A slice of banality

The only thing worse than working is not working. The only thing worse than being away from your family is not being able to escape them. Much of my inner life is a drift from what I have to what I don’t. Scenes from dc have been flashing in my memory. I see U street and the busy stores. The barber shops and cafes, the museums and monuments. And for a moment I miss it. My memory screens the suffocating isolation and loneliness, the alienation and the discomfort and I remember only the thrill of living in an unfamiliar place. It was an adventure and I didn’t take advantage of it.

When you look back you distort the past. The mood of the present influences how you see those old scenes; dissatisfaction with where you are drives you to fantasize about where you were. When I was still in dc I knew I’d end up missing it. I tried to prepare myself for my own psychological wiles but there’s only so much you can do to outwit yourself. There are psychic forces behind the surface of your awareness and they resist executive commands.

Unconscious investments in patterns of thought and feeling are unyielding. The light of consciousness often lacks power to change what it illuminates. So I knew there’d be times when I couldn’t stop myself from missing a place I hated. And now it’s happening and I’m trying to fight it.

Most alternatives to bad things are much worse. I’ve cursed work numerous times, but the exhaustion and stupefaction of thankless toil is nothing compared to wandering the spiritual and emotional wasteland of idleness. It’s true that people fail to live up to their potential when they have to spend most of their day working. We naturally resist burdens and obligations, we squirm and writhe under the yoke of laboring for subsistence.

When we’re working, repeating dull tasks that wear us down and watching irrecoverable hours slip away, we imagine an alternative world of freedom and leisure. In this fantastical mode of existence everyone becomes a better version of themselves. The arts and sciences flourish; everyone discovers and cultivates their true talents.

You might recall Marx’s flight of fancy that inspired a century of revolutionary wood chipper activity: in the coming communist utopia, everyone would be free to do whatever they wanted. You could hunt and farm and fish during the day and then read Kant at night. Men would organically become hunting, farming and fishing philosophers but the cruel and exploitative capitalist system holds them down and prevents them from uncovering their real passions and interests.

There are many oppressive powers, systems and governments and structures, colorless, odorless orders of coercion and control. But even if you were to lighten the weight of the world, man would still be a burden to himself. Without structure, external resistance, stress and conflict we sink into a deep malaise and become prey to perversion and depression. We’re contradictory, inconsistent, lustful and violent in essence, as well as tender, generous, creative and heroic. The societies we build are outgrowths of who we are, they express the turbulent tendencies of our easily corruptible hearts. Our affairs are a mixed bag of good and evil, necessity and accident, crystalline clairvoyance and blundering idiocy.

I gush lost time when I don’t have a job or a set schedule. Whatever I want to do can always be done just a little later so I never get around to it. The sense of urgency I need for creative and fulfilling pursuits disintegrates. Disorientation in time is the condition; I’m tempted to call it distemporalization. Days and weeks mean nothing, minutes lose their value and seconds slip away. Unlimited free time saps motivation and engagement. Boredom and satiety fill the vacuum left by absent duty and obligation.

You think you’re finally going to become that obsessive, prolific artist when you don’t have to work. You’re going to be in your studio or library all day reading, writing, painting or playing the piano. Works of genius will pour forth from your uninhibited mind. But then you get the time and you fill your days with distracted message board reading and masturbation. It becomes clear that work wasn’t holding you back, it was covering up a deeper emptiness.

The internet is the perfect place, pervasive and ever accessible, to forget that you have no real aims in life, no discipline and no attachments. A life of whack-a-mole consumption and electronic morphine drip entertainment has hollowed out your emotional center and fried your synapses. You thought you wanted to be productive, on your own terms in your own way, free from the unrelenting imperatives of an efficiency and profit obsessed capitalist economy.

It’s not the free time that’s an escape from your job, it’s your job that’s an escape from the pressures of consumption and enjoyment. Self organization of time at the precipice of ever beckoning distraction and dissipation is an imposing task. It takes more spiritual strength and resolve to resist wasting an entire day than a few hours in the evening. And nothing about the way we grow up prepares us for focused engagement and unwavering self management.

More important than accomplishments are excuses for why we’ve accomplished nothing. If you don’t have something standing in your way you’ll wander and get lost. We depend on hurdles to teach us how high we’re capable of leaping.

After decades of work, after years of grousing about having to wake up at the same time every morning and do the same thing every day, retirement is a challenge, a new threat to sanity and security. I’ve watched my parents flounder in the wake of their retirement. Suddenly deprived of the routines that anchored their identity, they’ve struggled to fill in the wide open expanse of time and fend off the demons of despair, especially now that their children are all adults. And now I’m here, thirty years apart from them but fighting the exact same enemy: lack of purpose, lack of direction, lack of structure and opposition.

At least we have each other. I’m lucky to have both my parents in my life and I’ll never forget it, but we all need things to do outside the house and away from each other as well.

So recently I rented a crack house in Indianapolis. It was an accident. I have a job at a cafe up there now but I’m still living at home with my parents. My main mission the last two or three weeks has been finding a new place to live. Because I have little money and my credit score is at russian criminal levels, I don’t have many options. Most rental companies do rental checks and I’ve already been denied several times.

I met a woman who was desperate to rent her place, which was dilapidated. She’d dealt with crackheads and delinquents and was happy to find someone with all their teeth. It was a perfect match. The place was in dire need of work but I’m unobservant in practical matters so I didn’t notice the extent of the disrepair.

I payed for the apartment on her promise that it would be ready in a week. She didn’t put a date on the lease so we could fill it in once I was ready to move in. I went up there over the weekend and nothing had been done; it looked even worse than before. There was no refrigerator or a stove. Part of the back wall was missing and it opened up into a shabby storage area with a couch and clothes strewn about. The doors were unlocked and no one was around fixing anything. I felt a combination of dread for my future and embarrassment over the foolishness of my actions.

Why had I rushed into this bad deal and how would I get out of it? The woman had entrusted the repairs to her ex husband, an ex con who had instead used the house as a shelter for his cracked out hobo buddies. The destitution and abjection was palpable. It was an atmosphere of decay and dysfunction and I was going to live in it.

When I called her she apologized and accidentally sent me a text meant for her ex in which she revealed many personal details about their relationship that I didn’t need to know. But I was convinced of her sincerity to fix everything and still desperate myself so I didn’t demand a refund. Now I’m waiting on this daffy woman and her sleazy conman ex to somehow perform a miracle and make this place inhabitable. If they pull it off it will end up being a great deal, as cheap as can be and I can work from there to restore my credit and one day live like a civilized human being in a home not formerly occupied by destructive wastrels.

Living in dc I lamented being 800 miles away from my family and working all the time. I went from seclusion and overwork to living in my parents basement without a job for two months. The change was drastic and now I’m trying to find a balance between familial cohesion and independence, between free time and leisure. I think I’ll manage.

