Full circle

Sitting on the floor of my room, drinking coffee, sober as a stone. My ass hurts. I took apart my futon and now I’m waiting on someone to pick it up. I’m glad to see that thing go. It’s the last of my furniture. Nothing left now but my clothes, books and guitars. And even that is more than I want to mess with.

The last three or four times I’ve moved I’ve thrown away half my books and I still have too many. There are books still with me that I’ll never read, that I can no longer defend or explain. For the last five years I’ve been bleeding books but my collection remains oversized.

Back when I was a bibliophile I would spend most of my extra money on books. I wanted an imposing library, an entire room devoted to reading and referencing great works. The primary problem with my approach was that I collected awful books no one in their right mind would ever want to read.

I stocked my shelves with translated works of philosophy. French philosophers commenting on dense german texts. As if there were any hope of that being readable. When you take french frivolity and mix it with the theoretical groping of the germans, the result is an indigestible stew of obscurity, a grueling, confusing and cheerless reading experience.

But I insisted on breaking through the impregnable. I would spend hours alone reading and analyzing lines until they began to make some semblance of sense. Most of it was murky enough to imagine whatever I wanted. Philosophy tends towards the unintelligible or the mundane and rarely finds a middle ground.

I still have Hegel’s phenomenology of spirit and I don’t know why. I can’t imagine reading him now. If you’re thinking about reading Hegel, get a summary. There are thousands of summaries and commentaries and conflicting interpretations of what Hegel meant, but just pick one and get a general idea and then be done with it.

Hegel wrote the phenomenology of spirit in a rush as Napoleon raped Prussia. The book is an adventure story of the human intellect evolving from crude sensations to the certainty of absolute knowing. Hegel wrote in a dizzying, migraine inducing style that I felt I needed to master because it would make me smarter than other people.

Back then I thought that ideas ruled the world. History was a conversation or debate between great thinkers. The masses toiled while the philosophers thought. The average man was an insect, a buzzing nothing swept up in the ephemeral, while the great thinker dwelled in the unchangeable, forever preserved in the written traces of his lofty meditations.

I don’t like this view of history or humanity anymore. I don’t understand the casual contempt for the average person embedded in the ostentatious reverence for great thinkers and monumental ideas. Not that greatness is entirely illusory or that we can’t admire or learn from exemplary figures in our history. But there’s often misanthropy girding the pursuit of knowledge, and disregard or dismissal of following tradition and custom without making a name for yourself.

As if the only life worth living was a life of enduring, singular achievement, of building a name and a body of work that resounds through the ages. As if everyone else would have been better off never having existed because they didn’t soar to the peak of creation on the strength of their intellects.

Socrates said the unexamined life isn’t worth living. We hear it as a celebration of challenging assumptions and striving after a higher truth. But it’s also a harsh, cold and bitter condemnation of anyone who lives differently. Is an unexamined life not worth living? At all? Under any circumstance? To what extent should we examine ourselves? Do we believe that only unblinking thinkers who shred certainty at every available opportunity are the only ones who’ve lived or are worthy of life?

People who worked and laughed and played, who fought and struggled in the stream of a greater tradition connecting the past of their ancestors to the future of their children were all worthless because they didn’t ponder the ideal nature of beauty with world rending creativity and originality. Because they didn’t walk around pestering people about justice. Anyone who made shoes or farmed the land and held widely shared beliefs without questioning them was a clump of clay, a forgettable sod.

Human life doesn’t need grand justification or strenuous exultation. It’s okay to live in a common way among common people and pass yourself down through your children without doing anything outstanding or unprecedented.

Read and think all you want, but don’t be an asshole about it or despair over the (apparently) ordinary lives of others. This is what I now think after examining the matter for years.

I’ll be sleeping on the floor the next couple of nights and I won’t be reading Hegel or Nietzsche. They’ll be donated to a thrift store. I need to lighten my load.

This is neither here nor there

He was listening to death metal. Early 2000’s era hardcore influenced death metal. He had earbuds in his ears and was visiting his favorite websites.

Not in an exact order, but rather arbitrarily. He didn’t know where a click might take him, though he had his typical trajectories, his groove of well worn links to familiar places. This was how his hours dribbled into the pit of the past. Time carried him along in a straight line, but his habits were spinning him in circles.

He thought he needed his own identity. Time to himself so he could listen to death metal and skim through fragments of other peoples thoughts on a set of fringe websites.

Where he could be something no one else could see. No one could see him be this person except other people who he himself couldn’t see. He wanted to be watched without seeing the look of whoever was watching.

It never occurred to him that there was anything odd about a group of people watching each other without being able to see each other.

The internet came into his life early enough, before he had put down roots. Before he had a fixed identity. So he came to see himself as someone seen on the internet. His body was the avatar; it was his bits that had real being. He found himself in the digital, in the data. Poured himself into words.

Most of what he said amounted to obscenity. Foul, astringent language directed against imagined enemies. There was a thrill in calling someone a fuckface. Every so often he’d feel a pang of regret over hurting people’s feelings. It was never enough to make him stop.

Okay, I’m less high now. How do I get back to being as high as I used to be? One hour ago I was higher than I am now, and ten years ago I was higher than I was an hour ago. I don’t like this pattern. 

A more prudent man might find the flaw in the drug and not in the course of time. But I’m not a prudent man, so I smoke more and more and curse the course of time instead. Why should I get over getting high?

It was cooler today. I sat outside for hours watching the birds. Read the first three chapters of Evelyn Waugh’s Black Mischief. I like it but I’m not reading it with focus. I care more about individual lines than the narrative. My mind is fractured and fogged and I can only hold onto a few things at once. I’m reading to study rhythm and phrasing. The story is incidental. The characters don’t matter. I read for the writing.

Sold most of my furniture and finally got a haircut. This room doesn’t feel as claustrophobic when there’s almost nothing in it. Maybe if I had forgone furniture from the beginning I would have felt lighter. Also, not looking like a soiled hobo has improved my mood.

I’m approaching that moment when I start questioning my decisions. Is this the right thing to do. Should I make more of an effort to survive out here on my own. What if I’m destined for tedium and frustration, a dead end job and stagnant relationships. What if I’m giving up too soon.

