“Your book is a failure.” —- “No doubt, but you are forgetting that I wanted it to be one, and that it could hardly be a success otherwise.” ~ Emile M. Cioran
“Nothing else can be stated as the aim of our existence except the knowledge that it would be better for us not to exist. This is the most important of all truths, and must therefore be stated, however much it stands in contrast with the present day mode of European thought.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer
“He will be least afraid of becoming nothing in death who has recognized that he is already nothing, and who consequently no longer takes any interest in his individual existence.” – Schopenhauer
I didn’t understand back then. Maybe I still don’t understand. Maybe ‘I’ don’t even really exist. Shall I address you as though I actually exist in your world? I will go through my records removing what is unnecessary and adding what has to be said.
To those of you who are scribbling in secret notebooks, may I offer a little advice? Save those diaries if you are able to. You may find yourself with nothing at all to do with your life but read through your personal reflections. You may want to extract bits and pieces from each notebook. Over the years and decades you might amass quite a pile of such excerpts … and then … and then you might be inclined to go through that pile of pig shit, extracting some kind of core. This is the exact manner in which this book wrote itself.
While the daily entries as well as the excerpts contain the day, month, and year, this current project will contain no such thing. You see, this time through, I will be adding a few cents extra along the way. I will be jumping back and forth between the present and the past.
One of the reasons I am compiling this current version of pigshit is because I want to get as much of this kind of work done while I have my wits about me. You see, I may have experienced a nervous breakdown a couple of days ago, but after some deep rest, my mind quickly reconstituted. All it took for me to fall off the deep end was not being able to secure a place to live after trying all day: I tried two different apartments in a row in two towns I’ve lived in before and didn’t even particularly want to live in again anyway. Still … this triggered a spontaneous drunk which developed into me raging in the woods and fields like an articulate baboon. I staggered around in the woods, laying down on the wet ground every now and then to rest, licking moisture from leaves to relieve my agonizing thirst. I knew better than to wander back into town to rehydrate.
Forget about survival for survival’s sake. I don’t enjoy being alive, and sometimes I feel hypersensitive even in the grip of my own body’s demands. I laid upon the ground wanting to sleep through the anguish. Wherever I go there will be liquor stores and the potential for drunken outbursts followed by panic and anxiety over loss of control. Is there anywhere where I will be able to just calmly endure being alive? Are some of us just wired in such a way that certain environs or situations have these effects on our nervous systems? I doubt there is anywhere I would be content, so I have no choice but to embrace dissatisfaction as the ultimate truth of my existential experience.
In actuality, compared to some people I know, I am keeping my head together fairly well. Some folks are in a Living Hell Inner-Directed Nightmare … madness in epidemic proportions. And yet, there is a thin line between “having a grip on reality” and “being in the grip of intense anxiety”.
How to describe the Nightmarish Sensation? What is one to do when one experiences the epidemics of madness seeping into their “fragile eggshell minds”? Where is one to hide? We can’t hide from our own bodies, our own minds. Even those who understand that it would be better were we never born do not want to die of hypothermia.
I have to admit that I feel much better not inebriated. Maybe there are only certain situations where alcoholic inebriation would be enjoyable for me … I can’t deny the relief I experience coming to my senses when my head clears up. Just being able to calmly read literature or write a little is a delicate exercise that I tend to under-appreciate. I don’t fathom the complexity of the processes taking place in the nerve-endings until I become incapacitated.
It’s a strong mental quality to be able to laugh at the Abyss, to face it squarely. All the industries from entertainment to spectator sports to sitting in a bar to dancing in a club – what is it all about if not merely to distract the masses from the fact that there is no purpose to being alive, that there really is nothing to do, and that those who reproduce are following mechanically a blind irrational will or traditions accepted without questioning the purpose of it all?
I enjoy writing when I am mildly depressed. I refuse to feel any shame for not following the gortards’ idiotic norms … the mass hypnosis. It is better for me to write in a “diary” than to sit in a theater watching some stupid Hollywood blockbuster.
