“I cannot afford to waste my time making money.” ~ Jean Louis Agassiz
I will be glad to leave Asbury Park. I may miss the obscure texts at the public library, the many communal meals in several church basements, the ocean, the music near the Paramount Theater, the food distribution at the places along Grand Avenue, the abundance of inexpensive clothing available, and even those rare smiles from fellow deviants, dissidents, and nonconformists of all varieties; but, the bottom line is that the police have promised to harass me as long as I stay here. They have made it clear to me that I have been categorized as some kind of radicalized anti-capitalist philosopher. Why? Who knows? I am certainly not the only one they bark at. There is a huge subculture living off food banks and church meals. I suppose that once one becomes identified with this subculture, one is considered a “street person,” and this alone is enough to make one a suspicious character to the “law-abiding, tax-paying, God-fearing home-owners” as well as the police department and their Jersey Shore Ambulance Driving counterparts.
Just because I am on probation in Asbury Park does not mean I am stipulated to reside here. The longer I stay here, the more likely I will be involved in some kind of bizarre altercation. I look forward to waking up on Marcy Street. In Freehold I will be able to walk down the tracks into those woods that were my stomping grounds from 1974 to 1986, all through my childhood and adolescence, and all up into the State-owned lands that I had grown so attached to and familiar with nearly twenty years ago (1992 to 1998). I will be able to wander aimlessly out there in “The Forbidden Zone (Planet of the Apes style),” singing or screaming to the sky if I feel like it. It is specifically those lands which draw me to Freehold … the sacred grounds of the last of the trees remaining since the Freehold Raceway Mall invasion and the surrounding luxury home McMansionville/Mall-Rat communities that have contaminated the area since around 1987 when I was first incarcerated. There is much misery in Asbury Park, but Freehold has its own problems … the disgusting traffic caused by the Modern Day Temples of the Gorts, their Main Mall, the strip-malls, car dealerships, in short, Gortistan.
Now, I am fully cognizant that my depending on government relief for the necessities of life may invite rancor and malice from those trapped in modern day wage-slavery. I am mentally independent, but I am far from economically independent. I am as dependent upon governmental assistance as a Native on an “Indian Reservation” or an inmate in an open air prison. Still, the less I have to be at the mercy of an employer, boss, manager or supervisor, the better I will be able to come to terms with my alienation from mass-mindedness. Let us be honest, if not in speech, then at least in writing. I am living the life of a scholar-warrior in his own orbit. With Antonin Artaud I say, “The break between us and the world is well established. We speak not to be understood, but to our own inner selves.”
And yet, do we not still betray desperate longings to communicate?
The United States government is now engaged in bombing Libya with the blessings of the French and British governments, enforcing a no-fly zone. Last week the German government had refused to get involved in the military campaign in North Africa, what these Western governments refer to as Egypt.
I refuse to accept business-as-usual while plutonium seeps into the oceans, the international war economy continues to run amock, where multinational corporate airplane manufacturers sell weapons of mass destruction to all industrialized nations who can come up with the cash on the barrel. I am fed up with being reprimanded or punished for so-called bad behavior when the behavior of the multinational industrialists and their puppet presidents has been and continues to be so abominable.
Returning to Freehold feels good, but there is this haunting feeling that there really is nothing here for me except walking along the railroad tracks and into the woods and fields every day. What does everyone else do? Make babies? Plantation farm. The slaves are all working and farming babies. Autoerotic orgasm is my sole release for the sexual impulse.
Schopenhauer’s “meditative philosophy” has for its pole star truth alone, naked, unrewarded, unbefriended, often persecuted truth.
“Now what in the world has such a philosophy to do with that alma mater, the good substantial university philosophy, which, burdened with a hundred intentions and a thousand considerations, proceeds on its course cautiously tacking, since at all times it has before its eyes the fear of the Lord, the will of the ministry, the dogmas of the established Church, the wishes of the publisher, the encouragement of students, the goodwill of colleagues, the coarse of current politics, the momentary tendency of the public, and Heaven knows what else?”
“With me there is no compromise and no fellowship, and no one derives any advantage from me, except perhaps the man who is looking for nothing but the truth.”
What a difference, for the worse, Main Street is without The Santa Fe run by Cass ____, where there was Open Mic Night and live bands and free salsa. Did we realize how precious that place was from 1994 to 1998 or so?
Now, all I can do here to protect my spirit from being eaten alive by alienation is to just talk to myself aloud, even in public. One great advantage of either writing in a private notebook or just sitting in solitude contemplating is that this enables one to become comfortable with one’s character traits, temperament, metabolism, and authentic feelings. One may hide one’s true feelings from others for fear of consequences, but in one’s writing, we can discover how we really think and feel. We can even embrace the Shadow aspects of ourselves: that animal who is my Natural Self, the one who is content to lay around reading, eating, napping, wandering aimlessly. It must be my audacious enjoyment of leisure and the absence of structure in my daily life which provokes ill-will from those who submit to the idiotic and draconian norms of mass-industrial society.
I will use the terms “complexes” and “demons” interchangeably. I find these complexes, where individuals feel hated by the world in general, where people may sense that others perceive them as dogs, more problematic and pathological than so-called “substance abuse.” Why do therapeutic agencies waste so much time talking about beer when our world is plagued with collective complexes?
The shooter who ran amuck killing women in a gym was sober for twenty years, and had acquired all the credentials of material success, including the house, the cars, the gadgets, the clothes, etc., and yet he desperately resented and hated women. He punished women because of his own inferiority complexes. Again, he was sober 20 years and had a so-called successful career. His psyche was a total wreck – a rat’s nest of hatred.
Nothing that is so, is so. How many individuals in positions of authority are also infested with such pestilence? Whatever we call this plague of hatred, there are still these very real “demons” in our world. Rather than allowing myself to be destroyed by this emotional plague of hatred, I have worked my entire adult life to confront, understand, and ultimately overcome this phenomenon, at least in the privacy of my own psyche, or inner life-world.
Contemplation is the key to individual survival. Deep thinking does bring relief. It keeps one’s spirit from being eaten. The way to destroy hatred is to love oneself as one is, for the wonder of being a living, breathing animal-in-the-flesh. Love conquers the demons in oneself, but the love has to be for one’s own inner being, the Being we have in common with all life-forms, organic as well as inorganic. What is the death impulse but for a longing to return to inorganic states?
We are peculiar, fascinating, tragic, and often quite psychologically troubled creatures due to our huge brains which are nine out of ten minutes in a state of anxiety or ennui.
Ennui – pronounced /on – wee/ – boredom or dissatisfaction.
In order to transcend this abstract notion of race or even species is to find a deeper identity where we can merge with all matter/energy/minerals. Poetry or reality? These issues are far from trivial. They haunt the institutions of our current social order. Ideas cannot be combated with nations, armies, governments, or corporate mafias, for we are dealing with spiritual matters of the heart and mind. The so-called Powers That Be have no real thinkers, no genuine philosophers.
Besides the emotional and psychological plagues of this spiritual wasteland we call mass industrialized “civilization,” there is the environmental plague of the automobile culture itself, running amuck, spreading not merely like a cancer but as cancer itself, where we are conditioned to worship the very phenomenon that is largely responsible for, not only our own destruction, but the destruction of the entire planet as a life-supporting system. Isn’t this the root of our cognitive dissonance? How is one to be expected to be impressed by TV commercials promoting “sexy” new shiny automobiles when, deep in our hearts, we know for a fact that these machines are the cause of our collective demise? Cognitive dissonance par excellence!
Some scholars see Hermann Hesse’s autobiographical novel, Steppenwolf, as poetic philosophy, and I agree; but I will add that poetic philosophers are also often prophets. Maybe we ought to take Hesse more literally when he envisions a resistance against the automobile and the promoters of the automobile culture-of-make-believe, which, in the end, is a grand hallucination kept alive with great amounts of energy and trillions upon trillions of this abstract phenomenon known as “money,” which, in reality, is just a myth, after all.
Now I stubbornly venture out into down-pouring rain to get my hands on a copy of Nell Irvin Painter’s The History of White People. There are those who might question my obsession with this text, but the very fact that the author’s thesis is that “race is not a reality but an idea” confirms Arthur Schopenhauer’s “opinion” that there is no such thing as a “white race.” These are bold theories which question many of the fundamental myths at the foundation of the Industrial World and the policies of its institutions.
