EXTRACTS FROM RECOVERY JOURNAL
Hours spent indolently reading Warming Up blog from 2006. Had a tasty stir fry. And a soup smoothie.
Hello to me in the future. Is it still hard to be arsed to write anything? Laziness or lack of capability? Isn’t the latter a self-fulfilling prophecy. Is it already fulfilled though? It’s funny that though I can imagine, in a fairly uninterested way, the future me reading these words, with affinity and familiarity cuz the future me contains the current me… But is that why the idea of Dear Yehuda (future) seems so meh? There’s that glib certainty the future self possesses all that’s of value from the present self anyway, so what need playing pen friends? The past self, though, that’s different. That’d be 20-20 hindsight, undeniable wisdom, etc. It is far more appealing. But impossible. So is this to say there’s nothing the past versions of me could offer the present me? But past me was so much more dynamic and engaged and decisive. Wouldn’t I like some of that? But no, the fact is I’ve a sense of rightness about the present me and a presumption the past me would be the present me (in all ways) if he had in his brain all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the intervening years. I guess that’s true. Except for the brain chemicals that seemed to flow stronger when younger. Which is liquid motivation. Which is the wellspring of inspiration and action. Which I could do with now. So the past me DOES have something to offer. But nothing to say, as nothing was said. Therefore won’t the future me benefit from present me? Maybe. Even on the offchance it’s worth putting words on the screen (pen to paper). Which I am doing.
Hopefully I’ll do something more.
Maybe it’ll make enough substance to collate into a product.
Three novels written in late 20s and early 30s. They were ok for their time. GH needed that editing.
Is that to be the defining truth of my life’s output then?
Because I know MUCH more now.
I could self edit SO much better.
Less imagination, though. Or less care about it anyway.
Still: to be ultimately defined by being too lazy to bother, too comfortable to be driven, too anti-conceited to preach… Or create.
I must reward myself for these couple of hundred words with more monging. Dwell in potential Just One More Night. Beds are soft. I am a blimp. I crave distraction… Not external (though that’d be ok if it was positive) but by myself, my own introspection. To give enough of a shit to be compelled by the moment and ambition and… What? We’re all just grist for the mill. And I doubt I’ll end up procreating now.
Local council election day today with our polling station nearby in Angelsea Arms. It’s a little morning nip but clear sunny skies.
Things could hardly be more dismal insofar as the current Conservative government behaviour and Theresa May’s bleak political persona: underestimated because she’s not very intelligent and looks flimsy and slid into office without fanfare (or even electoral mandate!) But this is a misdirection. Politics isn’t about brute force – that’s a matter for governing and carried out by people who’ve surrendered the need to agree with a policy in favour of obeying orders and keeping their eyes on the pay cheque. Theresa May therefore should be taken seriously as a personality, in position of power over millions of fairly powerless wageslaves.
Does anyone “enjoy” their 40s with the raw unquestioning simplicity as much as their 20s?
Leaving aside people who’s lives were shit early on or who’s external circumstances go from crap to good in the meantime.
I wonder about that. I suspect as the brain fills with more and more complex neural routing, where all things (sensed or imagined) get represented by involving a longer chain from start to end of “thought moment” … this more complicated, interconnection matrix ends up outputting a less straightforward unambiguous catalyst. So the receptors fire a more diverse but less strident pattern. Which feels less intense and compelling (absorbing) than when one was young. If one’s memory is good enough to have stashed usable former states, to compare.
Life is nothing BUT states, one moment to the next, with consciousness a persisting theme playing out. Birth to death. Don’t conflate two different things though.
There is a very gradual degrading of quality of simple sensation vs an increasing and diversifying brain-power. There’s a “spreading thinner” as one gets older, barely perceptible day to day and only noticeable when thinking or events conspire to bring an evocative vivid old memory to the surface; and inevitably the mind weighs the old versus the new. What one loses in narrower but absorbing strength of feeling, one gains in breadth of insight and bigger deeper subtler associations. This shift does not answer the “what to do” or “how to live best” question. The observation isn’t a vague judgment. It doesn’t necessarily conclude in depression.
What’s interesting in life does not need to change just because intensity degrades to more mature diversity as one gets older. It is likely that the same stuff (or evolutions on their themes) that have before been interesting will still be interesting, regardless the slow shift from amplitude to pitch as young gives way to middle then old age.
