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I'm in a perpetual phase of transition which doesn't seem to be phasing out.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


There's a lot of standing still in this run I'm on.

I have been obsessing a bit over this paragraph from William Gaddis's essay "Old Foes with New Faces":

"Certainly an enhanced capacity for self-delusion is a valuable attribute for the writer in nurturing both his fictional characters and, often enough, his own. Thus it is hardly surprising to find this capacity to be fueled by an equally large appetite for strong drink: the majority of America's native born winners of the Nobel Prize in literature have been confirmed alcoholics. We may even go so far as to find their counterpart in Alfred North Whitehead's remark that 'a relic of religious awe at intoxication is the use of wine in the Communion service.'---at all odds a relic of the drunken license turned loose at pagan saturnalias of a still earlier time where, habit breeding expectation, promiscuous intercourse provided plentiful material for the marvels of virgin birth that followed. 'Speaking for instance of the motive of the virgin birth,' Jung cautions us again that he is "only concerned with the fact that there is such an idea' but not 'whether such an idea is true or false in any other sense.' "

The term self-delusion is enough to get me excited.  Lately I've been fixated on my own self-delusion. Believing myself to be certain things based on such and such aspects of who I consider myself to be. But even these aspects are abstractions of the very abstract "self", which of course is just a term incorporating one's entire being, past, present, future, up, down, left, right, sideways, eternally, mortally, genetically etc. I've many-a-time professed myself to be self-aware. A term I've come to loathe exponentially alongside the loathing I feel towards all conceptions I have about who I am. 

At first when I read this excerpt from Gaddis, I interpreted his commentary on writers' alcoholism as a need to drink to be creative. Or a need to drink to become more raw and sincere in one's thoughts, to delve into one's own delusions and turn them inside out. Then I reconsidered this and thought that maybe writers drink as a means to escape the unavoidable for the "deep thinker"; the ever darkening cloud of one's awareness of one's own self-delusion (I've heard that Hemingway mostly wrote sober). This awareness, this sense of doubt in one's own understanding of the self, is tough. 

On one level a person has to deal with his self-delusion in terms of himself in his situation, and his situation is always changing. When he tries to make himself stand still when evaluating who he is, not only does he automatically lose an authenticity in his analysis, but he can get dizzy too. If he does't get dizzy trying to find himself standing still, then he's probably taking the easy route to this route-less non-destination, the soul, if you will. 

And that's what I always do. I get lost trying to find myself and give up pretty easily. And when people try to explain the way I am to me, I get belligerent. 

I'm scatter-brained, that's an easy way of dealing with myself. I'm "all over the place". And I thrive that way, but in a self-deluded sense, because I've come to define myself by own limitations in being this way. Because when you're going a hundred directions at once, you can't, and you won't, but you sure as hell will get a lot of people to think you're interesting. And maybe I am, but I can't expand on this much, because I only know the bare minimum about all the things I know about. 

All people seem to assume certain habits as a means to keep some sort of grip on their lives in a chaotic world. Habits that have become so second-nature, so compulsive, that they really do become personal identifiers. We delude ourselves with self-conceptions. People are often very good at describing themselves, and, well, talking about themselves in general. I certainly am. I talk a lot when I'm around people. 

But I get this pit in my stomach every time I try to explain something about "the way I am" to someone because no matter how accurate I might be describing an aspect of "me", I always feel like I'm lying. Words are tough. Semantics will be the death of me. It's not even that I feel I can't describe my sentiments in words, it's that I'm not even really sure what I'm trying to describe or if I even know a damn thing about myself. I'd trust someone else's judgement over my own, but I never want to deal with what people have to say about me, so I never seek it out. And consequently, even my closest comrades have assumed this sort of egg shell dance around me. 

