Peddling poison

Dialed in coffees for work today today. Drank more than I should have. This is caffeine poisoning. An overdose. Has coffee ever killed anyone? I’ll find out; no one dies from coffee. Last year a couple of people died from caffeine pills and energy drinks.

So I won’t be dying but death would be a relief. This is torture. I’m coming apart, my molecules are leaving en mass. I can feel it happening. I’m sweating underneath my skin. Intestinal distress. Holes in my colon, bladder bursting pressure, stomach in a vice.

My eyes are raisins, tight and shriveled. There are bolts in the back of my head. My mouth has an oddly metallic, tinny taste to it. Heart is thudding, rocking my rib cage.

The feeling in my skin. I could peel myself raw. There are ant colonies inside me. Everything is covered in a fuzz, everything is brushed with grey. The world is losing its definition. All my senses converge on a paralyzing panic.

It’s a chemical imbalance. It’s all about the chemicals. The balance, ratio, proportion, mixture. It’s all matter and mass, interaction of matter. You’re made of a bunch of stuff stuck together. That’s your life, you being alive is dependent on your stuff staying together.

Well, at a certain rate of speed or in a certain relation to time at least. We’re always changing, losing and gaining parts of ourselves. But we stay alive, we maintain our organic form because we change slowly enough, at the right rate for stability. If you change from one state to another too quickly, you pass from a living organism to a body. Pass back into matter, disorganized stuff.

A dead body is uncanny. Why do you have a body when you’re alive and then become a body when you’re dead. Why is it so hard to look at the dead body of someone you knew. When a person is alive, they are an image, a screen, an immaterial spirit. They’re light enough they could float away. And then they become an object, a piece of matter. Solid, inert.

It all comes to down to chemical proportion. Imbalance. They say chemical imbalance when talking about mental illness. But chemical imbalance describes everything that disturbs or breaks down the relations between your component parts.

Your whole body is made of smaller bodies made of smaller bodies. Those smaller bodies compete, cooperate and die to keep your body together. Then your whole body plays a role in keeping an even larger body together. And you will compete, cooperate, and die in turn.

Anything healthy and functional is appropriating one thing and expelling another. Every little body at each and every level of scale is made of smaller bodies dying. They are co opted, assimilated, incorporated as a function of a larger body. Every whole gets swallowed up by a bigger whole. But the small bodies get their revenge; they also colonize and break down the bigger bodies.

There’s no safe scale, no manner or mode of organization that can’t be either assimilated or torn down to serve something else. Try to imagine all of this at once. In one moment grasp the extent of everything using everything else as a tool for a temporary existence.

When looked at from the inside, everything wants to be itself forever. Its essence is a desire to persist without end. But nothing persists forever because something else always breaks it down.

Death is in the relations between things. It’s not in the things themselves.

This is why we can’t imagine death. We can’t accept it or confront it because it’s not within us. We look inside and see only life, desire for life, eternal presence.

Death comes from the outside. It visits us. Takes us away from our bodies, ends the desire for the everlasting.

Why this dizzying infinity of little pieces of matter, of atoms, molecules, gasses, rock, wood, water, cells, and flesh. Billiard balls knocking into each other. We can’t imagine death and we can’t imagine life without a purpose. All this stuff has to be for something. We have to be for something.

Reading Spinoza and remembering that we’re part of nature, and nature is synonymous with god. Nothing is accidental or arbitrary. God acts out of the necessity that follows from his nature. So nothing exists for the sake of something else but rather because it was caused by something else, which was also caused by something else before it, with everything being caused by god out of absolute necessity.

Everything that is, has been, and will be must necessarily be as it is because God acts out of necessity. This is supposed to make you feel good. Not elated, not effervescent, but calm, content. There’s no sense in wishing for things to be different. Believing things could be different is foolish. You become passive, a slave to passion.

We comprehend causes inadequately through our senses and imagination. Our feelings and fantasies fail to grasp both our own nature as well as the greater nature of which we are only a part. But reason grasps god in thinking of necessity.

There is nothing to hope for or fear, nothing to regret. Our passions are products of ignorance, of failing to understand the true causes that determine us. Man uses hope and fear to control man, promising and threatening his way to power. It’s unwise to cling to finite things, to love   what you lose.

But there is a higher state of love. We can love God. Not for personal gain, not for the sake of something else. For no other reason than that God is infinite power.

We will, as the specific composite of smaller bodies we are, experience fear, pain, hate, envy and sadness. But we can find contentment in the contemplation of the necessary causes through which we come to be and suffer.

I was hoping this would be enough to counteract my caffeine poisoning. This bad combination of chemicals. I wanted to read Spinoza and follow his propositions to a beatific condition. My organs are decaying and my skin is disintegrating. This is how it has to be. Why don’t I feel better about it.

