Lying around listening to podcasts vaguely reading news and Twitter, independent, autonomous. It was always so important – from as early as I was conscious of myself as a thing unto itself, in a world of things peopled by other things unto themselves – to be free. Freedom. Not just saying the word, or taking free time in among the day’s duties. Not being a billionaire free to buy any product and exert power over others. Not even freedom to be myself, because that implies pressure not to be myself; which I never really felt. No, it’s something else, this freedom. Now that I think about it, it’s freedom from being a component of a group, not having to play a game I don’t feel like playing, not having to get dirty because of close proximity to other people’s crap, not being trapped in the structures and ad-hoc conventions perpetuated by countless unthinking adherents. It’s sociopathic I guess. It’s not wanting to compromise but in a world where it’s not about specific imposition or identifiable peer pressure. No compromise. It’s a principle that is so deeply ingrained in my psyche it’s formed my character but it’s not something that’s been inculcated. Childhood was a nice one, loving parents, many countries, little friends in all of them. Didn’t see colour or class. That’s just peer pressure, conventions without objective worth, meaningless. Later in life I’d come to understand better you can’t entirely dismiss these conventions, not forever. When young there’s a strength and armour and blithe spirit but these conventions are fucking persistent and there’ll be a time when one’s strength fails and one’s spirit gets leaden and susceptible. I’m not young any more and I’m certainly not blithe, though by my smiling it might seem to be so…
Long adult life defined by childhood, this we know. But it seems to play out more specifically as one’s natural potential is defined by a foundation of nourished reciprocal interests given enough water to have gotten established by adulthood, smooth development in a natural unconscious character. One’s revenge potential is defined by the insufficiently reciprocated natural traits starved of water to have become needs by adulthood, developed as owned characteristics asserted against real or perceived opposition.
Then there’s the collision points throughout childhood where the natural unconscious blithe confidence runs bang into an opposing force. This trauma not only brings the conscious mind into the frame but also creates an after shock that ripples into the future, the extent of the opposition versus the pace of unconscious action. It’s like being slapped: it’s far more traumatic if it’s unexpected, far more of an emotional thunderbolt if it comes from a place of prior trust.
Sexuality is a case in point. It can be a thunderbolt, it can be unexpected. If it is an opposing force, it’s aftereffects can be so strong as to change the course of a person’s life or make them redefine core pieces of their gestalt.
Habit and expectation matters. Heroin makes every moment contented. The longer one’s on it, the more “normal” becomes a level of effortless contentment that’s not naturally so constant. Being off heroin returns the brain chemistry to its standard ebb and flow but since one’s self assessment is based on expectations of what is normal, what is contented, bringing those together with heroin makes one extremely intolerant to actual normal. Thus very aware of passing time (less content, hence boring) and in the middle of a period of being absorbed in good moments, suddenly can snap out like of a trance and think “this is not as good” which affects the whole experience.
Addict is the over developed executive function – meta consciousness – where drug conditions (once effective, which can take longer) create and develop and reinforce an entire corollary personality – childsplay for the brain – a personality that can only exist in certain drug affected brainstates. This is why the alcoholic gets drunk personality fast and won’t let it go once it’s there… After all it IS the self, convincing and self-protecting. Doesn’t want to sober up as that’s a death of sorts. Drugs are the same.
There’s plenty carried over from one addict brainself to another but not so much in visceral emotion cuz that needs the chemistry.
Non addict brain or very rare drug users are more easily absorbed into the sober self but the more time spent living in an altered state, the more gets invested in the personality as it is in that state. Eventually there’s going to be a schism and then an almost drug induced schizophrenia (albeit emotional mostly though sometimes total – if the necessary dissonance to reconcile the twain is so great, i.e. blackouts)
When one’s young none of one’s peers know anything much so prodigious aptitude goes a long way to making a fait accomplis of who is best at what – who ends up doing what.
This is mistakenly presumed to be definitive, when young, as if these early aptitudes will magically continue throughout life. But the magic goes away with childhood and what’s left is habit, predisposition, expectation, entitlement, ambition, momentum, hunger, greed.
There’s structure in place to mainstream development into opportunity, approximately playing out a range and flavour of choices according to class, ethno-national culture and local biases. It is the biggest factor in adult trajectory, by 18 or the early 20s. University is firmly chained to this sequence but can break the local bias and confuse the other factors by introducing a new local culture, ethnic and class inversions etc.
In any case, by graduation into adulthood the neophyte is still a chip off the old block, playing out their blend of conventions. Most are identifiably mainstream, bell curve distribution towards the edges. Money takes its place on the front stage, having previously directed from the wings. Less money heightens the midpoint bell curve, lowers the edges, i.e. more conform when conventions are narrowly defined. Through the 20s and 30s there’s a gentle but ubiquitous gravity at the centre of mainstream convention per strata of wealth and upbringing. By middle age, with good reason, it has captured virtually every single adult save cases too esoteric or too exceptionally lucky (or unlucky) to factor.
