“…for the time being I gave up writing – there is already too much truth in the world – an overproduction which apparently cannot be consumed….” -Otto Rank
This is how I often feel. About everything. Sometimes I get comparative and I forget that the driver behind my actions should be purely expressive and therapeutic. There is no absolute truths, no direction to speak of, no purpose for all. I often think that I am speaking or writing over a clamoring chorus of cacophony so that my contribution only adds to the confusion, to the dissonance. So I decide that I’d rather not write. But it needs to come out. It is a compulsion that bubbles up and bursts into a full spectrum of epileptic color. I need to get in the habit of writing again, or thinking consistently, with a purpose that I can arbitrarily delegate to myself and justify through my actions, not because there’s any inherent merit.
So what have I been thinking about lately? Generally speaking, how everything is an illusion. How we are so totally blind to ourselves. It’s wacky just thinking about how inane our belief systems are, our quirks and world views. We justify what we’re comfortable with. Humans attract more of the same. I heard on an NPR segment these academics call it an ‘echo-chamber’, or an ‘identity silo’, if I’m not mistaken. The speakers were discussing information systems like Google or Facebook that have algorithms that feed us more of what we like by accessing our browsing or interaction history. It all operates off of confirmation bias. The vast majority of people do not deliberately seek out information that conflicts with our world view or philosophy. In fact, many people get agitated when they are exposed to systems of thought with which they disagree. Instead they find information that confirms and reinforces an insular world view or belief system. This creates a concurrent resonance so that information going out is confirmed by information going in. It is a reverberation that amplifies beliefs. The result is a severely skewed picture of the world. The threat is radicalism.
Anyway. We all do this. People are not prone to novelty or newness or anything foreign or unknown that may threaten or unravel our nice picture of the world. People like the path of least resistance, comfort and ease.
All belief system’s are lies (‘Myth’ is a nicer word). Mine as much as any one else’s. But why I think mine has more legitimacy lies in the fact that it has no legitimacy. (Legitimacy is an ethical claim, not a quantitative or measurable claim. My belief system would not produce a successful priest, or lawyer. Perhaps, only a good citizen of the world, or philosopher. Perhaps it’s only good for me, Michael.) My beliefs are arbitrary. Most people would never dream of throwing their beliefs to the wind and calling them arbitrary. Why? Because our belief systems offer us techniques for dealing with the world, with other people, with ourselves, with mortality. Beliefs make everything sweet and sanguine. “The believer is happy; the doubter is wise.” But the longer we hold onto a single belief and fail to venture into new perspectives of the world, the longer we are exposed to sheer ignorance, and the harder it is to escape.
Yea. Beliefs. Character. What the hell is character? It is a defense mechanism. Like all of our ideas that provide us with an orientation when confronting the world. If we fail to maintain character, we fail. Our shortcomings are exposed, our wretched limitations lay open for us and the world to see. Inconsistencies in a world where people depend on consistencies, on ideals and values that endure beyond temporal constraints and natural rotting.
Yea. Beliefs are limitations. We spend our entire lives building these vast belief systems that serve one function: to limit us. They limit us to the overwhelming possibility that has confronted us since our birth. What in the hell is this place called earth, mom, food, hot, pain, god, lies, trust, etc? These ad hoc, explosions in our face, these phenomenon that we didn’t choose but were thrust upon us. The sheer ridiculousness of entering a world overflowing with sensations and ideas.
The moment we exit the womb we begin to limit, to delineate the contours and trace out boundaries of experience, cutting off and segmenting this ocean of possibilities into more manageable pieces for consumption. We ‘rationalize’ this world by limiting it. By censoring it. By condensing it. By symbolizing it. Ugh. It’s all a myth. We are afraid of possibility, of potential. If we weren’t, we’d be something else, we’d be continually born anew.
So much to think about.
So my current situation. I need to get active. Analysis paralysis. A general listlessness about life has settled on my mind. It’s pathetic.
I ran today. I will run tomorrow, and lift. I am spending the remainder of my summer restricting my caloric intake and subjecting my body to intense physical stress. I’m well aware that the mind is connected with the body, the heart, the soul, whatever. A sound body is a sound mind.
I will read more. I say, more than six hours a day. Very doable. A book a week.
I don’t understand people who live on a superficial plane of existence. There are multiple layers that we wear. There’s the superficial layers filled with linguistic clichés and verbiage that allow us to navigate through interpersonal interaction. Then there is a layer that yields our beliefs, our defense mechanisms, our reflections and questions. The final layer is a recognition of our fear, our denial of our inadequacy, our frailty, our inevitable death that will arrive no matter how much we make, what we know or achieve or believe. That is the breaking point for most people, when serious changes and restructuring occurs in their mind. When the other layers have failed, this layer takes control.
Anywho. I don’t get superficiality. I’m great at it, at bullshitting. Most people exist in this layer. Banter. That’s all it is. Useless noise that gets us what we want, a reaction out of people, out of our world. But most people don’t move beyond it. Ever. They exist there. Their mind is so pathetically shallow. That’s why we have Television and the internet and games and amusement. It placates our superficiality. If we actually had to think about life, about our beliefs and actions and deliberations and consequences, most people would unravel or lose themselves.
I watch these people rush to watch their favorite television shows. Their TV. They don’t read. They listen to their music. They read their fantasy novels. They indulge in religious services or shopping sprees. All superficial techniques for avoiding the self.
It’s insane. They don’t write. They don’t read. They don’t converse about meaningful projects. About feelings, about dreams, desires, goals. Knowledge and creativity isn’t prized like it used to be. It’s all about amusement, or power.
So. The human condition has been swiped aside. The humanities departments across the country bear signs of the recent insignificance that plagues them in the face of power. What thrives? Engineering, business, law, science. Disciplines that allow us to master others, master our world. Why do they have the greatest growth? Because they allow for the accumulation and application of power.
Everything comes down the this will to power. I need to think more on it and write more later.
Language. Ideas are public goods. There is no private language, just as there is no private ideas. If it is an idea, it must be accepted and shared by the community, otherwise it will fail to flourish, and die. Ideas are public. You cannot escape the conversational constraints dictated by the public arena. Artists do this though, or attempt to. They create feelings and ideas where there was none previously.
My language traps me. I cannot think beyond it, I cannot communicate about it except with the language I have been afforded by my culture. That is why reading is so amazing. It allows me to transcend my limited abilities so that I can articulate and convey ideas to a broader audience.