psychogalvanic – pertaining to electrical changes in the body resulting from reactions to mental or emotional stimuli
“Relax and take it easy. Don’t get caught up in hollow conceits such as ‘doing something with your life’. Such twaddle is outmoded and a sure formula for disappointment. Most people take life much too seriously and worry about all the wrong things: security, advancement, prosperity, all those things that give you heartburn. I think people would be better off if they relaxed.”
“Think about it: We’re all here on a big rock, zippin’ around a bad star for no good reason. We don’t know where we came from, we don’t know where we’re going, we don’t know how long it’s gonna last, and we keep having to go to the bathroom. And on top of that, the whole thing is completely meaningless.” – George Carlin
Turning Point Notes
When I arrived in shackles at Turning Point, the intake staff member asked the brown shirt (officer from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department) if the jail had given me a month’s supply of medication. When the officer replied in the negative, the intake man told them to take me back to the jail. I asked the man, Carmen, if there was an alternative. How much could a month’s supply of lithium cost?
Carmen then asked the brown shirt if I had any money in my account. I had $49.53, definitely enough for a month’s supply of lithium and some tobacco. They would allow me to stay if I signed an agreement stating that I would pay for the prescription medication.
I was wondering why I only needed one month’s worth supply of lithium, and during the intake assessment, with questions like, “Have you ever been in a 28 day program before?”, I started to understand that I was not going to be here for 90 days, but 28 days. If I “behaved,” I would be home for Christmas, before the new year.
I discovered a perfect time for writing. If I wake up at 0600, after I make my bed, I can sit in the dining area and write until chow at 07:20. I was assigned a morning job that will be my responsibility while I am here unless I want to pass it off to the next new guy. I don’t think I will be passing it off as my job is to rake and sweep up cigarette butts in the yard where we smokers gather 4 times a day for our 10 minute smoke breaks. I like to be outside.
Turning Point feeds us a full meal for lunch, bigger than 3 dinners in the county jail! I am stuffed. I haven’t been this full in a long time.
I just got out of orientation. We were actually advised to use our intellect over our emotions to avoid confrontations. I guess I will be putting the cortical shell over the thalamus. We will get kicked out for fraternizing with the females, for smoking a cigarette where and when we are not permitted to do so, for oversleeping, for missing group sessions or meetings, for fighting or continuous arguing, and some other shit.
I am anxious to report to the Region Office of the State Park Service when I am released to find out what day I will be back on duty at MBSP. I will spend my first night back in the Tark House playing my drums, listening to music, and throwing old food in the garbage. I will also have to find my cat. He will be glad to see me.
I find myself daydreaming about putting my uniform on when I report to the shop on Monday, the 22nd of December. The ranger, NG, tells me that RFB from the Trenton Office said the Department of Personnel just has to prepare the paper work before I can start. I long to walk through the woods around the house, to sit on the porch under a full winter moon and behold the stars.
Because it is Thanksgiving Day, there are no sessions. Some people have visitors, while others watch the television. I am reading contraband, a book that was snuck into the rehab. The only books allowed are from Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or religious material. The contraband is The Truth About Addiction and Recovery. We have the cover camouflaged with the cover of AA Comes of Age. I am keeping up with the “disease concept” assignments, assigned to me by my counselor, so I can spend all of my “study time” reading this book, which leans toward Rational Recovery, stating that the 12 Step philosophy puts too much blame on the substance abuser, while refusing to take a look at society’s part, such as irrational and unsupportive management. I know all about the fucked up working environment that leaves one feeling walked over.
No matter how much the 12 steps of AA and NA focus on the defects of the individual as being the source of their problems, as well as the myth accepted by the medical profession that alcoholism is a disease, I know that substance abuse is often linked to the stress, malaise, alienation, and insecurity the substance abuser feels at work.
I am a zombie like all the rest, like the yuppies leading their meaningless lives, spending 3 or more hours a day commuting to the corporations that suck the life blood from them on a daily basis. I might commiserate, rather than hate, them! We speak of our high and mighty ideals, and then we shuffle to the chow line. We are told that we are survivors, but the winter would destroy us all within 3 days!
Who am I to hate? Where did all my resentments against organized religion, multinational corporations, and authority in general come from? What is the source of my deepest revulsion? Aren’t I only hurting myself with such animosity?
The counselors here at Turning Point have noticed that I write whenever I get the chance. A few have asked me if I will ever publish what I write, and I feel awkward. Sherry used to press this issue with me, telling me I had a gift; but so much of what I write is “negative” that I wonder who would be interested. My notebooks are something a published book could never be.
