The Great Tiredness is every bit as good as death. There was no color here, no pain, no emotional weather at all, just an occasional oddness that was the outside world trying to puff itself up into significance when, of course, the secret of the Great Tiredness, the truth of this realm, was that everything was arbitrary and meaningless. In the Great Tiredness, the transition from sleep to wakefulness was often blurred. – W.B. Spencer
Month after month, notebook after notebook, nothing but redundancy, the same old complaints about agitation between Sherry and I. The only value these notes have is in making it impossible for me to dramatize about “how good it was”. No matter how much pain I went through when we finally did split up, I have my notes as proof of our consistent incompatibility.
I am no Dostoevsky, hence I will not bore the reader with the pathetic details of what annoyed me about my relationship with Sherry, nor do I wish to humiliate myself by exposing the petty nature of my disturbances. If only I were able to write like Dostoevsky, I could make use of the abundance of material I have at my disposal. Perhaps I will keep existentialists such as Dostoevsky and Kafka in mind as I go through my old notebooks. This may give me the courage required to get to the roots of the ugly truth of human psychology.
I was happy with the State Park Service, happy with Sherry. My healthy discontentment may have begun while helping Sherry with her homework. I was able to do effortlessly the things she struggled with. It was not just her, but I had also helped one of her good friends. It was then that I started entertaining ideas about going to community college at night or weekends to study Calculus just for fun. I could understand studying philosophy privately, as this is a very personal matter; but mathematics involved intuitive understanding, not opinion or belief. My blood began to whisper to me. A ranger at the park named Bobbo convinced me to register for at least a Calculus course, just to get an idea of where I stood.
These are notes to myself, or to be neurotically accurate, “notes written by my organism-as-a-whole-in-environments to its nervous system”. These notes are not directed to an audience outside the skin, but to a presence of mind inside the skin.
I have been concerned about free time. What is the definition of free time, and what is its value in our hustle-bustle civilization of insect-like apes? Free time may be defined as that part of non-working time which is left after indispensable functions (sleep, eating, travel to work and back, everyday self service, laundry, etc.) and is spent on recovery of strength and on physical and intellectual (spiritual) development. Free time embraces study and self education, acquisition of culture (reading, going to the theater, cinema, etc.), social and political activities; but it can also include idleness and antisocial pastimes such as indulgence in drugs and alcohol.
My free time is spent on self-education. I also spend a great deal of time writing about my inner condition. Sherry and I would go to movies, rent videos, and share affection. I think of the people who like to climb mountains in their free time. Are these people more “alive” than bookworms like myself? I enjoy hiking through the woods, but I have never had any burning desire to climb a mountain. To each his/her own.
Is not the main purpose of the sex impulse to insure the survival of genetic code, the replication of the DNA? It would be a serious defect for an organism to lose the desire to have offspring, and yet Sherry and I were extremely cautious about procreation. We wanted to protect our “free time” from the responsibilities of parenthood. I never condemned us for this. In hindsight, it is clear that we were great parents to unborn children precisely because we were so careful not to reproduce. I pulled out. This was understood. Sherry was clear about this. Back then I thought we ought to reproduce. Now I am thankful to her that we did not!
I was denied financial aid so I was forced to cut into my meager earnings as a state slave to pay for a couple courses per semester at the local community college. Sherry questioned why I wanted to return to college. I figured that even if I never escaped from my proletarian status, at least I could be an educated prole.
The guys that invented Calculus, or “the Calculus” as some of us like to call it, were not thinking of bomb dropping drones. Many mathematicians died from undernourishment. Today, the applied sciences are fat. Pure mathematicians get by with a minimal amount of financial support, whereas the applied sciences are married to the industries capitalizing on new technologies. Meanwhile, the pure mathematicians are looking for the Nth dimension in hyperspace.
The most abstract scientific theories resemble the rantings of mystics. I view these mathematicians as a secret order of mystic-priests who understand a cryptic language. Mathematics can have aesthetic value, even though most engineers and scientists see it only as a tool. To them, mathematics has no more charm than a microscope. Mathematics simply helps them through a day’s work. Engineers create technologies that help our species control the “natural world”. Mathematicians create within a world a million miles away from reality.
It has been said by Alfred Korzybski, founder of the Institute of non-Aristotelian General Semantics, that mathematics is the best language for describing the processes in the nervous system as well as in the natural world. On the submicroscopic level of “invisible particles”, words fail. The word “pencil” is not that which it describes. There is a submicroscopic level inside the real thing we call a pencil. On the human level, an individual “John Smith” is not the same phenomenon today as he was a year ago. Everything changes as each second passes. The same person cannot walk in the same river twice.
Besides the cost of higher education, there were other obstacles that were even more disturbing. Actual suicide being the most catastrophic, this reaction manifests itself in other tendencies that make for a basic downward spiral: drug addiction (including chronic dependence upon alcohol), severe depression, general self-destructive behavior, atrophy of mental powers leaving one trapped in a dead end job, et cetera.
I was one of those children who, by second grade, had been drawn to the aesthetic beauty of mathematics. To make a short story even shorter, I had become dependent upon alcohol and marijuana by the time I was 17. I was pulled by an undertow into the school of hard knocks, but I never forfeited my status as a thinker. Books became an invaluable source of erudition for me.
I enjoyed working outdoors as a park maintenance worker, and the State had decent benefits. I don’t know where the law is written that says once one has broken away from one’s path, once one has attempted suicide and has been incarcerated for robbery, one is automatically deprived of entering the realm of advanced mathematics. I don’t know where the law is written because the law simply does not exist. Driving out to Lincroft to attend evening classes at Brookdale was not drudgery. It revived me.
It was enchanting. Here I was, a man who mopped floors and picked up garbage cans during the day. This man found satisfaction and mental stimulation attending classes at night that gave me much food for thought for when I was sitting on a tractor driving in circles out in the fields all day. The exploratory aspect was the primary motive, whereas the destination aspect was only a secondary motive. I didn’t really have a destination in mind. Performing menial tasks during the day, while exercising the higher mental faculties in the evening, was as close to a monastic lifestyle as an atheist could possibly get (in Western culture anyway).
