It's just another day. Last night I watched some of the New Years' celebrations around the world on tv. (I missed the local ones. I fell asleep at ten-thirty.) All these people waiting in anticipation, and for what? For the Earth to turn that final small degree that brings its location into compliance with the arbitrarily-set midnight hour at their residence on the globe. You'd think, especially with the postmod phenomenon of worldwide tv events, that people would realize that, if the time of the new year depends on the turn of the Earth, then it also depends on the tilt of the Earth on its axis, which reversed its direction some twelve days ago, thus beginning the real new year.
There are tasks to perform: get the car inspected; put down a new kitchen floor; lose the twelve pounds I've gained; fix the roof. (Actually, that last item can wait until spring, Mandini).
I can't shake the feeling that I'm doing the same old things and it's all getting so stale. I'd change my life if I wanted to pay the price. This is the problem. Love is free, but life costs so much.
...the dogs' legs were broken surgically and then set to heal in different ways. The dogs are now scheduled to be killed so the results of the research can be thoroughly measured.
...the school is defending the research, saying it will lead to faster and stronger recoveries for injured dogs.
Critics have voiced concern over the fact that terror alerts are exactly what Al Qa'ida, et al. want, to create an atmosphere of expectation of terror. But capitalism seems to be absorbing the threats and turning them into moneymaking opportunities, driving markets higher. You can't subvert commerce in a capitalist system. Entrepreneurs can make money off of anything. They'll just as soon sell airport scanners as sports footwear. If Islamic fundamentalists think that Western culture is so self-defeating, what they should do is allow it to flourish so that it sows the seeds of its own destruction. It will. It always does. The worst times are always ahead when times are prosperous. It seems to me that the most devastating damage that can be done is non-inclusion. Convince enough people to opt out, and you win. Turn on. Tune in. Drop out. The only problem with that is that materialism is so addicting. No one wants to belong to a strict alternate society like fundamental Islam. Decadence may be self-limiting (ala the Roman Empire), but it's appealing. But if it's heaven you're worried about getting into, you're far more likely to get there via fundamentalism than consumerism--so long as you're not running around killing people like the Islamic terrorists or denigrating them like the Christian fundamentalists. Saints are more likely to be Quakers than businessmen.
I know he didn't mean it this way, but isn't Bradbury's comment a criticism of artists? Are modern artists any different, really, than cave painters? [I feel like I'm writing on rock walls right now, cutting back on "more serious" stuff to blog. (Is that a flame of online artists?)]
Probably, I'll keep posting to this journal in a random fashion, like I used to, as opposed to making it my obsession and insisting that I post something every day, and using it to "track" my life.
I don't know exactly yet how this is all going to work out. I don't know if I can even break the addiction. I mean, I didn't even intend to write this much about it. Obsession/compulsion just is.
And I'll miss having a daily documentation of my life; but then, I don't have it anyway. There are big past gaps, especially early on. My ideal would be to have started as soon as I was conscious.
Life is funny, when you're not a comedian. (I don't even know what that means.) Anyway, the documentation will still be there, in a different form, in my blog and livejournal. And in my fiction.
We'll see how it all goes. That's what I'm doing anyway, after all--playing it by ear. I'm not so compulsive as I want to make out, I suspect, when I constantly violate my own sense of purpose.
I'm still trying to turn my life into art; it's just a different kind of art. I feel like I don't want to be so literal any more. I'm going to shut up now because I feel like this is starting to go in circles.
My adventitious mini-projects incorporate content designed to change my stalwart life, except that I am so firmly set upon keeping it the way it is because, finally, it seems to be working, at least moderately so now, not with so much (socially-defined) success as it had been previously, but functional nonetheless, and stable; but let's not opt for the supposed importance of the stability we all seem increasingly to want to require as we get older. There's something still to be said for adventure, isn't there?
Afterwards, I say to db/E that I thought they'd be smarter, and more thorough. They didn't know who I really was, after all.
When she asks me how I managed this, I tell her that you trade off what's not important to you that they assume is. People do not seem to understand how it is that I am always able to turn an apparent defeat into a victory. It's easy. All you have to do is redefine what it is you (seem to) want. People, generally, except for those few misanthropes in the world who relish others' pain, want to give you what you want--if it's at all possible.
I get what I want (attention) by giving it and expecting it in return. I give attention in order to get it, but now I'm not getting it back. The dream is over. I've now run into a different kind of situation. I'm not getting from this new situation what I want, even though I'm giving it. What's going on here?
Should I pursue a course that has as its goal a voluminous, detailed life rendered as a "unified" journal (i.e., like this new year's journal has become); or should I go with the less frequent postings that summarize longer periods of time in a number of specialized journals/blogs that incorporate terse, obscure, cryptic "poetics?"
Should I strive to become one known and consistent identity (despite my internal reality; or perhaps as a therapy against it); or should I enable the multiple smaller identities that I continually discover and develop as relatively separate "beings" until I am either able to (re-)integrate them or let them drift away as a figment of a fictive or abandoned past?
Should I write my life/thought out in its longest, most garrulous form; or should I render it down as an old hill woman would render ash, fat, and sundry ingredients into soap, distilling the content, making the end product more potent?
All of these things, I think, all at once. Why must I be so exclusively one way or the other? The obvious answer to that question is that identity demands that I choose the former, the well-integrated option. But that is less satisfying (mostly because there is so little time to integrate all of the wayward mini-identities that are being developed/nurtured). In an ideal world with an infinite amount of time, I could plod along and become the full-blown meta-entity that I know I am, but can never fully express, except in small part or in metaphor. It's a bitch not having been born a god.
I'm focusing right now on suffering as a means of self- improvement. I've dealt with this idea and practice before, many times, but I don't think I've ever written it out. I'm doing so now to try to motivate myself out of a winter introversion. The holidays have left me overweight and inactive. I need to get moving and accomplish something real. But all I do is write and lay around. Just do it! Suffer, for the benefits.
