Friday, January 30, 2009

on the State of My Generation

I worry about my generation. I worry about other things too, of course. There are plenty of things to worry about.

I've a few reasons for worrying about where my generation is going. All the generations before us fucked things up pretty magnificently. I'm also worried because we haven't done anything to inspire confidence. There are small inklings of interest, involvement, artistic movements, but no where is a revolutionary spark. There is no Students for a Democratic Society.

we are the new moderates.

We are the children of an academic nihilism, of post-modern ideals in a world which is decidedly at odds with itself. We are still dealing with the modern with tools given us by the past. The modes of interaction we have are the same, the way we act is the same, but the technologies that mediate all this are far different. We are dealing with a modern world in the only way we are able, as humans. We are the same as most of our ancestors, and most of our ancestors wouldn't recognise cars, much less computers.

I don't know what to make of that.

We are blamed of narcissism. That is part function of our raising, with "helicopter moms" suburban wealth, and advertising that while making us feel inadequate, makes us feel special. The cultural touchstones are television shows, and video games. What we remember are media constructions, not defining events.

9/11 is supposed to be the event that defines us, but ultimately it does nothing to create a movement, or a unity, it is an event that fits for all generations, and is really an event of our parents. Like so much of what happens now, it is the result of our parents', and grandparents' stupidity, or lack of foresight, or obstinacy.

Where are we to draw collectivity from?

Where independent movements flourished in earlier generations we have movements co-opted by advertising from the beginning (or near enough). I don't see art from people my age. There aren't galleries with our work, and the walls that before might have been covered in beautiful Graffiti on are for the most part left clean.

The short film on youtube is comedic. Some of it is brilliant, but very little (if any) of it profound. The blogs we write are about us, and not about the larger world around us. The myspace profiles we keep up painstakingly are filled with ephemera, changing from week to week, from fad to fad.

It is all in flux. A musical style is born and dies with one band. An art style lives for a week, and then fades away. Who writes the books, I don't think my generation does.

Where we have so much ability to produce, we have so little production. The fact that we are always talking gets in the way of the fact that we never have anything to say.

I don't think I can asses our place as a generation. We are a generation of mundane creation. Where before the aura of art was created by some establishment, we now are held back by commercialisation.

We don't paint a moustache on the Mona Lisa because she is everywhere, and everywhere the same.
There aren't any remixes of Starry Starry Night, because it is sacred through reproduction. A poster of that painting hangs in nearly every college dorm room in the United States. That painting is ubiquitous, and as such is unchangeable. Because one form of it is everywhere, it cannot be messed with. cannot be remixed. In an era of mass production the establishment is they who decide what is printed.
The smart young artists decide to become designers, making ad campaigns for the powerful, instead of making art which subverts the status quo. There is no refuge from advertising. There is no refuge from mass production, and there is no refuge from technology.

We know that ads effect buying behaviour. It's not something that can be avoided. If people are exposed to ads, a predictable percentage of them will go out and buy product. This is a dynamic that has a lot of influence on my generation's actions. We are defined by comodifiable trends. While the Hippies had some time before their style and attitudes were adopted by capitalism, (or rather were sold back to them) our modern Hipsters are a product of the sold to begin with.

The roots of rolled up pant legs, thrift store clothing, and fixed gear bicycles were all from communities separate from the subculture of hipsters. It was only once these things were sold with such fervency that they became hipster staples.

Fashion is largely the co-opting of practical modifications for aesthetic reasons. I roll up my pant legs so they don't get caught in the sprocket when I ride my bike, but eventually if what I do becomes some sort of ideal, people will roll their pant legs up without having biked anywhere.

If I look like I shopped in a thrift store, it is because I did, and I did so because i don't have the money to buy new clothes. If a hipster does, it's because the styles that are sold to them in department stores, or in urban outfitters, or wherever they shop, are intentionally reminiscent of the clothes I pick out at the thrift store.

If a band sounds lo-fi, and rough, it is likely because they cannot afford the sort of equipment that makes them sound clean, and even. Sure there's a stylistic component, but what hipsters don't realise is that there is a very clear monetary component.

The people who make the trends are not the people who have money to follow fashion. People who spend money to look like b-boys are not b-boys. That is an essential problem in our era. The things that mark some community are co-opted. People who look like me may not be like me.

If I look like a hipster because of lack of money, that does not make me a hipster. When I was a punk, seeing someone with a Mohawk meant I had found kin. It now doesn't mean anything of the sort. Someone riding a certain type of bicycle, or any seemingly self made bicycle used to mean I had found people also interested in bicycles, no longer is that true.

We are not what we appear to be. Appearances no longer count for much. I can't help but wish they did.

You can't have a revolution without a community. the counter culture communities are all appropriated by ads, and by commercialisation. The primary organisations are determined by our elders, or at least by their politics. We are the new moderates. Perhaps a little more progressive than the age before us, but we are prematurely old. The attitudes (and excesses) of adulthood are now ours.
I don't think we'll be the generation to have revolutionary ideals and then sell out for a house in the suburbs and a lease on stability, because we've already been sold.

We don't own ourselves anymore. Credit card companies, and Loan companies, and our parents, and our jobs, and our schools, and our stores; they are our owners. How can we sell out when we don't have possession of even ourselves.

So how are we going to break free of the bond of our forbearer's mistakes, and the bond of advertisers?
How do we keep the meaningful from being transformed into the superficial?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Late nights, Guitar, and Idiosyncracies.

There are a lot of nights where playing guitar and writing keep me up far past when I should be down to bed. It's a common phenomenon for me. I don't even consider tiredness in all that. It's separate from the bipolar though. When I'm Manic I go out on walks at three in the morning on a week night because I just have to go out and walk, because I just need to be moving. It's far different when I stretch my night longer and longer because I've been writing and playing.

When I was a little kid I used to play with my legos so intently that when I finally realised I had to pee (which was when I was near wetting myself) I had to run to the bathroom. It was a really sudden thing. I got so into the world of my legos, and so into what I was doing that nothing else was important. Eating, Sleeping, Peeing. these things only happen when they absolutely had too.

I think that is one of the things I can really separate from my madness. I may be obsessive and energetic by chemistry, but I feel like even when I'm my most normal, least chemically imbalanced, this singularity of focus is pretty common. flight of thoughts is pretty common too. That's where all this trouble comes in. The things that are more pronounced in mania are also parts of me when I'm not manic.

So I'm going to describe something interesting that I hadn't heard from anywhere else before I came up with it. It'd be nice to see if other guitarists feel this sometimes. I get what I call a "guitar high" If I play guitar for long enough, I sometimes (more often than not really) get this high that is very similar to being high on marijuana. It's bizarre, and notable by outside observers.

I also get Guitar withdrawals. I just want to play so badly. My hands even make instinctive guitar playing motions. I make stringed instruments wherever i can, and play anything remotely guitar like. more than a few days I just couldn't take. I try to take a guitar everywhere. The few times I haven't, I sorely regretted it. This is also something other people could tell you. I am just not comfortable without a guitar around.

