by j-a

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Mar, 2003


Jim picked me up at eight and we went to Home Depot to buy some doors and supplies to finish the house we're working on. After an hour or so on the job, Jim said he had to go somewhere, something about a hole saw. He came back about half an hour later, asking if Fran (the guy he's doing this job for) came by. I told him no one had been there. He was surprised, so that I got the idea that he'd gone out to avoid the guy. A little later Fran stopped by. He was upset with Jim. He said that he really screwed him over on this job, that he'd expected him to be done long before this. He was obviously applying the pressure for us to finish it up today. Jim said that he'd either be done today or tomorrow. (He knew full well that it'd take until tomorrow.)

After the guy left, Jim began to make excuses for himself, like when he was given the job, he was told that there was no hurry, that they weren't going to put the house on the market until March. (I didn't point out that this was March first). He engaged in more denial and displacement until I was certain that he was in the wrong. It had been obvious to me that he had been slacking on the job for a long time. I can understand why he would have been delayed, given the bouts of flu and snow, but the delays went way beyond that. I can see how he might never get any more work from Fran. He should have been apologetic and more "business-like," buttering the guy up, etc. But that's not the way my brother is. He's in business for himself exactly for this reason: he doesn't want to act toward people like an employee, like they have authority over him. But hey, that's what business is. I imagine this situation repeated numerous times over the years and can understand why it is that Jim has no real business left.


Waiting to see if Jim will call today. He'd said he would if he decided he needed me to help him finish up the house. If he does, I'm not ready and will have to rush. Right now I'm sitting at my computer in my sweats and robe, face unwashed, teeth unbrushed. I should go and get ready. That way, he won't call. I really don't feel like going out today.


Saying high times are over for those who sell pipes and bongs favored by pot smokers, federal agents raided more than 100 homes and businesses throughout the nation Monday, including a glass-pipe company owned by actor-comedian Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong fame.
It might be good press, but it won't mean a thing in the ‘drug war.' I remember when we used to smoke pot in the recessed bottom of a Pepsi can.

Ashcroft and his cohorts were on the news this past week touting their recent busts here in W. PA of people selling "paraphernalia." They make me sick, the feds. They piss me off. The very presence of their images on the tv screen disgusts me. How can anyone doubt that, when George Orwell wrote 1984, he was talking exactly about these people, with their identical haircuts and strict conservative dress code? You just know that when they see people like me, coifed and dressed alternatively, they imagine hatching plans to force everyone in Amerika to look alike.

The Justice Department would be a joke if the damage it does were not so serious. Justice via the legal system is more about assuaging the incidental pain and turmoil created by the crime and about providing an outlet for the exorcism of personal demons than it is about administering fair and impartial punishment and corrective adjudication. And I'm not only talking about those professionals who do the "administering." I'm also talking about the amateurs who sit in judgment.


In winter, my bedroom is my cocoon.
Soon now, I'm going to have to break out.
Electric heaters keep me cozy warm.
The house is nearly as cold as outside.


When more people are outlaws than law-abiding citizens, then the latter circle their wagons and hide in enclaves like Washington, D.C. That day isn't here yet, but we tend toward it, as the prison population rises, the gap between rich and poor increases, and more and more people become disenfranchised.

"You are either for us or against us."

I don't accept that dichotomy. I can be neutral. But if you insist, then I'm against you. I always take a stand against assholes.

In addition to airports and federal buildings, add nightclubs to the list of places to avoid. It's becoming a good idea to stay away from any place where large groups of people gather, especially when they are crowded in with limited egress, and very especially when they are worked up into a manic state of being, such as pre-war mania.

It's better, over all, to live secluded in the mountains than to crowd yourselves into big cities, where only the affluent can afford to survive healthily. But who didn't already know that?


I no longer feel the imperative to write like I used to when I was younger, mostly, I think, because I've said all I ever wanted to say, I've documented the crux of my experience and psychology, again and again. Now, instead, I can devote my time to going back over that documentation (journals, unfinished stories and novels, etc.) and continue to rewrite and publish it, because as I work at this activity, I find myself restating the messages in the same way I've been stating them all along, but at the same time updating them, adding new stuff to the old stuff, qualifying them. In other words, for the most part, I can express myself just as well by rewriting as by writing "new" material.

