Anthropology, Clifford Geetrz, Jean-Paul Dumont & pulling back the stage curtain (only to reveal another curtain): Last night I had a dream that I had returned to Vietnam, a place where I have spent about twenty percent of my time over the last four years). In my dream I was moving back into my old apartment in Hanoi when the landlady, Ba Hanh, showed up & (very apologetically) told me that she had someone else who had to live there, so I had to move to a hotel--that is, a place for visitors or tourists. By the way, since this is a discussion about language, in my dreams I speak Vietnamese. Badly. Same as in waking life. So, this wasn't so much about uncertainty in the study of subatomic principles as about the impossibility of taking on another form of life completely. I'm attracted to Geertz' notion that the human body binds us together in certain forms of experience, but even here I am skeptical--in Vietnam, the human body is different. Shaped differently. Arranged differently. Held differently. Even with my passion for the country & culture I will always live figuratively in a hotel there.


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