It does not matter whether I starve to death, clean toilets in a state park, or differentiate equations. I personally find it more satisfying to use my intellect, but I do not deny the zen-like calm that is attained through being one with the task at hand, whether it be mopping a floor or laying brick.
It is empirically impossible to deprive me of mathematics, even if I were denied access to our mathematical inheritance by circumstances preventing me from entering the Church of Reason. We live in an age of over-population, corruption, and ecological jeopardy. Our civilization is faced with the predicament of expanding itself into extinction. Perhaps some human life will survive the collapse of Industrial Civilization.
After all, I don’t think the flaw of Western civilization has been in its body of knowledge, but in the culture’s tremendous lack of balance, in the forced boundaries between “inside-the-skin” and “the world”, between “the human world” and “the natural world”. As any honest person knows, we are animals. That wild and creepy world inside-the-skin is the only world there is, and there are no boundaries between “human” and “nature”.
Some of us are manual laborers. Others are business executives, administrators. Still others are scientists, teachers, mechanics, truck drivers, skilled craftsmen, machinists, lawyers, judges, police (including correctional officers, guards, the military, whatever – any professional getting paid to curb the tendencies of the wild, creepy primates that are swarming all over the surface of the planet). There are psychiatrists, medical doctors, therapists and psychologists, derelicts, and professional criminals (including politicians, drug dealers, and pimps). Let us not forget the presidents of multinational corporations when we are citing iniquitous criminals. The list goes on and on. There are all those professions in the media. We have stock-brokers, inmates in mental hospitals and houses of detention. There are so many roles to play in this busy hive. No matter where one finds oneself in this hive we call civilization, we are all in the Prison. We are in the Human Zoo even if we can’t see the bars of our cages.
Something horrid. It’s all relative, but it was a nightmare just the same. On second thought, it wasn’t all wretched. I wiped out my savings account for a computer, I started smoking herb again – making up for 7 years without it, I returned to college – part time of course, I felt romantic feelings for a young woman from Costa Rica, Frances, who was in my Calculus II class – which helped me to push Sherry out of my life, and after having Sherry move out, Frances moved back to Costa Rica, thus leaving me with my heart bleeding all over my psychedelic mushrooms and buds of the chronic. Feeling like an overeducated idiot, I could think of no better way to punish myself than to pour gasoline onto the fire. I went right for the Molson Ice. I invested in Goldslager too. After all, I had been on the wagon for 8 years, and beings I had been smoking grass and tripping on mushrooms for a good year, I figured I might as well start pulling that damned wagon again.
I never claimed to handle love-gone-bad very well.
In the end, it seems one’s attitude is more crucial to one’s success in society than one’s intelligence. Sherry and I had come to a crossroads, ignited by my wiping out my savings account to purchase a computer without even thinking of discussing it with her first. Why would I have discussed it with her? Was I to ask for her permission? The purchase was inevitable. I had wanted to buy a typewriter for the longest time, and the computer served as a word processor, a file cabinet, and with the proper software installed, that machine also served as an algebraic system that assisted me in symbolic and numeric mathematical operations. I was able to view graphs of equations instantaneously on the screen rather than using a calculator, a pencil, and graph paper. I was able to type my writings onto the hard drive where I could make changes without having to start the whole thing over.
Even though I was so grateful for being housed and employed by the State Park Service, I was increasingly becoming a more and more disagreeable man who secretly did not like most people. I felt like a monkey in a cage, corralled into its work-station. This is a universal situation, but with a hypertrophied consciousness, I was unable to find any consolation in the fact that we are all controlled from afar by an economy that exploits our enslavement to biological necessity.
Arthur Schopenhauer said throughout his life that if he had not attained financial independence through his inheritance from his father’s suicide, he would never have completed his life work, his magnum opus. When I would wake up in the morning, I wanted to write, but this tendency was crushed daily by my social obligation as a state slave. The great philosophers had much leisure, whereas my days were filled with drudgery, toil, and no hope of publishing anything I scribbled. The only place my ideas were taken seriously were in an academic setting.
The fundamental problem of philosophy is judging whether or not life is worth living. Albert Camus says there is only one serious problem of philosophy, and that is suicide. Is life worth living, not in the particular, but in general? The problem is in being born. Obviously, being born is the root of the problem, for death is only a consequence of being born.
In the midst of such universal truths, I have to deal with my hypersensitivity. This is as true now as it was then …
It would only take a look in the eyes from the higher echelon, which I might interpret as a mockery of me, for feelings of revulsion, animosity, malice, indignation, and general ill will to surface in me. I would want to question them as to what they were smirking at, but I would just bite my tongue. One of my bosses used to tell me to keep smiling because then people would wonder what I was up to. Don’t let them see how much you abhor your subservience! Besides, it may only be my imagination.
Now I begin to come across entries in my Salvaged Records where, with my discerning eye, I notice a slight difference in the handwriting. The personality changes I experienced at this time were a direct result of my enraged ennui with the situation at work itself. I had entered into the abyss. I was on the dark side of the moon. I became a sick member (see Ira Levin’s This Perfect Day).
While I was resting on the sofa, Sherry wanted to talk to me. I screamed, “I want to rest! If you have to go for a drive in the car in order for me to be able to rest, then fucking go!”
Needless to say, she fucking went. Later she returned to the house, and went directly to bed while I sat up in the office writing. What was I writing?
“All work, no play, makes Mike a dull boy.”
The Calculus sessions with instructor Jay Deshabandu were very stimulating, and I was acing the exams. I had mastered the fundamental theorems of Calculus on my own. Now I was fine-tuning my algebra skills as one doesn’t really “use algebra” until one applies it in Calculus. In the meantime, I began to distance myself from Sherry.
