Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.
Art. Every person is a self creation. There is no external reality or essence grounding reflection, save the conversational constraints inherited from peer predecessors.
I do believe there are particulars in our environment. These objects do in fact exist, but we simply index them through linguistic tokens and symbols. There is no inherency within objects that necessitates one representation over another, and any perceived inherency is simply necessitated by context.
I’ve been reading quite a bit of pragmatism lately, specifically neopragmatism. Richard Rorty is responsible for creating this radical school of thought, and I have to say it strikes me as sounder than anything else I’ve read. I’ve also been reading a great deal of Paul Feyerabend. Both of these philosophers are seen as relativists by many, but I think that’s incorrect.
Your ideas own you.
If you can sell a religion, you can sell a war.
Conflict (war/disagreement) is a product of uncompromising beliefs and the drive for self preservation. People maintain beliefs that serve as a utility for self preservation (however they define it). Problem is, most beliefs are inherited unquestionably. Religion is just one belief system that masquerades as being immutably true (One may say Science is another). So long as people see things as being absolutely true and false rather than contextually contingent on social norms and subjective interests, we’re gonna have trouble avoiding conflict and arriving at agreements that jive with our experience. There is no transcendent ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. There’s only what’s best for ‘me’ or ‘us’. It all serves some interest. It just depends on whose. That’s why dialog is so important.
“Does the sun rise?” This question seems intuitive. It’d be hard to imagine too many people who’d argue the matter of fact. “Of course the sun rises! Just wake up at dawn and watch it yourself!” they might exclaim. But is this a matter of fact? Suppose we juxtapose this question with “Does the earth revolve around its axis?” When seen in this light the matter of perspective begins to emerge. We can accept that the sun doesn’t rise, rather it is the earth that rotates. But does this challenge the matter of fact? It is all perspective and experience.
Truth is much like this.
When people are taken out of their depths they lose their heads, no matter how charming a bluff they may put up.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald
Today I went to the Kentucky Derby. My friends convinced me last night around four in the morning that the Kentucky Derby would be the best thing I could spend forty dollars on that Saturday. Granted, I didn’t exactly have forty dollars. With rent due last monday, and my rent check waiting to be cashed, I wasn’t exactly in the position to be throwing around forty dollars to get completely inebriated for what turned out to be two actual hours in the center field, completely wasted.
I’m watching law and order right now with my room mate.
So this afternoon. The three other guys in the vehicle slept while I was huddled in the back seat reading Harpers magazine, enjoying short pieces on the fading architecture of the gilded age and Emerson’s literary career as an eighteenth century transcendental essayist and journalist. When we arrived in Louisville we trolled around for a parking lot within walking distance. We decided to post up in a dilapidated parking lot full of graffiti and gravel. There were cars swarming around with signs taped to their windows that read “Shuttle”. It was comical really. Cracked out Kentucky folk trying to give drunk people rides less than a mile away. I’m sure they make a penny or two.
We brought mint juleps with us, picked up beer at the gas station, and had packets upon packets of liqueur for sneaking into the center field. We drank until we were belligerent, jolly, and jocular. Laughing, joking, debating. Eventually we walked to the derby, which by the way, was an absolute shit show. The roads were blocked off, vendors were lined up along the street. It was madness. It was amazing.
We lined our pockets with bud lights, stuffing them in every pocket we could comfortably manage, then walked. My friend left his phone in his jacket which later posed a severe problem for communication. So we rolled up to the event, and like every good event, street evangelists were trying to lead us to heaven. We talked to them for about thirty or forty five minutes until we realized that it wasn’t so fun, and all my philosophy, logic, and logical fallicies did little more than to make them silent, rather than admit that it’s all a crock that could be stipulated. Faith is stipulation. I do it. You do it. Let’s all agree that no one’s stipulation is better than anyone else’s. Anyway. We ended up buying tickets and walking in and the mayhem continued. I could barely see straight, but the smile on my face was gaping with amusement. The ostentatious hats and polo’s of variegating colors blinded me with enthusiasm.
