Empty Days

Saturday, July 24, 2004



The world of the deranged.

It seems that if you are looking for a mental illness to suit your shortcomings, you can always find one - the margin of the clinically "normal" has grown so narrow everything slightly unusual will qualify you for a diagnosis.

I looked at some descriptions involving the term "schizo-" and found that I would fit very well the so-called "schizoid personality disorder": which is simply a description of somebody asocial and having a hard time integrating into the world as we know it etc. If I ever had to submit to an evaluation with a purpose to label my abnormalities, I could not defend against a diagnosis. I suspect not many people would in any case - because it's simply all-encompassing.

The truly absurd characteristic of psychiatry these days is that it is intent on finding "disorders" pretty much everywhere, with the result that most of life finds itself categorized as a mental "condition".

This is both ugly and frightening - especially the idea of life that it betrays: so narrow, so utterly paranoid as a matter of fact (paranoid of everything unusual, of every difficulty, every little pain).

***

Schizoid Personality Disorder:

A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

1. neither desires nor enjoys close relationships, including being part of a family
2. almost always chooses solitary activities
3. has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person
4. takes pleasure in few, if any, activities
5. lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
6. appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others
7. shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity

Does not occur exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia, a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features, another Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
Note: If criteria are met prior to the onset of Schizophrenia, add "Premorbid," e.g., "Schizoid Personality Disorder (Premorbid)."

***

Of the seven symptoms stated, I have everything except perhaps no. 7 because I am far from detached and no. 6 is doubtful because it really corresponds to my idea of self-sufficiency but I hate being criticized as much as over-praised so I can't say I remain "indifferent".

I mean, what is this if not a fitting description of an asocial type? In the end it would seem that everything causing social difficulties would qualify as a form of some psychiatric "disorder". I don't think psychiatry was always that bad - it really got over its head roughly after Dr.Spock and all that "live a happy life" crap.

The worst part is that this restrictive outlook is relentlessly popularized and people will tend to treat you as some sort of "crazy" if you don't fit the right profile. Either you look like your came right out of the miniseries "Friends" or something is wrong with ya - that's the practical result of all this organized madness.




From a psychiatric hand-out:

When the denial of illness is chronic and seems unrelated to relapse, the first step is to determine whether the denial should be addressed at all. Denial of illness may not be harmful as long as the consumer is otherwise doing well and is compliant with treatment.

Indeed, several studies have shown that consumers who deny their illness see themselves as having more purpose in life, are more optimistic and have fewer affective symptoms. This is a difficult concept for families to accept. But denial of illness often only needs to be addressed if it is causing a problem.
Indeed indeed.

Friday, July 23, 2004



Mortality is our very own saving grace.

***

People keep dying. You get used to the fact that somebody is gone. It's a bit nauseating, this submission to "facts". My dentist died; my aunt died; the anonymous girl - always alone - I used to see in the neighbourhood is probably gone too; the husband of my aunt died; the guy from the cancer-blog died... And so on and so forth - with the ultimate result that you too will be gone one day.

And that's all there is to it, really.

***

Life is fundamentally purposeless because of death. Human relationships are purposeless for that same reason. Love is a good warm feeling and it too is purposeless.

Is this sad?




Speaking of alcoholics. I met a guy in Berlin, a sculptor, suffering from the withdrawal depression - he was trying to kick the habit. He needed somebody around all the time to distract him from wild paranoia and anxiety he was experiencing. A mere bottle of beer would calm him like the best sedative. He was afraid of beer - one bottle was never enough, once he started nothing was ever enough. I think he relapsed afterwards and became happy and his normal self again. Sometimes alcoholism is like a form of life - you better stick to it, even if you won't last as long in the end.

***

He was interesting fellow - we immediately sympathized for no apparent reason. He divided people in "real" people and "fake" people. The latter were mostly intellectuals but also various highly "normal" people who, in his definition, had no inkling of reality and lived through some bookish or conformists ideas and ideals. He showed me an example - the German husband of his eldest daughter. I knew exactly what he meant. "Fake" people are not unpleasant - they're just barely human.




