Wotan’s Day

Quarter of noon.

The sun has come out, and the sky is half full of puffy white clouds. I’m trying to eliminate the layers of negative thoughts in my mind to promote confidence and happiness. Aesop is upset because he heard another dog barking outside. There are some other little noises around the neighborhood. I think Lenore is doing gardening next door, or just something in her backyard. I could criticize myself as a very disorganized person, lazy, hedonistic, and so on, but what’s the point in being depressed? Applying moral labels to experience doesn’t help me. I used to be good at defusing the bomb of guilt and just accepting myself as I am. Eventually things do get done, but for me they happen slowly. Now I will go down the hallway to play the bass for a bit while the sunshine increases, brightening the day.

Quarter after one. So I did that, while my mind speculated on the inner spiritual life as opposed to external nature. I found that I couldn’t rule out introverted experience. The sunlight comes and goes indifferently to the invisible world within, which is permanent. I feel the way maybe Goethe would, yet I still can’t write about it with conviction today. There’s too much pressure from the majority of people to believe in spooks, so of course I fight what is popular and trendy. Should I really take the spirit world literally? It has at least subsistence in the medium of language, but actual existence would be difficult to show. Feelings are one thing, and facts are another. 

Some weird things happened to me after I worked at the agency, however. In September of 2009, my brother and I were watching college football together and drinking beer. The sports commentator said the Arizona State quarterback hadn’t thrown an interception all day. I told my brother that he was jinxing him. About three plays later he threw an interception. Jeff nodded credulously and said, “Jinx.” 

Church Reopens

Eight o’clock.

I’ll be leaving for church in about an hour. Aesop gets his breakfast just before I go. Melissa told me that today is the Super Bowl, and they expect to be slammed with business from a lot of drunken fans. But for the moment that I arrived at the store it was quiet and serene, with no sound but that of the gulls circling over the lot across the road. As I write, the sun has barely begun to ascend and clear the treetops… I was very pleased with my bass gear yesterday, a cheap homemade instrument through a lightweight Fender amp. It sounded really cool.

Eleven twenty five. Church was pretty nice. I got to chat with Lisa after the service, and Sheryl drove me home. Now it’s beginning to hit me how tired I am. If I read Goethe this afternoon, hopefully some of the poetry will rub off on me, because otherwise I feel very uninspired. But there’s no ought to about how a person feels or thinks, thank goodness. Actually I’m more in the mood for a Carnap essay. I wish I could comprehend Bertrand Russell a little better; we seem never to be on the same wavelength. I didn’t care for his little book on epistemology. His approach to it I found unintelligible when I was a student, and it turned me off of philosophy for a whole year.

Noon hour. I have mixed feelings about tithing to the church this morning. I don’t believe I’ll see a divine reward for my contribution. Organized religion is a lot of phony hocus-pocus. Also I took communion today: more smoke and mirrors. You really have to be raised on religion to be able to accept its spiritual content. Mostly I’m a realist and a materialist, but I’m open to a good logical proof for the invisible unknown.

Blake under Pressure

Two twenty five. I ordered a new copy of Blake’s poetry, thinking I could give it to Pastor as a belated Christmas present. To me, Blake is the epitome of English Romanticism, and to know his poetry is to understand what drove progressive rock such as Yes— especially Yes.

And did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon Englands mountains green:

And was the holy Lamb of God,

On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,

Shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was Jerusalem builded here,

Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:

Bring me my arrows of desire:

Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!

Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:

Till we have built Jerusalem,

In Englands green & pleasant Land.

The edition by Erdman is still the definitive one. I’m not sure what more I can say. My faith is clouded by doubt of the efficacy of the imagination, our creative potential. There’s no doubt that Blake believed in the powers of the mind to create a meaningful reality, what he called the Poetic Genius. But I’m struggling to maintain such optimism. Rather than creative, I grow more analytical, no matter how I try to resist the change. Still I admire those who can keep that optimism going. Time will be the test of what is true. Perhaps the dreamers of big dreams will win the day? 