It’s so symptomatic of this lazy brain syndrome I’ve been rightly critical of all my life – that I’m certainly letting myself suffer from (indulge). Coding has certainly helped with mental recovery and reconnections of habitual “effort” but it’s so fucking easy, it’s more a test of stamina than deep precise thinking. Which is fine, especially with the dexamphetamine crutch. It’s just not the same thing as proper thinking above and beyond those held up by self-indulgence (egocentricity).
Because the tough part is tackling the challenge of writing one’s thoughts in a coherent way that can actually convey something to those reading that wasn’t in their brains beforehand. This demands attention to detail, writing flow, precision without hyper vocabulary (loses readers). In fact it’s a combination of discipline, stamina and self-confidence need to underpin the intellectual content. Thus hard.
Ultimately you see, it is just an excuse to complain about “but who will read this content, oh poor me why bother?” cuz that’s self serving justification for dodging the challenge. Make that lament after having written the content to one’s satisfaction THEN complain about being misunderstood or unread.
We shall see.
All these superhero movies:
The goal of “entertainment” is to make money. The way to make money is to engender an emotional response from the customers. Video, audio, written word: different delivery systems but same goals and to an extent similar metaphysics: creativity with language and plot building a profundity of connection (universality or perfectly rendered haiku-moments etc), beauty that’s got the necessary catalyst of newness, rarity or unfamiliarity, potential made manifest with the “what if that were me?” catalyst, sexual triggers that excite in a basic sense but play alongside narrative – imagination – to maintain the emotional excitation without premature ejaculation. List goes on.
Superhero and fantasy use movie medium plus special effects to shortcut newness and potential variables. Because it is a hyperreality, imagination can intensify emotional response; though risk of break in connection is greater (unrealistic) that grows more likely as the audience is more discerning or older (life experience insists on being the only valid forum for imagination and ambition, so it gets harder to cónnect with the fantastical or be interested in newness that’s too far removed to be irrelevant.
Big powerful humanised forces being simpatico or clashing is a heightened catalyst. But juggling these forces and their potentials in a way that keeps audience connection (i.e. consistent with reality even if a reality that’s distorted by the rules of the “entertaining world” e.g. marvel universe.
What’s lost in the shortcut to emotional button pushing is time and attention to content, no need to chase newness or profundity cuz there’s explosive superpowers on display.
Habitually cognitively dissonant more easily absorbed by these methods, more keen to be lost in the hypnosis of the medium. Dissonance is a fantasy self-created which must heighten the preference for entertainment that’s in accord. Which means less profundity through substance and more emotion through explosions.
Are these other people like me?
People who talk like me, who’re intelligent and imaginative like me, who need to eat and sleep and shit like me, who don’t want to suffer, who eschew pain in favour of pleasure.
But learning about the world and trusting in that learning – in one’s own brain as the best parser for all those experiences, to reach conclusions that stand up to the best logic and subject-scientific method one’s able to apply… to ever modify these conclusions with new received and extant data, an evolution that’s explicable by dint of best logic and subject-scientific method.
This approach isn’t followed by most, though it’s mostly followed as it’s the only way to deal with living life in the world. Most, however, apply the logic and method to things proximate, and a conditioned version of sandbox login and method to things imagination. That conditioning one might say is superego. But we’ve all got to live with the inevitably influential conditioning of our environment. Where the difference lies is the sandbox.
Sandbox: don’t want to think about that, don’t need to think about that, feelings over logic, cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias actively preferred to contradictory data, pride, anger, emotional blindfolding, etc.
If in a conversation the replies come without pause on data that’s unfamiliar/novel then it’s not being thought about… so the conversation is a sham.
The polarisation into two tribes is in part just an expression of the political landscape in the US and the UK. Winner takes all voting, two genuine competitors for each contest. Power to the victor. Impotence for the loser. Tally the atoms of each contest to create two opposing entities, the winner to receive ultimate control of government, the loser nothing but a term of exile. Thist is the continuous well-spring of tribal identity.