I was biking on the sidewalk the other day and passed a guy in a wheelchair - legs cut to the thighs. He had the sad worn-out look of a long-suffering alcoholic. Probably is too. I can't imagine what his life must be like. There was a sort of sad humility in his eyes as he smiled at me with my legs and my bike - you don't think of ending it once you get that look in your eyes.




I think a great part of my own conflicts is tied up to the contempt I can't help feeling for my father. I have no hate or dislike for him (like I used to before), but I can't get rid of the contempt - everything he represents is directly opposite to my idea of what a complete human being should be, whether man or woman. He is entirely dependent on others; he uses his prodigious loquacity to gain sympathy from strangers; he is always ready to eclipse himself for a warm hug. At the same time he is extremely self-rightious and easily condemns those who do not correspond to his ideas of right and wrong. This mixture of subservience and wanton superiority is somehow despicable - I think it is this uttermost insecurity that provokes my contempt.

I've tried to be kind and fair to him, but it's hopeless because of contempt. You can't be entirely fair with somebody you don't respect. You can be kind only in a condescending sort of way. I forgive his weaknesses but I cannot accept them. The most difficult situations arise when he attempts to play an authoritative role which doesn't suit him at all - then I have to watch out not to get angry (especially when I feel weak for my own reasons) and just brush him off without offending him.

***

My parents think I am crazy and need to be cured in order to be "happy" - as if you could get cured from the fact of having parents who are no less crazy ("not happy") than yourself and don't know it. It's pathetic. I don't mind having crazy parents - why should they mind having "crazy" children?

Of course, the measure of my supposed "craziness" is proportionate to my unwillingness to correspond to a certain stereotype of a well-adjusted easy-rolling individual - and the suffering this unwillingness necessarily bestows on me. I am not enjoying all I can enjoy - I am not seeking all the pleasures and opportunities this world provides, I am not fucking enough and I am not making enough money and I am not climbing the social ladder or exercising some other form of all-fulfilling success. In short - I must be crazy not to.

I can understand that point of view. But I am fast getting over this form of understanding. It's a form of self-torture to keep trying to "explain" yourself in a certain narrow set of terms, and then bemoan the fact that these interpretations are either lacking or you are lacking in not corresponding one way or another. Most forms of psychotherapy seek to redress the individual so that he may start fitting into the mold. Most psychotherapists are "normal" people - that's all they're about in the end, these peddlers of normality.

In other words, it's up to me to deal with my apparent non-comformity and apparent shortcomings. I do believe that I can achieve my own particular balance once I get over certain fears and misconceptions that have been with me forever. I can't stop to worry what my parents or anybody else might think - too bad it makes them feel bad that I don't correspond, but at least I am doing the right thing, crazy or not.

Can I explain that? I don't need to, I guess.




By the way, this blog is doing me a world of good. I don't know why but talking to the blog seems to bear real fruit - I do what I say, and then after I've spoken here, I keep thinking. I am done with the hate for the nemesis - now, whenever I see the guy, it makes me giddy. Something changed, I got rid of the bad vibe. Meditations on will and freedom also seem to occasion transformations. Getting rid of any form of feedback and making the blog into a personal diary was a good idea - playing with people and opinions was a distracting activity. Seeking outside opinion equals seeking justification. That's not what I need - I need to get my own mind straight, and there's no one in the world who can do it for me.

Other people's ideas and opinions can be very opportune - but it's not really a guiding light. People play power-games with ideas. Why would it matter that my words may influence or impress somebody else? There are two reasons: either it proves my worth to myself, or it allows me to impose my will on others. Which is the same thing in the end. Just a form of competitiveness masquerading as communication - the stuff of all intellectual exchanges. There is no doubt that it can be highly exhilarating, but in the end it's still just a game. A very distracting game in fact.