Deshabandu suggested that, instead of pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, I should cut to the chase and start taking computer programming courses. He had a Master’s degree in mathematics, and he was taking computer programming courses. He told me I could easily become a programmer with my mathematical aptitude, and that to spend years studying higher mathematics seems to be an unprofitable game plan with the current demand for programmers (at that time … 1995) being so high.
I believed I had discovered an escape route from my monotonous and mundane career as a maintenance man.
Ginger, the loyal canine I had become so attached to, was put to sleep. She had eaten from a dead carcass out in the field. She was bloated, with blood coming out of both ends. This would prove to be a bad omen. With Sherry and her Husky, Sparkle, I drove Ginger’s body out to a spot on the edge of the woods where we liked to sit in the summer. We were in deep pain as I dug through the hard winter crust.
I could have spent $400 just to see what was wrong with her, but the vet could not guarantee she could help her. She could give me no clue as to what the costs would be. I only had $500 in the bank. This changed me somehow. I loved that dog more than anything.
Sherry would interrogate me about the nights I spend at the college. I seemed to have no control over what was happening. I would be insane to think a Latin tongued Catholic would accept my atheism, even if she was a native of an island. Sure I was annoyed with Frances’s devout Catholicism, but I was more disappointed in myself for being deluded enough to think I might be able to seduce her. After having studied Calculus with Frances, Calculus would never be the same again.
I struggled to help her understand the test material, and she was relieved to begin to grasp it. I was trying to learn Spanish. I was not afraid of losing Sherry. We had been going down the tubes anyway, clinging to each other only out the fear of being alone, the fear of losing the years we invested into getting so attached. Sherry had asked me to let her read the hard cover record book I was currently writing in at the time, and I had to refuse. I knew it is over between us, but I would rather it take its natural course. Frances had given me no reason to take the risk I was taking when asking Sherry to move out, but I figured it was not fair to hold onto Sherry just for the sake of not being alone.
It is not like I can just go out and grab a woman anywhere. I knew Sherry would hate me after I asked her to leave.
I physically moved Sherry’s stuff back to her parent’s house. I took the day off from work because I was recovering from all the mixed emotions I was experiencing. Sherry and I agreed to be totally separated, which meant we resisted the temptation to share sexual affection.
Her first night at her parent’s house was a nightmare for me. I had called Frances to speak freely with her. We spoke about church and the fact that Sherry and I were no longer together. Frances thought it was sinful that Sherry and I had been living together without being married. The gist of what Frances told me was that she cares for me, but because she plans on moving back to Costa Rica, and because of our religious differences (I am an x-Catholic), it was a big No Way in Hell. Frances was only a catalyst for my splitting up with Sherry.
As I sat on the embankment along the creek behind the fields around the Tark House, I became so homesick for Sherry. My heart ached, and I was reminded that the male is not spared his emotions just because he is not always aware of them. Heartache has nothing to do with one’s sex.
Sherry’s fourth night at her parents, and at 5AM, while tripping on mushrooms, I left a message on her answering machine after I had been screaming to the moon in agony. I let out those deep primal screams that expressed my inability to make any sense of what just happened over the past three years. It all hit me at once.
Sherry was now fully aware that I would have abandoned her if Frances had warmed up to me. Now I was a truly solitary man once again. It seemed easier to be so solitary before I met Sherry. Now it was not easy at all. This is the response of the Will to a decision made by the intellect. I think the Will (the heart) has veto power. It can shut the entire system down. The Will was not at all pleased with the situation.
Then my sleeping patterns became sporadic. I publicly preached Schopenhauer’s doctrine in the math lab. I criticized religion, and I could see that Frances would never have been able to handle me. I would had to have been a chameleon. At least I let her see me for who I am before we parted ways.
I no longer had to please anyone, not Sherry, not Frances, not my boss, not the Region Office, not suits in Trenton, no one! My nerve nets were in a state of severe agitation.
Two months after I forced Sherry out of my home, she came by the house to have me help her with her resume, after which she told me she has slept with some new guy, thereby consummating their relationship. I would make some futile attempts at winning her back, but it was at this time, June 1995, that I went back to the bottle. By now Sherry thinks I am completely out of my mind.
I made my way up to CROW Hill in North Pitcher to enter the sweat lodge. I had to find a way to be cleansed, to make some sense out of all this pain. It had been 4 years since I last entered the sweat lodge. The sweat lodge ceremony was powerful, but I split in the middle of the fourth door as I was disconcerted from the frequent use of the word Creator. For some reason I found myself hostile towards the word Creator. There were many prayers for “drug addicts”, “drunks”, et cetera. All in all, the sweat lodge ceremony was an extraordinary experience. The cool mountain air blessed me with deep sleep.
I returned from the mountains and did not do any house work for 6 months!
I worked for a solid 6 hours cleaning. I rewarded myself with a fat bag of green buds, and then I prowled into town for a dozen drinks. As if the will-to-live were not oppressive enough, now I had the will-to-be-inebriated to contend with. . In quiet despondency I scoped out the barmaids and waitresses of the taverns I haunted, wondering if I would come to my end like Christopher Marlowe, author of The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus, at age 29 being killed in a bar brawl. I had been drawing attention to myself while feeling no pain, spouting off about the systematic confusion generated by the media in order to keep me from remembering my true identity as a descendant of the Teutons. Say what?
I was forced to use a sick day in order to recover from an all night escapade into the House of Pain, New York City. The ice cold downpours and late October winds did not kill Tully and I thanks to Pablo, who brought us to his amigo’s apartment in Harlem to find shelter from the elements at 3AM. We made it back to Freehold by 8:30AM, our clothes still damp and cold. To this day I reflect upon the miserable condition of human life in New York City: the crack houses, the crack-this, and the crack-that. My life at Monmouth Battlefield State Park was not as low as I had been thinking. I was fortunate to dwell among Trees. Why had I been fortunate enough to grow up around woods, and yet the poor folks living in the inner cities have nothing but that constant, inescapable nightmare as their reality, day in, day out? They have nowhere to escape to. The city eats them alive. The city is Hell.
