by j-a

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September 2008

Making Things Happen


I'm walking through a parking lot that is sort of like the old Eastwood shopping center, but also quite a bit different, as if it were in another place and if it were not a shopping center at all, but a simple, unpaved parking lot. (I have the feeling I've been here before in dreams, but I can't remember any.) At first, the surface of the lot is that kind of black, gritty, slag-like material, but later it's dirt. I don't know exactly what I'm doing there, just wandering about, until I find my old Toyota truck, when I realize that this is what I've been looking for all along. I get into the truck and begin to drive around, looking for an exit, and in the process I run over the corner of a planted garden, which I feel sorry for having done, but which doesn't negate the satisfaction I feel at finally having found my truck.

I have lots of recurrent dreams about looking for but never finding vehicles; but I remember, more along the lines of this dream, one where I found one without looking for it. I awaken out of this dream feeling very good about myself, as if I finally accomplished something of significance. The feeling lasts for several hours every time I think about the dream. Maybe this dream is telling me that I'm finally successfully dealing with the problem of feeling rejected and stranded. I think so. The awareness of Asperger's is beginning to have a positive effect, I think.

It's only natural that aspies experience anxiety. The genetics and biochemistry [is it really biochemistry? I should research this; but I'm lazy] that drives us to be different is confronted by a pattern of socialization and cultural indoctrination that informs us that we must or should be different than we are, that something is terribly wrong with us if we are not or cannot manage to change in order to conform.

I see this problem as far more general than simply an autistic issue, though. Any difference, however come by, is met with the same pattern of subtle oppression. It makes me wonder whence cometh the difference(s). Do people ever actually choose to be different in the face of cultural expectation? Or is all "choice" a matter of after-the-fact rationalization, a justification for why they "allow" themselves to be exactly how they are? In other words, is difference ever a matter, not of genetics, but of environment?

I suppose it could be, such as in cases where people from a different culture enter a new one and have difficulty conforming to the new set of expectations. But the point here is that they do eventually conform, by minimizing their difference as much as possible; whereas the people I wonder about "insist" on maintaining their difference, often at high costs; because they feel they can't change, they feel incorrigible, which is a social definition.

I feel incorrigible too. (Maybe this is what I really mean here when I write about others. All criticism is self-criticism.) I've been feeling distracted lately; I can feel the affect slowly escalating. My experience often flows along nicely (especially during the summer), until it doesn't. I experience the change as sudden; but it's not. Most of the time I let a lot of the subtle hints go unnoticed. But today I'm noticing them; and they're taking the form of distracting, discrete ideas:

the next best thing

I just find having to sit through drivel annoying.


They don't call it the White House because of the paint job.

Hugh Laurie, "House"
I'm back in waiting mode again. I don't want to be, but at least this time I saw it coming. I'd much rather be highly productive, I have a lot of things to do; but it happens, lack of sleep, an increasing sense of ennui, the approaching fall...

Waiting is not a terrible way to live, it's just okay, and it can have its positive side, if I would but settle into it and appreciate the (local) world for only what it is, nothing more; but I'm fighting it instead.

It's a different point of view, an ease that is not necessarily easy, a temporary checkmate of progress and advancement, like walking instead of driving, a change of perspective, thwarting my plans.

This is repetitive thinking, a symptom of my difability, a way that I hang onto myself, gripped tightly, in control, to avoid a crisis (which will come, eventually, and, I want to think, inevitably, though I also want to think that crises are phenomena I can avoid if I could just somehow learn how it is to go about my life in such a way as to do just that).

[I used to use the word 'pinch' (borrowed from Kenzaburo Oe) instead of 'crisis' to describe the negative experience; but any more I'm thinking that crisis may be more closely descriptive, although most of the time it would refer to a minor crisis lasting only a few days and tapering off into a quick recovery; exception: when a real world problem precipitates it and persists.]

The apparent difference between my crises and those that others (who report them) is that I do not seek help outside myself, that being a tactic I decided a long time ago did not serve my better interests. (Since early childhood, I never felt that it was appropriate to call attention to myself or point out to people that I was in any way different from them except in those ways that I could "control" (my self-evolved persona).

To confide in others would be to reveal my weakness and give others control over me; and, there's the danger that they would misinterpret my experience, think that it was far more serious than it was, and take inappropriate action. Or else they might jump to the right conclusions and merely think differently about me, which to my mind might be just as bad.

Difficult times, approaching panic that I never quite arrive at due to my insistence upon a controlled inner nature (thus 'pinches' rather than 'crises'), disturb me, causing me to construct future negative scenarios (paranoia) that might develop that I am unable to avoid. But I have no support system because I do not reveal my 'crises' to the world, but keep them locked inside while I go about my days, steeled against my inner affect, appearing to anyone I come into contact with as an ordinary person.

These 'issues' come upon me suddenly, building during a period of time beforehand that I either do not at all notice or disregard as irrelevant until its too late, and then, all of a sudden, there they are, full blown. They're a kind of repetitive thinking, a trap that catches me that I am unable to free myself from, and no amount of cognitive 'therapy' (positive thinking contracted from a multitude of catch phrases I've accumulated over the years) can reverse the affect. The only thing that works is to wait it out and it dissipates over the next few days and weeks.