The mass of human beings are a great aggregate flow, channeling down the landscape of time, ever inexcorably drawn along paths of least resistance, individual distinctiveness overwhelmed or left separated (and therefore of no importance) not through sinister conspiracy but, more perniciously, the sheer momentum of narrative reacting to narrative. Indeed even the extraordinary imposition of conditions that might affect the human flow, it’s an ephemeral ripple, a disturbance at a point in time that’s overborne by the current and soon left far behind as the river coalesces into the self-same path of least resistance. These ripples and disturbances will seem to matter when inside them – as indeed they do if you happen to be a drop of anthropowater caught in the whirl. But that’s your problem. The flow flows on, chasing time, leaving you forgotten in the foam.
Extend the river metaphor to group opinion, culture etc. New conditions or events whatever the initial tumult quickly deselect the dissonant and the opinions antithetical to the flow. Thus the tribes self-regulate quickly to shared opinion – the right thinking – following the ideological goals, maneuvering specifics to fit those aims, honing right versus wrong detail in the marketplace of least resistance.
And the rest!
Why the most liberal idealistic advocates are totally pro-market but not right wing, fuck nuts…
Market authentic self interest, pragmatic solution to aspiring to an ideal.
Synthesis of scientific method with double blind interaction.
Why is it that the more fanbase an individual gathers, the more they stagnate – doomed to keep repeating the same points, that were once cutting edge but soon become pedestrian and then even reactíonary. Giving the benefit of the doubt, the celebrity might simply fall foul of consciencious desire to bring all fans/followers on board. This takes time. Repetition needs must. But inevitably progress slows to a crawl.
Free will proof: outcome always the same under the same conditions presupposes there’s no random in the universe nor agency on any level for the individual entity.
American comedian: “You’d rather be gay than a negro’s. Seriously. I guess nowadays because gays are being worshipped in US now. Shit but then again gay negroes are even more popular. Fucking wearing dresses n shit trying to be Gangsta in a dress man this place is fucked.“
At this point two years and change after coming off the extreme opiates I’m not sure the task is completed. Swapping fentanyl and massive amounts of shonky ritalin for over the counter codeine and psychiatrist prescribed dexamphetamine is definitely better but is it preventing the end-game of recovery?
The thing I fundamentally don’t believe is that there’s something better, viscerally, to be had after going through the removal of these remaining meds. Codeine possibly, especially with all the ibuprofen. The latter is supposedly s ticking timebomb in the stomach anyway. Why doesn’t that matter? Why was no “lesson” learned from the time on the needle, which was clearly a bullshit unsustainable way of life?
I reckon the underlying reasons why I would’ve been fine with injecting heroin, in the first place, will simply continue to apply across subsequent drugs (or indeed no drugs). It’s hard to justify objectively so long as that objectivity means “the lives and opportunities and day to day freedoms and sensibilities of the vast majority of human beings”. But I suppose that’s one of the layers: my brain doesn’t take on faith any of the conventions established by other people, except those that’re undeniable and/or inevitable. Which aren’t conventions anyway.
That said, life has been mostly a bed of roses – I guess. At the very least enjoyed, with plenty of reward for things done to be reason not to stop doing stuff. So why the negative nihilism?
If I ask myself, the first answer is “old age” the second answer is “being irrelevant” the third answer is “nothing lasts, everyone is dead” the fourth answer is “love passion is absent” then “the convergence of conditions necessary to approach love passion is so unlikely as to be reasonably dismissed as ever going to happen”. Part of me thinks the blend my brain needs to release the love lust chemistry is actually contradictory. Isn’t that just wanting a non-chemical catalyst for junkie indulgence?
That’s a hard point cuz in a way everything anyone does is motivated by an overall risk v reward, the arbiter of every choice is which kicks out the most dopamine/emotion fluid. What then remains a valid criteria for making choices, if there’s no big dopefluid pay off? Logic. Avoiding discomfort. Building objective future opportunities. Making now and future now as pleasant as possible? Not very gripping.
Inventing fantasy worlds was never what I wanted to do long term but the money ended up lasting through 2018. Very low six figures, not riches but enough for me. It meant necessity didn’t force commitment to anything that wasn’t immediately gratifying, and life that’s free means life that’s free of people (if one chooses). This means less “business” contacts get cultivated, less fools suffered but also less friends in high places decades later. No network in my chosen industry is developed that can help in later life, not least because there is no industry chosen.
Truth is, though, I presumed on my independent vigour to last into old age. Maybe it doesn’t.
Ah well enough for now.
