Que Sera, Sera

Eight twenty.

Finally I had the gumption to read a story by Borges called “The Garden of Forking Paths” in the small hours. It was great, an exploration of the contingencies of time, the options taken and not taken all being valid at once, to create multiple futures. But when I read a few pages of Verne last night, it struck me as just an adventure story with very little poetry to it. I’ll give it more of a chance… My oak and maple trees are changing color at last. The first is even dropping some leaves already, and the season still affects my mental state. I remembered a friend with an apartment next door to Knights of Pythias, back when I had a vehicle and things were quite different for me. I forget hardly anyone I meet in my life. Stuff happens and I lose touch with people, yet the memories persist as though nothing had happened. It’s like the music playing in my head: I can be in the worst pickle but the music goes on indifferently, undisturbed… It’s a wonder to me that I ever got sober, but I see it as a preordained event more than an act of will. My stomach saved me, one therapist said. Often it’s the body that makes executive decisions for the whole person. The horse doesn’t need the rider for guidance on its way places. The path he takes he would unerringly pick anyway.

Quarter of ten.

To the west it’s deep blue sky, puffy gray clouds in the east. I had a tuna salad sandwich for breakfast. Yesterday was my baptismal birthday but no one remembers it, including me usually. By now I’ve shunted away my Lutheran brainwashing while my education comes back somewhat. It’s hard to tell education from forcible indoctrination; and again, the mind is probably just along for the ride, a byproduct of biological forces. There is peace in kismet.

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Sleepers

Quarter of seven.

I see no light on the horizon so far this morning even though the store opened at six o’clock. Often it’s hard to have faith in our present and future but we have to continue as if nothing were wrong.

Quarter after nine.

I slept in for a while. Last night I read a little known poem called “The Sleepers” by Whitman. It’s good but rather strange, though it contains truth that most people wouldn’t acknowledge, particularly Christian people or anyone who doesn’t like Freud. I enjoyed it, actually. The poem is honest and goes very deep into human experience. I’m not sure exactly when he composed it but it had to be after 1855 and before 1892. It seems the time was right for Freud at the turn of the last century, though he was preceded also by Henry James. I don’t know where the quote comes from, but when I took Shakespeare I heard something about being awakened by the secret police at four in the morning, and how awful this idea was.

Soon I have to face the music of another day, go to the store and see who tried to call me on the phone. It’s a merciless world but thank goodness for our poets.

No Boogeymen

Quarter of seven.

Behind the clouds, the sun is just making the horizon. In order to be free, first believe in freedom. Liberating myself from my past required belief in liberty. I just realized that my old psychiatrist presupposed Freudian ideas, and these things kept me mired down a long time. He sometimes evidenced a belief in ulterior motives and slips rather than accepting accidents as accidents. Since then, I’ve fought to disabuse myself of Freudian determinism and his tripartite model of the mind, especially the unconscious. The more I can make the mind an integrated unit, the better. There’s no reason to set up an impulsive boogeyman in opposition to the conscious ego, though it’s the classic paradigm as old as Plato. All the more reason to discard it. People believe in Freud and Jung just because other people do. It’s a tradition handed down by the generations, often unquestioned and untested. The sky won’t fall if you should try something different. The past is a bucket of ashes. Give liberty a chance.

Narcotic Rain

Midnight.

It wasn’t a good day. My sister on the phone talked to me until my arm began to ache. Everything went south from there today. Now I believe that masochism is a reality in our daily behavior, as Freud pointed out a century ago, so the trick is to catch it and correct it. The enjoyment of pain is twisted and impure. A true reward is the experience of pleasure as pleasure, the real thing. Good is good, and negative is negative, but to a masochist the two are difficult to ferret apart from each other. Maybe none of this would have happened if I had never stopped drinking; if I still gave myself a foretaste of heaven. And yet that experience is a delusion of paradise, an artificial thing. Perhaps the question of happiness is a fairly involved philosophical problem that begins by asking yourself what is true happiness? It is especially hard to identify when nobody seems to give a damn about anything anymore. Everyone is numb as if we’d all sampled the same narcotic… 

I keep meaning to revisit Mallarme to see about his idea of a spiritual universe that replaces God with himself. Though my French is not the best, I’m quite sure of what he was saying on that score. And who would I be to say that Mallarme was presumptuous? I would be more presumptuous than he was. 

Towards a Cure

Four thirty five in the morning.

It’s been raining fairly hard and constantly. The sound of it was comforting while I slept. I recall a dream I had when I was a sophomore in college. I hid by my bedroom window to avoid being seen by pteranodons in the sky, a paranoid dream. About ten years later I dreamed of men landing in my backyard in a helicopter to take me away with them. Somehow I think helicopters symbolize sex because they hover like an erection, as Freud would say. Dreams of floating or suspension in air usually mean that… The problem with gay sex is the clash with conventional morality as it is prescribed in the Bible. Internal conflict like this gives rise to neurosis and maybe even psychosis if my theory is right. I also think the homosexuality is innate, something I was born with. In schizophrenia, there’s a split between feeling and reason. But what if instinct and the intellect could be joined in harmony rather than opposing each other? Perhaps it would heal the illness. In this case, I could quit taking the medication and maybe live longer… Freud wrote that homosexuality is no degradation, no vice, and can’t be called an illness. And of course, Freddie Mercury said, “I’ve done my sentence but committed no crime.” 