(Actually, cognitive therapy does help to reduce, momentarily, the affect, especially when I realize that, right now, I am just fine, that any consequences, if they occur, are always in the future, which never comes; i.e., it's always right now. But, the next moment, when I forget about that 'right now' crap, the affect escalates again right back to where it was before.)

When the anxiety (which is really what I'm writing about here) strikes, it's like a fire alarm, my heart jumps, I almost panic except that I will not allow it, fears predominate my thoughts and persist despite all rational analyses and conclusions to the contrary, reality checking has only the most temporary effect and the affect reasserts itself almost immediately.

The situations are always reality-based, though exaggerated by the imagination into future consequences; in other words, if I imagine or "intuit" terrible future consequences that I can find no basis for in present reality, I can remain quite calm and objective about them and recognize the thoughts as being no more than exactly what they are.

During these times, I can still recognize the underlying anxiety at work, desperately trying to stir me up into a frenzy, but unable to accomplish its sinister intent because real-world reality is not cooperating with it. But, when the real world provides the context, then, look out!

The real world has always been a bit of a problem for me. It just doesn't want to cooperate with what I am. I know, why should it? I understand that reality is reality, but a lot of the time, I'd rather not be bothered. Sometimes I think I'd really like to do someting about it, but then again...

I'd really like to be an activist, to in some small way achieve real-world results, such as supporting a presidential candidate, even one who had no chance of winning, just to help to spread an alternate view of what America could become if it weren't so tied into corporate domination.

But I just can't make myself do it. I know I wouldn't last that long. For example, I used to like Obama; and I still do, in that I believe that it would be far better to have him as a president than to have an old fossil in the White House. He might, as I have contended, be stalemated into getting nothing but the most insignificant of legislation passed; but he'd encourage a more people-based bureaucracy.

But, any more, when I listen to him talk, all I hear is the same old drivel that all the politicians use. He's already captured his base and now he's trying to win over the undecided independents, so he's watered down his message to make it palatable to the widest range of voters. It's that same political strategy, the same old pap they all use; and it turns me off, so I turn it off.

I can't watch it when politicians drone on and on talking in platitudes. It reeks of idle chatter, the same crap that I disregard when ordinary everyday people make small talk about the weather or sports or...whatever, just to pass the time without getting too deeply into issues; superficial bullshit; black and white logic devoid of nuance and any hint of a more subtle truth.

On the "House" episode that the above epigrams for this piece were taken from, one of the characters maintained that a black man couldn't get elected to the presidency. That's probably true. Obama just might get elected; but he's not black. Not really. He's of mixed genetic origins (as are we all) who's a token black because the whites and Asians don't wish to claim him. If he gets elected, we still won't have a black in the White House. But it would probably be the next best thing.

the autiste genome

Insurrection is, in itself, an asceticism which rejects all forms of consolation. The insurgent will not be in agreement with other men except in so far as, and as long as, their egotism coincides with his. His real life is led in solitude where he will assuage, without restraint, his appetite for existing, which is his only reason for existence.
Albert Camus, The Rebel
I may not be normal, but I'm the next best thing to it. I can go for weeks or months (usually during the summer, but sometimes in other seasons also) thinking I am "normal" (i.e., not noticing any kind of difficulty with my difference); and then all of a sudden some incident will occur (or I will stop having my daily self-medication of a beer and two cups of coffee, usually in order to clear out my system a bit and make sure that I am not "addicted"; or because I'm tittering at the edge of heart palpitations) and all of the old affect hits me full force and I begin to worry that...well, whatever; the specific worry can be any old thing, any excuse that is potent enough to allow the anxiety/paranoia to grab hold of.

No, I am definitely not normal. I am an 'autiste-savant' (after the old, now politcally incorrect label of 'idiot-savant'). I write autistic prose, such as:

*non-linear semi-narratives
*semi-linear anti-narratives

Autism is the "advanced" condition of mankind, ahead of its time, yet to be realized as the standard of human normalcy, a genetic mutation syndrome that anticipates a significant change in environmental conditions such that mankind's neurotypical genetics will become unadaptable and natural selection will favor the autistic mind. It involves the self turned inward upon itself, which will one day become essential to species survival as our currently gregarious nature proves to be too far out there, if you will, too "trusting" and thus too vulnerable to the attacks of sub-species humans who are becoming increasingly intent upon killing their more intelligent and currently more adaptable superiors, and each other. This change will come slowly, over many generations, as the currently adaptable genome dies out and is replaced by those of us who are more prone to a withdrawn, introspective, and secretive way of life. [Think "the church in the wilderness."]

The current means of change, passed down through ages of neurotypical peoples, is revolution and reformation. But I believe in neither, which require both a communicative spirit and a penchant for community effort that rebuilding will require. Instead, I believe in insurrection and subsequent anarchy dominated by natural law: Where corruption exists, tear the structure down. Let someone else, if they must, worry about building it back up. And if they don't built it correctly, and they won't, because current neurotypical human nature always breeds corruption, tear it down again. So, keep tearing it down, again and again, until humans learn the lesson and begin to evolve into a better form of being (which is the autiste prototype).

