Good Company and Discourse

At the start of the semester I told myself that I will no longer be preoccupied with parerga and meandering thoughts of no immediate consequence, but focus solely on what’s most important, namely school and career hunting. I’ve been diligent with this commitment and it’s left me feeling significantly less tormented by my thoughts. On the flip side, I feel fairly superficial and empty, like I’m gliding and skimming along only the surface of life. I understand that now isn’t the place to get deep about existential questions. I’m not a professional social critic. I’m not a paid philosopher. I’m a student looking for a job, and that should be my priority.

But, as a human, it sucks not thinking. Reflection makes life vastly more interesting and curious. As much as it’s tormenting to continually swat at every biting thought, it’s an activity that keeps your keenly aware and awake.

I haven’t been writing. Writing. Writing. Writing. What is it about writing? this act of making thoughts visible and known to yourself and the world? It’s fascinating.

I had a late night last night. After I was through studying at a local cafe, my room mate and I visited a close friend of ours to indulge in red wine and friendly discourse, my two favorite postprandial activities. Nothing is better than open discussion with fellow oenophiles whom you love and love you. There’s never animosity or resentment or pride or fear to keep you from opening up and sharing yourself; just a plenum of mirth saturated with mutually authentic appreciation for courageous and novel thought.

It is in these moments and minutes and hours where you can really get to know yourself, sometimes even more than you get to know about your interlocutors.  These friendly games of discourse allow you to bask in the luminosity of unexplored streams of understanding, streams flowing with ideas long incubating, just waiting to hatch in the calescent glow of the right company. This is why a close coterie of friends is so vital, for they act as midwives who aid in the birth of fledgling ideas which we then pry and coax to fly with open discussion.

A good cadre provides an invitation for exploration, a warming refuge where the teguments of belief can be peeled back and catechized.  Discussion properly exorcises the most nascent conceptions and undeveloped beliefs, pulling them to the surface as it were, so they are rendered bare and vulnerable for inspection. Anyway.

Wittgenstein said “A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion.” How wonderfully pleasant is that? It invokes fresh imagery that flowers like spring. Introducing new words into a discussion that has tossed around the same for long enough livens the debate and renews the flame that lights understanding. New words are like new keys which open new rooms, or new seeds that add blooming colors to variegate the garden of discourse.

Boy. God. Low. High.

I want to think pretty. I would like my mind to turn on the pretty poetic thoughts. Every once and while I feel like I’m a genius. Don’t care if it’s true, I just wanna feel that way. Be really creative and just let out my bridled passions.

I always feel like i could do or be more…particularly when it comes to being creative and passionate. I want to produce art. I’ve been thinking about getting some paint and a canvas and just starting. Teach myself some acrylic or oil painting. I recognize its a difficult skill to pick up. I figure I can teach myself but, this probably won’t happen. I tell myself I have a pencil and paper and I should experiment with that more. That sounds more reasonable. And i have been… in my paper journal i’ve started sketching with my ink pens and graphite pencils… usually local scenery, whereever i’m journaling. I enjoy it.

I mentally want to engage. Emotionally I could care less. I tell myself I’m exactly where I want to be, cause if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here. I know that I sometimes think I don’t like where I’m at, but I know that I chose to put myself here… and i can choose to put myself somewhere else. Unless… and this may be whats happening… I am… settling. oh no. oh…oh no. Could it be? has michael been settling all these weeks? mayhaps! Oh well tho. My priorities are as they are.

I was looking as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I may be stuck at friendships. Dunno why. Or maybe sexual intimacy. or maybe not. Maybe i’m hung up at self esteem and confidence. Self actualization! I have ground to a halt.

I read someones blog and they mentioned how important enthusiasm for your life. *laughter and cheering* Their words struck me. I’ve been thinking about how vital enthusiasm is. When you’re enthusiastic, you let your soul fully breath. You let yourself spread out to absorb life’s radiant beauty. Heavy, restrictive thoughts fall away and you’re left with your naked self. The whole being of you. I like that idea. I always hold myself in. I almost feel like I’m suffocating myself. This steely reserved posture. I justify and say its my reserved nature, but thats crap. My nature is a wild boy who has consumed too many sweets and has a field of flowers to run through and frogs to run after. But that person is not well received.. in my mind anyway. Or maybe not for my audience? what the hell audience am i trying to entertaining? and, if thats the case, why at my expense? hmph. well… I shouldn’t. I always feel like there is a set standard. And their is… its the worlds expectations. Moreover, its the expectations you hold youself to. Often times, for me, i derive these from what i think people think of me. more crap.