But, this (journal) is new writing. And there are a lot of things I write that, while not seeming so important as stuff that I have previously written, are nonetheless expressive and are valid documentation. So, who am I kidding? I still have an imperative to express myself. It's just that the imperative no longer seems so important as it used to, and not only because it's repetitive, because some of it is not. Nothing's changed, except my desire to do it. I still feel the need. I just don't want to do it so much any more. The answer to my quasi-dilemma is to simplify, to forget about all of the erratic postmod formats (news, blogs, etc.) and to concentrate on the journal(s) and stories, allowing the detritus to fall into pastiches.


I find myself continually redefining myself. (Is that redundant?) But the self-definitions seldom seem to take. I forget about them until the next time I feel the need to redefine myself and happen to hit upon the same definition, maybe even years later. The definitions that are most often repeated are the ones that eventually stick. I guess everyone does this at some sub- or semi-conscious level, but I tend to do it consciously, in writing.


This government is exactly what the founding fathers rebelled against. The particular facts may be different, but the oppressive attitude is the very same thing.


It's amazing. PA's new do-not-call law actually works. Since the end of February, I haven't received any telemarketing calls, which I means I haven't received any calls at all, except for those from my brother and his family. The periodic ringing of the phone is no longer disturbing the peaceful quiet atmosphere of my home. And that's the way I like it. So don't call me.


For the past nine years I haven't been going out except when I absolutely have to, when I "need" things (I realize that a lot of my neediness is really not needing, but wanting) or when someone calls me and requests my presence, that is, when life will come to me. I established this reticent behavior pattern in order to minimize my life, to increase my (sense of) detachment, both in order to put into practice certain spiritual ideas I have and to reduce the depths of stress and depression that I had sunken into.

But now, having been spoiled by my new stress-free lifestyle, I expect to meet life in a peaceful and well-calmed state, and when I don't, it disturbs me, not so much because I begin to become stressed as because I recognize that life is not progressing according to my ideal. But life will never progress according to my ideal. At best, it only occurs that way once in a while. Sometimes "the world" in its disconsiderate, unconscious ignorance pits itself against your best-laid plans and calmest and most peaceful state of mind.

But living in stress-free peace and harmony is not what "going with the flow" means. It means acceptance of the state that the world finds itself in, not bucking the inevitable. Sometimes, when I go out, everything flows quite smoothly, I accomplish exactly what I set out to do, and everything is fine. But sometimes the opposite occurs. Yet I can still go with that negative flow, if only I will. My disappointment at things not going my way is merely a reaction in kind to things going the way they are going, locally or cosmically.

In other words, when things do not go the way I expect them to, when I feel disoriented and out-of-place, when everyone I encounter does not recognize me as the benign spiritual presence that I want to think I am, still, I am going with the flow if I can remain calm, take in the "world (or local) situation," and remain positive. And even if I can't do that, even if I react badly (agitatedly, or worse, aggressively) to 'bad vibes,' I am still going with the flow--a bad flow, maybe, but it's flow nonetheless.


I can get lost for long periods of time. The past month has been such a time. Since I've had the flu and abandoned my regular schedule, I've all but given up my goal-oriented pursuits. I've been existing, sleeping full nights, half-working at the computer for a few hours each day and watching tv the rest of the time, focusing on the news and waiting for the war in Iraq to begin, as if it were a mini-series and the daily news briefings associated with it were media-saturated ads promoting its eventual release date.

But as the days get sunnier and the weather warmer, I'm beginning to remember that I used to have a purpose to my life. Like Lawrence crossing the desert toward Aqaba, I've been drifting. I'd like to be able to say, like Lawrence (or maybe I should say, like Peter O'Toole), that it won't happen again. But it will. Winter is my desert. If I'm beyond this year's low point (and I'm not certain yet that I am), there's still next year, and the next, and...


