Another day and I am too discouraged to search for apartments. I seem to have no place in this world. What am I doing here? How does it end? How uncanny that some writings by the Marquis de Sade were hidden in the walls of the prison he was being held in. He thought they were destroyed, but they were published 150 years later …
And yet he found great consolation in writing! He found comfort in disturbing us. Why to I force myself to read through literature so disturbing? I guess I want to force myself to look into the darkness …
I have come to the conclusion that it is life itself, yes Nature herself, that is the root of all our misery, and that relocating will not solve the basic horror of life. It’s a razor’s edge. Why was I relieved when, at around age 20, I read Schopenhauer declaring “Life is evil.” A disturbing truth, but a relief to read someone articulate this rather than sugar-coat it.
I no longer envy anyone.
There is something to be said for losing all hope. I don’t waste energy getting all enthusiastic. When I don’t get approved for a certain apartment, I think of the everyday reality of actually living there, pacing around talking to myself, walking around outdoors, coming back inside, preparing meal, trying to get comfortable enough to read or even write … and maybe even becoming overwhelmed with anxiety … enough to force me down the road with the intention of seeking oblivion in alcoholic inebriation … then blabbering into a recorder. Ah, but I’ll deal with those demons when I have no choice. Tonight I am on coffee, going through my current notebook, catching up with my blog.
I have no delusions that a job or more advanced education would make life wonderful. I’ve looked over my notes from when I had a secure position with the State and a live-in concubine. Roller coaster of emotional entanglements … continual petty politics at work. I’ve looked over my notes from when I was excelling in my formal studies of Computer Science and higher mathematics. Many depressing nights where I expressed utter frustration and suicidal ideations. Vector spaces … enough to make you want to blow your brains out.
What now? Now you go insane. Now you sink into that space-cadet glow Roger Waters was singing about in The Wall. Suddenly, after an unexpected diarrhetic episode, I got the idea to write about life just the way it is, right down to my aging mother pestering me about what I could possibly be writing about. How could I have so much to type or scribble? What goes on in that head of yours?
I prefer writing about day to day thoughts and anxieties rather than make up some story about some high brow who marries into a politically powerful family but never shits or pisses. What about the real creature as it is, the animal thing that doesn’t care about the Olympics?
What about all the refugees without access to clean water? Surely it shames me to complain about having been born into this world when so many are suffering far worse fates.
And so I just keep reading like a patient locked up in a psychiatric ward … Survivor’s guilt?
The very well educated Mitchell Heisman shot himself on the steps at Harvard University. Evidently, having all one’s primitive needs satisfied is not enough to make life worth living.
“If the literature we are reading does not wake us why then do we read it? A literary work must be an ice axe to break the sea frozen inside us.” (Kafka)
“Overcoming the will to live, then, represents one of the final steps in overcoming the provincial and ‘primitive’ life instincts probably inherited from our evolutionary past, i.e., inclinations toward patriarchy, authoritarianism, sexism, kinism, and racism.” (Heisman)
Mitchell Heisman’s suicide note was 2000 pages. I humbly admit I can only skim through it.
This phenomenon forces me to be less judgmental of people by appearances as I can not know how each person really feels. Some people go insane with drugs. Others go insane with books or philosophical concepts. As Thomas Metzinger argues, there are solid grounds for maintaining that the phenomenological subject of appearance is itself a phenomenal appearance generated by neurobiological processes. I am the thing-in-itself observing itself, questioning itself, doubting the representation of itself …
I remember out in Seattle drinking with an elderly black dude, and he started getting very angry while he was shaking his Bible around, yelling at me about how he wrote the Bible. In a strange way, now I understand what he was saying. When I read Schopenhauer’s The World As Will and Representation or some of his essays, I find a part of me saying just that: I wrote this. I am this thing that wrote that. I am still that self-same thing writing this.
Damn it to Hell, I am still here … there is no way out, not even in death! How does this end?
What is this metaphysically transcendent empirical entity?
What is this I THINK? What is this that Husserl called Pure Phenomenological Consciousness?
When we go extinct, nothing will have happened. Tick tock tick tock … Do you understand how easy it is to go insane? When someone digs deeper and deeper into the mechanisms of their own mind, when one considers these bones and this blood we have become so attached to, the teeth, the stomach, the intestines, the veins, the sinews … and there is no switch to turn it off … So many people complain of racing thoughts, insomnia, migraine headaches, toothaches, every day angst … How to explain it?
No wonder there is an epidemic of addiction to pain-killers, opiates, alcohol … It is no wonder! And yet do these chemicals bring genuine relief?
The case against hope: Hope makes people feel worse. What happens to the long-term unemployed when they reach retirement age? They experience relief in the end of hoping to find a suitable job. Giving up hope sets you free. And so I give up hope in ever feeling at ease about existing. I am this THING, this self-same thing that was Arthur Schopenhauer.
