The Mind

I wrote in my journal that the one mind I always have to deal with is my own. I also thought it might help me to focus on concrete things outside of my head, just ordinary objects. Maybe I would have benefited from getting out of the house. I needed a reality check, though sometimes it’s hard to know what to do. I actually did get up and move into the family room, which helped me a little bit. Right now I feel relatively fine. I just had a nap with some dreams that made no sense. The older I get, the more artificial seem the workings of my own mind, even like a cyborg or whatever. The human brain is a wonderful thing, but it has limits. Some of the stuff my mind does can blow me away, even though it is considered psychotic. But the cliché things we attribute to our minds, like telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and all that Stephen King stuff, is probably baloney. Someday I might be proven wrong about that.

I’m pretty sure, however, that my delusion of time travel was just a delusion.

The human mind has strong desires and wishes, often exceeding the boundaries of what we acknowledge as reality. These desires are expressed in dreams; but sometimes the need is so strong that they intrude in our conscious processes, resulting in delusions and hallucinations. I believe that human beings all desire to be free, like Cervantes when he wrote Don Quixote from a prison cell; nor is freedom itself a fallacy or misleading fantasy. So much has been written about it over the centuries, and nations founded on it, and great social movements inspired by it, that it’s unlikely to be just a chimera or impossible dream.

But then I’ve always been an idealist and a dreamer of big dreams. There aren’t enough of us.

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Hardy Har Har!

I had a close call with alcohol this afternoon but talked myself out of it again. It’s a mistake to believe I have any control over my drinking. If I start to do it, then I really am “powerless” over alcohol. The way I see it is, I only have freedom and power as long as I don’t drink: my freedom consists in sobriety itself. To drink is bondage.

The best demonstration of this is the novels of Thomas Hardy. So I dug out Tess of the D’Urbervilles, intending to read it for the first time. His belief in fate hinges entirely on alcoholism if you read his books carefully. I love The Mayor of Casterbridge as a perfect example. And I’ve read Jude the Obscure three times. Jude’s undoing is alcohol and his first wife Arabella, a curvy little bitch who works as a barmaid. But the role of alcohol is clearer in his earlier books. Tess was his penultimate novel to be published, and might be better than Jude. So anyway, by reading Hardy I’ve figured out an antidote to the idea of fatalism, which is simply to avoid alcohol— or maybe not so simple.

For a Rainy Day

Quarter of six.

I spent a restless night. I slept a little here and there and had a bad dream about my parents: they wanted me to sell my basses to compensate for some other expenses. Perhaps they wanted me to go to school. It was a bad dream because I was subordinate to them again, riding in the backseat of their car and being told what to do. But without autonomy, a person never knows who he is; thus independence is vital to your growth and wellbeing. I’d rather be my authentic self and make dumb mistakes than a servant to anyone else and be perfect. And who’s the judge of whether you do right or wrong? If grownups save their children from error, then who will save the grownups from the same thing? It’s silly to be an overprotective parent. Eventually we all have to stand on our own two feet, for good or bad. Just now, a police car siren goes off, but I only shrug and mind my own business. So my dream was a bad one; the return of my parents was like prison for me. People deserve to live with dignity, freedom, and power over their own future.

Quarter after seven.

I hardly ever go to Bi Mart anymore, even less on foot. I used to walk a mile anywhere I wanted to go. A few times I went as far as Santa Clara Square for physical therapy on foot. What’s up with the difference today? I don’t want to spend more money than I have to; but there’s something more. Dunno. Maybe money is mobility and poverty is staying put. Still, selling my guitars is out of the question. You got it, keep it.

Home, Sweet Home

Ten o’clock.

The next day it rained. Gloria is here now, doing some cleaning work in the kitchen. I feel pretty tired but a little anxious too. After one o’clock today I expect my loveseat to be delivered here. My prospect of playing music with others is looking less and less realistic, unless it’s just with the church. I don’t have much in common with the people who play rock and roll. Meanwhile my mother’s dream for me gets less relevant the longer she’s gone. Maybe I dreamed it for myself as well. I’ll hang onto my bass guitars just in case. My magnolia has one flower on it to symbolize the off chance to realize a dream. Down the hall, Aesop is scratching at the door to protest being shut in. He wants to be with me— or does he simply want liberty? Like the prop plane I hear flying overhead outdoors: free as a bird on the wing.

Eleven o’clock. Gloria was having a low energy day so she went home a bit early, and now Aesop gets his wish. The swallows in the chimney sound happy, as even the mourning dove does outside my window. It’s a day of cheerful domesticity and independence.

Pixie Dust

Quarter after eleven.

I feel kind of tired and a bit anxious in general. Maybe I shouldn’t have called my sister on the phone. She has inflexible opinions on everything… I’m watching the squirrels in my backyard while Aesop pouts by the glass door. What would make him really happy?

Nine forty PM.

By now I realize that I’d love to play nineties jazz fusion with my friend here locally. It was an ambition I left behind when that style went out by around 1996 and all jazz converted to acoustic instruments. If we can get it to take off in Eugene then maybe I’ll be spending less time writing and blogging, which is all good with me.

Quarter of eleven. Perhaps it’s me who has inflexible opinions as to how much is possible?:

With happy thoughts and a dash of pixie dust, anyone can fly—

Saying No

Seven fifty.

