“By all evidence, we are here in the world to do nothing.” ~ Cioran
As I move into this next phase of my life, what am I to do but continue making observations, complaints, and investigations? The clock ticks. We are here in the world to do nothing. So much for “great men”. In Orwell’s 1984, Winston is considered a “thought criminal” specifically because he kept a “thought pad” in which he scribbled in a corner of his room … reaching out to the “future”.
These days, we make our dissidence public knowledge. Either nobody cares, nobody can do anything about it, or we simply take on the stigma of being “shot out,” “touched in the head,” disgruntled, emotionally disturbed, angst-ridden, et cetera. There are these convenient labels used to invalidate our philosophies. We broadcast our mental insurrection. When I witness a professional psychiatrist or other mental health associate judge me as one who “does nothing,” when a professional psychiatrist tells me, after talking to me just a few minutes and referencing a file, that I am “all talk, no action,” at such moments I really fathom that many professionals in the mental health industry just don’t get it.
There is an international coalition called Mind Freedom which advocates against forced medication, medical restraints, and involuntary commitments. It’s stated mission is to protect those who have been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. Do therapists and doctors distort a patient’s reality when they attempt to change individuals in ways that conform to the professionals’ concepts and prejudices? Is psychiatry itself a coercive instrument of oppression? One has the right to be different. Does one have the right to do nothing, to not seek employment, to live frugally on government relief, to reject the wealth-warped values of celebrity culture? Does one have the right to “just get by” and live as an authentic autodidactic scholar outside academic institutions?
We are not the first generation to tackle these issues.
I wish we could organize a movement to keep writers, scholars, and artists physically alive – to permit them to continue their work in this most difficult century. Studios could be organized where we form our own schools.
Dressed in old coats, chilled and hungry, we could become totally absorbed in discussions of literature, philosophy, comedy, wilderness survival, and “the end of history”. My “true” inner self is different from the self that appears in conversations with others. I need writing to supplement the misleading signs of my speech. In other words, in my speech and action I may seem to be going along with the status-quo [or even playing the fool MWH 2014.03.31], so I need my writing to pick up on the elements within me resisting. I need writing because my speech gets misinterpreted.
I need writing so that I can continue to listen to my inner voice and not be coerced into listening to professionals or “authorities”. I need writing so that I am able to strongly challenge those who tell me that I “don’t listen to anyone” or that I am “all talk and no action.” I need writing to out-think those who would have me defer to the illusory world they would impose upon me as “reality”.
What I find most insulting are the “moral talks” (that pass for medical treatment) which consist primarily of sweeping judgments such as “your way isn’t working.” Why this tendency to break one’s confidence in one’s own thought processes? Suppose life itself, in the most universal sense, is not “working”. Why take anything personal?
I know I just mentioned this back in November of last year, but it bears repeating:
Making something out of what you’ve been made into. – To identify deliberately with characteristics that the community regards as strange, insane, or antisocial requires a high degree of reflectiveness.
Another way of putting this: You take your damaged psyche, your so-called emotional disturbance, your “chemical imbalance,” and you turn it into gold (metaphorical gold, that is).
The “class nature” of mental hospitals, and their role as agencies of control, is by now, well recognized. In the 1920’s Antonin Artaud expressed extreme hostility to psychiatrists and psychiatry. He spent a fair amount of time in a straight jacket. According to Bruce E. Levine, psychiatry is used as the provider of scientific support for social control to the existing establishment. Are professionals in the mental health industry agents of a shadow government without conscious awareness of being so?
To put things into perspective, civil libertarians are alarmed at the invasiveness of the Patriot Act. During an involuntary committment to a “behavioral health treatment center,” you will be told by a “mental health professional, technician, or assistant” that, because of the outbreak of mass-shootings by apparently “emotionally disturbed” individuals, we are living in a different universe today, where all actions (and all words) will come under extreme scrutiny by the mental health system in an attempt to prevent more of these events.
The surveillance technology Orwell envisioned is already here – on street corners, in libraries, and along office hallways. Who are the Thought Police? Who are the Soul Police? Who are the Emotion Police? Who has the potential to challenge the authority of the status quo, even if only by thought?
Naturally, the Thought Police would keep an eye on highly intelligent individuals since they may be quick to face unpleasant facts and have more willingness and confidence to criticize prevailing ideas.
Is solitude the school of genius? Could the social alienation that comes with being an “outsider” grant one a superior vantage point from which to critique the world of gated communities, subdivisions, malls, banks, apartment complexes, automobiles and highways, factories, inner cities, “Indian” reservations, airports, army bases, court houses, churches, schools, prisons, group homes, hospitals, golf courses, cruise ships, vacation resorts, restaraunts, grocery stores, casinos, zoos, car dealerships, tennis courts, sports arenas, cemetaries, railroad tracks, pulluted creeks and lakes, and the general ambience of the Industrial World as a whole?