Your corruption offends me. My fragile ego reacts. I am the center of the Universe. Thus am I universal, a transcending self. The "I" that I am is the same "I" that you are. This is how I transcend my ego. When I degrade the universal "I", I become my ego, which differs from your ego. I (of the currently corrupted language) becomes ego(s) when corruption gains a foothold; ego is mislabeled--like many labels in this corruptible world that mean the opposite of what is they purport to define/describe. So I am careful to insurrect only from the POV of "I", where all of self despises the antithetical corruption.

If you don't despise corruption, you have not identified the universal "I" within what you think of erroneously as your "self" and you are stuck within your ego. If this system of society, of government, of politics does not offend you, you are stuck within your ego. If you are conservative, you are stuck...because you wish to preserve the corrupt and corruptible status quo. If you are liberal, you may not be any better, only believing yourself to be so (and far less politically effective in any case) because you still participate within a corrupt system; though you may wish to change it, transformational change cannot come from within corruption. Tear it down.

As the autistic genome begins to predominate, the species will less and less want to reform complicated social structures that require intense maintenance. Instead, recognizing the futility of blind action and pre-decided belief, it will be content to let things be and do the minimum necessary for survival. People who go out of their way to "make things happen" will be looked upon as the freaks, the genetically inferior sub-types who got us into trouble in the first place with their bellicose-tending antics; and they will be ostracized into enclaves (the autiste could never act to exterminate them, like they themselves would do, given half a chance) where they can live out their pathetic lives while doing the least harm to the planet and its lifeforms.

Of course, should conditions favor the return of the environment to its previous state, it's possible that the autiste genome would be challenged and a more aggressive one would replace it in the same way it replaced the current corruption, if the autiste technology (yes, we will not abandon introverted technological advancement, geeks that we are) did not advance to the point where the type who controlled it controlled future events. Then, we would not be so much unlike those we replaced, except that we would proceed in a more "humane" way to dominate our environment so that we might never again have to succumb to the deleterious influence of genetic mutation.

As it is, right now, the autiste genome is, at best, a conspiracy theory (when viewed from the POV of the current Neanderthal mentality). Conspiracy theory is another one of those ideas that have gotten turned around on itself and suffers from a reverse definition. Conspiracy theorists often get the right idea, but attribute the conspiracy to a conscious intent when it is, rather, unconscious, a confluence of specific intents that are unaware of each other and events that have no causal connection, but merely occur together and only appear to be connected (to the paranoid mind); that is, it's an unconscious conspiracy. There are lots of unconscious conspiracies evolving, almost all of them (maybe all) involving the business "community" in league with one or another government.

It's not (supposed to be) the government's role in a modern democracy to enable business at the expense of the consumer; it's government's role to enable both business and the citizen consumer, even-handedly. The fact that the government doesn't do this creates the foundation for worker discontent. If the workers felt that they were "in business" with business (which they actually are; business likes to point out that without business there would be no jobs and thus no workers, but without workers, there would be no business either), then the subsequent harmony would lead to unprecedented productivity. But because the government, through its favoritism, pits businesses against its workers by enabling business interests at workers/consumers expense, workers fight business policies and methods in order to (try to, mostly unconsciously; it's a semi-conscious conspiracy) level the playing field.

One reason I don't work at a job--not the most important reason, but one fairly high up on the list--is that I disagree with the government (and corporations) on so many fundamental issues, policies, and philosophies and so choose not to support its corruption and incompetence, by having to pay taxes, or by active participation in an incorrigibly corrupt society and corporate culture.

I believe instead in natural law--until the new autiste genome has evolved to permanently replace it; or, rather, to alter the advanced form of nature, man, to come more into line with what nature originally was before human evolution. Until the human, nature handled life quite well; until human neuroses usurped nature's dominance, life proceeded winningly; until we began forming governments and created conflict between it and natural law, nature knew exactly what to do. When the autiste genome asserts its dominance (naturally), the conflict will resolve itself via a recognition of the illegitimacy of government.

Meanwhile (and this is a very mean while), until the world organism awakens to the need for a community whose constituent members relate benignly, we have television to keep us in our autistic homes, safely entertained:

The new FOX series "Fringe" stole my idea: super-short commercials aired more frequently than the standard commercial interruptions, except that I would make them even shorter and more frequent, fifteen second spots every several minutes. I've written of this before. I've been getting the idea (a conspiracy theory?) that someone is stealing my ideas off this website. I write them and then a while later I read or see the ideas elsewhere on the net or in society. More probably, they're in the zeitgeist. But I wouldn't rule out being the victim of an idea-harvesting program. I know such programs exist. I just don't know what uses they're being put to. This is, of course, at its most basic level, simple paranoia, except that it has (as of the moment) no affective component to make it seem dangerous or manipulative. But, just wait.The worst is yet to come.


Shortly after meeting him she reread all his books to make sure that all her recollections of them were accurate. When she had read the books before meeting him, she thought that the books were about him, that he was the main character in them and he wrote about himself.

When she reread the books she saw very little of his real personality in them. She wondered how he could so artfully conceal his real personality from his readers. It bordered on genius. This man was so complicated that he could make a labyrinth seem like a straight line.

Richard Brautigan, Sombrero Fallout
I want to write like Brautigan, and I can; but when I start to do it, I don't want to continue containing myself within his straightjacket prose style and I start to babble on like the way I am instead. It's easy to see (I imagine) why Brautigan wrote the way he did, increasingly as he aged: Depression was taking over and he struggled to find the motivation to write at all.

This is the way I would write if I were a "real" writer: bare-boned Hemingway-esque prose; just the facts ma'am. I write the way I write because I'm "lazy"-which defies the traditional definition, because I put a whole lot more "work" into the way I write than I would if I wrote like Brautigan, because most of my time would be spent pensively mulling over ahead of time what I was going to write and what I was not going to include; in other words, I'd be sitting around stewing about it and appearing to be doing nothing, which would look like traditional laziness, and maybe would actually be it. But, instead, I write on and on, pouring out my defective "soul" and looking so "productive" but ending up with a whole lot of crap that "should" be excised to make my prose more definitive of "reality" (whatever that is; actually, my own writing style is quite definitive of reality--my "inner" reality).

So, once again, the definitions get twisted around: I am not lazy, I work hard; but I don't want to rework the work I do. Once done, I want it to be over with. I never want to do the same work twice (which is why I hate yard work or cleaning my house). When I was a kid and would help to carry the groceries from the car into the house, I would always carry as much as I could possibly manage, which my dad called a "lazy man's load." I didn't at first understand what he meant, since it seemed to me that I worked very hard when I carried as much as I could, a lot harder than if I carried less. But, of course, he meant that I didn't want to have to go back again and again when I could do the work in one trip.

I write to explain myself (and secondarily, the world, to myself); and that's it. If I have to re-explain myself in a way that is much more than just reviewing and correcting in a fairly precursory way the original explanation (I edit for grammar and sense and to add further associative explanations, which is not really rewriting, but writing additional material for the first time], if I have to rewrite to an esthetic or commercial purpose, then that's hard work that I don't want to and see no reason to do. Let other writers do it and complain of writer's block. Writers who get writer's block are not creating art, but artifice. Stop trying to produce artificial [read commercial] art and write about what you really want or need to express, write from inside experience, and the words simply flow.

Is this a crazy motive, a disguised form of insanity (which is defined by our society as being basically "different')? I don't think so, but then, look who's thinking that. I sometimes entertain the idea that I am crazy, even sometimes wanting to be when I know I am not. If I were actually crazy, that might explain a lot; but, knowing I am not, I have to work harder at trying to explain myself (to myself). If I were crazy, depending on the form my craziness took, I might better fit into society (because some of the people who are deemed to be the sanest in the world, are actually the craziest of all, running around killing millions of people in the name of countries and religions. There is not all that much difference between Dick Cheney and Vlad the Impaler when you come right down to it. Or it might, more likely, take the form of crazy writers (like Brautigan).

Some other crazies (some of whom are sci fi writers, but the majority of whom are institutionalized, or should be) continually dream up ways that new technologies act upon their distorted selves (when it is actually the other way around, a la conspiracy theories, paranoid casuistries, etc.); and then the technicians figure out ways to turn the fantasies into reality and turn their fears into prophecies. It's the way the world works and it's turning our once idyllic paradise into a Terminator nightmare. It may be our logical conclusion, but it's not what we deserve. It is, however, what they deserve, those other people, the crazy people who are in charge who think they're so goddam sane. But isn't that the way it always goes?

an ongoing obsession

People get what they get. It has nothing to do with what they deserve.
Hugh Laurie, "House"
Although I want to disagree, I suspect that this is true. I want it to be true that, what I sometimes, perhaps rarely, believe happens, that we suffer karmic retribution for the assholes that we are, happens always; but another part of me believes that it's all not too much more than a crapshoot--combined with a small amount of congenital or developed talent that affords us slightly better odds at being richer, or happier, or however else you choose to measure (your) success.

Today I resurrected the daily lifestyle rating system that I abandoned last year (and many previous times) as futile, because I (again) feel like I should be monitoring how "successful" I am at (my) "life". My "daily records" spreadsheet averages the daily scores and gives me a composite score, which is my success rating for the month:

-1: depression
0: don't have/want to do anything
1: want to do whatever for my own benefit; goals, projects, etc.
2: have to do whatever for "social" reason, but without anxiety
3: have/want to do whatever with anxiety
4: paralyzing anxiety/paranoia

Caffeine tends to move me up levels, and alcohol tends to move me down. These forms of self-medication are valuable to me but become counterproductive the higher or lower I go. For example, at level 0, caffeine can be a valuable tool that enables me to get a lot more done than I otherwise might; but at level 3 it would definitely be a detriment, possibly tipping me over into level 4. Ditto alcohol in the other direction.

Sometimes, usually later in the day, I get myself to a point where I want to go in both directions at once and think I should have a beer to mellow myself out and a cup of coffee to motivate onward. I feel stuck at a daily crossroads and must decide if I am to go left, right, or straight ahead. When I was younger and could tolerate the physical stress to my system, I would at these times have both a cup of coffee and a beer, maybe several times during the day. The coffee drove me productively on while the beer kept me mellow enough to tolerate the additional workload/stress (especially if it involved social interaction and/or commitments). Now, limiting my quantities of both substances for health reasons, I feel in a little bit of a quandary at these times, which I sometimes will resolve with a long nap, sometimes aided by melatonin if it is late enough at night to go to bed until morning.

Although I define permanent existence at level 0 as my ultimate success, an ideal state of being, never being required by society, others, or even myself to do anything, nevertheless it can become a boring state of mind, which doing what I want and have the motivation and/or energy to do relieves in a positive way. The system needs to be refined to account for this, perhaps by adding a level between 0 and 1, a more practical ideal [which is not an oxymoron, but an example of the inadequacy of the language--sort of like "a more perfect union"]. On level 1, there's a fine line between 'have to' and 'want to'. It's more a matter of motivation than of necessity. If I'm motivated and also have the energy [I'm defining motivation and energy separately; many times I am motivated (want to) do things, but do not have the energy to actually do them], then there is no reservation or self-restriction, and thus I actually exist at level 0. But if I perceive doing whatever as (however slight) a burden or a chore that I'd rather not do, and I nevertheless choose to do it, I am operating at level 1.

The operant here that determines which of these lower levels I exist at is the answer to the question: "Oh, do I really want to do that now?" If yes, then level one. If no, then 0. Wanting thus becomes more of a negative than a positive desire in that it causes dissatisfaction with the ideal laid back status quo. Otherwise, wanting is a positive motivation that spurs me on to action; in other words, motivation and energy are both available in sufficient quantities.

When they are not, however, when one or the other is lacking and I am operating a level 1, forcing myself to do whatever while preferring that I do nothing, sometimes the mere action of starting to do it can change my affective (motivation) or physical (energy) state and I end up actually liking what I've begun to do and wanting to continue doing it, thus dropping me from level 1 existence back to level 0; i.e., I am doing something, but I'm no longer feeling any resistance to doing it, and thus I no longer feel like I "have to" do it. (It's interesting how wanting to and having to exchange roles here back and forth depending on my state of bodymind.)

My definition of success is also a bit supposititious. It's based upon my lifelong conditioned quest to avoid anxiety: When I am not required to do anything, my stress level is near to zero and I feel no anxiety at all; which, of course, could be a rationalization for being "lazy" or depressed or whatever. But many lazy or depressed or whatever people still have to do things, even more so usually than energetic, motivated people because they have not provided so well for themselves in the past and are thus less capable of taking time off to indulge their doldrums. Not everyone can lie around in a permanent state of ennui. So, if you don't want to do anything and you can arrange your life so that much of the time you don't have to, then no matter how much of a rationalization it may be, you're still, by definition, successful, though not necessarily by the standard social definition of the term, which measures success in monetary terms and/or by level of affluence. (Women without money--and some men too, I suppose--can be affluently successful; they're just using a different system, less token oriented and closer to bartering.)

Social avoidance may not seem to some like it's a very successful lifestyle; but it is still a valid form of success, especially when you consider it from the POV of an autiste. [It doesn't matter if I feel guilty or anything about not doing anything day after day. Success does not correlate with degree of guilt (although perhaps a case can be made for an inverse relationship). If I feel bad about not doing anything, I am nevertheless successful in my overall goal of being free to do nothing at all.]

I'm not too happy with the fact that this system incorporates "depression" as a positive attribute (the lower the rating, the "better"; so averaging in a negative number is a good thing); but I'm going to live with it for now, until some better way of rating it occurs to me. In any case, what I label as "depression" (more of a physical than a mental state; a dragged-down lethargy) obviously is the antithesis of paranoia (an unpleasant manic state; there's probably another subtle level in there somewhere where mania as a positive experience resides, which is perhaps evidence that this is not one system, but two interacting ones, anxiety and bipolar) in my (and for all I know, maybe everyone's) psychology.

But there's a codicil to the above classification system that all but negates it:

If I'm "working" (writing, art, whatever), then it doesn't really matter, at least in the relatively near future, what I don't do; eventually, I may have to do other things (sociably "suggested" activities and "compromises"); but on the day that I'm working, I'm okay and need feel no guilt.

If I'm "playing" (tv, eyelid movies, whatever), then it doesn't matter either, at least in the relatively near future, what I don't do; eventually, I will have to do other things (sociably "suggested" activities and "compromises"); but on the day that I'm playing, I'm okay and need feel no guilt.

Because almost everyone who works and plays, even "normal" people, average citizens, as a result, compromises (at least from time to time and some of) their obligations, the things they "must" do. [My "real" problem isn't caused by social demands so much as it is caused by my own superego.]

In any case, at a more particular (non-artistic) level, this is where I am right now in my search to understand (and justify) my existence:

Levels of existence (in ascending degree of advancement; i.e., pretty much in the opposite direction of the level list above):

  1. What I must do, but feel anxiety about and would rather not. I don't want to do this, and so I've developed a strategy. [real(ity) work]
  2. What I must do, but w/o any anxiety. I have to do this, but that's okay. [my work]
  3. What I want to do, but not quite at this moment or this day. I don't have to do this or anything, right now. [forcing myself to do what I want]
  4. What I want to do, right now. I can do whatever I want right now, or nothing at all. [my spontaneous work and play]
And, in a less theoretical, more practical vein:

I tell myself that, from time to time, I may have to do things I don't want to do, but I don't have to become upset about them. I may even have to feel a bit of anxiety about them, but I can replace it with a feeling I like to feel and thereby overcome it; I have only two real concerns, money and health, and everything else can be traced back to those two issues. But it's all just rationalization, my way of convincing myself that everything is okay, when a different part of myself wants to tell me that all is not well, because it sees me sitting here on a peaceful summer day feeling (too) good about myself. I need to be getting more sleep. If I could only manage to get eight hours a night, I bet all of this rationalization would dry up and blow away.

Minor and/or wavering doubts:

  1. Is watering plants (and other simple daily tasks) level 0 or level 1? When I have to do something simple, but don't want to, motivating myself enough to get up and do it when I don't feel like I have the energy or motivation is in the smallest way stressful and therefore anxiety producing; therefore it's level 1; but if I'm "up" for whatever the task is, the it's level 0.
  2. Also, when something is nagging at me to be done, but I don't want to do it (maybe day after day for weeks and months), do those days qualify as level 0? I want to think not. They should probably be level .5 or .25, because the purpose of this classification is to feel good about not doing anything, and that would not be feeling good. This also plays into how depression is classified. If it's -1, then that "low score" is a reward for feeling bad.
  3. Doing token tasks and routine maintenance tasks when I don't want to may not constitute a lack of success (i.e., below level 1). Only when I feel like I must continue on beyond the token amount of work (as opposed to transitioning into a mode where I actually feel like doing the work) does the level start to rise toward 1. No matter how I define success, I will never be able or want to hire people to do certain basic maintenance or (token work toward) goals for me. I'll do them myself or else I won't, and they won't get done.
  4. On the other hand, if I do nothing, that's the whole point, isn't it? It doesn't matter how I feel about it. I should make another rating system if I want to to measure how I feel. This one is for how successful I am. But, on the other other hand, it is about how I feel, it's about the anxiety. Oh, I'm getting so confused.
  5. Actually, level 1, and not level 0, is probably the ideal: This way, level -1 (depression) moves this level moves the current level away from the ideal. Level 1 means I'm motivated enough to do what I want or have to do without anxiety and for my own benefit (including the compromises I make with society).
Well, I feel now like I've beaten this obsession to death. Maybe I'll go and do some actual work now; or maybe not.

but wait

Still considering obsessions, my mind keeps returning to the Terminator nightmare fantasy:

The oil is running out. We have to go to diverse out of the way places to find and extract it. So go ahead and drill for it, anywhere you can. Ruin the environment and use it all up. Then, when it runs out, we'll be forced to find alternatives, or else; and the ruined environment (hopefully) will renew itself, or else humanity will mutate to accommodate it. Better to get it all over with sooner than later so that we can get back down to the business of advancement of the species toward that next best thing. [Read that two ways: the best thing that is next in line because the previous best thing is now gone; the second to the best thing, because we used up/ruined the best.]

But wait. Wouldn't it be better (I think so) to hedge our bets and back off oil now, find alternatives before the oil runs out so that 1) we don't have to transition through that period of time when low supplies create travail and tribulations for, yes, you guessed it, the poor and marginalized peoples of the world (because you know that the elite aren't going to suffer, no matter what), and 2) save the oil to be used for...whatever little thing we might want to use it for, under cleaner and more intelligent extraction and conversion methods afforded by the more advanced energy subsystem, more highly advanced technology, and/or more intelligently applied human effort?

But, wait again. Am I presuming too much? Are we, as a species, actually capable of acting with intelligent foresight? Probably not. Nevertheless, it is our choice: Mad Max/ Terminator nightmare environment or brave new world.

I feel like I should be out campaigning for reform, making some kind of effort to head off our pending catastrophe as the species that ruined the planet. I feel like this a lot. But what's the sense in it, really? Even if my feeble effort had some small effect, what difference can it possibly make if I can't change the species itself? That's what I would really choose to do, if I had the power. And that strategy makes me look too much like a conservative asshole wanting to impose his values, his will on everyone else, to deny others the right to be themselves, to believe what they believe, to act the way they want to act; and that's not what I want to be, really. I don't want to be dictator of the world, I just don't want other people to be my dictators.

[Conservatives want minimal governmental interference (or none), they want to be allowed to do whatever they feel is the "right" thing to do; and yet, at the same time, one of the main things they they want to do is to deny others (specifically liberals and the poor) the right to do what they want to do, that is, to develop opportunities and social structures that enable them to build better lives for themselves and others. It's an inherent contradiction that makes conservatives hypocrites (much like liberals and the poor also are).]

So, whatever happens, happens. Let them destroy the planet. I don't care, really; I don't have any kids to save it for, and other people's kids are little assholes, by and large, and I won't be around to see it anyway, or if I am, I'll marvel at how smart I was to foresee it. Besides, who am I to criticize anyone else? I'm doing a bit of destruction myself:

About a week ago I caught a squirrel in one of the large traps, which is unusual, especially since the traps haven't been baited for more than a month and those tree rats are usually too wily to get caught anyway. Naturally, I executed it for the crime of trespass. I didn't know if I should do it or if I should give it a reprieve, since the growing season is over and squirrels do not seem to do any crop damage. But, when I approached the cage, I saw that the front of its face was rubbed raw from having been trying to dig its way through the wire, and even before I got so close, it was jumping around the cage in manic fit that communicated to me that he wanted nothing to do with me at all, obviously very unhappy, not so much with being trapped as with my approach. So I said, "Fuck you, you little bastard," and I submerged the cage in the pond.

Then, yesterday, I caught a rabbit, the third one this season. Also, no bait. It watched me as I tended to the pepper bed, which the cage sat beside. It sat so quietly that at first I hadn't even noticed it there. When I finally approached the cage, it remained quiet, sitting patiently watching me. I went and got a shovel and went up in back and dug a hole for its burial. Then, when I went to get the cage to submerge it, I saw it calming staring at me with its wide doe eyes, as if it trusted me totally and would comply willingly with whatever I wished to do to it. Even when I picked up the cage, it didn't jump around disturbed like every other animal had done; it just sat there staring wide-eyed at me. I carried the cage up into the woods, opened it, and let the rabbit bound out and up through the brush. That's all that I expect from wild animals, that they will not disturb me.

I conclude that what I should do instead of either fighting it or allowing it to develop without my concern is turn the Terminator fantasy into fiction, write a lot of the same old crap that everyone else is writing, become a sci fi hack and populate the pulp with shallow characters and lame end-of-the-world plots, like Philip K. Dick did, maybe.

I don't get Dick. [No. Wait. Let me re-phrase that.] I don't understand why Dick's writing is so popular--unless it's because his readers are uneducated and undiscerning. His style is ordinary, his dialogue is stilted and unrealistic, and his exposition is absolutely horrid. He had a great imagination, which is his is his saving grace, I guess. But his detail, now, like most sci fi writers, is mostly obsolete, so that, when filmmakers make movies from his stories, they have to update them to correspond with modern fact, making them all but unrecognizable. The mysterious essence of the future is in there, but without rewrite it's too wrong to be believable. [e.g., phone booths, videotapes, etc.] All sci fi will, eventually, suffer this fate, though. It's inevitable. If I were to write this crap, I'd have to make it so fantastic that it'd take centuries to outdate it; and, at this point in my life, I don't want to have to think that hard.

I just want to hang around the house, work when I want to, and develop some kind of rational(ization) for why I live like the idle slob I am:

Today, I realized that I let my sister, when she was here visiting, get away with convincing me of something that I don't want to be true: She told me that our brother said a while ago something to her about me having a lot of junk in my house. (Notice how cleverly she shifted the attribution to him, when she was really using his comment as a way to disguise her own criticism.) I unwittingly allowed her to convince me of the validity of the criticism. But it's not true. I don't have any junk. I throw all of my junk away. The stuff I keep, I place a high value on. Maybe others, being affluent, fat-cat Americans, living in a disposable consumer society, might consider my valuables junk. But, by my definition, all of that sports equipment and memorabilia crap that my brother has clutteriing up his house is junk. It's true that I could be a whole lot more organized and my house could be a whole lot cleaner; but there's no "junk" in it. And, anyway, who am I trying to impress?

"They" have done this to me all my life, convinced me to (want to) be like them, when, deep down, I knew that I was not, but allowed myself to be influenced otherwise. They still try to do this to me occasionally, and occasionally they catch me off guard so that I end up letting them get away with it, for a while.

"They" have always tried to "improve" me in various ways through their various (sometimes subtle, sometimes not) forms of intervention (for example, a back brace, teeth braces, acne treatment, etc. when I was a kid), but all they ended up doing was making me more intimidated, and without accomplishing much improvement. And, although some of the things they did may have benefited me, I would have eventually found that improvement on my own (as I did in many other areas where they did not think to try), and I would have wished, had I been aware enough or wanted to bother and/or had my genetic condition been such that it did not cause me to remain oblivious, that they had left me well enough alone and off to myself. Their attempts only served to make me more aware of shortcomings that I would have chosen to ignore.