Most of the pages from my earlier personal notebooks are filled with poems, dream recall, and sessions in which I would ask questions to be answered by “the dream spirits”. I set on fire my earliest diaries (from age 12 to age 19: 1979 to 1986), and buried the ashes in dirt down by a pit near Lake Topenemus in Freehold (NJ).
Now, as I was saying, I didn’t understand back then … back where the Salvaged Records begin.
There was some truth to the stern warnings to abstain from alcohol. You see, I am quite honestly still ambivalent about the issue … All I know is that this book is not going to write itself, and I will not be able to type it up if I am drunk or dancing around singing or involuntarily incarcerated in a behavioral observation center.
Back in 1987, when I was first confronted with the 12 Step Spiritual Healing Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and mandated by the Court to attend meetings daily while living at the Flynn Halfway House in Elizabeth, New Jersey, I found myself struggling to conform to the religious mind-set. I found the idea of having my “character defects” removed to be synonymous with “being destroyed cultural entity.”
Even way back when, over thirty years ago, I understood this much: Pleasurable stimuli motivates this Creature towards life-sustaining behaviors; and yet, the pleasure of chemically-induced intoxication most often has the opposite effect on human behavior. In other words, the Creature ingests alcohol in pursuit of pleasure, but somehow ends up ensnared in deeper misery.
The people of Alcoholics Anonymous suggested I discover a “higher power” outside myself to overcome this inherent contradiction. I was told not to trust my own thinking. Perhaps I was and still am being defiant and rebellious by not submitting to “a power greater than myself”. I most likely will become inebriated sometime in the future even though I know I risk losing my mind and being confined in some institution or jail. I don’t plan these things, of course.
Skin and encapsulated ego is a social institution. In order for institutions to survive, they must have inflexible doctrines, which reward the rank and file mainstream members of their institutions with a sense of “being good”, being chosen, etc. It makes no sense to challenge Alcoholics Anonymous, the Roman Catholic Church, the Nation of Islam, the State of Israel, the United States Military, or even the beliefs of a sports enthusiast about his favorite team. Even as there is no need to attack such institutions, one need not go out of ones way in fear of offending the true believers.
Sometimes I have to keep my real thoughts to myself, but writing helps me nurture my doubts. And freely and fearlessly criticize these institutions. Doubt is not a disease.
Seeing Through Pleistocene Eyes
On some level in our deep unconscious mind, there very well may be universal archetypes, and perhaps Carl Jung was onto something when he tried to convince people to make sense of their psychic evolution through the symbols of their ancestors. Listen, not everyone finds their roots in the world of David, Moses, Adam, and Abraham; and not even in Christ or Mohammad who were supposed to have been bridges for non-Jews to also become the chosen people of Jehovah – or Allah, if you prefer.
Many people reject this adoption and seek out psychic roots that go farther back than the Hebrew perspective into a pagan perspective, but these are still centered on agriculture where mankind seeks to influence the natural forces of the universe so that his crops flourish.
Seeing through Pleistocene eyes means going back at least a million years into the depths of our psychic evolution. If we reject the creation myth, then we have to follow the natural course back through the generations of grandparents. If we go back far enough we find ourselves crawling out of the ocean. I am not claiming to know the story, but there is a story we all share, and I would venture to guess it was not quite as simple as being banished from the Garden of Eden. Perhaps we originated in Africa, but what were we? What are now, for that matter? Could we have just appeared out of nowhere?
We are animated mud. Myths attempt to explain how we have come to be animated, infused with electro-chemical intelligence. Not even our cells know the story, and I am certainly not conscious of the particular details of how breath formed bone, but I refuse to be limited by slogans such as “keep it simple” when the one thing I can bear witness to is the utter complexity of the human condition. I don’t want a ready made answer. I want to wonder at the universe as it is as ancient and primordial as it ever was.