Everything feels like circles to me. Always. And then I remember there is no always for me, though there is objectively an always.  And that's hard to deal with. I saw a picture of a very charismatic, cool guy I knew just shortly after he died suddenly last week of some sort of brain thing. It was spooky. Like many people say when someone dies unexpectedly "I'd just seen him, he seemed great. All smiles. Perfectly healthy." People's characters can't just go away. But they do. I'm self-deluded to the point that my ideas of my self feel concrete even though I have no idea what they are when I put myself on the spot and try to think of them. But remembering that nothing is forever, not even my terribly unresolved sense of self, does nothing but make me feel strange. But I kind of like feeling strange. 

So here I am floating in spaces, spaces that aren't home, but aren't not home either. 


I have a bad habit of asking the question "is that really a thing?" about new pop cultural phenomena. Jung seems to be fascinated by events (fictional or not) transcending into beliefs and then practices formulating around these beliefs. The original event is different from "the thing". A "thing" in this sense is some sort of seemingly absurd habit or behavior that is no longer perceived as absurd because too many people are doing it. Jung was fascinated by the immaculate conception in probably a much higher, but similar sense that I'm fascinated by the Honey Boo-Boo following. It's an extreme phenomenon in a world that has allowed for it, nurtured it, and kept it on a pedestal while allowing it to melt into the commonplace world through household mentionings. Large and varied demographics interpret "the thing" and make it their own in whatever way they please.

I'm pretty interested in how specific people and events come to be the top of an umbrella full of things and people drawn to, and obsessed with, this canon at the top. There are so many replications, critics, fanatics, etc. that allow certain things to become "things" by popularizing them through the zillions of formats now available. But I will always and forever wonder how certain things gain supremacy and overshadow other things. "Culture" is weird, high-brow, low-brow, indie, pop, whatever it is, it's all bizarre and non-sensical, yet we have academics around to make sense of all of it, and then eventually their ideas trickle down into the mainstream and start a whole new frenzy of new things to counter the awfulness of the old things. And on and on and on forever.

I feel like I am whatever information I've consciously and subconsciously kept around in my brain. And that all I can ever be is a bunch of stored up loosely and strongly connected ideas of the world accumulated from sources outside of myself. But I guess that's okay, and there's probably a lot more to me than that. And I do sort of believe in the soul or the spirit I suppose.


And I've always believed that people can't really change. It turns out I'm just lazy. 

Friday, January 11, 2013


At a bar one night recently, a couple of friends got into a discussion about Jerry Springer's "Final Thoughts" at the end of each episode of his show, "Jerry Springer".  They were laughing at the fact that these little monologues are actually relatively deep, particularly when juxtaposed with the content, characters and actions he reflects on. Later that night my buddy and I decided to Youtube "Jerry Springer's Final Thoughts" and consequently found ourselves watching an episode entitled "Trannylicious" nearly in its entirety. It was about transsexuals and their intimate relations. The first "tranny" was a mid-operation female (aka she was essentially female, had breasts, etc, but still had some operations to go through). She met a man at a bus station and they slept together and this blossomed into a relationship. Unfortunately the woman never told her fella that she was born a man. There was another issue as well: she no longer wanted to be with him, she just wanted to be single. So she had him come onto the show so that she could A.) tell him that she was born a man and B.) dump him. It gets confusing because you can't tell what the dude is thinking when he is loaded down with all of this information. Does he feel weird? Does he love her? Is he sad that she's dumping him? Did he know she was a man? Did he not know and now feels embarrassed?

He talks about it somewhat, but I was too busy counting up the times he said "you know whatum sayin'?" to listen to whatever he was sayin'. Then there's the additional, underlying de-complicating factor that the whole show is staged, which is sort of mind boggling on its own.

The transsexual woman kept defending herself by uttering nothing but "it is what it is" over and over and over again.

Did she mean:

A.) It (her genitalia) is what it is
B.) It (her not wanting to be with him anymore) is what it is
C.) It (she lied and there's nothing to be done about that now) is what it is?
or maybe
D.) all of the above?