I still think that the only viable human communication is effectively based on feeling and emotion, not intellect. People usually like each other for no clear reason - very much like dogs. And dogs are far more genuine in that respect than people. We all like to play games, it's fun. In a way, ideas are a joke.

So I guess my point so far is self-sufficiency. Purposelessness invites self-sufficiency - I don't want wisdom, I want a way of life. Words are a fickle intermediary in this. The day I will cease to feel the need for talking I will know I've done it. That day seems a world away - but it's a state worth striving for.




On life.

I live a life that is entirely purposeless. As a matter of fact, I came to see all life as fundamentally purposeless - those who pursue goals and see their life through this framework are probably oblivious to what is. These things are like all-absorbing games, an illusion. Yet without this illusion, the limitless indefiniteness of life is indeed hard to bear. To begin with, because it's incomprehensible - and being part of it makes one incomprehensible to oneself.

Eric Hoffer cites Cromwell: "A man never goes so far as when he does not know whither he is going."

With life irremediably purposeless, the only thing that's left is to keep going - no matter where it takes you. I guess the unknown and the uncertainty are the unnerving factors. To stave this off you finally stop caring - salvation and explanations are illusory, essentially interchangeable.

Then there are desires. The question "what will make you happy" asks for a definition of a predominant desire. It's usually difficult to answer, because desires are indistinct and interwoven, or more likely still - unavowed. A desire unacknowledged is like a clot in the vein - it will cause havoc. I think suppressing desires is not really feasible. What's feasible is a mutation of these desires into their opposite.

For example, a solitary naturally longs for impossible friendships because, well, man is an animal, and a social one at that. But there are too many entangled things that prevent this and make it impossible. Consequently this desire eventually mutates into something else: hopeless view of people and ardent desire for solitude, which is in fact an inverted desire for company. It is not really strange that once the desire for solitude is realized it does procure fulfillment - it's a form of liberation from an impossible desire.

In fact, even hopelessness occasions hope. Achieving hopelessness is a liberation from a number of impossible desires. I would counsel suicide to anyone too entangled to breath - hitting the wall is likely the best cure for complexity. Hopelessness affords negative freedom, but freedom is equal to hope in many respects. Yet desires never disappear - it's the force of life, the ability to feel. Cynics and suchlike ostensibly profess complete indifference which is actually fake. They get tired of wishing for the impossible, for explanations, and it's this wholesale fatigue that passes for their equanimity. But inside every cold cynic there sits a deeply burried romantic, just like inside every nihilist hides a credulous soul - this duplicity is their greatest ridicule but life is funny that way.

I was never tempted to seek peace in meditation and the tired mantra of "desirelessness" is repellent to me. Perhaps because it is not peace that I want but a transmutation of my will - and thus real freedom, which I imagine to be the one thing worth living for. If all life is purposeless, then will must be purposeless too - by nature rather than by design.

Finding out what I really want has been a long and senseless struggle. For the moment I know what I do not want - but stripping myself of all the unwanted propositions is still a long way from touching on the positive element. Negative freedom still needs to be achieved before it gives way to my will.

Christians etc say it's pride - but then Christians are nothing but parrots of their holy writ, they rarely know what they're talking about. Try to live without holy writs - try to avoid assumed wisdom - and life becomes a deep sea without beginning nor end. It becomes a purposeless, senseless affair - and that's what life really is, when seen up close and without interpretations.

Perhaps it's better that way.

Thursday, July 22, 2004



Crimes and misdemeanors.

I should update my chronology - the drive for delinquency has started with that throwing of a pile of dirty dishes out of the window. I felt the pleasure of actually executing a perfectly silly, unreasonable and reprehensible act. Logic: once the idea occurs, it has to arrive.

It is conceivable that, had I not allowed myself to so dispose of the dishes, I would not have acted on my desire to actually seek out cyanide, or on my desire to exert revenge through vandalism. As a result of all this I now know that the next time I want to kill myself, I will actually take the necessary steps - or the next time that I need to exercise revenge, I will not hesitate.