Watching the watchers

One thing I love about Trump is how people react to him. Everything he does sends liberals, leftists, conservatives, and mainstream journalists into fits of impotent, revealing rage. Their obsession with his every word and move is a case study of arrogant, contrived consensus breaking down. It’s a desperate, flailing attempt to control a derailed narrative. And they’re failing in a spectacular, flamboyant fashion. 

The estrogen soaked consternation, the wailing and whining, the confused, incoherent accusations, the ineffectual, dimwitted insults, and the dizzying inconsistencies make for riveting entertainment. 

But it’s more than amusing, it’s also instructive. Students of human nature have a lot to learn from the Trump effect. He turns people into caricatures of themselves. His enemies let their guard down and hold nothing back. They openly, impulsively display their cowardice, contempt, and pretension without a moment’s humility or reflection. 

Nothing makes a weakling seethe harder and more bitterly than encountering someone who doesn’t suffer from persistent feelings of inadequacy. For the low T brigade, nothing is more offensive and threatening than an unapologetic, masculine man.

Trump draws out the snivelling pseudo-intellectual and makes him look like a tasteless, try hard nerd. The average person desperate for distinction secretly loves having a “dumb” president because it makes them feel much smarter than they are.

People grunt, groan and strain harder than ever now to distinguish their carbon copy intellects because we’ve fallen into the disordered habit of overvaluing a narrow form of intelligence. 

Mass society shits out a surplus of middling, directionless, formless people who tepidly congratulate themselves for not being bigots and nationalists. For the bland, disposable and redundant, there will be no higher honor or greater achievement than thinking the right things at the right time. 

They have no superlative skills or talents. No industry or energy. They don’t have essential roles or functions in society and they won’t become wealthy or famous. But at least they’re educated, at least they know how to think, DAD.

Hordes of people struggle to suppress the disappointment of being less than what their fraudulent authorities, educators, and parents promised them. And then someone comes along who is so much more than he deserves to be, who was given every advantage and, worst of all, seems to enjoy it and feel no guilt over it. 

We don’t like pride in others because it crowds out our own. We’re offended by vanity because we ourselves are vain. And narcissism, well, you see where this is going. But people can’t help themselves; they call Trump a narcissist because he injures their narcissism.

It feels good to call someone a narcissist because it deflects attention from personal stasis and thwarted ambition. Narcissism is sometimes equated with grandiosity for the purpose of self deception. If that guy’s a narcissist, I couldn’t possibly be one…

People compare themselves to Trump and are able to say, I’m not like that, I’m not a monster. I care about other people. I care about the plight of minorities…

But they don’t see how, in their preoccupation with someone else’s grandiosity, they reinforce their own narcissism, a skewed, stunted personality structure that feeds on fantasies of living in a society that pushes them down, that doesn’t recognize their worth or prevents them from realizing their potential because it rewards those show stealing, careless jerks like Trump.

Narcissists are trapped within themselves; they’re dexterously self limiting. They can be self loathing rather than self loving or any mix of the two, but the basic structure of festering introversion, inhibition, and confusion over a weak identity remains the same; cold, withdrawn and rigid.  *

Their supposed empathy, which they often congratulate themselves on, is rather aggrieved self pity projected outwards. It’s an excuse, among many others, for their halting, insecure, passive behavior. They care too much, they tell themselves as they sink into a consumptive, moral stupor. 

Trump, on the other hand, is vigorously extroverted. He gets out of himself to get into other people. He knows, intuitively, how to reach people and move them. 

Many people are, despite what they think of themselves, not persuasive or skilled at building relationships because they are too self absorbed and lazy. To be persuasive and make deals, you need to work hard and forget yourself. You have to leave your frigid, imprisoning concern with authenticity behind. 

Trump is a people person, and people hate that. He’s not an intellectual, but this is a strength rather than a weakness. Trump doesn’t read books, he reads people. He’s comfortable with himself around others. But he’s dumb so it must be easy for him.

People want their intelligence to be the reason they can’t relate to others, when it’s their narcissism and sloth. 

They don’t like to see someone having fun and bringing others together with natural charm, hope and humor. An extroverted, charismatic personality has an electrifying effect; Trump motivates those around him and inspires confidence and fearless forward movement.

Whereas goony, insecure intellectuals tend to bore, disturb and depress. They’ll make excuses for their alienating, unpersuasive attempts to win people over. It’s not fair, they’ll say, that idiots don’t appreciate their dazzling intellects. No one respects the truth. No one loves science and facts. If only everyone cared about policy, if only people appreciated intelligence, if only I knew how to relate, if only…..