When I walked out into the little yard for my morning Smoking of the Tobacco ritual, the sound and feel of my boots crunching into the ice-covered ground put me in touch with the ancients. In a very basic way we are one with all creatures. I looked to the eastern sky to behold the sun, its golden light shining like a god through the trees. I felt there were presences, spirits if you will, that were observing me from another dimension.
Although I have not been able to make sense of the actual arrest, the main consequence of my arrest has been the purification of my animal cells that had been swimming in mood altering chemicals. With the addictive substances out of my system, my ability to keep my head together has improved; I see things more clearly now. I am once again discovering that the way I perceive the world out there, including the people I strongly dislike, has more to do with my own inner condition than the world itself.
I returned to Freehold in an old ragged three piece suit I had gotten from Turning Point. The first stop was Federici’s where Mom and I met my sister, her husband, my nephew, and my two nieces. My 16 year old nephew paid the bill as an early Christmas gift.
When I got to the Region Office, the heads were in a meeting, so I told their sarcastic and spiteful secretary that I would be back. My next stop was right down the road, the Tark House. Before walking into the house, I figured I would stop into the maintenance shop just to say hello, but before I even got to the door, Wily pulled up. He told me that I was not permitted in the shop as this could be construed as returning to the work place! What the fuck?
Later in the day I met with PS and Wily. Cold, aloof, and official, they were certainly not the welcoming committee I had expected. I was in for a shock: Not only will I not be returning to work Monday, December 22, 1997, but I had to turn in my keys – all of them. Because I plead guilty to a third degree crime, “the Department” is ordering the forfeiture of my employment with the State. This meeting was just for pulling the rug out from under my feet. I go to Trenton on Tuesday, the 23rd of December, so the worms can officially hand me my head on a platter.
I will move into my mother’s basement as soon as I can get a hold of a truck. I have to make my move before my license is suspended. Welcome home Mike!
Even though they were both glacial and heartless in their mannerisms, they insisted that they were under the impression that I was very intelligent, that I had great potential, and that I was wasting away as a maintenance worker in a park. Wily suggested this would be a “turning point” for me, a chance to return to school. They believe I have bigger bridges to burn. Maybe they will be relieved to have me out of their hair, for in the next breath they labeled me as an argumentative, disruptive employee who was insubordinate, who would ignore work orders from above, seeming to have his own agenda.
I don’t know how to feel. I am shocked. The only reason I signed the plea bargain was to enable me to get out of jail and back to work. I am most upset about having to leave the Tark House. I could fight the State on this, but what is the point? I would rather keep some dignity, walk away quietly, and never return. Although the State of New Jersey is forcing me out of “public service” in an attempt to hurt me, in reality, I am being set free. Although I was a hard working white boy for most of my years of service, along with that productivity came a mind that would not be still.
Will I survive outside the cocoon of government employment? I am still in metaphysical rebellion in that I am frustrated by the universe. As a rebel slave, I realize the master’s power is dependent on the slave’s subordination. The rebel slave affirms his own power every time he questions the superiority of his master.
Even if I were educated in Computer Science, even if I were to be employed by a “good company”, I would still feel the shackles and chains. I think I would be more enthusiastic using the higher mental faculties to earn my living, rather than my lower back. Still, I will forever be locking horns with the universe itself, in rebellion against the human condition.
“In the darkest hole, you’d be well advised not to plan my funeral ‘fore the body dies.” – Alice In Chains
I am actually relieved to be leaving the State Park Service. My math skills, and even my verbal skills, were going to waste. I will return to college come Hell or high water. The routines at the park were getting old anyway. I will roll with the punches; and, in due time, I will rise from the ashes like the phoenix, as sure as Eternity draws ever sweeter plans for me, plans not to be fathomed by correctional officers or the managers of wage slaves. No matter how down-and-dirty the methods are that the system uses to work on me, they can’t keep a good man down forever.
Mine is not a problem with aptitude, intelligence, or ability; but, rather, mine is a behavioral problem. You got an attitude problem boy! What do you mean I have a fucking attitude problem? Attitude is everything! It separates the sheep from the wolves! I would rather be a wolf being scolded and reprimanded by high ranking sheep than to be one of the low level sheep getting gold stars and pats on the back. For those whom pats on the back don’t work, they fit you with collar and chain. You are then broken by trained personnel.
It comes down to your freedom or your life. You can be a bleating, breathing sheep or a stone cold dead wolf. The best thing to do is to develop some kind of mood disorder so that when the wolf claws his way out of his sheep’s clothing, he can plead temporary insanity. I have learned not to internalize the judgments made about me by the sheep. What does a wolf in sheep’s clothing care about the way sheep go about rating his behavior?