After reading through a book called Caring For The Mind, I made a prophetic observation. I realized I had been treating a mental disorder with drugs and alcohol. I diagnosed my condition as manic-depressive. From what I read about the patterns of my mood swings and behavior, I must have a bipolar disorder. Besides deep depression, I also experience hypomania (pathological enthusiasm). Because mania impairs judgment, individuals sometimes make decisions with harmful long-term consequences.
Before too long, there were many bars in the Freehold area I was no longer welcome in. I was getting so sloshed that I would end up becoming hostile, blurting out unconscious hatreds, exposing my radical inner voice to the community. I had been spending every red cent on lubricating my soul, medicating my psyche. I was continuously on the verge of temper tantrums. I had become a strung out demon. Even though I maintained high honors performance in college, I had come to believe there was no escaping my serfdom as a state slave.
All hail Discordia! I went out to dinner with a woman that a coworker, actually my immediate supervisor, set me up with. She was an attractive woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, but she was so head over heels in love with Jesus Christ, besides the fact that she was recently separated and responsible for a newly born infant, that I felt myself wanting to back out of this before I was in over my head. We had a few drinks after dinner over at Cass’ Cafe, and after I dropped her off, I returned to Cass’ Cafe to finish the job.
This was certainly a bizarre night indeed, something out of a Hermann Hesse novel, like Steppenwolf. When I returned to Cass’ Cafe, I ran into a couple that I had worked with when I was 16 over at the local Freehold McDonald’s. They knew, even back then, that I was ‘crazy’, philosophical, whatever; they knew me, and they both were kind of nuts too. The female, Dawn, was dangerously wild – a beautiful, sexy, and ungovernable daughter of the Night.
While sitting at the bar pounding down beers from green bottles with the male of this dyad, I was showing off, cracking him up, screaming lines from “Planet of the Apes”: Get your stinkin’ paws off me you damn dirty ape! You cut out his brain! Silence the animal! Bright-eyes! etc. I asked his permission to go check out his sexy wife who was dancing in front of the band. Dawn led a group of 8 girls who were under her spell. She had some kind of power, something wild and tempestuous. When finally bored with dancing, she went into the men’s room and pitched her glass into the corner; the sound of the breaking glass was loud enough to get the attention of the manager, who had her ejected immediately. I was in stitches, and very proud to have known Dawn and Oscar.
Drunken and drug-crazed scribblings fill the expensive hard cover record books. If I am not chasing after barmaids I will never get, I am recovering from long cocaine binges. Either way, the handwriting is confirmation of the condition I was in most of the time. Still, I repeated the same rituals every day, week after week, month after month. I am constantly in and out of depression, riding the manic-depressive sine wave.
When the magic elves came knocking on my door at 4AM, I would pretend I wasn’t home or howl out the window about how I would be knocking some heads off with an axe. More often than not, I would go for the bait. Like a fish on a hook, I rattled and shook. At times I lost my mind, alone in that big old house, screaming in agony at the walls, crawling on all fours. It is good to remember the wretchedness of the cravings.
It helps me to cherish the freedom from chemical dependence. To sit in tranquility while reading a book, craving nothing but the biological necessities, is a blessing after having been in need of such substances just for temporary relief from the relentless demands of the organism-in-withdrawal. I was a slave to the addictive voice, the Beast.
I could just as easily not mention Mary. To leave her out would be to sweep that part of my life under the carpet, to try to pretend I was never that shot-out. My hypothesis is that women who use whatever means necessary to take advantage of a lone male in distress in order to feed their cravings for drugs and alcohol and sex are still very much a part of the fabric of reality. As embarrassed as one might think I would have been for allowing a con artist of a woman plant herself in my home for nearly 6 weeks, I am not ashamed of having been a confused, vulnerable, and love hungry man.
I met Mary on Easter Sunday at 01:45AM while kneeling down on one knee tying the laces of my $110 mountain sneakers on the floor of Cass’ Cafe. I noticed her black thighs, and, as I was standing up, her cheek touched mine. What did she whisper to me besides the fact that she was trying to get away from those mean rich white dudes who were abusing her? Whatever it was, it was erotic and it got my attention. I tried to order us some vodka, but the bar was closing for the night. I took her down that long, dark, lonesome road to this big old house I call home. She was so scared that I let her carry a large butcher knife by her side when we settled in. This was insane, but my instincts were still sharp. Although Mary was a thief, she would not want to hurt anyone unless she was cornered.
On the day of Easter, she swindled me out of $700. Her mother was in the hospital. This was true. We went to see her. Mary said she needed the money to pay her rent or else she and her daughter would be evicted from the apartment they were living in. I was born a sucker; some things never change. I did not report to work for 12 days. I called it Easter Vacation. I had one more test and a couple programs to write for a Pascal class before the term was over. I managed to pull off the credit high honors even in the midst of all this iniquity.
Mary had met Mikey. There was no way to reverse the process. We fornicated constantly; all righteousness has been trampled under foot. So much for a mode of existence leading to the renunciation of the will-to-live. We caused a commotion at the bar while we were feeding like animals on the free chow. She kept telling people I was her fiance. Mary was drawn to The Upanishads. She pulled it from the shelf and began reading parts of it. Even from inside that alcohol saturated brain of her’s, she could sense the wisdom in that book. I actually bought her a season pass, and we were going to Great Adventure together. We didn’t even have to do anything but be together to make a scene. I didn’t care. Who did I know? Who knew me? Why would the opinions in between the ears of other people concern me? My mother stopped by the house to tell me she was afraid I was going to lose my job for having “this woman” in there with me while using up all my sick leave. There were rumors going around. Obviously, the fact that Mary was black had become a real issue for ‘the State officials’ to sink their teeth into, tripping all the Big Brother alarms.
The looks I was getting from the local barmaids said it all. I had crossed a line, and there was no crossing back over it. Still, I didn’t care. I never believed for one moment I ever had any chances with any of those women anyway. I had always been an outspoken, honest man who voiced in public some very unpopular opinions. I was damned to hell long before I went parading around Freehold with the likes of Mary. It may have been my way of saying “Fuck you” to all the cliques and clans that I was never, and never wanted to be, a part of.
