People just aren’t getting it. The Covid pandemic is nothing. What’s killing us is an epidemic of lovelessness. I know people who have never been in love their whole life, whose heart is inside their head. The world could really benefit from reading Dubliners by James Joyce, but since no one is doing this, I offer a post about passion. No one is alive whose life energy is entirely from the neck up. D.H. Lawrence said the body is the soul. Still, no one listens. I knew a former pastor who, symbolically, was paralyzed from the neck down. He stated that the job of human beings was to “subdue the earth,” whatever that means, but I think he referred to his own body. In my experience, spiritualization is sterilization, and it’s everywhere. People are a bunch of severed heads running around, feeling absolutely nothing. When will we realize that our heart is in our chest and not in our skull? We are a species of the undead, merely animated corpses, and again, to quote James Baldwin, “Funerals are for the living.” The shadow of the Cathedral twists us completely out of shape. And the New York City subway tunnels and rumbles its way through the dead of night, threatening to irrupt into broad daylight.
It was still dark outside when I walked to the store this morning. The partly clear sky permitted a view of the stars overhead. Out of range of the streetlight I could hardly see the ground in front of me. As I ambled along, I remembered a night nine years ago when I drunkenly made a trip to the same place, with my mind playing music by Khachaturian. At once, it was a romantic night and a miserable one, but sometimes we like to dream little dreams. Sometimes a dream can engulf us while real time leaves us behind… Michelle and the dairy guy were doing inventory when I came in the door. She was in a good mood because it’s Friday today and she gets weekends off. Just now the dawn arrives with rosy fingers, or rather a stripe of peach between banks of clouds that are breaking up. I read some Mark Twain yesterday noon. It made me think of what freedom means to different people. How is it defined? He might say with democracy and with honest labor. It seems to me that freedom in one respect entails a sacrifice somewhere else. Nobody has everything they want, so just appreciate what you have.
Quarter of eight. I spent a rough afternoon yesterday. My nervous system felt hypersensitive, as if I might go into a seizure or something like that. I was overwrought with anxiety and stress. When I wrote in my journal I reasserted my belief in Freudian analysis, and then I could relax a bit. One of the greatest lines I’ve read is by James Baldwin: “Funerals are for the living…”
The same old questions concerning sexuality occurred to me again when I rolled out of bed. Perhaps that therapist only tried to help me? It’s true that I laid my soul bare to her and made myself quite defenseless… I think there’s a truth that goes deeper than Christianity, and Freud might have hit close to the mark. Isn’t it better to leave no stone unturned? Why live your whole life without knowing the whole truth? Often, culture is an obstacle to self knowledge. It is better to know. Culture also throws extraneous trappings onto the truth. This may be a passing mood, but for now it obtains… Outside comes the predawn twilight, the glimmer before the dawn. Bars of sunlight will shine down and create our prison of self consciousness and restraint. The social world will wake up and hold you responsible to your contract. But how much more can we smuggle into the light of day? And doesn’t everybody feel the same way?
There is no evidence that schizophrenia is caused by repression of gay instincts. It was merely a nonsense theory dreamed up by Sigmund Freud a century ago. Without proof, a theory is sunk, or at least it isn’t a fact. Scientific studies show that the predisposition for schizophrenia is hereditary and not phenomenological. This is what I go by. As for the prognosis, the illness is incurable except in 15 percent of cases. I doubt if Sheryl was aware of either of these facts. She believed she was onto a miracle cure that she read about on the web. I have no faith in talk therapy with regard to schizophrenia. I’m an oddball for my opinion in our time, but posterity will probably prove me right. Talk therapy is in vogue because it is less expensive than psychiatry, and of course the world wants to save a buck or two. The rule goes, any accurate knowledge costs money, while misinformation is available for free. I just hope for a day when this sad state of affairs is redressed. Some rich and generous soul with a science brain must come forward and set things to right. But then, the rich usually get richer while the poor get poorer. This problem needs to be fixed first.