— 30 to middle age
— middle age midlife crisis midlife targets in sight
— seniority into retirement or obsolescent redundant
— early old age
— the last hurrah
— dying by falling apart
There’s an Isaac Asimov short story where a desperate husband catches his wife cheating on him, goes through emotional turmoil and eventually spirals out of control, shoots himself in the head. The moment of suicide is described in a curiosity orgasmic way and this introduces us to the meta-story, the sci-fi, where this gruesome denoement of a human life is played out again though the sensory experience of a weird blobby alien, all brain and synapses, physically atrophied. The alien uses its tech to accompany the desperate man, sharing the intense feelings with a prurience that eventually leads to orgasm at the moment of suicide. The short story ends with the alien selecting a new channel, connecting to the impending death of another human being, insatiable, passive, gluttonous. In short, the ultimate in voyeurism. The twist in the Asimov story is the revelation this limbless high-tech blob-brain isn’t an alien but a human – or what humans become – a hundred millennia into the future. Alive in an atomised world of a trillion human blobs, all hooked up to their tech, all of them addicted to the sexual climax of the death-experience, trawling ancestor timelines for novel extremes on which to gorge.
The world isn’t like this yet.
We don’t have the tech.
We’ve too much inherited habit of real social i..
It’s difficult to know how authentic to be. Playing a positive role, presenting oneself and the world as the best it can be: this helps others, especially if they’re going through trouble in their soul, whereas being authentic to one’s current mood and outlook might be bleak, might exacerbate a friend’s depression. Is that proper friendly? Truth is truth but omission isn’t always a lie, especially if it’s motivated by altruism and not wanting to highlight a negative so it’s exaggerated through the prism of two bad moods way beyond where it ought to be. Bigger truth trumps lesser truth. It can be a glib abdication of personal responsibility to focus solely on constant in the moment truth without thought to big picture. Wilful. Self-serving. Kinda infantile.
At the same time it’s too easy to just play enabler to whatever opinion mood outlook is being presented, to be agreeable. Played well this isn’t obsequiousness but will seem like agreement and therefore support. But is it sincere? When younger once ideals are understood in their black and white absolutes, we tend to try to live by those ideals. Not living by them feels like a betrayal of self. But it isn’t always agreeable. This raises the stakes in other areas to counteract the less agreeableness e.g. gotta give back in other ways to make up for being so rigid in an ideology else eventually a Rubicon is crossed and others will move away. No point being idealistic about 100% sincere in how one relates to others if that causes such discord to drive everyone off and leave the idealist isolated The real fallacy of splendid isolation isn’t that it’s not splendid but that it can’t stay splendid.There IS social worth in holding fast to an ideal all one’s life. But the stakes rise as time goes by since the rejection of that ideal soon becomes perceived as hypocrisy, more extreme in older people, more shattering of subsequent trust.
Here’s something I’ve been experiencing now I’m middle aged that was never the case when younger and more stupid: people don’t bother listening much, in the moment. Their impressions of stuff I say seem to be based on the moment where they’re not listening, so they persist thinking there’s not much of note I’m going to say. Except later, days later sometimes, their perspectives have shifted and their opinions seem to have morphed to include the insights I’d provided. Without recognising their source. The number of times I’ve been told as if new an insight I myself had just recently provided and discussed through and been kinda dismissed in the moment… This didn’t used to happen when I was younger. Which is doubly weird as I had a lot less patience and was far more of a bludgeon and a fuck of a lot less insight. People like to be led. That’s a shit trait. Certainty is attractive to most. It’s alsofrustrating that somehow as one gets older one’s allowed less credibility as an independent individual i.e. accreditation of stranger collectives dru seem more important to others versus autonomy and what one says why one rejects populism. Why is this? Again it should be the other way: it’s easy to be 25 and not subject to imposed structural servitude but at 45 it’s an exceptional thing to still be free. Yet at 25 I got the gawping envious eyes and my hero credibility whereas at 45 there’s somehow just a quicker disconnection.
Could there be some subtle assessment going on, of how much objectively I actually care, how much attention I’m actually payin paying, how much I’m invested in the other person being won over i.e. he’s objectively valuable to me? So not much value, little care, just enough attention, this matters more than objectively what’s said cuz for most the only thing that matters is relationships with others. Not the how and why.
Here, I’ve been arsed to try to write down what I think might be quite an important point, with the actual example catalyst still fresh:
You think you’ll remember and probably you will but you’re not superhuman and I only give that sort of practical suggestion cuz it’s a sound idea. Even if just a tiny chance of forgetting.
The suggestion has a dozen further good reasons ALL based on past experience (and usually instances where I’ve not done the thing and come to wish I had).