I hope this progression continues, as I definitely prefer this state of affairs to the doubtful disposition I've been prone to, more through education than character. Eric Hoffer supplies a nice quip:
"Indeed it seems that frustration stems chiefly from an inability to act, and that the most poignantly frustrated are those whose talents and temperament equip them ideally for a life of action but are condemned by circumstances to rust away in idleness. How else explain the surprising fact that the Lenins, Trotskys, Mussolinis and Hitlers who spent the best part of their lives talking their heads off in cafes and meetings reveal themselves suddenly as the most able and tireless men of action of their time?" [III.14.98.]
Heh. Is that "poignant"? Maybe.

What I find particularly congenial about the Unabomber is that he actually did what he had to do. The fact that what he had to do was essentially monstruous is another matter - he still had to do it, regardless of his own hesitations. People are possessed by their own will. Whence such or such will arises is never entirely clear.

Can you really "explain" Hitler? Psychologists propose lame interpretations. In the end it's still vague thinkers like Hegel or Schopenhauer who nail it best: one's will is an inspiration.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004



Crime in Russia.








Electric banana: meeting the Unabomber.

I don't know why I am doing this really but it feels like the right thing to do for some reason.

So I went and bought some more stuff on my long-suffering credit card - a real tent that I will return (it's too heavy) and a big sheet of some rough cargo tarp for cheap to use as a makeshift tent (I am still unsure how). But I need more stuff, like shoes etc to get going. Since I hate shopping I wasn't able to do it all at once.

I think what drives me is this new idea that I need to exercise my will even if it seems silly, hopeless and totally unreal. It doesn't matter - I better do it, because there is no good reason not to. The new awareness started with cyanide, continued with revenge vandalism, and is now evolving into backcountry escape. I think meeting the Unabomber in my mind (as a likeminded doer) was instrumental in the last two.

These are the ideas that's been eating at me forever - and I never did anything about it because I kept thinking it was too crazy. But on the other hand - maybe that's the right track for me, even if it leads exactly nowhere. The supposed alternative, the so-called "normal life", leads nowhere either - I had ample time to test just to what extent. So the only thing that's left is to exercise the semi-conscious will, the one that gives me all these ideas in the first place. The crazy element is that these ideas have no definite purpose - for instance, I have no idea why I need to go in the middle of nowhere and sit out rain under a piece of tarp: how is that interesting? Or what's interesting about pedalling for miles in strange surroundings going lord knows where. I just don't know why I want it.

***

I think I understand why the Unabomber had to spend all those years making bombs and killing random people. It sounds and looks insane, yet he only followed his original semi-conscious will which he rationalized in various ways (cf. Manifesto). He was alone and angry like hell. He had to get busy in his loneliness and that was the most congenial thing he could get busy with according to his will. It still sounds insane? Not to me. Anger is a good enough rationale.

What happens in solitude is that you are left one-on-one with nothing but your own will - and it can be anything. The more remote you become, the more the rules of the world cease to matter, and it is impossible to explain to other people to just what extent human rules don't matter anymore. The fact that the Unabomber was compelled to exercise his will in such an extreme, murderous way is perhaps insane - the measure of anger it betrays is overwhelming.

***

What moves me? The same desire for solitude - almost inhuman solitude. Solitude means complete freedom of will, absolutely purposeless in itself. Being an urban hermit is quite a bit of a perversion - the constant sight of so many people with whom you have absolutely nothing to do, this fake solitude supplied by anonymity, is only a muck-up of the real freedom that solitude affords. It is not a death-wish - it is a wish to be a law unto oneself. Perhaps this desire for solitude is the strongest form of will to power - only inverted, requiring complete hopelessness in regards to humanity, from which wilful hope is bound to be born.

What is left outside of the human world with its all-absorbing social struggles and myths? Nature, obviously. It's hardly a big surprise that those who crave solitude should crave the most depopulated country out there. This is not emptiness - Nature is swarming with life, even though this life is not human. It is the only alternative to human society and hermits are never really alone in that sense. Compared to this, urban hermits are the real perverts - denying themselves, fearing, holding back, remaining sickly attached to all that civilization of which they can't and won't partake. That's the suffering of unfulfilled loneliness: inability to break away.

