Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: May 2009

Days are longer than I thought  §

and I’m completely out of context. Gotta wake up. Old habits die hard, but gotta wake up.

Alone on another Friday night, I am wondering:  §

– Who I am

– What it means to be me

– Whether I will ever be okay with this

– What the problem is, exactly

– Why everything

It has been this way as long as I can remember. Nobody is happy. Everybody is happy. Nothing works. Everything works. And then nothing works again. And then everybody regrets it and wonders if there was a way to make everything work.

I think it comes down to: some people were born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or rather, some people were socialized by parents to function in a different place and a different time.

It will never, ever be quite right. I know this by now.

I just hope it can be tolerable.

How do I feel?

Half cheetah, half gazelle.

Half policeman, half bank robber.

Half cancer, half chemotherapy.

Half exterminator, half cockroach.

We are all . fundamentally . alone .

I’ve got to stay focused  §

and maybe be a little more careful, a little more conservative, a little more controlled. I don’t want to put myself in danger of losing things—anythings.

Quiet.  §

There is redemption in calamity, in loss, in shortcoming, it weakness, in indignity. This redemption is what we call poetry. Those who are indirectly responsible for creating it are destined to be forgotten by history. As it should be.

Those who are directly responsible are the antiheroes whose sins are indifferentiable from heroism.

It turns out that at the end of the day good and evil are both laudable; it is the bureaucratic, legalistic, and moderate impulses that are despicable.

This tells us that moderation must be avoided at all costs.

Call it the ethical McDonaldization of Nietzsche.

Or just call it deviance and anti-normativity.

After all, I did not by into the program when I had the chance.

I’m so f’in tired of  §

losing things.

Of losing.

I don’t ever want to do any of this again.

Sometimes everything is so surreal  §

it’s like I just got here.

Ever have one of those days wherein  §

you can not get up no matter what you do? You feel almost as though you’re dying; you open your eyes and try to sit up and you weigh a million pounds, parts of you do something somewhere between hurting and stinging; it feels as though you don’t have the energy to hold yourself up and you’re going to collapse; and then you do, right back down, helpless, immediately back into sleep.

I went to take a nap at noon. It is now 5:30. I tried to get up at approximately 1:30, 2:00, 4:00, and 4:45 (there is a huge clock next to my bed, so I can easily see the time when I’m laying down).

Meanwhile, it is 80 degrees in here and I am hot as hell, sweating, overheated.

I have been unable to get up all day, and I have had dreams. Such dreams. Over and over again, the same themes. And then I open my eyes, am unable to get up, and fall back into new ones of the same variety. I have truly had a day of fevered dreams.

These waters  §

are dangerous.

If you are one of those rare people  §

whose value-orientations and resulting canon of behavior deviate from the crass normativity of social life, don’t ever bother to try to join society. You belong to the club of idiots and lunatics. You won’t have many friends. You won’t have many co-workers. You won’t be much liked. You won’t be able to make relationships work.

You will always be the sinner.

You will always be mistaken.

You will always be the naive, the childish, the un-adult.

You will always be a hindrance, never a help.

And you won’t, in turn, receive help either.

You’ll be offered support you don’t want or believe in.

You’ll be denied the support that would sustain you.

Because your goals are the wrong goals.

Your world is not their world.

You are the capitalist in the midst of communist revolution.

You are the communist decrying an insatiable bull market.

You are the pure thinker in a world of anti-intellectuals.

You are the relativist in the Newtonian world.

You are the antisocial, by definition.

There is no help for you but to accept the imposition. And because you don’t want to, you are at war, war, war, with society and with those you love, forever. You receive only the kind support that you cannot bear and that you did not want, at the expense of every one of those things that absolutely matter to you but that others do not believe in and wish you would outgrow.

I wonder if there is research about whether or not extroverts are more normatively oriented than introverts. My own anecdotal evidence would seem to bear out the notion—which makes a kind of common sense—that “people people” are unable to conceive of anything stronger or more right than social reality, than some set of internalized facets from their contemporary social milieux.

It is, after all, what makes “people people” tick, what seems to be most real to them. The introverts, on the other hand, experience social reality as a kind of harsh unreality, a storm that continually threatens and that often creates sudden, unexpected deluges at inconvenient times, never going away, never giving way to a clear day of reprieve.

For the introvert, every facet of social reality is an incredulity-inducing claim, and none of it has any particular moral authority.

Some study society because they love it.

Others study society because of the giddy terror of incomprehension and indignation that it induces in them, even as they live out their lives as human beings with social needs.

Day  §

Today started at about 7:00 in the morning.

– Got up

– Walked dog

– Ate breakfast

– Drove wife to work

– Went to store for light bulbs

– Had lunch

– Walked dog

– Posted one small piece of content

– Started grading papers

– Walked dog

– Finished grading papers

– Logged in to make blog post

Now it’s 1:05 in the morning.

Why does it seem as though more things should have been doable in the stretch of time that was today? I can’t for the life of me shake the feeling that if I was twice as cool I’d have finished at least four times as much.