As good as dead, all of us are born to die
We disappear rapidly into nothingness
Guttural voice muttering down a trail
Between trees into a cave onto a bed of leaves
The skin is coming off, see it dissolve
Ideas leave me, the entire universe fades to black
Bury the shell that the vital heat animated
I was the vital heat, that which was invisible
You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out a fire. Once the flames begin to catch, the wind will blow it higher. This is how I perceive the situation with my being a non-mass-man. As Gunnar Ekelof puts it, “The non-mass-man is dead, long live the non-mass-man! Long live the man who has the courage to be dead, to be what he is: a third thing, something in between, but yet a nameless thing outside…”
The mood I am looking for is a sad kind of happiness, a happy kind of sadness. Hesse calls it “the way an animal might feel or look, the way a tree looks against the big sky.” Why am I unable to retain the spirit of agelessness that radiates the great mystery of existence? Thoughts run wild through my mind. Death itself is enough to force anyone to accept change as something inherent in the cycle of life. I surrender to the ancient current. Our bodies will rot in the earth. For a long time I have been a lone wolf, but I am never really alone. All of us are alone together with each tree, bird, squirrel, ant, et cetera. The dead have befriended me, whispering secrets to me about the strange nature of our bones and blood. Am I morbid to think of death? Death is the central reality of our lives; it defines us.
When I am walking in the woods alone, I sing to the sky. I don’t need society to understand me, but instead, I believe that the more I come to know my inner recesses, the more I will understand the human condition in general. My main goal in daily life is to become more and more honest with myself. As I wonder about what it is that lurks behind my eyes, I am thinking about thinking which is a higher level of observation.
I will become an anti-hero, a character lacking all the qualities of the typical hero. These are my own Notes From Underground.
From Basic Call To Consciousness
It is necessary that we begin a process of critical analysis of the West’s historical processes, to seek out the actual nature of the roots of the exploitative and oppressive conditions which are forced upon humanity. At the same time we must reinterpret that history to the people of the world. It is the people of the West who are the most oppressed and exploited. They are burdened by the weight of centuries of racism, sexism, and ignorance which has rendered their people insensitive to the true nature of their lives.
It is absurd to worry about what others think or say about us. Do we have the courage to see things as they really are? Can we at least be honest with ourselves about the situation we are in? To be born seems to be a curse. At least there is death to free us from our damned condition. I do not want to be cured of my negativity – it is a gift to be able to be so frank.
Wherever The Book Opens
What hands will these writings fall into? I bring a presence of mind to life, and this presence of mind is aware of the possibility of communicating to others my thoughts while innocently recording my reflections in these notebooks of mine. In the age of Big Brother, when herd morality rules, when the majority of individuals are cowardly patriotic and do not want to bring attention to themselves with “subversive” ideas, the mere act of putting the pen to paper to express my doubts is a flicker of mental freedom. Even though I know how very insignificant I am, how utterly insignificant our entire species is, there is still a sense of adventure in mere existence. To go against the grain, to express doubts about the hustle-bustle industriousness of our work ethic, to praise idleness and “doing nothing” is to validate like minded individuals who come after me just as my favorite authors have done for me.
Although we are specks of dust on a pebble inside a void of nothingness, at least we might communicate through time to one another. Sometimes our only true companions are authors long dead.
A Slip of the Pen
The Semitic people were among the first to develop irrigation technology. The Semitic world developed monotheism to give order to the process in which they extracted from the natural world in interest of their cities. The tribal people of the European forests clashed with the Semites and the Roman Empire, but were despiritualized by monotheism and subdued with military force.
My “problem,” as diagnosed by x-girlfriends and people in general, is that I think too much – I am too deep. This diagnosis, instead of making me want to be more like others, has always amused me or forced me deeper into my private, inner life. Mad poetry is all I ever write, even when written in the form of essays. Rantings of a disturbed poet are what my notebooks contain.
From Hesse’s Steppenwolf:
We intellectuals, instead of rendering obedience to the Logos, the Word, are all dreaming of a speech without words that utters the inexpressible and gives form to the formless. The German intellectual has always rebelled against the word and against reason. None of us intellectuals is at home in reality. We are strange to it, we are hostile to it. The generals and captains of industry were quite right. There was nothing to be made of us intellectuals. We were an irresponsible lot for whom reality had no meaning.