Merry Christmas! You are free to starve. Because the cops arrested me on State property, even though it was at my “home”, the State is viewing this as conduct unbefitting a representative of the State government. This is cut and dry. A staff member from the Attorney General’s office will be going to my sentencing to make sure the judge makes forfeiture of my public employment one of my punishments. Merry Christmas to you too Mr. Dignitary.
I went to the Unemployment office to stake my claim, to cash in my 8 years worth of chips. I will start boxing things up, breaking stuff down, for my move into my mother’s basement. I think I will be missed here at the park, not only because I carried much of the work load, but because I wasn’t the usual dull-witted slug.
There is no time to be sentimental. The first order of business is to abandon ship so as to make it clear to the suits that they don’t have to ask me to leave more than once, that I want nothing to do with living here while not being permitted to return to work. If it’s over, then it’s all over. I don’t think I could have ever left on my own. This is how it had to be. I had to lose my mind, create a public disturbance, be thrown in the house of detention, and then be discharged from my duties, in fulfillment of the Scriptures. It is written in the stars.
The ranger, NG, seemed to take it very hard, that I had been discharged. She didn’t have a clue either. Everyone assumes that this is a terrible thing for me to go through on Christmas, and yet, I experienced this loss months ago, back in July. I am tougher than they think, and this is good. I am glad to be free, and they think I am worried about security. No job = more freedom. No house = you can’t see me!
For the past few days, I have been working non-stop preparing for the move. The dumpster is overflowing, and there are filled boxes all over the house. While bringing garbage to the dumpster in the rain, I fully experienced my connectedness to the land surrounding the Tark House. I will return to these woods often. The spirits of the woods and fields are with me. I became thankful for having lived on this hallowed ground for these past five years. I am not the same person I was when I peddled my bike down that long road back in the spring of 1989 for an interview with TS, the Little Big Guy.
After I finished hauling stuff to the dumpster, I removed my hood, and let the ice cold waters rain down on my head. I approached and touched two giant grandfather trees next to the shop. I was saying good-bye without words. When I got to the large tree behind the house that the Husky used to lie under, I shed tears. I moaned in anguish, knowing I would miss these blessed trees. As my vision became blurry with tears and rain, the winter sky lit up with a flash of lightening; then the Thunder Beings shook the earth with one long crash. I knew I had reached the Spirit of the Earth with my genuine tears.
My nephew helped me with the two truck loads of heavy furniture and heavy appliances, then I did two more truck loads on my own. The basement is filled to the ceiling with boxes, but eventually I will “settle in”.
Yesterday I was able to organize the mess. My desk and computer are set up, the audio/video equipment is in place, and all my books are on the shelves. I am at peace.
After a pre-sentencing interview at the Monmouth County Court House, I went by the Tark House to do some cleaning. From what I heard, Wily went through the house with Sleepy Head, and he was not pleased with the cat litter, the drums, and my Volkswagen still being on the premises, not to mention the excess furniture I have no intentions of taking with me. Wily is being a dick head, a real prick. When we are face to face, he has me believing he wants me to benefit from leaving public service, and yet he slithers around mouthing off about how I made no attempts to clean up. I left the drums there because Wily’s son was to buy them. Now Wily put a stop to that, so I will have to store them in Mom’s basement or something. I don’t care anymore.
I am coerced into the 12 Step program by the Courts, but I let it be known at the meetings I attend that I am not going to have a “sponsor”, I am in no way going to pay any attention to the 12 steps, I want nothing to do with the higher power, I will be going to the minimum amount of meetings required of me by the Court/aftercare scam. People aren’t satisfied with “just staying sober”. They want “spiritual growth”, confession, restitution, prayer, humbling oneself before authority. I am sorry to be the one to tell these people that one can still be rebellious and disagreeable and still remain abstinent. Call me a dry drunk if you will, I am not buying the bullshit that wants me humble and happy. Why must I “carry the AA message” to other drunks? AA didn’t get me sober. This was done inadvertently by the Freehold Boro police when they had me processed into the county jail.
I owe my getting sober to the police that I curse under my breath. I owe them one, even though they weren’t conscious of what they were actually accomplishing, that they were helping me. Although I concede that AA makes for a valuable network for people who want to incorporate the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps into their lives, there are many who recoil from professing belief in God, surrendering their wills and their very lives over to the care of a power they do not even believe in, turning their wills and their lives over to a group of strangers (AA group) that is most often dominated by the biggest ego in the room, making a list of their defects (sins) and admitting the exact nature of their wrongs to another human being (confession of their sins to their “sponsor”), humbly asking this God that just won’t get out of their faces to remove their defects of character (to forgive them for their sins), making a list of people they have harmed and making direct amends to such people (retribution) except when to do so would injure them or others, continuing to take “moral inventory” and when wrong promptly admitting it (daily confession), praying to improve their conscious contact with the deity, asking only for knowledge of His will for them and the power to carry that out, and lastly, having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, carrying this message (the steps) to alcoholics, and to practicing these principles (the steps) in all their affairs.