Tragic Flaw

Seven ten.

I just read that my friend from church was admitted to the hospital yesterday with possible pneumonia and is being tested for the virus. Not a good start to my day. This is the day when restrictions are being relaxed a bit. Karen will reopen for business officially today. I am really sick of Pastor’s emails every morning. Maybe I’ll unsubscribe. Since last summer I’ve been thinking about leaving the church. I just don’t know what I can replace it with… It’s mostly cloudy with a ray of sunshine. I awoke a little grumpy and this news about my friend made me even grumpier. I realize something however about me. It is that skepticism can be harmful. I never took it on faith that alcoholism would kill me. I had to be inches from death to be convinced to quit drinking. Therefore, skepticism in other areas can be toxic as well. Better safe than sorry, and an ounce of prevention… But I doubt if this flaw in my character will change.

Trumpet of Doom

But concerning superstition: just because other people believe something, does that make it okay for me to buy it too? What if they’re wrong? Why follow the lead lemming over the cliff? Delusions can be dangerous, even fatal if you’re not careful. It’s like gambling on a shot in the dark or Pin the Tail on the Donkey. A person opined to me once that our nation’s leader is the Antichrist. He backed down when I asked him if he was serious. Another time I was told that the Executive was trying for a dictatorship. And people say excitedly that politics is dividing families and that there will be civil war. People talk about it as children do Santa Claus. People turn their wishes into reality and call it a belief. I remember doing that when I was seven years old. But one Christmas Eve I tested Santa Claus— and he failed. I stayed awake all night long and never heard the reindeer hoofs on the roof. Finally the pixie dust in my eyes dissolved and the magic went away. Ever after that I trusted investigation if I wanted to know the facts. The schizophrenic illness has nothing to do with the rest of my life. I’m just a skeptic.

Prudence

Midnight. I feel the impulse to pity myself for having schizophrenia, but I also think that being honest is its own reward. Somehow, the truth will set me free, whatever other problems life heaps in my lap. I remember the way people at P—Health were rather awestruck to have a schizophrenic in their midst. I was the only person with the illness in the dual diagnosis group. Yet I was the smartest person in the room. I still loathe the memory of how supercilious those people were. The only person I liked was my young psychiatrist, Iris, who was Dominican and more genuine than the others. The group therapist was involved in some strange practices stemming from an old German man who had worked among Zulus. It was called family constellations. Some critics have called it “quantum quackery.” Whatever you call it, it didn’t sound kosher to me. More like irresponsibility. The last thing a person with schizophrenia needs is additional hokeyness to take them even farther from reality. It just proves that a great many people can’t distinguish between imagination and reality. Those with schizophrenia are not the only ones who ought to be on medication.

Doubt and Affirmation

Two thirty. I read fifty pages of the L’Engle book. Heard no word from anybody from church since my absence. But if I don’t believe in Jesus, I just don’t. God may even exist, but what Jesus has to do with it I don’t know. I don’t believe in a human God. The concept makes no sense to me. The Trinity is absurd, and why do we call God the “Father?” Do we need a paternal figure to take care of us? Or is it better that the universe have no parent? Herman Melville suggests that human beings are the orphans of a godless cosmos. He also raised the same questions I do regarding the situation of Jewish people in the scheme of things. The answers are not easy, but it seems that the most sensible thing is to discard the Bible altogether. As far as there being any supernatural at all, I cannot say. The subconscious is a reality, but the basis for it is probably physical. I don’t see how it could be anything else. Lisa was right about what brought this to a head: the holidays. But moreover I was so beaten down all the time I spent in the trailer. Whatever faith I had exhausted itself before the ordeal was done. All optimism shot to hell. So that faith made no difference either way. If you dance long enough, eventually it will rain. It’s only a function of the passing of time. It remains true however that persistence pays, that endurance is an eternal verity. And of course love is quintessential. Courage is huge. These are indispensable human traits.