I hate the phrase "it is what it is" with a passion. But taken out of the context of "Trannylicious", it is probably the greatest and only truth. Everything is, in fact, whatever it is. Unfortunately, that informs us of absolutely nothing. It reminds me of an irritating Intro to Philosophy course I took. On the first day the Marxist Feminist professor rubbed her palm sensually across the table in front of her as she presented the class with (rhetorical) questions such as:

"What is a table?"
"What does is it mean to be a table?"
"What does it mean to be an object in a room?"
"What does it mean to be an observer of objects in a room?"

These are four very different, equally loaded and irritating questions that nobody should have the time to sit around and ponder. And if you do have the time to sit around and think about shit, these types of inquiries probably shouldn't be the central focus, unless drugs are involved and it simply can't be helped.

The utilitarian (who would never dub himself such a thing because the title is just a useless, recondite term), would say that a table is where you set things. And he'd be correct.

As pragmatic as I wish I could be, I'm not.

Sure throughout my day I unconsciously take habitual advantage of objects and accept them to be whatever their function is for me, and that's fine, but when it comes to people and communication and "the way(s) of the world", I feel perpetually disappointed by another person's utterance of "it is what it is". I tend to think "no it's not" or "yes, you're right, damn it, but that's just not enough."

Your simplification is too wise for me. I haven't yet learned the value behind it, I'm still too young to simplify the complexities I've dealt with into a sort of umbrella of various experiences, packed into a half-victim+half-victor=nihilist equation of "reality" as it is, as it comes, as a static continuum whose paradox I manifested for myself in a pre-made environment. And it's best not to see paradoxes in things because they are what they are and nothing more.

I just can't be that reductive yet or accepting of the aspects of reality that are straight-up bullshit. 

All in good time.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

I’m on a mission to feel more and more incomplete

This feels sincere. But it also feels like someone already said it or it’s already been written, a million times, worded a million times better. Then I wonder, “am I just chanelling shit I’ve read by other people, or do I occasionally have totally original thoughts?” All of our ideas have to come from somewhere. Oh how terrible it is to feel perpetually trite and alive at the same time. 

Am I seeking fulfillment or reassurance that I will always be unfulfilled, or that the world is perpetually unfulfilling, or that I can never be satiated because there is so much in the world to be known? Or am I just hiding from the emptiness within myself by reading about the emptiness of everything else to the extent that I don’t feel empty, because I understand what these people are saying and criticizing, and am therefore safe from their finger pointing? Oh haha! The world really is that way, how terrible! How God fucking awful! Oh woe is me!

I am a part of this world though. It’s unavoidable until death comes knocking; my loathsome friend, or my beloved enemy, he’s both, and views me quite neutrally, almost coldly, but with such a profound aloofness that it is only me who feels the chill of his entrance. Its only fear I feel. And then I’ll be taken out of this place I love to hate so much, without ever knowing the depths of my heart. No,no, I will quite possibly live a great, long life. I’ll grow to be so old that I will have filled my heart with so many people and places and things, that the depths of it will be unreachable only because I’ve found so much joy that there’s no need to go digging through my heart to its bottom anymore like I try to do now in my mind. And that’s the scariest thing in the world to me. Filling my heart with joy. Sounds like a magnet my mother would put on the refrigerator or a placard in my grandmother’s bathroom. Above the toilet. Fancy that. There’s even joy in shitting sometimes come to think of it. I run from contentment like the plague. In a fear that it will eat me alive and turn me into just another one of those people in the photos that come in a picture frame when you buy it. Funny thing is, I’ll look around a room and see people and think “god people are boring” and then I remind myself that I’m just one more person. Just one more animal, just one more cell in a non-vital organ of the universe. Earth is a gallbladder. But I still feel like I have something to say before I die. I’m just never quite sure what that is. Maybe it will just be an insightful quote by someone smarter than me that I’ll forget to put quotations around and it will go on my tombstone. I guess it’s healthy narcissism to assume people might read some of my shit when I die.