I wish I had had access to Nell Irvin Painter’s research when I was a teenager for it answers many questions and validates my intuitive sense of kinship with the original indigenous Native “Indians” of North America. There are parallels between Caesar’s war of conquest and the “Indian” wars of North America, with Gauls/Germans cast as Native Aborigines and Vercingetorix as the Seneca Chief Pontiac, the Apache Chief Geronimo, or the Lakota (Sioux) Chief Sitting Bull at Wounded Knee: all valiant, but all defeated. What happened to the indigenous peoples of North America 500 years ago happened to indigenous peoples of Northern Europe thousands of years ago. Caesar’s Gallic War foreshadows and parallels chapters in the history of the United States of America, in which colonizing “Americans” play Caesar’s imperial role.
“… We must consider the Spiritual genocide that they commit against us. The spiritual genocide that the white people have been victimized by for thousands of years … We are going to have to start working more realistically with a resistance consciousness, a resistance, something we can pass on as strength to the coming generations – a resistance where organizational …[and] individual egos don’t get in the way, a resistance where the infiltrators and the provocateurs and the liars and the betrayers…do not get in the way. We will not get our liberation if we do not seriously analyze the experiences of our own lifetimes.” ~ John Trudell
Broke after four days. It is surely going to be another long month. Last night I ended up buying one beer at the Metro. I danced around a little, but there really is nowhere to dance. There was one black couple dancing. I kind of shuffled around a little. That’s all. I decided to lay back down as I was just not prepared to endure being awake. While asleep I dreamed that P sat on my face. I could actually smell her sex in the dream. Was it Robert Anton Wilson’s Principia Discordia that mentions the actual worship of such phenomena, as in, I met the Goddess and this I was I did when I found Her. I realized I will never be officially “married” or “financially successful,” but I have not only accepted this, but embraced it enthusiastically. Bold. Bolder than Nietzsche.
Why do I claim to be bolder than Nietzsche? Because I am not ashamed of being a chronic masturbater. I proclaim unabashedly that such methods give me the superior orgasm; whereas Nietzsche was ashamed and embarrassed about it. That’s the crux of my proclamation of being bolder than Nietzsche. I’m a self-proclaimed Onanist. I spill it on the ground or down the drain with a chuckle and a grin, knowing that I have outsmarted the mechanisms of Nature itself. Sometimes it is quite mechanical. The older I get, the less I am even in need of sexual release.
I will not be a dupe, not for the Industrial Funny Farm Plantation, and not even for the Great Mother Nature herself. Cosmic naughty child of the universe isn’t going for the bait. I’m not looking for the damn cheese in this maze. I’m trying to find a way out of the maze itself. I can’t tell you where the cheese is, but I guarantee there is a trap right under the cheese. Sniff away. Follow your nose, but watch your necks! Try not to get your balls shot off. Look after your blood. Don’t let any get away!
What really matters? It doesn’t matter what we have, but who we are. What we appear to be in the estimation of others doesn’t matter a lick damn. When they say, “Be all you can be,” I say, “I already am.”
My philosophical mind processes experiences, true, but the Thingly Presence (in itself), the Will-to-Live, is an impersonal force with its own primordial qualities that transcend personality, qualities which are often unpleasant by definition, i.e., need, want, desire.
Like Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, the inner wolf mocks the living man, and the living man ruins all the inner wolf’s fun with his relentless guilt and shame and sin and blame.
Como el libro, Steppenwolf, por Hermann Hesse, el lobo ataco el homre y el hombre arruino el diverito del lobo.
My brain is very fuzzy. Maybe I ought to try to give the beer a rest as I am starting to actually feel like I am losing my mind. I am experiencing feelings similar to what I felt out in Federal Way, Washington State, way out west, where not only am I talking to myself out loud, but actually disturbed by this fact. It feels like demonic possession. I am not going to discuss this phenomenon with doctors or therapists. Hell no! Why not? Well, for one, I am totally paranoid. Isn’t this reason enough?
While reading on the bench behind the library, reading my own scribbling madness, my spirits lifted as if by magic. I realized quite suddenly and to my delight that these mysterious scribblings of mine reveal deep psychological insights, seemingly accidental insights, where I write something in all seriousness, and then, years later, what once was quite serious and dramatic becomes almost comical, ludicrous, and even ridiculous and absurd. Is this not the very nature of the ironic? And yet to do so unconsciously or subconsciously borders on the uncanny!
I reject the moral values of the old European Victorian class and embrace the values of the original indigenous inhabitants of what Western nations refer to as North America, or what the people themselves refer to as Turtle Island: kindness to children, maximum freedom, love of simplicity, and affinity for the Natural World. I am very much at odds with the Machine Age (complex technological mass society). I am very proud to be at odds with the dominant mainstream society. It is a badge of honor, not at all a disgrace to me. Often it is a sign of virtue to be at odds with one’s contemporaries. Like the Natives, I have a terrible time in “the city.” I become disoriented and easily overwhelmed with confusion. Is this the nature of the city? Is the city itself, a virtual food dessert, not a death sentence?
I am currently reading through my notebooks written in 2009 out West. It helps me to recognize that I am experiencing very similar psychological pain right here in my hometown of Freehold, New Jersey. Is this the price one pays for rebellion? Is Hell the price Lucifer must be willing to pay for His outright refusal to bow down and pay homage to an unworthy God?
Mi mente no se vende. My mind is not for sale. I experienced a beautiful day today: five meals!
In between the meals, a great deal of walking outdoors around town, a little nap around noon, a long three hour trek from Barnes & Noble across route 9 to where the G’s house used to be, across route 33, down the “Old Farm Road,” over the creek, into “Beltaire,” out of Beltaire across route 522, down that little road leading to then through the grave yard where Black soldiers killed during the Civil War are buried in mounds, over yet another creek into the “Historic Trail” leading to where the Craig House and the infamous Tark House are, out to and across route 9 (again), down Schibanoff Road, where I stopped to change the water in the bowl of 14 year old Saint Bernard of my sister, down Topanemus Lane, into Lake Topanemus Parklands, where I spotted Gil. I stopped for a chat where I spoke at a rapid rate until it got dark and cold.
I continued my trek out of the woods beholding a full moon peeking from behind dark clouds. Then I cut through the little park near Fulton Street where I lived from 1971 to 1974 (age 4 to 7), making my way through the Monument by the Court House, a lawn I used to mow when employed by the State. Back then, before the forced forfeiture of my humble position, the State was responsible for its maintenance. Shortly after my dismissal, the County, which presumably has much more money than the State, took over its maintenance needs. That’s when they cut down all those giant trees. Those bastards!
Anyway, from there I crossed Main Street while still observing the full moon. Now I find myself back on Marcy Street wondering if I had imagined some kid actually calling me a “gringo” from inside a house next door. Did I hear correctly? Evidently, not everyone is pleased with the Steppenwolf living in el barrio.
This four hour trek could be a great ritual. The highlight of the day was me shooting across route 9, leaping over the divider like my own personal Rise of the Apes moment. The bathrooms were closed at the Barnes & Noble. This is what started the whole spontaneous journey in the first place. I had to piss like a race horse!
All in all, what a day! Upon my return, I am so utterly focused on my studies, my inner life, that I begin to understand how and why many might resent my natural happiness since I supposedly am down the goddamn mother fucking tubes. Nothing that is so, is so. Forget the haters.
During today’s little catnap, I was amazed at the intensity. Was this lucid dreaming?
Also, I like to imagine that the Crows of Freehold informed the Sea Eagles of Asbury Park where I am since I witnessed about twelve seagulls flying over my domicile today.
I am really getting into Nell Painter’s The History of White People. It really is connecting the dots for me. Not only that, but, reading through my notes from the journey out to the Seattle area is giving me a tremendous amount of insight into my current feelings of alienation. East or West, North or South, there doesn’t seem to be a geographical cure for this sense of dejection and disillusionment, so I better dig my heels in and learn to live with it.
Am I finally coming around full circle as a force to be reckoned with? My wealth is in my heart, in my mind, in my ANIMAL SPIRIT. Meditating upon my own literary records has become one of the strategies for “dealing with it.”
What a magical day! When I taped up my “gangster hippie” shorts I received as a gift out West, also wearing both vests (aborigine & brown wool) and leg moccasins, I saw N on Main Street. We were preparing to cross … I was able to block the traffic for her and her little band (otra mujere y ninos). After we crossed, I confided in her about this idea I had to compose a book for translating mathematical terms in different languages with diagrams.
Are you married? ? estas casado ?
Meal – la comida
together – juntos
Nosostros coceramos las comidas juntos!
Rapid breakthroughs. Some kind of exponential curve, surging upward or deeper … It is a transformation in my temperament. Today, besides basic work in the kitchen, I lazed. I lazed heavily all day long. I may have reached the point where I am content to simply scavenge off the perfumed corpse of civilization. An inner transformation has taken place where I no longer sweat the small shit. All I seem to do is wander aimlessly around town and into the outskirts. I’m very familiar with the outskirts.
