June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
My shrink says I have the pessimism of a man in middle age. Where are your misty eyes? She asks me. Why have you given up without trying? Of course I scoff at this. Misty eyes, bah. It is true that my glass is empty. And if it isn’t then why am I letting some perfectly decent cheap bourbon just sit there like that?
I am running down a hallway lined with open doors and as I run past them each one slams shut in turn. I am sure this hallway goes nowhere and yet I can’t shake the feeling that if I were to leap through one of the open doors I might find myself in an uninteresting room without an exit and so I just keep running and running. The doors become ever so slightly fewer as I run farther and farther down this seemingly endless corridor. I am not even completely sure I have control over whether or not I am able to leap through a door. This is a way I understand time and will. It is a worrisome and lonely race without end or purpose.
Getting what you want must be easier than figuring out what it is that you want.
Logically it is hard to see the possibility of free will. As Spinoza would have described it, either every action has a cause, making will an impossibility, or there are actions that are simply spontaneous; thus there are then only two possible scenarios: a world determined or a world of chaos, and wouldn’t you rather have the world determined? The worst part of this is that while I have confidence in my capacity to reason this on philosophical level, the phantom of choice still haunts me like a limb removed. And it is distressing. Like what the fuck is up with my proprioception. Or my serotonin levels. Or whatever.
You shouldn’t be this sad. You shouldn’t be this paralyzed. Here’s a different pill. What do mean I shouldn’t be this sad or this paralyzed? Are you alive? Have you seen the world? Have you seen all of the starving children and the beautiful women? Do you know that time isn’t really moving forward?
I wish so badly that there were some reason one could point to that showed why being is better than not being. I wish I could feel that sensation that people describe as a ‘looking forward to.’ I am aware I am depressing myself to death.
Fucking shut gate panic.
June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
I rode through the streets of Portland last Friday on my bike without any clothes on. You haven’t crossed the Burnside Bridge until you’ve done it naked.
I pointed at random people in the crowds watching and yelled ‘You’d look better naked!”
One onlooker had simply pulled his member out, showing the cyclists as they passed. Hey man, I wanted to say, you’re doing it wrong.
It was cold but we did not notice, we did not mind.
We passed a retirement facility with a line of cars waiting for the thousands of naked bikers to pass. I imagined the scenes inside the cars. ‘Ethel, Ethel I think the end has come. And the anti-Christ is a hoard of hippies! It is worse than we thought.’
It’s so strange how you can look upon one naked person, in your bedroom or wherever, and they can be the most unique and beautiful creature you’ve ever seen. But in groups, all naked people look so much the same you hardly notice them. Is that a Simpson’s paradox?
June 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
I spent last weekend on the Swift Reservoir on Mt. St. Helens. My buddy owns some land up there, with a little cabin and a sauna. No running water or electricity, but there is a sauna. My friends have their priorities straight.
After a day throwing knives and getting good and sauced on cheap whiskey we headed up to a place called the Ape Caves around 11 pm or so, when we’d be sure to find the place deserted of tourists and rangers. The Ape Caves are these monumental lava tubes that wind through the innards of the volcano like huge empty arteries or decommissioned subway tunnels. They drip with water, but are too recent in formation to have stalagmites/cmites. There is no outside light. The air gets that airplane quality once you get a quarter of a mile or so in. When you’re in a lifeless place you can feel it viscerally in your body. Like every cell is suddenly alert to the fact. It isn’t a reasoning out that gives one the knowledge that time in this place is necessarily limited. We are only visitors here.
It should be noted that there were no actual apes in the caves, though we did make an obnoxious amount of ape noises while spelunking through them.
When you reach the end of the upper cave, which honestly could not have come soon enough by the time we reached it (caves will do something to a person in a sort of The Shining way, which, when your camping and everyone is carrying hatches and knives, is not indefinitely sustainable), you climb out a tiny hole and emerge on the mountain face, covered in snow, beneath a sky so clear and densely populated with stars you wonder how it’s possible you spent so much time underground and seemed to get closer to the atmosphere. In Portland you can’t see the stars for the lights and the clouds. But out here, here on this still smoking volcano, you can look up and see an uncountable number of suns, some long dead, others just born, and you can bathe yourself in that wonderful feeling of smallness, of temporality, of insignificance, of being made of such little matter, of futility. And there is no feeling more relieving, more comforting, more reassuring then looking into the heavens and taking in their size and actually feeling that sense of not mattering – of mattering so little that it reaches almost nonexistence, in the way that .99… = 1. One is unborn or dead for so very long it’s almost as if we never live at all.
Finding your way around a mountain in the dark is no easy task, and I was glad to have my compass.
The next morning we made pancakes using a Batter Blaster, which is essentially organic pancake batter in an Aresol can. They were delicious. Not always does technology give me Weltschmerz. I’m letting myself, slowly, recognize this and allow it. It is not easy.