Since ‘reality’ is itself a transcendental concept, Kant’s usage of a distinction between appearance and reality suggests a critical difficulty with his project. Every attempt to formulate a relation or distinction between the phenomenal and the noumenal realms must itself fall back upon conceptual and abstract thought! Why bother trying to explain reality when all we end up doing is chasing our tails?
Can we blame the poets like Georg Trakl who fail to keep a job, become addicted to opium, become enmeshed in alcoholism, fail to defeat their psychoses, and die of a cocaine overdose?
Trakl’s traces are the ruins of a horrific failure – a failure to adapt or conform, a failure to repress, a failure to produce, a failure to come to any conclusions.
Lunatic? Werewolf? How many of us are on a similar trajectory and just don’t know it?
We do not know what we want. If we have a strong death instinct and find daily existence ridiculous, how long do we go on philosophizing about it before our death instinct manifests itself?
What did Nietzsche learn from Schopenhauer?
Anti-humanism; anti-academicism; misogyny; the distrust of mathematical thinking.
It is great to have broken through so many mental barriers throughout my life, but once breaking through to the Dark Side, there really is no turning back. One can’t unsee what one has seen. Have I come to value my mental faculties enough to resist self-destructive impulses?
Do not be in public when intoxicated! It’s like full fledged demonic possession!
Maybe the real reason I write is because the process consoles me. I give advice to myself. Doing nothing all day, day after day, is not as easy as it sounds. It could be that writing down one’s thoughts in a free flowing manner gives access to a secret reality below the surface of consciousness. Who keeps track of the mundane details of The Thingly Presence? I observe the creature-in-itself … I don’t feel ashamed of the creature’s nature, because the creature is life itself, a microcosm of Nature. It’s very nature hardwired into the sinews of being: anxiety, paranoia, want, dissatisfaction, fear.
“We are all created to be miserable, and that we all know it, and all invent means of deceiving each other. And when one sees the truth, what is one to do?” (Leo Tolstoy)
What is one to do? Think deep thoughts. Avoid marching.
Does one courageously refuse to “man up”?
That isolated men kill themselves because they don’t seek help is a redundant excuse. Men are shamed into marriage by playing on the fear that they will die alone, but who does not die alone? We, each of us, is in our head alone.
This shaming is a snide way to pressure someone to conform to idiocy. The corporate world wants obedient workers … they don’t want deep thinkers. They will make snide remarks like, “ … that’s a little bit too much information …” or “ … OK, Mr. Philosopher, are you taking your medication?”
There is no brotherhood. If a living man does not remain a slave to the Machine, he is ostracized, viewed with disdain and contempt. When I am able to view myself as a living phenomenon, my capacity for introspection grows, and I will not subject myself to the denigrating judgments of a systematically stupid society.
What is there to do at this point? Breathe? Eat? That seems automatic. For me it’s automatic, but maybe some lose the will to live. I read somewhere that some chattel slaves were able to stop their own breath. I’m sorry if I can’t get all worked up about some play-offs. From the sidelines, it all looks rather absurd. Circuses and cake. Ah, to be an outsider living in an almost mythical dimension …
On the one hand you have the sports fans. On the other hand you have the renegade thinkers. There is mutual disdain, I’m sure.
“Knowledge is attained only by the one who despises happiness.”
It turns out that taking a nap is a more intelligent move than going on a job interview.
I remember a psychiatrist from Israel had made a snide remark when I informed her that I spend a great deal of time writing. She told me that writing in notebooks doesn’t mean anything unless it is for some kind of purpose. It has to amount to something. Was she suggesting that writing has to be monetized in order to be valuable? I shrugged it off, and, of course, later jotted down how I felt about the remark.
Basically, I am talking myself through existence. No need for a priest or a minister or a therapist. Yes, I know some doctor already wrote a novel called The Schopenhauer Cure, almost anticipating some renegade thinker like myself would scorn group therapy as worse than useless. Maybe it was a preemptive strike, as an attempt to undermine independent thinkers who might buck the system in this age of group homes and treatment centers for the superfluous disenfranchised masses.
What’s going on? The medicalization of unconventional behavior.
If Arthur Schopenhauer were alive today, he would most certainly be diagnosed with a mood disorder.
“Denial of the will to live? Are you suicidal Art S? Art S? Don’t just sit there sulking, Art S, introduce yourself to the group!”
“My name is Art S. I guess you could say I’m a bipolar albino super-genius.”
So, I am drawn to literature that horrifies and disturbs me. I get off on it. I too would like to horrify and disturb …
Looking across the room at Schopenhauer, Hentrich says, “My name is Mike H. I think I might also be a bipolar albino super-genius.”
S gives H a spontaneous wink and chuckles.
Hello? Is there someone or something inside you? Is it a presence older than mankind? Yes … it’s older than the world religions, older than God, older than the Devil, older than civilization, older than the indigenous, older than all the ancestors … It is the non-human presence within us, the inorganic elements within the organic … It is looking out from behind the eyes … it is Nature and it can do without humanity … Even as I write these words, I know that it is the nameless nonhuman thing peering out from behind the eyes mocking all historical narratives and sociological constructs.