I am one who says, “No way. What is this, Invasion of the Body Snatchers?”
These steps are not even an option for me. I am frustrated that the system is forcing this crap down my throat. I do not want to take it out on the folks who are caught up in the 12 Step Movement, but I squirm in my chair in silent fury.
It is to my advantage that I have been exposed to Rational Recovery, as well as to Albert Ellis’ Rational-Emotive Therapy. I feel for all those who really can’t stand attending 12 Step meetings, but who stick around because they are afraid they will fall victim to their “disease” without “the group”. I am in no need of such entanglements that hinder thinking for myself.
Reading through Jack Trimpey’s The Small Book (Rational Recovery Systems), I realize that my days in AA are numbered from the outset. I am one of those people that knows he can and will stay sober without the 12 Steps, without AA. Unlike many “newbies” the people in the local 12 Step meetings are used to dealing with, I know the score. I don’t even argue anymore. What good would that do? AA will survive without me, but I could never stay sober if I were to buy into “having to attend meetings for the rest of my life”.
The head of the English Department of the high school I graduated from wrote in response to a letter I sent him explaining my situation, “And by the way. I hope you are continuing to keep a journal, Mike. Listen to what I am about to say: There’s no reason you can’t write a book about your experiences. Your perspective is unique, your dues have been (and are) genuinely paid, and I think that what you have gone through is worth writing about. There are many people who would find an interest in what you have to say. Think about it. Keeping a journal is what writers do.”
Needless to say, this letter inspires me.
One thing disturbed me when I was leaving the Aftercare session tonight. My counselor told me that if I stopped taking my medication I would be jail bound. He says, “You’re a good guy and everything, but I have this sense about you. You need help.”
What was that supposed to mean? I need help? What am I, some kind of psychopath? Does he see me as the classic frustrated genius or something? It is understood that I am a pistol, a tough nut to crack.
I have been racing through my old notebooks, reviewing the material to get an idea of how I would go about writing a book. Would I take the material directly from my notebooks, or would I tell the story as a narrator? I would rather take the material directly from the notes. I am not so much interested in “telling a story” as I am interested in getting my ideas out. Set the demons free, and watch them fly! As long as the essays are coming directly from my journals, I won’t have to pull any punches. I will present the work as the diary of a madman!
“We Agnostics” from Alcoholics Anonymous, “The Big Book”, insults me with its Christian fundamentalism. The message is all too clear. It is a threat: If I don’t surrender my critical judgment, my personal beliefs, and my Will to the fellowship of AA, I will be doomed to drink myself into jails and institutions, to drink my self to death.
Without my even being aware of what I was doing, I became a slave in rebellion. Even as I found myself in jail, I was displaying the power I had to defy the master. How can this be? I was now out of their hands. I was unhappy with my position as a toiler; hence, I became insubordinate, disruptive, argumentative, and generally a rebel slave. Granted, substance abuse warped my mind to the point of no return. My revolt became a mad irrational campaign of self-destruction. The bottom line is that I refused, or simply was no longer able, to accept the reality that had become my daily existence. In the end, I did this to myself. I sabotaged the Fool’s Paradise that looked so perfect from the outside looking in.
Although I am relieved to be out of my position as a maintenance specialist for the State Park Service, and even though I am not ashamed of the manner in which I have been banished, now I don’t know what to expect. How long will I collect unemployment? What will the conditions of probation be? Will I be able to apply for a grant to continue my education in Computer Science?
Lucifer is cast out of Heaven even though he is the greatest angel. There is no legion of fallen angels following my lead. I walk alone, as usual. It is easy to create havoc. Just speak the truth. I was never a representative of the State. I am Crazy Ghost. I was no representative of the State when they tore up the forest on rt. 522 in Freehold, Manalapan, and Tennent. How could I represent something so half-witted? How could I be a representative of the State that nailed me to the cross when I was 20 for stealing for food while I was living in an abandoned house?
The same State that employed me, the same State that convicted me, is the same State that may end up paying for my education. How could I be angry with anyone in the Park Service if I discover I am glad to have been set free?
It is the chaos of the unconscious mind that mocks all attempts to plan out one’s life.