“There are experiences and obsessions which one cannot live. Isn’t it then salvation to confess them? … To be lyrical means you cannot stay closed up inside yourself. The need to externalize is the more intense, the more the lyricism is interiorized, profound and concentrated … The deepest subjective experiences are also the most universal, because through them one reaches the original source of life.” ~ Cioran
Delightfully sinful: napping in a sunbeam before noon! To refuse to experience guilt, sin, or blame.
“Solitary walks – extremely fertile and dangerous at the same time, for the inner life – must take place in such a way that nothing will obscure the solitary’s meditation on man’s isolation in the world.” ~ Cioran
“To acheive spirituality, one must be very lonely.” ~ Cioran
There is a great feeling of revenge in refusing to be burdened with anxiety, to refuse to be overwhelmed. I can’t predict the future. Our existence itself is the Great Unknown.
Conventional psychiatrists call themselves physicians not because they deal with medical problems or make use of medical science, but because they wish to use the prestige and authority of the medical profession as a disguise. In this way, the psychiatrists can intimidate their alleged patients/clients and mislead everyone about their police function.
We may be at the mercy of our own honesty. May we then be brutally honest!
In a microsecond, everything can change. How is it possible to stay “in the present moment” when the present moment doesn’t really exist? Stay in the breathing?
How could I ever “take to the road” and live as a “drifter” or nomad with so many notebooks and books? Rent a self-storage unit.
The IT (Freud’s id, the unconscious thingly presence) may very well be the Kantian Thing-in-Itself. We do not have to know IT in order to be IT.
How honest is one willing to be? Hence, I continue to keep a private notebook to discover how I really think and how I really feel. Hence, I am losing the desire to maintain a “blog”.
I am not ashamed to admit to be reading The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick out of sheer curiosity. I have THAT kind of time, that kind of leisure. Films made from PKD’s novels are on the way to grossing a billion dollars, but the man himself died broke, not having lived to see any of them. Philip K Dick passed away in 1982, just before Blade Runner came out and Hollywood began to cash in on his genius. Even during the most profitable time of his career from 1965-1968, he was only making about $12,000 a year. Hollywood, once again, completely ignores the author until he dies and then milks his work to get all the money. Did I mention that Dick was insane?
I am even going through anthologies of Lovecraft and Poe – not for entertainment – out of pure curiosity. Maybe they were a bit eccentric or down right insane themselves. Who knows?
Meanwhile, my mysterious scribblings become more and more “against the grain” and unpublishable as I consciously tackle the great problem. This is why, when it comes to discovering my real thoughts and feelings, I value a personal diary over a therapist or another human being.
Like Ignatius Reilly, I refuse to act like I want to make a place for myself in “the middle class” through “hard work”. I prefer ambitionless peace. Talk about forbidden thoughts! Talk about mindcrime! How much more forbidden than declaring once and for all that one is not seeking a job or a career or a profession or a marriage? Isn’t that more forbidden even than a woman declaring she does not want to have children (but still wants hot sex)?
Is it any wonder that a writer who prides himself/herself on brutal honesty, intellectual integrity, and introspective awareness openly HATES inauthenticity and bad faith?
Who shall be an attentive student of Emile Cioran? Who shall only write down the things he/she is afraid to tell anyone? Writing as Confession. Writing, not to impress an audience, but to bite and sting … ourselves.
IDEA: Create an anti-hero based on an x-mental patient who mocks “the sane”. Dark Satire mixed with Weird Science Fiction and a pinch of Cosmic Horror. Sounds like real life, huh? Homework assignment: write in your diary with the “voice” of a protagonist in a story.
Some writers are best read after waking from a deliciously sinful late afternoon nap while drinking strong coffee and smoking a cigarette. It is in that hypnogogic, somewhat anti-social, state of mind when one is prepared for a little Artaud, when one feels like an alienated adolescent who questions why he must register with the selective service or face criminal charges, or when one is at that age when it feels as though one is being fed into a Great Machine designed to eat spirit and turn it into energy.
Choose your sides! Will you write for the insider or for the outsider? Will you write to impress high society and the bling-bling “cool crowd” or will you write from the perspective of the so-called “loser” and outcaste?
With so much unemployment, outsourcing, redundant jobs in redundant shopping centers, and corporate smily-faced fascism wearing Nike sneakers, being an unemployable ex-mental patient super-genius is more than just a lifestyle choice. It’s a survival skill!