The relaxation my animal body experienced while napping all day made me realize I may suffer unnecessary anxiety by concerning myself with such things as the petty jealousy, resentment, and prejudice against me. So, rather than begging for change for beer, I attempt to enjoy my higher faculties in undisturbed leisure. I have been well-received by several Latin Americans in Downtown Freehold. Maybe the fact that I am making an effort to at least attempt to communicate using a mixture of Spanish, English, and hand/facial expressions shows I am not afraid to appear the buffoon. I am not afraid of humiliation. It is worth the laughter and the smiles!
It may be significant, this documentation, validation, and authentication of my subjective experiences. This process reminds me that my inner being colors all my perceptions. So many interests and too many distractions. Blessed are the poor, for they shall have time to invite their own soul, to investigate and explore their true thoughts and real feelings, so as to become comfortable with themselves. I don’t want what I don’t need.
! Estas completamente loco! You’re completely crazy!
El humoristo necessito la humorista. Me gusta la comedia.
Playing off the name Fifty Cent, I can call myself, Centavos Cero, Zero Cents.
From my 2009 “Notes From Seattle” :
Scientific farming alternates with military drilling and state-ordered meaningless tasks intended for no purpose but to subject the entire community to the experience of collective discipline. This is what these damn day-programs and psychiatric surveillance is about. This is what busy-work is about. Very productive workers are often quite deficient in their intellectual capacity. I will flip the script, if you don’t mind.
In our current economy, the real political dilemma everywhere is keeping people occupied; jobs are invented by government agencies and corporations; both employ millions upon millions of people for which they have no real use. A rise in stock value can be engineered by eliminating thousands of useless jobs. This is done regularly. By inventing our own work, we might cause shockwaves throughout the global economy.
Some of these penniless days are among the very best days of my life! The simple rituals get me through the day painlessly, almost blissfully … walking, going to the library, picking up free bread, stopping by the apartment for coffee, all the while going over my notes.
Why does the mental health industry ignore the philosophers and thinkers who have pointed out the political nature of psychiatric diagnoses?
What some call “suicidal ideations” one could just as easily classify as the death drive. The death drive is an intrapsychic manifestation of a phylogenetic inheritance going back to inorganic matter.
Psychology has always been a business. Today, it is quite a powerful industry all tied up with the legal, penal, educational, and welfare systems. Medical psychiatry presumes to explain the inexplicable.
Subhana Barzaghi wrote:
The shadow comes back in the form of erotic fantasies, attractions, romantic projections, that haunt us until we understand that there is something very deep there that needs our attention.
Fantasy is the key to our real desires.
The tree at the Monument by the court house healed me in a way that floored me, and it healed me quickly. It was practically instantaneous the way sitting up against that tree renewed my spirit.
Note that this tree was one of the trees that had been salvaged, but since writing this entry in May 2011, it also has been removed. Most likely it was threatening gort mobiles with its humungous limbs.
Calculus in Everyday Life
Listen up, children!
As the number of cars approaches infinity, the speed they drive approaches zero.
For you parents, that’s “Cuando el numero de los carros acerco infinito, la velocidad ellos mover acerca cero.”
That’s an original mathematical observation by yours truly, Centavos Cero, Zero Cents.
“That mother fucker knows he’s smart!” – what I imagine some others saying about me (while laughing their asses off).
Nietzsche said, “God is dead (in the hearts of men).”
I say, “Man is dead. As an idea, man is dead. Since man and god are ideas in this ape’s head, man is a fiction. There is only ape.”
I’ve got this monkey business by the tail
I’ve got the bull by the horns
On this toxic trail
No need to check your email
They say life is a tale told by an idiot
I say, true, the Catch-22
Of existence is that
This idiot telling the tale
Is in our own heads!
How does one develop a cosmic sense of humor? Is there such a thing as a tragic sense of humor?
There are deeper languages – music, emotion, natural movements, facial expressions, empathic vibrations …
Idea for a character: Pot Man
He designs a suit of armor consisting of strong pots, pans, metal springs, welded together, etc.; hence, Pot Man.
He also smokes weed.
I guess I have been a very patient man all my life, and that my patience has reached its limit. I can no longer suffer fools, bullies, snobs, hypocrites, bigots, racists, liars, charlatans, philistines, or phonies. Seeing right through people doesn’t always lead to such diatribes against them. Actually, believe it or not, I see a great deal of kindness, tenderness, empathy, and, yes, even love in many people in our society.
There is a gentle breeze tonight, so I am looking forward to a restful sleep with no psychiatric medication. Actually, I’ve been off psychiatric meds since December 2008 when I hit the road via a transcontinental train ride 3000 miles west. My outbursts last night about the hot tacos embarrasses me. They were really hot, but I over-reacted and my humor may have been misinterpreted as rage.
misbehave – portarse mal
Mi error, noche pasada portarse mal … errrr, Ese fue su gran error. It was a big mistake. La salsa verde.
Barracho. I was drunk.
Bring me lawyers, guns, and money
Or else I’m taking it to these streets
Why is there no legal place for the folks to meet?
Where to dance to the beat?
Where to stomp our feet?
Oh, where oh where can the starving artist sit?
On Main Street? No!
Oh, where oh where can we leave a shit?
On Main Street? Hell no!
From 2006 February: “Our nervous systems are under constant attack by mind parasites and ideological constructs intended to make the human organism feel helpless and subdued. We are fighting for our minds! “
I was barely asleep for one hour when I awoke from a very creepy nightmarish dream … kind of like the film, Jacob’s Ladder, where these creepy demon-like people were tormenting me. It felt like intense social anxiety, or like I was really losing my mind. I was at some kind of “party” where people were smoking much weed (all “white people” with scary masks on or painted faces). Could this have been a real place, like some alternate reality? I awoke frightened. It scared the bejesus out of me. I don’t remember feeling that kind of fear from a dream in a long, long time. It was science-fiction horror. I kept getting tickled and poked!
Are these “mind parasites”? Some even more disturbing questions: Am I really under some form of psychic attack? How many enemies do I actually have, and what is the nature of these enemies? Well, most likely I have many more enemies than I could possibly imagine. As far as the nature of these enemies, that I can’t even venture to guess at the moment. All I do know is that I was instructed many years ago about how to go about destroying such entities. I have to face them aggressively. Strength and courage!
Fear is in our own minds, but those who wish to continue to maintain their grip of control on our planet exploit such primal fears. I wonder if we really do enter a parallel universe when we sleep. How does one defend oneself in that realm? I mean, I know how we imagine we do, by taking up some kind of primitive weapon like a stick or sword, but what about the kind of fear that paralyzes us? Then we require mental weapons, no?
Lately I have been receiving many supportive glances from folks in Downtown Freehold, but I have simultaneously caught many nasty looks from several motorists driving by. In fact, I almost got in an altercation with some prick in a BMW who had the nerve to call me a loser from inside the comfort of his vehicle. That’s the kind of society we live in, folks. Snide remarks made with no fear of retribution: Some cunt of a prick can verbally abuse you knowing that, were you, dear reader, to go ape-shit, the local police would quickly subdue you, place you in the hands of the Emergency Crisis Control Team, and most likely charge you with disorderly conduct, assault, or attempted fucking murder. Serenity now!
Actually I have been very temperamental these last several days. I am a little concerned about what the consequences will be for me walking out of the treatment center last week, but not nearly as concerned as the authorities might think I am. After all, I was told I had to attend the place for five to six weeks for “anger management.” That was early in January, a good five months ago. Do they expect me to attend this program indefinitely?
When I filled out some official forms for the government recently, I informed them that I have long since lost faith in psychiatry’s ability to cure me of my “mood swings.” I doubt this will be a problem since I am only being honest, not argumentative. I also told them, in writing of course, that I find most “treatment facilities” to be denigrating and even insulting. Are professionals in the mental healthcare industry more concerned with “busting” people using alcohol or other drugs than with getting to the roots of that which is causing us distress, namely life in general, living problems, and even the idiotic norms of the very culture which “farmed” us.
I guess my passion, integrity, honesty, rage, and occasional instability is becoming problematic to all who would presume to control me.
When people speak of “conspiracy theorists,” they usually do so in a snide manner, as if such thinkers are leaning strongly in the direction of insanity, and yet, by definition, all it takes to be considered a conspiracy is for people to discuss someone behind closed doors. Therefore, there are people conspiring all the time, constantly. I am sure there are and have been many who have conspired against me personally. There are those who don’t care for my outspoken manner. There is also the phenomenon of the “persecution complex.” Similarly, here too, when Colin Wilson does a biography on Wilhelm Reich, and accuses him of being an egomaniac with a persecution complex, I can’t help but regard Colin Wilson with suspicion.