Also noted, having a guitar to put all my energy into is magnificent. This conduit through which to spout whatever musical thoughts I'm having is a great thing. I love the feeling of strings on my fingers, and the callouses are marks of pride. If my fingers hurt a bit through the day, my day goes better.

That visceral connection between the strings and my soft fleshy finger tips (no longer so soft or fleshy) is so essential. The ability to say something that language cannot express is magnificent. I've mentioned what I mean by that in earlier posts.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


About half of my favourite posts start out without any purpose. I just start writing, and what comes out is essentially the rough draft/brain-storm that I make when writing papers.

I don't know why I like that so much, letting my convoluted thoughts be an end product.

That convolutedness has always been a problem for me. The severity of the problem varies greatly, but sometimes it's simply too much. Too many thoughts swirl about in my head, and the torrent created is capable of washing me out to sea.

That's why my interest in this convoluted, jumpy, writing style as an end product surprises me. For all the harm that the quick, heavy, and unstoppable flow of thoughts causes, I still am mesmerised by it.

That's true of so much. Ambivalence is a more prominent emotion for me than hate or love. There is so often this measure of both. So I love and hate the way my mind works. The way the cogs mesh, the way the thoughts spread, I love and hate that. I cannot seem to decide if it's a good thing or a bad thing, because maybe it's both.

An unusual awareness.

sometimes when I sit down to write I get this unusual awareness of the way my hands work. The feeling of which parts hurt, and which muscles I flex to perform certain actions.

There are a number of little things like that. Things that show up when you don't expect them to and remind one of the things that generally remain hidden.

Last night at a party I was finishing a cigar, by myself on the patio, and I just stopped. Everything just stopped. I looked at the long grass and the detritus that lay on some parts of it, and was overtaken by the odd beauty it had. Even the burnt couch off to my right struck me as magnificent.

The point of all this is I don't care for most of the rest of the world, and it's only these blips of magnificence which keep everything else together. everything would disintegrate were it not for these moments of lucidity.

I don't have them nearly often enough. I really wish they were the default rather than the exception. That the world should go on with primarily horrible goings on , and these little graces are the only respites, all that seems cruel to me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

On Improvisation.

on the balance between written and improvised songs. Improv provides certain difficulties and getting shows, allowing for audience participation and consistency. I love a primarily improvisational mode though. The way things show up when the usual conventions are subverted fascinates me.

I don't want to just play songs that are essentially the same everytime they're performed. A tune, or some general motif is pleasing, and going from that is wonderful, but more preconditions leave me feeling trapped. I can learn and rehearse and perfect songs with consistency, but all the creativity is in the making of it.

The fires of creation don't spill out my fingers when I'm playing that which is known. It is only when forging new ground that my spirit soars. In improvisational music I have found that "mystical connection to the starry dynamo in the holy machinery of night"

The madness that moves further towards destroying me is channeled into this anarchic vehicle and made inert. only for a moment do my passions cease to cause me harm. All the pain and sorrow that spreads in me comes out, leaving nothing but music, and hands aching at the pure effort of expression.

so philosophically I want improv. I set out to write logically, questing for some intimation of what my musical purpose is. Instead I have found and inner desire to set free my wildest of wills and see what happens.

In a way I set myself up for unhinging. Complete removal from the banal, the normal, and even the sane. I strive for anarchy, for freedom, and for improvisation.

Job's Delima

I'm one cynical bastard. Last week some time someone was remarking on how my friend always seems angry. In fact he's usually quite happy. He jokes and uses sarcasm a great deal, and it never struck me as particularly antagonistic, but apparently he seems an angry fellow nonetheless. He's usually quite happy. That's his default, it's just not what people perceive of him.

Where as I am for the most part angry. In actuality I tend to be bitter, hopeless, and cynical about the world around me. People always take me as happy. I am personable and kind, and people for the most part remember me as a good guy. I am perceived as a very happy guy. The fact of the matter is that's not the case.

I'm not bothered by people's misconceptions on that front mind you, it's just something interesting to note. under whatever fa├žade I present I am not very pleased with the way things are. Of course there are moments of happiness, and of course I love certain things about the world. I haven't hardened into a shell lacking in enjoyment, I just feel that there is far more suffering than joy to be had.

I don't know what that means, I just know that happiness is marred by the stain of previous sorrow, and sorrow is made the worse for the same.

I know others have it worse, and that is another point at which my view turns downward. Others have it worse! If my suffering, and the shit that I rather dislike dealing with is in the realm of lesser evils, then the greater evils are monumental. Truly, if there are enough who are worse off than I, and few enough who are better off, where does this conception of life as good come from?

I know most of the reasons we try to slant things to the positive. That doesn't help me. I'm not asking why people think there is good, I know why that is, I'm asking where the good actually is.

That music helps me assuage the pain isn't proof enough of some greater meaning, or some generally good, or even indifferent, existence. Music and words are my saving grace's and they only help me cope. They don't make for an equal ledger. I still don't think there is anything that will.

So that's my problem. I am pleasant, I try to make the world better by my influence. I am aware of my actions, and aware of how I deal with others. I am trying to be a good person, whatever that means, and I'm trying to find out what that means as well.

Every bit of my ability I put towards making myself whole enough to make the world better, and I've nothing to show for it as of yet.

no Karma, no God, no reward. I struggle on because I have to, and because my music and words allow me to, not because I have gotten anything for being a good person. Why do I try, because I can't do anything else.

So what is the point of my effort if I am given nothing but madness debt and depression in return?

There is no point to my effort. Realising that activates a feedback loop.

the sadness gets greater and then I find I can do nothing, then the sadness gets even greater, and so again it goes around.

If I see you on the street I will be kind, perhaps moreso than the other people you meet. If I know you, I will seem happy, also moreso than most of the people you see. However, somewhere behind all this is some seriously pent up anger, and depression, which is rendered inert only when the fires of Mania, or the influence of drugs takes hold.

It is not my fault, in fact I have done all in my power to fix it, all in my power to help not just myself, but everyone else as well.

And Somehow that this should be my wages just doesn't seem right.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Verses which stick to me.

So the song "Zurich Is Stained" by Pavement has been stuck in my head pretty firmly for a little while now. I have no idea why. Of course the song is catchy, and I do love the way the music sounds, but usually the songs that get stuck in my head don't have lyrics that stand out from the music.

just the first couple of lines like to keep repeating in my head. And I haven't gotten tired of it. It just feels like a statement of purpose.

You can look up the lyrics if you'd like but the lines that just stare out at me are these

"I can't sing is strong enough, cause that kind of strength I just don't have."

"You think it's easy but you're wrong, I am not one half of the problem,
Zurich is stained and it's not my fault, Just hold me back or let me run"

They just sort of get stuck in my head.

I don't really know why. but they sure feel right.

Of course this happens to me sometimes. some verse will seem particularly potent and I will be struck by it. It will infest my head, and I won't be able to get it out for a while. The relationship I have with other people's words is pretty intimate.

another verse that's been sticking to me lately is the first line of Howl by Alan Ginsberg. The whole damn poem sticks to me, but it's hard to remember more than a few verses without some concerted effort.

