Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: April 2007

Monday wind-down  §

I stopped for a moment just to peer at Times Square. There must be half a dozen giant Target ads maybe four stories high spread across the sides of the buildings. There is, of course, no Target on Times Square, or even within twenty minutes of it by motorized transport.

A man was standing at the subway entrance talking on the phone. “I’m sorry honey, I have to go,” he said. “I’m standing outside the subway station like some kind of… street person.”

Life demands a certain amount of patience and a certain amount of discipline if it is to be done right. The inverse is, as always, also true.

Right now I am having once again the dreams that I wrote about long ago, then utterly alone. They are spring day dreams, dreams of living, Ethan Allen dreams. They are dreams of a sort that one has to dare to have, because to have them is to risk rather more than can ever be recovered.

The wisdom of the universe at times seems to be unfathomably deep. It is ancient, wild, gentle only inasmuch as it trafficks without pause or apology in what can never have been otherwise. It “knows” what it is doing without knowing anything at all. It is well beyond beautiful. It is, quite simply, sublime.

I recall feeling as though  §

my post this morning was grammatically iffy. Now, looking at it, I can’t make head or tails of the last bit. But I don’t care. I’m not going to fix it. It’s late and I’m going home.

I think  §

I have never been so happy before in my life. 🙂

After waking up  §

Mornings generally make the world seem either larger and more overwelming or smaller and more manageable than it had seemed the previous evening.

Every now and then, however, comes a morning that simply seems obscure and that makes one feel vaguely troubled about nothing in particular.

This is such a morning, it seems to me, and the very blue light falling through the window adds to a sense that today, though as a day not particularly competent (or, thus, ultimately dangerous), is nonetheless and on the whole up to no good.

The ones outside  §

In the nooks and crannies,
we are quietly laboring
to make the world work.
On the outside,
we are not always visible.
At a lamplit desk,
on an open highway,
in a tiny control room
behind one-way windows—
we are generally alone,
silently doing our part
to keep the clock ticking
to keep the network dreaming
so that you can live happy lives,
productive days,
enjoy your friends
revel in your accomplishments.

From time to time we meet you,
slip into your realm,
or you into ours,
and we are dazzled by you.
Then we ride the maelstrom,
delight in a universe of smiles,
music,
dancing,
the strange embrace of social being.
We make half-hearted promises
never to leave,
never to be outside again.
The gods, however, are inscrutable,
and soon the currents carry us away,
as they were made to do.
The glow of your world
lingers in us a little longer,
but we are quickly forgotten,
as we should be.

We are those outside.

Made by the mountains to bound the world,
we create through our presence
a place for the lives of others—
to meet, to talk, to love, to live,
while we carefully man
those nooks and crannies,
do our part
to keep the clock ticking.
When you see us,
we’ll wink at you, knowing
that you appreciate our efforts
and that you are as happy and as free
as you were meant to be.
Don’t be afraid to wink, to smile back—
for us it’s a long road ahead
and a little warmth is what keeps us driving,
more or less content
along the endless, ageless route
to the horizon and beyond.

I am so not made  §

for this world or this century. 🙁 I wish I was different.

Exhaustion  §

The world is a harsh, harsh place and I mostly want it dead. This just fucking sucks.

Truth  §

You can get good manners from anyone on Earth. The faces become interchangeable and their claimed thoughts all the same.

Only from your friends can you count absolutely on hearing the truth, always. Even if it hurts. Especially if it hurts—such things are, after all, the things that matter most to one, or they wouldn’t hurt so much.

One is what one is, no less, no more. Change, of course, is always possible, but change belongs to the future, not to the phenomenology of the instant. What you are now, at a given moment, is within that moment immutable.

People that I love have always asked me if I am still lonely even with them around. It’s an unanswerable question. Loneliness for me isn’t a feeling; it is the material from which space-time has been fashioned for us by science.

A capitalist ethos permeates the era,  §

no matter how independent of it we seek to remain. Income is the single social fact that dominates every aspect of Dasein for the modern.

“Political economy, this science of wealth, is therefore simultaneously the science of denial, of want, of thrift, of saving — and it actually reaches the point where it spares man the need of either fresh air or exercise. This science of marvellous industry is simultaneously the science of asceticism, and its true ideal is the ascetic but extortionate miser and the ascetic but productive slave. Its moral ideal is the worker who takes part of his wages to the savings-bank… Self-denial, the denial of life and of all human needs, is its cardinal doctrine. The less you eat, drink and read books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public-house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save — the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour — your capital. The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life — the greater is the store of your estranged being. Everything which the political economist takes from you in life and in humanity, he replaces for you in money and in wealth; and all the things which you cannot do, your money can do. It can eat and drink, go to the dance hall and the theatre; it can travel, it can appropriate art, learning, the treasures of the past, political power… All passions and all activity must therefore be submerged in avarice. The worker may only have enough for him to want to live, and may only want to live in order to have…”

Cycles  §

My life has a definite pattern.