Over in the UK, there are people who had been receiving “government relief” for “emotional disorders” being reclassified as “work shy” and being “cut.” Many of these unfortunates end up committing suicide. They prefer death to submitting to what they refer to as wage-slavery. There is no doubt in my mind that these people are being persecuted, and that there is a vast conspiracy taking place behind closed doors, around golf courses, resorts, and luxurious restaurants about how to go about discouraging the youth from such dissident behavior. Meanwhile, in the USA, the tendency toward fascism can be seen when the super-rich complain about the mass of people living on “entitlements” simply to evade having to be their goddamn house-cleaners or lawn maintenance slaves. Of course, real fascism materializes when the ruling class succeeds in turning the lapdog middle-class against those living on the dole by implying that the poor are somehow getting a free ride, a free lunch, a free case of beer paid for by hard-working god-fearing law-abiding home-owning child-breeding drones. This phenomenon can be observed in the flesh when, should one dare to ask the “hard-working” knuckle-dragger for a dollar or a dime, and the reply is, “Get a fucking job, you asshole!”
Fascist thick-necked god-damn gorilla mother fucker.
Writing is such great revenge!
Isn’t the main reason George Carlin was the thinkers’ comedian because he pointed forbidden truths out to the masses, truths such as, “They OWN you. They want a population of workers just smart enough to follow directions, operate the machinery, repair the machinery, and pay their bills. They don’t want people smart enough to sit around figuring out how fucked we are.” (not verbatim … I don’t have access to the great ZOO Tube)
I have been enjoying walking around outdoors reading my “notes” out loud. Am I practicing to be an orator? How does this end? When will the down-trodden scream their sermons from the philosopher’s benches? Perhaps they already have been screaming their sermons, but Mr or Mrs Business-Owner or Shop Keeper quickly alerts the Slave Patrol to swiftly remove such undesirable phenomena from the public, having them hauled to the local psychiatric ward or county lock-up for a little old-fashioned negative enforcement. Bad dog! No barking! Here, have some Alpo and consider the less fortunate dogs who have to chase squirrels and rabbits!
How does it end? Empires fall; and, still, it does not end. Like Cioran, I am determined to live as the philosopher-poet who first scorns, then detaches from, the entire modern world.
In Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell recreates the mood and attitude he experienced in those cities: “I am angered when people propagate the idea that work such as washing dishes or digging ditches is “honest work” simply because it is hard and disagreeable. We see a man cutting down a tree and say he is filling a social need simply because he is using his muscle. It doesn’t occur to us that he may only be cutting down a beautiful tree to make room for a hideous statue.”
“A dishwasher is a slave to a hotel or a restaurant, and his slavery is more or less useless. For, after all, where is the real need of big hotels and smart restaurants?”
“I believe that this instinct to perpetuate useless work, is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob.”
The bosses and rulers prefer to have the mob kept too busy to think!
No quiero meterme en las problemas. I don’t want to get into trouble.
The similarities between madness and modernism are striking: defiance of authority, nihilism, extreme relativism, distortions of time, strange transformations of self, and much more. I am once again excited about who I am. While there are those lemmings clinging to job security and pensions like to cackle on about how “Mikey has really gone down the tubes since losing his job with the State,” I can’t help but bear witness to the fact that, whoever and whatever I was as a 16 year old youth would have been tremendously proud of who I have become at the age of 44. I’ve eluded the drone factory! I’ve eluded marriage, career, and breeding the next generation of labor. My failure to be a productive and efficient piece of equipment on the plantation is my greatest success. Eureka! Nothing that is so, is so. I’m free! Free falling … Up is down and down is up. Do the fucking math, liver-lips!
I find the parallels between Christian Theology and the current “mental health industry” to be quite obvious: the inquisition of conscience, herd morality, slave morality, and fear of the mob. All this horse crap is to be a remedy for boredom; the emotional reaction to one who has power, called “God,” is constantly sustained. In both there is a certain sense of cruelty against oneself and against others. There is a hatred of all who think differently – the will to persecute!
In common there is also the hatred of pride, the hatred of courage, the hatred of freedom, the hatred of liberty of spirit … the hatred of joy! Both strive to make one “sick” – recipes to make one tame: the “civilizing process” … It does not matter to the Christian or Muslim of Twelve Stepper whether something is true. It is only important for it to be believed.
There are consequences to standing up for oneself, and these consequences are not necessarily so bad. You see, dear reader, the reward of all my honest, thoughtful, and heartfelt introspection is that I destroy guilt, sin, and blame, for I have no shame. I am not ashamed of my animal feelings. Animals do not lie to themselves, nor do I. I am an animal, a mad animal.
If you think growing boys have a good appetite, you should see shrinking boys throw it down like starving cats in a zoo.
Dancing with myself again
That Shadow there, my best friend
Until the very bitter end …
I love this place, Nueve Freehold
But, truth be told
This shit is getting fucking goddamn old
You can go into business with a grizzly bear
Just don’t sit down ’cause I moved your chair
I may be transitioning into a Kafkaesquian “Metamorphisis” phase, where I simply exist as this Thingly Presence, where I do what I do and see what you can do about it.
Over across the Atlantic, governments are calling for austerity measures. The word ‘austere’ reveals what the European aristocracy has in mind for its people, its disenfranchised serfs and peasantry.
austere – stern; uncompromising; strict; forbidding; rigorously self-disciplined and severely moral or puritanical; abstinent; grave; sober; solemn; severely simple; without ornament; lacking softness; lacking tenderness; hard; sour in flavor
austerity – severity in manner
No joking or smoking. No drinking or thinking. No dancing, no drumming, no singing. No flirting or winking. That’s austerity in a nutshell or Austerity For Dummies. Definitely not a good time for an October Feast.
I was arrested last night, charged with disorderly conduct, specifically by “engaging in irrational behavior and yelling at passing vehicles and creating a hazardous and physical danger to himself and others.” After checking the police station for my missing hat, keys, pants, and tobacco, and discovering that no property was reported, I just returned to my domicile, climbed through the unlocked window, bathed in a tub of hot water, and then laid on the floor as if I were dead. It was a relief to just be dead. I have come to accept my hostile feelings towards auto-mobiles and the entire mall-rat culture-of-make-believe.
The writer becomes the reader of his own madness. As I sat under my favorite tree behind the bus terminal scribbling that last sentence, a young Mexican man came by on crutches. He was missing his entire right foot.
El minusvalido realamente.
“How will he acquire a wheelchair?” I wonder.
Something has definitely changed in me. I mean some kind of invisible transformation is taking place where I have simply lost patience with stupidity, especially systematic and well-regulated stupidity. I have come to see inauthentic phonies for what they are, but, alas, there really is nothing to be done about it except to first scorn then totally detach.
There is also this growing impatience with those who demand that I “think positive.” John the Savage in Huxley’s Brave New World demands the right to be sad, angry, or however the fuck he wants to feel. He wants to feel something! Likewise, in Hesse’s Steppenwolf, Harry Hallar’s statements about the growing collective displeasure and hatred for the world of concrete and dust also expresses this innate desire for passion, even if it is an unpleasant passion.
I can’t keep my sneakers clean
Like some kind of fucked up machine
I fell in love with the Queen
She don’t like me
I’m too mean and lean
Somebody’s always watching me
Even when I’m behind a tree
Ain’t no easy way to be free
Living as we do in an idiocracy
I was one with the ocean
Then one with the storm
My heart is my Master
I don’t follow the norm
Our gods and spirits became associated with the Christian Devil.
The true poet speaks with others when she talks to herself.
Nietzsche’s great insight was to read philosophy as psychology: He saw that philosophy was autobiography. Nietzsche invites us to regard philosophy as autobiography, as a writing of the life of the self. Is the converse also valid? Can we regard autobiography as philosophy?
The governments could pay artists, musicians, writers, poets, students, home-makers, etc. to stay home, to not commute, to drive as little as possible. Community vehicles, that is, sharing a van or truck amongst groups of individuals could be encouraged, where each individual might reserve the vehicle in advance and plan accordingly.
Things We Want vs. Things We Need: We need water & nutritious food & shelter & clothing & medical attention when necessary & love. Do we need love? I think so. It has been proven that when an infant doesn’t receive affection early on, the infant will die. Studies have also shown that when a couple is living together for like sixty years, when one dies, the other follows shortly thereafter. This is true in other mammal species as well, such as the elephant.
Inner transformations are definitely occurring, and not just within my animal body. Two days ago I was approached by three officers while sitting under the tree behind the bus terminal, what I call The Temple of the Tree. They said they had received a call that I had gotten into some altercation by Rita’s Ice cream parlor. I, of course, had not been the one. I knew this because I was stone cold sober and in a fairly cheerful mood.