"I saw the best minds of my Generation destroyed by madness
Starving, Hysterical, Naked
Dragging themselves through the Negro streets at dawn, looking for an angry fix"

I know a bit more than that, but the first line just hits me.

It's something to note, the way that we interact with the words around us. Why does one verse have more meaning for me than another. I know why the beginning of Howl sticks out to me, it's that whole madness thing.

I'd like to know which verses people love. I feel like if I knew that I might know more about them than if I just tried to figure it out with questions. Even knowing if they have a favourite verse would be telling.

Of course I'm still puzzled by some of the verses that have fascinated me. I don't know what drove me to memorise the final soliloquy to a midsummer night's dream.

"if we shadows have offended
think but this and all is mended
that you have but slumber'd here
while these visions did appear
and this weak and idle theme,
no more yielding, but a dream"

there's more but I don't need to put it down.
I just don't know why I was so into it. I don't know why certain things stick out to me
When I read books sometimes I end up underlining lines that just rush off the page. That happens all to frequently.

I would like to know why. What in me makes these things stick out, and how much does this interaction between myself and the words of others define me?

it's a question I have to leave un answered, but I do wish I knew.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On the inauguration

I don't feel like this inauguration marks a serious change in the way the US works. I'm skeptical mostly because the same forces which supported every candidate for the last quite a long time supported Obama.

His rhetoric is brilliant. A more positive rhetoric that I've not heard from people in serious power. The Si Se Puede co-opting = brilliant. However I'm afraid the only revolutions have been rhetorical ones.

So I think we will get out of our current crisis' and we will do so by putting ourselves back into the system which led us here. For all the democratising forces we've come to rely on, they still operate in spite of the larger powers that be, rather than in concert with them.

I really do think of larger organisations as things with lives of their own. If you took the whole staff out of a company and replaced it with entirely different people, you would have the same company in a very short about of time. The power of a few individuals cannot change the basic nature of an organisation.

I don't know if it's because I enjoyed Dune a Little too much, or if maybe it is just my bent towards futility, but I do know that an analysis of groups as entities separate from the parts which make them up makes good sense.

It's something that has bothered me for quite a long time. The presidency is still going to be what it is going to be. Unless there is some structural change business as usual is going to continue. Perhaps particular policies will stop, but the systemic problems that brought untenable policies about will still be intact.

I don't believe there will be change from this. And I don't believe that any elected official, as long as they are elected by the money donated to them rather than by the people voting, will be a vehicle for real change.

The only real changes we can make are by ourselves.

So I don't know about you, but I will not worry about who is president or who the police are, or what the laws are. I will worry instead about the way I interact with people, the way that I affect the world around me and the ways I can make my surroundings better. there is little more I can do.

As for this president, I look forward to being disappointed in new ways, and the election of a minority while we're still prosecuting other minorities doesn't particularly inspire me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The woods.

it would be easy for me to write either an account of my day or a litany of complaints for some stretch of my life. Those are the two things I'd most like to avoid. The easy has never worked well for me. Not to say the hard has worked particularly well either. I suppose I just have a thing for a challenge.

As much as I dislike where I'm from, the mountains are beautiful. I could disappear into the woods so easily. It's not like disappearing into a crowd. It's not like being alone in a city.

I know I'm wrong, but I feel like I mightn't have gone crazy in the woods. I would have gone crazy with those people, but not in some woods, somewhere, without the small town bullshit.

My point is that when I'm in the woods I feel alright. Things don't bother me quite so much, and when they do I can go out and my stupid decisions hurt no one but me.

My thoughts about it are more that our lack of adaptation to the cities, and large groupings of people is what puts me ill at ease. The woods, the ancestral condition is so calming for me because all of my evolutionary adaptations are for that situation. I even wrote a novella about the idea of city living driving someone insane. The fact is that I don't feel like our ordered singular existences fit with the current fact of what we are as a species. We haven't had enough time in this world to fit it.

It's one of those things I wonder about.

Incidences and prevalences of mental illnesses in rural areas would be nice to see. Of course the lack of reportage and increase in stigma in small towns would make things difficult.

The point is, that walking through the woods today (I went on a hike) I didn't feel as unbalanced as I had been the rest of this week.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh my god. What a fucking night.

On the bike ride home I wrote five blog posts in my head, and forgot all of them. I think I'm going into a hypomania, along with my thoughts came these admonishments to stay home instead of going out in a reckless fashion. Tonight I felt like everyone loved me.

I went to two parties, this after a day of playing a lot of music. somewhere between 4 and five hours of it. My fingers ached with the feeling of strings digging into pads. at the first party while we played beer pong outside my left hand had odd joint cramps that I haven't felt since playing with my highschool screamo band in a garage in below zero winter.

It was a pre-arthritic shocking pain that causes my fingers to ache when I even think of it. I thought on the bike ride back that my fingers were tumescent, and corpulent with ache.

That party was good and bad. I felt out of place, and was out of place, yet when people left all of them knew me. When people left I had some tie to them, and now people I basically hate as a mater of principle think of me as something admirable in some way shape or form. of course I felt like everyone liked me, that's the think. As much as being all hypomanic makes everyone like me, it makes me think everyone likes me more.

my friends and I stayed longer than we had expected too and didn't get to the next party on our list until around 230. It was a hippy danceparty in the best way possible. I don't know what it is, but I LOVE to dance. I could dance for ages, and for all that I automatically have a "if it doesn't get me laid why do it" stance much of the time when it comes to these things, I love the way my body moves. It's only when I don't care that things go well for me, and if they don't I don't care.

That's the best situation. I danced from 230 300 to about 400. It was magnificent. I changed the party. the party kept going because I created trends that were not there before. I got people playing themselves as drums, and at one point had three other guys singing an awkward four part harmony that modulated in all the wrong places. When the music stopped I started singing a song and had a circle of people singing a long.

That irrepressible charisma is why I love hypo mania. I have been amazing and crazy this week.(end?)

I have been right. and it has been magnificent. any tendencies of mine that are attractive come out, and the force with which my personality shines blots out most of the blemishes.

I no longer seethe.

The world is right, and though it is four thirty, I doubt I can sleep. I will try, but I feel another straight through night coming. I feel another fourtyeight hour run. I both love and hate that. there are brilliances and deficiencies that arise from that. I don't know what I can do to change it though.

I can control how I interact with people by choosing who to interact with, but I can't control how I interact with the world, with my room, with myself.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Some habits you just have to stick with. Like waking up early. It's so much harder to do if you don't keep it up on weekends. That's how a certain form of organised writing is for me. It's never difficult to write, and I do so every day, it's only hard to get it put down in some sort of order. I'm great at writing things in a flurry of inspiration, but sitting down to write in some concerted way is a task requiring discipline.

It's a good discipline to have, and one that separates all of those people who are "working on a book" from people who write for a living.
That's the trick. There is something about a person who's willing to go full in to some task that is useful in just about every field. It is the musician who plays music all the time who is the best, and the footballer who plays football all the time who's best. So besides this natural or engendered skill that one has predisposition towards there is also the skill of discipline.

