People in North America should learn a thing or two from the French, who, when pushed around by the rulers … well, they just quit fucking working. (The Coming Insurrection)
“He who is hated by the people as a wolf is by the dogs: he is the free spirit, the enemy of fetters, the non-worshiper, the dweller in the woods.” ~ Nietzsche (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
Here I am in “the land of the free,” trapped in a psychiatric ward with no rights to sign myself out: committed due to something I may have said over the telephone while the police were banging on my door and flashing their lights through my windows.
In Hocus Pocus, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., he has the protagonist write a book from inside a prison by writing on any piece of scrap paper he can get his paws on. There are pencils and scrap paper here, so I will continue with my mysterious scribblings. I had been discharged on the 15th only to be dragged back to the hospital on the 17th. I had just enough time to pay rent, fines, and bills, throw away stale food, purchase new food, and do my laundry. Now I am back in a psychiatric ward, this time at Jersey Shore in Neptune rather than Barnabas Behavioral Health in Toms River.
My tenacity is helping me cope with being at the mercy of The Powers That Be. While there are several novels on the wing, I am more content to scribble my own “philosophical autobiography” during the “down time.” Rather than becoming overwhelmed with this current situation, I will immediately search for a place to live in Monmouth County upon my release. I want to find a place away from major highways, away from so much traffic, away from all the shopping centers. I just need to be close to a library even though the books I am drawn to are not to be found in public libraries. It’s still kind of exciting, in a Lovecraftian Charles Dextor Ward kind of way, to search manically for some subversive literature hiding on the shelves.
I will focus on the small but obscure collection I have: Schopenhauer, Cioran, H.P Lovecraft, Kafka, and Thomas Ligotti. As soon as I am discharged I will track down a copy of Roland Topor’s The Tenant so as to read it while I am experiencing a similar reality in my day to day existence.
I’ve been “targeted” for a continuation of my “psychiatric treatment.” Welcome to the New World Order, like Levin’s This Perfect Day with its enforced medications and coercion into “treatment centers.”
One survival issue at a time: presently, I am in diaspora mode, nomad mode. Last time I was placed in a psychiatric ward, back in December, a hypermanic dude suggested I write a cosmic horror novel about the medical-industrial-prison complex. I figure I can just write what actually happened in everyday life. That should be horror enough, considering what happens to those of us who resist the status quo, those of us who are living protests in the flesh against systematic stupidity and the idiotic norms of mass-industrial society.
How the story will unfold is a mystery to me as I do not know what I am going to do until I do it. Neither can I predict events beyond my control such as global weather patterns and the world economy. Be ready. While I had some fun boozing it up, jamming to music, and creating crazy comedy routines and political diatribes on my recorder, being dragged to the mental hospital three times in the past three months is not a lifestyle I want to become acclimated to. I will have to walk on eggshells and abstain from alcohol for several months in order to transport my notebooks and what not to storage before handing in my keys. I will not stay in an apartment complex where I feel I am under constant surveillance. I am sure that certain neighbors want to see me leave anyway. I really do have to settle down.
Even were I to become ultra-quiet in order to fit into the oppressively silent building, I never really cared for living off of route 70 down in Brick anyway. The people in the area are kind enough, for sure, but the environment is spiritually bankrupt. It’s not anybody’s fault, not even my fault, but public life is quite thin and vacuous in this area. I am evidently not too content here as I spent at least 10 days in psychiatric detention in December, another 17 days in the first part of February, then after being out for only two and a half days, right back in psychiatric detention for further observation. Psychiatric Police State?
When I finally get released again, I certainly will not experience a sense of freedom, but will most definitely feel the open-air prison ambiance. I will type up this pig shit that I am scribbling now. Why? To have it on public record for my brothers and sisters who are also caught in the web of our surveillance society, so that the few who are resisting might be comforted knowing that their crises are systematic.
Observe how this unfolds. I want to write about how I actually feel, not about how the zoo-keepers want me to feel. How are we supposed to get to the bottom of what really ails us if we just parrot “positive psychology” and the mantra of “powerlessness” and “addiction”? These crises will lead me to the conclusion that I have to start over somewhere else, this time with the awareness that we are expected to roll over and play dead. As long as I am dependent upon government assistance for sustenance and shelter, I will have to put a leash on the wilderness within.
