Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Resentment & Self-Satisfaction

I grew up with the sea and poverty for me was sumptuous, then I lost the sea and found all luxury grey and poverty unbearable. Every artist keeps within himself a single source which nourishes during his lifetime what he is and what he says. I know that my source is the world of poverty and sunlight that I lived in for so long whose memory still saves me from two opposing dangers that threaten every artist; resentment and self-satisfaction. Among my many weaknesses I have never discovered that most widespread failing... envy. The true cancer of societies indoctrines.

-Albert Camus

Monday, March 14, 2011


Mr. Modern Neurotic: I keep getting distracted.

Doctor Mindreader: Some distractions are real and warrant our attention. But most of the time they are a way for us to perpetuate our unknown or unacknowledged fears. We want to steer ourselves away from something else… usually a decision. We may want to be in a box.... boxes have walls... limitations.

Mr. Modern Neurotic: But what I know is these walls... though no view exists.  Other times I just let myself go in my distractions because I feel, all too well... that some people need me as part of their distraction, and it makes me feel sad to know their emptiness without it.

Doctor Mindreader: Fear’s room has no windows because it doesn't trust the view --- especially if it's good.  Procrastination's indecisionism loves and needs all the directions to have equal weight --- not because they have equal weight, but because we are not ready for their responsibility. As for your guilt for others emptiness, this too, is probably only a cover, a rationalization to stay with the known.

Mr. Modern Neurotic: What is the cure?

Doctor Mindreader: To decide.

(Aenesidemus enters with a cup of sweet lemon tea)

Aenesidemus : That sounds very reasonable. But is this confidence and mirror gazing real? After all, how many have been stripped of their decision only to be thrown on the rocks again? Maybe your strings only laugh at you.... or that which controls them. Many people think they make decisions, but maybe the decisions make them. Have you ever found it hard to make a decision … and then the decision became easy? What changed? You were not made for it earlier but now you are. Maybe we should watch how much credit we give ourselves. How do we know we’re not someone’s toy?

Mr. Modern Neurotic: Doctor, what if we never really decide.... and great deciders are decided by something beyond them .... or ... maybe something brings us to our decision ... something we do not know. Oh, we think we know. I decided because of this..... because of that ..... because of.....

Aenesidemus: Haha! Yes, now you get it!

Doctor Mindreader: You are best off to believe and act like you do have the power to decide, and then do so. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to see that you have more power than you think. It is almost like our power comes from our ability to believe.... even in things we don't know.

Mr. Modern Neurotic: Hmmm, that sounds strange, and not very scientific.

Doctor Mindreader: Actually it is quite scientific… we have studies on the power and the benefit of belief, even in that which we don’t know to be true.

Mr. Modern Neurotic: Studies that confirmed this… scientific studies?  I need to see these; I need to see the studies before I can believe that I should believe in anything but science, especially decision and belief…. I always thought these were nothing but nonsense. ... especially the whole idea of belief in nonsense. Now you tell me that science tells us that we can actually make decisions and that belief in nonsense is good? Wow, all I can say is I want my nonsense mixed with a dash of sense … this way I will fit in and it looks like I’m still obeying my own sense and not under the pull of someone else’s nonsense. I suppose the new studies on belief disprove that we do not have free-will? It’s about time, now I better go make some serious decisions.

Aenesidemus: Yeah for science! Now we are free to believe with our free-will in nonsense because it’s good for our sense!

(In enters the respected engineer and futurist Doctor Roboface)

Dr. Roboface: Why believe this jibberish? I can tell you one thing, this fellow with the sweet lemon tea is a rag wearing fool, not only that but he's old, crumbling and decaying. He lacks optimization... innovation.... and hi-technology. He certainly doesn't know anything revolutionary like us. Our knowledge gives us control of our own destiny. Just look how nature kneels to our needs... what other proof do you need?

Mr. Modern Neurotic: Yes, I think you're right Doctor Roboface. This rag wearing tea guzzler speaks ill about specialization too, his peg is round and it doesn't fit in the modern day  square hole. He obviously doesn't like herd filled grazing fields... how strange is that? Stranger still, he offers no alternative.... he doesn't like the structure and hierarchy of the hives of old... plus he lacks the knowledge of success, money and honors. And to top it off, he lacks the ability to fist pump with a happy face when talking about our progress.

Dr. Roboface: So why trust this guy with the sweet lemon tea? I used to trust him back in the days when he spoke about life with reason and good sense ... but now.... now, he only speaks with parables and nonsense.

Mr. Modern Neurotic: Good question, from my past dealings with him, I would say he would probably answer your question with another question rather than an answer.... because he has no answers.

Aenesidemus: Why would I do that?

Mr. Modern Neurotic: You see....!!!

Aenesidemus: Doctor Roboface speaks with poison; I never said anything ill of reason or life, only that there is no reasonable reason to believe there is a reason to be reasonable when life itself has no reason. My parables are not about speaking untruths but to make the trip from this point to that more edifying and enduring. Beautiful speeches seek to give warmth and sink into the head through a back door. After all, the front door is always locked. And even if this isn't so, it's boring to enter the easy way, I like to make things hard because there is no reason to make them easy. Maybe your distractions stem from something else --- the vastness of the choices that confront you.  You are a product of progressive progress, and in being so, you lack the necessity and grounding from the teleology of the hive... you are a human decomposition that's lying on the wasteland of the herding ground. But don't believe me, after all, I don't believe this... so why should you?

Mr. Modern Neurotic: Now I am even more confused than ever... what do I do?

Aenesidemus: Some will say this and that are the cause of your distractions... I am not bold enough to say anything but nonsense. Meaning starts with you.  Just like the good doctor said... believe... and decide. Just don't let anyone believe or decide for you.