After going on my way, about an hour later, an officer approached me, telling me that his sergeant told all three officers to apologize to me so that I would not think I was being harassed. I was stunned.
A note from January 2008: The Farmers’ World, of which Industrial society is an extension, requires dull-witted compliant citizens. It can do without philosophers and thinkers.
Either the mental health industry thinks we are all a bunch of idiots, or they are just not fathoming just how glaringly gort-busted they are. Do they even have a clue? The modern subject to which they presume to address, cure, or “treat” is a humanist fiction integral to the operations of a carceral society that everywhere disciplines and trains its subjects for labor and conformity. Subjectivity and personal identity, to which are attached numbers, identifications, birth certificates, criminal records, etc., is nothing but a construct of domination.
Maybe the target today is not to discover what we are, but to refuse what we are.
Some may argue that this is all just theory.
Theory is opposed to Power.
This entire day went so smoothly, almost blissfully. Life seems to unfold as a dramatic story. My “experiences” as a jailbird have given me such a great appreciation for privacy and solitude and lack of supervision.
Like Malcolm Lowry, author of Under the Volcano, who traveled to Mexico to both write the novel while simultaneously drink himself to death, I am also a little curious about the life circumstances of Adolf Hitler before his rise to power.
This unknown and virtually powerless Hitler lived a solitary life. Much of the time he spent dreaming or brooding. He wandered for hours through the streets and parks, suddenly disappearing into the public library in pursuit of some new enthusiasm. Hitler’s moods alternated between abstracted preoccupation and outbursts of excited talk. Hitler was a poor wretch, often half-starved, without a job, family, or home.
He seemed to be in a similar economic class as I am. It is no wonder that I am so curious about the unfolding of history.
My spirit power is becoming stronger. I refuse to become an obedient docile toy for the gorts to play with. No, I am just doing my time to get through it. As Emile Cioran stated so clearly and concisely, “Chaos is just being yourself.” My Natural Self is a political energy field. My way of life is my message. These words are just the tip of the iceberg. My asceticism is simply my refusal to participate in the existing world order. Now that I have been totally blunt and sincere with the representatives of the corporate State itself about how I feel about psychiatry and authority figures, I have confronted the fear-mongers directly.
Those in positions of authority must be aware that their “power” is based on illusion, violence, and brutality. Those who uphold the status quo are haters of those like myself who have nothing but disdain and contempt for the dominant culture. The Natural Self must be prepared to face, and face down, the entire civilized world should it galvanize itself against it. One must be prepared to stand alone.
The first question of philosophy is not the ontological question, “why is there something rather than nothing?”, but rather the ethical question: “How does my being justify itself?”
In The Philosophy of Disenchantment, circa 1885, Edgar Saltus writes, “In ancient philosophy, ethics was a treatise of happiness; in modern works, it is generally a doctrine of eternal salvation; to Schopenhauer, it is neither; for if happiness is unobtainable, the subject is necessarily untreatable from such a standpoint, and on the other hand, if morality is practiced in the hope of future reward, or from fear of future punishment, it can hardly be said to spring from any great purity of intention.”
“Schopenhauer points out that acts of this description are discernible in the unostentatious works of charity, from which no possible reward can accrue, and in which no personal interest is at work.”
“So soon,” Schopenhauer says, “as sympathy is awakened the dividing line which separates one being from another is effaced. The welfare and misfortunes of another are to the sympathizer as his own, his distress speaks to him and the suffering is shared in common.”
Saltus continues, “Meanwhile this phenomenon, which he sees to be of almost daily occurrence, is yet one which reason cannot explain. All, even the most hard-hearted, have experienced it, and they have done so very often intuitively and to their own great surprise. Men, for instance, risk their lives spontaneously, without possible hope of gain or applause, for a total stranger. It is pity, then, according to Schopenhauer, which is the base of every action that has a true moral value. ‘Indeed,’ he says, ‘the soundest, the surest guarantee of morality is the compassionate sympathy that unites us with everything that lives.’”
Immanual Kant is considered the primary theorist of Western aesthetics. Schopenhauer acknowledges this but finds Kant’s categories unnecessary. Authenticity is my primary concern. Since so much of what takes place in our machine world requires us to play roles assigned to us, my participation becomes problematic. I am too authentic to function as a tool. I perform tasks, but I do not internalize the identity. I can clean toilets, but I don’t internalize the role of “janitor.” I can write code, but I don’t internalize the role of geek or code-monkey.
I’m not writing a novel. I’m living a story, as are we all. I jot things down for me, so as to get a grip on this chaos we call reality. I see the county jail guards, the judges, their prosecutors and public pretenders, the social workers, the nurses, and I see Planet of the Apes, where just who is who and what is what is not clear. Who knows who anyone is underneath their costume?
The presence which makes wise-ass remarks from deep within the privacy of my imagination is what those who wish to manipulate, manage, and control us would call The Devil or even the disease or symptoms of mental illness. The least denigrating label is The Devil – almost an accidental complement. I prefer the more psychologically sophisticated direction Hermann Hesse was moving in when he referred to this hidden grouchy beast as The Steppenwolf or simply the wolf.
My primitive need to be loved is not being met, and I really may have had enough. I feel great despair. I don’t want to pretend to be able to make sense of this life we are living. No need to put up a “good show.”
Spanish and English are European languages. Benjamin Lee Whorf has the roots of the Mayan and Aztec language system. It may be time to investigate this for real. Mainstream Amerika has underestimated the People they call “day laborers.” These are the Aztecs and Mayans and Incas of the Americas. It is so deep that I must confess, the only time I am relaxed enough to even attempt to wrap my mind around it is when I myself am intoxicated/inebriated. This presents a bit of a dilemma.
Wall Street occupied since the 17th. The media is ignoring it. Meanwhile in Historic Freehold, we just occupied some benches on Court Street in front of the Hall of Records since none of us wanted to risk having our tender craniums smashed with billy clubs. Besides that, we were all broke, you know, economic house-arrest, or, Economic Apartied, as some of us call this “living on government relief,” i.e., Social Insecurity. I’ve been “occupied” keeping abreast of the occupation of Wall Street by radical anitcapitalist youth.
I had an opportunity to research sabotage. Think about this word, ‘sabotage’. Notice how the word, sabotage, doesn’t have the connotations of the word, ‘terrorism’.
sabotage – /sb – tazh/ – 1. destruction of property or obstruction of normal operations, as by civilians or enemy agents in times of war. 2. Treacherous action to defeat or hinder a cause or an endeavor; deliberate subversion.
We need to become saboteurs in some way – to stifle the effectiveness of the mass control system without being held responsible and punished. We need not be martyrs, nor need our efforts be violent, but simple non-compliance will never be enough. That is handing the other side victory. They want dissenters to settle on simple non-compliance. How this resistance should take form, we still haven’t figured out. Maybe we never will. (“Blaze”)
Maybe there are hints in Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces.
Jones spread the newspaper. “Whoa!” he said to Mr. Watson. “You sure give me a good idea with all this sabotage crap.
Now I sabotage myself right back to bein’ a vagran. Hey!”
“It look like this sabotage go off like a nuclear bum.”
“That fat freak guarentee one hunner percen nuclear bum. Shit. Drop him on somebody, everybody gettin caught in the fallout, gettin their ass blowed up. Ooo-wee …”
There’s a big clue on page two oh two. Sabotage: a cook adding too much pepper in the soup, a kid in the supermarket dropping too many eggs, a parking lot attendant slipping on oil crashing into a fence …
There was nothing in the newspapers about Occupy Wall Street. This phenomenon – that the people can be completely ignored by all the media gorts and the gort celebrities – is creepy. It’s creeping me out.
One of the reasons I walk outdoors so much is because I try to induce a poetic mood. Music helps me to “profound-ify” my emotional apparatus. This cannot be taught. Emotional intelligence cannot be taught. It can only be learned. Can one drummer help another drummer find their own beat? I doubt it.
I am prepared to bring my complaints to court. While I will be accused of disorderly conduct, I will be accusing the baboons with car keys with disorderly conduct. I will suggest two speed bumps, one on either side of the walk-ways across Main and Throckmorton Streets. The Borough seems to have had enough money for fancy Red Bank like sidewalks, but not enough intelligence for speed bumps and “Yield To Pedestrians” signs.
Memories of people singing in the air-conditioned dungeon (county jail) inspires me to reach deeper down for hidden joy. Music and song are a hidden resource on a heroic journey. Now, people in cities across the nation are joining the Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York City.