It's an interesting way to think of the interrelation between various factors going into someone's success.

I only write about this because I sometimes doubt my discipline. There is so much nebulousness and tumult in my world that ordering it into some simulacrum of normal is ridiculously difficult. I'm getting better at it, but I'm only getting better at it in this relatively sane state, which is far from normal for me. I haven't felt this normal in years, and that is something very odd to say when I've only been here twenty years.

I've thought many times that I've lived more in this short stretch than most people have, and that thought hasn't seemed too ostentatious even as my life settles into more normal channels.

essentially now that my life is settling down, and now that I'm finally dealing with the problems that have defined my last two years I have to figure out some of who I am again. The things I do because I enjoy them, or simply because I must don't have an explanation in my mind. I no longer know which of my traits is mine, and this is the time that I'm figuring that out. I don't know if I'm essentially an undisciplined person because all of my past evidence has been thrown into doubt. That's true of many of my qualities, and though the exploration is daunting, it's also exciting. I can find out who I am, and maybe I can also change who I am. That's a proposition few people are presented with, and I get to be in this unique place.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Music and Mysticism.

This is mostly verbatim from my notebook. I like what I was thinking today, and I'm going to put it down see if it still makes sense, and perhaps expand.

"When my head's alright my world isn't. I've made the observation before, but never in quite so succinct a form. I know reasons and effects. I know most of the whys and the how's but still the phenomenon baffles me.

those times when something makes logical sense, but still eats at ones centre, are when one turns to philosophical thought. That by itself is an interesting observation. Wittgenstein thought that logic and language failed once one got to metaphysics. Those most important of questions were either false, or encompassed by the bounds of language.

I'm so tied into my English speaking world. Language is one of the places I feel comfortable. Music, Language, and the mind. it is disheartening to think that any of my three primary refuges are unable to fulfil my needs.

I often make up for the failings of my mind, and now the failings of language, with the realm of music. this may be a back door.

Of course you could consider music as language the way Wittgenstein thought of language, a relflection of the underlying laws of the world, and so only able to express things encompassed therein.

I'm not sure that's right though.

It is said "when words fail, music speaks" There are things that "a love supreme" (by John Coltrane) says which cannot be wholly expressed in words, or any language.

When we are infants we can hear and discern all of the sounds a human could make. Sounds only in Hindi can be discriminated only by people exposed to them in their infancy. We lose this capacity as we grow in our native tongue (or tongues) this ability to hear all, this connection to some sort of oneness of humanity, it is where we have yet to be sullied by the firm rules of our mother tongues. Getting back to this state is where music comes in.

Music is where we overcome that adherence to the rules of language. Strict semanticity is not necessary in music.

A B flat doesn't mean anything, it's just a B flat. We can make music that doesn't follow the rules and it will still be music.

Theory describes music but does not determine it.

So from all of this it is natural to ask the question 'what are the limits of music'

any sound can be music. If it can be heard it can be musical. The revving of a car engine has a pitch and a tone, and can be thought of as just another instrument. The sound of the wind through the trees, or the sound of the woods in "silence" (because true silence exists only in a vacuum) sound is everywhere.

SO what effect does the removing of traditional semanticity and representation do to the experssive abilities of music?

Wittgenstein describes these things most people have experienced but which do not fit into the actual use of language. Being absolutely safe is his most potent example.
To quote from "A Lecture on Ethics"

"Now the same applies to the other experience which I have mentioned, the experience of absolute safety. We all know what it means in ordinary life to be safe. I am safe in my room, when I cannot be run over by and omnibus. I am safe if I have had whooping cough and cannot therefore get it again. To be safe essentially means that it is physically impossible that certain things should happen to me and therefore it's nonsense to say that I am safe whatever happens. Again this is a misuse of the word"

However many people can attest to the feeling of absolute safety. The feeling exists, and so there is a possibility that the state exists as well.

Music can portray that in an accurate way which is not simile. The ability of music to show without using metaphor or simile is something I don't think can be found in other communicative systems.

I'm not certain of this, but if there is any representative of the metaphysical which can be invoked without sullying the purity of the metaphysical it is music.

No other realm can so wholly describe an experience. People associate songs with different things, and asses their quality or personal interest differently, but songs which tap into some fundamental truth are always able to be seen as such.

Whether or not one liked John Coltrane's free period, one was forced to see the visceral nature of them. The Openness, minor chaos, and unboundedness impress themselves upon one regardless of ones opinion of the pieces. Different interpretation does not dismiss the truth of the musical statement. The song is what it is regardless of the observers' position."

SO there was the thought. Clearly the words don't fully describe the idea. That's part of the point. My words cannot fully describe anything but the world on which their structure is based. Music is the only form of expression with which I can say what I mean, while not using simile. Or at least it is the closest way to get there that I've yet found.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Disclosure problem.

I've a lot to talk about, but first I'd like to touch on the nature of disclosure on the internet. I have clearly identifying details on my blog, and it's commonplace for one to be translucent about details on facebook. When I point someone to my blog, I'm showing some serious inner thoughts, but the fact is that anyone can see them.

I have a feeling it's part of this thing writers have been doing for ages, putting their minds out on their sleeves for all to see. I don't know how true this is, but with we bipolar folk it seems to be even more common. I only have anecdotal evidence for this. My favourite example though, is the fact that Lord Byron seems to have published everything he wrote.

That lack of editing eye, or at least general dismissal of the possibility that some things should stay hidden well describes the blogger. However much I harp on about how much information about myself I'm giving away, I'm still likely to publish all of it. My life is available to everyone.

I'm not sure why I take this view. I've mostly noticed that secrets don't tend to fit well with having a generally worry free life. That's of course not true for everything, the stigma about mental illness for instance. Sometimes it's useful to not have people knowing little details about yourself, be it your mental state, your sexual orientation, or your religious beliefs (or lack thereof)

But that's the point. What do we get from putting all of this out into the world. What have we ever gotten for putting our thoughts on our sleeves, and getting rid of the useful convention of minor secrecy.

That's not to say I can't pass as sane, or arrow-straight when I walk down the street, it's just to say if anyone cared to find out they could.

So there are details I won't put here. I'll talk about things that are deeply important to me, but in a way that is more akin to some writer's essay (far less composed mind you). I won't talk about certain details that might hurt my causes. I won't mention when I'm infatuated with someone, or where I went for dinner. Those things are unnecessary and have the potential to make other parts of my life difficult.

It's a blurry line that we straddle when putting our lives on the internet, but it's easier to figure out the longer you've been doing it. I guess that's true of most things.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's always when I'm well.

It always seems that the times I have to deal with the most bullshit are the times I'm the most mentally stable.

If I have financial troubles, I only ever have to deal with them when I'm primarily well. If I have administrative shit I have to deal with it's always separate from any of my mental health issues. It sometimes makes me wish for mania. It leads to depressions and makes me wish I had the free expansive feelings of madness.

I'm not sure which comes first, the depression or the troubles that seem to occur when I'm mentally allright. I know they somehow go hand in hand. It's hard to not see the world as uncaring and vengeful when you're in some sort of dire straights or another.