This is the right thing to do. I love my parents and my family and I want to be there for them. I love where I’m from and want to relearn how to live at a slower pace with more meaningful relationships.

Though I’m enjoying my last few days in DC without a job. I hope that when I go home I don’t have to work in a restaurant, cafe, or grocery store anymore. Who knows what occupational adventures await. They say you can do anything, that opportunity is everywhere. So what will I do.

I went to college and I’ve worn an apron for 8 straight working years. I have a degree in literature and I work with people who can’t speak or understand english. My education was useless. To do what I’ve been doing my entire adult life I’d need the knowledge of a fifth grader.

I could make coffee without knowing what country I’m in or where other countries are on the map. I could be ignorant of history, geography, politics, art and science and still press buttons on a machine for 8 hours a day. So much memorizing and forgetting, so much time and money, so many taxes and tests and standards and grades, admission letters and classes and essays over the stretched out years.

An expensive education system was drafted and administered by experts and idealists so that I could be qualified to perform the same four or five repetitive motions and say the same four or five things over and over again for the rest of my life until I’m dead.

Why not start working when you’re twelve if you’re going to sweep stables, mop up vomit, fry chicken or brew coffee. Why sit in a classroom at 16, 18, 20 and 22 reading philosophy or doing calculus. I should have been mopping and frying and standing around waiting for people to make me make them sandwiches at 14, and then reading Plato when the better part of the day is over and most of my energy and attention have been spent scouring dirt and scrubbing grime from tiles and countertops.

A liberal arts education gives you the skills to analyze your inability to add value to a blistering, inhuman economy. You will learn how to write articulate, persuasive essays on how you need to be paid to do nothing because there’s nothing you can do that other people need, except for petitioning power to let you and the others live on a basic guaranteed income rather than tossing your mangled bodies into a mass grave. You will beg for your subsistence in a refined prose style thanks to your elongated academic training.

It’s vitally important to educate your puffed up population, to turn your excess eaters into critical thinkers and historically informed individuals. We need twenty years of formal, rigorous instruction in literature, law, government and economics so we can elbow each other over dwindling jobs and disappearing social roles while trying on makeshift identities and drifting without rudder or compass across purposeless time until, broken and disconnected, we’re shoved into facilities where we’ll wait to expire.

I’m going to go home and build shelves and tables. Even though the robots and mexicans are doing all the handiwork now.

Exit scenes

Finally spent time with someone outside of my job. We were supposed to go to the woods, to a lake with a rope swing. She had a group of friends who knew a good secluded spot in Maryland. I liked the idea but I was exhausted.

So we walked around and smoked weed and drank beer instead. Ate at the shitty, progressive diner in petworth. A black woman took us to our table and she was not as nice as the one from the other day. I understood her pain and didn’t feel entitled to better treatment. Service jobs take a toll on your mood. It was early afternoon and she had probably been serving people all morning. At least six straight hours on her feet feigning interest in anonymous eaters. Some people can remain cheerful but some people can’t.

Well then those people shouldn’t be in the service industry, someone will say. There shouldn’t be a service industry, I think to myself as I sit on the patio and wait to have my order taken. 

The sun stung my left arm. The rest of my body was in the shade. I ate my tator-tots fast. Then my egg sandwich. I can’t shake the habit of eating like I’m on a break at work, which is no break at all. You don’t even get fifteen minutes. You eat standing up in the hall or down in the basement on a dirty crate in a corner as fast as you can before more customers arrive. They don’t staff cafes for workers to take breaks. You suppress the pain of your bulging bladder until you get five free seconds to rush to the restroom.

I ate like a wild animal. My friend talked about her exes and I listened over the crunch of my tator-tots. I was happy to hear her talk about her life. There was no motive. I wasn’t trying to get laid. I don’t care about getting laid.

We talked and laughed and it reminded me of what it’s like to enjoy human company. Maybe I could have stayed in DC if I’d found friends like this earlier. Maybe I wouldn’t have hated this place so much. It’s too late now.

Everything comes down to timing. Where were you six months ago? Where were you when I had no one? When I was working two jobs and suffocating in silence and solitude. But I don’t want to be bitter. I’m glad I met someone I can talk to and laugh with even if I’ll never see them again after this week. It’s good enough. Time can be wasted but redemption only takes a second. We can make up for lost time. I hope.

I didn’t want to lose those moments while I waited for something else to come along. I wanted to remember the details and sensations. The sunlight blazing on the left side of the table. The greasy egg sandwich and effortless conversation. I forgot what laughing felt like. I need to laugh more.

We drank so much beer. She drinks much more than I do and I wanted to keep up. Not because she’s a girl and I have masculine pride. But because I wanted to be drunk during the day for once. Drunk enough to be carefree. We sat in the shade under a tree in a park and kept talking and joking. The conversation drifted from serious to frivolous. We were funny together. Like all people who think they’re funny we talked about doing a podcast.

I was supposed to clean and pack. She drove me to the grocery store to get boxes, tape and trash bags. Women find their way into my life and help me. I seem to stir their mothering instincts. She’s also not trying to get laid. We won’t be together. I’m leaving and she helped me anyway. I forgot that people do things for others without money or sex being involved. I felt some dead part of myself reviving.

We drank more beer and went to another park. The sun was setting. I hadn’t talked this much in a long time. I hadn’t listened this much either. We headed back to my house and I let her into my room. I hadn’t cleaned yet and it was squalid. Neither of us cared. We smoked more weed and she left. We made plans to see each other again before I had to go.

And then I felt hungry and it was late on a sunday night, so I walked to the 24 hour subway. A pack of blacks was ordering sandwiches and harassing the workers who where slapping chilled meats behind the bullet proof glass. Lower class blacks are abusive towards sandwich men and gas station attendants. Despite what I’d heard about how only whites are racists, and that racism is a hideous stain on the legacy of white people who at the same time aren’t white because race is a social construct, I began to suspect that these blacks were also racists.