I can lose weight, or whatever, by suffering--like I used to suffer for women, allowing them the lead, although I'm not sure there were benefits for doing that. What am I saying! Of course there were. Suffering rules. It's the same with anything you do: no pain, no gain. Or, as Ben Franklin said, "There are no gains without pains." Doing things, accomplishing tasks, increases self-confidence. The resulting increase in self-esteem further feeds the desire to get things done.
But when we languish in a non-productive mode, the opposite effect is reinforced. Self-confidence and self-esteem drops. It's a delicate balance, because if we run around doing things all day and night, whether the intent is conscious or unconscious, we're going to burn out. We have to be careful how we apply our activity, especially if we're type A personalities.
There is a good compromise, however, when environmental and/or psychological (is there really any difference?) conditions work to keep us from acting to improve our situations: suffer and silently wait for results to take effect. Suffering for benefits makes the suffering worthwhile. When we can't bring ourselves to do anything else, suffer. Eventually we will arise out of it to new beginnings.
Of course, actually going out and doing things when we're in an extreme mode of introversion and/or anxiety can be a form of suffering too. If we can manage it, we can go out (or stay in) and get things done, rather than lie around in our misery. I mean, after all, people do it every day, when they go out to work at jobs they hate. I'm such a spoiled asshole. I may choose to suffer, but not nearly so much as others do.
Look out there at that world of marginally dysfunctional people. You can immediately spot those who do not choose to suffer (so much). They're fat. They're alcoholics. They're drug addicts. They're [name your favorite debility]. Sure, these people suffer too. But not as much as they would if they confronted their addictions and acted to relieve themselves of their burdens. They've given in to them instead.
People settle for less than they're capable of because they choose not to suffer (so much). But it's a balancing act that is tipped in favor of debility as we continue to exist in our non-developmental mode. The longer we are mis-abled, the more likely it is that suffering will have a deleterious effect on our physiologies/psychologies. We damage ourselves to the point of no return.
It's far easier to maintain a long-term balanced course of existence when we suffer a little bit when we are young. When we abandon suffering in youth, it's far more difficult to correct the problems that non-suffering (e.g., engaging in tactics like "the hair of the dog" or drug "wake-ups") produces as we age. Suffer now a little bit, or suffer much more later, when the effects of suffering are harder to tolerate.
Some people go through life trying not to suffer at all. Others put up with minor suffering, intuitively (or consciously) knowing that their future will be the better for it. It's a matter of present v. future orientation. "You can pay me now, or pay me later." We try to maintain our balance as we go along, but we tip it in favor of debility when we give in to our desires, especially when they are conditioned by habit.
When we get to a certain point in life, all we can hope for, some of us at least, is to be able to maintain the less than ideal delicate balance we've established. When our health is permanently affected, our addictions (include prescription medications here that help us to maintain the balance between health and illness) become more permanent. Suffering then becomes a moot point. We will.
M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence administrator Michelle Naef said that Hillary's comment "could be incredibly harmful." Naef also said "I find it offensive when people use stereotypes in that way."
Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit! The claim that Clinton's remark is inappropriate, that it demeans Gandhi, and/or that it stereotypes "certain" (Indian? Hindu?) ethnic groups itself demeans the profession of gas station manager. What's wrong with running a gas station? Is it some kind of "untouchable" way of earning a living? It's a noble profession, one that Gandhi himself would approve of. In fact, if he were here today, living in America, he might very well do just that, to prove that he is not the kind of a person who is trapped by stereotypical attitudes.
Now they're saying that coffee is good for you. [I'm thinking of Lewis Black's bit on Comedy Central about how experts flip-flop on what's good and bad for you.] Coffee drinkers are 30 to 50 % less likely to develop diabetes. Well, that's enough of a reason for me to drink it. Maybe now I won't feel so guilty. And I'm discovering that Dr. Atkins might have been wrong about the detrimental effects of caffeine on weight loss. I just lost seven pounds in six days on the Atkins diet while drinking two cups of coffee per day. It makes sense. The diabetes study says that coffee removes some kinds of sugar from your bloodstream. And the coffee hardly seems to be affecting my heart at all, like I previously thought. Maybe I'll continue to drink it after all, instead of planning to give it up again. The trick is not to escalate its usage. (Isn't it always?)
I took a two-hour nap this afternoon. I thought I'd sleep longer, after having had only five and four hours the last two nights. But I'm wide away and feeling productive, despite not having had my second cup of coffee. But I don't feel like braving the fifty-degree temperature in the rest of the house. I don't want to go through the now twice daily (since I'm taking afternoon naps) ritual of lighting a fire in the woodstove and working in the cold while the house heats back up.
I'm falling in love with my bedroom again. It's warm and cozy, easily heatable with the space heater, and I've got everything I need to work and play right here: tv, vcr, video tape player, cd player, books, and my laptop. For a long while I thought that I'd outgrown the need I felt to retreat into the bedroom, preferring instead the front room with the desktop computer. But single-digit temperature and the deepening winter are getting to me again.
Wars do not rage continuously, but are fought in discrete battles (even if some of them are more propaganda than literal) with periods of stasis in between where armies/ideas face off and await deployment.
If life is a war (and there is a sense in which it really is), then we fight its battles from time to time, struggling to gain ground. For some of us our wars are intense, with several or many battles being fought every day. For others, our battles are less frequent with longer periods of rest between. Those of us who win our battles more frequently than we lose them (those of us who are more competent at life), advance. But to win a war, we must win the decisive battle, the one that captures the key strategic position--perhaps that great job or promotion that every other junior executive is vying for, or that eligible bachelor that all the single women want, and some of the married ones too. At the end of the war, we may settle into a relative peace until the next war begins.