I had quickly become an object of scorn and ridicule, not only for strangers, but for work associates, so-called friends, and family members. My days were supposedly numbered at work. I had fallen hard off that pedestal. Mary awakened from a nightmare in which I was riding a bicycle very fast escaping the authorities. She said that, in the dream, I was “a fast-computing, alien-like creature”.
It was not easy, but I managed to get Mary out of my sanctuary. Even if I wasn’t warned by Mr. Big Brother Employer, I would have found a way to detach from Mary. My name was being slandered. It is a shame people are so petty. I thought myself one of the most intelligent workers in the entire State Park Service, and I certainly endured and covered up for incompetence directly above me in the chain of command. This is when the knives, one by one, would be thrust into my back. This was the beginning of the end, the conspiracy to get rid of a wild, free-thinking trouble maker who knew too much. In the end, I, myself, would be the one to slip in the fatal blade. I was even kind enough to bury myself, with the help of local “law enforcement officials”, those damn dirty apes.
By the end of August 1996, I wanted to jump off the roof of the Tark House. I feared the loss of my job and housing privileges. I was finally diagnosed as manic-depressive in September 1996, and although I did manage to stay clean for 5 months while taking lithium, I ceased taking the prescribed medication on February 11, 1997, when I discovered a bag of buddha (marijuana) at the bottom of a chest filled with winter clothes. I must have hid it on myself. How damaging could smoking pot be? I kept away from the bars so as not to run into any heads, and I stayed to myself while indulging once again in the Smoking of the Sacred Pipe. Soon enough I was stocking up on beer again, and paying for tobacco with pennies.
Operation: Cold Summer
Death by drowning and blowing your mind with drugs amount to the same thing: the sweetness and easy release of a successful regression. The cult of addiction is a cult of suicide. We who frequent the bars enter as consumers, customers; when we are out of money, we are rejected by the empty space. How can one be rejected by empty space? It is the nature of emptiness to offer nothing. (Alvarez)
Soren Kierkegaard tells us that the nature of all reflection is to ask ourselves these questions: How did I get into this? How do I get out of it? How does it end?
I got into this by being born, and it ends in death. Tormented by inner conflicts, I was at war with myself. I struggled to remain a tame and amenable public servant, but the habits of my private (nocturnal) life were really taking their toll on my temperament. The state slave was finding it more and more difficult to maintain his composure while on duty. I became argumentative and disagreeable – more indignant towards authority than ever.
I didn’t have the time to go cold turkey. I would have to be away from the job, the house, for at least a few weeks. Meanwhile, the State of New Jersey via The State Park Service via the Assistant Regional Superintendent had advised me to “get some help”. I took this as a threat. Evidently, my going off the deep end had not gone undetected by Big Brother and Company. I went through the appropriate channels for psychiatric intervention. Rumor was that the higher echelon was looking only to protect me from getting into trouble with the law due to my wild ways. At this time, I began to contemplate on the life of Ikkyu.
My physical organism, including my psychological and emotional condition, was actually in the jurisdiction of my employer, the State. This was not just my problem, but, to be blunt, this was a problem with a piece of state equipment. This machine – my animal body – was not running smoothly. It may have been performing its duties, but there was this grinding noise coming from it; the higher ups and my immediate supervisors were unable to steer it. It is was like a runaway train.
Some Excerpts from the Salvaged Records
I prepared all day to be admitted into Carrier, but when I arrived with my bags all packed, I was denied admission at the evaluation stage. I called Jack Trimpey, founder of Rational Recovery Systems, in California (1-916-621-4374). There is a place in Chicago that charges $1000 (AVRT) plus $200 for a week in a hotel. RRS teaches the substance abuser AVRT, Addictive Voice Recognition Technique. That would be cool. I don’t know what my next move will be.
Having been pushed to my limits by a fierce depression, I called both my immediate supervisor and my mother. I had called my mother first, telling her how unhappy I was working for the Park Service. I went on to tell her that I called her because I wanted to say good-bye to her before I climbed up onto the roof of this 3 story house and dove off to my demise. By 8AM I was in the emergency room in the Freehold Hospital, by 7PM I was admitted into Carrier for chemical dependency and suicidal tendencies, and by 7AM, 08-31, I was discharged from Carrier, after being there only 3 days, due to “insurance problems”. Carrier diagnosed me as being manic-depressive. I am being referred to a psychiatrist, and, for my other problems, I am to participate in an “out-patient treatment” program. More existential cannibalism. An entire industry in place to feed upon basic human misery.
I went to Carrier (outpatient in Freehold) and walked out of the group therapy as it was ‘12 Step’ oriented. I am going to use Rational Recovery’s “addictive voice recognition techniques” to deal with this Beast. My psychiatrist put me on lithium.
How my organism-as-a-whole fought the alarm clock this morning! Imagine if I were to have children to deal with! When would I find the time to write, to read, to reflect? After a couple cups of coffee, I gain an appreciation for my higher mental faculties no matter how hostile these faculties make me towards work. I happen to have other projects in the works besides the agenda of those who would direct me to clean rest rooms and empty trash cans!
People talk about how they stopped using drugs when they were sick and tired of being sick and tired. Well, I’ve stopped using drugs, and I am still sick and tired. I’m sick and tired of working as a wage-slave, working daily with no inebriation sessions to look forward to, and still living from hand-to-mouth. I am sure most people are in the same boat, if not worse, but I see those others. I see the yuppies trying to look down at me. I feel their mocking glances, and this makes me feel indignant. With money, they supposedly control the world. The Churches are friends to poverty, but they feed people today who will only wake up hungry again tomorrow. I am not extremely poor, but if I were to join their ranks, I could not be subdued by religion. The opulent die violent deaths when the hungry ascend. A mood that is at once demonic and heroic has come over me as I envision 2 million clones of myself unleashing the embittered frustration of futility incarnate.