Urban hermits are mostly suicides.

***

Here is an excerpt from Kaczynski's letter to his family, 1991:
"Suppose that for a period of years whenever you touched -- let us say -- a banana, you got a severe electric shock. After that you would always be nervous around bananas, even if you knew they weren't wired to shock you," he said. "Well, in the same way, the many rejections, humiliations and other painful influence that I underwent during adolescence at home, in high school, and at Harvard have conditioned me to be afraid of people."

Kaczynski revealed that he is "always under stress" whenever he is around people, except those he has known for a long time. The reason is that he doesn't feel that people will accept him.

"This fear of rejection -- based on bitter experience both at home and at school -- has ruined my life, except for the few years that I spent alone in the woods, largely out of contact with people," he wrote.
That's the only alternative - staying away from what ails you. Most hermits have no better reason to seek solitude than the inability to cope with the social world - whatever reasons are given or invented, this is always the most basic reason. Whether you go out into the desert to seek God or lions, you still mostly flee the proximity of other people. And that's that.

***

My other idea is that the particular predicament of Kaczynski that led to such a murderous career was the fact that he was tied to the small spot of bought land on which he built his cabin (1.4 acres). If the land on this continent was not all private, he could have chosen a place of utter wilderness where his respite from people would have been complete - he tried to immigrate to Canada but was refused. Hitler was refused at the art-school. The rest is history.

I think private land is a calamity - but the whole backbone of capitalism is predicated on land-property. Highly organized metropolia are concentrated expressions of that fundamental concept. The whole land is owned either by individuals or by government: for all the vast spaces, there is not a parcel left unaccounted for. Perhaps you need to move close to the North Pole to have some respite from this total control - and even there it's not quite sure that you won't be chase away by some lone ranger with a badge.

It's kind of strange, come to think of it.




Drunken flight crew members beat passenger.

MOSCOW (AP) - Drunken passengers often give air crews trouble, but Russia's leading airline on Tuesday reported an "unprecedented'' reversal: A passenger was assaulted by intoxicated flight attendants.

Two crew members on a domestic Aeroflot flight beat up a passenger who had complained that the flight attendants were drunk, airline spokeswoman Irina Dannenberg said. The passenger, identified only as A. Chernopup, was aboard a recent flight from Moscow to the Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk, Dannenberg said. She said the crew belonged to another airline, Aviaenergo. Seeing that the crew were intoxicated and were not fulfilling their duties, Chernopup asked to be served by a sober and competent flight attendant, Dannenberg said. He was then beaten up by crew members.

On Russian flights, attendants often have to struggle to keep intoxicated passengers under control. But on this flight, Dannenberg said, flight attendants were so intoxicated that they "behaved improperly'' and only began catering to passengers 1 1/2 hours into the four-hour trip. The daily Izvestia quoted another passenger as saying that half of the food the crew served ended up on the floor, leaving the aisle strewn with debris that passengers had to walk over as they disembarked. According to the passenger, Chernopup left the plane with a black eye and was promptly sent to a doctor. Izvestia also reported that a criminal case was opened after Chernopup reported the incident to the police.

Dannenberg said that the plane was carrying out an Aeroflot flight, but both the aircraft and the crew belonged to Aviaenergo. Aeroflot has been contracting out from Aviaenergo since August 2003, but the incident prompted it to tighten control over Aviaenergo's staff, she said. The entire crew of the flight has been temporarily dismissed and a joint commission is investigating the incident, Dannenberg said.
______________


Sounds like fun. I wonder: were the pilots drunk too?

Monday, July 19, 2004



Happiness and suffering.

I've been wondering about autism - and especially people who tend to diagnose themselves with a "mild form of autism" - by which they usually mean severe emotional/communication problems and such. I also find it strange that both Spinoza and Wittgenstein were "diagnosed" with an Asperger's syndrom. I don't see the point of this - except to "prove scientifically" how people with exceptional abilities are so different from the vast bulk of regular humanity - but we knew that already, no? There are unpleasant consequences to genius because being a genius is frankly abnormal - whether biologically determined or not, it's still pretty uncomfortable.