But some few of us are conscientious objectors who refuse to fight the war of life. Like the pacifists during times of war who will not fight and/or who take moral stands against the killing, we are looked upon with disfavor and even with hatred. We would make life one big long boring picnic, without contention, controversy, or competition. What kind of life is that, huh? It wouldn't be human. But I wouldn't mind it so much. It's better than being afraid to fly in airplanes.
I'm always wondering if I've really improved as I've gotten older or if I'm only deceiving myself that I have. But I've just now realized that I actually have improved--significantly. The logic goes as follows: I think back to specific types of incidents early in my adult life. There are a whole lot of these and it's not hard to come up with them. I see how I did not face up to these encounters/interactions, but instead chose to hide myself away and let others deal with them. But I think that now I could handle these incidents easily, with hardly a concern, and with minimal stress and anxiety. This is advancement.
However, this attitude applies only to incidents that occur in the present moment. I still have a conditioned response that appears to be born of anxiety when I anticipate these types of events. I realize this when, just as I am thinking this all out, I see a guy, whom I had noticed earlier canvassing the neighborhood, heading toward my house. Automatically, I move away from the door and retreat into the recesses of the house. I know that I could have gone to the door to see what it was that the guy wanted (he probably wanted to sell me something), but I chose not to. And this is the point: I no longer, for the most part, experience the anxiety that I would have in this type of situation when I was younger; but there is still a conditioned response that prevents me from approaching people readily and willingly as a "normal" person would. And that's all right. I don't mind. Because now I have the choice. I could have gone to the door without affective consequence. I just didn't want to. I had a problem with anxiety for so long that even though I hardly feel anxious at all any more, my past anxiety has programmed me to be the kind of reticent person that I am. It's a matter of personality. It's who I am. It keeps me "out of danger," I theorize. It keeps me out of the way of people who might have agendas that are not in my best interest.
But I know that if I want to, I can respond differently, without affect. I know this is true because at times when I am presented with no opportunity to think about these kinds of encounters, when they occur spontaneously when I am out, I handle them quite well, whereas when I was young, I would have stumbled at the slightest provocation. In other words, if I have not learned how to socialize in a genuine way (maybe I have, but maybe I haven't) I have learned how to mimic a sociable person quite well, both in my overt and in my affective behavior. I now have a flexibility that I never had in the past. And when I combine this new me with that old aspect of myself that people always liked, that shy, self-effacing, yet genuine and sensitive part of me that everyone thought was so charming (because they didn't really understand), I can be dynamite. I can overwhelm people even better than I did when I was young and anxious, and I can do it now without anxiety.
[There are still times when I feel anxious: when I am stressed; when I need sleep but have to go out into society to meet people. There is a certain amount of regression that will occur from time to time. But these moments are few and far between. Generally, I think I've licked the real problem, even if I haven't changed my actual behavior.]
[ana asks in her livejournal: "are you eccentric?" I was going to post this as a comment, but as I read the other posts, I began to think that maybe I am not so eccentric after all. Some of them are quite weird.]
Oh, hell yes. As a kid, I was extremely shy and introverted and about as anxious as anyone could be in social situations. This behavior pattern haunted me (and still does in small part) all the way through college.
I'd managed by then, with a lot of difficulty, to transform myself into a more or less "social" (if not sociable) personality by adopting a hard, cool exterior against anyone who might want to see or get inside.
The affective problems have mostly melted away with the years as I've learned to deal with life and society, but the personality remains. I hardly feel anxious at all any more, but I am still reserved.
I am all but a recluse now, quite well versed in my own particular philosophy that borrows from Zen, postmod culture, woodsman's lore, classicism, et al. without really being any of those things at all.
I stay within my suburban home most of the time practicing a modified form of detachment, although in the summer, I spend a lot of time outside, mostly on the back porch away from neighbors' prying eyes.
I try to heat my home in the winter exclusively with my woodstove, although I often find myself resorting to electricity when I'm tired of hauling wood; and I heat my bedroom at night with a space heater.
All of my former friends have given up on me, which is mostly okay with me, because they weren't all that constant anyway, and some of them were downright manipulative and even occasionally hostile.
I live on about $4,000.00 a year that I earn as interest from savings and investments that I squirreled away when I was working full time in business. And I actually manage to add principle to my investments.
But I am hardly that industrious businessperson any more, having reverted more to the beatnik/hippie style of my young adult life. I admire unconventional people and am learning constantly from them.
I believe a lot of odd things, and when I discover myself beginning to think in ordinary ways, I go to great lengths to research the subject matter, looking for alternative explanations.
I keep my hair quite long [even though it is sometimes uncomfortable and I'd like nothing better than to cut it all off] because I want to be seen as different--or maybe I mean I want to be noticed.
But I am quite schizoid about getting attention. I want it and I don't want it, both. I want to be attended to, but from afar, except by people I know well; yet I prevent them from getting to know me too well.
Actually, I'm going to have to examine that last dynamic closely. I think that a lot of people may be just like I am in this regard. Maybe I should work to change myself into something different.
I have a degree in psychology, and I use the knowledge gained while acquiring it (and subsequent knowledge acquired independently) quite effectively in my life, but never in any kind of formal way.
I hate formality. I never go anywhere unless I can go in Levis and a t-shirt--and a flannel shirt in winter. (I may wear other clothes from time to time, but only if I would be allowed to go dressed-down.)
I save everything and throw stuff out only when it becomes non-functional. My house is filled with the accumulation of my life, organized in closets and storage areas, or in the basement on shelves.
People think I'm odd. I guess I am, though I know that I'm really no different than they are, except that they repress what I do not in order to fit into a society that, as I get older, I care less and less about.
I never much cared for social concerns. I care more about people now than I ever have, but individual people. Social groups, at best, bore me. At their worst, they can be quite dangerous.