Winding down from a wild week

It’s friday evening and I’m eating at Denny’s, alone. Deep in southern Indiana. The isolation is radiating. There’s a quiet pulse to it.

I’m going to eat a kale salad because Denny’s menu offers healthier options and I’ve been eating nothing but gristle and preserved meats for weeks. Sticks of deep fried starch and slabs of mysteriously cooked hamburger. I take my fruits and greens in powder form and drink 3 cups of acid piss coffee every day. So tonight at Denny’s I’m going to balance my diet with a kale salad, which happens to have four thousand dried cranberries, bacon bits, breaded chicken and a piercingly zesty and sweet dressing all over it.

I’m not done. I get the lava cake and when they bring it to my table it causes a small scene. People at other tables look over and whispers ripple through the diner. I lower my head in shame, unable to share in the exaltation over the pound of chocolate sauce and brownie and ice cream before me.

The lava part of lava cake isn’t an exaggeration. This chocolate sauce is sucked up from the center of the earth. It’s scorchingly hot. I wait for a few minutes and then eat as much as I can until I feel uncomfortable. The waitress forgot to put the dessert on my check but I let her know so she could charge me the correct amount. One of those moments you can beam with the pride of having acted like a moral man.

It’s another scenic evening in southern Indiana. I feel a moment of peace and gratitude for being somewhere quiet and pretty, with rolling hills and woods and melancholic sunsets. Fading light stirs my soul. My drive home is calm except for the unrest in my stomach and intestines from the bizarre meal I just ate.

Fox news was on at the diner. Speaking of unrest. They expect more clashes between protestors at upcoming rallies. Trump fired Bannon. Or Bannon resigned; I’ve already seen conflicting reports.

Anarchists against neo-nazis in the streets. It’s a battle that wrings the sympathy right out of your heart. I can’t imagine having a pleasant conversation with either one of these characters, much less an agreeable rally or protest. Why are they prominent and why is there a tendency to see everyone as these people right now? Why are we clinging to failed european ideologies. The thoughtless rush to apply ill-fitting and historically jarring labels to others and ourselves indicates a disconnect from organic American political traditions and widespread alienation from our culture and history.

If all we can see in each other are communists and fascists then what happened to us as Americans?  We seem to be unaware that we spent a good chunk of the 20th century fighting fascists and then communists. Our historical irony is having found ourselves in the 21st century made up of nothing but fascists and communists. Why did we fight against those forces and what did it mean to defeat them?

Can we not draw on our own history, on our own people? It may be too late. Statues are coming down. History is being rewritten. Why would a black person want to stare at a statue of his oppressor everyday. I wish I felt such a strong connection to my ancestors that I could be oppressed by a statue. Maybe that’s why I used to look to musty europeans for my identity. Europeans don’t know what it’s like to have freed slaves in their streets.

And why do we demand that people disavow?  It’s a strange impulse, a rabid reflex that doesn’t have much practical effect. When I disavow someone I don’t change the other person and I don’t change myself. It has a teeny, gossipy quality as well. What do you think about hitler? He’s so gross. Do you think he’s creepy?  The left is always forcing apologies and disavowals, performing ritual acts of political humiliation; they’re the great speech and thought police, budding if not fully flowering totalitarians. They love superficial difference but crave deep conformity. They’re unblinking, effete fanatics, fainting, weak-kneed crusaders.

When you’re the president you have to be a leading moral light. And there’s nothing more moral right now than suppressing white supremacists. But it’s never suppressive enough. Trump could execute every last neo-nazi with his bare hands and they would still criticize him and question his leadership. Yeah but he didn’t mean it. He just did it to appease us. The left is like that imbalanced, manipulative girlfriend who says you don’t tell her you love her, and then when you do, accuses you of just saying it because you have to.

One of the perks of not having power is that you can remain quiet without offending people. Or at least the offense you cause by remaining quiet never rises to the pitch of pricking the ears of the mob. And one of the benefits of being unknown is that even if you say the wrong things, no one wants to shut you down.

What’s so wrong with being a hateful racist if you’re not threatening or hurting anyone. So what if you want to wave some torches and chant in the summer night. I thought people were liberals. I thought the liberal framework created a neutral social space where even odious ideas could be discussed and debated as long we respect the law as well as the safety and privacy of others. Even neo-nazis have the freedom to gather and protest what they see as injustice. The assault on free speech is another sign of rapidly decaying American political traditions. The stage is being set for more ruthless and searching inquisitions into our beliefs and feelings.

Why are we rooting around in the depths of other people’s hearts for traces of offensive material? Who cares if someone hates if they’re not committing violent acts?

Mainstream republicans and people in general are jumping on the anti-racist train because they think it will absolve them of their own sins of racism and bigotry. As long as the cartoonish neo-nazi is in the limelight then they can buy themselves some time. We condemn hatred and racism and the nazis. See we’re good people too. 

But once the furor over the fuhrer dies down the left will go back to castigating systemic racism, implicit bias and other nebulous pseudo concepts that heighten paranoia, intensify distrust and increase their own power. And mainstream republicans won’t be safe just because they disavowed the nazis, just because they made a grand show of their disgust for the glaring bigotry of economically abandoned white men. They’ll still be racist, they’ll still need reeducation if not corporal punishment. Liberals too, especially if they’re white. There’s no white soul so pure that progressives can’t find a stain of racism on it.

They will ruin you financially, they will destroy your reputation and your business. Silence and exclude you unless you’re marching in lockstep with their maniacal progressive agenda. Even then your livelihood and safety will depend on your identity. Even what you say might not be enough.

But I don’t mean to wallow in fear or despair; there’s cause for hope and optimism. Because the left has a habit of overextending themselves and they’re doing it again. Ordinary people are becoming more aware of the freakish, elitist forces arrayed against them. They don’t want to live their lives under the constant threat of purges and show trials and liquidations. Americans aren’t communists; the majority of us have an instinctive contempt for it. We want to live in peace, love our families, worship God, have healthy children, work and create and say what we want when it suits us.

The removal of statues seems inevitable if you buy into leftist media hype but most people are against it. Those who call for the erasure of Washington and Jefferson from our history make themselves look ridiculous to all but the most fervent of ideologues. We have to stay strong and remember that opposing the left and their destructive tantrums doesn’t make us nazis or fascists. There is a political center and a moderate majority.

And life always goes on. There’s happiness, fulfillment and peace to be found outside the arena of ideological opposition. I have to remember not to pin all my hope and joy on the turbulent world of politics. That would make me some kind of progressive totalitarian.

The devil went down to Virginia

A young man drove his car into a crowd of “counter-protestors” and killed a woman at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on saturday. He’s a nazi and so is every other white person who marched to protest the effacement of history. The south will never stop paying for its transgressions.