They mistreated the indians, southeast asians, africans and koreans. I’d seen their dull contempt for bewildered indian shopkeepers who couldn’t understand their grunting and mumbling, and on this particular night I was a witness to the natives acting up in the always open subway, taunting and bullying the foreign born brown and yellow night shift mustard men.

As the vibrant youths waited for their sandwiches they took pictures and videos of each other fanning hundred dollar bills. I don’t know what lucrative occupation brought them their surplus of cash, but I doubt it was software development. These were not literate and productive citizens of a prosperous, virtuous republic. They were not budding conservatives just waiting for their chance to flower into decent, respectful and contributing members of society if only they were nurtured by all those racist white institutions. 

They flashed hundred dollar bills at each other in a 24 hour subway as they shouted slurs at the laboring minorities. I knew from what I’d been told that somehow white supremacy was responsible for this dehumanizing spectacle, but I couldn’t trace the cause from the effect. It was all too complicated and I had just turned into an uncomprehending racist, so I decided it was another bunch of blacks acting like overgrown children.

My shrunken liberal sympathies sided with the sandwich makers and I almost stuck up for them. But I also didn’t feel like getting stabbed in a subway defending the honor of alien people who shouldn’t be here anyway.

I waited quietly for the misbehaving blacks to leave like the good white that I am, and then I payed for my sandwich and tried to give the beleaguered brown man a look that said what he wouldn’t be able to understand in english words: I’m sorry you’re degraded and threatened by these perpetual public nuisances. And we had a vanishing moment of service industry solidarity across racial lines.

I went home, slept for five hours and woke up hungover and groggy. Not as bad as last time though. I can’t put off the work any longer. I have to get moving. 

What are you thinking

She complimented my beard and said it reminded her of Karl Marx. I told her I’d just trimmed it down. I guess not enough. She was fat, black, with huge hair and kind eyes. She was nice so I didn’t mind her mentioning Marx.

After a sleepless night I wandered the early morning streets of northwest DC and found my way into a diner. Slim’s, in petworth, a hip neighborhood with plenty of POC’s, radical bookstores and dog meat cafes. In my last few days in DC I’ve been going out. I’ve been squeezing in some sight-seeing and socializing after months of locking myself away in my room.

Last night I went to a stand-up comedy show in Dupont Circle. I don’t get comedy. I don’t think they tell jokes anymore. There were seven or eight comedians. At least they only had a few minutes each.

Can they be funny without talking about beating off? If we banned beat-off jokes then stand up comedy would collapse.

When they’re not straight white males, their entire act is about not being a straight white male. When they’re straight white males, their entire act is about beating off. They’re either having lots of sex or not having sex at all and they don’t feel good about it either way.

A sullen asian woman who dresses like a teenage boy talked about being a sullen asian woman who dresses like a teenage boy.

There were bits about Trump, about the south and statues of Jefferson Davis. Courageous comedians risked their reputations and professions to mock rednecks and christians in front of a soft liberal audience in washington dc.

At what point are you not punching up anymore? And if you’re punching up now, what makes you think you’ll stop punching when you’re the one that’s up?

There was a guy who told a joke about renting out his house during Trump’s inauguration. Allegedly a white trash family agreed to stay in his basement and when they arrived in DC, the comedian took the room off airbnb and left the family without a place to stay. First, that didn’t happen. And second:

well played, dipshit. You showed them what it’s like to be stranded. Now they know what it’s like to be a refugee. Those bigots. You taught them a lesson in compassion.

Have you ever read Karl Marx, she asked me when she came back to see if I needed more coffee. I have; I used to read him when I was in school. She wanted to say more about Marx. I told her that I had problems with him. But I said it with a light tone that suggested I was sympathetic.

She looked down. Oh. I’d disappointed her. And then she said something about how Chomsky had also criticized Marx. She got up and walked off. I’m in an anarcho-syndicalist diner in radical black petworth and the fat black waitress wants to talk to me about Chomsky.

Saying something about my beard is one thing but I don’t want to talk about left wing politics. I bumbled into slim’s diner for pancakes, not agitation. I wanted to raise my blood sugar, not my revolutionary consciousness.

Marx and Chomsky will not free you, sweet pancake waitress. You have a good heart but these schemes have murderous, enslaving aims. Stop reading that garbage, I want to tell her. For her own good. If I wanted to destroy someone I’d tell them to become a marxist.

I don’t say anything else about it. She says I should read Marx again. My appearance reminds people in communist cafes of the theoretical grandmaster of communism. I wonder if this is how I appear to everyone.

When I shave my head and face I look like a curbstomping skinhead, and when I let my hair and beard grow out I look like a jewish communist. Now that I think of it that’s true of most people. That’s probably why they don’t shave their heads or give up on their hygiene. It would make them look like extremists.

These are extreme times and this is an extreme environment. My last day of work is tomorrow.

Diary of a failed drunk

Last night I drank three beers on an empty stomach. This morning I woke up nearly dead. My austere diet of one meal a day doesn’t mix well with drinking. The nausea is in my skin, in my fingertips. I can’t hurl in my room. Must move methodically. If my pinkie twitches then I’ll projectile vomit. There’s a railroad spike in the back of my brain. It hurts to think.

Can’t move. Sit up and try not to blink too hard or look anywhere but straight ahead. How could I be this sick? 3 beers, IPAs, high alcohol content. I don’t know anything about beer. I don’t drink anymore. When I was in my early twenties I got drunk a couple times a week. I’d stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning and pass out with the room spinning and waves rippling across the ceiling. Then I’d wake up wobbly, queasy, with a slight headache. A slow start but by mid-morning I’d be fine.

I had a few bad hangovers in those days, but they followed nights of double digits shots of whisky or vodka. Now 3 beers batters my body. I’ll never be an alcoholic writer. Sitting at the computer, typing and pounding Jack Daniels. Guzzling vodka, stumbling, slurring, genius flowing from pen to page. Working late nights, besotted, uninhibited.

I’ll never be the functional, ambitious, succesful drunk. I don’t understand how people do it. They probably eat more, for one thing. There’s nothing in my body but poison. My stomach is twisting and churning with toxins.

