No Human Power

Six thirty at night.

I got on Amazon and ordered a CBT workbook to help myself with anxiety. The biggest problem I’ve been having is with mind reading, trying to second guess situations and people. But the only way to know the thoughts of others is to ask them to their face. It’s pretty stupid to weave a web of fantasy around people you know, or to dramatize your own life, maybe glorify it to heroic proportions. I may be divided on this perspective because I like existential philosophy so much. But it comes down to what is realistic, and really, life for most humans is quite ordinary and modest, not over the top with hubris and superhuman powers. Sometimes the need to empower yourself is so strong that life feels like a tremendous dare, a heroic struggle against overwhelming odds. So we produce brainchildren as Richard Wright produced Bigger Thomas, a larger than life martyr for racial and social justice. I suppose my blog has been something like this, but for mental health. And for this fact I feel a bit penitent and apologetic.

Maybe true strength consists in vulnerability, though I’m not yet persuaded of that. Does something take over when you surrender control? I think of Gandalf saying that even Gollum had a role to fulfill in the War of the Ring. It was a purpose bigger than Gollum himself, one that included all of them… Perhaps everyone is a pawn in a sociological game the horizon of which is past our understanding.


Rethinking Edgar Rice

Well I guess I’d better quit talking about Edgar Rice Burroughs. Maybe even Nietzsche as well. I was just reading and skimming the “introduction” to the loa Princess of Mars: it’s full of venom and swear words and name calling regarding the author. Junot Diaz has a point. Burroughs is not very politically correct, but Diaz goes further to accuse him of fantasies of slumming on top of colonialism, etc etc. I can almost agree with his points about white domination. He uses the word “superman” at least once, which also makes Nietzsche suspect. In a way, it’s kind of good; it stimulates me to rethink the whole topic of Burroughs and his creations. And perhaps Nietzsche really did go too far with the ubermensch notions. And what’s the difference between the Aryan race of Hitler and the white superheroes of Burroughs?

I don’t know! These ideas are New School. I feel how dated my education is. But even so, I want to take refuge in my old classics, the things that make me feel good. Like Greek philosophy, even though you have to remember that it’s elitist and sometimes eugenic, possibly dangerous stuff. Is there a reason why people don’t study philosophy anymore?

The world has changed a great deal while I was drinking my life away.

Todd approved a prescription for me of the gabapentin for anxiety as needed. So now I have that insurance for emergencies. I didn’t really enjoy my excursion today. It’s a sunny day and beautiful but my heart feels rather heavy, and I’m a bit nervous. The cabbie today said something like, “My give a shit is busted.” I guess my problem is caring too much, though I’m getting better about this.

Peace Tea

Seven forty.

Today I plan to go to church. I realized something just now. It’s the Peace Tea that triggers associations with a friend I used to know whose politics was very different from mine. We had a big blowup over a disagreement and I haven’t heard from him in 12 years. Probably I feel some regret for what happened, but some things are inevitable and no one is blameworthy. If anyone is guilty, it’s likely me for being a drunk at the time. But that bridge is burned and no way to apologize now. After today I’ll try to avoid Peace Tea and those memories of my lost friend. Or maybe it’s okay if I keep them conscious so they don’t go underground to wreak havoc… The weather is clear right now, though clouds are expected to roll in at noon. For every sunny day there are clouds and eclipses. Hawthorne wrote that the first things necessary for any utopia are a prison and a cemetery. Well said. Still I look forward to church this morning. It’s a good place to confess and be forgiven.

Footnote (“Shingle Street”)

Nine twenty.

I totally botched the lyric to the Dolby song, plus it refers to something historical that I have no familiarity with. Of course a British person would recognize it in a heartbeat. Even worse, a British person will know American history better than we do over here. The song I tried to cite was “Cloudburst at Shingle Street,” the lyric to which is available on the internet. 


Midnight hour.

I went back and reviewed my emails to my friend over the past month and determined the reason for our split: I simply quit compromising with her worldview, like I showed with the illustration of the train plowing impetuously through the country in Thoreau’s Walden. Now I don’t know if I want to repair the damage to our friendship or not. I must’ve felt that I was hindered by our relationship somehow, so I needed to shake it off and just get on with my life.

But keep in mind that a train can be derailed.

Right now I’m leaning toward offering an apology to her and trying to start over again. Our friendship will be changed after this, but it’s better to maintain a bridge than to burn it. 

Mike and Ron and Me / Windows

Eleven thirty. Band practice with Mike and Ron went really great. Once we got warmed up, we fell into a groove pocket together and made some progress. Being in that zone is what music is all about. We incorporated influences from King Crimson and Led Zeppelin, and worked on a Nirvana song. Ron played a three keyboard setup this time for a larger palette of sounds. Mike added a tambourine to his drum kit. The bass I used was very simple and traditional, a Fender Precision, but with extra punch from the Omega bridge. I enjoyed messing around with “The Mincer” by King Crimson… We jammed for two and a half hours. The weather was good for my pilgrimage over to Mike’s house; mostly sunny and nearly fifty degrees. Right now there’s a light rain on the back patio cover. Pastor wrote me a thoughtful reply to my email from last night, and said I should probably apologize to my friend for a disagreement on politics. I’ll have to turn it over in my mind a little before I decide. No truth is ever very cut and dried, especially the deeper you think about it. Only ten days remain until the inauguration of Joe Biden. Rather than a rerun of history, I hope for general advancement in the future. The future may seem like a blind wall, but really it’s a window. 

Apology of a Blogger

Three twenty. Most of my followers on WordPress won’t be able to comprehend the scholarly language I used in the above paragraphs. The fact is that I know a great deal about psychology and psychiatry from firsthand experience in the clinic. I often take this knowledge for granted. Therefore I can’t expect many likes on my post. But that’s not the reason I put it on my blog. I did it for me… Indeed I take my intelligence and wisdom for granted, forgetting how others may lack the same background as myself. For this and other oversights I offer my apologies.


Eleven twenty. One of my followers removed a like from the last post. My guess is that he was offended. What I wrote there is very revealing about me but also insightful to the origins of gayness. My former supervisor fit into this model, himself being gay and close to his mother, very well. It’s the classic theory, which doesn’t get the same approval from the public anymore. I only adhere to the theory because I choose to be straight in spite of it. This is why I insist on indeterminism, or at least a belief in free will in the face of Freud…

Even while I argue thus, I’m aware that I had the same thoughts about a year ago, so the time of year with its seasonal cues is triggering me to think a certain way. Such a trigger is far from a-causal, though it is cyclical as opposed to linear. The seasons go round in a circle, and memories accumulate in layered transparencies. What we recollect can drive our behavior unconsciously until we catch ourselves. The important thing in whatever we do is to have insight into it. Only when we see may we act freely and wisely.