White people are not allowed to gather, march or speak for themselves. When blacks burn their own neighborhoods to the ground, teams of sociologists and experts on racism rationalize and defend their destructive behavior. It’s the lack of economic opportunity, it’s the legacy of racism, it’s living in a system of suppression. They are only out for justice, they are spontaneously protesting an unjust order.

But when disaffected white men organize themselves and express their anger, it’s the rise of the fourth reich, it’s the bigoted whining of privileged losers. The social and economic causes of their behavior and feelings fall away. It’s just rage, racism and bigotry. A particular problem that white people have, a tendency to hate and exclude that isn’t a universal feature of all people everywhere all throughout history.

All of society must unite in condemning racism as the worst of evils, the greatest of abominations. We must all act as exasperated, horrified and sickened as possible to send the message that having a white identity or attachment to history is the highest crime imaginable.

Failure to show sufficient disgust and outrage will be taken as a sign of support for nazi crimes and white supremacy. You will be fired from your job, spat upon, punched in the face, beaten with baseball bats, harassed and tormented every day of your life unless every tweet and facebook post you make is a groveling, tear slicked apology for and renunciation of your white identity. Your wife will leave you and your children will be taken from you unless you personally pull down statues of confederate generals and spray paint fuck trump on every available building surface and sidewalk.

James Fields was a confederate nazi terrorist. There will be no sociologists or white grievance experts to provide a nuanced explanation for why he was driven(ha) to commit an act of haterism. He’s white, so his lowly position in society and his resentment are his fault. Or his actions are ultimately the fault of the fascists and their far, far, far right wing rhetoric. It’s the alt-right and their appropriation of leftist style identity politics that’s fomenting hatred and ethnic conflict. And finally, this whole debacle is the fault of Trump because he didn’t know who David Duke was in an interview.

Trump not immediately condemning David Duke and dancing to the disavowal tune of the disingenuous media was the equivalent of a megaphone endorsement of white supremacy. He might as well have sig heiled and said that birth of a nation is his favorite movie. Never mind the fact that Trump ran his campaign from the beginning on a platform of populist nationalism and never named his ethnic constituents or attempted to divide americans from each other. He’s still the neo nazi president, the white supremacist dog whistler.

Another curious inconsistency is the lumping together of white supremacy and nazism, as if the nazis weren’t responsible for the deaths of millions of white people. A genuine nazi isn’t exactly a “white” supremacist but rather a german supremacist if not something else all together. But such a subtle distinction is lost on our educated, right thinking classes. If an American male of indeterminate white ethnic stock waves a nazi flag, you might suspect his nazi allegiance isn’t deep and that he is suffering from a serious form of mental illness. That would be a fair, reasonable suspicion. But the media are cynically using men with mental illnesses as props in their campaign to smear Trump and anyone who disagrees with their progressive propaganda.

Whites will have no collective voice unless they’re calling for themselves to be silenced. They will not ask questions or raise concerns over the ethnic makeup of the country or sneering attitudes towards our history. There is no room for complexity, ambiguity or finesse when it comes to white interests. There are no white interests not synonymous with an anachronistic, conceptually dissonant melange of nazism and white supremacy.

Trump just gave a press conference where he bit back at the media for refusing to denounce leftist violence. He called out the racists and nazis on the far right, but he also mentioned the guilt of the alt-left for charging at the protesters on saturday. Once again the press is exasperated, incredulous, beside themselves. They can’t believe Trump would call the enemies of nazis the alt-left. To the media whores, there’s no such thing as an alt-left. There are only the evil nazis and then the brave resisters and counterprotesters.

But the American people have been able to see with their own eyes how every Trump rally or speech by any vaguely conservative figure has been disrupted or shut down by organized leftist thugs. Every time normal Americans get together to celebrate making America great again, groups like antifa threaten and assault them.

Normal Americans who don’t dabble in nazi symbolism or cross burning are routinely pelted with rocks, turds and bottles of piss; they’re punched and kicked and pepper sprayed; they’re attacked with gas and acid while the police do nothing, while mayors and university presidents stand idly by and fail to use their institutional power to protect conservatives and moderates from the roaming, vicious hordes of leftists whipped into a frenzy by careless, instigative rhetoric and slander.

In the last few days the mendacious media has been saying that white supremacists and Nazis are Trump’s base. It’s a ridiculous, hysterical assertion. I was in Washington DC during the inauguration. I saw Trump’s base. They’re normal Americans, middle class families. Grandparents, moms and dads and children. They didn’t come to DC to celebrate white supremacy or deny the holocaust. They came to celebrate a renewed hope for America, for business, for manufacturing, for decency, safety and order.

And in their zeal to defame and destroy Trump at any cost, the media are desperately trying to recast this normal American support for a secure middle class way of life as white supremacy. You might have noticed that no one has been talking about Russia for the last few days. You might have noticed that the collusion, treason and impeachment talk has died down. Last week Trump was a traitor, a Russian lackey, he’d obstructed justice and colluded. Now he’s back to being a racist and a bigot. Remember when he was literally Hitler?

Trump had to become slightly less literally Hitler to collude with Russians. Then he became literally Hitler again because David Duke showed up to a rally. Trump blamed the nazis, but because he also said that leftists have played a role in instigating violence he’s an off the rails racist pandering to his massive base of white supremacists.

The charges of the press are incoherent and insincere. Their tactics are confused and ineffective. This incident will blow over and we can get back to taunting them about their failing witch hunt over collusion with Russia. Trump will resume his efforts to make America great again through trade deals, deportations and immigration legislation.

Much ado

There are days when I can feel the emptiness of my mind. I don’t think, I regress to a vegetative state. It’s all digestion and no contemplation. Hours pass without purpose and I’m unable to stop my focus from fading. And I wonder how people who have to use their minds to stay alive manage those braindead days. Maybe out of necessity they don’t have them. My existence is secure without my labor, cunning or courage. So I drift and dwell, sift through crumbs of awareness.

It took me until 5 pm today to write a single paragraph. When I had nothing else to do all day. It took hours of meandering and walking and drinking espresso to gather up the resolve and attention to write a paragraph about nothing. The more time you have the less you do. But then I’ve never had the right amount of time. It’s always either not enough or too much. I tell myself I can do it later. There’s always later until there isn’t.

Rationally I know my time is limited and that every day is a day closer to death and nothingness. But it’s as if there’s another part of me that also knows it won’t die. Or that death isn’t the end and I won’t be swallowed up by the all consuming eternal night. So there’s no real hurry. Whatever I’m working on or whatever I want to work on can wait until after I’m dead.

If I died at the end of this sentence I’d have failed in my singular artistic purpose: to write the perfect sentence. And at the outer reach of my ambition, to write the perfect paragraph. I don’t know what that perfect paragraph will be about, but it will flow like no paragraph ever has. It will unfold itself like falling drapery. My perfect paragraph will have the perfect metaphor and the perfect rhythm. It will glide without slipping. Anyone who reads this paragraph will comprehend it on the first read but will want to read it again and again. Just to follow the contours of the sentences. To feel the smooth, rounded edges and the tight links between each sentiment.