Shall one watch what one writes and talks about in a psychiatric ward? If we conceal and censor our deepest thoughts and feelings, doesn’t this amount to suppression and role playing? Why are our true feelings systematically silenced? Why are we encouraged to repress our “negative” thoughts? Why does the mental health industry enforce conformity and discourage revolt against the status quo? What is going on with the mental health industry today? Why are psychiatrists and mental health “associates” given so much authority when it comes to such sensitive and personal areas such as one’s own philosophy of life?
How few professionals have actually read Robert Pirsig’s Lila? Of course this society starts to appear very creepy when one experiences these realities first hand! Pirsig had suggested that if you want to change society, save the police and psychiatrists for last. The best way to handle cops and shrinks is to avoid them. Sometimes we cannot avoid them. Sometimes we draw attention to ourselves with our “erratic” behavior. Most of the time, the largest nail gets hit with the hammer. By now I should have learned that my behavior becomes unpredictable when I am intoxicated. On this I have no choice but to agree with the psychiatrists (and even the police). Before I can do anything about how the environment is being abused, I have to seriously consider how I am abusing my own animal body first.
I sure do enjoy listening to music and singing while drinking, but this ritual of escape is bringing too much unwanted attention to me. It may be that time in my life to calm down … a little maturing is necessary or else I am going to end up perpetually institutionalized. Only humor can save me now.
When asked, “What will prevent me from returning to the psychiatric hospital?” I answered, “the collapse of civilization.”
Hardy harr harr.
Before turning in my keys this time, I want to see about storing my notebooks, the big clunker desktop computer, a couple chairs, inflatable mattress, kitchen supplies, and some books … Last time I moved in 2012 out of Freehold Barrio with a broken leg, I abandoned everything, and while living at this current residence, I finally got my hands on my notebooks from 1987 to the present, minus the twenty or so I left out West. There are 164 volumes, and I am not quite prepared to destroy them even though they are filled with tons of pig shit. When I moved to Brick, I was looking for a place close to my aging mother, a place I could store my notebooks, go through them, and type up a string of excerpts. I have accomplished that goal.
I will not be transformed into a twelve-step automaton. I can put a cork in the bottle while remaining an extremist nonconformist.
This is not the first time I have been corralled from one section of the zoo to another.
The current medical-industrial complex we live in today is the one envisioned by Reagan and Thatcher. It has been given more authority due to the escalation of murderous rampages by people deemed to have serious emotional and mental disorders.
I am reading Chuck Pahalnuick’s Fight Club on a psychiatric wing of a hospital. Funny?
“I never returned to the doctor. I never chewed valarian root. This was freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.”
“This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.”
“Sometimes you wake up and have to ask where you are.”
“Deliver me from Swedish furniture.
Deliver me from clever art.
May I never be content.
May I never be complete.”
“Maybe self-improvement isn’t the answer. Maybe self-destruction is the answer.”
“I shouldn’t just abandon money and property and knowledge. This isn’t just a weekend retreat. I should run from self-improvement, and I should be running toward disaster.”
Without rental assistance, I would not be able to afford an apartment. It is clear that, when inebriated, I am a difficult individual to live with or near. As long as I live in close proximity of other people, I really do have to calm down – this means I have to abstain from alcoholic oblivion since this makes me vulnerable to arrest or psychiatric detention. It also puts my rental assistance at risk!
I am not exactly free to just do whatever the hell I feel like doing. No shit. I get it.
Somewhere along the journey of life I have developed the capacity for dealing with uncertainty, crisis, and the unknown.
“Nothing is static. Everything is falling apart.”
Life has proven to be one crisis after another. Police round up the denizens of the industrialized world for erratic behavior, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, wandering aimlessly, and even babbling incoherently. Perhaps they have found it easier to dump folks of all ages at the emergency room for psychiatric evaluation. This is the New World Order. It is what it is. People, be ready. Don’t say Mikey didn’t give you all the heads up. We’re all on the Indian Reservation now. We’re all in the Taker Prison, the Open Air Zoo. Bizarroland. Science-fiction. Cosmic Horror.
People can dial 9-1-1 just because they think someone is “acting weird.”
One 20 year old kid is in here for asking someone for a cigarette. He still hasn’t gotten a cigarette.