I know it's chemical, the cycle between depression and and mania and everywhere inbetween, but I can't help but feel that the swings are tied into heightened understanding of the situation one is in. If you realise it doesn't matter, and you really can do just about anything, then mania is the natural response. This fiery passion which drives you to produce and to fuck and to drink. It is the response to a world where the fates look down on you favourably, and the machinations of ill will have no affect on you.

And Depression is the natural response to a world in which existence may mean nothing, and the fates snarl at you with contempt.

I like that imagery, the fates. It sounds so much better than biology, or chemistry. It sounds so much better than saying that an intellectual depression goes along with a chemical one so well because of the sad determinism of neurochemistry.

The image of the three hags, looking down on us and seeing the weave of time, it makes one feel that even though nothing higher cares, at least something is watching.

Being seen in ones' pain is more bearable when it can be seen by some other entity, someone who isn't susceptible to the cruel march of time.

Along with this nicer, more hyperbolic expression comes another point. The epic proportions that invoking the fates suggests, feel applicable. Like Byron before me, I feel that the crude temperament that I've inherited lends itself to the epic, the legendary.

The expanse of experience that I have felt, and am likely to feel to a greater extent in the future (episodes get more severe with time in nigh all cases) is not sufficiently explained by a prosaic tale. It is only the epic form, that deals with so many gods and the fates of men which seems to best explain the life of one who has felt these deliciously, sometimes terrifyingly, powerful manias, and these soul-sucking, dark, depressions.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The great questions move from philosophy to Psychology

I may already have posted today. Or it may have been last night. I don't actually know. I don't remember time in a continuum for the most part. Very often my memory is just filled with snatches of events unconnected to the rest of my memory. I'm not sure how normal that is, and I don't particularly care.

The reason memory comes up, other than my lack of knowledge about when I last posted, is that the way my memory works influences my understanding of the world. It's a question asked in much great literature, what, if not memory, makes up us?

My favourite example isn't currently accepted as literature, but I expect it will simply because of the artistry of it. The television show Skins is where I'm getting this example from. The show is brilliantly written, and brilliantly acted, and all around great. At the end of series 1, one of the main characters, Tony, is hit by a bus.

This causes severe head trauma, as is to be expected. He ends up with the full regimen of neurological problems that come from having your skull run in with a bus. Various memory things and deficiencies in knowing how to perform tasks, even sexual dysfunction.

Throughout series 2 the show deals with his coming back into his own, and remembering things he'd forgotten, getting back skills he had lost. Series two covers other things as well, but this is a main story line for it. For a large part Tony changes as a person, becomes less manipulative, suggesting his earlier machinations were more a matter of choice than of personal make up. What is telling is what stays and what is stripped away. What about him remains him once he can no longer be sure about his memories?

I know psychology, and neuroscience are starting to answer these sorts of questions, moving them out of the realm of literature and into the realm of knowledge. It's something I'm rather proud of. I feel like maybe it's the reason I'm becoming a psychologist and not a "thinker". I'm not likely to be writing books on existentialism any time soon, because I will be questioning and finding out things about existence through science. In any other era, Any other time, I would be asking my questions only of myself, and getting very little in the way of results.

It's a great era. People of course worry that knowing (or getting towards knowing) the root of all of this will remove the grandeur, but I don't see where they're coming from. I don't have to think of a soul to be amazed by the complexity of a brain. The vastness of the universe and our solitaryness in it is something to be marvelled as much as the power of the gods.

I don't see a problem with the onus of knowledge of the depths of humanity being moved to neuroscience from philosophy. I welcome it.

I welcome what shall come in the way we see ourselves. I hope that the advances we make now aren't passing. I hope that what we come to know is not fleeting. If it is, so be it, however, we've so much potential, I just wish we'd reach it.

I've lost patience

I'm not sure how many hours it was, but I yesterday I simply slept. I didn't do much else. I sat down and played guitar, and then I layed down playing guitar, and then I fell asleep in that state. I put everything away when I woke up an hour or so afterwards and got myself actually ready for bed. I've just woken up, and I think it's at least 12 hours after I first drifted off.

Of course the evening before was a busy one, but I can't say sleeping more feels like a good sign. I've said it before, but even when things are good I worry, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So that's where I am. I feel alright, but tired. there are more things I have to deal with than I'd like, and I really just want to be done with so many of the things required to live in the modern world. If I had only to go out in my fields and work every day, I could do it, and I doubt I'd complain, but that I have to pay bills, and have to fill forms, and have to organise things into arbitrary categories puts me on an unusual edge.

I'm sure most people with temperaments similar to mine have had this sort of thought. To just drop everything and get the fuck out. Maybe just go and live out in the woods, with nothing to worry about because the only person you deal with is yourself.

in your mania there's nothing you can do but throw yourself into your work or thrash out against the trees. There is no risk of creating debt or of driving oneself into further and further problems. When depressed one would do the exact same things one did before. It wouldn't matter that you didn't feel like leaving the bed. If you needed food you would be forced to get up and find some. The things you do would not be of serious consequence, and you would have no illusions about them being so.

We live in a world where we are told taht each of us has an effect on things. We each are responsible for making the world a better or worse place, and each of us has a choice in this matter. Everything we do is supposed to be in service to that. I have no such delusions. If perhaps what I write or what music I play gets a following I'll make a mark, but I don't presume everyone will. there are many forgotten people and realising that makes doing all of the extra things, the bills and forms, all the more pointless.

I suppose I just don't want to put up with all of these things that don't enrich my life, or make a mark on the world I'll leave behind. I have lost patience with the worlds pointless machinations. with bureaucracy and it's agents, With popularity, and fashion, with trends and the internet. I have lost patience with the world. When all I do has no real, or at least no long term, consequence, I see no reason in doing it.

I'll likely still deal with all of the forms and bills and bullshit that comes along with them, but while before I held this view I now will hold it with more fervour. I will put real effort into things which matter. The things I care about are going to be the things I feel I can actually make any sort of difference with, and if time ever conspires to give me only the space in which to do the pointless, I will slough off some of that responsibility until my world is free enough that I can do what I want.

I just want to be a person untethered by the world's invisible constraints.

Friday, January 09, 2009

My lens of perspective.

I cannot help but feel the course of my life hinges on machinations I am not privy to.

So often the things that most create havoc in my life are those over which I've no control. The time at which bills fall, and the time at which the money to pay them comes. It could just be the way that I feel. I have inherited a temperament varied and extreme. I cannot pretend to know when my wills shall chose to focus on darker themes. I am as much a subject of the whims of the gods or the fates or the forces of nature and time as Job was.

That is the lens through which I examine the world. Because I have little chance of fighting the fates I must take advantage of the directions I'm blown in. I am but detritus on the winds of time, and because I am more aware of that everything else takes on a pallor indicating its inevitable demise.

In a course I am taking, we are reading myths. The Iliad is our current subject of study. I made a comment I felt not particularly provocative. Turns out it was more provocative than I thought.