Crawl to the bathroom. Sit on the filthy bathroom floor, eye level with the shit stained toilet. I need to upchuck so I stick a finger down my throat. Strained retching, that sharp, tight feeling in my stomach and abdominals. Forcing fluid upward. Bile burns my throat and mouth but then I feel better. Relief. A cool sweat breaks and I can breathe again.

Only a few more days of isolation. Two more days of work and then I’m gone. I don’t know how I’ll pull it off. I’m having a crisis of clutter. How can I be this poor and have this much stuff? There’s too much material in this world. We’ve made more than anyone could ever need. Books, cups, plates, mugs, papers, bags and clothes. My room could supply an african village.

I’m down to wearing heavy dress socks in the 100 degree heat because I lost all the others. But I have 600 pairs of underwear. Sweaters I’ll never wear again. Sweaters I shrank in the laundry because I don’t know how to set the dryer. Way too many shoes. I want to throw it all away and leave everything behind except a pair of pants, a shirt, shoes, socks, briefs and a MAGA hat. Drive home in a rental car chain smoking the entire time.

But for now I need to go to work. Get on the midday bus. It’s full so I stand. Suppress lingering desire to barf as the bus lurches and stops every 500 feet. 80 percent of the blacks on this bus have walkers and canes. There’s a woman in a motorized cart taking up three seats. Her stomach is distended a foot beyond her face. Her stomach is nearly on the floor, her fat spills over the cart.

Across from her is a man with swollen ankles. He’s diabetic. Mumbling to whoever about how he still has a flip phone. Doesn’t need an iphone. I agree with him there. The bus driver is shouting to another man about how Trump don’t have no brain. And then he talks about Cosby. Those women had it coming. They knew what they were doing. Sorry ladies, says the black bus driver. At least he doesn’t like Trump. This bus is the bottom end of the democratic constituency. Bus riding, Trump hating, diabetic, dole dependent, wheelchair bound, rape excusing blacks.

But you know what I appreciate in these people?  The majority of them are happy to be alive. Even though they’re poor, dumb, diseased, shackled with infirmities and iniquities, they still count their blessings. They may be stuck in an unbreakable cycle of poverty and fated with poor genes and low IQ’s. They may not be mentally equipped to understand the nature of their problems, but they have gratitude. Many of them are religious. I felt inspired for a moment and then remembered that I never want to be around these people again.

I need to focus. Have to get my affairs in order. Pay bills, clean, not fuck people over. It’s not easy. I’ve done this so many times. Moving, boxing up junk, grunting and groaning in the summer heat, twisting my spine and straining muscles in my back, lifting piles of possessions at awkward angles. Up and down stairs, jumping up into truck beds, tying down couches and desks. Moving back and forth, in and out of various interchangeable enclosures. Places I never knew, places that meant nothing.

Meanwhile the world continues on its mad course. A white, left wing terrorist shot a republican senator, shattered his hip. I’m days behind on this one. And then a white, British man ran over a Muslim outside of a mosque. Already ancient history. The Manchester bombing, the London bridge stabbings, the baseball practice shooting; each violent event is buried by the next. We talk about normalizing violence. But violence is normal. No one needs to normalize it.

When we don’t like someone, we kill them. When we want something someone else has, we kill them and take it. That’s history. Sure, there are inventions and diplomacy and treaties and love and progress, but behind it there’s always violence. Force, dispossession, displacement, murder, organized theft. Armies burning down cities and cooking women and children in their homes. Genocide and ethnic cleansing. The ancients were irremediable bastards who built empires on the bones of their enemies. They also gave us art and geometry and clay bowls.

We round people up and send them on death marches. Prod them with batons into unfamiliar lands, taunt the defeated and piss on the graves of the vanquished. We break treaties and ignore documents that discourage slaughter. The constitution has always been a point of impotent reference. Executive overreach is normal, powerful interests operating outside the law is normal, bloodthirsty and land hungry leaders acting without congressional or parliamentary approval is normal. It happens everywhere.

Groups don’t like other groups. Groups don’t even like their own members. Looking and sounding like another person isn’t enough to stop you from hating him. Springing from the same soil doesn’t stay the violent hand. We don’t even have in-group peace when we’re fighting outsiders. Civil strife, fraternal discord and tribalism are pillars of human life. We can’t remove them or reengineer ourselves. We can give ourselves space, we can descale and recover a more modest program for co-habitation. Preventing the worst dissonance is more sensible than striving after perfect harmony. We don’t need to mix factious people’s problems together in a suicidal crusade for utopian brotherhood.

I’m surprised there isn’t more violence. Especially in DC. How is this place not under constant attack from every other country? How is not under constant attack from within this country? There should be a bomb going off everyday. When the doors of the subway open blood should spill out. With all the disaffected, alienated losers converting to violent religions and building pipe bombs and stockpiling guns we should all be getting shot in the groin every time we step outside.

Everything is a weapon. Blunt instruments, wrenches, hammers, knives, forks, screwdrivers, power drills, furniture, beer bottles and bare hands. Broken glass and household chemicals. Bleach and corrosive cleaning fluids. We could all murder each other with our cars and trucks. The stakes of violence are higher than ever. Nuclear bombs and gas attacks, drones and satellite guided missiles. There has never been so much firepower. There have never been so many people crowded together in dense urban spaces without a common culture.

All these people jostling each other everyday, all promised things they’ll never have, fearful and anxious about their futures and severed from a stabilizing past. A primal hate percolating, guts bubbling with rancor. Enemies in all shapes and sizes from every station; the rich taking from the poor, the poor taking from the middle; everyone taking from everyone else and cackling about the setbacks and humiliations of their opponents.

We compete for resources on an overworked planet with billions of scarcity minded, status driven, redundant people sitting on a mass of nuclear bombs, machine guns, hand guns, machetes, missiles, rockets and tanks, and we’re surprised when someone loses it and goes out in a blaze of stabbing and shooting.

A materialistic culture that inflames selfish desires and offers vapid cliches about self-actualization while stoking the fires of resentment through technology that invites constant comparison and oneupmanship is sure to be violent and inhospitable. Everyday we aren’t hosing blood off our shirts and sidewalks is a good day.