“It’s Project Mayhem that’s going to save the world. A cultural ice age. A prematurely induced dark age. Project Mayhem will force humanity to go dormant or into remission long enough for the Earth to recover.”
“You justify anarchy. You figure it out.”
“This was the goal of Project Mayhem: the complete and right-away destruction of civilization.”
“One thing I’ll have to learn before the destruction of civilization is how to look at the stars and tell where I’m going.”
“We are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that someday we’ll be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re just learning this fact,” Tyler said. “So don’t fuck with us.”
The chicana is singing again this morning. The staff harasses her to be quiet. Other inmates/patients harass her to be quiet. I encourage her to sing. She too is being suffocated by rules and social norms. My sister visited me and told me she also has been writing diaries for many years, and that she is considering burning them all because nobody can understand anyone else. Who are these diaries for but ourselves? Who can understand us the way we understand ourselves? Who can love us the way we love ourselves? I have also considered burning mine as well. Then I will be that much more liberated!
If you find yourself trapped by TV broadcast signals, and you wonder why these signals are occupying your mental sphere rather than inner-directed contemplation, swiftly remove yourself from the unwanted media transmissions if possible, grab a pen and paper, and find the Voice within.
Are you hearing any voices?
Today I will be discharged. I am choosing to take bus routes rather than wait for my mother as I want to experience independence. The sun has unexpectedly burst through the clouds, and I look forward to smoking tobacco while I wait for the Brick bus in Asbury Park. I will enjoy the walk from the hospital to the Asbury Park bus station.
The most significant behavioral change I can strive for at this juncture of my life is to cease imbibing alcohol. This is a time I really have to stay focused.
The reason: I don’t want to be institutionalized. I don’t want to lose rental assistance and be corralled into some group home or outpatient “day” program.
Besides the pressure of forcing myself to relocate again, I am also dealing with the stress of discovering that my “message board” at isis.phpbb3now.com, which was overflowing with subversive and radical ideas, has been efficiently destroyed. Somehow the URL address has been redirected! Ouch. Talk about rolling with the punches. At least I had transferred the autobiographical content to xhentric.wordpress.com. That will have to serve as a place for me to vent. It’s a shame. Now there is no trace of the Gort Busters phenomenon left on the Internet. That little message board was unique, even if only a handful of individuals participated. Now it is gone.
Rolling with the punches.
While going over the past month’s events, I notice that on both nights I had created a disturbance with music, I had spent the day with the same unattainable woman. Just an observation: sexual frustration? Longing for intimacy? Unmet primitive needs? Maybe I am better off not pursuing unrequited romantic love. There is a definite pattern.
Isn’t this what used to set me off in Freehold back in 2004 with N?
Isn’t this what set me off back in Matawan with S in 2006-7?
What about when I was going off the emotional deep end as far back as 1995 with FS?
Definite pattern: Longing for emotional intimacy when there is nothing but the Abyss staring back.
My neighbors hate to hear me having fun
Whenever they hear me too happy
They dial 9-1-1
Then the police drag me to the psychiatric ward
Where they prescribe me medication that I can’t afford
I get so mad, I stop thanking the Lord!
I did replace the digital voice recorder so I can get some of my recordings from the computer to the little recorder before putting the big clunker into storage for a rest. I will continue my “oral (audio) project” and name it “Notes From The Abyss.”
My government relief funds were short by almost two hundred dollars this month. Holy shit. When I called to inquire about it, I was informed that the Department of Education is garnishing the funds for a past due student loan. I had received a Bachelors of Science Degree (Honors) back in 2002. I had stopped making payments as far back in 2005 when I kind of “gave up on finding a career that would justify that kind of serious studying.”
They finally caught up with me, with a vengeance. Damn, if I had just given them $50 per month, I could have been well on my way to paying it off. Now they are just taking it at such bug chunks. Ouch. Damn, Big Brother is playing hardball now.
It’s beggar’s day!
I can’t let all these “psychological punches” get me up against the ropes. My knee-jerk response to stress and setbacks and disappointments is to tie one on, but since I do not want to risk being stuck in a hospital while trying to relocate (or at least save notebooks and computer from being tossed in the dumpster), I have to stay focused. I’ll treat myself to some carrot juice and walk around in the dark while talking myself through all this.