Trump is also funny, and most people that hate him are painfully, grotesquely unfunny. They are the type to compensate with sarcasm for what they lack in wit. Snark, their dominant style of humor, is charmless, womanly petulance. It lacks timing and insight, confirms expectations rather than defying them, and only works on the already convinced.  

A relatable sense of humor, like a magnetic personality, is something many don’t have. It’s another inegalitarian trait unevenly distributed.

Envy, on the other hand, is essentially egalitarian, inexhaustible. There’s plenty to go around for all the otherwise deprived. 

 * See thelastpsychiatrist.com One of my favorite blogs, now sadly defunct. I thought his take on narcissism was relevant here.

Outline of a sort

She’s 40 years old. A fat, flabby, and distended body. Dry, powdery skin like plaster. A nervous, downward looping laugh. Weathered neoteny, years of childish excess.

Mother of 2 children, divorced. Shares custody of the kids so she has plenty of free time, time to herself. Time for herself. The apex of modern living, the arid freedom from the oppression of being present.

She was always somewhere else. Her children learning from distracted, self absorbed parents who value their own detachment more than engagement with their living legacy.

Her former husband is just like her. They couldn’t make it work because they’re mirror images of each other’s dysfunction and numbness. He never knew how to act around children because he’s still a child himself.

His own father refused to be a father and played a peer instead. He worked and watched television. The daily strain of long commutes and petty competition drained his emotional energy and left him unable and unwilling to guide his children’s moral development.

He didn’t raise his children, he passively, blearily watched them grow up. Or rather he watched them age. They passed through each stage of life without knowing who they were.

The ex-husband grew up in a world of superficial chumminess, a contrived camaraderie concealing a deeper coldness, a rooted remoteness. He identified himself with preferences shaped by consolidated, corporate media, and held most of himself back in piecemeal fantasizing.

His wife came up the same way. Two people so similar couldn’t work together; they had to affirm their own separate individuality. Even the profound act of mixing their genes to create new life left them as atomized and unfeeling as ever.

Now she dates and goes to dinner. She gorges and fucks and sees her children a couple days a week. I’ve had a few conversations with her and I always leave disgusted and depressed.

Though she seems sluggishly satisfied with a stagnant, solitary life of episodic passions, she is also disturbed by surging tensions and dissatisfactions.

On one hand there’s a shriveled, puttering acceptance of a trivial, wayward existence. On the other there’s a restlessness, an edginess, a semi conscious rumbling that destroys the possibility of peace or progress.

This woman, who lives for eating and sex, will also lecture you on privilege, inequality, racism and xenophobia. Her morality is a stapled together series of lazy critiques of powerful individuals, groups, and institutions, as well as a defense of envy and maladjustment.

What’s consistent in her behavior is the pursuit of fleeting gratification. Her main arguments revolve around hurt feelings, threatened identities and reductive, slanted histories of oppression.

A lust for fairness, measured as equal representation of all marginalized identities in the upper reaches of power excuses and encourages the flagrant mistreatment of those without the sanctity of victimhood, those who, because they already enjoy the benefits and protections of their unjustly gained station, have no right to defend or organize themselves.

Feelings are all that matter, unless you’re the wrong kind of person. Then your feelings will be mocked, discredited, and dismissed. No apology is contrite enough.

Proponents of equality do not want equal responsibility. They want to vent their pent up hostility and rage in cathartic blasts of socio-political theater. They want to humiliate their enemies with grandstanding displays of self righteous indignation.

The sort of person who can’t maintain a marriage or a definite shape to her body believes she has the moral clout to hector others about privilege and hate.

People like this are numerous, but their future is insecure. Their selfishness and shitty work ethic leave them dependent on unsustainable, fragile, overpopulated social systems destined to crack apart and collapse. They are delicate products of explosive economic growth, expansion, innovation, and demographic upheaval.

Social complexity and density are strong correlates of their moral degradation and hedonistic coping habits, but they tend to argue in favor of more complexity, population mixing and misguided technoscientific management while slandering and shaming convenient scapegoats in the form of bigoted individuals unwittingly serving unjust structures of supremacy.

What they want only makes ours problems worse. What do we do with these people.

Down with the sickness

Why did I wake up at 3:30 in the morning. Because I ate chinese food on my futon before falling asleep. My ikea brand futon, a standardized sitting and sleeping unit stained with the sauces and fluids of lost time.

I ate chinese food and stared at the glowing screen of my macbook air before slumping into a dreamless sleep. My stomach churned pre cancerous livestock feed for five hours and then kicked me awake. I sleep long enough to absorb harmful chemicals and castrating toxins and then it’s back to my waking nightmare.