Cadences  §

Q. When is it time?

A. Forever and always.

Q. Why is it time?

A. Because it’s not not.

Q. How is it time?

A. In bursts and withers, wilds and ways.

Q. Where is it time?

A. Behind the walls of happening; inside the wells of shattering.

Q. What is time?

A. The driver of death, the pathway of pity, the road of remembrance, the sorrow of circumstance.

I, like others, am convicted by my sins against myself, and others, which are, as a kind of shorthand, everything I’ve ever done in the world and outside of it, as well as my mention of it.

Those who die today are one seven billionth of the humanity of their time. By 2050 they will be one nine billionth and getting smaller.

The dead are disappearing; history itself is becoming a field, a space of thermodynamics rather than a set of particles. At length we will outrun the simulations, or the universe’s ability to contain the simulations.

Or, we will disappear altogether, and suddenly the dead will achieve a new immortality, having stepped from the shadows of the infinitesimal into he shadows of the finite, and therefore, scare and singular.

When humanity dies out, the dead achieve, after long suffering, their Hadean estates for the first time since the dawn of man.

No, not woman.

Dash it all.

Dash it all.

Dash it all.

The process of growing into adulthood  §

is the process of learning how to be so out of touch with your feelings that you can never, ever articulate them—and in so doing to avoid damaging your long term interests in the interest of the moment. The long term interests, of course, are ephemeral and exist only in the future, by definition, always.

Modern society is instrumentally insane. Citizens of modern society are instrumentally stunted in their growth, purposefully.

I am conflicted, torn between a desire for total freedom and a desire for total control.

I am conflicted, torn between a hate for humanity and a love for it.

I am conflicted, and this conflict is the gravity center of truth, which is not so much a measurable, usable quantity as it is primordial tragedy, undramatic, unliterary, unexpressable, unfulfilled.

Tomorrow never, ever comes. All that arrives, over and over again, is today and today’s defenses are always weak in the face of tomorrow’s domineering power.

People in the west  §

have far too much freedom, to the detriment of countless individuals and the stability of society. The fact that we have sublimated the suffering that this causes, or ideologically constructed its intensely negative effects as suffering caused individual failure, in no way mitigates the disaster that is the unbridled individualism of the west.

Activism of all stripes, in particular, ought to be severely dealt with in all cases, never, ever tolerated by society.

Increasingly and for reasons I surely  §

don’t want to try to guess, I remember very little, if anything at all. There is not and cannot possibly be a more dangerous state of affairs in the universe of the personal. Being is memory.

I am, in short, losing my being.

In the past, have I felt memory run from me? Has it come back later, in flashes of brilliance, or were those sunlight shards falling against structures of cognition that had ever been present, unweakened, firm and smooth?

I can’t remember.

This thing must be redesigned soon. Quite frankly, it sucks ass. It is bad, bad, bad, and as uninspiring as sin.

Every now and then  §

I have a bit of doubt about my chosen career path.

For decades I have seen people getting ahead, making money, putting their time in and climbing the ladder. In some cases I have seen them make a great deal of money without having to climb any career ladders simply by being present and doing their job from the moment of hire.

I am also working hard and have been for some years… but in the fields of nonfiction publishing and academics. The former pays minimally at best for the topics about which I’m knowledgeable, and the latter has yet to pay anything at all, really. Academics is, thus far, a net loss measured in the tens of thousands. I present exceptional credentials for highly competitive posts with real responsibilities and in exchange get offered $10-$12 per hour because they’re part-time posts for “graduate students” and simply being offered the position is meant to be my reward in the academic world, where “validation” is given in lieu of cash.

The idea, of course, is that someday this will all pay off. But of course when it does, it won’t pay off big. I likely won’t ever “make back” the money represented by the time I’ve spent reading books and writing papers.

It is, as I was warned so many years ago by several professors at the end of my undergraduate career, a pauper’s life. Why do people like me do it? What kind of sense does it make? None, so far as I can tell. Absolutely none. It is rather like an illness. We are addicted to books and to our own words, and the combination of daydreamed erudition and narcissism keeps us in line for the next round of exploitation and the one after that and the one after that, year after year.

Meanwhile, I see the others around me racing ahead, becoming financially secure, enjoying their lives, emerging into well-off middle age, yachting and vacationing and buying houses, doing “real” things. Person after person. Year after year.

Meanwhile, financially, I fall farther and farther behind.

Hard work, dedication, hard knocks, exasperation, loss after loss after loss of personal relationships and decade after decade after decade of patience… and if I make it all the way to the top—as very few ever do—I may just be given the chance to work like an utter dog and break even by the time I die, never to own a yacht or visit the four corners of the earth or “live comfortably.” And all to have the title of “professor.”

Why am I doing this?

Am I really unsuited for all of these other things?

Tonight I am staring at a job I think I could have if I wanted it, a job that could triple my monthly income in the blink of an eye… but of course it would mean that I lose my “free” summer, the “critical” summer in which I am to be making my final push toward full-on advanced status Ph.D. candidacy (finally leaving behind the title of “student” once and for all).

And so I hesitate and, so far tonight, don’t bother to apply, grinding my teeth the entire time and wondering if I am going mad.

I have to admit that I’m torn. If someone dropped by tonight and offered me $5k a month to drop out of school and take a job, I’m not sure I could turn it down.

Gak. I don’t wear uncertainty well.