This whole tendency to "diagnose" uncommon people with biochemical disorders springs from this same idea of universal human happiness. Applied biologically it means: normality = happiness, and vice-versa. What is understood by happiness then? Absence of suffering, comfortable existence. All human sciences are based on this principle. It's a lame stupid principle, folks. Life is full of suffering. Not to mention death. It's part of life and maybe its best and worst part - what do we know...
Autism is a complex pervasive developmental disorder that involves the functioning of the brain. It is a neurological disorder and not simply a psychiatric disorder, even though typical characteristics include problems with social relationships and emotional communication, as well as stereotyped patterns of interests, activities and behaviors. It also involves problems with sensory integration. Typically, it appears during the first three years of life. It is estimated that it occurs in approximately 2 to 6 in 1,000 individuals, and is 4 times more prevalent in males than females (source: The Autism Society of America [1] ). It is most prevalent in Caucasian males.

***

Increase in diagnoses of autism

There has been an explosion worldwide in reported cases of autism over the last ten years. There has been considerable speculation as to why this might be, with no conclusive proof emerging around any theory. However, studies have ruled out the speculation that the rise is [entirely] attributable to an improvement in diagnostic methods.

In the last decade, the population of the United States has increased by 13%. There has been an increase in non-autism-related disabilities of 16%. The increase in autism is 173%.

In 2001, Wired Magazine published an interesting speculative article The Geek Syndrome exploring the surge in apparent autism in Silicon Valley. This is only one example of the media's application of mental disease labels to what is actually variant normal behavior. Shyness, lack of athletic ability or social skills, and intellectual interests, even when they seem unusual to others, are not in themselves signs of autism or Asperger's syndrome.
Well, autism or not, some fucks are now commercializing Paxil (!) as an anti-shyness drug. Fuck them, I say. Universal happiness and universal normality do not exist - it's a mirage, a bad dream. Stop whining for happiness already, stop crawling on your stomachs for a piece of good life... Jesus.

***

So what was wrong with the Unabomber? Was he a paranoid schizo, an autist, a psychopath - or maybe just a pretty disturbed guy, who decided to fuck the order of the world because it really got to him? Either crazy or criminal - and maybe it's the same thing seen from a certain popular perspective.

I still wonder however: Unabomber killed people out of intense hatred of human society by sending bombs; gang-members routinely kill and maim both rivals and innocents - and yet these killers are understood as "rational", because while you can be amoral you still need a good reason for your actions. Why do gang-members kill? For power and money. And that's rational, as opposed to crimes of passion and crimes of hatred. Very interesting distinction - actually it doesn't make sense but it's an accepted view that it does.

***

I was also wondering about what causes cancer and why it's such a prevailing disease in our world. Basically there is no answer:
Carcinogenesis (lit.: creation of cancer) is the process of derangement of the rate of cell division.

Cancer is, ultimately, a disease of genes. Typically, a series of several mutations is required before a cell becomes a cancer cell. The process involves both oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. Oncogenes promote cancer when "switched on" by a mutation, whereas tumor suppressor genes prevent cancer unless "switched off" by a mutation. Chromosomal translocation, such as the Philadelphia chromosome, is special type of mutation and may involve oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes.

Mutations can have various causes: tobacco smoking, radiation, chemicals called carcinogens, viral or bacterial infection, DNA damage by free radicals, inherited predisposition, chronic inflammation from any cause.
Viruses play a role in about 15% of all cancers. Tumor viruses usually carry some oncogene or tumor suppressor inactivating gene in their genome.

It is impossible to tell the initial cause for most of the cancers.


Sunday, July 18, 2004



The margin of the marginal.

You might want to think why punk and industrial techno "music" (I am not quite sure it deserves to be called music - but it's still the voice of the unconscious) is so deathly violent.