My sister summed up others' attitudes toward me quite well one day a few years ago when, in response to complaints about me made by my brother, she said "Well, you know him. He does what he wants."
This may have been meant as a mild criticism, but when I heard of it, I took it as a compliment. It made me think: there are actually people out there who don't do what they want. How sad is that?
Palpitations as I slept. I should stop drinking coffee, I think, half-awake. But my back, my sleep posture, is the real problem. I'm going through a pronounced manic state, maybe. Or what? But I don't care. I like it and I want it to continue. But if I decide that it's not the caffeine, I'm going to be pissed that I wasted the past few years trying to quit drinking it, while I moped around trying to self-motivate-- especially if I didn't have to protect my heart. I spend a lot of time self-motivating. It's a necessity. And caffeine is an easy substitute for motivation.
I come home late in the afternoon after being out all night. I leave my motorcycle parked away from the curb, almost in the middle of the street and more in front of the neighbor's house than ours. I think I'm going to have to come back out and move it soon. I go into the house. Dad is in the chair by door; Mom and D are across the room. They falsely accuse me of having done something terrible, but I can't understand what it is. Finally, on a cue from Mom, Dad moves aside and reveals that the expensive chair he's sitting in has some sort of black grease or soot on it. I am outraged, not at the damage that's been done, I could care less about the stupid chair, but at the fact that they accuse me of having done it, when I haven't even been home. They say it happened that morning. I protest that I wasn't even home this morning. But they don't care about logic at all. They're determined to blame me, no matter what. (I think back to an earlier part of the dream where Jeff P and others had been with me early that morning, when no one would have been at the house. I think that one of them, one of my friends, may have done it, in which case, they being my friends, I would have been responsible for their behavior; but we weren't at the house either, we were off somewhere else. But it's interesting to me that I conjecture that this could have been the case, as if I am being manipulated into feeling guilty for something I did not do.) I feel a number of overwhelming emotions all at once: anger, hurt, exasper- ation. I retreat into my room, but Mom and D follow me. I'm beside myself. I want to get away from them. I go into the closet as if to collect the most important of my possession and prepare to leave forever (a recurrent them), but I can't quite seem to pull this intent together. I sit down on the couch, and then I lie down and fall briefly asleep, because I am exhausted from having been up for nearly forty-eight hours. From the couch, I slouch to floor. D sits on the couch close to me. Mom is in middle of room. D says "look at him; he's fallen asleep in mid-sentence. I pretend to still be asleep. Mom and D (and I, by means of their perspective, as I still pretend to be asleep) notice a guy on the hill behind the house next door: It's "Saint John," they say, a guy they've known of before, although I haven't. He glows in white and gold, like one of the apostles. He appears to be young, but saintly and wise. They call on him to help with "my" problem--in an ignorant sort of way, because they rudely interrupt him as he's talking to kids up on the hill, instructing them in a kind and friendly manner, teaching them moral lessons without being preachy about it, but instead being cool and buddy-like. Mom and D summon him into the room through the north window, which is like a door. They're seeking justification for their negative opinion about me. But as soon as he gets into the room and sees the pseudo-sleeping me, the "saint" begins to morph into a cute young woman with short, curly, auburn-colored hair. She lies down beside me on the floor and cuddles up with me and comforts me while I "sleep." Mom and D are open-mouthed. I am vindicated.
CUT TO 640: I am sleeping in the bedroom. I awaken to hear talking in the kitchen. It goes on and on, an animated conversation that is nevertheless too subdued for me to actually make out the words, almost as if it's an undercurrent of the environment, a sound just slightly louder than room noise on a quiet afternoon. I go out to see who's there. It's Dad. He doesn’t want to face me and keeps turning and walking away from me. [Cf., the German-like woman in this other dream.] I ask him whom he's talking to, because no one else is there--or else someone else is being even more elusive than he is being. Eventually, I get him to come to me and be with me. We're standing by the table next to the bathroom door. He has a lot of receipts from a long time ago, and he remarks as he looks through them that this kind of memorabilia is saddening, that looking through this stuff evokes memories of people who are no longer around. I look through some of the receipts with him, stuff that db had handled and dealt with. A wave of extreme sadness and nostalgia washes over me and I am caught up in an uncontrollable emotional state that dominates my being.
I awaken and, as suggested by the dream imagery where I try to help Rita by talking to her, my thoughts turn to how I have influenced people throughout my life, in ways that I didn't intend. This is a pattern of behavior I (have) engage(d) in: I point out tendencies to people, their own and those of others, and having projected them forward in time through my own independent conjecture/fantasy, I state the conclusions, how events might ensue; but I don't state my conclusions as tentative possibilities with a degree of likelihood that they will occur, but rather as simple fact, implying that they will occur. This is an unconscious activity on my part. I'm not trying to mislead anyone (consciously, at least), but merely expressing myself "artistically," manifesting in real time the particular fruits of the "art" I've been engaging in while in my private world of imagination. But (here's the disturbing part of this revelation) I seem to (have) implant(ed) in (certain) people a kind of program that over the ensuing weeks/months/years executes to make my predictions come true.
Once (this was far more conscious on my part than any of the subsequent incidents of this phenomenon that I recall) I engineered the dismissal of a guy, an arrogant, but relatively incompetent A-type who was hired as an independently employed [after, we the employees later discovered, he was fired from a major consulting firm, prompting him to go out on his own] efficiency expert to revamp our incompetently run electronics firm and reduce its severe production backlog. I accomplished this small feat by talking down the guy behind his back after he fired me (actually he laid me off, permanently, probably the compromise that he made with my boss in order to allow me to collect unemployment compensation). Anyway, I socialized with people from my former place of employment, and always our conversations centered around this guy, how incompetent he was, what a nasty prick he was, how he would get around to screwing all of these people eventually. It wasn't so much my intention that I was trying to get him fired (the company, subsequent to my dismissal, decided to bring him on as a high-paid management employee) as it was to demean him in the eyes of the employees. I was engaged in a behind-the-scenes vendetta against him. Six months later, he was fired. It seems he couldn't function in his job against the bad reputation he had among the workforce.