I count my blessings. At the moment of typing this, I have no broken limbs. At least I am able to walk. My brain still functions. I am still able to interact with a diverse range of personalities. My mother is still alive and kicking and in my corner stronger than ever. I have finally reached a point where I am not frustrated being into obscure thinkers and writers. I would have thought that the underhanded attack on my message board would do me great psychological harm, but we had said all we needed to say, and I was pretty much just working on my philosophical autobiography anyway. I have contacted the few people who might notice it missing just to clarify that I did not self-destroy that haven for deep thinking.
Deep breaths. I may have to employ some of the strategies I have fallen back on during other trials and tribulations. As I detach from the cures offered by the mental health industry and its “positive thinking,” I will embrace a darker worldview with courage. Just leaving an apartment is an exercise in detachment, a coming around full circle, a time to reflect on how fast the river is flowing. Even as I laugh in the bathtub, I am still relieved to be moving on. I knew my stay in Brick would be temporary. All in all, I have interacted with some very friendly people down here. It amazes me how so many people can remain so level-headed in the midst of so much traffic, concrete, and pointless redundancy.
“When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
What are we? What is the true nature of our lives?
“I’m bruised and battered by the storm. My mind is broken and forlorn.”
“I’m haunted by the ghosts in my machine.”
In January 2013, I took this apartment only to keep from losing rental assistance. There is a limit to how long one can go without a residence, and I had left the place in Freehold in September. I had to move in someplace, and this was close to The Mother, my first and last friend in this realm. Unlike Schopenhauer, who did not speak to his mother for the last 25 years of her life, I am still ridiculously attached to the emotional support my mother gives me. I do my best to be there for her as well. She may very well be the only thing keeping me in the state of New Jersey, keeping me from leaving the United States altogether …
My goal now is to remain out of institutions.
Remember, I was relieved to get out of Matawan in 2007. I was relieved to leave Ocean Grove in 2008. The journey to Seattle was traumatizing. I experienced great joy leaving Federal Way, Washington in 2010. There was so much trouble for me in Asbury Park that I left there like a bat out of Hell in 2011. Remember how I left that cockroach infested place in Freehold Barrio with a broken leg, abandoning my Tama drum kit in the basement in 2012?
Hell. Why is it that, wherever I reside, I seem to draw attention to myself? Is there nowhere for me to hide? Maybe someone out there around Farmingdale has a little shack on a horse farm I can rent. I’m not above shoveling horseshit as I wipe my ass with the Bachelors Degree in Computer Science.
And a hardy fucking harr harr.
“There is much fear that lies at the origin of civilization.”
“There is much fear that lies at the bottom of becoming a civilized adult.”
“Modern people no longer hear their own primal voice.”
I want to follow my bliss. The zoo-keepers would have me picked up by a van five days per week and shuffled off to an outpatient treatment center where I can sit down, shut up, and twiddle my thumbs as I get bombarded with the same old denigrating and humiliating drivel that passes for healthcare throughout the nation: conformity to the status quo or at least the intentions to appear to want to conform to the norms of mass industrialized society, which seems to be running out of steam fast, or at least heading full steam ahead over the cliff. Big Mother Iceberg – straight ahead!
Whatever is left of the repressed unconscious is trying to penetrate into consciousness in the here and now present moment!
There is a constant bombardment of lies and distortions from the representatives of civilization. They put an incredible amount of energy (and money) into controlling people’s ideas.
It takes inner resolve and courage to go against civilization. My living animal body, our living animal bodies, may be a living protest against the social apparatus which presumes to be in control. This is deep thinking, an activity I have been engaged in since I was a child. I practice deep thinking in my everyday life, and do not turn away from my own subversive ideas. There are plenty of opportunities in our everyday lives to question and refuse humiliating and debilitating authority.
Maybe reading Roland Topor’s horror novel, The Tenant, will help me pinpoint just what it is about this apartment, as well as other places I have resided in, that gives me the creeps. Will it help me to articulate what it is that exactly ails me? I just happen to have received a used copy of The Tenant in the mail today … uncanny.
We take refuge behind our countenance; the madman is betrayed by his. He offers himself, denounces himself to others. Having lost his mask, he publishes his anguish, imposes it on the first comer, parades his enigmas. So much indescretion is irritating … It is only natural that we consign him to straight jackets and isolation wards. ~ Cioran (All Gall Is Divided)
The youth gathered around the White House in DC protesting against fracking. It was the largest act of civil disobedience in the USA in 40 years. Meanwhile, a difficult situation developing in the Ukraine. Another Cold War may be on the horizon.
