Its all quite wonderful really, this life thing, isn’t it?
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- The World According To Keates
- The den of the little microbiologist
- The random scribblings of a diseased imagination
- Visiting Atheist
- nathanielho :: blog
- á la discothèque
January 29, 2007
So here I am, no longer afraid of work but now only doing enough to get by, still leaving that comfortable buffer zone between myself and that elusive thing referred to as self actualisation. This is due to a new found love of a peculiarly self destructive brand of hedonism and a voracious and defeating skepticism which destroys all but the most minimal mental crutches on which one could build a life.
So now the time comes to choose something to do when I leave university, and the more I think about it the more concretised and clearly delineated comes the block which obscures my vision of the future. For some, this presents itself as an exciting challenge- something through which to carve a fulfulling and achievable career. Naah, Im never going to be that person.
One problem emerges: I am inherantly opposed to fulfillment.
For me, the block becomes the cornerstone of an intricate mental prison I create and maintain with each moment of consciousness. Partly due to the ability of a philosophy degree to demolish the mental structures I clung to, I create with self mocking delight an intricate objection to nearly all careers.
In order to escape the vertiginous moral consequences of anything like law or the civil service (urgh urgh) I have decided to opt instead for something consisting of (relatively) simple ethical relations such as medicine or nursing. This is possibly what may be referred to as a philosophical cop out if I were feeling in a reductive mood, which I am. Not itself but perhaps in terms of my reasons for choosing such careers. I trick myself that despite the fact that our society needs people do to all these different jobs I am more virtuous as I don’t wish to tread other people under and struggle for power and kudos in the rat race. This is a half truth; I impotently and jealously hate anyone in power, suggesting my desire to be in a politically influential arena such as this but also despise motivatedness and the lack of self doubt endemic in such people. This is partly a projection of my own neuroses, it is eaiser to bicker at the sidelines than to particpate and fail. I am undoubtedly a member of the herd who embitteredly throws barbed comments at the suited and briefcased people of the world.
This mental tick is especially tricky to shift in a neurotically self rightchous 22 year old with a penchant for despair:
I am better than most other people as I do not think I am better than other people.
This thought is usually followed up by ‘oh christ, that doesn’t work hmmm but yet I am so attracted by the reassurance it offers, lets just forget about logic and how vane I am’.
My unstable mood also means at low points I lurch into self destruction to cleave the mental numbness and affirm the fact that I exist, this make positions of responsibility seem unwise, so there goes my simple ethical relations. Yet somehow I still believe what I do in life should be useful and helpful to others however impossible this task begins to seem. I love humanity and yet am unable to face it so console myself with all encompassing abstract visions of the goodness of the universe. This may be a hollow idol but yet it is something I can lean on and lever myself out of bed in the morning by.
Of course all this means Im giving up philosophy as soon as possible, the equisite torment it offers me is not something which my constitution is able to bear. I feel the questions it poses within me as sensation, this leaves me unable to write a clear essay or say much about it. It troubles me in a way that causes me to wish to flee from its prying eyes, in time I will forget and return to ordinary consciousness; perhaps one day I will even be capable of making decisions regarding the weekly shop without envoking the free will vs determinism thought. Wow, actually better retract that- don’t want to get ahead of myself.
I love philosophy like you would the bad guy, I know its not good for me, won’t make me happy yet I follow it about, admittedly in a decidedly half arsed fashion, like a puppy. And its a reaaally bad guy, never calls, gets under your skin, RUINS you for any other subjects and life. But now Im giving up, its not worth it.
This leaves me with a question for Nietzsche: Is consolation really such a bad thing?
March 14, 2006
December 06, 2005
You have a new theory you would have said to him, you did even, but he was already waiting there, waiting not to listen. It was that pretentiousness was heroic as even if it didn't quite make it, it was aiming for something beautiful, honest, maybe painful. He called you pretentious, an appropriate use of the word. Yes you were obviously the pretentious one, the one whose words were bathetic, while he of course had that Kantian finesse. Your words weren't referenced so fell onto the table between you and were ignored. You write about him now as he's gone, gone untill you can ignore him in a chance meeting awkwardly because he makes you cringe and feel sick.
You write about him now as he has been edited out of a happy present. You toy with how successful erasing him completely would be, is the past's reappearance inevitable? Maybe its probable but has none of that certainty which would free you. You could live in order for it to be very unlikely. You decide to inflict the most insistent punishment and also, luckily for you, the one that offers the allusion that you haven't chosen it- silence. Silence as silence just confronts him with himself. You didn't realise you had such a malevolent side but every month of absent minded silence is sweet. You hope that you will forget this course of action and it will become like breathing. Silence is the final response to the questions posed during that time. You refuse to be the one who breaks it, to do that would be time travel, which is neither possible nor desirable.