Usually – and you must find the same – if one makes a proactive specific suggestion, there’s not enough time to detail every last reason why, so one has to choose “do I trust this person’s ability to have gone through lived experiences, learned from them as any intelligent person would, made conclusions from which a nugget of valid distilled advice gets given..!” If the answer is no, don’t trust or don’t care, then it becomes bad manners to burble about whatever subject as it’s just windbagging.
You shouldn’t be opposed to specific advice like that. In and of itself it doesn’t much matter but stack hundreds of those instances and you have a contributing factor in not “completing” projects.
(The example was Rug talking about a few good ideas he’d had for the Avalon app, ideas that’d need to be incorporated into a protocol, but not bothering to write these down in any form despite me advising him to do so.)
“I have a good thing going for me now and am just starting to get back on my feet. Life doesn’t give you a lot of chances to start over but I’ve been given one right now and if I give it up I might not get another when you inevitably abandon me again.”
Back on feet: two dead end unskilled waiter + gas station jobs. But this is money and the sacrifice means family support vs family pressure, all the difference in the world. Jobs, companies, family convention: these impersonal things become “reality” that must be dealt with, no point blaming the universe for being itself. The self same situation if perceived as imposed by an individual, personalised, isn’t taken as inevitable reality, gets resented, becomes an imposition.
Either way it’s a passive victim thinking cuz one side circumstances are accepted as inevitable impersonal, self improvement in tiny steps that seldom get anywhere yet come from a shared bullshit (platitude) that somehow sustains. Or the other side, circumstances that maybe diverge from the convention are avoided or blamed on someone else, made personal (which is true cuz the victim WOULDN’T be living outside of convention were it not for the leadership). At best if everything is good beyond question, it’s a stay of execution. Convention persists to “told you so” whenever there’s discord, blame to the fore if at all possible, alternative – back to conventional – presented as a contrast, not subject to the same expectations or imagined ‘life like this’ so almost always attractive. Back into conventional living the reality comes slowly, the dissatisfaction gradual. And this can always be blamed on the “it would have been better were it not for so and so!” transferring the feelings, safeguarding the victim conventionality by not letting those feelings make connection with what’s actually rotten: the day to day conventionality life itself.
The real end of the world: It’s a race between the 1% plus Technology versus everyone else plus Woken To Danger.
I don’t know what I’d have been in life if I was growing up in the world today, with the planet covered in global glitter shit in easy reach so you can’t use your nose to find quiet open spaces at a cutting edge that feels like exploring and is quiet but not silent so the connections quickly matter.
What’s depressing about the world of individualized mobs is how organically and excellently they link arms to ringfence the embers of superficial distinction, sharing the meagre fare that like yeast multiplies by feeding on the attention until the mob is sustained, even gorged on their emphemeral group-shared metaphor.
Ego awareness says it’s vanity to presume one’s own way is better than these mobs.
It’s narcissism to reach out and say follow my better way, as soon as one understands it’s not an easier path.
DREAMING IN THE SPACE HOSPITAL
In the ward, healing on a high raised bed
Getting out of bed
Jonny there, napping, waiting
Wake him up, going out feeling healed
Into a big lobby, so many people
Escalators suspended Criss crossing the space hospital
Where’s Jonny? Don’t see him.
Security guards saying move along now
Searching for him, no avail, in the crowds
Food court, scanning faces, blending in as outpatient
Is that him, hunched at a table?
Big lobby, having turned around to be nonchalant
Milling people, seeing Rug yay friendly
Finding lifts, four lifts side by side,
“Need to go back to the ward get my stuff.”
Waiting for lifts with Rug, others nick one, no room, we’ll get the next one
Exit that lift, pressing old fashioned UP button
Strange legless guy gimps in
Lift arrives, going down, let him take it says Rug
Setting in strange legless guy, saying hold onto the bar cuz this lift sways
Rightmost lift arrives, super swaying, fit for one
I go first, holding firm the ceiling bar
With Rug him going second
Weird floor names once inside
Going up the weird lifts for one, floor is phasing in and out of existence
Slow and swinging holding on fiordear life
“Never gonna let go!” lift ascends, up and diagonal away from the wall
Is this right? Lift is slow as fuck but doesn’t stop
Holding on, realise I can, let what happens happen
Passing psychedelic levels and something like space colonies
Reaching doors at last, opening gate, leaping out to safety
By an airlock, shuttle ward
Releasing it, out come patients all jolly
Great hospital says one tattoed pleb
Shiny squat bemuscled ebony man shakes my hand sexuality roughly
“Dont mind him” puking hand away, strong enough
Rug lift arrives, sunny smiles
Steps out but not away, where’s that other guy, fucking leave him, looking back
Trying to pull Rug away, he stumbles back into shaft
But I grab him, hold fast
He tries several times to pull himself up
Empty shaft, tries again, trying very hard seeing consternation
Trying to encourage
Help for fuck sake to those other people, nobody does, all lost in conversation or pretending
Almost makes it, slips away
Screaming Rug’s name down the empty shaft disappearing