Cry out simultaneously with Satan: So farewell hope, and with hope farewell to fear, farewell remorse…Evil, be thou my good. This is the cry of outraged innocence. – Albert Camus
Today I was sentenced to 3 years on probation, my driver’s license was suspended for 6 months, and the immediate forfeiture of my public employment. The court gave me the opportunity to withdraw my plea as I was not made aware that the plea of guilty would disqualify me from the civil service; but, as I did not want to take any chances of being thrown back in jail until I went to trial, as well as the fact I did not have the money to pay my attorney what it would cost to go to trial, I accepted the loss of my State job as par for the course.
Besides the usual conditions of probation, I am also required to “complete” the Aftercare treatment (could last years), continue to take psychiatric medication, maintain full-time employment, and pay over $1000 in fines (not bad). I am confused about the maintain full-time employment part. I had a job, the Law takes my job away from me, then the same Law tells me to maintain full-time employment. I should be getting my first few weeks of Unemployment right about now. I am going back to school even if this means I have to pin one agency, DVR, against another agency, Monmouth County Probation Department. I know the Superior Court has the last say in this matter, but I am confident that were DVR to sponsor me for a grant to go to college full-time, the Court would accept part-time employment.
My probation officer is giving me a hard time about collecting unemployment. She expects me just to go out and get some shitty job right away. If I can hold her off long enough to get some aptitude test results back from the DVR, I think she may be in for a surprise. The DVR is in for a surprise. The only one who won’t be shocked is me. Life can be very funny sometimes; I mean, the present circumstances, with the stage being set, impels me to give into an insane, hearty laughter. If all I need to do at this point is display a level of aptitude that would justify granting me money for college, then I may as well start picking out the courses I will be taking at BCC. I will start with the C programming language.
I have been taking advantage of my insomnia. I have gone back to the notes I kept while in jail back in 1987-1988, and I am in the process of taking excerpts from them. I want to profess being an insignificant nobody from the start so that the reader will give me a lot of slack. I don’t want to come off sounding like I think I some great philosopher of the age writing a scholastic work. These will be the rantings of a mad poet. My pen has no mercy; hence, this book will not be for the faint-hearted.
When I went to court at the Freehold Boro Municipal Court, the State dropped the DWI for lack of proof and the Leaving The Scene of an Accident for lack of evidence. The “hit and run” was the probable cause for the police coming down “my driveway” to mace me. How about that? I am not complaining. I think that the nature of my outbursts were probably as disorderly as being suspected of scraping the door of someone’s car. The only municipal charge I received was the Reckless Driving. The judge was aware of what went down in the Superior Court, and that I had spent 130 days in the county jail. He told me that it was all over now, that I could get on with my life now. Remember Your Honor, this man is “manic”. I really am certified.
I received the results from the aptitude test I took at DVR. My counselor asked me if I knew my aptitude was “so high”. I told her that I did have my suspicions that there was something going on up there between my ears. She handed me a stack of papers to go through. I was to compare the normal GATB scores listed at the top of each sheet with my scores. If my scores were higher, then they would pay for the training/education required for the professions listed on the sheet. She told me that all my scores higher than the GATB norms on the sheets of paper she handed me. I would have to make my choice based on my interests.
The fascinating thing about the occupations listed is that, of all the sheets, it was the sheet with Programming (Engineering and Scientific) that required the highest GATB score for General Learning Ability, Numeric Aptitude, and even Spatial Aptitude. What fascinates me about this is that Computer Programming is what I am most interested in. Now I understand the reason DVR is required to give aptitude tests to those who qualify for vocational rehabilitation. It is not enough just to want. One has to be able. I am thankful to my grandfathers for this aptitude I have. I will not let it go to my head. The prospect of going to college full-time is a legitimate reason to be cheerful. This starts a new era of my life.
In the end it will be philosophy, not computer programming, which makes my presence stand out among my contemporaries. Although I am anxious to return to college in May, I am now calmly devoting myself to reading.
What a wonderful day! Jane M____ of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation gave me confirmation that I will be granted full tuition, fees and books at Brookdale, the County College of Monmouth, for the Summer, Fall, Winter, and until I am done … possibly even beyond that towards Bachelor Degree. She put a letter together for me to give my probation officer, Jane H_____. When I got to see my probation officer, she was very impressed by the letter from DVR confirming the grant for my college education. What really surprised her, floored her actually, were my scores on the GATB and how they compared to the norms for Programmer, Attorney, Administrator, Accountant, and Writer. My scores were considerably higher than the norm, which may stun someone who tends to pre-judge “semi-skilled” maintenance workers as non-scholastic. She seemed genuinely proud of me, noting in her report that I was “very intelligent.” She even became a little personal with me, asking me if my “girlfriend” was proud of me. I unashamedly informed her that I did not “have” a significant woman in my life, and that this is for the best as I would be more free to “interact” with any women I might encounter during this intellectual adventure. I am still a little overwhelmed at being on such good terms with this probation officer. After all, she is the same probation officer who was hounding me over collecting unemployment while one of the stipulations of my probation was that I maintain full-time employment. I feel my attitude changing already. This grant has changed me internally. That haunting “anti-Semitism” is receeding. Being greatly relieved to be a full-time student seems to have satisfied a deep yearning in me. I actually experience some shame, a core emotion in helping us understand our relationships with others, when I read over some of my more aggressive diatribes from the past.