An Irreducible Schism

Wee hours.

It is odd how people come and go, even me. Everything changes over time, and we go where it benefits us to go. The hardest thing to face is the essential solitude of every human life, and yet the aloneness creates our freedom. I can see Teri’s face in my mind’s eye, the receptionist for the agency. This somehow becomes symbolic of my fortunes since the time of the pandemic. The church pastor flipped his wig and preached about demonic possession in the same breath as mental illness, which was a very serious mistake as far as I was concerned. After the memorial service for my friend was such a disaster, my mind was made up to walk away from Our Redeemer. Pastor’s misconceptions are incorrigible, unfortunately, and he won’t listen to anyone else. I believe they stem from a phobia of biology and the facts of science, which seem to pose a threat to his ironclad spiritualism. Indeed, this would put him in a very difficult position regarding theology and philosophy, an unavoidable contradiction. So his only recourse is to stick his head in the sand and deny the truth that consciousness comes from brain function. I find it ironic that Pastor’s phobia is the very contrary of Freud’s alleged phobia of metaphysics. This accusation came from Carl Jung after the two friends split over the disagreement.

Love Triumphant

One fifty.

Well, the sun actually came out after my session went really well. It renewed some of my belief in myself. My other experiences with therapy were execrable; they simply didn’t know how to relate to me. And, whatever other people may say, I still adhere to the Freud I learned in school. If there’s no chance of romantic love for a person, then life feels pointless. I think a lot of people can identify with this statement because there’s so much repression in today’s society. But right now the sun rams through unstoppably and the life force itself is invincible. No matter what a huge mess we’ve made of our culture, love still triumphs. 

Winter Discontent

Five in the morning.

Yesterday at noon I started reading Native Son, and after a while I reflected a little on the abstract of power in our personal lives. I used to hesitate to use this word, but now it seems like the best one for the condition. By the way, yesterday the thought of alcohol never crossed my mind. It only occurred to me when I was asleep and dreaming that I’d been drinking occasionally for the past four years. I could hand control over to my subconscious mind, but who would be so foolish to do that? This would overturn rule by reason and create tyranny of the soul by the instincts, according to Plato. The Platonic model is something I learned very well at the university, and it resonates with Freudian psychology. I kept running into these ideas in Renaissance literature, for instance in Sir Philip Sidney. Now I wish I had read the whole book of The Old Arcadia, yet I think I learned the take home lesson… I don’t think I’ll leave the house at all today due to the snow, which by now is frozen and treacherous. In my head I hear Pastor’s acoustic guitar playing our holiday medley last Friday night. We sucked at our performance but nobody cared, though this apathy is precisely why we continue to be bad.

Quarter after ten.

The sun is out in the blue sky and everywhere there is snow. I picked up three bags full of empty bottles and left them in the kitchen. My visit with Sean is probably still on for today. I kind of dread it because the dog doesn’t like me being on the phone or my iPad with someone else. Generally I feel rather uncomfortable with the circumstances today. After a tough holiday we get this weather disaster. I also miss my Snapple tea this morning. I just have this exaggerated sense of immobility, of being stuck at home when I don’t want to be. 

Closer to Freud

Ten thirty at night.

I am absolutely sick of spiritualization in this country, the way it eclipses everything else, especially sexuality. We spay and neuter more than just our pets anymore. It’s time that someone with balls stood up and spoke out against this dehumanizing trend. We need to shift the balance from Jung back to Freud and the pleasure principle. Even if no one else does this, I will be the first to boycott the church and strike out on my own… I remember when people were still allowed to feel horny. It was about 18 years ago, before the holy wars engulfed our imaginations. But since then we’ve all been anesthetized to sensations below the neck, and for no good reason that I can see. Somewhere along the line we were steered towards a grand delusion, and we deferred all happiness to this mirage beyond the horizon. Some of us are wide awake but dare not speak our minds. At the risk of being unpopular, I’ve decided that the buck stops here. 

Leo Rising

Nine o’clock.

I’ve made Aesop an appointment for a toenail trim for tomorrow morning. Now I just have to get us there. The colors outdoors were beautiful as I walked off to market. I saw many small blueberry clouds on the blue sky, and the ground was soaked from the rain last night. A few teenage girls kept Michelle busy at the store. My body was still wrapped in a dream when I came up to the front doors, huffing a little. A man leaning on the counter gabbed with Suk, saying it was almost Christmastime, and I unconsciously rolled my eyes: good grief. But the world should have the kind of dream I had this morning, a sweet dream of romance. Although Freud has been persecuted and pushed out of public consciousness, he has only lain dormant all this time. I was also asking myself how a person on disability income can be a rugged individualist with any kind of coherence. The cars on Maxwell Road whirled past me on the sidewalk, adding to the bluster from the street. I felt like the bum with big dreams of something sublime and yet attainable on earth. An Aphrodite sort of vision, born from the ocean and determined to conquer everyone.

Nine forty. The rain has started again from dark skies, but I somehow feel more alive than in the weeks past. The love that lies sleeping is bound to wake up and shake off the anesthetic of twenty years. More than a hope, it’s a necessity for the human future, even if I don’t see it in my lifetime.