Why is it that in our pampered world the thing that really speaks to so many is this sort of unbounded ransacked raving machine sounds? Not to mention words. It's not simply "counter-culture" - and it's not simply "adolescent". You might do well to ask yourself what it represents exactly - and why so many "youth" feel represented by it, into their late 30's no less. There is a logic to this that is not very pretty.

It is easy to see that the "problems" of our dear western society - such as drug-addiction and crazy music as its upshot - are a direct product of its most praised characteristics: comforts, wealth, success, individual freedom, urban anonymity, universal humanitarian values, highly organized peace, fun, and services. Paradoxically, we pay an enormous human price for all of these. It turns out that the only way you can be entirely content in such a world is by denying and effectively obliterating no less than half of your actual human nature - which includes a lot of unorganized, willful, chaotic and violent characteristics. Then you get to get your civilized piece of life.

There is much more street-crime in poor urban areas than in wealthy ones - in the latter the accent is more on suicide and occasional crimes of passion. But taken as a whole all this is a byproduct of the city life. Drug-addiction is evenly distributed across the whole society - as a byproduct.

You might wonder why people need to shoot themselves or shoot their ears with crazy music all the time. But what else can you do? You are free to shout, in any case no one will hear you - because it's not worth hearing. That's how you escape - from your comforts, your anonymity, your high-paying job, lukewarm relationships, and a thousand pleasant things of this life.

The anger and rage expressed in the so-called "marginal" music - punk and even rap - is practically necessary. The curious thing is that this whole world is so blamelessly well-organized there is nothing you can say against it - you would be speaking against your own idea of happiness.

But for some reason this idea is terribly suffocating. And you don't even know why - don't you want the very same things as everybody else? Don't you want more sex, more fun, more freedom, more money, and peace on earth? How can you really stand up to your own idea of happiness? You can't - that's the paradox - and all you do instinctively is yell and scream and hit your head against the wall.

You can't think - because there's no point in thinking - because you can't escape from yourself.

I think that's what this "marginal" music is about - it's not even about rebellion, it's just hopelessness and inability to think or feel your way out of this magnificent trap.




Self-mastery.

Of course I realize that as long as I am unable to get over my hate towards a certain object, no matter what I do I can't possibly achieve victory over it - after all, emotions are a mental representation. Not being able to get away or control one's own mental representations is the beginning and the end of the whole problem.

Of course the alternative to fighting mental representation is to remove the triggering object itself - which is not really feasible if the object happens to be human.

***

One strategy would be to obliterate the importance of the object by diverting attention or putting radically unrelated fixations in the forefront. But to achieve that I would need to discover why this object was allowed to acquire such importance in the first place. I suspect fear is a factor - even though retaliation is logically unlikely, the intense animosity acts as an equivalent.

The totality of reasons goes far beyond the object itself. In a way it's a synthetic fixation - it represents a whole host of other such objects in the past and the intensity of emotion is nurrished by this accumulated anger.

The feeling of powerlessness is accumulated and disproportionate to the object. Even if I performed repeated actions of violence against it, it would not quench the anger - nothing short of complete obliteration or removal from sight would do it. Best policy remains to avoid too much exposure and when such occurs just live through whatever attending emotion and hope it will lessen with time.

***

This is the essence of violence. If you are trained all your life long to refrain from violence, you will necessarily build up a mighty store of unrelieved anger. What's more, your training is based on fear - another's and your own violence is perceived as fearsome. And fear is the basis of all powerlessness which is the essence of humiliation.

Therefore, liberation from fear and powerlessness implies liberation from fear of violence - both in receiving and in inflicting violence. Then, whenever you are threatened you know you have it in you to retaliate. It doesn't even matter what level of violence is implied - because you know nothing will stop you from giving it back.

All these are psycho-games we play on ourselves. When you hear a do-gooder preach peace and forgiveness, stop to think that forgiveness is only real from a position of force.




The silent voice.

