From my first philosophical entries up to the latest poetic musings, two themes have kept recurring, defining me in a feverish way: the necessity of ethics and the sanctity of the individual. I suppose I tend towards these themes so forcefully due to their lost importance in this out of whack world of politics as predatory sport and academic rigor mortis. Even the locked-in devices from which I strive to compose my thoughts provoke some response. Ethics and individualism are quickly eroding away, a battle taking place inside of me as much as out. The modern world is not all bad of course, and to an extent I accept what it gives as inevitable and sometimes necessary agitations, to be the gadflies stirring me awake lest I become too fanatic about my solitary ideas. I live in the world I indict, let the record show I am aware of this surface hypocrisy, but in my defense, asceticism is not an option, not an ethical one at least. One cannot help but speak the language provided and get caught in its web (when you play by their rules they have already won).
Every so often I break down and need to establish a perimeter of words to (however naïvely) preserve my sacred space. And so the rant goes…
At some point it was no longer a question of having something to say and someone to process it. It is still language, it is still talking and writing and reading, but what has changed is the goal: where once the text mattered, the subtext now dominates. Each utterance has become a territorial pissing that taunts the yet to be expressed to do the same. Like pups stepping over each other for the same teat, to be there first, we pivot our value around the concept of outward acknowledgement: the more followers, the more reblogs, the more likes, and then the next day you start over again, you keep going back daily, hourly, at speeds incommensurable with quality or craftsmanship - just be there first. We go at these speeds not because we have so much to say, but because we feel the need to remain relevant, as if we would dissolve entirely without a status update. With no time to cultivate an inner life outside of the exhibition, a whole generation has been raised in this accelerating culture, and, if nothing changes, they will raise the next generation in the only manner they have been taught, refining away any semblance of the individual. It is in the hesitations, the individual resides.
The flaw we bear is not recognizing that it is a choice, and how this choice comes to inform not just our online personas but our perception of what is valuable, and ethical, and reasonable in every facet of human activity. It is simple but so rarely given voice: you don’t need to prove yourself to the world, if anything the world needs to prove itself to you. If it has value, it should radiate inside you and ask nothing more than that you find your own path of least resistance. Find happiness irrespective of how minor it may seem.
To some this is self-delusion; to me, self-clarity. There is a seductive inclination to be defined one way or the other, supplant one narrative for another: if not the academic marvel than the starving artist, if not the wealthy than the ascetic. It is considered a slight to call someone a jack of all trades, to weave through life without a pliable narrative that may be socially digested. The flaw is in thinking in regards to a narrative foremost, being overly concerned with how you are read, rather than reading yourself out and editing away to your own familiar voice. Abandon all narratives and follow your childish instinct to play. Use whatever capacities you have to offset roadblocks to this pursuit. Rather, see more clearly your goal, how little is required to be happy once you have whittled away the antagonisms (competition and antagonism reduced to sport). A clarity of self sees that one lives every day through peaks and valleys of relative satisfaction, that one lives in the crevices of stories not the well-rehearsed anecdotes and finding a way to live pleasurably in the immediate and not the secondhand account ought to be the true occupation of your life. This kind of thinking may derail the ten year plan, the jockeying for position if such a position is in service only of keeping you busy and hungry for the carrot dangled in font of you. So be it. Defy the anecdotal life.
The pleasure of life has become secondary, what good is it to fight for a future when the present goes unopened? Why forfeit the now, and the ability to ferret out the good in every moment? A resourceful inner life stays with you no matter the climate, protects you better than an army. But here the rhetoric begs an antagonism I must step back from, for it is not either/or, but weaving through with a part of you always alive and playful, being the justification for any pursuit for higher level petitioning, having something to show for, something to call upon rather than empty rhetoric. When you say life is important, dignity is important, basic human rights are important you should not meme the idea, but hold yourself up as material evidence. It is so easy to become the ghost haunting a body still alive, to ghost all values in pursuit of some nominal gain. It is scary how easy it is to cease to be a person and become a personage: the body dies and people can see it, smell it; when the life inside it dies it can go a lifetime unreported so long as a rudimentary set of outward markers are achieved.
Take pride in being a slacker, a jack of all trades, a melancholic, a resigned member of a society that is in such a big hurry to say nothing long enough for you to forget there is anything else to think, feel, or be. A toast to all the thoughts left unsaid, and to those thoughts that if uttered, would still go unheard.