Occasionally I am motivated to wonder why I am here on this planet. I consciously search for a purpose, not for existence itself, because I am quite aware that that explanation is beyond the comprehension of the human mind, but for my existence, alone. What am I supposed to be doing? What makes my life worthwhile? Often I will conclude that the answer is, nothing. Sometimes I will come up with some kind of scheme or paradigm that I can use, for a while (until the novelty wears off or until I forget it) to justify my existence and convince myself that what I am doing, the activities that I engage in, make sense, that I am not just wasting time until I die. The following is the most recent version of this process of rationalization:

It occurs to me that the most important thing I do, in a social sense [and how can anything anyone does, together or alone, not be ultimately social, since are we social beings?], is to listen to people and understand what it is they're saying. I have always had a pronounced talent in this regard, ever since I was very young. I have been, and still am when I will allow it, a good listener. I have not always been a good understander, but others seldom ever knew that. Almost always, people who engage me (not an easy task for them, I know) think I understand what they're talking about. I intuit well, but more importantly, I behave (unconsciously) as if I am completely cognizant of every nuance of every word, gesture, and even thought and feeling that people who engage me are experiencing. And, in a sense, I am. We all are, on an unconscious level. This is the basis for psychological transference. At a very deep center of our being, well below the level of awareness, we each intuitively understand others we encounter. It's unfortunate that a whole lot of psycho-trash gets in the way most of the time to prevent us from gaining conscious awareness of this archetypal ability.

This could be my social purpose (and is there really any other kind?): to listen to people and to try to understand what they are saying and feeling, and short of actually understanding, to impart to them the perception that I do, to assuage the continual doubt that we all will experience, even the most confident of us, at a deeply hidden level, because what is confidence but doubt repressed? This is my gift, my talent, which I hide away from, because it causes me a great deal of grief and preoccupation, when I will allow the transferences to occur (consciously)--because the next step in the process, after the encounter, is to straighten out in my own mind what it is that I am experiencing that is truly myself and what it is that I have contracted from the people I have been with, as if a virus has been passed to me and I must fight it off. My methodology is like an immune system. I use words like white blood cells to capture and restrain the errant pathologies.

I wait, for people and things, situations, to come to me, which they always do, eventually. And when they do, when contact is made, my psyche springs into action, despite any conscious unwillingness to do so on the part of the ego. I execute my agenda, my social purpose, I observe, I listen, I "understand." And then I go away, leaving something of myself behind that others may or may not comprehend. I return home, burdened, sometimes bursting, with content, which I set about to try to truly understand, in depth. I analyze. I interpret. I write it all down. I fill journals with it, often rambling until I hit upon the central motivation and begin to see a pattern that unlocks the secret. And then I am freed, from that which has been transferred--except that I know that the reason I acquired the information in the first place was that within me existed an affinity that the other person touched. I may be freed from the "burden" (of non-understanding and conscious dissonance), but the "problem" that occasioned it will be always with me, because that is what a burden is, an awareness that you are like someone else who has a problem, whether they themselves are aware of the problem or not. We are all attached in this way. None of us, together or alone, is separate.

The next step in my purpose of existence is to document it. I use to call this my personal purpose, but I see now that that is a fallacy. This is merely a further elaboration of the same social theme, especially when I will publish the results via stories, novels, or the website. There is no real distinction between the personal and the social, just as there is no real distinction between where one of our bodies leaves off and another's begins. Pheromones, perceived gestures, words, intuitions, waveform patterns of sub-nuclear "particles" analogous to (or identical with) electromagnetic energy that exist ubiquitously in the "ether" in which we are immersed, ultra-dimensional waveforms that we know of only mathematically that may exist in reality unseen and yet still affect us at a deep unconscious level as if we are broadly-tuned receivers incorporating multiple bandwidths like radios interpret heterodyned information, our base frequency being this "reality" superimposed with a signal of extra-dimensional origin, all act to de-define the discrete selves we believe ourselves to be. There is no personal self. In fact, there may be no social (meta) self either, but that concept is beyond the scope of this piece.