I’m trying to be grateful. Rather than continuing to live in heart of American darkness, I’m headed for the hills of Indiana, where we have a hobo and heroin problem. Not so bad, all things considered.

That didn’t last long

Home from work. I’ll be going in again soon. Early tomorrow morning. Working until I leave. DC is so expensive I can’t afford to get out. I couldn’t afford to move here, so it’s only fitting that I wouldn’t have enough money to move away either.

I’ll spend the last of what I have on a truck and gas. Pay the last of my bills. I texted my roommates and asked them if they wanted my couch, desk, futon, dresser or bookcase. All the shit that would cost me to move.

They didn’t respond. Now I have to talk to them about my belongings. They know I hate them. I’m glowing with it. I’ll leave my stuff and get on a bus; I won’t say anything. One day I’ll be gone and they’ll have to deal with my trash furniture.

So much for doing the right thing. I don’t care about being decent right now. I don’t care about giving everyone a notice. Giving everyone options and time to consider what suits them. I’m getting the fuck out of here as soon as I can. Not a single one of these deviants deserves an explanation from me.

I live in a house with a giant rainbow flag draped over the fence. Right next to a house with a giant rainbow flag waving in the wind. My house supports diversity and love, black lives matter and feminism. Immigrants and refugees are welcome. Drug addicts, aids patients, trannies, violent felons, hobos and drifters can walk right in and have a bowl of cereal and take a dump on the living room floor whenever they want.

It’s gay pride month. A month of gays calling attention to themselves and acting as obnoxiously and tastelessly as possible. No different from any other month. Pride is an odd quality for a group of victims. If you have power, then they shame you. There’s no pride for the powerful. But when you’re slumming in the street you can shout your struggles from the rooftop.

Gay humility month. That would be a change. They will never be satisfied. No one ever will. Satisfaction isn’t the point. You’ll never have a perfect political system that accommodates your every faggoty whim. People will always hate you and find you repulsive. You will always hate yourselves and seek death. Your condition can only be improved so much.

Not everyone will accept you. Not everyone wants you to be happy. There are higher moral standards than personal happiness. Sometimes the things that please people are odious. Wanting someone else to be happy is dependent on what makes them happy. If burning my house down makes you happy, then I’m against your happiness.

And there are many people in this world who don’t think sex is for private individuals to decide. There’s more to sexual morality than consent. Just because two people agree to it doesn’t make it right. You can find people who’ll agree to anything. Consent is the standard of a retarded child.

So not everyone thinks you have a right to your depravity. You’re lucky that people tolerate it, that you live among people with relaxed enough rules in a sufficiently disordered environment where you can practice your perversity without undergoing violent repression.

When an individual of standing complains, he’s often warned that it could always be worse. He should feel good about where he is, considering where he could be. But we never tell our suffering subgroups that they could be worse off. Instead we invite them to enlarge their demands.

We are only here to assist degradation, to keep diseases festering. To devote a greater share of economic, social and pyschological resources to empowering and uplifting the debauched and downtrodden. We should be proud of ourselves.

Cleaning house

Reviewed my old writings on this blog. Most of it had to go. Until 6 months ago I was writing in a style and on subjects I no longer find worthwhile.

I’d been putting off a purge of my own work because I didn’t want to confront errors in my thinking. I didn’t want to see derivative phrases and distorted sentiments. Disingenuous arguments or sloppy rhetorical meanderings. But there they were. Much of it was venting and experimenting with different voices. The process of writing out my moods has helped me understand my recent past, but many of those old pieces don’t hold weight for me anymore.

I want to move beyond overwrought confession. Especially of the self deprecating and whiny sort. It now strikes me as indulgent and lazy. And it stems from an indulgent, lazy character. When reviewing many of my old entries, it became clear that they were cheap, arrogant rationalizations for defeatist, depressive attitudes. I wanted to excuse inaction and fatalism. Give ugly self absorption an artistic gloss and create an effect with minimal effort.

Where was that going to lead me? I’m not an old man; I have years ahead of me. I’m not looking back on an entire lifetime of wastage and regret, so why am I pretending to be this character with no future? How did I get into this rut of self-crippling thinking, of looking forlornly over the past and seeing only ruin?

I can’t imagine another fifty plus years of thinking this way. Nihilism is an affectation when it’s not suicidal. A sign of spoiled character. The decisive change for me was accepting that I’m part of something larger and more meaningful than my own existence. It’s always been there under the surface, but I’m now working towards living in service to it. My own accomplishments or lack thereof are less important than the role I play in the lives of others, especially those genetically and culturally closest to me.

Living alone for a year accelerated my maturation; isolation taught me value and showed me purpose. While seclusion is instructive, it has its limits and tends towards depression and alienation. I got what I needed from it and now it’s time to come back to society.  The right kind of society, of family and small community.

Urban life isn’t for me. I finally get it. I grew up in a small town and spent years thinking myself above it, wanting to get away and escape into anonymity. After two years on the east coast, among obnoxious strivers and yappers, I now know where I belong; back home in the midwest. In the rolling hills, the pastures and corn fields, in backyards and along muddy creek beds and river banks.

Driving by those beaten down barns with the basketball goals tacked onto the walls. The roads winding around rock quarries. Quiet evening walks through the neighborhood. Grilling hot dogs and burgers with my dad. There will be annoyances, disagreements, unavoidable tension. But nothing like the soul withering loneliness of the city.

I got rid of all the material that glorified sexual obsession and objectification. I can’t remember the exact moment when I realized this was a fruitless, dehumanizing approach to other people, but at some point I knew I had to leave it behind. For me it’s a question of consequence. Where does pursuing sex for its own sake take you?

I saw it leading to abject loneliness and spiritual corruption. It’s reductive, cynical, and also reinforces corporate and government power. The celebration of sex as a form of self expression or a private matter between individuals encourages selfish, atomizing, instrumental and desensitizing behavior. It sets people up for for perpetual disappointment and restless pleasure seeking.

Disappointed and restless individuals with weakened social ties need overgrown governments and corporations to provide them with ersatz meaning, direction, comfort and distraction. The breakdown of pair bonding is both a cause and product of social complexity. Cycling through sexual partners destroys continuity and history in relationships and jades the soul.