For some reason I felt better for getting out of the house a bit ago. I’ve been rather besieged at home due to my PCA situation. Sometimes I just want to be left alone… I spent $17 at the convenience store this morning. Not many people were out yet. I feel I want to break free from everything, like the old Queen song by John Deacon. Conceivably I could go buy a load of beer and drink myself to oblivion this afternoon. But if I did, then probably everyone would find out about it. How many ways do I know to fly to the moon? Occasionally I find myself in this position, tempted to get drunk, but knowing better what’s good for me. I don’t think I’m like some people who WTF their way through life, and yet I could really use a little bit of empowerment. Drunkenness is what you do when your life seems painted into a corner, or like a dead end. And when that happens, you need to rearrange your circumstances. Often it starts with saying no when you feel the pressure to say yes. It’s when you say yes too many times that your life gets out of control. It can even make you sick.

Nine o five. At last the sun is out, though it’s still partly cloudy. Time to take the bull by the horns…

Grammar Rules (or Does It?)

Quarter of ten.

I begged Gloria for a light duty day since my dental ordeal Thursday morning and the long day yesterday. So now she’s mopping the floors while I take a siesta on the loveseat, languidly writing a desultory note to myself. The weather is rather lemon.

Eleven fifty five. The clouds have blown away to make a bright sunny Saturday. I was thinking that if humanity has free will, then anything is possible with our lives, including breaking bad habits like alcohol abuse. Independence is essential to everything we do, and often no one’s opinion matters but your own. Contrary to what people tell you, you are capable of thinking for yourself… I might go bash my four string war club down the hall a while, make a brash brutal rock and roll racket on it for my daily catharsis. Or I could read Richard Wright or Mark Twain. It’s possible to do both today. But I think I’ll be considerate of my dog’s anxiety and spend the day quietly. Even this, however, is a personal choice from a few available options. I merely looked before leaping… Everyone anticipated this beautiful weekend, but now that it’s here, I feel very tired, sore, and somewhat dodgy and daft. I think I’ll delay making a decision.

Three twenty.

I ended up both reading and playing the bass, and both were fun. Outside, the quality of the sunlight feels rather obscure and filtered; maybe dark and sensuous. Church happens tomorrow, but if I went, I’d know my reasons were insincere, for I’m not a true Christian. I feel tugged in several directions. But what’s done is a done deal. The future presents options; but “when you look behind you there’s no open doors.” And there is no would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve: only what actually happened; what you did. Everything else is a trick of grammar.

Liberty Bell 🔔

Well I’m glad this morning is behind me and I have two days now to rest and take it easy. I started writing in my new journal this morning: really pleased with it. Seems to inspire me to better thoughts than ordinary blank books. A while ago I returned to my old theme of individual freedom, especially in Continental thinking, for instance Spain and France over the centuries, from Cervantes to Sartre. I just love that stuff. I always get excited for the idea of personal liberty, whether or not it’s illusory, perhaps an impossible dream. The point, I guess, is to keep the dream of freedom alive in our imaginations and work towards its realization. It’s awfully easy to get depressed with the belief that we are nothing but pawns in a government game, puppets controlled by a master puppeteer. This is especially true if you are a mentally ill person snared in the system, having to take the medication and jump through the hoops that ultimately boil down to economics and the associated greed and corruption. Even if freedom is only a dream, still dreams inspire people to action in the end. I might argue that Edgar Allan Poe flew to the moon just by writing a story about it, because posterity made his fantasy a reality, inspired by his original idea.

Reveille

Seven ten.

It’s still overcast today with a few drops of rain. I’m curious to see how hot it’ll get this summer but there’s no hurry. I’ve gotten tired of the world news every day. In fact, I’m quite tired of people in general, the way we always refute each other’s identity and desires, like a constant negation of who we are. You have to just roll with it, though you also have to create your opportunities. It’s a matter of being up for it, and lately I haven’t been. Maybe someday the stars will line up in an auspicious way for my happiness, but it isn’t today, for me or for anybody. We hunker down in fear and uncertainty, magnifying the depression with our attitude. No one is being very heroic like characters in great literature. At a time like this, people could learn something from reading Sartre’s plays, but instead they flounder aimlessly, not knowing that they are free. The same thing goes for me as well. It’s not the will of God that drives the world. We are not pawns in this game, but rather agents who freely create our circumstances. Biblical prophecies are the ones that we ourselves fulfill because we don’t know any better. People are equally free not to turn fiction into fact. Becoming aware of this is the first battle. There is no blueprint for the human future. 

Cosmology

I don’t know if there’s a deus ex machina in all of this. I suppose I could choose to believe such a thing, and yet no good fortune happens without an individual being assertive with the situation and people.

Once, a friend told me something humorous on that head. I’d had a phobia of parking my vehicle in crowded places Downtown or on the campus. Mike said, “You see? The parking gods will be kind to you if you show a little courage.” He was mostly an atheist but a great songwriter, leading the band with me in it. The same year I began dating a woman my age who was a Lutheran working in a bookstore. I did a lot of reading in Herman Melville, starting with Moby Dick, though his worldview clashed with the Tennyson I also tried to embrace. The result was a big mess for me, and in the end I lost those friends plus my best friend and my dad died that year: and on the whole it felt like 1999 was the end of the world.

I don’t know which impulse won the day, the blackness of Melville or the Christian sunshine, however, life went on with my dad’s passing. A few days later I bought two little books related to Epicurean philosophy but this was soon drowned out by the era of the holy wars and incidentally my mother’s death. And then my whole world was transformed, though I fought it as my addiction to alcohol progressed and eventually took over my life. Just today I pondered what the new hub of my life had become, and it seems to be the written word probably more so than music. As I think about it, a lot of living is adapting to sociological changes out of my control, surviving them and holding onto the wave like the old song by Yes says. Personal freedom is a comforting idea but ultimately it’s a tired illusion, so that my recovery from alcoholism really isn’t creditable to me at all, but rather to something like fate that operates within and without the individual person.