Empty Days

Saturday, November 22, 2003



It's a quiet day at the library (I now switched from public to university - more and better books, more computers, luxuriously spacious and i am an alumnus too) - due to a combination of a vicious bus/metro strike and wonderful weather. I am not affected by public transportation since I am biking and do so more willingly in clement temperatures. I am probably missing on some good fresh air right now, but this is my best chance to do my blogging bit in near-total privacy.

God, I don't know what it is with me and the internet. I wish I could bravely say that it's just one of those unnecessary comforts of life. In a way it is. Most certainly even. But losing this "comfort" actually entails a wholesale change in my daily mental routine - I practically have to reinvent myself on the fly. Yeah well, it's called adapting to circumstances. Say, you get thrown in jail and that's what you do - you change. You can't act or think the way you did on the outside - everything is different and you just can't afford sticking to your old ways. My father has spent some short time in the joint and reports that smoking is a big thing there - people get into fights over smokes. You'd think, wtf - isn't it easier to just kick the habit and be proud etc? But of course not! Because, you see, there is already nothing much to live for, and then you end up in a place where you really don't know anymore what to do with yourself, and of course small petty stuff like smokes becomes so rich with meaning and activity it's not even a habit anymore - it's a salutary occupation.

So with me and internet. It is a luxury that has become both necessary and salutary. Television is also important because, for all the drivel it's full of, it still provides a connection to the world that I just would not have otherwise. I once had a situation when both my tv and my puter defaulted on me - luckily it was in the summer, so i could find something to do away from the apartment, but in winter a life without tv/computer would closely resemble prison - solitary confinement, more or less. So I am still hoping I will be able to fix this situation before Xmas, just before I start going nuts that is.

***

All this brings to mind my stay in Berlin a few years ago, which was one extended disaster the way it went. I was stuck with a roommate I couldn't really get along with, so I spent most of my days on the outside, sitting for hours in various cafes around the city, killing time in the public libraries or museums, always somewhat hungry and always somewhat cold. It's no use going to foreign cities to feel that way - i can just as well do it here.

***

There was a BBC-produced documentary (can't remember what it's called) that followed the life of some kids first filmed in the 50's and then revisited every 7 years by the filming crew - all this over a 40 years period. It's a shocking sight to see what becomes of perfectly lively and lovable kids... as we all know, i suppose.


Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Credo and credence

Ludwig Wittgenstein, "On certainty":
335. Pocedure in a court of law rests on the fact that circumstances give statements a certain probability. The statement that, for example, someone came into the world without parents wouldn't ever be taken into consideration there.

336. But what men consider reasonable or unreasonable alters. At certain periods men find reasonable what at other periods they found unreasonable. And vice versa.
But is there no objective character here?
Very intelligent and well-educated people believe in the story of creation in the Bible, while others hold it as proven false, and the grounds of the latter are well known to the former
I think I finally found who I should talk to about dogma, belief and the workings of the mind.

At the same time I am reading a book from the 1930's about anti-semitism and how this is such a natural thing. The arguments are really antiquated but it's still very enlightening. Written by an avowed antisemite it strives to be honest and reflective. This of course is in line with my internal debate over racism and how ideology corresponds (or more often - doesn't) to the real mind. Or I'll put it another way: how the "real mind" actually creates its own arguments pretty much out of the thin air - especially in a situation of being disapproved of by a prevailing ideology. So by reading this disturbing (meaning - unusual to my mental landscape) book I am experiencing a sort of dizziness - clash of ideas and too many things taken for granted losing hold. There is no such thing as "clear thinking". Only a number of things taken for granted and *never* doubted.

Monday, November 17, 2003



It's a beautiful "winter in Europe" kind of day - cold air, warm sun, mist. It's neither Europe nor winter but memory is a sweet thing sometimes, it hides what you see and builds a world that's not there. Proust was good at describing memory in present tense. He was right too - happiness is a fabrication.

Now that I am komputerlos, I am back to much compulsive reading - to fill the emptyness. In fact, this emptyness is anguish. Not a pure void but a traumatized sea, a place of measureless disquiet. The fact that I've so far avoided medicated tranquility is entirely due to my hard-won skills at disregarding life as a place of purposeful endeavor - I can still hide in small tents of fabricated meaning. A book, a film, day-dreams amidst the desert.

I've even managed to forget that I have debts. This artificial shelteredness is largely due to welfare. Being stuck on welfare is nauseating in many ways, very much like being buried in the ground up to your neck - you can't move but you can still breath. Given this precarious position of yours, they can't very well cut your head off just yet - so they sit around in circle and wait for you to start moving. Then they'll swarm you to death. Moving has its drawbacks.


Sunday, November 16, 2003

Peeping toms

Can't really write from a public library. I seem to recall those 9/11 terrorists also used public libraries to e-mail each other in preparation for the attacks. My purpose is even more private and in a sense I wish I wrote in arabic right now - that way nobody could read the stuff off the screen as i type :-0

Also, I can't smoke in here - which takes away a lot of the writing zest as i understand it. Neither can I drink black tea or even coffee. All in all, I can't relax in here. Maybe it will just take some getting used to but right now I don't feel I am blogging. I am blathering. The fact that I trotted all the way to the library today is due to my having gotten addicted to blogging in the little time I was able to practice it fully. I am in the severance phase right now - I need my fix, so to speak.

Voila. Got my fix, can go now.







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