It’s not just about people being hungry. It’s about people having to take those shitty jobs, having to obey a fucking clock, an instrument that measures how many beats of my heart equal “the wage”.
I have been worried about how others might judge my diary material, but aren’t I entitled to my feelings, no matter how immature? If I feel malice towards certain factions of society, why deny myself the articulation of this enmity? I am verbalizing my thoughts; I am not commanding an army.
I don’t own a gun, I am far from being a soldier, and I really have no comprehension of the infrastructure of the civilization that supports my biological survival. Am I a parasite? Do I have the right to complain about the conditions of capitalism when the very work I denounce provides the worker with sustenance? Without civilization as we know it, would I have access to the electricity enabling me to type these very words? I do love my orange juice, my milk and coffee, etc.
What about individuals who have overcome great physical handicaps, who maintain a remarkable zest for life? What about the factory worker who is perfectly content, carrying out his/her tasks with a meditative attentiveness, who is one with the universe and never bored? My negative outlook would seem to be a disease to the industrialist. His/her response to such lethargic whining would be for the nonconformist to go live in a cave and eat raw clams. This is tempting, but not practical. Where would I go when I had a toothache? Hell, where does a penniless human creature go in our industrialized nation when he or she has a toothache?
Apparently, there is more to our civilization than I can hope to fathom, and at the same time, most of the members of this “modern civilization” lack the basic survival skills our “primitive” ancestors possessed. It’s best not to think about it so much. Like most pack animals, we tend to go with the flow, and do what the rest of the herd is doing. This is the built in mechanism of conformity. If the herd is running over the edge of a cliff, very few individual units will stop to think for themselves. So why is it generally considered a transgression to question the work ethic, to demand more leisure and less work? Don’t even think about it. Just report for duty. Don’t forget to smile!
What is thought-crime? I think the contemporaries of Henry David Thoreau looked at him this way, as a man that represented a threat to the herd if only for the thoughts in his head. Thoughts lead to a mode of existence; hence, Mindcrime. That’s where it all goes down, in the thought processes. Who shall police our thoughts? Who shall “watch our attitudes”? Shall these zoo-keepers doctor my attitude?
I had just finished reading Colin Wilson’s The Outsider. I was inspired by it. I had no doubts that writing my thoughts about existence in notebooks was a powerful outlet for my philosophic impulses. I didn’t need any recognition from an audience since this was and continues to be a solitary exploration.
During the process of reading through old notebooks, I come to realize how my thoughts are often influenced by events occurring outside my skin. Were a woman to desire me, I would be pulled into the dance. I would “lose control” of my life. Women choose the fathers of their children, and in so doing, not only create the next generation, but influence every generation to come. I have great respect for the power sexual pleasure has over me, but I am also aware that this power diminishes as long as I am denied the pleasure. Why would I want to search frantically only to be once again hopelessly ensnared?
For the first time since early summer, I entered the woods behind Central Supply, the park maintenance shop next to the house I rent from the State. I spent as much time in the woods on this excursion as I used to spend when my canine, Ginger, and I used to roam for the entire day back in 1994. The way years pass gives me a sense of unreality. I was able to sit in Indian style while absorbing the sound of the wide creek rippling along in timelessness. The woods are an ancient world to me, and the creek is the same creek Native Americans went to for water only a couple hundred years ago.
I have learned from having to do with people that the less I have to interact with others, the better off I will be. I don’t run with the pack. I don’t belong to a political party. I don’t belong to a Church, nor do I recognize any religion as my creed. I am not a sports enthusiast; hence, I am not a fan of any particular team. I do not belong. I do not want to belong. The human condition is what it is whether one is Kafka or Hitler, whether one is Black Elk or Pope Paleface, whether one is Malcom X or an Asian Industrialist.
Do the groups we belong to alter our condition? Would my experience of reality be different if I came up through the black inner-city experience? My experience would be different, yes, but would the nature of the human condition be any different? The nature of being hungry or tired is the same. Sexual gratification is still what it is. The nature of chemical dependence is no different. Doubt, frustration, existential despair, wondering what purpose there is to the basic universal discomfort of having been born … all these inner experiences we share … and yet, I imagine life in the inner cities to be a nightmare of quite a different order.
Demons In My Head
Insomnia invites a multitude of demons to hold council in the gray matter in my skull. I am touched with fire. I recognize myself in other individuals, and I finally understand that it is the group (that an individual belongs to) that I have an aversion to, not the individual. How am I to abhor a group of people if I have the ability to see each member as an individual, each with a complex psychic evolution of its own?
I want to walk alone. I don’t want to be committed to anything.
As far as Jews go, as a group, is there really any such thing besides an abstraction? And if there is such a thing in the concrete, this group has many internal conflicts – some are orthodox, some are liberal, some are atheists. Now that is a contradiction. An atheist Jew is an oxymoron! In fact, to be an atheist is to be a non-Jew. Whether Christians and Muslims realize it or not, they are pseudo-Jews because they believe in the god of the commandments, the god of the Old Testament, the God of Israel. I’m sure you’ve heard of Him. He is God, for Heaven’s sake!
So, imagine how ridiculous it is to mistakenly claim to be a Jewish atheist. Make up your mind already. I joke, I joke … I kid, I kid. You couldn’t edit that out? Damn, Mike …
How has this religion come to be equated with a race?
I thought I was going to delete this section. I still may … if there is time.
Many Latin-tongued peoples are Catholic, but not all Catholics speak Spanish or Italian. If an Italian-American becomes a non-believer, he still considers himself Italian, but not Catholic. When a Jew proclaims to be an atheist, how is it he still considers himself (or herself) a Jew? Can people convert to Judaism? I always thought that, traditionally, one is a “Jew” only if born from a “Jewish” woman. Confusing? Is it considered “anti-Semitic” just to write down confusing questions? Do I have to declare myself a comedian in order to get a little philosophical slack?
The genealogical, tribal roots of Judaism are found in the Hebrews, a definite race of Semitic people originating in the Middle East. These people migrated to Europe, Eurasia, and North America. Religion serves to unite the tribe, the race, the blood.