November 22, 2005
November 19, 2005
The city was often obscured by a state of mind. The buildings given life, reluctantly by a jaded intelligence. It was just the right size and had the right level of incongruity for her to let herself believe that it unfurled itself in soley order for her to comprehend it. She found the vanity of this a cause for embarrassment. Fireworks especially had a strange affinity with her city, artificial fire which lit it in flashes and let it make sense, if only for a night.
Shut up in a first floor room, her thoughts swirled around her, an interior world projected onto its woodchipped walls. Her arrival had somehow awakened something of the frisson of childhood. That almost tangible sense of something beyond, indicative of a time when a mind is most able to project itself upon the world. Perhaps it had something to do with the orientation of the house and her room mirroring those where she spent the time when there almost was no time.
It felt so strange and yet exhilirating to think of recounting to another this inner world. She always had the urge to recede into the shadows with ambgiuity and an undertone of destruction. There was an urge to release this entity and leave herself bereft of the ability to control what it did from then on. It reminded her of having a helium balloon at the fair as a small child. She would always be advised to tie it tightly around a wrist but yet despite the inevitable scolding, she always longed to let go.
It only ever seemed an inadequate copy of the world she inhabited. A world which was altered and sqeezed into a form constructed from words. She was impelled to look at her own world with different eyes, divorced from those used to sustain herself. What was worth reporting from this particular mobile outpost, she could never be sure.
November 17, 2005
Writing as potential difference, voltage across two points. Bereft of the tension produced by longing, the spark which impels the stream of writing does not come.
You still have your loyal commitment to failiure of course. Not proper failiure truly- that would be too much of a success. No, you do your quiet almost-middle-class form of failiure. That withdrawing, absenting yourself from situations where you may have to prove yourself; exams, essays, creative endeavours. All this will be passed off as a fiction. You will not commit. That would make you vulnerable and would consist in that most vulgar of things- being sincere to yourself. Success also envoked that other most troubling spectre- closure. And the repeat performance.
There may not have been the couch and that particular silent other then, but that fear of endings and closure was ever present. The undammable tears at the end of The Snowman, such that the only option was for it to be shown on an eternal cycle of rewindings till your 5 year ild lids grew too heavy. The fear of the persistently held off possibility of the drill caused by my 8 year cavity-free run. And then there was the academic success. The growing conviction that this was all just an elaborate structure that was being erected for me to fall from. Potential difference rose not just in percentage points but across the synapses of an ever more disordered mind. So rather than fall, you jumped.
And how liberating it is finally, after they slowly put you back together, from within and without. Those fractured parts reformed into a whole, stronger for the marks of dissection it bears. The fall from the heights of perfection and a peculiar sort of idealism had a curious landing place. For your life then was all in your mind, a perfect non-entity, trivially true. You finally discovered that you may not be able to fail up there but then again you're also a blank page.
November 16, 2005
June 11, 2005
Fearometer: 2 – now there's time to worry about life, love and the universe- phew
A big part of this particular breed of fear you cultivate is vanity. You don't do the work because no eartly incarnation could possibly do justice to your brilliance. Your levels of self aggrandisement are gargantuan, so much so that like a house of cards, they crumble by virtue of their unbearable size. And so what started as self-adoration in its infancy turns to hatred. The most passionate love affair of your life is also the rockiest.
The pinnacle before the lows aren't being well, they are inextricably linked to the crash. As you can't possibly live up to the cherished portrait you hold of yourslelf, you hold yourself to ransom in fits of impotent rage, to show the world that you hold the power to destroy this unsatisfactory imposter. The only problem is the story of self hatred sounds so sweet and safe once you hear it fullly that you believe it. After all this voice doesn't ask anything of you, so you banish hateful vanity which drove you to live.
This kidnapping starts by a few throwaway self deprecating remarks, which impel contradictions from others at first, until they become reckless, worrying, and others fade from view and you are left alone. The chase ends in a back street when you're confronted by a cracked self in a mirror,unrecognisable.
So you claw things back. And come to realise that maybe the vanity of the past didnt deserve such disdain. It drove you on. And tempered and caged it must remain.