I most likely will see a wide variety of women while taking several courses each semester. Meeting other students will be half of the adventure. The intellectual stimulation will also be great. This entire process is making me look at the arrest and the forfeiture of my position with the State Parks Service as something of a godsend which set me free from an oppressive situation. Is it possible that I sabotaged the relationship with Sherry? Did I sabotage a “career” with the State out of utter frustration with being a state slave? I think the reason I am so utterly reluctant to even consider publishing anything I’ve written is because my views have changed over the years. I do not have the tunnle-vision which focuses on getting some white-collar job enabling me to escape manual labor. Having overcome the “maintain full-time employment” mandate has been a great personal victory for me. Five more unemployment claims and I can remove my 1983 VW Jetta from the old barn, make repairs, and pay auto insurance before getting my driver’s license back Simple basic problems that I can solve with a little cash and perseverance.
One I will refer to as “The Aborigine” recently told me to stop feeling guilty about my anger, to just let it flow. Wow, that is inspiring! I mean, there is a reason for my anger, so why feel guilty about it? I actually dreamt last night that The Aborigine was going over “my book” with me. He asked me what I would like to get across to the reader. What effect do I wish to have on the potential reader? Which books had this effect on me? I tell him that Ira Levin’s This Perfect Day and John Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up affected me in such a way as to reveal the true nature of the actual world we are living in, but through fiction, and that I wanted to have a similar effect simply by writing about what actually happens in day to day life. The fact that this communication takes place while my body sleeps is evidence of yet another method to communicate besides letters, fax machines, or telephone. I consider such dream events as “breakthroughs.” More on breakthroughs later …
Suddenly there are others gathered in a basement, many young women. I am reciting parts of “my writings.” What I was reading is just out of reach of my waking memory. I can barely recall the imagery let alone what I was actually reading.
In another dream I am setting up a tent in a pit leading into a basement. It is cold and damp in there, but I set the tent up anyway. I always wondered what the purpose is in recalling dreams, but now I am starting to sense that this is a sign of “unconscious intelligence” or CHTHONIC INTELLIGENCE. This same intelligence has enabled me to bounce right back from the latest setbacks in my life. The way I have quietly endured the downfall, the exorcisms, the being bannished from public service like some kind of felon (which IS how THEY – the authorities – obviously see me) has exemplified the deeper levels of intelligence and awareness acting beyond the ego.
Note: Another author has been added to the shelves of my personal library: Charles Bukowski. Tales of his own lifeare as wild and weird as the tales he writes. Supposedly Bukowski is some kind of legend from his own time era … a madman, a recluse, a lover … simultaneously tender and vicious … never the same … horrible and holy. Someone says of Bukowski, “a professional disturber of the peace … laureate of the netherworld – writes with a crazy romantic insistence that losers are less phony than winners, and with an angry compassion for the lost.”
While searching the “World Wide Web” for information on this Charles Bukowski, I come to find out he was born in Germany in 1920, came to Amerika at age 3, and died in 1994. Amazingly his autobiographical screenplay is the film that my long time friend, Greg G____ was always talking about as he good-naturedly patted me on the back, “Barfly.”
I was glad to the AA meeting fifteen minutes late, almost as glad as I was to walk out just as the group was gathering together to say “The Lord’s Prayer.” Actions speak louder than words. I am playing it cool. These people just won’t be able to get me to even want to be “one of them,” and the funniest thing, the most ridiculous thing, is that I don’t even think they understand that I have no intention of following suggestions since I have been researching the anti-intellectual/Christian nature of the 12-Step movement since I abandoned their “fellowship” back in 1991. I am taking an entirely different approach this time around. Mike in 1987 is not Mike in 1998. A different species of animal. Now I am silent, rolling my eyes when I hear people talk about “working the steps” or thanking their “higher power.” I am generally a rebel, a refusenik. Even though I have been once again coerced into these rooms by the State Machinery, I refuse to be indoctrinated into this state religion. I will not be enculturated to feeling powerless. It is almost like Levin’s This Perfect Day where all the “healthy members” are mouthing the Party line as a testament to their conforming to the group. I am the “sick member” fighting UNI.
