The reassuring smile was now useless. I was plastic. Everything was veiled. Objectivity, facts, hard information--these were things only in the outline stage. There was nothing tying anything together yet, so the mind built up a defense, and the evidence was restructured, and that was what I tried to do on that morning--to restructure the evidence so it made sense--and that is what I failed at.
It's where we're nearest to our humanness. Useless knowledge for its own sake. Useful knowledge is good, too, but it's for the faint-hearted, an elaboration of the real thing, which is only to shine some light, it doesn't matter where on what, it's the light itself, against the darkness, it's what's left of God's purpose when you take away God.
Why were Jack and his brother digging post holes? A fence there would run parallel to the one that already enclosed the farmyard. The Welches had no animals to keep in or out - a fence there could serve no purpose. Their work was pointless. Years later, while I was waiting for a boat to take me across the river, I watched two Vietnamese women methodically hitting a discarded truck tire with sticks. They did it for a good long while, and were still doing it when I crossed the river. They were part of the dream from which I recognized the Welches, my defeat-dream, my damnation-dream, with its solemn choreography of earnest useless acts.
Already, in the last few decades, you have realized the utter futility of of encumbering yourselves with superfluous possessions that have no useful virtue, but which, for various sentimental reasons, you continue to hoard, thus lessening your life's efficiency by using for it time and attention that should have been applied to the practical work of life's accomplishments. (The Miracle of the Lily - 1928)