Sometimes it is difficult to do nothing but get through the day. I continually have to transcend what I imagine as public opinion and try to hold my head up high as a living protest against the status quo. I take refuge in literature, tobacco, coffee, and writing.
I fully understand that my life is the antithesis of a Hollywood blockbuster. I am an anti-hero. I write the anti-novel.
I am fortunate to have such a philosophical temperament where I am able to embrace a reclusive lifestyle, content with austerity. Have I mastered the art of getting through a life not worth living? Without career or wife or property or automobile or offspring or social life, without ambition for social status or position, without guilt or shame, I do live a Bohemian lifestyle. Of course, I am an outsider. I live outside the realm of mainstream society with entirely different values. I may be considered a dead-beat, but I posses a rich inner life.
While reading Topor’s novel, The Tenant, I discovered a paragraph that hit home:
“But what crime had he committed, that they should be so intent on his destruction? Perhaps the same crime as that of a fly caught in the trap of a spider’s web. The building was a trap, and the trap functioned. It was even possible that they had no personal animosity toward him. But when he thought of the stern, unbending faces of his neighbors, he abandoned this hypothesis. There could be no doubt of their personal animosity to Trelkovsky. They could not forgive him, just because he was Trelkovsky; they hated him for that, and they had determined to punish him for it.”
“Had this whole enormous machine been set in motion for no purpose except to punish him? Why such an effort, just for him?”
Had I also fallen into some kind of trap when I signed the lease?
Isolated in a dimension called loneliness, I have ample opportunity to stare into the abyss.
What is this? Automatic writing? Stream of consciousness? Being enduring itself. Each being endures itself. The less ambition I have, the less I suffer!
One of the most powerful messages in Toole’s satire, A Confederacy of Dunces, is Ignatius’s proposal that we just get by on “government relief” and not even attempt to find a position in mainstream “middle class” society. What a great relief to just withdraw from mainstream values such as marriage, career, prosperity, and property.
What is the significance of returning to the study of Schopenhauer’s magnum opus at this juncture? It gives me a sense of continuity. Some might see my continually moving from one residence to another as a sign of erratic behavior, unpredictability, or instability. Getting by without automobile, cable TV, Internet connection, smart phone, iPod, a “girlfriend” or wife, a religion, “friends,” work associates, I have successfully defied the pressure to conform to society’s norms.
otaku – someone without a social life; someone without a love life; also: a hacker/programmer.
I learn to be the otaku. I learn to be the “loser.” Sometimes, the only way to win is to lose voluntarily, to not give a shit about “winning,” to not care about status or position.
According to studies published in 2013, the term, otaku, has become less negative, and many people now self-identify as otaku. Otaku subculture is a central theme of various anime and manga works, documentaries and academic research. The subculture began in the 1980s as changing social mentalities and the nurturing of otaku traits by Japanese schools combined with the resignation of such individuals to become social outcasts.
I guess my obsession with Schopenhauer, Cioran, and even Antonin Artaud may classify me as a certain type of otaku … From the point of view of mainstream society, the otaku seems to be “a total loser,” and yet, there is a sense, from the view of the otaku, that it is the otaku who is elite or superior.
Developing the capacity to be alone. Isn’t this the advice Schopenhauer gives those who would transcend public opinion and false concepts such as honor? I’m alone, but not lonely.
Without alcoholic oblivion, there is nothing for me to do here in Brick but read (and hide), cook (and eat), nap, and smoke cigarettes. My life is an existential novel. I am the former student, Raskolnikov, minus the murder. When I get stir crazy, I walk around outside. Where do I walk? NOWHERE. Do the busybodies think it is easy to do nothing but stare into the abyss all day? It makes one’s mind strong, or it drives one insane.
“How easy it is to be ‘deep’: all you have to do is let yourself sink into your flaws.” ~ Cioran
Why am I moving this time? First and foremost, the walls are paper thin and this causes everyone to be oppressively quiet. It actually causes me anxiety and distress, even when I’m just talking to myself in the bathtub. Secondly, there is nowhere to hide. The woods are thin. When I walk outdoors, it is always along a road, exposed to traffic. Even when I walk through a trail, the woods are so thin, motorists can see me from the highway. I just don’t like it. It is what it is.