I have finally pin-pointed what bothers me about the labels “winner” and “loser.” These terms are based on economic status. A few of the guys at the “After Care Outpatient Treatment Center,” while we were smoking outside, not in the official treatment, were trying to squash my dreams. They told me that because I was a “felon” I would not be able to land a good job no matter kind of degree I acquired, no matter what my scholastic performance was. Although this was disturbing, I have my feet planted firmly on the ground. The way I feel now, I just want the education, the knowledge, the specialized training. No one will be able to take that away from me. I refuse to fall into the “if only I had such-and-such” I would be happy” or “when I get such-and-such life will be worth living” traps. I am not living for the destination. I am cognizant of the human condition, and I accept the insatiable desires that will forever make themselves felt. When one goal is reached, when one demand is satisfied, it will be replaced by yet another desire. This is the nature of our reality. My philosophical knowledge will not be used to advance my social position, but only help me better understand the true nature of our lives.
Like Arthur Schopenhauer, I am not concerned with practical affairs, nor am I worried about how I appear to others. Even after Schopenhauer received his Ph.D., he still went to live with his mother in Weimar. She could not tolerate his disagreeable moods, but Schopenhauer himself saw no shame in taking shelter under his mother’s roof.
Getting this grant from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is a historical point in my life. It will be worth the sacrifice of steady income to acquire a formal education that will prepare me for the future.
Blind ambition is a curse, infecting individuals with a false need for higher social status; and yet, in most industrialized societies, ambition is encouraged and rewarded. While it may seem natural for individuals and groups to compete for resources, there is great wisdom in minimalistic lifestyles.
Perhaps ambition is seen as a motivator, an inner will-to-power that compels an individual to compete for status, for influence over others, for security. Security is absurd. Natural does not imply good. Just because a thing is natural does not mean the thing is good. Life itself is natural, and it is clearly a horrific accident. To endure this life with a minimal amount of agony, one is wise to leave ambition to the fools fighting to be king of the hill. May my world-view transcend cultural sociological constructions.
May my mind even rebel against the natural tendencies to compete for dominance. I need just enough to get by. As a mental creature, leisure becomes sacred. Anything that would rob me of leisure must be kept in check. I will study because I love to learn.
It is important to me to develop a personal philosophy that focuses on that which is general and universal. I embrace melancholia as a means to attain empathy with – and compassion for – all that lives. One of the most beneficial aspects of writing a diary of one’s inner experiences is the result that comes from years of the practice. The reality of knowing oneself, of being profoundly intimate with one’s inner life, serves to insulate the psyche against harmful semantic reactions being propagated outside-the-skin.
Just a few days ago I was disturbed by a certain sensitivity to how I thought I was perceived by others. The fact is that it is best we do not know what others really think of us. It is best not to probe too deeply into how others perceive us, for, mainly, we get into areas that have less to do with our actual essence and more to do with images in foreign psychic environments, images tainted by another’s essence and infused with another’s subjective experience rather than our own. In other words, the image of ourselves in another belongs to the other and is the creation of the other’s mental faculties. Here the concepts of truth and reality are complicated by the subtle nature of subjectivity.
What sense does it make to allow myself to be hurt by another’s honest reaction to my presence?
It is a great attribute to develop a feeling of indifference towards how others view us, our public image. What is personal identity itself if not a social institution?
Why I am drawn to the formal study of technology rather than the formal study of philosophy has to do with my desire to rise out of the ranks of semi-skilled laborers, and take my place among those who earn their living using the powers of their intellect. Also, I do not trust academic philosophy. I am drawn to certain specific philosophers such as Schopenhauer, Cioran, and even Nietzsche. I think I would resent paying money to study the likes of Hegel. I use philosophy on a daily basis to endure existence until the moment this body breathes its last breath. I would not want to contaminate my philosophy by attempting to earn my living preaching it. While the nightmare quality of the human condition could not possibly be destroyed by the financial security that I may eventually attain through developing skills in applied mathematics and computation, I am genuinely curious about the hidden nature of the computing machine itself.
Is higher education a means to an end, the end being to earn more money? No, and again, no. Surely, formal education may increase earning power, but education is an end in itself, a pursuit that keeps the mind active and expanding. To place too much importance on the promise of financial security is to rob the sense of having been on a worthwhile intellectual adventure. Is the joy in the journey or only in the destination? What is a destination? When does one reach a destination?
