Even Mickey Eye’s Giving Me The Blues (Hang On to Your Ego!)

(Soundtrack: Frank Black)

Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, — master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.

As John Commonplacebook has noted, I’m constitutionally incapable of discussing Grant Morrison without dragging Emerson into the equation, so please take this with a grain of salt–but…people… Mickey Eye! He’s nothing right? And he sure seems to “see All”, doesn’t he? This is Emerson’s Frankenstein Metaphor come to life. The dream of a perfect affinity with the universe transformed into a mocking, egg-stomping nightmare! Our need for a glimpse of the infinite drives us to create a diseased meta-subject that has no substance of its own. Emerson went out into the forest–the new pantheist sits on the couch, stewing in chicken farts, channeling signals from space. It’s the same thing really. But the “colored and distorting” lens of consciousness prevents us from identifying with this thing, and we settle for being seen by it.

You may recall a similar ogling horror lurking behind Greg’s television screen in The Filth. Again, I don’t have a clue where this series is going, but for now I’m interpreting this as a call for a new “love-node particularism”. A rejection of all dialectical thinking. The “indictment” here is not so much of “surveillance culture”, it’s of our desire to partake of omniscience by participating in a paranoid surveillance-fantasy. “Mickey” can’t “see” how much you care for the humans and animals in your life. That’s all the ontology you need. “Reality” is a malleable thing–and every one of us gets a vote.

Gotta go to work!

Good Day Friends!



  1. Dave:

    A few weeks ago, NBC ran an adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time”. I’d forgotten about the vilianous “It”… which is depicted as a single eye with a red iris. So your observations about Mickey Eye had a surprising resonance for me.

    George Guay

  2. As charming as your connection of Mickey Eye to the “transparent eye-ball” is, I don’t know if I can buy it as I don’t see Emerson’s epiphany relating to the kind of surveillance Mickey Eye implies. Mind you, I’m no Emerson scholar, but I read that passage as being about the verbs, not the objects – not “I see All,” but “I am nothing; I see all.”

    Of course, this loss of subjectivity isn’t that inconsistent with your comments, but I don’t read the surveillance aspect into Emerson.


  3. I think you’re right Marc–I guess I’m suggesting that Morrison is implying that the surveillance aspect is an unwanted by-product of Emersonian thinking–a by-product which Emerson failed to take account of whilst writing Nature (although the later Emerson was certainly more sensitive to the kinds of complications that come with a commitment to “radical subjectivity”.)


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