Do I get any relief from writing? Haven’t I found relief in writing my secret thoughts ever since I was a teenager? I don’t travel to exotic lands or have romantic affairs, but live the life of the anti-hero, so I write about basic being in the world. There is nothing to be had out there. If I have an audience, that audience would consist of honest, authentic, unashamed outsiders, outcasts, what “high society” considers “losers.”
My wealth is within me: knowledge and life experiences. Can any of this morbid introspection be considered literature?
Going through old notebooks (diaries), I take note that there was not much more for me in “society” when employed by the State as a park maintenance “worker” living in the historic Tark House than there is for me living on government relief in an apartment complex in Brick. The big difference is the immense privacy I had out there (to blast music, beat on drums, and hang out in the woods).
Eureka! I have been a recluse for a long time.
How many couples are together just out of fear of being alone? How many stay in a job they hate out of fear and shame of depending on government relief?
Haven’t I overcome those fears by detaching from the tyranny of public opinion? I have intuited all along the phantasmagoric quality of being in the world. In 1996 (age 29), I wrote, “I will not go out of my way to replace my lost mate. It will not be the center of my attention. Why would I frantically search to become ensnared by overwhelming want for emotional security? Maybe I can develop the capacity to rest in the void.”
I wish the oceans would rise and drown our entire civilization. I’m obviously in a foul and depressed mood this morning, most likely because of the emptiness and dejection I experienced during and after my little journey to and from my hometown yesterday. I would say it was a complete waste if not for the glorious melancholy that has come over me. Ah, to be a miserabilist: the quality of seeming to enjoy being depressed.
I sit in the thin woods all morning until my hunger demands I go into the apartment to heat up the blackeye pea concoction I had prepared with a big fat ham bone.
Something worth noting from Franzen’s The Kraus Project:
Freud’s psychic architecture of id, ego, and superego is more mysterious and suggestive in German: the It, the I, and the Over-I. I’m not just the good old familiar me, I’m also an IT, a “thing” in the world.
If you look too closely at the self, it disappears.
It is the words, not the It, that exist independent of me. The words I write are not the It I am.
Then there’s the Marxist critique: psychoanalysis is a bourgeois institution, a diversion for those with the time and money for it. The real It is economic and class relations, which create the ideology that governs you; and so no wonder the It is scary to you.
The bottom line is that we know less than we think we know. There is no cure for the human condition. Professionals and so-called experts who presume to sell a cure are outright liars.
For Karl Kraus, psychoanalysis is the disease of the mind, for which it believes itself to be the cure. (Franzen 2013)
One of the main stressors in life may be this lack of opportunity to express ourselves. Who is interested in our complaints, observations, and investigations? The main thing has to be to be able to hold our own interest in what is going on within us.
I couldn’t resist the compulsion to replace the Artaud Anthology I had given to T of Matawan who escaped from Dirty Jersey awhile back. Artaud’s work is so rare, and he was so much more of a madman than my other Teachers, Schopenhauer and Cioran. I have no need of a library. My small collection is potent.
Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) went to Mexico in 1936 at age 40 to experiment with peyote, then returns to France with his condition shaky. In 1937, he travels to Ireland. Aboard a boat, he is straightjacketed after threatening to damage himself, and sent by the police back to France, then was in many mental hospitals for the next 9 years until released in 1946. He dies in 1948, just one month after To Have Done With the Judgment of God was censured from the airwaves. It would not be broadcast for another 30 years.
So, why am I so fascinated with Artaud?
The Phenomenology of Suffering?
His mental suffering? His spiritual anguish?
… his total rejection of the bourgoise
… his rebellion
… his hatred of psychiatry.
Is it possible that writing serves as an excuse for doing nothing? If this is true, what a brilliant strategy!
It makes perfect sense that, after a lifetime of investigating diverse literature, I should by now be zeroing in on those thinkers I am most drawn to, those who also happen to be most ignored, persecuted by ignorance, misunderstood, or flat out mocked by the mob – those who uttered unpleasant and disturbing truths which society would rather repress.