These paragraphs I’m writing now are placeholders: better writing is to come. They sit between where I was and where I want to be. I want to believe I’m a better writer than I was two years ago, or when I was an academic upstart and writing far beyond my comprehension. I used to believe that the more clauses the better the sentence. The more obscure and multi-syllabic the word the smarter the writer. But now I now better than that and have renounced my sesquipedalian ways.

At least I still have a couple friends in town. Unpretentious, comical people. A 50 year old former fireman and his son who’s a magician. They live together in one of those generic apartment complexes with the identical floor plans and the thick grey carpets. Bare white walls and mismatched furniture. A modern art installation: piles of plastic water bottles and crumbled up bags of fast food. Streaks of ash on the cheap wooden table. The son smokes cigarettes and the father eats plates of stacked pork fritter sandwiches.

They aren’t healthy or educated but they’re funny and fun to be around. I need more fun, as dumb as that might sound. I spend all my time thinking about the decline of the west, racial politics, what heidegger said and then what plato said, the destruction of public space and the erosion of familial networks. And that’s on top of personal drama, stewing over guilt from past actions and worrying about the future. When I turned 30 I still felt young, as though I were still in my twenties and could afford to wait to do whatever I wanted. But there’s something about being 31 that removes that complacency.

I look in the mirror and see a man who’s aged. A man with a few years behind him, not quit decaying but not fresh either. I have premonitions of the problems that will haunt my autumn and winter years. My knees will shatter someday in a freak squatting accident. My hearing will diminish until I’m locked in a world of silence. And my skin will sag and crinkle, distorting my features. I’m a little slower and weaker than I used to be, but it’s nothing compared to what’s in store.

So until I reach full decrepitude and my organs wither and my brain undergoes liquid putrefaction, I want to laugh and enjoy good times and good health. And my friends are instrumental for achieving this aim. My portly pal has lost his looks but he’s jollier than ever. He has a son and a roof over his head. He’s unlocked a kind of cynical serenity, a freedom from ambition and the torments of desire. Neurosis is nonexistent.

It helps when you’re naturally hilarious. You can get so fat you’re unrecognizable to people who knew you twenty years ago but as long as your wit stays sharp you can always entertain yourself and others. You can distract yourself from the steadily accumulating infirmities that make up the latter half of your life.

Last night I went over to their shabbily decorated place and we waited for another friend to bring us weed. We filled the hours with dumb banter and insults. We piled into his rusted, broken down chevy cavalier and went to steak and shake. It was disgusting and they got my order wrong. It was still great. And then the weed arrived.

His magician son rolled blunts and we smoked and talked and laughed well into the night. I lost track of time and finally realized it was after midnight. I tend towards isolation so I have to make an effort to be around people who make me feel good to be alive. As though life might be worth living after all.

I was born a poor black boy

I’ve reached the stage of my stagnant life where I need to blame the system. Condemn the social structures that perpetuate poverty and keep people locked in cycles of self defeating behavior and despair. The old inspirational story of rags to riches is now a tale of rags to rags. The new american arc is starting out in the middle class and then sliding into the lower. You need an education to be unemployed, to have less than nothing.

You can move to work a new job but you need to find a place to live. To rent a place you need pay stubs. You need thousands of dollars and perfect credit to get to a place where you can acquire thousands of dollars and better credit. If you’ve ever had a medical emergency or went into debt because you couldn’t pay your hospital bills then you won’t get a chance.

I’ve been emailing and messaging people for weeks. Putting out ads on craigslist. They send you a message or two and then disappear. Or they want to charge you to apply for an apartment. I’ll fail any credit check. I’m not going to pay 45 bucks for a reminder that I’m a financial failure.

Sometimes you get messages that turn out to be scams. Those are especially depressing. You read an email and it sounds too good to be true. But you want to believe so you reply. And then it becomes clear. You’re talking to a robot, a ruthless program is luring you into giving up your information, your identity. The joke is on them; I have nothing. Go ahead and take what little I have.

It’s either a bureaucratic rental company with unyielding standards and indomitable procedures or it’s a sex slavery trap. A gay grooming ring. Some guy will let you stay in an extra room but he wants to meet and see how you “vibe” first. And in my desperation I think that maybe this is the only way. I’ll have to get naked and clean bathrooms and kitchens, eat out of a dog dish and wear a collar for a nightly cot. All so I have the opportunity to make 13 dollars an hour.

They say a living wage is equal to 15 dollars an hour. So the jobs I can get are beneath what’s considered the baseline for comfortable living. Whatever you’re doing on less than 15 an hour isn’t living. And then there’s the concept of a minimum wage, which is much lower than the speculative living wage. The minimum wage as law implies that employers would love nothing more than to pay you even less. In pure, free, amoral market conditions employers would pay you potato skins and ditchwater to clean factory floors.

If we liberated the market then it could be free to value us at our true worth, which is nothing. All the education, all the time and training, the critical thinking skills and learning how to think and not what to think leading you to uncritically think you’re worth more than what you could ever contribute to the economy. You hear about how jobs are just sitting there waiting to be taken but they can’t find qualified people. They can’t find enough programmers and stem people to code and build the robots that will someday replace them.

Alright, fine, I’ll learn how to build robots. But I’d need a loan for the training and I can’t get one because of my bad credit. Plus I’m innumerate. My visual and spatial reasoning abilities are subpar and I had to take a finite mathematics class multiple times to finally get my liberal arts degree. I’ve spent my entire life playing music, reading and writing and avoiding everything to do with math, science, manufacturing, technology and building things with my hands. And now I need to become a scientist, a computer and tech savvy data drone, a networker.

I’m a former classical guitarist and I have training in literary criticism. What this means is that I spent my formative years learning how to focus on arcane, artistic tasks in isolation. What I know how to do doesn’t translate into lucrative occupations. My interests and talents are great for entertaining old farts and propping up my own sense of unrecognized nobility. But the modern, digitized economy of fluid market relations, capitol flows and tech and science powered innovation has no need for me and I don’t know how to fit into it.

I have neither hard computing skills nor soft people skills. I sit somewhere in the middle, neither masculine enough to calculate and construct nor feminine enough to cultivate relationships and empathize. My IQ isn’t high enough but neither is my emotional intelligence or whatever they’re calling it to assuage people with low IQ’s.

But then again I’m falling into the rut of self pity. I’m telling myself I can’t do these things when I don’t even know. I just feel old and burnt out, trapped and obsolete. It’s the system’s fault. Why won’t the system pay me to whine for 1000 words every couple of days.

Something is rotten, indeed


Every now and then I read an article from the atlantic. This time it’s another priggish hissy fit about Tech’s diversity problem. The giblet-man author begins:

“An anonymous Google software engineer’s 10-page fulmination against workplace diversity was leaked from internal company communications systems, including an internal version of Google+, the company’s social network, and another service that Gizmodo, which published the full memo, called an ‘internal meme network.'”

