Sunday, September 6, 2009

In the cold light of the Hyperborean sun.

The past week has been rough. A chill wind from the winter had hidden in a drawer and escaped while I folded laundry. I stared at my e-mail inbox, with another open-ended rejection, reinforcing my belief that I'd be better off a castrated hermit living on the side of a mountain, subsisting on dirt and prayer, or covering my face in lacerations so that all of the middle-aged hausfraus who tell me I'm beautiful can shut the fuck up and stop imagining me in poses designed for Harlequin book covers. Once more I feel better off as the King of Jerusalem, the hideous leper in a gold mask, sexlessly meandering the halls and appreciating beauty like a eunuch, because God forbid that I seek romantic love or display an active sex drive, that I display the level of rancor I have toward the general ignorance of the world, and the smug superiority of those who stare down their nose at those who lack their particular insecure quality of banner-waving, that I seriously do not care about the useless details that fill the air with banal, soul-crushing chatter.

However, it's the easy, stupid way out to spit bile and justify the emotional defensiveness of the world. It's too easy to release all of this on some poor, unsuspecting individual set on their path in life, thus becoming that smug sense of superiority so despised. The cycle continues: showing oneself causes the other to recoil or misunderstand, and thus retreat digs one further back, propelled in reverse like a nautilus from a hungry octopus, further and further back until an unrecognizable speck in the sea, even more inscrutable and dismissable than before, to begin the cycle again. Those who care stop looking at the person and instead begin smothering, selfishly throwing themselves into realms of admiration and guilt, shrieking for approval and validation for inconsequential acts from a source that finds the whole affair sickening, coddling and crushing it like a lapdog.

I wouldn't feel this much vituperation if I didn't have an equal amount of veneration. The two extremes seem irreconcilable. Perhaps it's from a lack of self-cultivation, a lack of socialization or just because I'm a hypocritical douchebag, but I still find myself alienated from just about everyone. In every circle I've attempted to join, I've felt disinterest in the internal secret handshakes and the pursuit of their social cues, left out in discussions that revolve around experiences shared by core members and unconsciously yet persistently marginalized and invalidated, especially by those who claim friendship (a repeating pattern). Much as I enjoy the individual company of many people, the larger body, the clique, the banner will, by the devices of myself or another, cast me into the outskirts and render me irrelevant.

The human animal is, by nature, a social one. We're formed too awkwardly and too weakly to subsist on an individual agenda, and thus we seek collective clustering to form a superorganism, which have applications as irrelevant and diverse as computer usage, political inclination, genetic heritage, athletic inclination, stylistic/aesthetic inclination, and so on. Competition has greatest strength when intercollective, with intracollective or individual competition serving to excise weak/sick elements from the collective. A human being can take only so much rejection of the collective, initiated by self or other, before pondering the relevance of its being.

In the mire of all of these conflictions, I began to question: why don't I want to die? Why do I want to stay alive? Why can I not fathom leaping in front of an oncoming vehicle like I used to? Why can't I shut myself out from the prospect of the pain and madness I'd cause my father? Do I have some other reason to stay around than simple financial obligation? If so, why don't the people closest to me seem to want me around? Why do I have to rely on a mentally ill person to provide me with the facsimile a familial setting that each day reminds me more and more of my actual familial setting in which I spent endless amounts of time taking care of my physically ill mother whose death was a tempest of guilt and relief? If I seek acceptance and independence, why do I put only nominal amounts of energy into finding a more substantial form of employment? Why do I avoid the idea of taking medication? Why do I worry about the time that I spent living instead of carving myself into pieces to achieve some basic form of credibility, when I really, really don't give a flying fuck how many degrees a person has? If, somehow, all of my decisions and inclinations are valid, then why can't I see the point of my existence? Why can't I get some kind of reward, some kind of kick-back or signpost to let me know what I'm doing right or doing wrong in the cosmic scheme of things? I mean, even Peter Parker, who has a shitty life, gets to be Spider-Man at the end of the day. Where's my reason to be here?

I felt okay, this morning. My emotions were level, and I was happy to see the cats, and as far as I can tell, they were happy to see me. Cats, especially those belonging to someone else, are a pretty poor barometer. They'll forget you exist when you leave the building, and it won't have much consequence on their life if you disappear. Either way, I can make a cat genuinely happy through my actions and observe it, and that brings some validation. I went through my ritual of heading to the coffee shop to do... whatever it is I've decided to do there while guzzling stimulants. Today saw me nestled into research, where I came across some astrological articles of Dana Gerhardt's regarding Venus and the Moon. Maybe it was the subject matter, the music playing at the time (The Rapture's "Been Down for So Long"), the caffeine, or that my brain chemistry reached a breaking point, but I remembered how I felt reading All-Star Superman. Somehow, that story got it into my head that whatever it is that Superman represents, the working-class superhero, the avatar of Vishnu, or any other thing that doesn't matter, that symbol, that primary-colored farmboy from space believes in us. It's the same feeling I got as a kid when I thought about Santa Claus. Much as people would say that Santa had a naughty/nice list or wouldn't give presents to non-believers or some exclusionist hateful shit like that, the real spirit behind both Superman and Santa Claus is that if we let them, if we just, for a minute, drop the skepticism and the snide barriers we've set up to be a rebellious teenager, we're fully permitted to think that there's something out there that believes in whatever we do, that believes we can be great, that loves every single one of us even when we turn our noses up at the red briefs or the jingle-bells. Don't get me wrong: I still hate most Christmas music with a fire that could completely sublimate the polar ice caps into perennial storm clouds, but with the Fortress at the South Pole and Workshop at the North, I'd rather ignore them entirely and learn to just do what I do with the full belief that something bigger than anyone I know, anything I can conceive believes in me, and has wished a happy ending for all of us if we'll have it. If we won't, it still believes we know what we're doing. Ha.

2 comments:

13 Muluc said...

I hear you, Ben. It's a pickle. On the one hand, you know deep down that you are a spiritual being who chose to be here and experience this. This is what stops you from topping yourself. On the other hand, it is this very knowledge, and the attendant alienation caused by a society incapable of nurturing it that makes you want to top yourself. If you could only succeed in disbelieving the first part, you'd not suffer from the second. I've been there and I still visit occationally. Most of the time, I manage to avoid resenting what is. It just doesn't help. What's more relevant is deciding how to deal with it. I figure I'll be dead soon enough. In the meantime, (and as a sideline to my main goal of knowing Truth), I'm going to do whatever I can to subvert "the system" and cause it and it's representatives as much discomfort as I can without unduly adding to my own. I expect your creativity could find plenty of expression in such pursuits.
In Lak'ech.

B.L.Donnelly said...

Try your hand at fiction, if you haven't already. You're a very good writer, with a brain like a laser beam.