I care very little whether I seem to anyone to exist. ~ Artaud (in a letter to Jacques Riviere, a publisher)
Life itself is an insoluable problem. We exist for no reason whatsoever. Do we know what we are? Sometimes I get a glimpse of what we are, I mean, I experience it in my intestines and emotions: what Schopenhauer called the will, what Kant called the thing-in-itself. It is better never to have been born, but as long as I am alive, I do take a certain delight in tackling the great problem of existence in depth.
Like Emile Cioran, I have been exposed to a wide variety of “street” philosophers, and not merely “academic” philosphers. Many talented individuals haven’t understood anything. Very few people have understood. And yet, as Cioran had said in an interview about suicide:
You can meet someone just like that in the streets or in a bistro, it’s a revelation. It’s someone who has went indepth, who has tackled the great problem.
I enjoy deep conversations with “strangers” who are willing to be honest about the depths of their thought and feeling about life. Some people can’t handle being around deep and honest thinkers because they really don’t want to understand anything, whereas there are those of us who have, as Cioran puts it, tackled the great problem.
As I move into this next phase of my life, what am I to do but continue making observations, complaints, and investigations? The clock ticks. We are here in the world to do nothing. So much for “great men”. In Orwell’s 1984, Winston is considered a “thought criminal” specifically because he kept a “thought pad” in which he scribbled in a corner of his room … reaching out to the “future”.
These days, we make our dissidence public knowledge. Either nobody cares, nobody can do anything about it, or we simply take on the stigma of being “shot out,” “touched in the head,” disgruntled, emotionally disturbed, angst-ridden, et cetera. There are these convenient labels used to invalidate our philosophies. We broadcast our mental insurrection. When I witness a professional psychiatrist or other mental health associate judge me as one who “does nothing,” when a professional psychiatrist tells me, after talking to me just a few minutes and referencing a file, that I am “all talk, no action,” at such moments I really fathom that many professionals in the mental health industry just don’t get it.
There is an international coalition called Mind Freedom which advocates against forced medication, medical restraints, and involuntary commitments. It’s stated mission is to protect those who have been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. Do therapists and doctors distort a patient’s reality when they attempt to change individuals in ways that conform to the professionals’ concepts and prejudices? Is psychiatry itself a coercive instrument of oppression? One has the right to be different. Does one have the right to do nothing, to not seek employment, to live frugally on government relief, to reject the wealth-warped values of celebrity culture? Does one have the right to “just get by” and live as an authentic autodidactic scholar outside academic institutions?
We are not the first generation to tackle these issues.
I need writing so that I can continue to listen to my inner voice and not be coerced into listening to professionals or “authorities”. I need writing so that I am able to strongly challenge those who tell me that I “don’t listen to anyone” or that I am “all talk and no action.” I need writing to out-think those who would have me defer to the illusory world they would impose upon me as “reality”.
What I find most insulting are the “moral talks” (that pass for medical treatment) which consist primarily of sweeping judgments such as “your way isn’t working.” Why this tendency to break one’s confidence in one’s own thought processes? Suppose life itself, in the most universal sense, is not “working”. Why take anything personal?
I know I just mentioned this back in November of last year, but it bears repeating:
Making something out of what you’ve been made into. – To identify deliberately with characteristics that the community regards as strange, insane, or antisocial requires a high degree of reflectiveness.
Another way of putting this: You take your damaged psyche, your so-called emotional disturbance, your “chemical imbalance,” and you turn it into gold (metaphorical gold, that is).
The “class nature” of mental hospitals, and their role as agencies of control, is by now, well recognized. In the 1920′s Antonin Artaud expressed extreme hostility to psychiatrists and psychiatry. He spent a fair amount of time in a straight jacket. According to Bruce E. Levine, psychiatry is used as the provider of scientific support for social control to the existing establishment. Are professionals in the mental health industry agents of a shadow government without conscious awareness of being so?
To put things into perspective, civil libertarians are alarmed at the invasiveness of the Patriot Act. During an involuntary commitment to a “behavioral health treatment center,” you will be told by a “mental health professional, technician, or assistant” that, because of the outbreak of mass-shootings by apparently “emotionally disturbed” individuals, we are living in a different universe today, where all actions (and all words) will come under extreme scrutiny by the mental health system in an attempt to prevent more of these events.
The surveillance technology Orwell envisioned is already here – on street corners, in libraries, and along office hallways. Who are the Thought Police? Who are the Soul Police? Who are the Emotion Police? Who has the potential to challenge the authority of the status quo, even if only by thought?