So no more wallowing in futility. No more excuses for nihilistic and impractical attitudes. It’s better to fight than decide in advance that you’ve already lost. The world is full of opposition and nothing worthwhile was ever done without resistance. There’s no getting around it, so I’d better make the best of it. I have a lot of life left to live.

As a postscript, none of this is to say that I’ll never reflect on depression or write about obscure moods. I won’t deny that I have a dark side, but I’m not going to sit there all day staring at the abyss.

Additionally, I’m not going to adopt a mindlessly positive attitude. I’m still going to be scathing and aggressive towards things I don’t like. I want to develop my critical voice while dropping most of the personal baggage.

Much of this concerns an evolving style and tone. But the underlying philosophy is different now as well.

High-functioning gypsies

A few days ago I posted about Morris Berman’s Dark Ages America. It occurred to me that I left out an interesting detail. Berman, as an aside, almost as if pausing for breath in the middle of his protracted jeremiad, says that his family came to America in the early 1920’s. And if it weren’t for that voyage, they would have met a grisly end in Germany in the 40’s.

So Berman is a Jew. He doesn’t openly champion Jewish interests, and he does criticize Israel, at least in its relation to American foreign policy. While he doesn’t promote his tribe, he ignores the pervasive Jewish influence on American culture and politics in the 20th century. As always, when a country is crumbling, the Jews are blameless. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, in hundreds of different places at hundreds of different times throughout history.

Berman breathlessly rambles about the Christian right wing takeover of America, but he doesn’t mention that the neocon movement of the W. Bush era was well stocked with Jews. And he has no idea why the Jews keeps running into trouble, why their history is one long, sad story of persecution. He can admit that wherever they go, Jews outperform natives, but as to why that might create problems, he has no ideas.

Either Berman is earnestly insensitive or he is lying by omission. Of course there’s no reason for anyone to dislike or distrust the Jews, except for the fact that Jews are superior. So as soon as we can all accept the plain reality of Jewish genetic and cultural supremacy, we can continue the fight against racist, Christian whites and their illicit, theocratic rule.

It’s the Christian right wing that’s ruining this country, says the crafty Jew critic. It’s not as though a group of insular, nepotistic outsiders has infiltrated yet another country and worked its way to the top of financial institutions, government, industry, and media to advance its own interests.

Berman is critical of the American-Israeli relationship, but how does he think it came about? Who does he think is responsible? It must be a coincidence that a heavy Jewish presence in the American government and media would translate into lopsided support for Israel’s campaign of terror and genocide against the Palestinians.

This is what happens when you let Jews into your country. You open your arms to a group of people who will criticize your every move, trash your traditions and profit from your collapse. America saved Berman’s family from an intolerant, ruthless power, and he repays his generous host country by building a lucrative, high status career on sneering at the stupidity of its people. That’s Jewish gratitude for you.

Berman isn’t a hardline Zionist defending Jewish crimes in the middle east, but he’s still a Jew, an individual from a tribe of wandering grifters and grubbers, a man without footing in a foreign country. He criticizes the American people for being restless, rootless, profit seeking and crass, while remaining apparently oblivious to how those negative characteristics have historically been associated with Jews, and how Jewish behavior and influence might be relevant in explaining the current condition of the country.

If America is entering a dark age, then at one point it must have been a beacon of civilization. Berman bemoans the cultural and economic developments beginning in the post war period that led to imperial overextension abroad and decadence at home. But the early stages of American decline mysteriously coincided with increased Jewish immigration, much of it from southern and eastern Europe. It’s unimaginable that Jews had a hand in drafting policies and disseminating ideas and attitudes detrimental to the health of American society. It could only have been those bigoted Christians following the spirit of their destructive, divisive religion.

It’s peculiar that critical minds have maintained a laser-like focus on challenging the validity of Christianity and excising it from the center of American life while ignoring the injurious and irrational tendencies of other major religions and cultures. It’s curious that the leading lights of progress encourage ethnic solidarity and pride in duskier groups while condemning it in whites, primarily Anglo-Saxon, English speaking peoples.

Now, plenty of whites have taken it upon themselves to work towards their own displacement and marginalization. But to act as though Jewish thought and practice are unrelated to the diminishment of Western Culture in the 20th century is to engage in time honored Jewish intellectual evasion and obfuscation.

Also, Berman is bereft of interest in 20th century Jewish intellectual movements. He doesn’t mention psychoanalysis or the Frankfurt School. He ignores the Boasian school of Anthropology and the rise of the standard social science model. Cultural relativism, social constructionism and the blank slate all flow from movements formed and led by Jews. These intellectual trends took hold of the American academy and bled into the surrounding culture. The result was steady fracturing of American society and the emergence of a managerial ethnic and racial spoils system.

Freud was pigheadedly hostile towards Christianity and Western culture. He took pride in the discomfiting nature of his unhinged speculations and built them into a bizarre canon. Psychoanalysis was a pseudo-intellectual, authoritarian movement structured by rigid group think and ruthless rank purging. Despite its glaring weaknesses, its rickety dogmatism, atrocious clinical record, and contemptuous dismissal of empirical reality, psychoanalysis presented itself as an antidote to culturally and religiously induced psychic sickness and was taken seriously as a therapeutic modality and scientific practice.

Freud and his baseless theories waged war on traditional sexual morality. By damaging the credibility of monogamous pair bonding and the family, psychoanalysis paved the way for widespread anomie, releasing people from obligations, rules and regulations that channeled violent, chaotic sexual energy towards productive, fulfilling and stable ends. High investment parenting, the bedrock of a productive, creative and secure civilization, gave way to low investment parenting patterns in which fathers were phased out and replaced by wasteful government programs. Crime, demotivation, and personality disorders followed in the wake of changing sexual mores and family breakdown.

The Frankfurt school launched an unsparing attack on Western society, recasting loyalty to an in-group, religious belief, and attachment to a nation or place of birth as mental illness. According to the thinkers of the Frankfurt school, the well adjusted, healthy personality was radically individualistic, skeptical, self doubting and insecure, while the pathological personality was patriotic, group-oriented, ethnocentric and self confident.