I'm not proud of this instance of negative, backbiting influence; but I do consider it justice. It would have been different if the guy had known what he was doing and was actually capable of accomplishing the production and quality goals that he laid claim to. But then again, if he had been capable, he would have known how to negate the negative influence that generated the reputation. That is, the reputation wouldn't have been deserved; he wouldn't have had to bullshit everyone re how much of an expert he was.
This incident went a long way toward educating me as to how to protect myself in subsequent jobs against back-stabbing people. Until I wore down from the effects of long-term stress and finally gave up the exhausting, time-consuming task of undoing the results of negative character assassination, I effectively won every battle. It's a difficult war to wage, but it must be done if you are to be successful at higher business levels. Some days I would find myself devoting fifty to seventy-five percent of my time schmoozing people in order to negate the effects that my enemies produced. After I gave that up, deciding that I had to notch way back to protect the integrity of my increasingly affected arrhythmic heart and febrile body, it took about six months for the company to decide that I was no longer welcome. They allowed me to take an early retirement. Nice of them, huh? [That's another pattern: I've never actually been fired from any job; they always go way out of their way to appease me; maybe they recognized my potential for disaster; or maybe they just liked me, but had to get rid of me for political reasons. Or both.]
Six months seems to be about the time it takes for typical cases of negative influence to take hold. Of course, that depends on a lot of other factors, like the length of service of an employee, his past work record, etc. In Rita's case, it took about a year (I think. I don't have all the facts.) I told her just before I left the firm that my assistant (one of my more prolific back-stabbers) would have Rita's job within a year. (Rita was my boss, and close friend, for a long time.) I didn't tell her this to intentionally achieve any specific effect. It was just one of those "insights" I had--a possibility based upon my perception of the personalities involved. But the idea took hold. I strongly suspect, based on what Rita said when she visited me recently that the idea implanted in Rita's accepting brain (she'd always admired my abilities and intelligence and often came to me for advice) took hold and made the prediction come true, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I've seen this same thing happen, both positively and negatively, many times, both in work and social situations. In this same way I've convinced people to go on and get their Master's degrees when they had thought that they might remain satisfied with their Bachelor's. I've convinced people to find better jobs. I've enabled people's marriages (not always for the best). For the most part, I don't try to do these things. There is no conscious intent to influence people's lives. It just happens, but based on perceptions and predictions that I choose to communicate. Often the effects are so subtle that I doubt that the people involved would even recognize the influence. As I think about it now, it seems quite scary and profound. I should make a great effort to try not to do these kinds of things (although this is what people do, every day; this is what being human is all about). In fact, this is one of the main reasons that I decided to remove myself from mainstream society and live as a semi-recluse for a while: not only am I too easily influenced/affected (over-sensitivity) by others, but I too easily influence/affect others, often negatively. I'd like to be a positive influence in others' lives, and I have been; but so have I been a negative one. And who am I to be playing around with people's lives? The answer is: I'm human. But I don't want to be so human as to be going around secretly wielding an arbitrary power and exacting my specific vengeance, which is always relative and never without karmic effect. I need to discover how I might act in more positive ways within the society of people. But that is a long, long lesson that I am only starting to learn. [The project I'm working on in the dream?]
Charles Dickens led a double life, that of a famous author and that of the secret lover of a lady friend. He kept these lives totally separate. I'm leading a double life--or, really, multiple lives. I am multiple personalities, none of which recognize the others, until now, with my awakening awareness.
We awaken to the feeling that we are not alone, but neither are we visited by aliens from space. A presence exists among us that we do not choose to see or realize we are, a phenomenon that is more certain than the myths we are convinced of. It is not God. It is not a devil. It is nothing more than our existence that we do not understand, until we find the words to define ourselves adequately.
I am the person my words turn me into when I realize what I've become because I think to define myself, not beforehand, but through discovery of chosen phrases. I am a different person when elsewhere I am elsewise defined by those who know me. They choose my words and phrases less carefully, turning me into what they assume I am, a black dot that isn't there in the spaces between the dreams and reality of time, a hypnagogic transitory image existing in two places, but seen in none.
How can I possibly describe the way the world both opens up and narrows down when she is near?
When she is here, I'm captivated, though she doesn't even know I'm watching her. But I think she feels it.
When she knows I'm watching her, she pretends she doesn't, and goes about her business secretly perturbed.
When she doesn't know, but only feels, or when she doesn't even feel it, it's as if I'm in another place, excited to be near.
When she is not around, I still feel she is, in contact; her presence fills the distance between us and expands the confines of space.
This description is totally inadequate.
I wish a I were a better poet.
I spent the whole afternoon constructing my new blog page--not to mention the time I spent last night in bed (until six a.m.) designing it, and the time over the last week or so in false starts.
I got to start getting serious again. Got to haul some firewood down from the shed. Got to go shopping. Got to do the dishes piling up in the sink. Got to get back to some semblance of a schedule.
I get so confused when I read so many online journals, and even more confused when I read the bloggers' profiles. So many people, all interacting. It's almost like (omg! gasp! it is!) society.
When I'm offline, isolated, I am better able to pull myself together, establish a kind of control, get things done. Too much input upsets me, when I can't pull it all together and make it make sense.
I need to address this issue. It's been a problem all my life. I can only take things as they come when I'm not serious about them. I used to be so cool like this, until I learned, how to be effective.
That's what I got to do. Get back. Learn how to be ineffective again. (Effectiveness is only an illusion anyway.) Life was far better when art happened to me instead of me creating it.
if you are pro life because you are against the killing of an innocent life, then...how can you be for war which kills many innocent lives?