It is crucial that, while I exist, I exist as though I will die within the hour. For while it is prudent to have goals and organize the expenditure of one’s vital energies, one can’t allow oneself to get too lost in Maya, the illusory nature of the spatio-temporal world. My organism fights back death every moment the same way all animals do, by eating, sleeping, staying dry, warming, etc.
There is no self. There is only a bundle of perceptions. My grandfathers are dead, and soon I will be dead as well. Do I fully grasp what it means to be dead? Doesn’t the awareness of death color every aspect of living? The realization that I and everyone I know will disappear from the face of the earth within one hundred years brings about a sense of peace and privacy.
Would it matter had I never been born at all? And now that I do exist, is it that crucial that I find a female to bear the fruit in her womb replications of our genetic code?
The Conspiracy has got many folks looking forward to turning the entire earth into one big shopping mall medical complex. The Conspiracy is great at guilt manipulation. They invent labels like success and failure and try to make them stick. If you don’t go along with every trivial request they make, which is impossible, you are suppossed to feel like you somehow have failed. Such a disappointment. We had hopes for you, son, but you have become so … unpredictable!
The Powers That Be and their minions (lap dogs) want you to at least want to be “normal.” They want you to at least “feel inferior” for lacking the qualities that make for a good obedient “worker,” employee, or “associate.” In this way The Conspiracy burns human beings as fuel. Those of us who are not so easily corralled and drained of our energies present a problem to the managers, social engineers, and others who presume to control us.
Note: Spencer, the same science-fiction/horror author who came up with the concept of The Great Tiredness writes that rejection may be helpful to the writer “leading him to the development of a reclusive, skeptical nature and allowing the writer to remain alone in a room for long periods of time without pining for the company of others.” I know the rejections I have experienced have helped me in this respect. It is exactly as Spencer suggests: my reclusive, skeptical nature allows me to be alone without pining for the company of others. This in turn is conducive for living a contemplative life.
To be sure, getting a job in the field of cybernetics, what we call Computer Science, would be a personal victory for me, the janitor/philosopher. I will always be the philosopher, and I imagine that the discomfort of being alive does not vanish when one acheives financial and even emotional security. Knowing this, why do I continue on this path? I am escaping one section of this Open-Air Prison, but I am still in the prison, and I will most likely always be in this prison, even should my “cell” become more comfortable. Am I now in the tunnles just struggling to dig myself up into a differnet cell? This would be quite dramatic were I foolish enough to believe everything is going to be just wonderful if and when I manage to rise out of manual labor. No, I am too philosophical to believe such horse crap. I accept the inevitable discomfort of being alive.
I am a “non-traditional” full-time student at university, and I hate the pricks who preach to me, “You should have went to college when you were supposed to, right after high school.”
Fuck them! I am an extremist even scholastically, one of the more intelligent ones in the bunch. Just because I am becoming a computer geek does not imply that I will serve the corporate enemy. Forget the status-quo. They seal their own doom by kissing up to the “masters.” I see the bait. Will I take the bait?
I am still bothered by the arrogant asshole’s remarks – the ignorant businessman who judges me for not holding down a position as an “associate/slave” in some corporation. Why do wage-slaves judge one who wants to bring down the corporate mind-fuck? Wouldn’t that be like chattle-slaves hating on John Brown for burning down the plantation? He referred to the “unemployment checks” as HIS MONEY, the same way an arrogant x-fellow-employee in the State Park Service referred to the grant issued me to attend college as HIS MONEY. These are the fascistic attitudes I will have to endure for the rest of my life since I am determined to stand up to mass ignorance where populations are managed by enforcers who believe great lies.
I know I have been having fun with this term, ‘geek’; and, although many people may aspire to be computer geeks, I think we ought to be using our dictionaries to challenge this obvious attempt to make anti-intellectual stupidity cool … an attempt to demonize the intelligent. According to the lexicon, the term, geek, originally referred to a wild man, a circus performer who performed morbid acts – like biting heads off chickens. The term essentially refers to any strange or eccentric person. In a society of mass-marketed stupid entertainment, all it takes to be strange or eccentric is to be highly literate. I mean, most CEOs and Wall Street power brokers don’t have the inclination to read Hermann Hesse … although a prisoner on death row can fathom the Steppenwolf on a deeper level than university professors in ivory towers. I don’t think I will accept labels such as geek or nerd from the herd. We are what we are, what we most truly are, this being … we are not how we are categorized by society, whether society calls us sinners or criminals or psychopaths or nerds or geeks or pinko-commies or nonconformists or emotionally disturbed persons, we are still this being that we be, not the labels society wants to pigeon-hole us into.
We are animal beings being. I am a man with deep emotions, even quite passionate. I refuse to be ignorantly categorized as simply “intellectual.”