A 10 page fulmination, says the delicate journalist. If it’s anti-diversity then it’s violent. It’s not possible to be critical of diversity initiatives without being violent, explosive, unhinged and fascistic. No one may express disapproval or skepticism of relentless campaigns to push women into tech fields. It’s settled, it’s inarguable. Either you believe there should be more women in tech or you’re an oppressor, toxic and rotten, a misogynist. You’re also a racist because there are even fewer minorities than women in tech fields and that’s your fault too, with your objective standards and adherence to reality.

The presstitute quotes the anti-diversity “screed”: “’I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes, and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.’”

How disgusting. Reprehensible. Utterly vile, shocking, archaic, medieval. After all the progress we’ve made as a society, how could anyone entertain the barbaric possibility that men and women are different, and that some of those differences might express themselves in unequal outcomes in certain professions and positions?

We already know by media fiat that men and women have exactly the same interests and aptitudes. Wherever they are found diverging, it’s because of conditioning, harmful social attitudes, patriarchal oppression, toxic culture, rape and intimidation.

The anti-diversity writer makes a qualified statement, he tentatively proposes a merely possible explanation for the lack of women in tech, and his speculation is taken as evidence itself for why women are underrepresented. The possibility that women have less interest in programming because of their biology may be correct or not, but the point is that it’s not up for debate. If there’s not a perfectly balanced distribution of jobs, prestige and wealth among all the races and genders then the cause is always discrimination.

And this discrimination is to be combated with shaming, condemnation and always more funding. More money and more voices to convince women that they can program just as well as men, and that they should want to program even if their biological instincts are nudging them in other directions. Here’s more limp-wristed hand wringing from our precious diversity pusher:

“The memo has drawn rage and dismay since its appearance Saturday, when it was first reported by Motherboard. It seemed to dash hopes that much progress has been made in unraveling the systemic conditions that produce and perpetuate inequity in the technology industry. That includes increasing the distribution of women and minorities in technical jobs, equalizing pay, breaking the glass ceiling, and improving the quality of life in workplaces that sometimes resemble frat houses more than businesses.

These reactions to the screed are sound, but they risk missing a larger problem: The kind of computing systems that get made and used by people outside the industry, and with serious consequences, are a direct byproduct of the gross machismo of computing writ large. More women and minorities are needed in computing because the world would be better for their contributions—and because it might be much worse without them.”

Well, there you have it. No argument, no reasoning and no data. Systemic conditions are the cause of inequity in the tech industry. I haven’t yet seen one of these pious nitwits begin to define such a nebulous pseudo-concept as a systemic condition. From what I can tell it means nothing more than “white men are at fault.”

Also, am I dumb or did this dickless twiddler say “direct byproduct”? What in the fuck is a direct byproduct? Is that like a necessary accident? Looks like another example of a journalist employing sloppy language that no one noticed because he hit all the correct points about shaming the guys club in the tech industry. I can imagine the checked out editor, skimming with glazed eyes, overlooking the confused language and hackneyed phrasing because it suits his reality defying agenda.

Who cares about the quality of the writing. This is about social justice. We’ll let a hack writer dismember the english language just as we’ll mangle the workplace to satisfy our fevered need for equality. And how does gross machismo have anything to do with a computing system? What is the connection? Again, no argument, just assertion. How could you look at a computing system and say, “yep, gross machismo produced this one.” It makes no sense. Apparently this journalist also has the programming expertise to detect machismo in a system.

Not that this is my favorite angle, but how is that not a sexist and insulting statement? If mostly men made it then it’s a product of gross machismo, an egalitarian and universalist argument if ever there was one. He also says that some workplaces resemble frat houses more than businesses. What evidence does he provide and what would even count as evidence for such a mincing, catty assertion? Did he go to a programming facility and find the programmers doing keg stands?

Finally, what evidence is there for the idea that the world will be better for the contributions of women and minorities? Yet another self-righteous declaration without argument. If women and minorities are just like white men, if they have the exact same capabilities and interests, then why does it even matter if they’re included? What would they do differently or improve in the industry if they’re the same apart from social pressure and conditioning? If they are in fact different then why should we automatically assume that they’ll improve the industry?

The article tediously continues in the same vein, alternating back and forth between social constructivist declarations and essentialist assumptions. If women aren’t performing exactly like men it’s because of systemic conditions. But at the same time we need the specific perspectives and skills of women because they’re…different from men somehow? The ambitious incoherence of the progressive program is suggestive of a mental illness, religion and totalitarianism. I don’t see any science or philosophy in these rote exercises of outrage and cretinous calls for more diversity.

Women might not want to be programmers because programming is grinding, inhuman labor. Even if you determined that women have the same programming potential as men they might still freely decide to pursue other professions. If you don’t like that outcome and you say that women must be forced into programming roles, then what would that make you? We want a society where people are free to do what they want, unless it contradicts our maniacal design of numerically equal representation in all fields. 

At some point we should consider the possibility that people don’t seek certain jobs for personal, private reasons. Some jobs are not meant for some people. I’m not saying that I definitively know that women in general are incapable of programming. The subtle point I want our enlightened progressives to grasp is that lack of representation isn’t necessarily a sign of discrimination or an oppressive social structure. If someone is capable of doing a job but decides to do something else, it’s not always because he was deterred by a hostile workplace climate in need of radical reform.

Most people don’t want to do most jobs because work is an evil visited upon us by a vengeful god. You’d have to be looking through a rather twisted, paranoid frame to assume that someone doesn’t want to do something because someone else is holding them back. There are other possible explanations. It could be that the work itself is repellant and crushing. But until we see women suffering in the exact same manner as men, dying on the battlefield, toiling and typing ten hours a day, engaged in mind numbing, back breaking labor, blasting rock formations, laying concrete and sliding off ice fishing ships into the frigid arctic, then we still haven’t reached the promised land of true equality and diversity.

Stop the presses

It was beautiful to watch Stephen Miller crush the sophists at the white house press briefing. They had no arguments in their arsenal and no principles to shield themselves from Miller’s masterful verbal assault. It was an instructive display of what makes journalists so loathsome: the squirming pretension, the irrelevant interjections, the flaccid attempts at rebuttal.

They were shrill and ineffectual, vapid and unfocused. Immigration reform has to be opposed, it has to be racist, Trump is trampling on the values of this country, this nation of immigrants. Beyond their automated, fatuous objections and their snide insinuations they had nothing. Miller pissed all over them and they had to sit and swallow it.

These people are not intellectual heavyweights; they’ve forgotten that they have no authority. Although they’re getting more reminders lately. They’re reporters and not thinkers. Minions of multiculturalism and not serious scholars.

