The Stuff of Dreams

Eight thirty five.

Aesop scarfed down his breakfast of Purina Beyond, whereas yesterday he didn’t like Blue Buffalo, so I won’t buy that again. It’s just an ordinary day for me, though Gloria is coming at ten; maybe not so ordinary. One thing that The Tempest makes clear for me is the connection between drunkenness and madness. Prospero, toward the end, is saying that he will restore reason and understanding to everyone, break his staff, drown his book, and habit himself like the Duke of Milan again. Or maybe the drunkenness element is not so obvious, except that Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban all get drunk on the wine they find. The sea imagery and the enchanted isle suggest to my mind alcohol, but perhaps Shakespeare didn’t intend this meaning… In general, sobriety and sanity amount to about the same thing: the dryness of the real and literal world, with no magic or metaphysics or any flavor at all. It’s very dull and boring, and I often long for a holiday from it— like reading Shakespeare. It seems to me that drinking and dreaming share the same essence. How many times do you run into the word “dream” in Edgar Poe? And he was notorious for his alcoholism.

I could be all wet, of course.


Ethic for the Fourth

Eleven o’clock.

Some fireworks are going off in the neighborhood. Conceivably I could make a run to the market for something sweet to eat or drink, but at night it’s inadvisable. The vampires and the loonies come out at night; basically just people on drugs including alcohol. Vampires don’t exist without alcohol. And the moon is only romantic in madness. I think I’ve experienced enough of lunacy for one person, and it’s unrewarding in the end. I don’t know if there’s anything magical about staying sober, but when you walk a straight line, good things tend to result. It’s a poor friend who calls you a wuss for your sobriety… I believe that if you want to stay sober then you will do so. This desire for sanity will guide everything you do. You will leave bad situations for good ones with better and better judgment. I can remember when I was accused of selfishness, but egoism and altruism are a false dichotomy. There’s only the good choice of action, and this is the meaning of prudence.

Sanity’s Return

Eight o’clock.

Going to the store was quite nice this morning. Heather gave me some jerky strips for Aesop and was smiling at me when she thought I didn’t know it. Compared to yesterday, I have a bit more common sense today. My sister may try to call me, but I will just let it ring. There is band practice this afternoon at one o’clock. I have to take a few things with me: a small hex wrench, a guitar pick, and gifts for the guys.

Nine o’clock. The air outside is immobile as death; supposed to get up to 90 degrees, and with no breeze it’ll feel warmer. The house is super quiet right now. The last time I read a book was over a week ago: John Berryman. But I find contemporary literature dysfunctional and disturbing and not very didactic. From Emerson to Philip Roth shows quite a moral decline, like reading the “General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales. It takes one genius to spearhead a literary movement and a host of successors to screw it up. Perhaps due to the cooler weather, my wits have come back and I can think again about virtue of the Emersonian kind. I didn’t care for June and its events in my life. Hopefully July will bring better things.

Ten o’clock. I have a gorgeous big volume of Montaigne that I haven’t even begun to sample, so that’s something I can do on a quiet day. 

Toward Science

Lisa the counselor didn’t like me very much. She often brought up narcissism in my presence, to the point where I took offense and wrote her a letter demanding an apology. She was afraid of me after that. That year, 2009, everyone was extremely superstitious. I found myself writing poems I didn’t believe. They made no rational sense. I shared a few of them with Kate and she perceived that I was not well. So, she patiently guided me back to sanity. She served as my “therapist” and confidante for six years, reversing the damage caused by the world gone insane during the Bush presidency. Kate was actually an anti therapist. She of course did not believe in God or any spiritual nonsense. I sure could use her common sense today. I’m becoming sick of WordPress. The religious people are getting on my nerves. Americans in general are mostly out of their minds these days. Look at who we elected President. We need somebody like Kate in leadership to reel us back in to scientific certainty. The world needs to be healed of its delusions. Learn our science facts and control global warming. Stop polluting ourselves out of a habitat. Stop expecting the new Jerusalem to come and start providing for our future. I will not contribute to the madness of religion anymore.

A Society of Science

I did so much studying of the Renaissance in school, probably the ultimate in finesse and snobbery… An old song by Stanley Clarke off of School Days plays in my head. The album title is pertinent. It is the way my subconscious mind works, sympathetic to the main argument… My hopes center on my house getting done. Until then I can imagine living in it: my own big space, subject to my rules and tastes. It’s all taking shape in reality, what was once a castle in the air. I’ve definitely paid a price for this gift. It’s the house of a Renaissance Man… Now it’s a song by Earthworks called “Shadow of a Doubt.” What is the doubt, I wonder? But The Sound of Surprise was a Cd I bought during my first recovery in May 2003. Treatment wasn’t so bad at first. The counselor was open to me as long as I didn’t drink. I was a good boy, honest about doing UA’s and such. Yet I was so different then from now. So much younger and fresher; it’s hard to believe I was the same person. Gradually I understood that alcoholism was something I was being blamed for morally, and that’s when I rebelled. I came to loathe the program for the shame it put me through. Alcoholism is a defect not of morals but of genetics, and forget the crap about “the sins of the fathers.” Years later I encountered practices that made schizophrenia a moral matter as well, and again it violated science and common sense. I guess I’m just a believer in modern science. The world will be a better place when old notions of moral blame and shame are replaced by understanding logically; when everyone puts on eyeglasses and looks at life through the microscope. The beauty of science is how it exonerates us from stigmas of habitual religion. Instead of holding a crows’ court and murdering our outcasts, we shall understand and love them even for the fact of their defects. Every ugly duckling is a swan in the eyes of science. And let there be no quack science either. The conspiracy of bullshit eventually must come crashing down. Thereupon we can rebuild society from scratch.

My Tradition

Every night I’ve been dreaming about my death— and it’s a finality, not the beginning of an afterlife. Worse: my mind connects my death with the Apocalypse, the end of the world. Which makes sense because for me it really is the end of time. What my delusion forgets is that I am part of a whole generation likely to pass away around the same time. Delusions of reference are always egocentric, the way a toddler thinks; if it’s happening to me, it’s happening everywhere. My poor brain amplifies my personal death to a worldwide cataclysm. Some psychologists would condemn this thinking as narcissism. I disagree; the delusions of schizophrenia are the symptoms of a brain disease and not a moral disorder. I keep saying this, but nobody gets it. People generally love to get on a soapbox and judge and condemn everyone but themselves. It has always been bad logic to do so. The tradition I come from is not psychology but the much older one of philosophy. I believe that all phenomena are ultimately reducible to reason, and that logic is an essence that pervades all existence. It comes down to consistencies and contradictions: coherence and incoherence. Even religion submits to philosophy to some extent. I value reason probably because my sanity is subject to pitfalls. You don’t treasure anything until you are deprived of it, and that makes logic priceless to a schizophrenic like me. The meaning of life depends on what you lack. For my current wits I am grateful to modern medicine, specifically the antipsychotic Vraylar.