THE POSSESSION EXPERIENCE
He goes off into a Quiet Place
At peace in the Darkness
At peace in the Woods
Brew deep thoughts
Writing the diary of a madman
What possesses him to scribble?
The herd advises him, “Find a girl, see a psychiatrist”
“Do not think so much, lighten up amigo”
Taste it to the dregs
The Devil chooses his philosophers with care
I am fascinated with reading and writing my own journals. Our entire civilization will one day have vanished from the surface of this third stone from the sun. Where are we in such a rush to get to? Nowhere.
Because I was close to being paroled and being held in a minimum security (honor camp) prison, I was transported to the gas pumps on the New Jersey Turnpike six nights a week to pump gas. An elderly man drove through the gas station I worked at. He was talking to me about how we should follow the animals, about how they eat fresh vegetables. Before he could say anything else, I interjected, “And we eat out of cans.”
His eyes widened as he replied, “You spoke my words! I was about to say that…”
The elderly man continued, “A lion would not kill a zebra if the lion had a full belly, and yet man kills for sport. Man is greedy. He wants more and more…like gas stations, and then he makes slaves of you young people!”
I said, “Man, herded like cows.”
“Exactly”, said the old man, “And son, the world is not getting any better. It is getting worse and worse. We should follow the animals.” I then concluded, “I wish I were not born into these times. I would have rather been alive back before the machines.”
We shook hands. He said, “You are a smart man.”
I am sure conversations like this go on all over the planet. It is a universal situation. Yet do we not love our automobiles? If no one had a motor vehicle, none of us would be missing out on anything. At this point, our entire civilization depends on fossil fuels, engines, wheels, et cetera. As usual, it is all so very far over my head that I hesitate to even complain. All I can do is bleep as the sheep do.
Some words of encouragement from a trusted source:
If you are going to be different, you have to get used to the idea that your difference will confuse, frighten, and bother people less intelligent or less fortunate than yourself.
One night in the library of the minimum security prison, which used to be an army officer’s camp, I was scanning encyclopedias the encyclopedias. They still have remnants of the original officer’s library in this make-shift prison (work camp). From my research I found that there seems to have been a movement to establish a kind of nature worship as the German religion. A Teutonic people wandered through the forests of northern Europe possibly for thousands of years before their history was written. The first written account of the people of early Germany appeared after they made war against the soldiers of the Roman Republic. The Roman accounts tell that the ancient German people were very fair skinned. They lived in tribes, dressed in coarse clothes and animal skins, wearing armor of metal and leather. They used spears, swords, battle axes made of metal and stone. They worshipped their gods outdoors in the great forests. The Germans hated towns and cities. They are described as being loyal to their chiefs and faithful to their wives.
Once assimilated into the Western civilization process, Germany gave birth to philosophy. The awareness of human existence relative to the actual life of the individual called for a philosophy of inwardness. This view has been the theme of German mysticism and philosophy right down to its existentialism. Because philosophical thinking in Germany conformed very little to the course of Western traditions, but instead tended to break loose from these traditions or even to oppose them vehemently, we get German philosophy from individual German thinkers.
Arthur Schopenhauer sees in the will-to-live, and in it alone, the prime and eternal principle of the universe. He argues that experience makes no sense, and that nothing is left to man but to suffer the incomprehensible all-powerfulness of the Will.
With National Socialism (The Worker’s Revolution), there is a mystical fanaticism with the mission of the German race and the social revolutionary gospel. National Socialism regarded Christianity and prophetic Judaism, with their emphasis on the equality of all men under one common god, as alien and harmful. Judaism and the ethics of the Bible stood in opposition to the welfare of the Volk, the German People. They declared the German race as the corpus mysticum on which the salvation of the world depended. There was a hostility against all Western traditional thought, a rejection of all efforts at synthesis between Western tradition and Germanism. According to national socialist doctrine, loyalty to one’s race or blood took precedence over one’s loyalty as a citizen. So much for the encyclopedias…