They’re increasingly useless and increasingly desperate to maintain their prestige and power in a world growing more and more contemptuous of their ignorant flailing, their hysterical and inept antics. They snottily tried to catch trump in a contradiction. Would he also follow the rules of the proposed immigration reform and refrain from employing mexican lawnmowers at his resorts and hotels?

Miller answered by citing the words of the president: as a business owner trump is obligated to follow the law and as the president he is obligated to work for the betterment of the american people. This is something the soulless strivers and rootless bug people seem unable to understand.

In their arid worldview, it’s impossible for Trump to care about the american people. He’s just a rapacious businessman, a con artist duping the rubes. His presidency is another one of his scams, the crowning achievement of his huckstering. Trump became the president to cut himself inside deals and enlarge his fortune. The inane freak-out over russia follows from this deluded, self aggrandizing suspicion. The unintelligentsia calls out the corruption that the american people are too befuddled to notice.

But Trump became the president because he wants to improve the lives of actual americans. Citizens of this country. Not citizens of the world or illiterate and unskilled foreigners. Not transnational corporations, oligarchs, plutocrats, international bureaucrats, refugees, terrorists, mexican gangs, criminals or drug cartels.

He’s already made all the money he could ever need or want. And rather than rest on his fortune in the sunset years of his life, he decided to fight for the people who’ve been overlooked, maligned and mocked by an odious class of disloyal elites and their lickspittle media. He’s going to war against an insidious enemy out of his own gratitude for decent americans, the hard working stock scorned and left behind.

But the sarcastic, smug press can’t fit this fundamental fact into their vacant heads. They fail to see how they’ve lost control of public opinion. Miller, with the patience of a teacher watching over a pack of retards, repeated that the reform is overwhelmingly popular with americans. The polling data show that a majority of americans want this reform. And who could argue against raising immigration standards, especially when it has broad support among the american people?

The spectacle of squeezing the deposed tastemakers. Seeing them writhe, put in a cramped position where they have to argue against an american majority and against growing the economy. But what about republican senators who oppose this bill? Miller reminds them again that the majority of americans support it. Who do the republicans serve? If they want to oppose a piece of legislation approved by a large portion of their constituents, they reveal where their true loyalties lie.

A final, feeble objection: What about that poem tacked onto the statue of liberty by a marxist jew? Doesn’t it write into law that our doors shall remain perpetually wide open to the castaways of the world?

Think for a moment about the mental depth of this print jockey who thinks he’s putting forth a substantial counterpoint, whose argument on immigration can be reduced to a couple lines cribbed from a poem on a statue that wasn’t mean to symbolize immigration. America is a land of exiles, it says so right on this statue, says the unrooted reporter. We have to do what it says. The constitution can be ignored or transformed, it’s a living document, but there’s no amending that poem on a statue.

We’ve reached an inverted state of the affairs when a jew has to accuse a journalist of being a cosmopolitan. That’s a world turned on its head. The journalists will try to turn this slur against Miller and link his use of the word to nazi crimes. But they already overplayed their hand and they’ll fail to convince anyone outside the diehards, the committed lunatics. Cry nazi again and see if anyone normal cares, you winded shills.

The cosmopolitan journalist revealed his globetrotting bias and Miller repeatedly spanked him and made him look like an ignorant child. A black woman babbled incoherently about targeting the african american community. Miller handled it with grace and efficiency. He spoke clearly and demonstratively throughout the briefing.

He made a good case for widely supported legislation, but still he was opposed by the fluffers of the elite. The semi-literate lackeys had to get in their lubed up opposition act and preen their oily, alien virtue before a man speaking on behalf of the american people. It didn’t look good.

Evolution isn’t what it used to be

Finally finished the 10,000 year explosion. Humans adapted to agriculture faster than I read this book. Not because it’s dense. It’s rather breezy for the subject. But I’m so often distracted that I can’t blaze through a book even when it’s about the evolutionary roots of genetic differences among races. As a good racist I want scientific support for my intuitive understanding.

We have educated ourselves out of recognizing and accepting the obvious. And now we need renegade experts and evolutionary science to convince us of plain reality. The godless, egalitarian numb-nuts who mock supernatural explanations for natural phenomena also blame disparate racial development on mysterious, phantasmic forces. Systemic racism is the secular, antiracist equivalent to satan, an invisible, pervasive power that only the anointed can sense and oppose.

When an old religious fool got caught in bed with another man’s wife, he might excuse himself by saying “the devil made me do it.” Similarly, when a noble dindu torches his own city, he’ll likely pardon himself with the charge,”white supremacy made me do it.”

Science is the solution to backwards beliefs unless it happens to confirm them. Then it’s no longer science but more bigotry masking itself in truth. Just like in the old days when racialist beliefs were commonplace in the scientific community. Those old racist scientists, with their discovery of evolution and their innovations in math, physics and chemistry were only doing real science when they weren’t noticing certain traits and patterns in different races.

We’ll take the speed and efficiency of modern transportation, we’ll take the comforts of electricity, heating and plumbing, we’ll take life saving procedures, vaccines and medicines, we’ll take the entertainment and convenience of advanced electronics and communication systems, but we’ll reject the racist overrepresentation of europeans in modern science and technological innovation.

Thanks to centuries of progress, we now know that some truths are dangerous. The hope that science will free humanity has turned into the fear that it could also reinforce domination. Science must be reigned in and used strictly for egalitarian and democratic ends. There’s no such thing as a neutral or objective investigation, so if you aren’t liberating the underserved then you’re burdening them with destructive ideas and disempowering data. Uncontrolled scientific exploration leads to the atom bomb and IQ statistics. One pulverizes a population and the other makes black kids feel bad about themselves. Only one is to be prevented at all costs.

But even so, egalitarian dogmas are beginning to disintegrate. Heretical scientists and dissident scholars are refusing to repeat progressive lies. They’re charging forward with their instruments and intellects into forbidden territory that used to be publicly shared space where people could talk freely about what stared them in the face.

For the impassioned materialistic idealist, evolution is the perfect theory for dispelling the religious spirit and relegating superstition to the trash heap of history. Up until 200,000 years ago, or maybe 40,000 years ago, evolution explains the development of the natural world and the descent of humans from their apish ancestors. But then evolution grinds to a halt and all humans emerge exactly alike, cut from an identical cloth. From then until this present moment evolution hasn’t touched our genes or shaped our biology. Natural selection decided to focus elsewhere and left us to remain unchanged for the rest of time.

Other species changed, environments changed, but we didn’t. Evolution would take much longer to act on us, they said. Much longer than the 40 or 50 thousand years since our genes were set in the modern stone they remains stuck in to this day. So if we end up with different populations of humans with different levels of social complexity then evolution through natural selection fails as an explanation. There must be some other force operating on these populations that makes them seem superficially divergent.