Making a profitable fantasy world opened a region of possible expertise. And there’s a lot of people into that sort of thing. I was kinda into it when I was a teenager. But this is where many find it hard to empathise. They tend to wrongly project how they might feel or act re: writing or coding or gaming, if they were able to make something successful (profitable). For them this would be a springboard to a career because they WOULD like the expertise. They’d choose to pursue it. Fair enough but it was only ever a means to an end for me. Never the world I wanted to make a life in.
Since university, for me, this has been absolutely consistent. But money is useful in the world so for me, it didn’t much matter that I didn’t care about fantasy worlds, I let it roll along and pasted a cardboard silhouette (masterly inactivity) to perpetuate the revenue.
You see, I know that’s craven but it gave me freedom to explore the world. I was independent financially, reliant on nobody, before I’d even gotten to college graduation. Which is rare.
I wasn’t born into a comfortable family life. We were poor and itinerant, living many countries and many lifestyles. I’m glad of it, looking back, but it’s not an upbringing likely to create domesticity.
I knew we weren’t living on the right side of the line; the line of haves versus have nots, living versus existing. The only solution I saw was exploring the world, finding out what was really happening, experiencing those things poor/wageslave folks never get to do (except in movies)…
This led to many adventures, much discovery, highs almost all, except for the big picture of the world it inevitably revealed. It was certainly interesting for a decade plus.
Like with everything you can get too much of a good thing. I figured the thing I wanted to do – to get expertise in – was writing, philosophy, psychology, politics, all that anthropological and ontological stuff. It’s what I did at Cambridge anyway.
I wrote a few novels. Read widely. Got an agent based on the first one. Published but whatever, nothing life changing, no inclination to push on and work hard at the task.
That’s when fantasy worlds started to be a double edged sword. I knew it back then. You’re not as ambitious and hungry if you’re secure and well fed. So I treated writing (content creation) as a part time thing, a fun pastime, kinda hobbyist. That isn’t how you gain expertise.
Life is never so black and white as it always seems in stories or when observing other people from outside. While writing was part time, there’s still interesting world exploration calling. And trying to apply principles like if a friend needs help, do it.
Example there being P—–, who was uneducated and on the manual labour track but wanted more, better. We helped make sure he got proper education and a shot at top college. He changed the life story he’d been born into. Whether that’s ultimately better, who knows.
Travel and trying to experience the world continued apace. Living in Paris was especially cool, took my French fluent, enjoyed bouncing between London and Paris and then Los Angeles.
Fami;y lived close. Friends graduated top colleges. Brother in fact got the highest grade in the whole country for his final degree. Well done him.
Everything is great and fun BUT no expertise is being distilled during this period. Nothing tangible is being built.
I see this lack of substance, with hindsight but didn’t give it as much thought back then. Existing income streams pooped all the money needed to live the “life” without demanding hardly any upkeep time.
Needless to say this meant neglect for money-making business e.g. no progressing website, ignoring distribution, marketing, not keeping up a good client/interface, falling behind developing presence in the changing media landscape, etc.
I didn’t care this was happening cuz I wasn’t interested in being a real estate mogul and hadn’t been interested in the fantasy genre for 10+ years by this point. But not doing any fantasy and not being a landlord is one thing; not pursuing anything “creative” is another. The latter ain’t realistic.
Consistency and urgency matter. This point is a crossroads, however.
Berlin leads to hedonism and fun and inevitably into heroin. Opiates match an increasingly cavalier approach to business and money, supports, creations and “fans” included.
2009-2010 we were burning through almost half a million dollars a year in drugs and that couldn’t go on. Hotel life isn’t living, once one’s never going anywhere.
December 2011 we flew out to Portugal, checked into a rehab clinic. Trusted the Brewer method and went through the prescribed process. No more needles from this point but it didn’t take. Portugal was nice. No return to Berlin.
By start of 2012, we were in the C##### apartment, one friend was clean and back in the UK, brother and his wife couldn’t stay clean and ran to Germany. Business was doing OK, royalties rolling in, property business profitable. But all the threads getting loose, ties that bind fraying and falling away.
Then 2013, 2014 abortive come off and revelation that brought.
2015 treading water, using and abusing and digging into a hole.
2016 flightback – coming off – detox – get fit – get lifehabits – heal what’s broke
2017 recovery year, yeah?
2018 work on something creative but also business; sort life the fuck out before middle age gets its claws in.