We humans have a magnificent capacity to segregate conflicting ideas within our minds so that dissonance will not occur.
I myself am anti-abortion, but pro-choice. (I also happen to be anti-war, in almost every instance.)
Are there discrepancies in my position(s)? Probably. I don't believe in killing, but I believe others have a right to...
kill themselves and that which is a part of their own bodies. (I believe in self-euthanasia, but not when done by others.)
It's impossible to take a stand on multiple issues that seem to be related without being inconsistent.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Canada (Toronto)
I think, for a brief moment, that I might make it a goal to visit every place in the world before I die. But that's impossible. It's an arbitrarily defined feat to be able to say that you've been in every country. Even if you have, you haven't been everywhere. There are many places in many countries that are quite different than the places you may end up visiting. And in a different sense, every country is the same, in that the each contains a common thread of humanity. It's much better to know life, not by travel, but via meditation, where you experience a commonality so profound that you recognize that wherever you may be, it's the same as any other place, literally. Universality is a much better state of mind that focusing on the trivialities of difference.
And women, being the primary infant care-givers, are more sensitive than men to infections and diseases.
I'll remember this the next time some woman is disgusted with me: it's only a matter of evolution. No need to be upset.
People think they know me. They see what I look like. They see where and how I live. They see the clothes I choose to wear. They see the length of my hair. They learn about what I (seem to) believe about this and that subject. They examine what I write, sometimes even in detail. Occasionally, they try to know everything there is to know about me until anything I say or do no longer surprises them. And then they decide that they know who and what I am.
But these things they know about me are all disguises. We all have them, disguises, and we all decide at some point that people know us. It's not true. People only just start to know you when they learn how to see through the superficial layers of appearance and belief into your center that is filled with delicate, sloppy feelings that you construct those outer layers to protect. People think they know me, but so few of them will ever take the time to learn who I really am (assuming they are capable of that great effort). In this way, via fear and repressed disconcern, we all tend to avoid genuine human contact.
I am not my hair, my clothes, my car, my house, or my lifestyle. I am not the things I do or say or write. All of those things do not reveal my essential self; they disguise it. I am a phenomenon of feeling. If you really want to know me, you have to learn how to get past all of the bullshit. Really look at me, without seeing all the things you are that you expect me to be and thus that you easily and readily see in me, even when they are repressed aspects of your own being that you don't know are a part of you. We each walk around totally revealed. But we have to know the secret of how to see in order to know who we each really are. What I am is easily visible when you learn how to disconsider what I have made myself appear to be and what you have taught yourself to hide. I did this to myself when I didn't know any better, and so did you. It's a hard thing to undo, personality. It requires that we know what we really are ourselves and that we are able to keep such a nebulous vision in sight until we can change ourselves. We deceive ourselves into thinking that others know us only to the extent that we do not know ourselves. When we learn what it is that we really are, we realize that (most) other people could never understand. And even those who can understand seldom actually do, myself included. You don't know me, but I don't know you either. Maybe that makes you happy. I know that I'm not too upset about it. As far as most of my overt personality is concerned, I could care less about you. But there is that small haunt deep inside me that keeps whispering in my internal ear, telling me to change this attitude. But I know that I can't do it without you. If you don't want to knpw the real me, then how can I show it to you? It's too dangerous.
First of all, "obscene," I believe, refers exclusively to sexual content, so if "fuck" is not used in a sexual context, then it can't be obscene, which is what the bureau decided. Words can have more than one meaning, Mr. Powell, and your obsession with a word being used whose alternate meaning might be obscene is revealing of your neurotic mindset. Tell me. Would you want to outlaw a sentence like "He pricked his finger? Or "She grabbed his ball and tossed it through the hoop?
But there's a broader issue here. Personally, I think that we should mount an effort to teach kids at as early an age as possible how to be as profane and coarse as they possibly can be. The slick, polished artifice of "sociable" and "moral" people is ruining the everyday values that this country was founded on. (Benjamin Franklin, after all, once published a book entitled Fart Proudly.) Let's bring back the coarseness that once was America. I say, "Fuck you," Mr. Chairman. Teach the kids to swear and curse. It's good for the soul, and well placed in adulthood, it reduces stress and improves overall health. Give the kids this tool as early as they can learn it so that they don't get left behind and have to struggle too far into their teen years before mastering the art and adapting to practical society. The only people in the world who do not curse and swear are those uptight, upright moral assholes who get the rest of us into a whole lot of trouble when they project their repressed and detrimental psychology onto our social situations. Defeat their noxious agendas. Teach our children early on how to be profane.
Well developed pieces, or at least spontaneously created detailed expressions are okay, and can be posted to my auto-bio, but they may no longer be the focus of my art, nor even necessary to keep me feeling like I'm sane and in control (Maybe they will still be that from time to time.)
I'm turning to keywords and short phrases, either created for the occasion or abstracted from journal material, to summarize incidents and longer periods of time, and developing a method (see which, later) to transform these into a kind of an art of "terse, obscure, cryptic poetics."
I'm thinking that maybe it's okay to leave material behind in my raw journals, not to exhaustively process the entire journal into the various formats. I'm still fighting this idea. I don't want to leave anything I've written behind. It grates against my obsessive-compulsive nature.
(The preceding is a decision I make every winter and reverse every spring. And the following is another one of those periodic changes, although I think it may be becoming more permanent.) The basic nature of news is gossip. We humans love stories. But objective news is unnatural.
Objectivity is out of fashion and never had anything to do with reality anyway. Objectivity is subjectivity disguised by a veiled removal of the personal. We don't really care about objectivity. We distort the news anyway via our own personal filters. We hear what we want to hear.
In fact, when we hear biased news that conflicts with our own particular beliefs, we recognize the bias immediately. It's the stuff that we agree with that's the most dangerous. That's the stuff that can spur us to action and create chaos in our lives. We are far better off, usually, at rest.