June 01, 2005
One of the most overwhelming things is happiness. A smile seems untenable, manic, like it could so easily stretch into a scream. Happiness is torture, ecstatic suffocation. Revision is somewhat difficult. The fear begs you to ask even if you grasped something as fully as possible, 'what now?'. You fear the pressure you would have to be pleased at success. Achievements are twisted to ring hollow and sonorous. You are guided through familiar thought patterns in a mind demarcated by electric wire which causes pain to transgress. So you sit, and time swirls around and beyond you.
But you weather the nausea of anxiety and walk into the buzzing strip-lit room with whatever could be retained in two hours' desperate revision. Revision, like packing an old suit case, with ideas falling by the wayside as you try to recall them. And two hourse elapses. Somehow something is scrawled on the page. A little suprised, you are channeled out between the rows of desks. There were times when to think of this moment was to tempt fate, maybe it always will be.
Granted a reprieve, you sit lulled and in love with the moment, the night. The fear is an unpredictable master. Thoughts flash like the moment crystalline slides are coloured with dye. Sometimes you remember these cease to fire and the only thing able to cleave the dulness is looking blankly at the poppy coloured spores, billowing like smoke under the cool water of your sink.
Just before the surrender of sleep under unclenched brow, perfect comfort and enclosure. You slip into unconsciousness, as unseeing eyes dart back and forth under heavy lids.
May 11, 2005
He was aware of the fact that she probably knew of the liaisons, and somehow this frustrated him, it had virtually become a sport to see how brazen he could be about it, the cruelty almost becoming as delicious as the act- and he intended sneeringly to flaunt his quarry this time with the limp tie he clasped. The malice in which he held his comfortable backdrop often barely concealed in his unguarded throwaway remarks. Head still swimming with the intoxicating cocktail of nicotine and cheap red wine, although it was no longer the sweet drunkenness of the night’s beginning but had rather metamorphosed somewhere in the white noise of the night’s background conversation into this self-indulgent state in which he always met himself again, a stark impenetrable figure, left there after the crowds dispersed at the end of a night.
His clothes hung dishevelled and stale, his polyester shirt causing static crackle as he shifted restlessly before finally slumping uneasily in the chair as he fixed upon the pointless, witless conversation, the self-conscious effort of each knowing smile and double-entendre as he edged closer in the uncontainable impetus he felt within him as he finally irresistibly clasped her flushed cheeks in his hands, playing out each others hackneyed role in this lethargic cliché.
Behind his satisfied schoolboy grin lay the notion scattered somewhere in the setting for this breathless fumble, the strewn files and blind computer monitors, that this was all his life’s momentum could sustain. The moment of blissful vulnerability fleeting and elusive, leaving only recurring apathy. All of the infinite possibilities chatted about behind the sixth form block in the shrouds of smoke from their contraband Silk Cut had been erased in favour of this one, an afterthought, a tangent to the life he returned to behind the phosphenes of his sunken eyelids.
The oppressive weight of disappointment felt almost palpable upon his chest as it inevitably did after he returned from one of his exploits. Some sort of chemical reaction across the synapses, an evolutionary quirk he surmised to censor these illogical urges which would ultimately lead towards disorder and disjunction. The amorphous desire for gratification, impossible to rationalise, a spark to cleave the numb tedium of his thoughts.
All that resided in the gloom was an ache for something other, lifting the veils over his weary pupils onto a life which didn’t make him feel so distasteful like the bitter metallic taste melding itself in his mouth. Perhaps he could finally seize this in his idle dreaming fantasy of inhabiting another self, living another life in another time frame, yet in the watery onset of morning the familiar form of the figure‘s outline always came immutably back into focus.
You do not have to fall into the tautology of succumbing. The forces of past events do not have to impact upon this eternally unfurling present. Each moment can be taken entirely in isolation you repaeat to yourself. Each one is a clean slate. Perhaps you will still be bound by threads from then, but they can be dissolved. A new legacy can be created.
The transition to this is fraught however. At first you try to fight everything, including sleep. The structures of day and night break down. And you dwell somewhere beyond either, eeking out a few hours before you are summoned back to a somnolent world, free of sensation and choice.
Motivation is an infrequent visitor, but when it arrives the urge to act is sometimes overwhelming. Like the ardent skeptic, you want so hard to believe that you sometimes crush it before it can establish itself. You're so used to the cushion of its absence you find it perplexing. All the things which may sustain it seem false crutches and contingencies; God, ambition, love. But acceptance of its fleeting nature is itself a reassurance.
And normality arrives only in installments
May 09, 2005
Things have come a long way, and so you feel its time to write something entirely positive, with none of those bittersweet overtones (ok a few). To be entirely honest life is good. You find beauty in the everyday, time does not entirely elude your grasp. Happiness is an awkward coat to wear but it fits better than it ever could that angry teary child alone in the cubicles. Then was not yet time.