I am still rummaging through alt.fan.unabomber archives on google - the group is of course nearly dead at this hour, but back in the trial days and all the hype it attracted quite a few people. Vintage quote that, I think, illustrates the whole Unabomber phenomenon:
Though I do not support the Unabomber's actions, I greatly appreciate his manifesto. I have been waiting for that to be written to so many people for a long time. He ranks up there with the great manifesto writers.
That's true, the man struck a chord in many hearts. Eric Hoffer explains (from The True Believer):

III.13.51. A deprecating attitude toward the present fosters a capacity for prognostication. The well-adjusted make poor prophets. On the other hand, those who are at war with the present have an eye for the seeds of change and the potentialities of small beginnings.
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III.13.53. That the deprecating attitude of a mass movement toward the present seconds the inclinations of the frustrated is obvious. What surprises one, when listening to the frustrated as they decry the present and all its works, is the enormous joy they derive from doing so. Such delight cannot come from the mere venting of a grievance. There must be something more - and there is. By expatiating upon the incurable baseness and vileness of the times, the frustrated soften their feeling of failure and isolation. It is as if they said: "Not only our blemished selves, but the lives of all our contemporaries, even the most happy and successful, are worthless and wasted." Thus by deprecating the present they acquire a vague sense of equality.

The meas, also, a mass movement uses to make the present unpalatable (section 48) strike a responsive chord in the frustrated. The self-mastery needed in overcoming the appetites gives them an illusion of strength. They feel that in mastering themselves they have mastered the world. The mass movement's advocacy of the impracticable and impossible also agrees with their taste. Those who fail in everyday affairs show a tendency to reach out for the impossible. It is a device to camouflage their shortcomings. For when we fail in attempting the possible, the blame is solely ours; but when we fail in attempting the impossible, we are justified in attributing it to the magnitude of the task. There is less risk in being discredited when trying the impossible than when trying the possible. It is thus that failure in everyday affairs often breeds an extravagant audacity.

One gains the impression that the frustrated derive as much satisfaction - if not more - from the means a mass movement uses as from the ends it advocates. The delight of the frustrated in chaos and in the downfall of the fortunate and prosperous does not spring from an ecstatic awareness that they are clearing the ground for the heavenly city. In their fanatical cry of "all or nothing at all" the second alternative echoes perhaps a more ardent wish than the first.
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That basically explains why Unabomber's manifesto was such an immense pleasure to read - almost inexplicably so. But the man and his words harbor such enormous reserves of frustration it was bound to resonate with all the discontented minds out there - of which I am most definitely one. Enigma solved. And by the way: doesn't it also describe the ever-militating "leftist" as portrayed by the Unabomber? I would contend that it does - just as much as it describes Ted himself.

Hoffer is really a very good read - not everything makes sense but some bits are just too sharp to ignore. It looks like Unabomber learned from him how to speak directly from the mind (which also explains why so many academics first thought the Manifesto was written by an autodidact without a college degree. Hilarious - shows you what academia is really about: the schooling in how *not* to speak one's mind.)




American psycho.

Unabomber was "diagnosed" paranoid schizophrenic for being so overwhelmed by a sense of hate and powerlessness he decided to kill at random - to get back at the whole world rather than those insidnificant many that got on his nerves. In that case, I must be suffering from a mild form of the same affliction - judging by my reaction towards certain people.

I wish I felt less rage towards that gook with whom I am engaged in a silent psycho-war manifesting itself in a sea of contained animosity with occasional outbursts of violence.

Basically, were it not for the law and drastic penalties for murder, I could very well kill the guy and I am reasonably confident this is a mutual sentiment. In which case both of us are necessarily suffering from a progressive form of paranoid schizophrenia. Or maybe it's just basic human violence and vileness showing its ugly head - hardly a clinical condition, don't ya think?

From my observations of humanity, I am inclined to state that the vast majority are variously derranged and many are outright dangerous - those entirely positive human specimens in commercial ads are a huge exaggeration regarding the every-day reality.

You know what - it's hilarious.





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