One imagines others just becoming overcome with dread upon considering the perplexity of their situation. The occupation of Wall Street draws attention to an anti-capitalist fever surging through a radicalized generation of disgruntled youth. The sites of protest will have to follow the money. There are reasons to end the wars. These are illegal wars. The world is focused on global revolution. As always we think globally and act locally since all politics is local politics.
Neither Socrates or Plato challenged the institution of slavery, yet Schopenhauer condemned it in no uncertain terms, referring to the founding fathers of the United States of America as “devils in human form” – and to the USA as “The Slave States.” It’s no wonder that everyone knows of Jesus of Nazareth and Mohommed, but so few know of Schopenhauer. Truth be told, Christianity and Islam are both “slave religions,” after all. Don’t shoot the messenger.
Socrates was wrong when he said that he had nothing to learn from the woods, that he could only learn in conversation with other men in town. There is a wider community of intelligence which beckons us. This is why I walk to a place outdoors where I can read in the sunshine, whenever there is sunshine, that is. I also walk in the rain and snow. When there is sunshine, and I am reading outdoors, I often catch myself closing the notebook. What is it that compels me to close the notebook and move my attention away from alphabetic language? The wind, the air? This is psyche. This is presence.
When I write, “being in presence with her” rather than “being in her presence,” I am using this seemingly incorrect grammar intentionally. When I was in high school, we were made to say a prayer before class began. It began with, “Let us remember we are IN the PRESENCE of God.” One radical Teacher made a subtle change. In his classes (Philosophy and English Literature), we would say, “Let us remember we ARE the presence of God.” We simply removed the word ‘in’ to alter the meaning of the prayer. We changed the prayer into an incantation just by removing one little word.
“Sentience was never our private possession. We live immersed in intelligence, enveloped and informed by a creativity we cannot fathom.” (Abrams 2010)
Imagination. I am not pretending to BE a creature. I AM a creature. TV Land and Hollywood conspire to present life as a cold-hearted struggle where the ruthless fair well and the kind get eaten alive. This conspiracy is challenged when confronted with a coherent individual who has developed a strong sense of its own Natural Power. As Francis Bonaventure said, “True strength is gentle.”
This phenomenon can be observed when we see a large female gorilla handling a fragile kitten.
“The observation by indigenous peoples that there exists particular individuals – among other animals as well as our own two-legged kind – who are in a strangely different league from their peers has led some native traditions to posit there exists an entirely different species to which such individuals belong …”
“This is the class of those who are recognized, when they’re in human form, as shamans, as sorcerers.”
The very last section of Abram’s Becoming Animal mentions Maurice Merleau-Ponty: “Some of the explorations in this book drew their impetus from investigations undertaken in the mid-twentieth century by the French philosopher and phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty; I remain indebited to his ethical and engaged thinking.”
Incidentally, I have to say the same about David Abram.
My search for deeper understanding leads me to a similar conclusion as the Polish thinker, Korzybski (Non-Aristotlian General Semantics), where he proposes the term organism-as-a-whole-in-environments. I use a similar term: Being-in-Environs.
It is misleading for cognitive scientists to focus solely upon the human body in isolation from the larger matrix of the Natural World. Sentience is not an attribute of a body in isolation. Abram points out that the word ‘idea’ and the word ‘species’ were once synonymous terms – one Greek, the other Latin, for the same phenomenon! Both derive their meaning from a single Greek term, ‘eidos’, which means “the visible look or outward form of a thing.” The word ‘idea’ was simply the feminine form of the word ‘eidos’. It was Aristotle’s usage of Plato’s term ‘idea’ that was precisely translated into Latin by the word ‘species’ – a term that originally signified, like the Greek word ‘idea’, the outward form or “look” of any entity.
(IDEA === SPECIES) —> “a collective group or set of individuals or elements that share a common form.
The word ‘species’ has retained much of its earthly meaning while the word ‘idea’ reverted to its more ephemeral Platonic meaning, as immaterial image or thought pondered by the mind. Note that Schopenhauer starts his magnum opus with the statement that, “The world is my idea, my representation “ – an imaginary dream-like thought. The forms that we call “species” were once experienced as presences entirely akin to “ideas.” this is because ideas were then held to have a much more independent and impersonal reality than they do in our time. Today, ideas appear to have lost much of their universal transcendent character.
“Like thoughts, notions, and insights, ‘ideas’ are now assumed to be the mostly private ephemera of an individual mind, inhabitants of an interior zone of reflection that is unique to each person.” (Abram 2010)
“Species” has lost all apparent association with the intellect. Again, I can’t resist pointing out that Schopenhauer proposed that matter and intellect were different sides of the same coin. It’s all ENERGY. Species seem to be entirely objective aspects of the so-called external material world (ENVIRONS). Hence, the clear distinction between inner and outer worlds is confounded (mixed up). There is a definite resonance between thought and the earthly terrain. Is this why we tend to think more clearly when outdoors? There is something about the psyche that exceeds us and overflows all our knowings, confounding every notion of mind as a self-contained space within our head. We intuitively reject any notion of a mind-body duality. Descartes was wrong. Aristotle was wrong. So many wrong assumptions at the foundation of this culture-of-make-believe! No wonder it’s on shaky ground. Schopenhauer informs us that there is no wrapping our heads around this riddle: the world is in my head, but my head is in the world.
Is David Abram pushing beyond the limits of reason when he asks, “What if mind is not ours, but is Earth’s? What if mind, if rightly understood, is not a special property of humankind, but is, rather, a property of the Earth itself – a power in which we are all carnally immersed?”
“What if there is, yes, a quality of inwardness to the mind, not because the mind is located inside us (inside our body or brain), but because we are situated, bodily, inside it – because our lives and our thoughts unfold in the depths of a mind that is not really ours, but is rather the Earth’s?”
The air itself is AWARE! The ENVIRONS possesses AWARENESS, CONSCIOUSNESS.
The brain is an introjected Earth where something outside oneself is replicated within.
Is the unseen air that enfolds us, and circulates through us, the very stuff of awareness?
“Sentience was never our private possession. We live immersed in intelligence, enveloped and informed by a creativity we cannot fathom.”
Ask anyone who works outdoors or spends a lot of time outdoors or walks – we know, we feel in our bones when the weather is going to change. When the tsunami hits, all the local wildlife will have evacuated long before it arrives. People would be wise to pay attention to their animal friends, what we call “pets” – for they are sentient life forms whose senses are not as atrophied as ours have become.
Wind is moodiness personified. This is why those of us classified as having “mood disorders” are so affected by the weather systems. Maybe the weather itself is actually affected by our moods.
As I go through this section of notes, I realize that I included much of this material in an essay called Animism and the Sacred Winds. Maybe I will just insert that here.
ANIMISM AND THE SACRED WINDS
Most of what is written in the essay, Animism and The Sacred Winds was taken directly from David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous, circa 1996, whereas the quotes which preceded it are from Becoming Animal, circa 2010.
Alphabetic writing had tremendous influence upon the emergence of the concepts of homogeneous “space” and linear “time.” Oral cultures had no concept of “linear time” – for a time that is cyclical, or circular, is just as much spatial as it is temporal. Schopenhauer made clear that time and space are two sides of the same coin, that one cannot define one without reference to the other, and so are the same – part of the mental apparatus of the nervous system.
In the oral universe, there is no distinction of space and time at all. Unlike a straight line, a circle demarcates and encloses a spatial field. The Lakota define the year as a circle around the border of the world. The circle is both the symbol of the earth (with its encircling horizons) and the symbol of time. The changes of sunup and sundown around the horizon during the course of the year delineate the contours of time, time as part of space.
Navajo experience calls for a complex notion of space-time or “time-space” rather than clearly distinct concepts of one dimensional time and three dimensional space. Benjamin Lee Whorf discovered a similar situation in his analysis of the Hopi language.
Whorf found no analog, in the Hopi language, to the linear, sequential, uniformly flowing time that Western civilization takes for granted. Whorf found no references to any independent temporal dimension of reality. The language of the Hopi belongs to the Uto-Aztecan family of languages. The neighboring Navajo speak an Athapaskan language.
Navajo language also seems to maintain a broad notion of the influence of human desire and imagination upon a continually emergent world, a notion very analogous to that found by Whorf among the Hopi. (Abram 1996)
Existence should be understood as a continuous manifestation. So where did this “focus on history” come from? What we know of as “history” is only 0.1% of our lived-story. 99.9% of the story is prehistoric.
Writing is a necessary condition for the belief in an entirely distinct space and time.
According to Mircea Eliade, the ancient Hebrews were the first people to “discover” a linear, nonrepeating mode of time. The Hebrews are the first alphabetic culture we know of, the first “People of the Book.”