A subdivision of this last step, documentation, is the letters I write. I have always considered these to be my least important purpose, but I see now that they are every bit as profound as all the rest, because I touch people and am touched in the very same way in letters as we touch each other in person. There is no distinction of affect, only of format. My work, then, is to persist in my activity, "alone," until someone contacts me, which they will do, far more often that I suspect, or could ever be aware of, which is probably a good thing because the relatively few times that I do become aware of the contact can overwhelm me to the point where I can hardly bear it and cause me to want to work very hard at the analysis, interpretation, and documentation to try to catch up and understand. Even in dreams (if that is real contact, and I have no reason to believe that it is not), relatively freed of the demands of "reality" and ego, I am overwhelmed. I cannot ever hope to understand all that, yet I have the sense that it is most important. We are with each other all the time. Only consciously do we pretend that we are not. My social purpose is to communicate this fact, whether that is with my presence, or my absence, or in written words.

And then, of course, there's spiritual purpose, cosmic awareness. This is probably even more important to me than all of the above. But even if I would meditate for hours every single day, awareness often comes begrudgingly. And even if I will not meditate, it seems to come when it will. It may well be that I am no more aware, whether or not I meditate. It may be that awareness is an issue of evolution, and nothing more. Still, though, it can't hurt to meditate, and I should be doing more of it, I guess. I've been slacking off.


Everyone's jumping on the bandwagon (well, not everyone) to begin criticizing Bush's War Party. (I know it's mostly politicking.) A standard criticism follows the line that Bush is not going to Iraq to disarm and/or depose Saddam Hussein, but for oil interests. A more recent, far more potent criticism (Pat Buchanan, et al.) is that Bush and, especially, several of his warmongering cohorts (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al.) have divided loyalties and are the front men for a powerful cabbalistic lobby whose interest is the state of Israel. [Buchanan cleverly divorces this argument from anti-Semitism by referencing several Jewish scholars who support this view.] There are other criticisms, but among them all, no one seems to be mentioning the one that seems most obvious to me: Bush Sr.'s "New World Order."

Afghanistan is history, well on its way toward Westernization. Iraq is about to become just another state statistic, thereby sandwiching Iran, where the mullahs sit shaking in their turbans, hatching plans to acquire nuclear power plants from the Russians while affirming that they have absolutely no intent of developing nuclear weapons. Saudi princes are walking a fine line and seem to be coming around to the Western way of thinking, at least in a token way. If Iraq goes well for Bush, he may well find that the Saudis will seek his counsel on how to deal with their Islamic main street as they ponder their "democratic" reforms. Syria (which may well be next, even before Iran) is a hopeless case and may have to be completely isolated. Jordan is already pretty much where we want them. And the Palestinians are exactly where they have always been, fallen into the cracks between the rocks and hard places.

The Mideast is the focal point of Bush's attempt to change the world. He's a New Age Caesar or Napoleon. But he's far more clever. The Caesars incorporated nations into their empire. Napoleon conquered nations and initiated social reforms, but failed to integrate. Bush disturbs the status quo by deposing the strongmen, instilling cultural "values" and then backing off and allowing "democracy" and "capitalism" to enable greedy entrepreneurs to seek the favor of the West. Actually, now that I think of it, this is probably nothing more than a more sophisticated (or militant) form of Reaganism, which makes sense. I was wondering how Daddy Bush came up with the New World Order idea. It seemed to me to be a bit above his head.


The color-coded security level is more about manipulating public opinion than it is an indication of the degree of threat that exists toward America and Americans. They move it up and down in anticipation of coming events and situations, like when they recently lowered it after the heightened alert due to suspected terrorists attacks that never panned out, even though the threat of those attacks was still with us. If they hadn't lowered it, they couldn't use it again to hype us up for the coming war unless they raised it up to the highest level, red, which they don't want to do, just in case a real threat comes along. It seems like we as individuals could take a page from this strategy and color-code our fellow Americans: