From time to time I write a commentary on things. More often than not this is on myself or my past or things that occur to me in life. This week I will publish a number of these commentaries for public consumption by unwary readers. Often these comments aspire to be nuggets of wisdom. It is of course for the reader to decide what they mean, if anything, and if they are of any use.
Still the same room. Still the same things. Still the same external conditions. And yet now I feel more hopeful. A sense of finitude can do that to a Man. Of course, my question concerning “what the point of me is” has not been answered. I currently think it’s one of those questions that can never be answered. To seek after generalised meaning or reason is a fool’s errand. Perhaps now I see life as a process of understanding, an awakening from an Edenic innocence, in which you try to make sense of who you are, where you are and why. This, you may agree, is basically a study of Being and what it means in a world without purpose or meaning beyond the local and contingent. I meditate, sometimes daily, on the fact that my life is but an Augenblick and my non-existence will be an eternity. In that perspective, how can any earthly, human, “cares of the living” really be that troublesome?
Anything that can be thought of must certainly be a fiction, so wrote Nietzsche. How can my self-understanding, my telling of the paths and conduits of my life, be any less so? It is no privileged account to be sure. It’s merely my own as it occurs to me at a point in time. But I am lying to you and I do have my reasons. How could I not? And how could you not read me with your own needs to be satisfied? We are none of us here blank slates.
The clock is ticking. That’s how important you are.
Innerspace and Outer Space. Within your own imagination you can dream a billion dreams. Without, there are a billion truths you will never guess at. Each of us is stuck between the world within and the world without, an insignificant point of contact between the two. To one, you are of utmost importance. To the other, you are almost an insignificance. It is a source of wonder and mystery how consciousness could come of something so unconscious as the Universe.
I got my wish. Am I happier? No. It remains a truism that people have little idea what is best for them. As a species, we are half blind in the fog, scrabbling around. For me, relationships are an excellent example of my blindness. The scars of bad ones get deeper and have more long-lasting effects over time. Of course, isolation is no solution.It merely solves one problem by creating another one. I console myself that at least no one else is involved in that case. But it’s a sticking plaster to deal with a broken bone.
Are people basically honest with each other, or basically dishonest with each other? I come down on the side of the latter. Oh, I know that from time to time some people (perhaps Christian types) try to show that human beings are good and basically altruistic. However, I think they are pissing into the wind on this one. Of course, people CAN be altruistic but it seems to me that the fact you need to point this out speaks against it. The fact is that altruism is occasionally useful. But it’s the “what’s useful to me?” mentality that prevails overall.
Not so much crying these days. Over the past year or two I’ve become very attuned to the solar cycle. Currently, as I write, we are heading towards the summer solstice. The days are long and the light hangs on into the night. I awake to sun beams through a gap in the curtain. I experience the beneficial effects of extra electromagnetic radiation in the visible spectrum (that’s light to you and me). I’ve noticed over the years that I seem very sensitive to the amount of light that is around. It’s no coincidence, in my mind, that my worst episodes of panic occur in early Autumn when light disappears. I know that there is a disorder for this (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and I think that I might fall within that category. Like everything else, I’ve never been diagnosed though.
Power. In the end, I think that quite a lot comes down to this. Having it. Wanting it. To feel it, just for a moment. A lot of things can be explained by the idea of power. And that’s without being Foucauldian about it. Power, and powerlessness, are things that you could get very philosophical about if you wanted to.
I’m still impotent, of course. But I wonder if I might not have settled for less. I was embroiled in an internet conversation in which I had taken on a false identity and I revealed myself to my unfortunate and unwilling victim. He took it quite magnanimously, considering, but then left a landmine of his own behind by suggesting that if only I used my clear powers of intelligence positively I might actually achieve something in life. It came to me as a slap in the face, I must admit. It’s good to hear contrary points of view. Humans are self-deceptive. They need it.
Death can be a shadow, there is no doubt of that. And we can live in that shadow. I had always wanted to be able to die happy, joyously, having, as it were, howling into the void that I had existed. It would have been futile of course. But it would also have been my victory cry. “I existed! Fuck you all!”
I am 46 years old. Still NO actual friends. A lot of the time it isn’t that bad. I have time, such as now, to think and write. Life without other people is certainly less complicated. In an ideal world of my imaginings I wouldn’t have lots of friends coming round anyway. I like (or, I have learned) to keep myself largely to myself. And I don’t dislike that fact.
“The record shows I took the blows and did it my way.” And isn’t that all that one can ask for in life? It’s easy to be negative. My autobiography gives some examples of where I am certainly that. But how about biting back? There can be no more perfect life but than that you took hold of your circumstances and lived the life you wanted to live considering the circumstances you had. I don’t mean this in some secular, economic sense. I don’t mean it in the shallow terms of capitalist society either. I mean that you followed your own beliefs and motivations through. Authenticity to yourself, that’s surely what counts when you have to look yourself in the mirror? On your death bed what comfort would it be that you had achieved material possessions or a life enviable to others in the world? I’d much rather lie there thinking I had been true to myself. You may occasionally need to justify yourself to others. But you will need to justify yourself to yourself every day.
My life and my music are truly intertwined. For those with ears to hear, my music is the best guide to what goes on with me internally. Its the escape valve.
I don’t honestly think that I have any duty to justify myself to anyone. Oh, of course, it may be that this is sometimes expedient. Sometimes, it may even be due to power and authority taking me in hand. But it’s all a joke, isn’t it? A game? I return to a perpetual thought of mine right now: my life is an Augenblick and my death will be forever. What do I care what you think about me? If you honestly wanted a genuine assessment from the horse’s mouth, I could give you one. It wouldn’t be pretty because I know the things I have done. But I’m not a very convinced bad person. When I do wrong its because I’m bored, because I can or because I thought it “clever” to do so. I often regret bad things I’ve done. My heart isn’t in it. I just want to be left alone really and “live and let live” seems to be the best policy for that.
“Physician, heal thyself”. Pulling threads from the twisted haystack of life is certainly a perilous thing. I should heed my own, unasked for, advice. The women were largely a mistake and responsible for massive scars on my psyche. Do good times ever outweigh the bad? I find it hard to think so. If only there was a way to have good times WITHOUT the bad. A solution to this problem has not yet been discovered.
Knowledge is not all it’s cracked up to be. This is a conclusion that gains more force the longer I live. What’s more, knowledge without wisdom is next to useless and dangerous. There is little good in the bare knowing of something. At a bare minimum you also need to know where it fits and what to do with it. This is why choosing not to know things is often the better course. It is hard to “unknow” and such is our make up that we often feel the need to do things about what we know. This way many bad things have happened and not just for me but in general.
My origins are an absurdity to me. It must be true, I muse, that absurdity is the principle of the Universe.
I don’t think that it occurs to people very much just how temporary and fragile they really are. Of course, the old and the sick have this reality impressed upon them more frequently and with more force. But, in general, we seem to have a consciousness which, on the good days, operates as if we are in some way eternal. And I suppose that makes sense. How could you live on an even keel if your every other thought was of how vulnerable and contingent you are? Well, let me tell you from experience that the answer is “Not very well”.
“The crisis of Being”. Only now, as I keep reading, in fits and starts, do I learn that people have been discussing this for decades, if not centuries. Perhaps I’m not so weird and individual after all? This year I’ve written a suite of music in 10 parts called “Human/Being” which really functions as a musical meditation on what it means to be human and the whole subject of Being. If my life is become anything to me it is a process of self- Enlightenment, a process that will one day just be snuffed out. Gone. Unimportant. Another example of “the concerns of the living”.
“The Wanderer. He who has come only in part to a freedom of reason cannot feel on earth otherwise than as a wanderer - though not as a traveler towards a final goal, for this does not exist. But he does want to observe, and keep his eyes open for everything that actually occurs in the world; therefore he must not attach his heart too firmly to any individual thing; there must be something wandering within him, which takes its joy in change and transitoriness.” - Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, #638.
I could accept this quite well as a description of me. If I am anything at all it is a wanderer.