Byron or Buddha?

Seven forty. During my phone appointment this morning, Todd discussed with me some options for talk therapy. One of them came from a spiritual approach and aimed at the client’s self abnegation. As a knee jerk response I blurted, “Eww! I don’t think I’d like that.” I didn’t think about what I was saying, though I know it was honest and authentic. It was too much like Serenity Lane indoctrination had been. And I’m too much of a Byronic person to blow away my ego. Obliteration of the will is the goal of Buddhism. Success in doing this is to reach nirvana— theoretically. The Twelve Steps borrows from Buddhism, or so it seems to me. I can’t prove where Bill Wilson got his inspiration for the program. Anyway, the spiritual talk therapy is not for me. Todd said deciding to do therapy depends on what I want to get out of it. This is a good point, because I don’t really know. Right now I’m inclined to forget the whole idea. Maybe I’m just a Faust freak. If I could have all the knowledge in the world, what would I do with it? Not so much the knowledge in the world, but the knowledge of the world and existence itself.

Sunshine

Quarter after ten. The sunshine is nice, but my mood is a little down. I’m quite bewildered since going over Another Country again. I guess I was just curious about it, but it may have been masochistic too. Baldwin doesn’t define love in Christian terms. It’s more egocentric than that for him. How strange to retrace my path to college and contrast now with then. The message in college mostly was egoism, and preparation for the rat race. Even the humanities were like that. It was a church, but a different kind of church, not at all Christian. Also there was no mercy for the weak and sick, just the way that Plato was elitist and pitiless. Even while I was a student, I hated the English department for being haughty and snobbish… Anyway, Baldwin’s vision of love is selfish and taking rather than the opposite. Henry James was similar: love was about possessing another person. It was passion and jealousy— essentially selfish feelings. It was far from sacrifice and service. I think I was indoctrinated in a different way at the university… and it backfired. It failed because I became ill and could barely finish my degree… I will probably attend church when we’re allowed to meet again. I don’t fit in anywhere else. The River Road Community is a good place with a good philosophy. I might pick up Les Miserables again and slog through the rest of it. Interesting how Hugo even refers to the original St Vincent de Paul a few times, and the mentality of the thrift store today is close to Les Miserables. More than a coincidence, I gather. As I write, the sunshine outside is very strong, and there’s a breeze in the trees. Yes I will go back to church when we can.

Coming to Grips

Quarter of four. I guess I’m a shallow person for being so egoistic. I always preferred my Edgar Rice Burroughs novels for the same reason. The so called heroes were in life for themselves, to conquer the world and conquer happiness their way. They were in service to no one but themselves, and whatever infrastructures they came upon they could master and eventually dominate. John Carter becomes the Warlord of Mars after three short volumes. I reckon what makes Burroughs less worthy than Tolkien is the difference in motive for writing. The former is a control freak, the latter a great altruist. Both write about the phenomenon of power, but one hoards it while the other throws it away. Tolkien is about service to higher ideals than oneself, and that’s where Burroughs falls short. I grew up on Edgar Rice, just by natural affinity and attraction, but all along I knew the story of LOTR in the background. Now I’m in a position to come to grips with both storytellers and judge their merits in light of morality. I’m going to find that Tarzan and John Carter are far inferior to Frodo.

“Milieu”

Quarter after two. I dreamed that I was being recruited for a Christian team of four people. My personal coach was a girl named Milieu. She was very young. I was chosen by Pastor to read aloud to a woman who was ill. Then the team came and waited in their car outside my house until I came out. I was hardly organized and my hygiene was a mess. Milieu said I needed to work on that. She said the team was fighting a war on something. I hazarded, “How about a war on ignorance?” Her whole face clouded in a disapproving bemused look. Milieu liked music and could remember things she’d heard from way back… I woke up before we reached our destination, which was the sick woman’s home. The dream had been lucid. I attribute it to the Zoloft.