Is there a difference between a Jew and a Hebrew? I contest that the Hebrews are a race of people whose religion is Judaism, but if it is possible to marry into, to convert to, Judaism, then not every Jew can trace his/her lineage to the Palestine or the so-called Israelites. As for the aggression between modern Palestinians and the Israelis, this is rooted in religion and its unspoken primary agenda being land acquisition, which shows the reality of religion’s role in uniting one tribe against another. Am I permitted to speculate? Is a buffoon entitled to scratch his head and wonder out loud and in print?
Do people “convert” to nationalities by becoming citizens of a particular nation? A Russian, a German, or an “American” could become an Israeli. A Canadian could become a citizen of the United States of America, an Indian could become a citizen of England. Oh my goodness, an Englishman born of English parents who happen to be “citizens” of South Africa is called an English-African, not to be confused with an African citizen of the U.K. Are nationalities like religions then? We can switch tribes? An Englishman or German or whatnot who came to the Americas might have troubles in the colonies, escape into the mountains, and be adopted by Natives of “Turtle Island.” Who decides who is who? The government consensus?
A race, on the other hand, refers to genetically transmitted traits. One cannot convert to a race. Is there such a thing as race? We don’t really know, do we? By the time the world wars broke out, unlike Japan, Germany was no longer a homogeneous people. They did not all share a common eugenics, as could be seen upon closer inspection of their traits. Nothing that is so, is so.
Now, I reserve my right to criticize Judaism, my right to openly denounce the Judaic worldview for its idiotic and arrogant optimism, its naive realism, its spawning of Christianity and Islam, and the “chutzpah” it shows in claiming that its people are the chosen people of their god, who is, according to them, no mere demiurge, but the Supreme Being of the Universe. This may be an unwelcome critique.
Schopenhauer did it. Why can’t I? Is it still possible to allow an honest man to write?
Judaism has had many consequences. How many anti-Semites have been militant Muslims or radical Christians? They are children attacking their parent, or, to be more explicit, they are branches trying to strangle the roots of the very tree they sprout from! They do not recognize their crucial dependence upon Judaism. If one pays attention to the “character” of this god, whether you call It YHWH or Jehova or Allah, as “He” is written about in “holy books,” he seems to be an unworthy god.
Perhaps those who passed down the stories in the “Bible” were trying to get a message across which has been lost on us because of so many centuries of misinterpretation by elites so as to better control the masses.
So it seems that I will want nothing to do with this all too general term, anti-Semitic, as it insinuates my allegiance to groups that, in my analysis, are perpetuating the mistake. This is why words like anti-Semite have to be banished from my vocabulary. The word means something different to me than it does to the media, to the general public.
Just for this evening, I would like to perceive myself as a celestial being, a creature inhabiting the cosmos. Maybe then, and only then, would I be able to perceive all creatures the same way, whether they be human, another species of mammal, fish, or even plant. How can anything or anyone be the Other to me when I so thoroughly understand that this entire universe, as unfathomable as it seems, resides in my brain? How can I allow myself to take offense at the metaphysical blunders of the Abrahamic religions? It will all soon be over, this phantom of the night we make such a big deal of, that which we call life. As usual, there are no easy answers to the questions the demons have raised.
I am beginning to worry about my psychiatrist. She keeps questioning why I don’t attend 12 Step meetings (Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous). I tell her that the 12 Step programs are ridiculous. She zoomed in on my isolation, wanting to know if there was anything in my past that made me such a loner. I told her I have always preferred solitude. She has classified me as being pathologically introverted and withdrawn. I flinch under the psychiatric microscope when it categorizes misanthropic tendencies as deviant behavior. She inquires about my habits, and I explain that I read books, write journals, drum, walk in the woods – all of my habits are activities done in solitude. I am so tired of hearing these predictable opinions about my introversion.
I am aware of how untamed we “moderns” are underneath the layers of civilization. When banished from the vital heat of the “colony”, the individual raised within our plug-in culture is very much worse off than the prehistoric cave dweller. The clean and neat angel becomes the dirty and disheveled devil. I think that being an introvert puts me more in touch with the Creature buried deeply beneath the veneer.
Where does the feeling come from, the feeling of being trapped in my skin? I know that drugs would temporarily make me feel better, but I have made a commitment with myself not to indulge so as to keep my central nervous system free from being bombarded by substances that will have it in the bondage of craving more and more and more times infinity (an endless loop). Determined to keep my wits about me, I have no choice but to sit here and experience my condition for what it is as I wait to fall into a deep sleep. When it is 15 degrees (Fahrenheit) below zero outside; one really appreciates the wonder of it being 68 degrees inside. This alone is enough to keep one humble and content.
I am not living life; life is living me. Let us speak the truth always. Life does not seem real; memories are but illusions, and the present moment is equally a mere memory – in fact, a sublime hallucination. When our eyes grow heavy, and sleep takes us, the outside world disappears as we return to the inner realm.
I write, therefore I am mad.
There is too much going on in here, so much so that I am compelled to write.
My writing implies madness.
My paternal Grandfather died back in September 1991. He was on a cruise, and had just finished dancing with my grandmother, when, out of nowhere, he was no more – a heart attack of some kind. My maternal Grandfather plans to die this week, the week of his 80th birthday. He has been suffering from ailments for about a year. His condition has been steadily worsening.
I wonder if it would be better for death to come like a thief in the night, as it was for my paternal grandfather, or if it would be better to be prepared for death, no matter what the degree of physical pain that comes along with “becoming ready,” as it is for my maternal grandfather. One can’t help seeing a lot when one lives to see one’s grandchildren’s children. My grandfathers saw many changes take place: World Wars, television, the racial riots, blasting hunks of metal to a rock in space, woman’s liberation, the computer revolution, and who knows what else? I cannot speak for my grandfathers.
It is mind boggling to reflect upon how many grandfathers and grandmothers each individual is the spearhead of. There are 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 grandparents’ grandparents, 32 gp’s gps ps, 64 gp’s gp’s gps, 128 gp’s gp’s gp’s parents, et cetera.