Naturally, the Thought Police would keep an eye on highly intelligent individuals since they may be quick to face unpleasant facts and have more willingness and confidence to criticize prevailing ideas.
Is solitude the school of genius? Could the social alienation that comes with being an “outsider” grant one a superior vantage point from which to critique the world of gated communities, subdivisions, malls, banks, apartment complexes, automobiles and highways, factories, inner cities, “Indian” reservations, airports, army bases, court houses, churches, schools, prisons, group homes, hospitals, golf courses, cruise ships, vacation resorts, restaurants, grocery stores, casinos, zoos, car dealerships, tennis courts, sports arenas, cemataries, railroad tracks, poluted creeks and lakes, and the general ambiance of the Industrial World as a whole?
“There are experiences and obsessions which one cannot live. Isn’t it then salvation to confess them? … To be lyrical means you cannot stay closed up inside yourself. The need to externalize is the more intense, the more the lyricism is interiorized, profound and concentrated … The deepest subjective experiences are also the most universal, because through them one reaches the original source of life.”
Delightfully sinful: napping in a sunbeam before noon! To refuse to experience guilt, sin, or blame.
“Solitary walks – extremely fertile and dangerous at the same time, for the inner life – must take place in such a way that nothing will obscure the solitary’s meditation on man’s isolation in the world.” ~ Cioran
“To achieve spirituality, one must be very lonely.” ~ Cioran
There is a great feeling of revenge in refusing to be burdened with anxiety, to refuse to be overwhelmed. I can’t predict the future. Our existence itself is the Great Unknown.
We may be at the mercy of our own honesty. May we then be brutally honest!
In a microsecond, everything can change. How is it possible to stay “in the present moment” when the present moment doesn’t really exist? Stay in the breathing?
How could I ever “take to the road” and live as a “drifter” or nomad with so many notebooks and books? Rent a self-storage unit.
How honest is one willing to be? I continue to keep a private notebook to discover how I really think and how I really feel. Hence, I am losing the desire to maintain a “blog”.
I am going through anthologies of Lovecraft and Poe – not for entertainment – out of pure curiosity. Maybe they were a bit eccentric or down right insane themselves. Who knows?
Meanwhile, my mysterious scribblings become more and more “against the grain” and unpublishable as I consciously tackle the great problem. This is why, when it comes to discovering my real thoughts and feelings, I value a personal diary over a therapist or another human being.
Like Ignatius Reilly, I refuse to act like I want to make a place for myself in “the middle class” through “hard work”. I prefer ambitionless peace. Talk about forbidden thoughts! Talk about mindcrime! How much more forbidden than declaring once and for all that one is not seeking a job or a career or a profession or a marriage? Isn’t that about as forbidden as a woman declaring she does not want to have children (but still wants hot sex)?
Is it any wonder that a writer who prides himself/herself on brutal honesty, intellectual integrity, and introspective awareness openly HATES inauthenticity and bad faith?
Who shall be an attentive student of Emile Cioran? Who shall only write down the things he/she is afraid to tell anyone? Writing as Confession. Writing, not to impress an audience, but to bite and sting … ourselves.
IDEA: Create an anti-hero based on an x-mental patient who mocks “the sane”. Dark Satire mixed with Weird Science Fiction and a pinch of Cosmic Horror. Sounds like real life, huh?
Homework assignment: write in your diary with the “voice” of a protagonist in a story.
Some writers are best read after waking from a deliciously sinful late afternoon nap while drinking strong coffee and smoking a cigarette. It is in that hypnogogic, somewhat anti-social, state of mind when one is prepared for a little Artaud, when one feels like an alienated adolescent who questions why he must register with the selective service or face criminal charges, or when one is at that age when it feels as though one is being fed into a Great Machine designed to eat spirit and turn it into energy.
Choose your sides! Will you write for the insider or for the outsider?
Will you write to impress high society and the bling-bling “cool crowd” or will you write from the perspective of the so-called “loser” and outcast?
With so much unemployment, outsourcing, redundant jobs in redundant shopping centers, and corporate smily-faced fascism wearing Nike sneakers, being an unemployable ex-mental patient super-genius is more than just a lifestyle choice. It’s a survival skill!