I continuously smoked weed all afternoon and evening yesterday. Wrote garbage. Typed and typed and came away with nothing worthwhile. Posted some of it anyway. Weed numbs the loneliness but it also makes me stupid and lazy. I’ll take it for now.

Your average pot smoker is just an average person unable to confront their downshift into despondency. If only a little grass turned us all into creative, productive, sensitive geniuses. There’s a fine line between free association and inane, disjointed rambling. There’s also a fine line between the enjoyment of leisure and depressive idling.

I’ve smoked so much I don’t know where I am. I talk to so few people I don’t know if I’m losing my mind. How do you know how deranged you are without consistent feedback, without social engagement? From my disheveled cell, my echo chamber pot, I meditate on the value of community and finding meaning in relationships. I tell myself sincere hypocrisy is better than nothing.

People are talking about health care and I’m not paying much attention. Apparently millions of people will be dead soon because rich people need to be even richer. I don’t know if it’s true but it sounds about right. When has life ever been different. When have powerful people not conspired to crush and mangle the already botched and disadvantaged.

Powerful people hate the weak, and weak people hate the powerful. But they need each other. Justice always slants towards taking something from someone else because no one has just enough.

Health care is one piece of the modern dysgenic factory farming system. A mass scale machine manufacturing downward selection pressure, producing a disposable glut of dependent, sickly cybernetic and bionic humanoids.

Everyone is sick, strapped to gurneys and chained to oxygen tanks. We’re all made of pacemakers, implants, plastic hips and prosthetic limbs. We need buckets of pills and hourly insulin shots to make it through a single day. Vast electronic networks and satellite systems stave off suicidal boredom by beaming entertainment everywhere, blasting silence and space into an irretrievable past.

Widespread organ failure and autoimmune disorder. Rising blood pressure, expanding waist lines, plummeting IQ and shrinking empathy. Cancer, Parkinsons, obesity and Alzheimer’s. One chromosome too many or too few. Defibrillators, casts and colostomy bags. Dialysis, EKG and ultrasound. Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and narcissism. Trauma and abuse, addiction and alcoholism. Withdrawal from public space and premature dementia.

Teams of tireless doctors, dieticians, physical therapists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and quantum self help gurus grinding themselves into dust keeping us alive and functional enough to listlessly browse netflix and order products on amazon. Technocratic elites scientifically managing tension and conflict among incompatible, genocidal ethnicities.

We have to be healthy enough to move away from our relatives and ignore them. Psychologically sound enough to fight strangers on the internet and organize pointless protests. Resentful and careless enough to push people out of their living space and overcrowd them with culturally clashing alien populations.

We need our cancerous tits and testicles removed. Oils and ointments for rashes and boils. Anonymous, impersonal networks of support for our worst habits and delusions. There is no such thing as a healthy person who isn’t taking something or seeing someone for a crippling illness or issue. Emotional pain destroys your body. Loneliness soaks your brain in stress hormones and isolation is a more severe punishment than death.

Having low status is like living with a permanent flu. When you can’t win recognition or admiration your body hates you. If you’re alone and unloved you might as well be dead.

Swarms of bacteria are waiting to turn you into compost. Nature wants to destroy you and use your organic material to feed fungus. When you rise above nature the rest of society will humiliate and abuse you for its own purposes.

Pre existing conditions. Insurance companies want to spend nothing on you. They want you to pay for something you’ll never use. What a business model. The trouble for them is that everyone needs constant, expensive, ongoing medical care. Pre existing condition. Life is a pre existing condition. You’re born ill; it’s only a matter of time before you reach the promised land of debility and death.

So the political battle over health care rages on but I’m too poor and tired to care much at the moment. Maybe letting sick people die is a partial solution to the problems of overpopulation, but even that probably won’t be enough.

As for me, I’m looking at another day without work. I spent the last of my money on chinese food and now, just in time, I have a small check to deposit. My existence is secured for another week or so, unless something terrible happens involving the need for medical care.

A fantastic admission

Alright, imagine you’re just smart enough to talk about smart things. You have some verbal abilities but no self awareness. And then for a moment you start telling the truth about what you think. Your unconscious thoughts become conscious. 

I memorize logical fallacies because I want to make other people look stupid. Reading about bias makes me feel as though I have none. What is that phrase people love to quip. Cognitive dissonance is one of my favorite things to say. It’s an ugly, abrasive term. Sounds like a machine breaking down.

Everyone has cognitive dissonance but me. That’s always the implication when you bring it up. Everyone projects their fears and fantasies but me. I sometimes say things like we all mistakes or we all have have prejudice. Not me as an individual, though. It’s either all of us, you, or other people. Never just me. 