In general, people don’t take me seriously. They don’t bother with me much, and they don’t give me much credit. They make it their business to work on or with projects or people other than me and they seem to view me with a kind of self-righteous or dismissive smirk.

And so I keep working on my shit in silence while people are either dismissive or disparaging toward me.

Then I do something (like publish a book or get a degree or God only knows) or people find out about some such thing that I did, and they’re incredulous. “You?” seems to go the question. “I’d never have believed it!”

The strange thing is that even people who know what I’ve done thus far tend to be shocked to see me do anything further. Is it the jeans? Is it the fact that I’m not a “Type A” personality? What exactly is it that gives people the impression that I’m not to be taken seriously?

Recenter, big, big  §

It suddenly seems to me as though a lot of things have been rubbing me quite the wrong way lately, and at the same time I am getting lost in the minutiae of “functionality,” which comes at the expense of “living.” I need to slow down, maybe even stop, take a day or two and recreate. Not recreate as in “do something,” but rather quite the opposite: recreate as in “wander amongst the moments” filled only with a vague sensibility or two and a willingness to embrace adventure.

This all sounds very abstract and dispersed, of course.

The problem is that the big picture is (as sometimes happens) getting lost. It would not be the first time. It got lost when I was working at eBay. It got lost when I was working at ABC-CLIO. I feel as though it is often tied to work (which it certainly is now), but it is also this time, I think, tied to academics.

I am in academics and I work a job only for the improvement of my life. They are means, not ends. Work is no inherent good for me, and cannot be an end in and of itself. To the extent that it becomes so, I lose myself amongst the deadlines and tasks and frustrations and sadnesses that comprise a lifeworld built from alienated activities.

And so when I say “wander amongst the moments” it’s not that I mean that I need to be aimless and not be doing anything at all. It’s that I need to reconsider my task list; rather than asking what needs to be done first from the list of innumerable tasks and how to accomplish it, I need to muse about what I want—bigger picture—and what things do or don’t belong on the task list in the first place.

Time management is like poison for me. Every time I start to engage in it, I cheat myself out of a certain kind of fundamental contentment that I very much like, and at the same time I become antagonistic, exhausted, angry, irritable. I am happiest, in fact, when I engage in the opposite of time management—when I refuse to manage my time or even to think about time at all. When that happens—when there are few or no deadlines and few or no things that I allow to “press” on me, priorities seem almost automatically to realign themselves in ways that I find fulfilling. Other things suffer, of course, and if one looks at them too closely as this suffering goes on, one is tempted to try to rescue them… but in the end there are certain aspects of life that must not be saved, if the others (those that matter) are to survive intact.

In short, I need to recenter. To put it another way, I need to let go and just be, rather than trying all the time to be caught up or to be productive or to be making progress or to be anything in particular at all. It is only without any object that being as such works. Every objective kind of being quite mechanically and obviously creates a false identity between me (or any man) and something that I (or any man) quite clearly am (are) not.

Up and down  §

There is nothing wrong with oppression in the service of happiness, and there is not a soul on earth, moral or not, who wouldn’t accept it with open arms—keeping in mind, for the moment, that happiness in part consists in the absence of any sense of being oppressed. To attempt to engage in such oppression is thus a risky maneuver since oppression that fails to produce happiness (and that thus leads directly to misery, which has heretofore proceeded from oppression) is a crime that ought to be punishable by death and that, historically, always thus far has been.

The infantile adept  §

I feel strange and disconnected from things, from the moment, from my presence. I have that weird distant feeling, as though everything in the world, even the things in front of my face, are far away, unreachable, untouchable. I feel as though there is no time any longer, just endless, undifferentiated space all around. I feel as though history itself was constructed for my benefit and I have now grown bored with it, unable to suspend disbelief any longer.

I am in need of more sleep, at the very least. I think I’ll have some now.

Back room  §

Life hurts. You can’t let yourself think about it too much or you will live in agony, cerberus amongst fallen angels, Sisyphus of shattered dreams. It is unlikely that you will find what you want, likely less still that you will find who you want, and if you should manage to achieve either you must be content and constant thereto, as you are guaranteed the continued presence of neither and forbidden by the Ordrer of Things from having both.

What you can maintain under your own command are peace and happiness amidst and despite the endless collapse, privation, and loss—but these cannot be bound to anything other than the act of being faithful itself. To bind them to the storm that surrounds you (or to the possibility of its clearing) is to ensure that you will be carried away by it, never to be seen or heard from again.

Possibility  §

When every thought you have seems facile and trite to you, I suppose you can assume without undue conceit that you are approaching some basic level of literacy.

It’s one thing to take risks; it’s quite another to be reckless or even devil-may-care.

Gotta grow up. Gotta keep bottles sealed. Gotta realize that to traverse is irreversibly to bisect.

Watch that unconsidered math, boy. Don’t just go around putting the measure to things willy-nilly unless you are ready to determine the universe. After all, to play God is sublime, but sublimation is a kind of ecstatica for which few are prepared—against which few are protected.

What am I even talking about?

I am my own prophet, my own idiot, and my own swindler. As are, I suppose, we all.

QED.