Every man is, in a certain sense, unconsciously a worse man when he is in a society than when acting alone… Any large company of wholly admirable persons has the morality and intelligence of an unwieldy, stupid and violent animal. The bigger the organization, the more unavoidable its immorality and blind stupidity… Society, by automatically stressing all the collective qualities in its individual representatives, puts a premium on mediocrity, on everything that settles down to vegetate in an easy, responsible way. Individuality will inevitably be driven to the wall.

C. G. Jung, “The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious,” Two Essays, CW 7, par. 240.

Reboot

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.

Announcing my new book, Melancholics Anonymous

I wrote a book, it’s worldly famous. It’s called Melancholics Anonymous. Below you will see my son reading it (Hayden calls it a “taut, tour de force ” – at least I think that is what he said)

imageimage

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Those of you following me will have seen much of the rough drafts that are herein polished and properly realized.  There are pictures, poems, rants, prose all about and for melancholics.  Not the romanticized genius nor ostracized lunatic of popular lore but a type far more common yet underrepresented.  The character that, as if stirred from some biological revolt, flees the maddening crowds, compelled by what Max Pensky calls a “resigned interiority, brooding over the very conditions of the impossibility of action themselves.” I wrote this as a call out to the Bukowskis, the Pessoas, the underground men, and too, the Plaths, the Sextons, the adaptless women, in hopes to draw them out and, in the confines of a book, briefly forge a loneliness together.

Now most importantly: how to buy a copy or six…
It is published through Blurb so click the link: http://www.blurb.ca/b/3981803-melancholics-anonymous 

You can purchase e-book versions for $4.99 and softcovers for a little more, and while the option for hardcover is listed, I don’t think it is necessary. I mean they look swell and all but, let’s be honest, this is no Tolstoy epic. Melancholics Anonymous is a kind of lean pamphlet manifesto (albeit a plump pamphlet at 92 pages!). Best to own it light and keep it handy in your back pocket for constant access. Finally, audio-books wherein I narrate the great adventure are extra and far too costly for the likes of you.

All proceeds go to the philanthropist fund, Leave No Blu-Ray Behind.

If you reblog and tag as melancholic or melancholy I would appreciate it.

Onto the new year and the new language.

Thanks to everyone for all the support, you have no idea what it means.  It is a cruel world out there.

P.S. I’d rather be read than make money, if you are on the fence, curious but not sure you want to pay, just private message me, I am more than happy to send a free one to you (what can I say I am a lousy capitalist). Follow the link you can preview some of the book if you need more coaxing.

I Cherish my Solitude

I cherish my solitude; even around people.  Where once the Victorian ethic and the voice of my mother mattered, this compliance to the social will no longer feels necessary.  It is not nerves nor a Raskolnikov experiment that keeps me here, rather your congregation of agitations does not entice me.  Perhaps I am designed differently, or it is that I fell upon different books.  The world is a pantomime; that which it knows secondhand, I cherish in the first.  

But my self-imposed exile from life’s actions and objectives and my attempt to break off all contact with things led precisely to what I tried to escape. I didn’t want to feel life or to touch anything real, for the experience of my temperament in contact with the world had taught me that the sensation of life was always painful to me. But in isolating myself to avoid that contact, I exacerbated my already overwrought sensibility. If it were possible to cut off completely all contact with things, then my sensibility would pose no problem. But this total isolation cannot be achieved. However little I do, I still breathe; however little I act, I still move. And so, having exacerbated my sensibility through isolation, I found that the tiniest things, which even for me had been perfectly innocuous, began to wrack me like catastrophes. I chose the wrong method of escape. I fled via an uncomfortable and roundabout route to end up at the same place I’d started from, with the fatigue of my journey added to the horror of living there.

The Book of Disquiet - Fernando Pessoa (chapter 462)

But now we are a mob. Man does not stand in awe of man, nor his genius admonished to stay at home, to put itself in communication with the internal ocean, but goes abroad to beg a cup of water of the urns of other men. We must go alone. I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching. How far off, how cool, how chaste the persons look, begirt each one with a precinct or sanctuary!

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: First Series. “Self-Reliance.”

Revolt

We are told to be car-salesmen selling ourselves with teethy grins, competing for friends and positions in high places.  Those who do not comply out of petulance or pride sink beneath this orgy of being heard.  For those that are car-salesman by design, wired gregarious with a glint in their eyes, this world must seem like Providence.

When introducing a new food to my two-year old son, I have learned that the best method for success is to set it before him without much coaxing, allowing him to receive it on his own terms.  The more I try to force, the greater the resistance; even at so young an age there seems a natural inclination towards freedom of choice.  My adult life seems likewise defined by a resistance to the brute force of an other, that societal mistake, imposing with a strict hand how I ought to behave, ought to think, ought to achieve success.  As if we were all one and the same.  

I am not a car-salesman.  I see through personality, as I suspect many others do.  What else can I do but revolt?  It is a rebellion of the spleen, the a priori fact of my being.  Life is but a struggle to repatriate the inner voice and the temperamental choice.  I ask only of the world to permit me to receive it on my own terms, with a degree of tolerance, patience, and respect.  And I will return them in kind.  

Reboot

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.

To everyone that gazes there comes some time the longing to go into the wilderness. With little nourishment, to sit upon a stone and to think difficult thoughts, so difficult that they lie heavy on the eyelids. But so far all have returned from the wilderness to those that once they left. And they have wanted to teach solitude to the companionable; thus they grew tired, despaired of themselves and died the little torturing death. But we must go out across the wilderness further, ever in one direction. Only one who succeeds in doing that will know what lies beyond solitude and why we seek the wilderness

Rainer Maria Rilke, Journal, April 7th 1900