The whole class discussion was regarding the meaning of the first stanza which goes:

Sing, goddess, Achilles' rage,
Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks
Incalculable pain, pitched countless souls
Of Heroes into Hades' dark,
And left their bodies to rot as feasts
For dogs and birds, as Zeus' will was done.
Begin with the clash between Agamemnon -
The Greek Warlord - and godlike Achilles

(this is from the Stanley Lombardo translation of Homer's Iliad)

The conversation went through rage and the various characteristics of the story that suggested an allegory about rage. The conversation too went over other thoughts about the themes of the poem.

My comment hinged on the next stanza which is but one sentence, set apart from the rest, as if to glare back at the reader as a statement of purpose.

"Which of the immortals set these two
at each other's throats?"

That line screamed at me. It's separation from the rest of the lines on the page seemed to ache with purpose. Yes, I thought, this is about futility.

That is the lens through which I look at the world, the lens of a man blown about on the winds of mood and the forces that drive him immutably. So I said to the rest of the class something about the fact that the people in the story are simply pawns for the Gods. There is no choice in their actions, or if there is it is only between being destroyed by the Gods or going along with their whims.

I had found an analogue to my own existence in the nature of their battles. Stretches where things were determined by their own wills interspersed with the unavoidable influence of the gods.

One could fight valiantly and turn the tide of the battle, only to have the gods decide against him, and make his work of no consequence. Agamemnon is but a slave to his arrogance and the will of the gods. Achilles to the gods wills and his own pride.

The immediate backlash to this idea was surprising. The thought that the characters really had no say in what occurred. People argued for the sheer force of personality of characters like Achilles.

I could see how Achilles ability to move Zeus' hand through his mother is a sign of choice and ability, but all the while it hinges on the power and favour of immortals. His mother being an immortal is how this is achieved. A man like Odysseus or Nestor is at the whim of the gods despite his abilities and intelligence. It is only because the gods see favour with these men that they survive.

I know how pessimistic this may seem, but choice is largely an illusion. The choices you make are a product of evolution and indoctrination. Whether or not you know it.

The professor asked a good question towards the end of the period. What do we have to replace the gods? what do we believe in now with the same fervency. I'm not sure if this is the only thing we have replaced the gods of old with, but I am feeling rather sure that we have latched on to a myth of choice.

We have latched on very tightly to this idea of our ability to have sole power over our own lives. Exemplary is the US military. It is a volunteer military. We don't draft people anymore, but in effect, excepting the few who chose the military because of various other reasons, the military is filled with the poor. It becomes the only option. A lower class draft is extant despite the fact that we have no selective service taking men from the streets. In a ghetto you become a criminal, or you join the military.

There are many examples of this, and the counter examples are largely incorrect or deviations from the general scheme of things that do not change the general nature of existence.

There are Achilles' who can call upon the gods to change their ways, but for every Achilles' there are a thousand, or ten thousand, or one hundred thousand more who do not hold the reigns to their futures.

It is the fate of most to be at the will of their biology, or their gods, or their own deep desires. The few who subvert this model, the few who have a true say over what occurs to them, are but exceptions.

Though we do not have to be slaves to fate, we often are. Though humans are capable of free will, more often then not determinism takes over.

I don't think I was so wrong about the futility of the struggles the characters in the Iliad face. I may not be entirely right, but I am not entirely wrong either. I don't know who's prejudice is stronger. I don't know if the people around me are less aware of the large lack of choice we have in things, or if I am too attached to the concept of futility.

I will see futility where I want to see futility, perhaps even where there is none, but I am aware of this. I don't know if my peers are aware that they see choice wherever they want to see it.

moving into a darker stage.

Sometimes being so damn tired isn't a sign you need sleep.

I feel like I could drop right now. My eyes are a little watery and I know that if I lay down and get ready for bed sleep will take me away into a place far better than this.

That's where the tiredness comes from. The world is not right. I never assumed it was before, but where I before I felt optimism about my ability to face the worlds problems, I now only feel an open sore. Things that didn't worry me, but clearly should have, now flash up in the forefront of my existence in such a way as to highlight how much I hate some of the defining features of this world.

Bills. That's not what I'm complaining about, but bills planted the seeds of doubt into my fertile head. I feel tired in a more existential sense and less in a physical sense. usually for me the existential one leads to the physical one eventually. I'm afraid that may be what is occuring.

I'm afraid I may be moving into one of my darks again, where no matter the worlds state, I see ill in it. I'm sure to see ill in it as there is ill in it, but in this darkened modd I see nothing but the ill. I don't see the trees as living things of beauty, I only see how few of them there are. When I notice pretty girls I don't revel in their beauty, I simply am reminded that I have no one.

It's one of those times. I think it may be temporary, but that thought has been had before, and it has been wrong before.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A note on my writing method and purpose.

I've been trying to plan posts for this blog, but I've started to find that planning them doesn't always work so well. I write throughout the day in my notebooks and I have all these ideas flowing through my head, so I automatically thing perhaps the best thing to do is use them as fodder for this here blog. truth is though that I get a little bored writing about whatever my set topic is. I sort of have to wait for some passion to overtake me.

When I write essays, (research papers excluded) I sit down and write however many pages the essay is supposed to be. I don't take a break, or refer to sources, or make an outline, I just write. Things come out in odd ways. Poorly constructed sentences and convoluted ideas, but damn do some great things come out too.

It's only after I've done this that I really know what my paper is about. I have to just write and see what piques my fancy in order to really know what's going on. The fact of the matter is that I've gotten so used to writing as a method of self discovery that deciding what to write about before hand just seems silly. The writing IS the deciding what to write about.

I realise today that I was a bit worried about avoiding retreads. I tend to have the same theme in my head most of the time, This whole question of how much of me is up to me and how much do I have no control over? The problem is that when I write about these things the same shit comes out.

I don't mind gradually finding out where I stand, and finding out how much of me seems to have basis in illness or biology, and how much I can change, but I don't like writing the same damn thing over and over.

I though of a few different methods to get away from just talking about that topic, but I think there may not be a way to escape it. Everyone seems to have questions that show up throughout their writing (anyone who writes anyway). It's a very modernist thing, that whole overarching Meta-narrative. I don't feel like totally eschewing that in a post-modernist cold rage, but I don't feel like that is the best use of my work. I'm just not sure how to avoid it.

Even in post-modernist works you see the writer's obsessions leaking through. I know that that is bound to happen, I just want it to happen interestingly.

A five page rant on how worried I am that I have no control over my existence isn't the sort of thing I aim to produce. I don't actually have an aim. That's the point. I don't have a singular story to tell, or a singular bone to pick. Just by virtue of being my work various interests of mine and things about me will seep through, music, manic-depression, bisexuality, and any myriad of other things, but I don't want them to be the focus of my work. I don't let them define me, so why should I focus on them.

If I look at a topic I look at it as who I am. It is impossible for me to be objective, as is the case for everyone, so all of these little bits of what occur in my life will show up. I guess I just want to try for something different. Something outside of personal narrative, but away from overarching allegory.

