Did God get diaspora? Is that what happened? Was he/she/it bored and felt the desire to spread out and wander? It’s not a popular theory, least of all amongst those who want to know where their God is, was, and will be. But to some of us, the idea of a bit of God hanging out everywhere has soul comforting merit. It is especially comforting to those of us who tried writing a college paper on soap opera, and ended up telling their TV & Film Media Studies tutor that Life is probably just one big soap opera for God, after he/she/it got a chronic case of diaspora, spilt up into little bits, and ended up watching all the little bits of itself for amnesia-based entertainment purposes - only to have her write on the bottom of the paper, ‘What’s your point?’ Evidence, one feels sure, that she was not the kind of person to have Tom Robbins on her bookshelf?
If she had been the kind of person to have Tom Robbins on her bookshelf, she would understand that this thing called Life is so utterly confusing in its apparent meaningless simplicity, that to ask ‘what’s your point’ to any component part of Life, is to undoubtedly miss it – the point that is. And yet, well, yes, therein lies the rub - as Hamlet would say - for to quote that guy in the socks: an unexamined life is not worth living.
Examinations and Distractions
Of course, one might feel that to focus on the contents of life as presented in the 21st century of the mass entertainment, distraction and anaesthetic, risks more than missing the point – it is downright dangerous. Yet someone, this writer feels sure, with Tom Robbins on their bookshelf (last time that phrase will be used, promise), can be abundantly served with entertainment, distraction, and anaesthetic without having to abandon the examination of life, the point, or anything else that it’s probably worth being here for. For that is the point: that we not only have a view point, we have an existential point too. In fact, there is something about reading a Tom Robbins book that makes the reader feel like both the examiner and the examined. It’s a bit like reading about everyone you know from an internal viewpoint and yourself from an external one. One could get egotistical if one wasn’t already.
There is another bonus to owning a book shelf that has some of the novels of Tom Robbins on it: it is that there is the sense that they may chat to the ones next to them, that they may share insights and play in the ethers. What advice does Alobar and Kudra impart to the boy in The Alchemist for instance? Was any Zen-like motorcycle maintenance carried out inside the packet of camel cigarettes? And what giggles does Sissy Hankshaw share with Lao Tzu? This is not to suggest that the books themselves are talking - that would require chemical support - but that a reader who has taken in various materials may find they become so jumbled up in the head that they create a mix of insight, bemusement and, on good days, wispy gossamers of wisdom - and perhaps most of all, a sense of interconnectedness that is so vital in the new American Empire. For a country built on the foundation of powerful words and ideals, remains vulnerable to the ‘sound’ of powerful words and ideals, and can be easily besieged by media and mediums only able to examine inwards.
Back to our point
So ‘what’s your point’ is really only different from ‘what’s the point’, when seen through eyes that block interconnectedness, and fail to recognise our god-like diaspora; one that cannot see that all viewpoints are ‘our’ viewpoint. That like our species, our point is global. It is shared, and wholly inter-reliant. Therefore, when we have truly wide-view perspective books, such as Mr Robbins’, it is wonderful to celebrate these ones who mix it all up, and play and dance with multiple viewpoints through a lexic humour that’s meaning perhaps only comes out when seen holistically. Maybe all point is not lost, and one day we will reach a time when all visitors will come to our homes, examine our bookshelves, and say in whatever words indicate the unifying awareness that comes from our acknowledged diaspora, ‘Wow, you have Tom Robbins on your bookshelf!’
Tina Lane is a freelance writer from England who has written self help guides covering everything from a guide on how to help an alcoholic spouse to finding happiness through meditation.