At the time when the written commandments were revealed by YHWH, about 3200 years ago, at the time of the exodus from Egypt, the 22 letter consonantal aleph-beth was coming into use in the area of Canaan, or Palestine.
The new recognition of NONMYTHOLOGICAL, nonrepeating time by the Hebrew scribes can only be comprehended with reference to alphabetic writing itself. The variously scribed layers of the Hebrew bible are the first sustained record of this new sensibility (linear time and three dimensional space).
The ancient aleph-beth, as the first thoroughly phonetic writing system, prioritized the human voice. The increasingly literate Israelites found themselves caught up in a vital relationship with an all powerful human voice. It was a voice that preceded and outlasted every individual life. The written text became a portable homeland for the Hebrew people. Many of the stories are about displacement and exile. (Abram 1996)
The Hebrews were the first real caretakers of this great and difficult magic – alphabetic literacy.
The pain, the sadness of this exile, is precisely the trace of what has been lost – FORGOTTEN INTIMACY.
It seems as though the Greeks may have further objectified space and time into distinct dimensions. Time becomes inseparable from number and sequence. The thorough differentiation of “time” from “space” was impossible so long as large portions of the populace still experienced the surrounding terrain as animate and alive.
The burning of tens of thousands of women (most of them herbalists from peasant backgrounds) as “witches” during the 16th and 17th centuries may be understood as the nearly successful extermination of the last orally preserved traditions of Europe in order to clear the way for the dominion of alphabetic reason over a natural world increasingly construed as a passive and mechanical set of objects. (Abram 1996)
In 1781, Immanual Kant, in his Critique of Pure Reason, agreed with Newton that time and space were absolute, that they were independent of any objects. However, these distinct dimensions did not belong to the surrounding world as it exists in itself, but were necessary forms of human awareness, the two forms by which the human mind structures the things it perceives.
Kant actually hardwires space and time into the structure of our wetware. Is there no escape for us? How do we dig our way out of this? How to get disentangled from this web of reason within our own thought processes?
JACOB’S LADDER: “The only way up is down.”
John Fire Lame Deer: “Let us become like stones, plants, and trees. Let us be animals, think and feel like animals. Listen to the air. You can hear it, feel it, smell it, taste it.
Woniya wakan – the holy air – which renews all by its breath. Wo-ni-ya, woniya wakan – spirit, life, breath, renewal – it means all that.
Woniya – we sit together, don’t touch, but something is there; we feel it between us, as a presence. A good way to start thinking about nature, talk about it. Rather talk to it, talk to the rivers, to the lakes, to the winds as to our relatives.”
We may very well have to psychologically and spiritually “step out” of alphabetic civilization in order to alter our mode of experience. May we continue to work on our own personal “instruction manuals” on how to develop fully human (and nonhuman) powers of perception, field guides for “escaping from Taker Prison.” Of course, the most important “instruction manual” will be the invisible one made of “air” or “mind.” As animals, we transcend our sociologically constructed identities and become one with our breathing bodies, one with angry polluted earth, air, and waters.
This intellectual adventure leads us outside of our alphabetic heritage into deeper waters where the air, the wind, and the breath are aspects of a singularly sacred power. For oral peoples (that’s all of our ancestors), the air is the archetype for all that is unknowable yet undeniably real. Air is tied to breath and to spoken word.
For the Lakota Nation, the most sacred or wakan aspect of Wakan Tanka, the Great Mysterious (in English, sometimes addressed as the Great Spirit), is Taku Skanskan, the Enveloping Sky – known to the shamans as simply Skan.
We, and everything around us (rocks, leaves, other people), are crystallizations of conscious awareness. Western science calls this creative but unseen realm from which conscious forms arise “the unconscious.” It is the source of all psychology and psychoanalysis. It is the invisible medium between entities.
The Navajo identification of awareness with the air – their intuition that PSYCHE is not an immaterial power that resides inside us, but is rather the invisible yet thoroughly palpable medium in which we (along with trees, the squirrels, and the clouds) are immersed must seem bizarre, even outrageous, to persons of European ancestry.
Yet a little etymological research reveals the English term psyche – together with its modern offsprings “psychology,” “psychiatry,” and “psychotherapy” – is derived from the ancient Greek word psyche, which signified not merely the “soul,” or the “mind,” but also “breath,” or “a gust of wind.” The Greek noun was derived from the verb psychein, which meant “to breath.”
The word “spirit” itself is directly related to the bodily term “respiration” through their common Latin root word spiritus, which signified both “breath” and “wind.”
The Latin word for “soul,” anima – from whence have evolved such English terms as “animal,” “animation,” “animism,” and “unanimous” (being of one mind, or one soul), also signified “air” and “breath.”
Anima, like psyche, originally named an elemental phenomenon that somehow comprised both what we now call “the air” and what we now term “the soul.” The more specific Latin word animus, which signified “that which thinks in us,” was derived from the same “airy” root, anima, itself derived from the older Greek term anemos, meaning “wind.”
We find identical association of the “mind” with the “wind” in many ancient languages. The word “atmosphere” has ancestral ties to the Sanskrit word atman, which signified “soul” as well as the “air” and the “breath.”
For ancient Mediterranean cultures no less than for the Lakota and the Navajo, the air was once a singularly sacred presence. As the experiential source of both psyche and spirit, it would seem that the air was once felt to be the very matter of awareness, the subtle body of the mind.
How did air come to lose its psychological quality?
Abram breathes life into philosophy, proving that the unutterable need not be the unthinkable.
He explains “the forgetting of the air” by taking us inside a circle not normally exposed to the unannointed. In this way, he makes quantum leaps, inviting universal understanding as members of this magical and warped species of ours. We are entangled in a great web together.
Like many ancient languages, Hebrew has a single word for both “spirit” and “wind” – ruach. We tend to view ancient Hebraic culture through the lens of Greek and Christian thought; (Abrams) “even Jewish scholarship, and much contemporary Jewish self-understanding has been influenced and informed by centuries of Hellenistic and Christian interpretation.”
“It is thus that many persons today associate the ancient Hebrews with such anachronistic notions as the belief in an otherwordly heaven and hell, or a faith in the immateriality and immortality of the personal soul. Yet dualistic notions have no real place in the Hebrew Bible.”
We do know that the Ancient Hebrews were among the first communities to make sustained use of phonetic writing – the first bearers of an alphabet. Unlike other Semitic peoples, they did not restrict their use of the alphabet to economic and political record keeping, but used it to record ancestral stories, traditions, and laws.
They were perhaps the first nation to so thoroughly shift their sensory participation away from the forms of surrounding nature to a purely phonetic set of signs, and so to experience the profound epistemological independence from the natural environment that was made possible by this potent new technology. To actively participate with the visible forms of nature became idolatry by the ancient Hebrews; it was not the land but the written letters that now carried the ancestral wisdom. (Abram 1996)
Although the Hebrews renounced animism, they retained a participatory relationship with the wind and the breath – the relationship is inferred from the structure of the Hebrew writing system.
In contrast to its “European” derivatives, the aleph-beth had no letters for “vowels.” The 22 letters of the Hebrew aleph-beth are all consonants. In order to read a text written in traditional Hebrew, one had to INFER the appropriate “vowel sounds” from the CONSONANTAL CONTEXT, and add them when sounding out the written syllables.
The vowels are nothing other than sounded breath.
The breath, for the ancient Semites, was the very mystery of life and awareness, a mystery inseparable from the invisible ruach – the holy wind, the holy spirit.
The avoidance of vowel notation marks a profound difference between the ancient Semitic aleph-beth and the subsequent European alphabets.
[Abram about how one goes about reading traditional Hebrew text]
“The reader must actively respond to the Torah, must bring his own individual creativity into dialogue with the teachings in order to reveal new and unsuspected nuances.”
Some people read the numerical patterns. Most scripted symbols have in and of themselves some original symbolic meaning, but the beholder draws out the meaning necessary at that moment. The I Ching works that way – and the Runes …
The true manner of pronouncing the Tetragrammaton, the four letter name, YHWH, often written in non-Hebrew texts as Yahweh, is said to have been forgotten.
This leads us to an answer to our question, how did air lose its psychological quality?
Some esoteric traditions of Jewish mysticism consider each letter of the aleph-beth to be alive. This is much closer to the way the tribal peoples of Northern Europe, who worshipped the spirits of the forests, air, and waters, were implementing their “runes.”
The most holy of God’s names, the four letter Tetragrammaton, is composed of the most breath-like consonants in the Hebrew aleph-beth (the same three letters, Y, H, and W, that were sometimes used by ancient scribes to stand in for particular vowels).
Abram is a trip:
“Some contemporary students of Kabbalah suggest that the forgotten pronunciation of the name may have entailed forming the first syllable, “Y-H,” on the whispered inbreath, and the second syllable, “W-H,” on the whispered outbreath – the whole name thus forming a single cycle of the breath.”