It seems though that like with everything else, I'll have to write to find out what I really think about that. I'll have to write to find out how to move away from meta-narrative, and away from memoir without making the story uninteresting.

That's really what this blog is, I am writing to find things out. If people read I am appreciative, but ultimately I write for elucidation. My ideas are only ideas, I don't hold any serious claim to them. If others have input I want it, if others can help me see things from another perspective I want that help, but I am here to find things out. Nothing less, and not very much more.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Cult Of Personality and the Secularisation of culture.

So I know two posts in a row is a little obsessive, but I'm feeling like it's the thing to do. In one of my classes today the professor brought up an interesting idea

Weber, the brilliant sociologist (pronounced Vay Ber), theorised that the secularisation of culture opened the door for a cult of personality to replace it. Essentially without some meaning provided by religion, people turned to charismatic leaders.

Something about this struck me as horribly wrong. Not because his assessment of people gravitating towards charismatic leaders was all that flawed, but because religion to a certain extent is governed by those same leaders.

It seemed to me that in a secularised world, the charismatic leaders just preached different things. The charismatic people who before may have become priests or gurus et al. now become messiahs, or messengers of a different shape.

The cult of personality is very strong, and has it's roots in human nature, not in a secularisation of culture. What is Christianity but a cult of personality centred around Christ.

The point is that though secularisation does leave people searching for meaning in a seemingly meaningless world, the things they turn to for comfort are the same things they turned to in a pre-secular world, just in different garb.

The assessment of religion as something unique seems a bit archaic. Essentially other ideas can be their own religions. The fact of religion is that it is a particular coping mechanism for humans to deal with death and possible lack of meaning. If other constructs can fill that void, then who's to say they are particularly different.

If a different gear fits in the same place in a watch, how different are they really?

There are a few reasons we are drawn to strong personalities. I imagine those who weren't charismatic survived by clinging to the charismatics and therfore spread their genes. The large proportion of people were not those charismatics. That explains rather well the cult of personality. Also people who worry about death less tend to take more risks. Religions also tend to emphasise the creation of children. I could go into all of the particularities, and take days writing about this stuff.

I'm simply trying to cement the point that all of this is related to what allowed us to survive. I can't explain the things that don't have an effect on our survival, however much I'd like to, but those which do are pretty clear.

We are at the whim of our heritage.

The interesting thing however is the fact that for the first time, we as individuals can change how beholden to genetics we are. Not just through gene therapy and modification, but through our own decisions.

we are in an era where that cult of personality needn't exist. we are at a point in time where we can escape our bonds. Being so close to this transcendence is what makes the fact we haven't reach out for it all the more painful.

finally a name for my "band"

I finally have a band name for my little personal project. That's a big part of the battle. Only because I need a name I like and can stick with before I go off and do shows, or record and album. I love my psychology book for this. I decided on Robots Homunculus. It works, and I've a feeling that I won't get tired of it. if I do, well not much I can do about it.

I already have the music for all this so the band name bit was one of the last things holding me back from actually producing. I'm thinking I may use multiple band names for performances, but only use Robots Homunculus for the myspace page. Which exists by the way. there's nothing up, but I'll update when there is.

It's exciting. I remember doing all of the administrative stuff for my highschool bands, and it's always more fun than administrative stuff has a right to be. entering information on a computer isn't nigh as cool in any other situation.

I'm proud of myself for getting on the fucking ball too. I had been having a general apathy, as I'm want to do, there for a while. I'm glad to be mostly over it. I'm also ready to get on with the damn music. It's nice to have that option.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Things are calm, is this the eye of the storm?

There are plenty of things I could write about. My day was eventful, and it brought about a lot of thoughts. Despite the wealth of topics my day suggests, I'm more interested in writing about something else entirely.

First I'd like to note that Innate no longer means anything. I found this out in a class today. There is no such thing as something which is innate. The word has no meaning.

Second. I near typed the world has no meaning. The reason I mention this is because the more I look at things the more I feel that may be the case. There are things about the world that are of worth, but suggesting some greater meaning seems to me a naive assumption.

I'm not feeling particularly down, and this bit of existential doubt isn't rooted in a depression or anything. That has at times been the case. The odd thing about right now is the fact that everything feels well. Things are going well for me for the most part. There are issues I have to deal with I'd rather be done with, Primarily finances, but those aren't weighing heavily on me.

The problem I'm having is that I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm expecting something to go horribly wrong. I'm expecting my best efforts to not be good enough. It's hard to enjoy one of the best stretches of time in recent memory when I'm worried it will devolve into one of the worst.

The point is that I'm due for some issues to be popping up, and that they haven't is worrying.

I have some business I need to take care of tomorrow, and am looking forward to that. I haven't any serious issues to worry about right now. I feel like everything is under control. I just have to get past this eerie feeling that is remarkably like the beginning of a horror film.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

An alternative to Overdraft charges.

I don't really understand overdraft charges. I don't mean that I can't grasp why they exist. I simply mean that I don't get how they make sense. To keep the business of their customers, it would make sense for banks to largely forgo overdraft charges. These charges also end up building up very quickly.

One ends up in an endless cascade of charges which they can do little to stop. Once you have an overdraft charge on the account you end up with a negative balance fee, which means that you are further in the hole. all of this not because of money you were spending, or money you owe to people, solely because you didn't have the money right away. Perhaps a bit of interest would make sense, think of overdrafting as a high interest loan if you will. Even with that model the charges are exorbitant.

The reason I bring this up is that I had tuition and rent come up in the same week. I had the money to pay for it, but just barely. Paying for food, and essentially nothing else put me a little over the edge and now I'm going to go and straighten everything out. The problem is that I have enough money to straighten my account if it were just the amount I'm negative and perhaps a bit of interest from a week of being negative, but with overdraft and negative balance fees as they are I won't have enough money to pay it off ever.

I really do think that is an accurate assesment of the situation. I live on slender means as it is, so I have to be careful about when money goes in and when it comes out. All of that is very very tight for me. Add fees and I can't do it.

The point is that the bank would get their money and even make profit if they simply treated it as a debt that gained interest, but by treating it this way they will never get their money.

I'm not worried about my personal situation, but there are people with more slender means than me, and they wouldn't likely be able to fix the situation. SO banks should fix this problem. That really is what it is, bad business, poor design, and an unfair practice. I'm not sure if the last point is one for convincing the banks, but the first two are valid and deserve looking at.

A DIY Manifesto.

I've been steeped in DIY for most of my life. I grew up in the mountains, and for all the bad things that comes from dealing with that environment day in day out, a practical ability to get things done is a frequent benefit. That ability to get things done is why I can actually start a fire if I need to, and why I carry a knife with me all the time. There are a whole bunch of things about me that are firmly DIY.

My Mom was a home-economics teacher while the school still had a program for that, so while I grew up I also learned how to cook, and how to sew, and crochet. So along with all my wood choping snow shovelling, sterotypicaly male power I have more sterotypicaly female skills as well.

Tack on top of both of those my time in highschool absolutely fascinated with punk and everything around it, and you've got the recipe for a self sufficient scarf kniting, music playing, bomb making, useful person. It's something I'm proud of, being able to do a lot of things that most people seem to have forgotten.

