Disclaimer: I did not write these things today, but rather some weeks ago. I sit here now, overcaffeinated with the window open to birdsong and sunshine (a welcome transition here in the usually gloomy PNW). They are not really essays, not really stories; I produce many starts, and sometimes they lead elsewhere to a middle. More often than not, the path I stumbled upon into the forest of creating disappears into the terrain, and I leave it behind to try another inroad. The only way to good writing, and perhaps by extension good thinking (or living), is through the land of bad writing. And sometimes Bad Writing.
Thankfully there are not many who witness these stumbles of bad writing. I think I had four viewers a few days ago. Proud moment, for this fledgling blog among the millions out there.
Fact of the day: there is an officially sanctioned “Knock-off Great Wall of China” in China…CCTV America had an article about it, here is a link to JiangSu Now’s English page. For all that China gets shit for copying, I think it is a smart move. It allows the country to avoid being kept a second-class manufacturer (or a factory with no rights) in competition with the US especially and other wealthy nations. That said, I do not see the point in replicating the Great Wall…but maybe this one has bathrooms at the top! That alone would make it a great improvement upon the original.
Obsessed. That is what he had become, a man fixated on an idea, drowning in it. The suggestions turned to mantras became truth and swallowed him. There was nowhere to escape, there was no need for an outside. An obsession that began with a simple idea: that the world owed him happiness. Something, anything or anyone to guarantee some elixir of ultimate hedonistic contentment. Intellectually parasitical, the idea strangled him slowly, growing in the light of his manic attention and watered by false memory. The sordid past, dredged back up and mutilated into this new reality. It was a reality all his own, made true for it. Solipsist comforts, all that mattered was his own memory, faulty and brutalized. His obsession would grow beyond him, engulfing every encounter, each near-smile from people on the bus. It would explain why, navigating the awkward everyday impersonalities, each person he met had to die. The obsession grew out of him like a mushroom out of a decaying log, new life’s beginning fueled by the end of his.
Destroy. That was what he must do, a man run by his pain that metastasized into an obsession.
I do think that we must focus on pain that is beyond the physical—emotional and, importantly, social pain. These cause much more physical suffering than any of the tools we abuse in our attempts to alleviate our bodies. Drugs, money, food, sex: consumption. These are the means, some more harmful than beneficial, that we seek out to treat this pain we cannot locate. There are no medically identified regions of the human soul. I am sure we all understand what emotional pain, that dragging of the spirit that weights our days and makes happiness seem something one must struggle for. But what is social pain? Quite simply, what I mean by this term are the ways in which individual emotional pain is prohibited from resolution by various external forces and actors. One of the most visible and familiar of these is surely masculinity. Thus the notion of social pain is something of a Queer notion, as in Queer Theory, or some tangentially post-structuralist concept.
What is it about this nonphysical pain, the loneliness or grief, the anger and frustration, that we find inoperable? We may discuss freely damages suffered to the flesh and bear proudly our scars; what of the scar tissue that makes up a person? Emotional deformity is as real as any broken bone, both can heal in a proper way if managed with knowledge and empathy. And both can result in broken people for whom a single event, some catastrophe or long-running abuse, renders them permanently damaged. There are massive numbers of people suffering from the hidden ailments: depression, loneliness, detachment, apathy (not included are the millions harboring under false ideas of strength, masculinity, professionalism). The ways we deal with these must be first to view them as a serious threat to not only individual health, but to the health of everyone possibly affected. Out of loneliness and apathy can come raging lone-gunmen hellbent on revenge upon a world that so wronged them. Depression kills its victims but can leave in ruins those left living.
I am trying to understand how we can better manage this nonmanifest pain, both as individuals and as a society. I harbor no grand ideas of actually changing societies’ entire conception of emotion to do this—but putting an argument out there, that it might be cannibalized, repeated, borrowed and grafted onto some other—rather I am attempting to lay out how I think we could make do.
Here is something to think about regarding Human Connectedness. (Deckchairs)
And something on postmodernism! We cannot always blame the French. (TDOT)
Thinking of violence and pain, we should all consider Choosing Pussy Over Pain (Cidney Green)