What I want to know is what person in the history of humanity has ever said: I have cognitive dissonance. My beliefs contradict each other. I need to resolve this inner conflict instead of accusing and slandering others.

What would happen if someone sought out the bottom of their biases. They would slip out their own assholes. It’s all an act. We care about prejudice in others, never in ourselves. I’m justified in my beliefs because I constantly question other people. We run on prejudice, we can’t eliminate it. 

You know what I think? Socrates really was a degenerate nuisance who deserved death far earlier in his life than when he was finally executed. I don’t understand this automatic reverence for fringe weirdos who recklessly challenge assumptions and stir up discontent.

It’s normal, natural and healthy for groups of people to cohere around shared assumptions and beliefs they don’t spend all day dysfunctionally criticizing and picking apart. When someone threatens the stability of a group, they’re either thrown out or killed. That’s what happens.

But individuals push society forward. The conscience of a people is sometimes found on the outskirts, among the rejects and the excluded. Figures like Socrates give us models for feeling special about ourselves and irritating others. We need people like that even if they’re fictional.

Socrates pretended to be dumb, and it made him look smart. You pretend to be smart, and it makes you look like an idiot. You didn’t learn the lesson. 

Go ahead, show me how much you love the idea of being smart. How you act the part. Keep it dumb. 

I listen to the science, just like they told me. It says we’re on a spectrum. Science speaks the latest truths forged in lucifer’s laboratory. Look, we can be wrong in the past, but not in the present. That’s how science works. It’s always evolving. It’s wrong about old hateful stuff we no longer believe, but it’s right in the present about whatever we want to believe right now. 

I invoke spectrums to avoid difficult choices. I take pity on mutants and retards and place them on spectrums where they can’t be judged. 

When I want to defend something, there’s space on a spectrum for it. When I want to attack something, it’s caught in a binary. There’s good and bad, and whatever I don’t like is bad. 

I get nuance, you get simplistic moral condemnation.

Only an unprincipled subhuman would resort to ad hominem. A man’s character never invalidates his arguments. Even if he were in the middle of raping you. Whatever argument a man makes as he rapes you should be judged purely on the merits of logic, fact, and reason. He may be a disgusting rapist, but his reasoning could also be impeccable.

What I’m saying is that smart people can get away with anything as long as they say the right things. Dumb people, well, it doesn’t matter what they do because they don’t write self serving books that make me feel smart when I read them.

Ideas live forever in an airy realm above the laboring masses. Science is a neutral method of investigation that just so happens to always provide me with reassuring facts about my radical political agendas. It’s purely a coincidence that science also supports my deepest, unexamined desires.

Isn’t there a fallacy where your psychological need for an authority figure drives you to treat science and the state like father figures? I think some french psychoanalyst charlatan once said that God isn’t dead, he’s unconscious or something like that. Everything you deny and reject hangs around in the back of your brain.   

It’s not like that at all. Also, I’m just doing what you told me to do. It’s your fantasy, anyway.

Getting a grip

You know the truth for years before you’re able to live it. And then one day your actions and beliefs find and embrace each other. Peace follows constancy. Why did it take so long? Why couldn’t you immediately act on what you knew?

My dad is a laconic man. When I was a child he almost never complained. He yelled when he was angry, and then he was no longer angry. He didn’t repeat himself, whine or complain. When there was a problem he did what he could to fix it.

I didn’t learn much about women from my dad. We talked about sports, we went fishing and played baseball, football, and basketball together. He was always there to help when I needed anything, but I never asked him for carnal advice. I was morbidly sensitive to shame and embarrassment and avoided any topic that made my cheeks burn.

So I learned about sex from my environment, from my friends, and the sewage trough of the internet. I remember the dizzying rush of seeing strangers fuck on screen. There’s no adequate preparation for it. Depictions of sex on tv and in movies don’t come close. I had seen actors roll around under covers. I had heard the sounds of simulated sex, the rhythmic pounding and theatrical moaning.

One day when left alone I satisfied my curiosity and looked at porn. Those were the days of dial up, so it took forever for the first scene to load(ha). I remember the stupefying shock, the passive exhilaration when I saw a real woman with a real penis in her mouth.

It was a chemical flood of arousal and shame. A minor trauma buried deep as soon as it happened. Strangers having sex, followed by a fall into a swirling abyss of variations on the same squalid theme. When you watch porn for the first few times, your threshold of stimulation is so low you can’t rationally process what you’re seeing or how it makes you feel. It draws you in and shrinks your awareness down into a pin point of claustrophobic desire.