It's nice having hands on skills that seem to be unusual.

For clarity sake the knowledge about explosives and guns, and drugs for that matter, is almost entirely because of the mountains and the requisite isolation. It was rather easy to get bored up there, so we fucked around with just about everything.

It's probably time I got to a point though; I'm wishing these hands on skills were worth more. I have this DIY attitude, and more and more that means less and less. I do things myself, and make what I can instead of buying it. I dumpster things instead of buying, and I go to thrift stores first instead of just hopping over to walmart, but that doesn't seem to make my situation any better.

all of my DIY skills keep me occupied, and give me things I'd like, but they don't provide sustenance. I cannot use whitleing as a real money making, or food getting prospect anymore. Sure I could make a spear, or a sharp stick, but what fucking good would that do me. I can start a fire, but I'd likely get arrested. I could make all my clothes, and honestly there're few good reasons not to do that, It just would take so much time that my music would go by the wayside because making my own clothes won't make me money, and won't keep me in rent.

So, I cannot do anything by myself. The world in which man could be self sustaining, or even live in smaller communities, is largely gone. We are in a world that won't allow that. The way that property laws work, the way that jobs work, they way that supermarkets work. All of those things make it harder and harder to support yourself. In tough times I should be able to buckle down and make due with less. I should be able to repair things that break and salvage things people left behind. The only problem there is that things aren't made to be fixed. If I want to fix my blender I have to take off the plastic covering to it, which happens to be one piece of hard hard plastic. I can't remove that while keeping it even remotely intact. Sure that's partly because of a lack of nicer tools, but that's part of my damn point. I have what is necessary to make something work again and I can't fucking do it because of the way things are built.

What ever happened to people knowing how to fix things, and knowing how the things they own work? Sure there are people for who that comes less naturally, but when did it become more logical to spend money on a new object instead of fixing the old one?

It's a problem that I don't think I'll be able to remedy by myself, and I don't advocate a complete ditching of technology, I just ask that we try to understand the shit we're using, and when it stops working, try to fix it. Don't take it in to the shop once, and then throw it away if it doesn't work, actually take the time to think about what the fuck you've got in your hands, and then see if you can modify it in a positive way.

Void a warranty! it'll be good for you, and bad for the corporate entities that rely on your waste to continue growing. Think a little.

There are obviously groups who feel the same way. The whole Maker movement and the fact that DIY is no longer just a punk, or a bob vila thing are signs of this. I don't know that they're good signs. I'm pleased there are kindred spirits, but I'm afraid these are just the death throes of a time when everyone had a chance to do this sort of thing. Every woman knew how to knit, and every man knew how to repair things. I'm not saying that strict sexual dichotomy is necessary, but the fact that everyone knew a craft was vital. We are in an era where things that never before were possible, ARE, but that does not remove the chance that those things that have never happened could be bad things.

so when your shit breaks, fix it, or just look at it. When you see a broken thing next to a dumpster, take it apart and see what makes it tick. I feel like that would be a growth experience, and one many people are sorely lacking in. Ultimately, remember to DIY despite the fact that our economy, and our system of government rely on you doing otherwise. Remember that just because something is prevalent doesn't mean it's good. It may not seem like it, but when you do something yourself, instead of relying on the government or business, you are going against the prevailing order, and are in some small way working towards sometime where the inherent inequalities therin are no longer an issue.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

a point about depression and existentiallism.

I really do wonder about a lot of things, and probably unduly. It's sort of a problem to be honest. I'm not entirely sure which comes first, the depression, or the contemplation of existence, but I know they're somehow connected. I've never met a person who's been genuinely depressed and hasn't had some serious thoughts about the nature of existence and it's possible meaninglessness. I'm also pretty sure I haven't run into anyone who put very serious thought into existentialism and didn't at some point have a serious depression.

There's something about those two which goes hand in hand. I'm leaning towards depression being the starting point. It just seems like the most likely cause. Feeling depressed like that brings out existential questions. Also, the problem of evil becomes painfully clear, and any belief in a theist god you may have had before come into serious doubt.

for those uninitiated in the idea, A theist god is one who is 1. Omnipotent (all powerful) 2. Omniscient (all knowing) and 3. omnibenevolent (all loving, or loving of everything it created)
The problem that no logical argument has been able to circumvent, is the problem of evil. Basically it is impossible for there to be evil in the world and for a theist god to exist.

If god were all powerful, all knowing, and cared about us, then he would know where evil existed and how to stop it, he would also have the ability to stop it, and he would want to stop it because he cared about us. Therefore, the fact that there is evil makes one of those three postulations about god untrue. If there is evil god mustn't be all three of those things.

It makes perfect sense, and theism doesn't. People come up with various cop outs, suggesting that god only cares about his followers, and things like that, but of course evil still happens to his followers. Ultimately such a god is completely illogical. That's part of why I don't capitilise god. god is not a name, it is a title that we use to denote a deity.

the point is, I'm convinced there isn't a god in part because I've had to face the problem of evil more directly, during my serious depression(s). It's something that seemed very very clear when my chemistry made me feel that everything in the damn world was worthless.

I'm not saying that only the chemically imbalanced are likely to have serious existential doubt, but I don't see how someone who is really happy could. I don't know how someone who hasn't had something bad happen to them would worry about the likely hood of a cold uncaring world.

when everything goes well, and always has, there is no reason to doubt a world of good, but that is not a bill of goods easily bought by one who's felt physical and mental pain that made death seem a better option.

just seems like a point that needs to be made. One doesn't decide to believe in god, one simply is dealt the hand they are dealt and then works with it. I can't chose to believe anything, partly because it's illogical, but partly because belief isn't a choice, it's a delusion that hinges on external factors.

Friday, January 02, 2009

a neglectful streak.

I'm sure this is true of other people too, but I have neglectful streaks. I've not found that I'm neglectful toward certain things more than others, It's just something that I do from time to time. I don't much like that side of me, but I've learned to live with it. I can sometimes prod myself out of the weird apathy that sparks these neglects.

I have a feeling it has something to do with my mood fluctuations, though I'm reluctant to blame everything on that because of the risk that perhaps it's a more personal flaw. That's the real issue I have with being all manic-depressive; I can never be sure which of my failings are really a fault of mine, and which are just a cruel twist of chemistry. I suppose if I wanted to be more philisophical I could look at everything as a cruel twist of chemistry, but I can't stand those people who are very focused on "woe is me"

I understand venting about ones problems and dealing with them in creative ways, but wallowing isn't something I have particular sympathy for. That's part of why I've been trying to fight this neglectful streak that pops up. I've decided that I need to take responsibility for everything again, even if I know it's probably not something I can solve without medication. It's more a mindset issue than an actual changing of things. I don't think that I'll fix any of the problems I have just by taking responsibility for them, but I figure that doing so makes me more likely to change those things I can, and get help for those I can't.

That's something I've always been bad at, getting help for things. I don't entirely know why. I could try to figure it out here, but I haven't the desire to bore you today, at least not yet that is.