was describing a funerary rite for a fallen warrior… The young women, along with the old, were gathered and asked for their participation. Only one would be selected and it would be a great honor. The young girls were all eager for the chance to participate and all volunteered for this privileged. In such an uncertain life, lived so close to brutal death… surely it was honor which would see you safely to the center of things. A girl was selected and taken into the hut where the body of the slain warrior lay. Outside the old women began a hooting and hollering commotion, followed in this by the unknowing young, to mask what they knew was going on inside. Inside, the girl was raped and slaughtered as offering.
You see, at this point in human cultural evolution, it wasn’t the pre-birth of consciousness one found in that dark room out of sight… it wasn’t the beginning of the traversing from Id to Ego, but Ego to Super-Ego. The awakening of the individual into that broader consciousness of the self within the context of the society in which that self lived. This was the funeral rite of the warrior, and she would honor his sacrifice in kind–likely, both of them went to these roles eagerly without understanding what awaited them.
Years later, I came across a similar illustration of this ancient pattern in the book, The Fratricides, by Nicholas Kazantzakis. This time the pattern was much more easily digestible. A huckster at a fair entices young men to enter a tent where-in he will find the truth of the fallacy of marriage… for a modest fee. Once inside the dupe is presented with an empty tent and the huckster says, [now, do you really want to humiliate yourself by confessing you’ve been tricked and cheated so easily?] And thus, the young man kept his silence.
This first line, “I lost my shape, trying to act natural…” reveals this same pattern as succinctly and profoundly as could be imaginable. This is what happens… you undergo a transformation merely through inaction, just by trying to pretend that nothing has happened. How many of us have walked into a room where there was nothing but idiotic malevolence so profound as to be hard to comprehend, and then walked out again stupefied and knowing that no one would believe what we found. This is how legacies of power so ancient as to be rooted in the lizard brain manifest. It reminds me of the line from a Radiohead song… “I am sorry for us, the dinosaurs roam the earth…” To act natural afterwards is to [lose your shape.]
I won’t bother with an explication of the entire song but leave it with this… at the end,,, this chanted line… “I’m still waiting… still waiting.” Is the single tacit mantra of Christianity. Theology being that other thing that saw us through the darkness of that prehistoric cave, a thing which, despite your stated atheism or agnosticism, guides us still. By entering that room and learning the legacy of the beast, we, at the very least, learn the stakes.

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