Once you have agriculture, you also have settlements, storage and excess population. And once you have those things, you have hierarchy, scarcity and inequality. Power takes shape and unevenly distributes resources and rights. Those who rise to the top get all the grain. The few prosper and the many languish.

But biology never budges under the pressure of cultural, social and historical change. Societies develop and technology advances but our underlying genetic material remains firmly wedged where it was before we started planting seeds in the ground.

We weren’t designed to digest wheat or live in stratified societies, so the paleolithic reasoning goes. We’re anatomically identical to humans 200,000 years ago, and we’re meant to live in small egalitarian bands, eat mostly meat and idle the greater part of the day away fucking and painting and whittling flint. And occasionally sinking an ax into a rival group member’s skull.

It was nothing like the organized warfare of civilized humanity. With the genes of wandering hunter gatherers we pack ourselves into crowded, polluted cities, fight over artificially withheld resources, gnaw on indigestible grain and chug cow’s milk. No wonder we’re physically and mentally ill, plagued by civilizational discontent. Rapidly evolving technology and scientific progress only intensify the disturbances of agriculture and urbanization.

But if africans haven’t contributed much to science and technology then the cause can’t be biological. Because europeans and africans are the same underneath their polarized pigmentation. And european innovation must spring not from who they are and what they’re made of, but rather who they’re oppressing.

Culture causes europeans to hold down africans, indians, asians and pygmies. It’s a uniquely european culture of exploitation and racism, of plunder and slavery found nowhere else on earth. But culture is merely fashion, culinary habits, traditions, artistic styles, religious practices, beliefs and history interwoven with climate and environment floating freely above the unchangeable realm of hard genetic determinism.

If it’s only culture that generates unequal outcomes in different races then that’s an easy fix. The only thing standing in the way of a quick cultural transformation that would level the civilizational playing field is hideous, monstrous racism, which is not based in nature and only happens to flow in one direction; from whites at the top down to everyone else.

A few scientists are waking up to the idea that maybe evolution doesn’t take millions of years to adjust a few heritable traits. Maybe there’s no set pace to adaptation, and different environments and different selection mechanisms yield variable rates of genetic change. But then that might mean that over the last 10,000 civilized, wheat eating years, various endogamous populations have emerged and developed markedly distinctive societies and unique, inherited alleles that express themselves in recognizable patterns of culture and behavior.

Such a possibility is nearly unthinkable. To ponder it is to come dangerously close to condoning a racial caste system.

Having evolved in a different environment under different selection pressures, amerindians were biologically unprepared to fight off diseases brought by the invading europeans. The europeans were also culturally alien and threatening to the amerindians, but without the underlying genetic difference of radically lackluster immune systems, the amerindians could have put up a a much stronger fight.

No one would suggest that resistance to disease is a cultural construction or a narrative open to critique and revision. Even egalitarians can grasp that immune systems are determined through evolutionary adaption and not through the particular manner a group weaves its baskets or sing its songs. So if evolution conditions whether or not a group can fight off exotic pathogens, why would it stop short of also forming intelligence and morality?

According to the currently enlightened, the heavy hand of evolution molds the molecular structure of the human body in rough accord with its environment and then hangs back and lets arbitrary culture take over and finish the job. This explanation spares the tender feelings of people who identify themselves with their group and don’t want to be judged by the general characteristics of their type.

But no one takes offense to the fact that members of their own group are more likely to contract certain diseases. No one thinks that averages apply to every individual when it comes to certain traits. You could tell a black person that blacks are genetically predisposed to sickle cell anemia and they probably wouldn’t take offense (at least I think) and they also probably wouldn’t assume that it meant that they themselves had sickle cell anemia.

Genetic predisposition to disease is relevant to medicine, and genetic predisposition to stupidity and barbarity are relevant to civilization. When giant piles of tax money are involved, it’s useful to understand group behavior, evolutionary history and biological tendencies. An appreciation of social dynamics and realistic rates of genetic change could add clarity to conversations and inform policy decisions.

And it’s also interesting for its own sake, even if it has no utilitarian value.

The ashkenazi jews are smarter than any other group in the world. They were subjected to accelerated selection pressures that changed their genes in a few hundred years. Prior to the middle ages they were not known for their brains. Greek and roman histories don’t mention jewish intelligence and it wasn’t until the modern era that jews began to dominate math, science and literature. So the meaningful genetic changes occurred between the early middle ages and the late 19th century.

Because they were forbidden from marrying out of their group and also barred from less cognitively demanding jobs, natural selection worked quickly to raise their general intelligence while ignoring their physical fitness. In the middle ages almost no ashkenazi were laborers or smiths and almost all of them worked in finance or law, as middle men, lenders and tax collectors. Intermarriage would have diluted the inherited intellectual powers of the jews, but they didn’t allow it and strangely enough no one else wanted to marry and breed with them.

Over the next few hundred years their verbal and mathematical abilities increased and their spatial and visual skills declined. This is why jews are crawling all over journalism, academia, law, science and finance and absent in athletics, sculpture and painting. In some cases it doesn’t take long for evolution to work its magic. Biological difference is manifested in culture and shaped over time by cultural and environmental influences. Social sanction has an effect on underlying genetic condition, but biological material still supplies the stock to be worked over by more superficial social forces.

As a case in point: I doubt that if we banned blacks from basketball that in a couple hundred years they’d be leading the field of quantum physics. But that might just be my bigotry thinking for me.

Ashkenazi are also prone to deadly genetic conditions related to their superior intelligence. When explaining jewish predisposition to the horrors of Tay-Sachs, it would be clownish to suggest a merely cultural cause. But when we want to explain their elevated cognitive abilities then we still hesitate to invoke biology; it’s the talmud and their celebration of hair splitting scholarship, you antisemite. How dare you suggest there is something internally different or special about the jews. Unless you want to adore them.

Yes, centuries of rewarding effeminate quibblers and scribblers with prestige and reproductive opportunities might just create a biological baseline of higher than average intelligence and lower than average athletic ability. Not that we should ever seek scientific and rational confirmation of harmful stereotypes. It’s better to be wrong for the right reasons. At some point reality will catch up to our advanced ideas.

The idea of evolution working on human biology in the last 10,000 years is treated as a scandal. It invites swift denial, deflection, and automatic accusation. Everyone knows right where scientific investigation into human biological difference leads: the gas chamber or the plantation.

Only a slave driving nazi would consider a scientific inquiry into the biological underpinnings of observable characteristics because we might find that we can’t swiftly fix civilizational imbalances with policies and social engineering. And so entire fields and disciplines are tightly circumscribed, researchers and scientists handicapped and hamstrung, and piles of money narrowly funneled into party approved channels.

There has to be a safe middle ground of philosophical thought and scientific study between egalitarian chicanery and ethnic genocide. There must be some way to consider different needs and inclinations of incompatibly evolved peoples without overheating and shutting down. We should be free to admit uncomfortable truths without ruining our careers and tentatively discuss painful information without meltdowns and freak outs.