I lost most of my friends but I stuck with one. We walked around, completely trashed, talking to people, bumming cigarettes, cheering as the horses racing down the dirt tracks. Eventually we found a good looking girl who was interested. She was tall, sorta amazonian looking, and she was wearing an afro wig with a pair of large glasses that looked insectual. And by insectual, I mean sexual, because despite her enlarged features, she was pretty attractive. But, she wasn’t giving me the attention I was looking for, and quite honestly, I wanted to hang out with my bros, so I slowly detached myself. My friend on the other hand, being completely and utterly wasted out of his mind, was particularly smitten by this feline. He had his sights set on this girl and despite my best efforts to sway him in other directions, we kept finding ourselves in her presence. She led us around hand in hand. I wasn’t exactly feeling the situation so I made myself lost amongst the crowd. Not exactly a good idea because my friend didn’t have his phone. That began the search.
I called the boys repeatedly but couldn’t find them. Eventually I find a bro sitting on a retaining wall. We sat there, eventually finding another of our lost friends, and later another. After about two hours later we gave up waiting for our friend to come to us and walked around looking for him. That was an unsuccessful search mission.
When the masses dissipated and the crowds were done piling out we decided to expand the search beyond our designated stoop. We walked around aimlessly, screaming his name, telling officers that our friend may be dead, and that if he’s lying in a ditch, not to worry because his name is Crad. The infield was a ravaged mess. I did happen to reacquaint myself with a girl I met earlier that night. Her name was “Lyric” and she was from Daytona. We bonded over Florida. Briefly. I kept telling her how beautiful she was, becuase honestly, she was a gorgeous looking girl. She had her eyes set on me and walked up to me and was showing attention, so I returned the favor and coninued flirting. Eventually I asked for her number and secured that. Lyric Fernandez she said. Beautiful, South American. She worked as a managerial representative contracted by companies to do promotional events. Model? I said. No. I have brains. I was like, oh hey. Sassy.
This is what I know about girls. They love persistence. They can say no all they want, but the bottom line is, if you’re smiling, and if they secretly find themselves attracted to you, what they say means nothing. They want you to give them attention. They fawn for attention. True story. I mean, I can’t blame them either. Earlier in the night I was borderline acosting her asking for free cigarettes. About an hour later I got my wish. And fifteen minutes later, her number.
A Stream of Poetry:
So this is how it feels to to not give a shit. To let it all go. To throw a semester’s worth of work to the wind. This is a peculiar feeling, not exactly uplifting, but liberating. The anxiety is still there, and I don’t know if that’s something that will ever leave, fail or not. It perpetually manifests: success is holding it together, failure is watching it fall apart. Either way it eats at your consciousness. I’m so sleep deprived now. So so sleep deprived. What’s it been, three days? Four days? I’m so tired that I missed my final today. Of the only two exams I had, I switched their times around completely so that I didn’t even realize the mistake until I was standing in the middle of the empty room asking myself why none of my exams that day were in the rooms they were assigned to. It struck me eerily, like a foreboding prehension that I hardly wanted to accept. I nevertheless returned to the room I stood in earlier that day asking the same question to see if the prehension was correct, and it was. There were my little fellow philosophy peers amongst the filed rows of chairs, splattered around the room in no coherent fashion, waiting eagerly and anxiously for the exam to begin so they could be done with it.
So this is what it feels like to fail, to look your professor in the eye and explain that your all around lack of presence, in assignments and in the classroom, is a result of ‘mental problems’, and trying to live with yourself after it escapes your mouth. The pathetic words that echo back ‘excuses, excuses!’ and ‘how weak, how pathetic!’ and all the other jeering onslaughts of self abuse. So I finished one exam. I deserve a badge of effort, effort for not killing myself. So I slurp my beer, trying to drown the incessant thoughts rapping, rapping, rapping at the back of my eyes, those damn images. They never leave. No. The festering thoughts linger like the mucous in your mouth, always present and never a problem until there’s too much or too little. Either way, there’s entirely too much now, so I need to wash’em away, wash’em away with booze. Good’ol booze. The body killer, the liver lacerator, the mind melter: booze. The shit that makes you dull and happy and careless all at the same time. It makes you feel alright, makes you feel damn good. And damn good means feeling damn less, especially when you’re battling mental fatigue and those little insults begin worming into the cavities of self esteem. That’s when you know you’re in big trouble. When your esteem is in jeopardy.