I remember going through this a few years ago. I was strung out on alcoholic binges, sleep deprivation, and maintained an overall listlessness towards life. My friends were too. That was who I was in their eyes. I remember trying to escape their psychic pull… their judgments and subtle influence… but it was strong. I remember a time where i accepted my state… surrendering myself to who and what people thought I was, and what my past experiences indicated me to be. I also remember a time when I hit this new low… and in my youth these new lows were always new and low…. so I hit this new low… and I said… I hate myself… i hate where I am… and i hate that i’m not doing anything about it. One of the steps i took in changing who I was involved ridding myself of the majority of my friends… no one I could reference my old self to. I set out to form a new me… with new habits and a new frame of mind… new expectations for myself, what I was capable of, and where I was going. that was then.

Well… years later… I’ve evolved to my current state, and I feel as though I’ve hit a plateau. A combination of getting to a new level and being disoriented with this new place. Possibly misology?? I always try to pin point this confusion. I’ve been thinking, or use to think, that perhaps my rejection for a resolved faith in God has tipped some internal balance. I am not sure. I also thought that this new level would look differently. I also thought that I would be different… and I am. I just thought the effort would somehow, diminish as good habits accumulated. Not the case. Achievement is a difficult, strenuous journey every leg of the way. I do need to teach myself how to enjoy this journey though.

Camus: Silent Companionship

When I was young, I expected people to give me more than they could – continuous friendship, permanent emotion. Now I have learned to expect less of them than they can give – a silent companionship. And their emotions, their friendship, and noble gestures keep their full miraculous value in my eyes; wholly the fruit of grace.

From one of Camus’ entries; dated May, 1935:

He is at ease in sincerity. Very rare.

friend is a four letter word

Pick your friends. Do not let your friends pick you.

Do I know what I want? Yes. Have I ever had it before? No. Have I ever seen it before? No. Will I know when I see it? Yes. Is it going to be a long hard confusing struggle before I achieve this desire? Yes. Will I falter at times? Yes. Will I settle for things that are less than what’s best for me? Yes. Does that make me weak? No.

Sometimes I settle for less than what I know is best. I use excuses to settle or take shortcuts like… all this extra effort is unnecessary, or it won’t matter right now, or I just gotta use what I got instead of looking for better, or other inane devices that make it, for a time, alright to avoid responsibility for myself. I despise the urge inside me to question my own convictions. When something is out of place and I let it be, neglecting the thought to do something about it, I am cheating myself. There are people all around me that are special and great and as people are about as normal as the populace they’re surrounded with. Most people think they’re original. That they have something that no one else has. Granted, there will never be another like them, but most times that’s the only quality that sets them apart. They would never dare to be original. To be extra-ordinary. They are terrified of being outside the embraces of societies standards of normalcy. They are too insecure and too frightened of being a lone. That’s the burden of being a leader, being original. You are alone and chastised by everyone in the outside world. There will be some who will tell you they too relate to the struggle but their lives lack the burdens that the responsibility of being a leader carries. They prefer to slide back into the shadows. Why? They don’t know where they’re going or why. If they gave it some thought and ask themselves what price they’d pay for the pains of rejection they’d decline and go back to the security of knowing nothing they did would be criticized and reprimanded because they’re all the same.

I live behind glass. These eyes are the windows of my soul. I hear noises coming from the walls of my ears. My senses provide me with enough raw material to deduce my own style of thinking. I am not a mirror that reflects the behaviors of the automatons that surround me. They are all mirroring each other. When I say that we have free will the concept is so foreign they don’t know how to assimilate the idea into being. What they do is reinforce the false notion that they actually think for themselves and further justify their ignorance instead of break free from it. Its a dangerous world. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing<-(pope)

I pity the people around me. There are few whose eyes shine forth ingenuity and the innocent hope of braving new frontiers within their heart and mind.

I walk around programmed. I program myself, like most others, and I do my best not to think myself into a fit of insanity. I forget that I constantly need to recalibrate myself according to the ever changing circumstances. What I do got me where I am. If I want to go anywhere else I need to change what I do, else I stay the same.

My life is a brilliant song I'm striving to compose. I carefully search for the most beautiful notes to render the most awing performance of genius when it's my chance to perform and all eyes are watching. I don't want to resemble anyone else.