Ideas like this, often stemming from childhood up through young adulthood, though some relating to experiences that persist right up to the current time, preoccupy me--when I get stuck in a particular (overwrought, defensive) frame of mind. I'd like to do away with them altogether, and maybe I could, if I could manage to divorce myself from their source in memory. I'd like to do this (my desert fantasy), but I won't. It's just too much trouble. Maybe if I were who I was at twenty years of age and yet know what I know now...

Ideas, and especially feelings, seem to occur in waves that pass through people's lives, probably contagiously and mostly apart from verbal expression. We experience similar life experiences and sometimes attribute them to fictive mechanics like astrology or scientology, when they're nothing more (or less) than mental or emotional viruses, perhaps facilitated by an as yet undiscovered "psychic" mechanism that has nothing at all to do with a "spiritual" world, but is rather quite physical in nature, though hidden from our senses by the veil of quantum mechanics and/or string and/or M theory.

I'm walking up Rodi to the shopping center. About halfway there, I look out ahead and see a girl, a young woman, standing, waiting for a bus. I think, in random fashion, just my lech mind wandering, "Maybe she'll talk to me." I'm wearing mirror sunglasses, so she can't have "known" (for certain) that I was looking at her, but when I get up next to her, she says to me, "Excuse me, did you see a bus?" I stop and lean toward her and ask her to repeat it; although I knew what she said, because the traffic noise is somewhat load, I can pretend I didn't hear her, in order to give myself time, I now realize, to process the interruption to my walk. She repeats, "Did you see a bus," and she adds, "down there," motioning with her head and body to the direction I came from. I say, "No, I didn't," and I continue on, noticing, in my typical delayed manner that, after her initial query, when I leaned in toward her, she didn't look at me, but looked away, off to the side. I realize that I intimidated her with that behavior.

I start to think about why this incident occurred. It didn't seem to make sense that she would think I might have seen a bus, since I was walking along the bus line in a direction that put me in a position to see a bus after it would have picked her up. But, giving her the benefit of the doubt, she could have just come out to the bus stop and wondered if she just missed one and so had to wait an inordinate amount of time for the next. More likely, though, I conjecture, she picked up on my distant and approaching attention to her and thought to delay me just a bit so that perhaps I might express an interest in her. If this were the case, she probably didn't even realize she was doing it. I've noticed this phenomenon frequently, I think (fantasize?): thought transmission to people in my presence or vicinity, in such a way as to make it seem that it does not really happen, but is only coincidental that events ensue so as to make it appear to be so.

On the other hand, I fantasize that, just maybe, we don't know as much as we want to think we do, that we do influence each other psychically, not only from a distance, but especially when we interact (otherwise normally), up close. Profoundly influencing people by just simply looking at them, and, perhaps, by saying a few choice words, thereby changing, if not their consciousness, then their unconscious contents by inserting, intuitively or psychically if necessary, competing facts into their belief system, starting off chains of cognitive dissonance that will eventuate in them changing their opinions in the farther future, may just be the highest form of social art.

Whatever the case, I (can) definitely "influence" people [I (can) make people think things, as if "magically"; it's a kind of "witchery," but it's really quite (psychologically) normal, though perhaps a bit advanced (both via what an ex-girlfriend of mine once called my "charm" and more indirectly, in a backdoor sort of way, via "suggestion," even (or especially?) if I never consciously make the attempt to make my influence felt (which is usually the case); or else via reverse suggestion, via others doing what they think I don't want them to do; or even via a "thought at a distance" kind of ("psychic") phenomenon, like the girl waiting for the bus. Yeah, it probably exists, in some form, though I doubt that the weirdoes would claim, or even recognize, it if its scientific underpinnings were revealed.

I need to learn how to use this ability to make things happen instead of just having them occur spontaneously and unpredictably; which is, I think, maybe just the wrong attitude.

When I was young, I'd hang around and do nothing, or do something that, in effect amounted to nothing when looked at in the light of later years; but it was a good time, hanging out.

Now, I hang around and do nothing, or do something...and I think back to when I hung out long for those free times; but why? I live the same way now and experience the same state.

The problem is all those "productive" years in between. They ruined my appreciation for hanging out. I feel guilty not doing anything. I've been programmed to fill my time with "meaning."

When I was young, I felt no need to censor myself. I took life as it came and expressed my ideas and myself freely; but I learned, not soon enough, that being this way took a toll:

People who could negatively influence me and who disagreed with me and felt offended (I meant no offense; it was just a manifestation of my genetics) hid their true feelings from me.

They acted behind my back to thwart my progress. People back then knew much more of me because I willingly revealed it, even some of which I didn't understand myself to be.

Now, knowing much more of what I am and of what people can do to me, I hesitate to reveal too much of myself, lest they dislike what they see and act against me in hidden ways.

I was much freer and happier back then and I wouldn't mind now having so much less to lose, to start "hanging out" again, doing little, matter-of-factly socializing, without consequence.

I know that, if I really wanted to, I could make that happen, make it my way of life again; but I don't know. I want to think that it might be a violation of some taboo I don't know.

I don't want to mess with my karma like I did when I made things happen during my "productive" years as an asshole employee working for bigger assholes. I just want to be.