So I recline in my bed, head and torso propped up with a few pillows, laptop on the stomach, sprawled out in boxers, pounding beer. And writing. Writing. Let that god damn itch work its way onto paper, into words. Get it out. Let it escape god damnit. I want nothing of it. Take my body, it’s nothing. Have it in its half naked drunken state. Its too tired and useless for me. So take it.
The therapist. Oh that man. That egomaniac man who’s as jolly as he is self absorbed.
Tell me about my problems, dear sir. I said I was feeling depressed. He said this was a result of narcissism. I said the anxiety was bubbling over. He said I was justifying my state through circumstances, a typical move he hears all the time. I say I don’t need drugs. He says I should get on them cause whatever I’m doing isn’t working. I say I need to change my environment. He says… See: narcissism.
Pabst Blue Ribbon. It’s supposedly a hipster beer, whatever that means. It’s a god damn good beer. Best cheap beer you can buy. 6% alcohol content. American (not that I give a shit). And it doesn’t taste like absolute shit. I actually enjoy drinking it, and would almost prefer it to any beer. Except, not really. I’m waiting for the sedation to kick in. The god damn ethonol, it’s pumping through my veins, through my cerebrum. I can feel it. It’s mind numbing. It’s euphoric, like a dose of ecstasy in a spat of dew, I like it and it rejuvenates, but only briefly before it begins working its anesthetic magic on my mind. God damnit its nice. Alcohol, my illustrious lover of long lappings. Lappings that span many a night. Me and her. The alcohol and my brain. Fucking and sucking until they’re exhausted and elated and dumb and happy all at the same time.
I haven’t gotten this much rawness out in a long time. Maybe it’s the fatigue, the sheer exhaustion that raped my inhibitions into a timid, meek, pathetic excuse for a censor. Either way. It’s nice. fuck you.
So upon leaving the exam I drove directly to the closest beer store and picked up a twelve pack. Minutes later I stripped my clothes off and began drinking, in my bed, with massive gulps, like the alcohol contained oxygen for my soul.
To my fellow zombies peering into web space: Stare at those images, yea, stare at them for hours, obsess over them, tell yourself you aren’t pretty enough, you aren’t good enough, then throw up, throw up the nausea that plagues your past time, your internet past time that thrusts and throbs itself over these images of warped wonder. The perfection doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t keep us from imagining it does.
For breakfast. All day every day baby. Love it. Today I slept all day long. I dreamt powerful dreams, dreams about old lovers. Agonizing dreams about losing them, trying to get them back, wishing there was a way we could work it out.
The dream was funny. It involved a variety of social media devices. Like Facebook and MySpace and what not. I talked to my ex girl friends mom on the phone. She told me to contact her, to ask how she’s doing, to show that I care. I also consulted one of my best high school friends. His advice was relieving. He told me that I should get in touch with her, but if she doesn’t respond, not to worry because in a few months, or as soon as I find another girl, she’ll be nothing to me. It just doesn’t matter. I explained how my feelings get involved quickly. We could relate to each other.
In my dream, I was constantly looking heartbroken, constantly checking various locations and social media to monitor her life apart from mine. It was pathetic really, but it felt good. Sickly good.
No matter. Even now I’m resentful. Why did she break up with me? Why hasn’t she showed any interest in me? Why one day was she crying, telling me how much she loved me, how afraid she was that I’d break my heart, and the next day she’s completely emotionally dead to me. No interest in my life. No interest or remorse or regret. No text or phone calls.
I remember at one point in our relationship she was concerned when I met up with her for a formal dinner with her sorority. I was emotionally distant, not feeling exactly up to the challenge of being Mr. Right to her, and she panicked. She thought my feelings would change and that I was done with her. That wasn’t case, of course, but it struck me as odd. Why would she think that I’d be capable of losing all my feelings for her in a single day? Over night? Has someone done that to her? It turns out someone has done that to her. No matter. I always think that our opinion about other people is less indicative of other people’s character than it is about our character.