But this might be too much to ask.

Speed freak

Driving around Indianapolis looking for a house and a job. My sister needs her car but I need it too. Can’t stay at home. I love my parents and the house where I grew up but there’s nothing to do. I’m not a tradesman so I can’t start a business, can’t live at home and fix people’s plumbing or install electronics. Also don’t want to work in a gas station or a stone mill.

Specialty coffee is all I know. It’s a luxury good, a frivolous expenditure. But this is how we live, beyond our means with inflated, unsustainable tastes. Desire buries need; enough is never enough. We could all drink toilet water coffee for twenty cents a cup but once you get that taste of sweet orange in a shot of espresso you can’t go back.

The cheap commercial brands, the stuff you make at home tastes like charcoal and exhaust. Your intestines convulse and you sweat. It’s unclean energy, gut rattling swill good enough for the common man, the laborer, the manufacturer, the man who shapes matter with his callused hands.

I’m not that man. I built my muscle in a gym instead of hauling logs and carrying cinder blocks, tussling with steel and concrete in dangerous conditions. I tore my hands gripping iron bars in a surrogate struggle with weight and gravity. In this hyper developed world there’s no such thing as scarcity, only frustration. And there’s a limit to what’s lacking but no end to the upsetting. The irritating is infinitely expansive.

Highway 37 is under construction and the speed limit is 45. Orange cones lined up for miles. I’m driving and thinking about how the orange is psychologically straining. Driving in a car that isn’t mine that I could never build or fix if it broke down on a road I also didn’t build and would hate to work on and my thoughts center on what I find inconvenient and stressful about my magically smooth and unearned journey. The easier everything is the more anxious I become, the harder I look for difficulty and disturbance. If I were paid to complain I’d be a wealthy man.

I’m in downtown indianapolis in a renovated theater with a coffee shop. I need a job to get a house but I need a house to get a job. The only way this will work is with a lie. Yes I have a job or yes I have a place to live when I don’t. Hope the landlord doesn’t call the boss I don’t have. It’s a structure of impossibility. You need years of experience for an entry level position, you need to already know people to get to know the people you need to know.

But you have a degree, they say. That’s important, that’s relevant somehow. You can work in an office doing data entry. I can’t even imagine that as a daily activity. What is data entry. What are these office jobs, sitting all day in front of a computer, working with files and typing and consulting and talking to people on the phone. Going to meetings and spacing out, taking notes or pretending to take notes, writing poetry and doodling on scrap paper while a manager drones and points at charts.

The service industry is dirty and stressful and it pays poorly but you make tangible goods with your hands. There’s something to be said for that. You see the effect of what you do immediately. You’re present for the reaction of your customers and you know if you’ve done a good job or not. You have the power to change a person’s day. Otherwise it’s typing and and entering data, hours and hours of doing something that leaves no trace, that feels like nothing by the end of the day. There’s more money in your account and less time left in your life and that’s all you know for sure.

It’s like writing anonymously on the internet. There’s no feedback and you have no idea what you need to do to become better. People want to give you advice on your life but the point is how do you get better at writing, how do you write well, how do you develop a voice and perfect the craft. It’s just silence on the other end. But that’s what you deserve because it’s not like you’re teaching and encouraging other people either. Give what you get, so you get nothing.

It’s gratifying to help someone enjoy a little bit of luxury before they’re back in their office, typing and talking on the phone doing the thing you think you should be doing because you have a degree. You went to school to learn about history or literature because you thought you cared about those subjects and everyone encouraged you to do what you loved. Now those subjects don’t matter and you don’t need to know anything about them. You can start a blog and blather about elizabethan poetry or the real roots of fascism, what you think trump should do or what he shouldn’t do. Try to write literature without creating characters or thinking up plots so you lift material from your life and pretend it’s a story.

40,000 dollars, insuperable debt to know more about early modern philosophy and poststructuralism than the average person. Good luck having a conversation with anyone about what you learned in school that doesn’t make them want to punch you or make you want to punch yourself. Knowledge is power except for everything you happen to know, then it’s just annoying and depressing.

When you get a degree you show prospective employees that you’re compliant and dependable. You finish what you start even if it’s worthless, even if it’s an elaborate scam sucking up resources and precious non-renewable time. Trade away at least four years of your life to show people you’re serious about being told what to do. You show those companies you don’t care what you do as long as they’re willing to pay you until they pay indians or mexicans or robots to do it for less.

I’ve had too much espresso and I have nowhere to go. This is the last day I can borrow my sister’s car and then I’m stuck at home. What do people do when they don’t have money. Better prepare myself for my new life as a gas station attendant. I worked at a gas station when I was 20. It was a third shift job and I remember coming home at 7 am and watching everyone else waking up and getting ready to start their day. The sunrise was my sunset. I smoked weed out of an apple and slept through the day. It should have propelled me towards a real career but at 31 I’m on my way back to that mean existence. Ten years to work my way back into an old rut.

With all the time in the world

It’s a painfully beautiful day. Sunlight shimmering on tremulous leaves, fluffy white clouds painted on a piercing blue canvas. The sky stabs me with its indifferent brilliance. In these tranquil moments I transcend my worries, my merely human concerns. And I wonder why it’s not enough to eat, sleep, fuck and die like everything else in nature.

Because there’s status and envy and desire and all the tormenting, soul twisting passions. Mortality, awareness like a wound that doesn’t heal. We’re born sick, sentenced to aimless freedom, every step haunted by the arbitrary. Why this and not that, why now and not before, why you and not someone else.

As a child I would lay awake and puzzle over my identity. I couldn’t understand what made me this particular person and not someone or something else. At an early age I sensed separation within myself. There was a part of me in nature, a natural being, a body with organs and functions, a history and a name, an object visible to other people. And then there was another part that wasn’t a part at all. It had no precise location but it seemed to come from somewhere inside my head. It watched the solid, material part of me and introduced uncertainty into every moment, into every act.

But I couldn’t see the source of my vision. I wasn’t outside myself in objectivity, in action and reaction, and neither was I at home inside, in thought, consciousness and contemplation. A body cursed with spirit and a spirit soiled with a body. I felt like a passage, a movement between reality and unreality. Not from here but with no destination either.

You don’t solve these mysteries. You stay alive and become insensitive, you forget. I can barely articulate the philosophical speculations of my childhood, when I was a precociously penetrating thinker. I know much more about the world but I can’t feel the intensity of those meditations anymore.

Nature is heavenly to behold but hellish to be a part of. I no longer feel the loss of who I was, instead I note it like a piece of history. The sun is setting on this tauntingly pretty day and I can’t find the words to describe those old questions that used to keep me awake in the middle of the night. I’m too tired to be an insomniac; I sleep so deeply I don’t remember my dreams. I’ve failed to say what I want to say yet again. My only consolation is knowing it doesn’t matter either way.