When you watch enough porn, your threshold of arousal rises. The formerly extreme turns into the routine. Hardcore leaves you softer and softer. Monotony and tedium fill the space left by fugitive thrills, and fetishistic obsessions bleed into your thoughts and everyday life.

I never talked to my parents about porn, but they had to know I watched it. They never warned me against it. All throughout my childhood and teenage years, there was only piece of advice my dad ever gave on sex.

Don’t let your dick control your life. 

It was economical counsel from a man of few words. And for a long time, I had no idea how to apply it, how to internalize it or live by it. Not only did I not take the advice to heart, I lived a good portion of my twenties actively, cynically contradicting it. What else is there to live for besides the directives of your dick? Life is a meaningless trudge towards death, buffeted on all sides by suffering and failure. Why go on if you can’t have regular orgasms?

Bodies disintegrate; better use them while you can when the parts are well oiled and working. Forget love, marriage, and children. They are burdens, contrivances of a society only interested in your capacity to produce and conform. You are free to fornicate with whoever you want, whenever you want, as long they want it too.

Flesh doesn’t care about contracts, institutions, commitments, or the future. It doesn’t reason or calculate. It wants in spite of danger and never stops wanting. Human sexual desire is more than the animal drive to reproduce. We don’t only desire when we want children. We don’t lust continuously and irrepressibly for the sake of future generations.

It’s a condition that constantly threatens to consume itself. A cancerous passion, a profligate power. People rationalize the alien oddness of human sexual obsession and try to diminish and downplay its moral significance. Sex is natural. We’re too judgmental about sex. When everything is consensual, who cares what people do? 

The enlightened type reduces sex to bodies and pleasure. Health and pregnancy risks are mitigated through gentle and clinical instruction on proper prophylactic measures. As long as he wears a condom, as long as she takes her pills, everything is fine. The darkly comedic aspect of having to choke your penis with a mass manufactured latex sheath product before you engage in a “natural” act seems to escape them.

Condoms help prevent disease, but why would you fuck someone who might make you sick? Especially when you don’t know them or trust them, and the thought of creating new life with them is a horrifying worst case scenario? Hold on, baby, you might be carrying incurable, fatal diseases. Before we express ourselves freely and naturally here I’m going to destroy my sensation with this condom. Yes, I will be using you for my pleasure, but I don’t want to catch anything from you while I do it. That includes feelings, expectations or, most revolting of all, a child. 

 When we tell people to do what they want, we abandon them to their own destructive, selfish urges. Tolerance is often a mask of indifference. Permissive morality is naïveté posing as sophistication, childish indulgence acting as maturity.

You can educate people on sex, you can give them all the devices and scripts and procedures for officially sanctioned, healthy, consensual fun between adults. You can strip away all the guilt and shame and strictures. It’s just bodies and pleasure. It’s just consent and information. People should be free to do what they want.

But freedom is corrupted by compulsion. You don’t always want sex; it’s rather that the sex wants you. Regardless of cost and consequence. And you don’t find your true self through unfettered sexual exploration; rather you lose it.

When my dad said not to let my dick control my life, he was speaking to this truth. Because all the knowledge and non judgmental encouragement in the world won’t weaken the power of sex to overtake and dominate your life and character. Without a strong will supported by strong norms, sex will cloud, obscure, and pervert everything.

It took me years to understand that life is more than sex, that an orgasm for its own sake is the most worthless thing in the world. All the time and energy spent on obtaining a blast of tingles that builds on nothing. All the pain and struggle, the deception and heartlessness for a series of seizures leading nowhere.

But there’s still time to live differently, in pursuit of more fulfilling and constructive goals.

When being white isn’t enough

Dreary mornings bring far reaching reflections. A rain washed window pane is the perfect looking glass for scoping out my current thoughts. Alone again, reading and thinking about race and sociology.

This is my prompt for the morning: http://thermidormag.com/sociobiology-as-the-freudianism-of-the-right/

What follows is tangentially related to the article above but also goes in other directions.

We need to shift towards treating identity politics as less of a problem in its own right and more of a symptom of a larger scale social breakdown. Mass society and atomization destroy organic bonds and clear the way for strained participation in broad, weak and nebulous groups and movements. This is most obvious and close to home for me when it comes to white identity and farther right leaning preoccupations with race.

For some on the right, a mythical, unmixed white population would correct all the ills of the modern world. They dream of an impossible unity predicated on tenuous ties among mostly unrelated people.

What does an anglo protestant have in common with a southern Italian Roman Catholic? What does a man of Germanic descent from rural Indiana have in common with a Polack living in Manhattan? One glance at the history of Europe should tell you all you need to know about the ability of whites in general to all get along and join hands in harmonious racial brotherhood.