One day, all about me, the next, nothing. What did I do? What the hell happened? I need to stop thinking of it to be honest.
The past two weeks have been atrocious. There are four of my six classes that I have Incomplete grades in. I missed one final. I haven’t written three 10 page essays. It’s messy. It’s sad. I’m sitting here and my friend Conrad got all A’s and one A-, meanwhile I failed one class, and all the other classes I have Incomplete grades in. I need to write these essays in the next three weeks. I’ve been sleeping all day every day, my work habits, my overall responsibility as a person has been at an all time low. Any who.
I haven’t even completed my work application for this summer. I need to do that. I attribute that to the stress of school, of deadlines, of feeling like a piece of shit because my girlfriend, whom I pretty much lost interest in anyway, completely rejected me before I could even blink. I mean, I tried the whole emotional routine, crying and getting choked up, and it worked, but not really. She was moved of course, but not swayed. She left that night, we kissed one last kiss, and she drove off. I told her to leave whenever she wanted because I wasn’t going to be the one telling her to leave. She was the one breaking it off with me. Anyway. It’s not exactly the most uplifting memory. I think she’s an insensitive little cunt, but whatever. I actually thought she was a good girl, and she probably is in all her boring unhygienic ways. Yes. I’m getting a little messy. A little cruel. She’s unhygienic. Messy. Not exactly clean. That was the number one turn off since the beginning, but I told myself to overlook it, that I just wanted a girl to be intimate with, to fuck. Fuck.
There are two reasons to get a girl friend. One is emotional needs. The other is physiological needs, or sexual needs. Lets not shit our selves; it’s possible to separate these needs. Some people get them mixed up and confused, like you really can’t separate the emotional intimacy from sex. But I call bullshit, and if you have sex with enough women, it comes as second nature. You’re friends can fill the intimate needs. Women, well they’re good for the sexual, and that’s about it, because relying on them for any other need is a fucking risk. They’re flaky and emotionally unpredictable.
I got to remember to remind myself that familiarity breeds contempt. I will never, ever tell a girl about my past ever again. I realize that it is entirely unnecessary.
Today. Today today. Finals are over. Thank god. I’m feelin free. Free to get wasted.
What to think. Today is cinco de Mayo. I find it funny to think that people need these holidays as an excuse to drink. No body really celebrates this holiday. For christ sake, half the american population is racist as hell, yet when it comes to drinking we’re hand in hand, united as one. What a day to drown our differences.
My room mates are blubbering idiots. One is a juvenile infant. Actually they both are. Only, one is emotionally retarded, while the other is mentally retarded. So he’s got this website he’s working on. His dad has money. He drives two cars around. Ones a bmw five series, the other’s a renovated range rover. He graduated a semester behind his class because he was too caught up in fraternity scene to notice he was fifteen credits behind. So he stayed an extra semester, still in the frat, to continue with his partying. The past semester he’s had a part time job at TVA, the tennessee power company. He claims he doesn’t do shit all day. He goes out drinking into the night, comes home at 3 in the morning, wakes up at 10, goes to work until three or four-ish, watches TV for a few hours, or surfs the net on his ipad, then he goes out drinking. I forgot to mention, mostly cause it’s hardly worth mentioning, but it’s funny so I’ll say it: he’s got his heart set on being on entrepreneur. While it’s an admirable goal, the guy hasn’t a clue about responsibility, hard work, discipline. Maybe he’s got home ingenuity, but most of that is ripped off other people he finds on the web for inspiration. So this website he wants to make is gonna make him millions, he says. That way, all those girls that he’s never hooked up with will ‘want his balls’ when they see all his money. He’s approached investors who’ve told him that he’s an idiot, to show a product first, or some kind of progress. That they won’t invest the 50 million he wants until there’s something to look at. Did I mention he hasn’t a clue how to program? So his website is called “plan jar”. He’s told some young computer geeks that he would make them rich, this way he can capitalize on their talent while they build him a site. Anyway. I suppose I might be a little hard on the guy. Either way, he’s a child. An emotionally retarded child. Always talking about these girls he met, and they wanted his dick so bad, but the stories are always predictable. they didn’t go home with him, and he didn’t get laid, and he’s alright with that. It’s comical really.