Is the mystery invoked by the Tetragrammaton the same mystery that breaths our bodies? Breathing connects our being to the atmosphere we are inseparable from.
Breathing binds us to the invisible!
How have we come to forget the spirit of the air?
On the journey across the Mediterranean, on the journey to Greece, the letters of the aleph-beth left behind their ties to “the enveloping life-world.” The alpha-beth became a much more abstract set of symbols. The Greek scribes introduced vowels. The resulting alphabet was a different kind of tool from its earlier Semitic incarnation.
Text had lost its ambiguity and mystery, leaving less for creative imagination to interpret. There is one correct way to read it. Active interpretation is not invited. There is no longer any choice about which vowels to insert. By using visible characters to represent the sounded breath, the Greeks effectively DESACRALIZED the breath and the air.
By giving form to the invisible, they nullified the mysteriousness of the enveloping atmosphere. The alphabet met with resistance: The Milesian philosopher Anaximenes asserted, “As the psyche, being air, holds a man together and gives him life, so breath and air hold together the entire universe and give it life.”
Not two centuries later, Plato and Socrates were able to co-opt the term psyche, which for Anaximenes was associated with the breath and the air. Plato used the term psyche to indicate something not just invisible but utterly intangible. The psyche was now a thoroughly abstract phenomenon enclosed within the physical body as in a prison.
Plato’s transcendent realm of eternal “Ideas” was itself dependent upon the new affinity between the literate intellect and the visible letters (and words) of the alphabet. Plato’s realm of pure bodiless Ideas was incorporeal, connected to the rational psyche much as the earlier, breath-like psyche was joined to the atmosphere.
Unlike the Hebrew Bible, the Christian New Testament was originally written primarily in the Greek alphabet.
And wherever the alphabet advanced, it proceeded by dispelling the air of ghosts and invisible influences – by stripping the air of its anima, its psychic depth.
In the oral, animistic world of pre-Christian and peasant Europe, all things – animals, forests, rivers, and caves – had the power of expressive speech, and the primary medium of this collective discourse was the air.
Spontaneous sounds were inseparable from the exhaled breath. The spread of Christianity was dependent upon the spread of the alphabet. Only by training the senses to participate with the written word could one hope to break their spontaneous participation with the animate terrain.
Only as the written text began to speak would the voices of the forest, and of the river, begin to fade. And only then would language loosen its ancient association with the invisible breath, the spirit sever itself from the wind, the psyche dissociate itself from the environing air.
We live in a matrix of political, economic, and civilizational forces struggling to maintain themselves largely at the expense of the animate earth.
Internet persona, Naturyl, may be on point when he claims I am living the life of some protagonist in a classic existentialist novel who encounters difficulties in society simply by being himself. I feel akin to Dostoevsky’s Prince Myshkin (The Idiot) and even a little like Raskolnikov, the “former student,” from Crime and Punishment. And yet, I am NOT a fictional character in some existentialist novel, but an actual living man, a real breathing animal-creature with blood running through my veins. I am alive neither to entertain nor to instruct, but simply to be.
Life is science-fiction. So much that we experience as reality goes on in this so-called inner realm. We call it “psychological” or “spiritual” and even “intellectual.” Anger is a much healthier and less pathological response than depression. When feeling strong, I rebel. Were I feeling weak, I might succumb to having my spirit eaten by those who think me at their mercy.
Last night the Puerto Rican Family next door (Freehold) was singing up a storm. Wow. I did not feel alienated but rather honored to witness it. It had the feel of Hesse’s Steppenwolf, where I am Harry Hallar. Maybe I ought to change my ID to Broken Spanish.
I want to take some crucial excerpts from the Conclusion of David Abram’s Becoming Animal. It addresses a few worldviews dominating my contemporaries. I also want it to be noted that I have been paying attention.
“If much natural science of the last two centuries held itself aloof from the nature it studied, pondering the material world as though that world were a huge aggregate of inert objects and mechanical events, many new age spiritualities simply abandon material nature entirely, inviting their adherents to focus their intuitions upon non-material energies and disincarnate beings assumed to operate in an a-physical dimension, pulling the strings of our apparent reality and arranging earthly events according to an order that is elsewhere, behind the scenes. Commonly reckoned to be at odds with one another, conventional over-reductive science and most new age spiritualities fortify one another in their detachment from the earth, one of them reducing sensible nature to an object with scant room for sentience and creativity, the other projecting all creativity into a spiritual dimension beyond all bodily ken.”
“A similar alliance, unsuspected by those most caught within it, may be found in the contemporary ideological battle between the advocates of creationism (or, as many currently frame themselves, the proponents of “intelligent design”) and the neo-Darwinian dogmatists of the ‘new atheism’.”
“The scientific intellect, which sometimes prides itself on having vanquished the belief in God from much of the rational populace, regularly situates its gaze in the very place (or, rather, the very same NON-PLACE) recently vacated by that God. For, it affects the same external, all-seeing perspective, the same view from nowhere enjoyed by that divinity. The most assertive new atheists unwittingly rely, in this sense, upon the very same monotheistic assumptions that they ostensibly oppose.”
I am aware that these excerpts are extensive, but I find these concluding insights very helpful in deepening my understanding of just what rubs me the wrong way about most of the prevailing worldviews of my “contemporaries.”
“The hyper-rational objectivity behind a great deal of contemporary techno-science could only have arisen in a civilization steeped in a dogmatic and other-worldly monotheism, for it is largely a continuation of the very same detached and derogatory relation to sensuous nature. If in an earlier era we spoke of the earthly world as fallen, sinful, and demonic, we now speak of it as mostly inert, mechanical and determinate. In both instances nature is stripped of its generosity and prodigious creativity.”
Note: prodigious – 1. a. obs: being an omen; b. archaic: STRANGE, UNUSUAL
2. exciting amazement or wonder; 3. extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree: ENORMOUS
syn – see MONSTROUS
Abram continues: “Similarly, the utopian technological dreaming that would have us bioengineer our way into a new ‘more perfected’ nature (or would have us download human consciousness into ‘better hardware’), like the new age wish to spiritually transcend the ‘physical plane’ entirely, seems calculated to help us hide from the shadowed wonder and wildness of earthly existence.”
“Most of our contemporary convictions carefully divert us from a felt sense that this wild flowering earth is the primary source of itself, the very well-spring of its own ongoing regenisis.”
These convictions divert us from recognizing that nature is self-born, that nature belongs to itself. The Natives of Turtle Island say, “The Earth does not belong to man, that man belongs to the Earth.”
I say, “Modern man views the Earth as natural resources, and that the Earth views modern man as a cancer.”
Before he died, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. said that man is cancer with a conscience.
Back to David Abram: “It is as though what is deeper down below is best not pondered at all, lest we fall under its infernal influence. For, is not that deep down place the terrible locus of Hell, the very dwelling of Satan and the fiery source of all that’s evil?”
“Dismissing our felt experience, we sacrificed much of our animal empathy, forfeiting the implicit sustenance we’d always drawn from that empathy.”
“There are those who are not frightened of grief; dropping deep into the sorrow, they find therein a necessary elixir to the numbness. When they encounter one another, when they press their foreheads against the bark of a centuries-old tree … their eyes well with tears that fall easily to the ground. The soil needs this water. Grief is but a gate, and our tears a kind of key opening a place of wonder that’s been locked away. Suddenly we notice the sustaining resonance between the drumming heart within our chest and the pulse rising from under the ground.”
—— x ——- x ——- x
When Aldous Huxley was visiting the United States way back in the 1930′s while he was writing Brave New World, he was frightened by its mass consumerism and its group mentality and its vulgarities. I recently heard similar comments made by the musician-artist-poet from Iceland, Bjork.
Totally unrelated, when Schopenhauer was 43 years old, about my current age in 2011, he was attracted to and tried to seduce a young 17 year old woman. She was repelled by “old Schopenhauer.” Keep this in mind when yearning for a woman.
I realize that, while many say I am crazy, there are others, like “31” and Charlie (The Book Man) from the county jail, know me as a free-spirit. Hell, the Rastaman called me a Rasta, an “original thinker” even! Reading over my scribblings from the air-conditioned dungeon gives me a greater appreciation for my identity as a genuine philosopher. What purpose does a philosopher or thinker serve? We shall see …
I am gaining confidence in my Energy-Field, even to the point where I can mentally and emotionally face down the meritocracy of this science-fiction society of banks, jails, automobiles, churches, schools, factories, farms, and mass-hypnosis …
For someone who is supposedly so-called “unemployed,” I sure feel busy, busy, busy …