Empty Days

Thursday, August 12, 2004



Do or die.

I got so violently depressed because of this whole endless procrastination & phobia over the biking project that I basically just exploded. Which means that instead of going along with my bad mood and pessimism and the inclination to drop the whole thing, I started a series of actions in the opposite direction, not knowing how I would react to it. It paid off - because it immediately relieved whatever inner conflict I was having and made me feel like I could actually do whatever I want for once.

Ok. So I am tinkering with the bike, I got myself a new sleeping bag and I will have to imagine how to fasten a backpack on the rack since I can't afford those "real" bike-bags in any case. I will need to get myself some green tarp because it's so much less visible than bright-blue and also get a velcro rainsuit because it's the only affordable kind. I am giving myself a couple of days to complete these preparations and check maps, and then i will take off - having prayed the weather gods to give me a break.

*

I looked at some camping stores and found them insanely expensive. I don't know what this means - why it is that people need to pay that kind of money for fancy stuff to go out into "wilderness". I guess there is a severe mental block functioning here somewhere - people are simply afraid of the outdoors, afraid of possible discomfort, afraid of just going out there. So this whole best-equipment illusion sets in and you find yourself compelled to spend incredible money just to get all sorts of comforts and feel "safe".

At least that's exactly the kind of mental block I had to deal with myself - this whole money-phobia was due to the conventional idea of "oh my god, what if I get uncomfortable out there."

But then I remembered all those travellers of old who went on very long pilgrimages by foot, with very little money - to pray at some shrine, let's say. Well, picture these peasants: they didn't have fancy camping stores to shop at, they didn't have fancy fat backpacks but only a small self-made bag with the most necessary stuff, they didn't stay at motels with reservations, they were frequently uncomfortable on their journey, they slept on the ground, they got wet in the rain, but they were guided by a higher idea - that's the very essence of a voyage, that higher idea, and not all manners of best-comfort-gear.

The up-side of this mode of travelling is that nobody ever told these pilgrims not to make a fire except in "designated camping area" and nobody questioned their ragged clothes and chased them away from under a bush because it was "private property".

Funny how the so-called civilized world has turned out - you can't make a step without being told you're either out of bounds or breaking some stupid rule. I suppose "civilized" people forgot how to be polite to the world - how not to leave plastic bags and cans and litter all over the place, and how to extinguish a fire so that it doesn't ruin a whole forrest. Instead rules and laws had to be put in place since people forgot how to rule themselves.

Basically, I am fighting urban perversion in myself all through - it's almost harder than to fight the very forces of nature.

*

It's very hard to escape civilization, bordering on the impossible. It is said that outside of civilization the world becomes lawless. But this is not exactly true. There are still laws, unwritten ones - the kind of laws you need to obey in order to survive. Laws based on common-sense and best adaptation to the world you find yourself in. The so-called law of the jungle is not all there is to it - there is also a kind of wisdom that you couldn't develop unless you really had to.

When civilization is disrupted as in times of war let's say, people learn to survive without the usual comforts - the very same people who could not possibly imagine they would ever need to learn to cook on open fire or fetch water from a far-away place or mend their clothes.

Another interesting effect of such lapses in civilized life is that people develop a totally different take on the world - they suddenly learn to cooperate with others because survival depends on it. No amount of civil rules and laws could ever force you to learn this level of cooperation - civilized comfortable life makes you ignore people, simply because you basically don't need them.

I strongly feel I don't need people and view them as a nuisance - because there is no place in this world for either solidarity or real common-sensical cooperation. Huge demographic entities are an abstraction where people view each other as abstract foreign elements in an immense structure which itself appears as a loose abstraction. I truly have no idea what I am doing living in this city - I could as well not be here, could as well not exist, and it would not make a shred of difference to anybody including myself.

*

Capitalism is synonymous with civilization - it promotes the most comfortable economic system because it constantly increases production. The fact that this system doesn't evenly provide for everyone is not the point. The point is that everyone is expected to participate in this system in order to increase production - it's called free entreprise.

Money-making and increased production are the same thing essentially. Even if you do nothing but speculate on capital, you still participate in the over-all system and are not really doing anything different from a small-time store-owner. You will make much more money than the shop-keeper without creating any palpable products, but in doing so you will help to maintain the flow of the market and prevent economic depression - the shop-keeper would close down if there was one.

On the other hand, if you don't participate in the system, you will have a hard time surviving at all. If you refuse to make money or buy products from the shop-keeper, you will hardly find a spot on the whole wide earth where you could survive from hand-to-mouth. The point is not that you will be deprived of all the comforts of civilization by not participating - the point is that you won't be allowed to have a place where to lead your uncivilized existence.

Hoboes live like that - but they're breaking a pile of rules just by existing completely outside of the system. In fact, hoboes are not allowed - they're only tolerated, and just barely at that. There are laws against vagrancy and there are laws against people occupying a spot of earth without paying for it - all land is either public or private, subject to a pile of regulations, but there are no such places where the ground is really free. Hoboes disregard this fact - therefore they can't be allowed, only tolerated.

The end-formula of this is that civilization doesn't allow actual freedom - it only barely tolerates its various unwarranted expressions.





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