I want to write like specific others write, but I can write only like myself. I write detailed accounts of my life/ideas and post them to this online journal. But I'm trying to write like I used to, a very long time ago. Before I became so efficient at what I do, I used to ramble more poetically.
That last paragraph has nothing to do with anything I'd written previously. I'm patching things together here, a semblance of the organic process that is operating within me. I jump back and forth between subjects as if my brain is scattered; but it knows what it's doing.
But I don't. When I read back over past journals, I realize that I knew far more about what was going on in the world and in my mind than I gave myself credit for at the time. These paragraphs, years from now, may make a whole lot more sense to me. But right now, they're obtuse.
Spent the whole day in bed hiding out from the cold house because I didn't feel like starting a fire in the woodstove. I'm surrendering to the winter, finally, giving up the attempt to maintain a "proper" attitude and giving in to winter malaise. Sad.
I get up today at noon, start a fire in the woodstove, start to work, and then I decide to call the auto repair place to arrange to get my car inspected, since I'm going to have to do it sooner or later anyway, and before the end of the month. The phone conversation goes as usual, typically business-like. I arrange to drop the car off tomorrow morning, the guy asks me my name, and when he learns who I am, he says, "Oh, Joe, this is Ron." Then he says that I can bring the car down right away. It's nice to be known as a good and loyal customer, I guess; but that's not what I wanted to do. I wanted to wait until the morning. Now I have to get dressed and adjust my attitude to go out and meet the public. Shit.
I interact with "kids" on livejournal, college brats and twenty-somethings; but ana is no kid, and neither are a lot of others. This is just another instance of doubt and self-intimidation.
I lay in bed this afternoon, not wanting to get up, enjoying an internal weather; chest-expansions, tiny tinglings resembling, omg, excitement! Where did that come from?
Every time I make a decision to take some definite course of action, as soon as I start out, I recognize the folly; or else I see alternatives that are equally viable.
Oh, what the hell. I'm going on to something else.
Maybe time will resolve these stupid doubts.
...the number system...the principle of algebraic substitution. These are ghosts. We just believe in them so thoroughly they seem real.
So, for example, being of strong belief, Jesus' disciples could have established a meta-Jesus after his death (or even before it), based upon what he taught them about cosmic consciousness; and, expecting him to arise, they programmed their reality/perceptions to encounter "him" in much the same way as people over the centuries (BC as well as AD) have encountered angels, devils, the "Virgin" Mary, et al.
The common explanation of "mass hallucination" doesn't do this phenomenon justice. It's far more than that. It is actual reality, but re-programmed, so that constituent material components are perceived in a non-consensual (by ordinary social standards, but not by those of the meta-composing sub-group, which is supra-consensual) manner, rearranged so as to create a subtle different reality in which the basic rules of "science" and logic may be bent or rendered ineffective.
Thus, Jesus appeared in a spiritual body; yet he felt real enough to Thomas. However, this after-death Jesus was not the same Jesus who lived--except to the extent that the group could recreate him, a compilation-manifestation embodying his personality traits and approximating his appearance. Yet, although not "real" in the everyday sense, he was real enough, a meta-person, existing in the present state/"minds" of the believers, fulfilling expectations, arising into "Heaven," but leaving behind an even more spiritual counterpart that people ages hence could call upon in their own quests to create a meta-existence of cosmic consciousness, a very real, ethereal existence.
Yet the idea that this real existence is the actual substance (ala the body and blood of Christ) is ridiculous. Believers create it to resemble the personality of Jesus (as it is remembered, correctly or not). But it is so much more. It is anything any group of us (or even a strong-willed single person--cf., Jane Roberts) can make it into. It is, after all, cosmic perception, the extent of which is limitless.
The head researcher said the exact process in the sleeping brain for sharpening these abilities remains unclear. But it appears that memories start deep in an area of the brain called the hippocampus, and are eventually pushed outward to the neocortex to be consolidated.
Obsession is realizing that the daily documentation of your life has become an obsession and then writing about the obsession.
Coffee counteracts the "depression" (SAD), but it tends to make me more compulsive ("manic") [not to mention the palpitations].
Joyce called three times between ten-thirty and eleven, waking me up. Sometimes, she really pisses me off. She'll call, say "Hi. Joe, it's Joyce," and wait until the machine cuts out because it doesn't detect a voice for two seconds--because, since she expects me never to answer without knowing who it is, she waits to see if I will pick up, when anyone else would continue to talk, expecting me to call them back later. So then she has to call back to tell me to call her back. Okay. Fine. I'll give her those two calls, even though it's irritating----because I'm the one responsible for setting up her expectation in the first place. [I'm ignoring for the moment the fact that she expects me to jump to her beckoning when and wherever, like when she calls and puts me on hold.] But then, if I don't call her back shortly, even though she knows that it very well could be that I'm sleeping (she is well aware that I keep irregular hours), she calls again. If it's not a conscious ploy, then it's an unconscious one that she's trying to disturb my sleep enough so that I'll awaken and get up, which is exactly what happened. But I know enough not to reward this behavior. When this happens, I always wait at least several hours before calling her back.
When I do call her back, she says "wait a minute" and puts me on hold. A few minutes later, she's back, asking me how to get around the problem of a file opening in two different apps on her two computers. I try to direct her to the old winfile.exe (which is the way I'm familiar with; I forget how the newer software associates file extensions), but apparently winfile is no longer included with the newer MS systems. I begin to look around my computer for the more modern way, when "right click\open with" pops into my brain. (I don't have this function on my older system.) I tell her to do this, and it works. Simple. [Later: I found it via "Help." In Windows Explorer click "View / Folder Options / File Types, choose app, click Edit, click "open" in the "actions" textbox, click Edit, browse to and choose app executable. Whew! Winfile is a lot easier.]