The studies and screeds of the Frankfurt School were light on genuine research. There was no substantive social science. Jewish interests were at the forefront of their spiteful theorizing even though they couched their efforts in a perfunctory universalism. Additionally, the Frankfurt School was critical and dismissive towards the Enlightenment strand of Western thought.

The Dialectic of the Enlightenment is a signature Frankfurt school tract, a dense, largely incomprehensible work that claims that the values of the Enlightenment are justifications for oppression and domination, and that the techniques and technologies generated by a narrow instrumental rationality mutilate and standardize disparate forms of indigenous life. Quality is reduced to quantity and reason dispels myth only to create new myths of its own superiority while eradicating real cultural diversity.

The steady seeping of Frankfurt School thought into the institutions and cultural channels of America destroyed confidence in science and rationality, weakened attachments to country and dissolved group identification among Whites. These ideas influenced people to think that rooted, family oriented and religiously guided habits and values were the aberrant coping mechanisms of mentally defective individuals.

Berman is a big believer in the Enlightenment and science, but he has nothing to say about the prominence of Jewish intellectuals in anti-rational and anti-enlightenment movements of the 20th century. You might think he’d be critical of Jewish led criticism that tarnished the reputation of scientific and rational thought. Berman shakes his head in disgust over the rise of Christian fundamentalism and contempt for science and reason, but he doesn’t see that Jewish dominated critique is at least partially responsible for this.

Jewish promoted multiculturalism erodes unity and cooperation. It requires costly and complex systems and techniques of population control and conflict management. Unaccountable organizations that cultivate minority grievances and oversee wealth confiscation constrict free economic activity and intensify ethnic tension, suspicion and bias.

A pluralistic society held together by a legal framework of racial privileges and favors for the highest and lowest performers incentivizes division, dysfunction and cynical system gaming. Productivity and creativity suffer, but more importantly, health and happiness wane as life becomes more anxious, insecure, competitive and alienating.

I’m not saying it’s all the Jews fault, but it’s hard for me to take an account of American decline seriously when it refuses to mention Jewish contributions to nationwide chaos and rot. Berman isn’t an anti-semite or anything, so he takes the everyday Jewish route and hysterically shrieks about our failed civilization and the dangers of Christian theocracy.

The noonday demon

Went out this morning and took a beating from the sun. It’s summer in DC now. The humidity is unreal, like another planet. You can’t breathe. The air is tar. A slimy, sweaty substance coats your skin the moment you step outside.

Mosquitos attack and infect you with diseases. Turn your ballsack into a pin cushion and render you sterile. Tiny parasites spread itchy bumps, redness and rashes over every uncovered part of your body. You scratch yourself like a madman. Relief is brief and then the torment returns.

I have sunburns everywhere. My skin is radioactive, a nuclear testing ground. I have sunburns through my shirt and pants. A second of sunlight is automatic cancer. There is no ozone, no protective barrier between the raging, remorseless sun and sensitive organic tissue.

Now I need to start slathering myself with lotion, balm, and sunscreen whenever I think about going outside. I’ll have to put on a welder’s mask when I raise the curtains in my room.

I need to be naked. The sun will rain fire on me anyway. I’ll accept a loin cloth or a fig leaf but that’s it. Shirts, pants, socks and shoes are deadly accessories in this weather.

The heat and my upcoming shift are sapping my will to work. I was going to write about urban planning and the character of American cities, but the sun cooked my brain. I finished that book on the decline of America and had a few more thoughts on it, but those are burnt to a crisp now.

And it’s noon. The high point of radiant despair. Sometimes the cloudless, blinding, blue sky days are the most depressing. There’s no where to hide, no excuses for feeling less than exuberant. It’s all brightness and light, pulsating, hot life. There’s something sickening about it.

I want my skies specked with grey, quilted with clouds. And I want to walk a path dappled by shadows. I’m a creature of the cave, of the cove. I like mornings and evenings. Murmuring moments, soft light, a sun that peeks rather than glares. The dynamic of rising and falling. The sanded down edges of awareness.

It’s the middle of the hot day with its stinging, focused light that drains me of purpose and energy.

The medieval monks called it acedia. Spiritual sluggishness. What we think of as depression but in the context of Christianity. An affront to God. A sin. It’s against God’s order to be morose, to succumb to sadness and sloth. God designed us to be happy and productive, to work and laugh through the day.

Not lay on a futon and stare at the ceiling. Luxuriate in the feeling of a fan blowing cool wind against your sunbaked skin. Watching possibilities disintegrate and plans collapse.

It’s more than being unable to work. It’s not just laziness. Or procrastination. It’s not believing you should do something but you’d rather not do it because it’s difficult.

Acedia is when you deeply inhale the inherent worthlessness of all things. You become incapable of caring about what you do or what happens. And so you do nothing. Not out of a need for rest, but out of a dull contempt for existence.

You turn away from God and your fellows, and you lay fixed on your futon. The day drips away without progress. You’ll have to go to your 2nd shift job soon.

It’s one of those early afternoons in a day that seems to take up your whole life; until it’s over and then it feels like it never happened.

Time to go to work. My body will be there but my soul will be elsewhere.

A few habits of highly declining people

Went to a used bookstore and bought a book. Dark Ages America by Morris Berman. He’s a social critic or something like that. A cultural historian. Not a real job. It’s an identity of being ever displeased and despairing. The disposition is alien to me but I like to see how other people think now and then.

This book was written in 2006, which makes it irrelevant. A ten or eleven year old book on American politics might as well be the bible. Nothing written can keep up with the pace of change. What I’m writing now will become obsolete before I finish it.

Nothing written can withstand the supersaturation of writing. There are millions of book like this. Historians, academics and experts in the millions drenching a subject in their learned spit. When there’s too much of something, it dies. Or rather, once something dies, there’s too much of it.

Now that writing and reading are dead, everyone is a writer. Everyone has written a book.

There are more people who’ve written books than there are literate people in the world today. I don’t know why I bought this one. No one recommended it to me. I’d never heard of it until I saw on the bookshelf. I’d never heard of the author.