Anxiety still clasps at your chest every now and again but somehow a sense of perspective has been added to the frame. The calm after the storm for the nerves is palpable. And it is not the saccharine calm of apathy, you realise now that life involves your involvement. Things do not ever do themselves, no matter how much you may will it. And it is thrilling to do them, affecting change is empowering. Actions are in the imperative.
To live like that was not to live, eyes wide open let in too much searing light. More viable is eyes half closed, as in the light of early morning. Some emotions must be censored in order to carry on. To be overwhelmed is life hiding from the oncoming flow. A degree of detachment may seem traitorous, but it is needed for preservation of everyday life.
Perhaps this state has also needed surrender, fighting against the tides from without made you weary and slip beneath the waves. To let go of shame and self castigation for the state things were in allows for more resources to battle the inner tides, those that must not be succumbed to.
This feeling of happiness is felt at the back of your throat, like a suppressed laugh. And perhaps thats what it is- a laugh at all the ridiculous beautiful spectacle of it all.
Fearometer: 5 (the marshmallow of apathy's powers are far ranging and mysterious)
I don't think I'll ever be able to separate the thought that the feeling of love or sadness is true with the haunting belief that i've talked myself into it. And maybe the two are indestinguishable. And so perhaps the only thing left is to trust things as they are, in the clarity of that one moment.
I sense that I am I just embarking on this or that as Im bored, as I have to fill my life with something, and entangle myself in it in some way. I get trapped and caffled and I realise that I am an irremovable in all this, which I somehow resent. I feel embarrassed doing this, like a small child, caught doing something forbidden. Although it all feels as an act, watching through one way glass is not allowed. Its an experiment which I am the subject of, the result of which I don't want to ever discover.
Chemical happiness is a wonderful thing – it gives you the motivation to do nothing at high speed. Which is, granted, a step forward. Although it is rather hard to blog whilst in that giddy state. Blogging alas, requires disinterested melancholy. You are lifted up above the course of life bustleing below. Everything is funny, although somehow less sweet. Things slide from view, how funny, how incredibly funny! You reach down, attempting to grasp hold of something below, just to relate to things on earth for a while, but they are just too far below…
And then the realisation
My mind is beautifully ruined.
April 26, 2005
Hello all you fantabulous people, please checkout the genius that is Mr Labond Gozey and his Bull Poetry
Fearometer: 5 (the pink marshmallow conquers the fear yet again!)
The strangest change overcomes you once you pass a little way out of the fear. Your previous life seems as a waking dream. A place which you recollect as in a photograph from childhood but have lost the map too. Of course it still stalks you from the shadowy periphery of your mind…where your field of vision ends there it dwells, biding its time.
And so you feel a little sad for its passing. And think about all of the things you block out with the fear. But perhaps this is necessary just to lead everyday life, just to step outside.
April 22, 2005
Today turned into another spare day, a day in which my sole activity was having intentions. So time slipped delicately from my grasp in a pleasing way. I discovered that you can still feel sad whilst enjoying yourself, it just lurks, dormant. And this sadness will not bother you untill you attempt to do anything specific at which point it will awaken and prevent you from achieving very much until eventually you succumb, resigned and return to drifting…
And dulled synapses aren't displeasing. Break down the day into small tasks, but then a hyperactive mind adds alsorts of needless tasks, untill its midnight and its time to return to the release of sleep, and those lost hours. But they're not lost, just past, and I have a nameless ammount more. I dont think being the master of time would be something I'd like. Im more comfortable to be gently ruled.
April 21, 2005
Fearometer: 4 (Is this ominous?)
Be too exact and you'll fall into contradiction. Toe the gossamer line between insight and senselessness. Try stoicism, discover the value of rejecting it whilst in an idle poetry seminar. Part company with the fear like jaded lovers in a one night stand that went on for too long. Its still there like an old pair of slippers, awaiting your return.
The other end of the scale brings its own problems. Too high above to do any work – the giddyness is too delicious, and everything is so bloody amusing, although you cant for the life of you work out why.
Moderation is the only tenable route for contentment. But then you've never been terribly good at that. It has to be amplified or it'd be boring after all. And what would you have to show the good patches in the gilded relief they deserve.
But you're determined not to fall so far this time, checks and balances and a regime with tablets and swimming. Don't talk about it, the playgound jinx threatens. Keep moving even if you ont know where you're going to. A moving target can't be hit.