A siren song heard in the middle of an endless, threatening ocean.
I so want to.
It’s so for me!
— § —
The problem with the entire idea of simplifying life is that it’s really a euphemism for reducing one’s attachments. Yes, I know, Buddhism and all that. But Buddhism, like certain strains of monotheism, also presumes an afterlife, despite atheistic claims.
What if this is all there is?
Sure, you can say, “Well then, no matter, you’ll be dead, number of attachments is irrelevant.”
But that’s nihilistic, or suicidal. Why not just kill yourself today, in that case? No difference, in the grand scheme of things. Your life is valueless!
— § —
Of course, if life does have value, and we can’t presume an afterlife to make it eternal, then there is a very limited amount of time in which to do the rare and interesting thing called “being alive.”
That leaves us with some choices.
1) Do nothing. This hardly seems like a good way to “value” the rare and interesting—effectively, by negating both.
2) Do some things. This requires some sort of selection mechanism—criteria for excluding others, and while this seems to be a simple problem in theory and in the self-help books, over the course of everyday life it quickly becomes clear that this devolves quickly into Dali-esque arbitrariness and absurdity as a matter of decision-making processes.
3) Do everything. This seems to achieve the opposite from valuing life as well, leading to suffering and a general sense of emptiness resulting from the facts that (a) if you try to “do everything,” you will actually manage to do nothing, given that the list of “everything,” in human terms, is essentially infinite, and (b) the attempt shifts the focus of life from being/dwelling in the Heideggerian sense to a kind of manic, insane natality in the Arendtian sense—constant, nonstop initiation without any time to proceed further, since there are an infinite number of things to be put into progress before death—and thus no time to work on any of them.
— § —
“The human condition.” We talk about it as though it’s noble. What it is is a kind of very highly refined bullshit.
I sound like a teenager saying it, but life is a kind of cruel joke played on the living by the universe.
— § —
Yet still the moralists and the self-satisfied and the entirely insecure and desperate all continue to lecture us about greater morality.
Some lecture us about sex.
Some lecture us about the suffering of the “others.”
Some lecture us about meat and colon cancer.
Some lecture us about recycling.
Some lecture us about things that don’t even make any fucking sense semantically or syntactically.
All of them do this even as they contribute to any number of what might be held to be problems by any number of other moralists with any number of behaviors that don’t fall under their own particular rubrics of moral behavior.
— § —
Yeah, this is all the same old, same old. I didn’t claim it was original. It’s high school thinking. It’s what everyone realizes by the time they’re 12, the reason they start to talk about their parents behind their parents’ backs, if their parents are the sort (as most are) that have tried to pretend that it all makes some kind of sense, that there’s a difference between nihilism and optimism.
— § —
But the fact that parents do this speaks to something. Obviously, they see in the children that they are trying to shield some differentiating factor, some essence of something that justifies, intuitively, the deception and misdirection.
What is it?
I don’t buy the Arendt argument.
I also don’t buy the right-wing-wacko-Jesus-freak argument.
I think it’s closer to Benjamin. Just as we warm ourselves by the fires of others’ deaths, we also fill ourselves with the sustenance of other’s naiveté.
— § —
People don’t find God because they need something to believe in. They know what to believe in, they just can’t do it.
They believe in God because it’s a subroutine for overwriting memory with lies. In a way, there’s nothing wrong with lies; it’s all software. In a phenomenological universe like the one that we each individually live in, the question isn’t what the room that the computer sits in looks like, but how the software can be rewritten for better security, for the prevention of memory access across boundaries.
Reality is whatever you can unmake of yourself.
The real tragedy is that you were made or that you made something of yourself to begin with.
— § —
There’s a tragedy of the commons story wrapped up in here somewhere as well.
The tragedy of the commons is, of course, and despite the accusations and condescending judgments that others will make, the only social science, humanities, history, and biosciences training that anyone actually needs. It’s the architectural flaw in natural selection, the one that leads to unstable, circular, noisy repetition and perturbation, rather than progress.
The one that probably explains why there’s relatively little life in the universe at any particular time.
— § —
But simplify? Zen?
It’s nihilism-optimism, just like baroque Christianity was.
Just as this entire post has been.
It’s all bullshit, and the only people that have it figured out are the homeless drunks that pick up a subway performance skill.