Despite the fashionable verbal tendency of lumping all whites together for the purpose of criticizing and condemning them, white people find plenty of reasons to disagree with and distance themselves from each other. The category of white racial identity is made up of incompatible sub groups with competing interests and outlooks. They’re not unified and never will be on such a sweeping scale.

But you could make the same case for blacks, who are also riven by regional, religious, class and political differences, but nevertheless are encouraged to proclaim a unified identity based on a drive to fight against the oppressive alien power of white supremacy.

Furthermore, look at homosexual identity, which is a recent invention and also a product of mass scale society. Formerly, communities prohibited sodomy because it was a sterile, selfish and disease spreading act. It was one among many destructive habits, but it didn’t define who you were. But then the act of sodomy mutated into being gay. And being gay saddles people with the baggage of an ungainly and unnatural identity.

Gays are not bound together by anything stable, solid, durable, or holistic. They cling to campy, superficial markers of identity and bizarre behavioral tics even as they splinter into antagonistic, politically focused organizations. Apart from the sexual perversion, being gay doesn’t mean much. If anything it’s an identity rooted in shallow subversion and flouting of norms, which is inherently vulnerable to deviation and diversion.

These large scale attempts at grouping people together on the basis of resistance and opposition are notoriously fractious and prone to dispiriting, scholastic in-fighting. You can watch this play out on either side of the liberal or conservative divide; when they’re not fighting the external enemy, they bitterly turn on each other.

People with no sense of their connection to a group bound by shared time and space autistically argue definitions and debate doctrinal purity. They will continuously form and reform weak communities destined to collapse at the first signs of stress and trouble.

Being white, black, gay or straight would only bring an ersatz stability to already isolated individuals conditioned and shaped by a mass society of unmanageable complexity, constant dislocation, acceleration, and confusion.

I’m not the first to note this but it bears repeating; the obsession with big, baggy racial and sexual categories as a proxy for identity is related to shrinking family size and the liquidation of much smaller scale communities. Even relatively intact and stable nuclear families are too isolated and inwardly focused to provide a solid framework for healthy participation in something larger and more enduring than the solitary self.

People are desperate to cast off the burden of living only for themselves, but they are stuck in destructive patterns of behavior that only reinforce anti-social self absorption. They get bogged down in the search for the right set of values when they lack a more fundamental support system for their development.

Networks of relationships grown over time and embedded in a recognizable place provide the emotional depth, security, and confidence necessary for the formation of an integrated personality. The absence of such networks send people on a frenetic, fruitless search, bouncing from one fragile, shallow, philosophical quick fix system to the next.

When they don’t feel useful or close to the other disconnected, benumbed individuals around them, people begin fabricating and fantasizing about their membership in precarious, ill defined oppositional groups. Individuals raised in chaotic, dysfunctional, anomic environments bring the pathologies of consumerist individualism into their attempts at forming collectives and finding meaning.

Perpetually bored, overstimulated people with compulsive, hedonistic consumption habits, wracked with anxiety and living on the edge of depression don’t have the patience, focus, energy, or self sacrificing drive to build enduring, slower paced and smaller scale communities.  A “white” identity is a last ditch cattle prod shock into sputtering action. At best it’s recognition of the need for a change of course, but it’s not an end goal.

Moving beyond identity politics does not entail embracing global capitalism and the resettling of huge populations. We need less movement and disruption and more time to rebuild the foundations of communities that will take generations to solidify. People will not come together as an idealistic single human race, nor will they find peace as mass scale members of resentfully combative races.

3/3/27

My body is finally brushing off the last few specks of sickness. It’s a serene, beautiful day; warm, bright, and breezy. Perfect for a long, meandering, meditative walk. Just finished another day in the middle of another week of training; once again I’m helping open a new cafe.

I don’t know why I keep doing this. Opening a new spot in a new part of town might sound fun, but it’s not. You don’t make money. Working in the service industry means living on the edge of destitution. Your hourly wage barely saves you from squatting in a tent under a bridge. If you work 40 hours a week, then you need every single one of those 40 hours to continue enjoying hot water and plumbing.

And those tips keep your stomach full without standing in line at a soup kitchen. The margin of error for not working is vanishingly thin. There are no vacations or personal days. No savings. There’s working or begging. Every two weeks I’m three seconds away from a phone call to my mom. I miss you mom, by the way can I have a couple hundred dollars.

But I still call my mom, I just don’t ask for money because I’m a good son who remembers how good his parents have been to him. How sweet life has been to me even though my sense of gratitude was nonexistent until two years ago. And even though I’m frittering my life away in a loveless wasteland, I now believe in nurturing and celebrating my closest relationships.