But sometimes it’s nice to walk into a used bookstore and pick up a dusty, discarded book from an unfamiliar author. Forget the afternoon in aimless browsing. Discover an unexplored subject. Although in this case I picked up a book with a tone and topic well within my dank comfort zone of gloomy reflection.

The decline and fall of America. The parallels with the Roman Empire. Berman details American military misadventures and foreign policy outrages. I’m breezing through the chapters that recount our Machiavellian meddling in the middle east. The wider historical context of how terrorism grew out of the cold war and American imperialism is refreshing. Currently we tend to focus narrowly on the present day failings of our closest enemies.

When you concentrate on domestic dysfunction, it’s easy to forget that American foreign policy is aggressive, destructive and widely despised. People in other parts of the world don’t like us, for good reason. I’ve been thinking so much about negroes, gays, jews, and leftists that I’ve forgotten how America is responsible for much of the global discontent directed against it.

Just imagine how the American people would feel if a foreign country interfered with our political processes. Far fetched as the scenario may be, it’s safe to say we wouldn’t be happy about it. And then consider the even more unlikely possibility of other countries funding and arming our opponents and organizing coups against us.

Say the American people wake up one day. We realize our government is rotten and represents the interests of corporate power. We form a populist movement and new leaders with the people’s interests at heart rise to the top. This spirited, nationalist party is on the verge of winning back the country and lopping off the head of its corrupt ruling class when another country intervenes.

They send advisors and intelligence agents to undermine our movement. They back brutal dictators who suppress the popular will. Our country falls back into the hands of corporate, oligarchic power, and the reinforced ruling class begins to purge the revolutionaries. They use torture and execution with instruments and weapons provided by the foreign country.

Chemical weapons, gas attacks in the streets. Advanced surveillance technology and weaponry directed against the populace. All because another country wanted to maintain its economic interests. The will of the American people didn’t matter. If such a thing were to happen, Americans would become vengeful.

At some point, some of the more extreme Americans might take another step and organize themselves, this time with special animating animosity towards this foreign country that disturbed our previous attempts to run our own affairs. Such a reaction would be expected and understandable.

But this all hypothetical. In the real world, terrorists want to destroy America because it’s a crushing, unwieldy empire that subverts nationalist and populist movements and supports oppressive regimes and warlords for its own benefit.

Additionally, American culture is demoralizing, family wrecking filth. We don’t just damage a country’s infrastructure, economy, and environment with our perverse self interest. We also drain cultural cohesion and disrupt historical continuity. Our cultural exports and corporate products have a seductive allure, and people in other parts of the world struggle to resist our cheap goods, name brands, and deviancy masquerading as freedom.

Beliefs and actions have consequences beyond the momentary. Selfish attitudes and anti-social behavior might relieve individual tension in the moment, but they set a precedent for future dissolution. The dream of ease, plenty and pleasure turns into a nightmare of loneliness, frustration and confusion.

After a couple generations have passed in a society organized around material abundance and personal freedoms, you see more dramatic signs of social breakdown and psychic distress. And from there you get increasing complexity and fragility as more regulations and sophisticated methods of managing economic crises and mitigating mental disorders become necessary. The solution to one problem becomes a problem in itself, requiring more people, resources, and agencies to correct.

Even if you have comfort, security and pleasure, there is a deeper human need for meaning and connection that goes unsatisfied. It’s not enough to amass junk and withdraw into a social deprivation chamber of simulation and stimulation. An America unmoored from the people who founded it and their organic ideals of limited, balanced government is a society shredding juggernaut. People in other parts of the world are justified in fearing and fighting against it.

That being said, it’s also understandable why Americans and Europeans don’t want Muslims in their countries. I respect bigotry on both sides. Muslims are right to hate Americans, and Americans, average Americans at least, are right to hate Muslims. There’s no need for us to mix or pretend to get along. Only globalist designs force incompatible groups together and then blame the resulting resentments and conflicts on the ignorant locals.

Berman calls the current age of America a new dark age. His evidence is foreign policy missteps, imperial overreach and technological tearing of the social fabric. But he never mentions immigration or demographic change. It doesn’t occur to him that an age growing darker is also a people growing darker. The striking slide from an 85 percent non hispanic white majority in 1965 to the present day 62 percent goes unnoticed. Because that would be racist.

Berman may be a critic, he may be against imperialism and disruptive technology, he may rail against declining standards and absent etiquette, he may shed tears for dilapidated communities and public ignorance, but he’s not a racist. So none of the problems he sees have anything to do with race, immigration, or demographic upheaval.

It’s okay to criticize an idiotic, abstract american public, but let’s not get any more demographically concrete than that. Berman likely believes that America is a nation of immigrants, and that the ethnic makeup of a nation is irrelevant unless there are too many whites, in which case a little more brown and black should balance everything out.

There’s no examination of the corrosive impact of diversity. Berman probably suffers from degraded social ties himself, so he doesn’t understand the conditions of trust and reciprocity. For him, if there’s no trust or cooperation in a community, it’s because of technology and consumerism. And technology and consumerism do play an important role in depriving people of connection, meaning, and basic life skills and adaptive abilities. But in typical rudderless insect fashion, Berman neglects the importance of racially, ethnically, and culturally homogenous communities built on the foundations of extended family networks and organic social relations.

He senses that American exceptionalism and individualism dissolve social bonds, but he overlooks the importance of demography and population movements, and passes over the pathologies of modern families, such as absent fathers, divorce, and reduced contact with members outside the immediate nuclear arrangement. Neither does Berman have any appreciation for the problems posed by overpopulation and population density. Misguided, irresponsible and devious immigration policies join forces with technological and economic development to scatter and shrink families, overgrow and dilute populations, squander social capital, and upend civic organizations.

American foreign policy intensifies and organizes Muslim hatred, but even without our government’s crimes against the people of the middle east, Western culture and Islam are irreconcilable. People with healthy instincts don’t like to see their land overrun by aliens. If average muslims bitterly seethe over foreign interference and invasion, how do you think average Americans feel about it happening to them? It’s only bigotry when a white American wants to live in peace among his own kind, though.

The writing is serviceable. Well researched in some areas but lacking in others. 5.9/10.