Empty Days

Monday, August 09, 2004



Life and unreal realities.

What is truly absurd is that I practically haven't done any regular biking this year - at least compared to the past few years. This is due to my increasing impatience with my life, I think - I can't enjoy myself, the idea of always having to go through the same places takes away any desire to go for a ride. This is something that comes from my mind, obviously - I was quite content to take the same route many times over in the past and enjoy the ride every time. Basically I hate myself because I can see no space ahead, no future - and naturally I hate everything that limits me by association.

So I suppose this whole idea of going on a trip somewhere far was meant as an escape and a change of form - a metaphorical spacial opening up of mental space. This is an illusion, an illusory activity that can't really change anything, but I think the purpose of these illusory acts is for the true changes to occur in the backstage, while I am preoccupied with playing out some illusory set of all-important acts.

This is how things really change, in the subconscious or what not. You get busy with something oblique, and what is really important gets some mental free space to work itself out, and then you are suddenly "enlightened" and things fall into place. The famous advice to "sleep on it" refers to this unconscious thinking - your conscious mind is busy churning out dreams but your real mind keeps sorting it all out while you're not looking.
This is why I could never understand what it is those all-wise psychologists mean by advising to "work through your problem". You can't do anyting about it directly, you can't even see what it's made of, so how the hell are you gonna "work" through it? Nonsense. What happens rather is that you get illusory drives to do something, but in fact it's your problem wanting to get some free space for itself while you're not looking and are busy with those crazy drives. It's an interesting dynamics - you can't be wiser than yourself.

Perhaps the world as a whole is nothing but a symbolic place - where everything is only obliquely related to what constitutes the meaning of your world, and maybe not only your world but reality as a whole. This is not a new idea, but it's still pretty impossible to ever really grasp it, because the concept of reality is extremely imposing. To perceive real things as unreal would mean a great fall into the void - it does happen from time to time but it's hardly a welcome experience. You get a glance and then you hurry to terminate this vision because, frankly, what else beside reality is there?
Having a sense of reality means to have some control of the world - it may be limiting and frankly paranoid, but at least it's something to hold on to. At the root this attachment is nothing but fear. But it's a very deep and great fear. And it's not just courage or bravery that it takes to overcome it but complete abandonment - which requires some very basic confidence, that you can't get if you don't have it. It's basically a sort of blind faith that you won't be lost in the chaos if you abandon yourself to it.

I think that's what Wittgenstein tried to describe as his experience in war when he felt safe under heaviest bombardments - he called it faith in the religious sense: being protected by a higher power that doesn't need to explain itself to you, it just makes you feel safe from inside while the most destructive and out-of-control things happen on the outside. For that reason it doesn't really make sense to talk of God - because nobody ever knows what is, all this.

Primitive religions likely have a better and more empirical grasp of these "unreal realities" than highly civilized religions because the latter tend to make their symbolic language into the letter of the law and thus completely lose sight of their actual purpose - which is to point out to something outside of the concept of reality that nevertheless impacts on life quite palpably.
The endless dispute over God is meaningless - there can be no such dispute because nobody quite knows anything specific about this on either side of the dispute. Ignoring certain unreal realities doesn't make them go away, but explaining them in improbable religious terms doesn't make them less unreal either.

However there is likely a grain of truth in the statement that if you determine to look away no matter what, you will feel abandonded at a certain point. You can close your mind to life - and thus to whatever unaccounted powers that operate through it. You will lose faith in life while chasing complete control over reality through reason and its concepts. Rejecting a religious view of the world because our traditional religion happened to be so stupid and barren did not lead to a better grasp of life - it lead to a greater blindness in many individual cases. The "powers that be" still operate over your life but you don't want to pay attention because you're taught that it's either too stupid or too scary if it's not in a certain approved well-understood form - which is even more stupid and practically bureaucractic as a view of the world.

The problem is that there is very little to say and a lot to experience. The problem is the great fear of such experience. You don't want incomprehensible stuff - so when it happens, you immediately pretend nothing "really" happened. The problem is that you can't think about it - because there are no terms you can think in about such realities.

Tricky stuff. The easiest way to put it would be thus: suppose you believe in Jesus and you have a certain heavy idea of what God is, and you call out to this god you imagine in times of need. But suppose all your ideas about God are dead wrong but there is still a higher power that knows you mean to call out to it but are just caught up in your absurd ideas of it. Well, it still answers your call, so to speak - knowing that you can't do better in terms of concepts. In other words, life doesn't pay attention to our ideas of it - we still live and we are not full masters of our own life, and if our idea of reality is wrong we still get to live in it and experience things that we don't understand and ignore for that reason. Some calls are "answered" and others not, and some "gifts" are given and sometimes nothing is given. The most vague way to talk about it is to speak of "luck" and coincidences. And a lot of other things beside.

I am not aware of any understanding of life that can be transmitted ready-made - it can only be learned through experience and then you won't be able to talk about it. Heh.

I suppose the less pre-conceived ideas there are, the better. But this is a rarity in the civilized world. The more you know the less you understand it seems. To actually "know" one has to experience - but if you are pre-loaded with all sorts of concepts you can't know anything, you can only imagine that you know and refuse to admit experience. You can't let yourself live because you think you know it all already and that it has to be a certain way. The blindness of this ready-made knowledge is the worst kind of blindness.

Faith in life is fundamentally faith in chaos - and it's not you that puts order into it upon discovery but something else that lets you discover it in the first place. "May the force be with you", as they say - how else would you want to face chaos?





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