Birthday Break

I dont even know where to start. I’m always all over the place. I had a six day break, which was very very nice. I took off school two days early cause I could. Um. My birthday was on Wednesday. I went to Jersey to see old friends. Went to a bar… had some dinner with my old friend Nolan, hung out with Jeffery and Caitlin… got intoxicated and passed out cause I’m a lightweight and I dont care. I woke up in the fetal position, shaking and freezing on his couch.
Jeff sleeps in a walk in freezer. No joke. Multiple air conditioning devices in a 12 by 12 room is just excessive.

I hug out with lil Gavin and Gen all day friday. Friday night I went to Philli with Jamie and Genevieve. We went to 1st friday art festival.. saw awesome art and walked through awesome art galleries. Um. drank a bunch of free energy drinks for no reason at all. Went to Nolan’s farm for a reunion party… old friends and alcohol… shootin the shit. it was great. Went to Dave M’s rents house… they had a sweet party… Yeingling keg, firepit.. food… old people being young again. it was great. Went to Eric and mark’s house… met up with like… EVERYONE i grew up with from glassboro and pitman. Kegs, beerpong, and an open house. Good time.

Jamie and I decided to live a little and be spontaneous so we decide to go to NYC. at 2:00am we booked buses and walked with a drunken clarity like non other to the nearest bus stop. Took two buses to philly and Nyc. We woke up with a minor hangover peering up at massive skyscrapers, listening to oriental languages. Chinatown. That place smells like rotten garbage.

We bought subway passes and explored Manhattan. Beautiful Women…everywhere…no joke… omggg. I love NYC. Hung out in central park.. relaxed…read a little… tanned on the sleeping lawn or whatever…. checked out Columbus Circle, Grand central, Times square, Washington square park, SOHO, NOHO, lil italy, we went to the financial district and the WTC site… and everything in between. it was non stop. stopped at NYU and checked it out. Stopped at a pub. A cafe. talked to random people.

We were constantly running on caffeine. Suprisingly I wasnt strung out. We took a bus back at 1030pm and made it home by 1:30am Sunday…alex picked us up and we went straight home for the showers and a nice meal…i was sorta in a psychosis…my feet and back was aching… but I was mentally sharp. I slept like… hm… 6 or 7 hours and was great for the rest of the day. I hitched a ride back to Mass with my Aunt Den. Hung out with my cousin Gord… bought some beer for him and his friends and we sat around the fire pit chillin and exchanging stories. It was a good time. To be young again. Geeze. Man I sound so lame when I talk to young people. Already I’m like… don’t do this… don’t do that… trust me… duh duh duh. Geeze. Young people gotta learn the hard way. They don’t wanna hear it from me. And if i tell them… I’m wrong. I feel bad for my parents. ha. No one ever takes advice without being fearful their whole life of the unknown. You gotta grab life by the balls and go for it and if you fuck up… then you know not to do that again. be young and stupid. It might hurt and cause pain… but when you decide to get smart all you have to do is look at your mistakes, if you can recognize them, and dont make them again.

so anyway

Self-Reliance: To friends and foes

“I shall endeavor to nourish my parents, to support my family, to be the chaste husband of one wife, — but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from your customs. I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly. It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men’s, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth. Does this sound harsh to-day? You will soon love what is dictated by your nature as well as mine, and, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. — But so you may give these friends pain. Yes, but I cannot sell my liberty and my power, to save their sensibility. Besides, all persons have their moments of reason, when they look out into the region of absolute truth; then will they justify me, and do the same thing.”

“The populace think that your rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standard, and mere antinomianism; and the bold sensualist will use the name of philosophy to gild his crimes. But the law of consciousness abides. There are two confessionals, in one or the other of which we must be shriven. You may fulfil your round of duties by clearing yourself in the direct, or in the reflex way. Consider whether you have satisfied your relations to father, mother, cousin, neighbour, town, cat, and dog; whether any of these can upbraid you. But I may also neglect this reflex standard, and absolve me to myself. I have my own stern claims and perfect circle. It denies the name of duty to many offices that are called duties. But if I can discharge its debts, it enables me to dispense with the popular code. If any one imagines that this law is lax, let him keep its commandment one day.”

“And truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity, and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster. High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in good earnest be doctrine, society, law, to himself, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others!”