Next, Joyce begins to talk about my brother. The file-opening problem may have been only an excuse to talk to me about Jim. She says he "fell off the wagon" last night. I asked her how long her had been "on the wagon." She said since the day before New Year's eve. That was the last time I saw him, that is, New Years' Day, suffering from the longer-term effects of a hangover. I said that's not too bad--not good, but not too bad--three weeks of sobriety.
We went on to talk about a lot of things related to my brother, most of her usual agendas, repeated. But we got into some new stuff too. (We talked for over an hour.) One of them was that my brother told her that I was on her side. I didn't want to admit it, but I had to agree that I was, simply because he's just wrong. But after I hung up, I realized that my thinking was too spontaneous. I'm sorry I said that to her because, in fact, I realize that I am on his side. [Just because he's wrong doesn't determine that I will take sides against him. I should have pointed out to her, to both of them really (and I will, if I ever get an opportunity), that it's not a matter of sides. We're all on the same side, and to characterize the situation otherwise is a big part of the problem.] Since the phone conversation, thinking about what choice I would make if they would separate has cleared up this issue for me. In that case, I wouldn't have all that much, if anything, to do with Joyce, despite the fact that I can talk to her easily, and only with difficulty with my brother. But I am his brother, after all; and she is related to me only by marriage. Just because he happens to be wrong doesn't mean I'm not on his side. If they split and I had to choose (and even if I didn't, I still might), I'd choose the wrong side. He's my brother. He's wrong; but he's my brother, goddammit.
You better get with it. You haven't got much time left to experience the ecstasy of universal life and to prepare yourself for the final eternal moment. [Don't worry about it; this is just a message to myself.]
But I think that most conservatives are just as hypocritical re fiscal responsibility as Washingtonian liberals are when they tout economic reform that subsidizes the underprivileged and disenfranchised, but funnel money earmarked for such efforts off to their favorite projects that are only tokenly related to any kind of liberal philosophy and are primarily concerned with constituent enrichment.
Conservatives, especially the ones in office now, are grabbing money as well as power, and the money they're grabbing doesn't yet exist, except as a potential among our future workforce. They're draining the coffers of America even as they reduce taxes to benefit themselves and their business cronies. We'll pay for this spending spree in the near future, and you can bet that it won't be the rich who will be paying. They never do. That's how they stay rich.
I'm out shoveling snow on the driveway.
Terry gives me a dozen and a half donuts.
I eat all of them throughout the day.
Nothing else. No protein at all. All carbs.
I get the heavy dumbbells out again.
I lie in bed watching tv, lifting until...
My arms lie flaccid on the mattress.
Energy expended is expended energy.
I awaken with a massive sugar hangover and a craving for liquid.
My fire-life is consumed by shoveling snow and hauling firewood.
Some say the world will end in fire...In the shed, I saw two mice.
I didn't gain any weight from all those donuts. (wtf???)
I circumspect all situations thoroughly before deciding to take action. Circumspection creates circumstances that only appear to be within my circle of control.
My radius narrows as snow bounds the house, forcing me to continually dig myself out, wishing for summer when my circumference expands like breath.
Her pulchritude is exceeded only by her unwillingness to allow others to appreciate it. If I'd reveal how beautiful I think she is, she'd hide herself even farther away.
The snow piles up between us in the street and yards. Trying to see her is like reading fine type without my glasses, so difficult to perceive her nonpareil existence.
I wait for the birds of the south to return, for the piled barriers of chan xue to melt, for the taint of road salt white to wash away with a winter lasting more than years.
a local weatherman talks about a prolonged snow event.|
i wonder. is that something different from a snow storm?
every day the weather is nearly like the day before.
i dreamed i was in prison, again. enclosure.
i look like Charles Bronson now, eye-folds overlapping.
O. E grislic "terrifying" from Germanic gris "to frighten."
back and forth in repetition, replaying fantasies like mp3s
i arise out of a design I spend my life reweaving.|
each repetition reveals an elaboration, bit by bit.
so slowly we become released from our cold past.
I've rediscovered the art of brevity.|
Previously, after a long period of time
when circumstances disallowed
a prolonged written rhetoric, so
that I had to of necessity be brief,I began a multifarious self-expression
designed to be exhaustive of the motive
I felt, I had, to be, explicative, of.
Now, I am more abstinent, less willing
to examine every nuance, on the theory
that all that remains unsaid nonetheless
is yet communicated, between the lines,
intuitively, connotatively, in terser form.
Then, I am who I am not yet realized, but still, I am.|
I imagine I was someone different; still I am the same.
No one knew me; yet they knew, some of them, anyway.
If I could have acted differently, all would then know
who I am now, beyond the fear and pain, practiced
I was closed off, in the extreme.
I am a different person, with a different past.
Actually, I have many pasts for different purposes.
Politicians are liberal because they believe that, although they themselves are privileged (all mainstream politicians are either privileged or become so; it's why they go into politics in the first place, most of them), they hold their positions at the behest of the common people. Politicians are conservative because they believe that they hold their positions at the behest of the rich and powerful. Both positions are viable, the former more theoretically, the latter in a more practical manner. It's a great sin when liberal politicians betray their base constituents to support rich businessmen and thus inprove their chances for (re)election. But it's an unforgivable one when conservatives betray theirs, for whatever reason--because the masses can be forgiving, even if they need to be manipulated into doing so, but businessmen can be ruthless, with memories like elephants.
And I've got another eye infection, this time in the left eye, which makes me wonder what's up? If it was in the right eye, I could rationalize that I never really got rid of the bacteria. I wonder if the stuff is lurking around the house somewhere just waiting for opportunities to hop onto and re-infect me.
It's eleven a.m. I'm up after eight and a half hours of sleep, the house is heated, the preliminary computer work is done, and the daily schedule is made and ready for me to ignore. I guess I could go back to bed now.