As for my other roommate. He’s a swell guy. Pretty sure he’s full blown autistic. Can barely hold a conversation with him. Actually, he doesn’t talk really, except to bash our muslim president, or regurgitate some other unoriginal racial slurs. He’s a die hard catholic, a republican, a true american. His daddy’s in the commercial real estate business, so he’s got some money, and he’s always ready to tell people, especially those who don’t have it. Know what I hate, he says. I hate poor people. Poor people are pathetic. I just think to myself… really? Really you dumb piece of shit? What did you ever work for that wasn’t handed to you? What opportunities did you jump on that were actually your ideas? Anyway. He’s got a smokin’ penchant for cocaine, another opinion he’s apt to proclaim. Not the sharpest tool.
Today is cinco de mayo. I know the routine, all too familiar. Drink margarita’s, corona, teqilla shots, or any other alcohol the mexicans export over here. Take over a tex mex bar. Get decently shit faced, and when i say decently, i mean shit you pants shit faced. Find a female who’s equally inebriated, do your best to reach a mutual decision to have irresponsible sex, wake up mid afternoon, tell her to leave. Actually, that’s not how I do it. Everything up until there is halfway accurate until telling her to leave. I just ask her, politely, if she has anyone that can pick her up, or if she’d like me to drive.
Ah, yes. The college life. I’m not sure if I’m done with it yet or not. Being irresponsible, that is. At what point in my life did I forget that I can’t fuck up anymore? That I’ve done it all before, had all the sex, indulged all the irreproachable things in life that are fun, for a night. Especially when you want to forget about the monotony of life’s routine.
All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
(Overhearing someone say that Osama’s death will save the lives of innocent people): Last time I checked his death and these wars had nothing to do with preventing innocent deaths, otherwise we’d be doing things a little differently.
What it does have to with is preserving American ideals, such as freedom. And as far as America is concerned, innocent or not, there is no limit to the lives we’ll sacrifice for those ideals.
We should reflect on whether the American ideals we’re preserving are universal enough to extend to other people of the world; if they are, what would we be doing differently? if they aren’t, well, I think we’re doing everything accordingly.
But I have to ask myself if the inequality bred by this double standard jeopardizes the legitimacy of the very ideals we’re trying to preserve?
Additionally, Osama’s death is more symbolic than practical. His death has no affect on the insidious tentacles of Al Queda’s vast network; cutting a head off a hydra is no immediate cause for celebration. If anything, we just made him a martyr, and fueled their enthusiasm and hate. hm..
Convergent and divergent thinking.
Convergent thinking is analytical thinking. It is the ability to converge on a correct answer. It operates according to preestablished parameters. It is categorical, definitional, and classificatory. When a question is asked, convergent thinking knows the appropriate answer. This type of thinking is found in standardized tests.
Divergent thinking is creative thinking. It is the ability to generate novel ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Divergent thinking is spontaneous and free-flowing, generating a multitude of ideas through an emergent cognitive fashion.
The world gives you a room. Using convergent thinking, people accept this room and it’s contents as the summation of life. They live their lives within this room, spending their time manipulating the contents within the room, and never think of a world beyond it’s walls. The people who accept the room given to them never wonder of another room.
Divergent thinkers know that there are multiple rooms. They know that not only are there other rooms, but we create these rooms. They know that any given room not only contains a door in which we can leave the room, but that this door is unlocked as long as we have the courage to approach it and venture beyond the familiar walls. The creative people are courageous and curious. They venture into the unknown world beyond a room and are able to see a room among many rooms. They are no longer concerned with manipulating the contents of a given room as much as they are concerned with comparing different rooms amongst each other or creating entirely new rooms.
To escape a room, to utilize creativity and divergent thinking, one must utilize the traits of nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence.
The room is a metaphor for any ideology, conceptual understanding, framework or world-view. These are not representational facsimiles of reality, but a lens that allows us to organize and capture experience in a productive way according to specific ends and purposes.
To those who say, “I’m on the pursuit of happiness.” I ruefully reply, “Happiness is never found; it is created, within you.”