If we let n represent the number of generations, the formula, for figuring out the amount of parents (all quite grand I’m sure) each individual is genetically linked to, would be:
parents = the sum, from n=1 to n=n of (2 to the nth power)
For 1 generation, we have 2^1 = 2 parents
For 2 generations, we have 2^1 + 2^2 = 6 parents
For 3 generations, we have 2^1+ 2^2 + 2^3 = 14 parents
For 4 generations, we have 14 + 2^4 = 30 parents
For 5 generations, we have 30 + 2^5 = 62 parents
For 6 generations, we have 62 + 2^6 = 126 parents
There is a pattern here.
Each added generation has 2 times plus 2 parents.
This is because we have each parent’s lineage plus our 2 actual parents.
Using Reinnman Sums works fine. Going back 7 generations gives us 254 parents. Going back 14 generations, we have 32766 parents. Now, going back 21 generations, which is only a little over 500 years ago – in the late 1400’s, one single individual has 4194300 parents. There are over four million people who were directly responsible for my birth, and this is only going back 500 years. One more “n”, and I will stop. 10000 years: 400 generations : 5.16 E 10120 = 5 with 120 “0’s”!
We are solely the outcome of sex.
Everything is centered on sex and reproduction.
If not for the love I have for putting the ink to paper, would I even be concerned? What about those who have no side effects from binging because they have “recovering from a binge” down to a science? They do not experience the side effects only because they do not attempt to employ the higher faculties while in such a condition. There was a full moon last night. Could I be a lunatic?
– 1.a. insanity interrupted by lucid intervals
– 1.b. insanity amounting to lack of capacity or of responsibility in the eyes of the law.
– 2. wild foolishness, extravagant folly
“With our intellect, with this mere instrument of the will, we come up against insoluble problems everywhere, as against the walls of our prison.” – Schopenhauer
Philosophy has its limits. Philosophy takes place, along with everything else we can possibly experience, in our brains; and yet, our brains are a part of the very world we philosophize about. The world as representation is in the brain, and yet is not the brain an instrument in the world as will? We are unable to ponder that which is outside our brains, beyond time and space (mental functions of the organic brain). We are incapable of fathoming nothingness and non-being. The only existence we are able to know is an existence that involves the brain. To propose a “thinking being” exists after the brain dies is to presume too much.
We are prisoners within the limits of our understanding. We cannot know the being-in-itself of the world except through introspection. There is no way for us to know why the world is, rather than is not. We can know how it is, we can observe its patterns and predict its behavior, but we cannot know why it is.
All knowledge is based on the principle of sufficient reason. All that is has a ground, a reason. This is the law of causality; each cause has an effect which is at once the cause of the next effect. These are simply changes in states of matter in sequential time and space.
CAUSE3 (which “causes” EFFECT3) = EFFECT2; CAUSE2 = EFFECT1; There is no first cause. Numbers are a human invention, and the introduction of the use of negative numbers, invented by the Hindu culture, presented Western man with the concept of zero. Observe how this helps us expose the lie inherent in the Western myth of a First Cause. Western man would follow the cause/effect chain only back as far as his math would take him, hence, the First Cause, or God.
With the Hindu number system, including (…,-3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, …), we have: CAUSE1 = EFFECT0. What caused effect zero? CAUSE0 = EFFECT(-1).
So, CAUSE(-1) caused EFFECT(-1).
There is a cause/effect chain before the causa prima.
This mathematical insight is reflected in Eastern philosophy. They recognize how ridiculous it would be to even suppose there were a “beginning” somewhere in time and space.
Our knowledge reaches a limit, and it is futile to hope to penetrate this limit which is imposed on us by the nature of our condition. Although it may be futile to hope to solve insoluble problems, I value the process of “feeling the walls of the prison”. Those who never ponder the unknowable quality that eludes us will never even know that they are held in the Penal Colony of Existence. Do not assume that the lack of a solution to a problem is such a terrible thing. Questions lead those who are curious about the human condition to the very limits of understanding. If one is strong, and does not grab the first ready-made myth, serving to side step the mystery, then one may rest in confusion, finding a sense of wonder and enchantment in having discovered the limits of that instrument of the will we call the intellect. It is good to know one’s condition, and to realize we do not know truth, but stand in truth.
The knowledge that there is a limit to what we can know is a powerful truth to stand in.
I am an eater of food; I am the Eater of Food, the Great Old One, That Which Perceives. I am who am. I am an animal; I question the concept of sin. Kant tells us that appearances are not things in themselves, but our mental representation of empirically real things. When he says we cannot know anything, he means we always leave characteristics [of anything we experience] out. Transcendental Idealism is the belief in the private realm of the mind, that the spatio-temporal objects we experience are appearances – as represented by the nervous system. Space and time are forms of sensibility. They are a priori in that they belong to the nature of the mechanisms of perception in the human brain. Time and space are in us; we are not in space, we are not in time. Both are built into the fibers of our circuitry. The Transcendental Idealist is the Empirical Realist.
Transcendental Realism is the belief that the appearances we perceive are really objects (spatio-temporal objects) that exist outside the creature. This falls into Empirical Idealism in that it regards the objects of outer sense as something distinct from the senses themselves, treating mere appearances as things existing outside us.
The grass is not green. Green is the appearance we perceive. Green is in our brain, not in the grass.
Immanual Kant’s victory was a negative one. He set limits on what we can know. My confusion has always been rooted in “the existence of the thing-in-itself outside perception”. Kant insists that the thing-in-itself can only exist as representation. Without representation, it is blind will – a metaphysical noumenon. The thing-in-itself is beyond our understanding.
There will be those who would question why anyone would think about the nature of things beyond our understanding. Here we have the self-same unchangeable being before us which pursues the same ends today as it did yesterday and will until the end. One might be inclined to just respect the mystery and focus on practical matters, like eating food or perpetuating the species … or one might be inclined to wonder …