Quarter after two. I slept for about four hours and had at least one significant dream. It featured Vince from across the street many years ago. We were having a conversation in a sparely appointed room about James Baldwin. Vince said very articulately that Baldwin’s life had been a social experiment. He added that it was a difficult one, but Baldwin didn’t just wake up one day and decide to be a homosexual. He was born that way… What Vince was saying so intelligently could not have been voiced by the wife he divorced long ago. Although, his daughter Victoria is studying to be a therapist, or will be someday. I recall the bond of father and daughter they had. They shot hoops together out in their driveway… So when I awoke, I returned to think about giving talk therapy another chance. My plan is to call Laurel Hill this morning and ask about the possibilities for me of doing that.
My new bass shipped this morning! I imagine I’ll get it Friday. It’s a sunny morning with some clouds. Been leafing through James Baldwin, rereading this and that passage. What impresses me about it is its honesty. And the honesty makes it more alive. Just acknowledging what is inside of us blesses it and brings it to life. There are the living who trust their instincts, and the dead ones who fall into lifeless rituals. Sort of like what happens in The Wall by Pink Floyd, but probably deeper. The passage regarding the Cathedral, how its shadow disfigures the people within it, is powerful. This is the oppressiveness of the Church… Strange how you can be trapped in a web of language. Theology controlled my thoughts for almost three years. It funneled the full color spectrum to monochrome. What, really, does religion offer you? A chance at eternal life after the grave? I just remembered Pascal’s Wager…
Eleven thirty. Even with the clouds, it’s beautiful outside. I’ve been to the store for foodstuffs. I feel great today. My bills are nearly all paid. A great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’m going to practice my bass soon. I’ll just throw the two Rondo basses away, along with my history of psychosis and alcoholism. Kind of hard to describe how I feel, parting with the past.
Quarter of two. My bass practice went great, and it came from a place of inspiration. It was like being able to hear again after a long deafness. It must be the gabapentin, since nothing else is different. All my senses are sharper than before: it’s a restoration of my whole nervous system… It also may help that the season is springtime. Everything conjoins and conspires to renew my soul and body. I get the feeling that life will be okay, though with some qualms about where the inspiration comes from; is it a power of spiritual wickedness? If so, then it still feels much better than the gray existence from before the drug. I was in a prison of gray concrete and iron bars, a penitentiary, a place to confess and repent my sins. Then someone or something threw open the door, someone who had the key, and freed me. Now I don’t know the meaning of sin. Unless thinking makes it so, there is nothing either good or bad. My soul is the visible spectrum, a rainbow, plus the invisible beyond. There is no black and white. I’ve sloughed the convict shirt, lost the ball and chain. I am Mother Nature’s Son. The Noble Savage. I look on as the sky clouds up and omens rain. The rain will fall and equalize everything. In the midst of life, I am happiness itself.
Nine fifty five. Aesop and I slept in. He gets his breakfast in three minutes. Yesterday I flipped and scanned through Another Country and began to suss it out. It’s really about romantic love and sex as opposed to spiritual love, and maybe for Baldwin there’s no distinction… The gabapentin is great. I feel a lot better since taking it. I used to have back pain, but now it’s virtually gone… Another Country explores the meaning of love, and it seems not to be a Christian love. It is a wanting and needing kind of love. Desire and affection. I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s probably very true. I see a lot of repression in society nowadays, however. Some people hate sex, though it makes no sense to me. There ought to be a continuity of the head with the body, as if we had no neck. But this is a matter for debate. What is spiritual love, anyway? Is it a condition of being a severed head? I’m beginning to remember my Whitman and Lawrence: the body is the soul. Spiritual love is where the head dominates the body, rules it with an iron fist. The healthy way to live is for the head and body to be whole and in harmony with each other. I hadn’t thought of this in many years. I believe it’s true.