I don’t even think it’s found within a person. It is always there. Happiness, like any feeling, is a choice. Some choices may be alien or uncomfortable, but we always have a choice, especially with something as fundamental as our thoughts.
I like to think of our thoughts as fodder and kindling. Some thoughts add to the flame within us, causing it to grow hotter and burn brighter. Other thoughts stifle this flame, causing it to whither and grow cold. Certain thoughts warm our insides, and the longer they burn, the longer we feel their warmth. Even in the face of life’s most brutal elements, where the coldest and harshest moments of life reside, we have all the necessary kindling within us to weather the storm. As humans, we generate life, feelings, entire worlds with our minds. Looking for and pursuing such things as happiness, as if they are not already in our possession, will only leave the flame within us unattended. We can’t rely on the chance of circumstance to animate our flame.
We bring happiness to the world. It is not something to be mined from the world. The world is nothing without an eye to perceive it, just as a home is nothing without inhabitants or a gift is nothing without someone to receive it. We bring our mind to the world, our eye to nature, and give it life. We rouse and rally and wake the world with a perceiving eye as much as the world rouses and rallies and wakes the perceiving mind. Anyway.
Writing is like breathing: I exhale so that I may inhale. When I do not write I find that I am not fully living. The concoctions of thought, the skeletal remains of lurid fantasies, need to be exhumed. Conversing is good and all, but at the end of a long conversation, I find no evidence that these spirits have been properly exorcised. It’s not like I can see the conversation and know for certain how I felt when I said the words and had the feelings. I may be a bit happier, maybe more relaxed or passionate or enthusiastic, but there’s no reason why that’s the case. The fact is: I need to write. I just need to think through my fingers, through my body. I need to feel the velleity of inspiration coursing through my veins, through my mind. Art is nice, but writing takes the abstract and makes it concrete and comprehensible. I feel like very little is lost in translation, whereas in art, it’s about as interpretive as you can get. Who knows, maybe writing is just as hermeneutic. Maybe art is a purer, more universal language that transcends the idiomatic nuances of the written word. Or maybe not. I like to think that the poignancy of ideas is best captured through writing. So…
Anyway. I began writing another novel. I decided that I’ll try a third person narrative. I’ve never written an extended story in the third person, and I realized that 99% of the stories and essays I’ve ever penned have been in the first person. The majority of philosophy essays are first person. I journal in the first person. Whenever I express my thoughts it’s done subjectively. It’s not like I’ve really had to write in the third person. I figure I should give it a try and wield the power of an omniscient narrator. It might be liberating.
The past two day’s I’ve been writing up a plot and developing the characters, writing close to three thousand words. The novel will be about love, essentially. Loving others and loving yourself. I know, it’s sappy, maybe overused, but I don’t care. I’m not tryin to publish a number one best seller. I’m just trying to write. I’ve written pretty much every day for the past eleven or twelve years, whether it’s in a hand written paper journal or a blog entry, so I decided that, since I’m writing, may as well start writing stories. At least that way I can hone my story telling abilities. And, I’m not sure writing for my sake will do much good unless other people read it, and people generally don’t really read thoughts and journals unless you’re someone with a notable reputation, or saying something of significant importance. So write I shall, and stories they shall be.
So anyway, the plot. The plot is different, but I decided to write about something relevant in our culture today. Specifically, on the theme of homosexuality and fitting in. There’s been a lot of news regarding the bullying and suicides of kids that have identified themselves as homosexual. While I don’t have that much background in that world, I figure at the very least it’d be a learning experience and provide me an additional perspective.
To give the briefest plot ever: “A do-good boy meets his free spirited best friend and falls in love with a girl who seems to have life figured out. He gets rejected by the girl and copes through rebellion which, through a radical summer of experimentation, leads him to discover his true self and sexuality. Initially free and inspired by these revelations, he finds himself feeling trapped and ashamed upon returning to school. As a result he turns inward toward his new inner life and begins writing about these new feelings. Upon finishing his masterpiece he finds that his life has fallen into ruins and he decides to kill himself, but moments before he goes through with it, he has a life changing experience.” Still working out the turns and other details, but that’s essentially it. We’ll see. Woot.
Need to write about thirty pages in two days. Gotta love finals.