I had a good visit with Tim from church when we had coffee and a scone at Black Rock and then walked over to the dollar store to get a few things. It’s sunny today and forecast to be 59 degrees later on. I guess if I had to be graded on my independent living I’d get a D, or a low C at best. But this doesn’t really bother me right now. Tim remarked on my neighbor’s Spirit of 76 flag on his house. I shared with him that he’d told me that all you need to know are reading, writing, and arithmetic. Tim said that was classic. Oh well; politics is pretty silly stuff. It’s the ideology of the “real world,” but how useful is it in truth? Or how truthful is it in use? It seems like a lot of rhetorical hot air, though I’m fairly guilty of doing the same thing when I make posts. The purpose of my writing is ostensibly to raise consciousness for the fact of mental illness and try to empower those people. Also it’s to integrate their voices with those of the mainstream, at the same time being aware of the difficulties they face.
Quarter of eleven. Today is the calm before the storm Tuesday morning, so I’m going to appreciate this time, maybe read a book or write in my journal. I can play the bass if I need to let off steam or vent feelings of anger and frustration.
Three o’clock. Some snowflakes were mixed with the rain a moment ago, and as quickly vanished. I’ve been trying to read very difficult philosophy, the editor’s introduction to Logical Positivism. I’m so accustomed to rhetoric, generalizations, and poetry that the specificity of analytic philosophy is like doing math or something. Is there much difference between philology and linguistics, and which is trustworthy? And what is the use of philosophy if it doesn’t help humanity along? Wading through the introduction, I realized that I’ve been very naive in an epistemological way, a way that regards the medium of language. One can never really refer to concrete objects as they are, but instead you are stuck with verbal statements, and that’s as close as you can get to material truth. Naive realism is sort of a leap from subjective experience to saying the external world is objectively “there.” I make this leap in logic all the time, disregarding the problem of language. I think most people do. Maybe this is why philosophy has become disposable in our eyes: the way it splits hairs is impractical.
And yet, I remember thoughts and feelings from my early childhood, just watching the beads of rain trickle down the car window by osmosis, like observing the succession of my ideas. Our lives start out with endless questions that eventually get silenced by having to chase the dollar. Philosophy may seem useless, but it is our original state to wonder…
The times at large are generally very dark. When is it going to end? Sometimes I wax a bit psychotic thinking about it, deluded that I’m directly responsible for the plight of the world, or that my experience is a microcosm of what’s happening everywhere. I guess the second part is true, but there’s nothing magical about it. And really, everybody is likewise a miniature of the soul of the world. You can’t be conscious without carrying around a world conscience, because we’re all social animals. How strange to think of getting drunk to make reality go away. Everyone has a role to play in this drama, and we all have a day to shine in the spotlight. Many thinkers acknowledge this same truth, from Shakespeare to Emerson to Sartre; Cervantes too.
Wee hours. At the same time, I get tired of the grandiosity of a Shakespeare or a Victor Hugo, or any Romantic voice, and want to go with the ordinary and everyday. It is only in the commonplace that people are human and alive. And we’ve seen the terrible consequences of excessive drama once again in this country. It’s time to change our focus from narcissism to the humble and normal. In my opinion, even the Church is guilty of loftiness and grandiloquence, evident in the puffed up sermons we hear all the time. Perhaps rhetoric does violence to human well-being? And if so, maybe we need to bring the scope down to specifics, to particulars once again, with an attitude of calm and common sense. Instead of Shakespeare then, we get Thornton Wilder: the daily paperboy and the clink of coffee spoons…
We live in the Age of Unreason as things stand. It is the acme of rudeness to interrupt and fail to listen to other people. I knew someone like that 15 years ago. She described herself as logical, but really she was the farthest thing from it. She always presumed that what she had to say was more important than your input. She was the most ignorant person I ever met… This country was the brainchild of the Enlightenment, a time of scientific optimism and the audacity to know. A time that revived reason and logic. Nowadays, it is like a country beheaded, having no rational mind to measure out justice and equity. Leaders can get their way by throwing a tantrum or jumping down your throat. How can we call this civilization anymore? The worst part of it is that people vote for it, being unable to distinguish good from bad temperament, or perhaps not caring about that… I sit here and ponder how I can defect without actually leaving the country. I bet I’m not alone…
“Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.”
In disgust I put away the ice cream and went to bed, but sleep eludes me. So I got up again, seeking to capture my thoughts in these notes. Why do I feel disgusted with the world? It weighs on my shoulders, but I don’t know what to do. People are acting like children, and as a mature person I find it hard to tolerate. If there’s a rational God in heaven, then I pray that he hears the plea of this fish out of water. And by the way, sobriety is no walk in the park. It is a sense of responsibility for reality, a burden you can’t duck anymore. My family is behaving like so many idiots. But the real problem is that no one seems to listen to each other these days. And God listens to us the least of all. As Shelley wrote, “The world is wrong!” Indeed, I don’t think God is in His heaven and all’s right with the world…
I see images of women and children in my head, from the fellowship hall, smiling and eating cake from a wedding or a birthday. Yet now, people wear their stupid masks on their face, but also on their ears. What happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Will there ever be a victory over the virus day? If we can’t pull together as one race, then maybe we really are doomed. All the colors are one blinding light through a prism, and that’s what we must be able to see. Biologically this is the truth, the truth of life itself. The diversity is really one big unity, with all the forms of life interrelated and interconnected. We share the same genetic code, and moreover our atoms have all been cycled through the center of a massive star whose supernova explosion enriched a part of the universe, making life possible. Making this post possible, hopefully for somebody to read. Enough of divisions, of borders that break down the human spirit. We absolutely must come together to solve the world’s problems, and quickly.
Quarter of one. I slept for about four hours. It was like having another person’s dreams; they were quite irrelevant to my life. One dream abruptly hit the ground, leaving blackness… so I opened my eyes: I wasn’t blind or dead. I wasn’t in hell. And then I went on dreaming impersonal technical dreams. What kind of problem is my unconscious working on? Or does it even care about me? Perhaps the ego of consciousness doesn’t matter? But I feel ignored by my own soul. Not much that was human occurred in my dreams. It was strange. But life has been disregarding me as well, so I don’t know what gives. It’s just as well to be alone… The Portable Jung was first printed in paperback in 1971, the same year my parents bought our house. This may or may not be significant. I read a few random pages from the essay about dream symbolism in relation to alchemy. Hull’s translation rolls along smoothly. Jung is mainly concerned with the self and the process of individuation, or self realization— within reasonable limits. He says that the unconscious itself is illimitable and hints at immortality. The odd thing is that Jung offers no evidence to support his arbitrary claims, but trusts that the reader will accept his intuitions. He seems to confuse opinions with facts. I observe the same thing with prose writers like Emerson and Thoreau. They blurt generalizations for indisputable truth without giving examples or any kind of logical proofs. For that reason, they don’t qualify as philosophers in the strict sense of Western philosophy. They state their case but don’t substantiate their assertions with even a quotation or instance in point. The teacher who taught me how to write in high school would be unimpressed by Jung or anyone who wrote without proofs. But then I suppose Jung didn’t value logic for his method, which could be a mistake. His intuitionism could misguide a lot of people, like lemmings over the cliff. You either write fiction or facts, and if neither, you write in the boonies of empty rhetoric.