All those years of existential drama, of angst, confusion, and despair over the unfathomable mystery of who I was supposed to be. When the mystery was self imposed, the misery self inflicted. Somehow I blinded myself to the people closest to me and refused to include them within my identity, even as I remained dependent on their love and labor.

When I lived for myself, I lived for no one.

I remember with great pain those scenes in my early twenties, trapped in a dungeon of depression. My mom begging me to feel better, unable to watch me waste away. You’re a part of me, she pleaded. I would look beyond, uncaring, unmoved, entombed in my selfish sadness.

The damage I’ve caused others by hating myself. The least I can do now is repair that damage through reassuring words and kind gestures. And someday soon I’d like to be physically closer to the important people again. To restrengthen bonds weakened by neglect, time and distance.

Until then, I’m working on a new cafe in yet another fresh money pit in DC. Navy Yard. Another one of those places in the district that became safe for white people in the last three years. Clustered apartment complexes and scrubbed clean streets. Anti-septic neighborhoods and sterilized, bleached white parks and public spaces.

It’s safe and sanitary, with the character of a gleaming simulation, an unreal glint. An idealized space fitfully shared.

People visit DC to stand before our history embodied in monuments. And they live in DC for money and politics, with motives that melt time and space. I’ve lived here for two years and it’s already long enough to have seen substantial changes. A place that’s constantly changing doesn’t feel like home.

I want to have a home.

Thinking about Africa takes me back

As a recently bed ridden, sequestered invalid, I’ve had ample time to watch educational television. And my new favorite piece of programming is the BBC six part series on the wildlife of Africa, narrated by the immortal David Attenborough.

When you live in a homosexual circus city, it’s easy to forget about nature. When you view life through a Vaseline smeared lens of artificial, wishful human morality, it’s easy to lose sight of the cruelty, senselessness and wastage at the heart of this dark world.

Life eats itself without purpose or direction. It’s carnage, death and destruction from top to bottom. Pain packed into every crevice. Absorption, appropriation, flesh ripping, tissue tearing struggle. It’s destiny as digestion; every organism slated for a blip of confused, unknowing suffering and then suffocating, eternal darkness. War, conquest and enslavement are normal, everyday acts in a gruesome spectacle staged for the insatiable eyes of sybaritic, sadistic alien gods.

Watching this documentary makes me think of my old friend in depression and renunciation, Artie Schopenhauer. An irremediable crank, a boorish warthog of a man, Ol Tony wrote repetitively on inescapable suffering as he dined lavishly on multiple course meals with heavy sauces and insulted and disgusted his guests at table.

The overwhelming brutality of life on earth compelled him to work out an ethical system based on pity and resignation. Morality was seeing yourself in others and sparing them your fundamental drive to inflict pain for your own gain. Underlying and giving rise to the infinitely varied forms of life was a blind, aimless will. An undying force exercising itself against itself, manifesting as a kaleidoscopic bloodbath of ephemeral phenomena in ruthless pursuit of power and pleasure.

There is no way out of this cosmic torture chamber grudge match. You can’t escape by killing yourself because you’re going to exist again as another wretched creature. Having existed once means you’ll exist again. You’re forever guilty as the evil will to live. In the eyes of schopie, life is punishment for the desire to live. It’s original sin without transcendence or redemption.

Well, there is one meager, utterly unrewarding form of redemption. If you attain the necessary objectivity to see this whole grisly picture of unremitting suffering and striving from a god’s eye view, you can say no thanks, I’d rather not. Attaining the insight that life is an horrific mistake and all that is should not be is the only type of salvation on offer.

Once you get it, you play out the rest of your miserable life saying no to life. No more striving, jockeying for position, influence, power, or wealth. No more hurting others to advance yourself. What’s amusing about Schopenhauer is that he preached a quasi saintly, buddhistic practice of being as selfless and charitable as possible, even as all records show that in his own habits he was mercilessly selfish, cruel, indulgent, impatient, perpetually peeved, paranoid, and miserly.  He stewed bitterly over his lack of followers as he fucked his family out of money, withholding love and support to the grim end.

So what am I trying to do here?

I want to contrast two extreme points of view which both converge on the point of being completely impractical. On one end is the pathologically pampered desire to engineer an earthly paradise, which stems from a stunted refusal to accept suffering and inequality. On the other end is the defeatist, depressive foolishness of isolating yourself in the insecure superiority of having understood the worthlessness of everything. Between wanting the impossible and wanting nothing is the dignified life of participation in a community of fellow sufferers, needing others and being needed.

Perfection here on earth is unattainable. There will always be pain and oppression, competition, hierarchy and exploitation. And in some measure these things are even conducive to beauty and flourishing. Life could always be worse, but it doesn’t have to be the worst. So take heart.