I stayed in bed a bit longer this morning, then fed Aesop at nine thirty. Roger said hi while I was looking in my mailbox, but more than that would have been awkward. Michelle was wearing a gray T-shirt with the logo, “Not today Satan.” Supposedly this would ward off evil in her day. Kind of bizarre, I thought. But then I run into superstition everywhere in this community, and it shows no sign of retreating. Some organizations get rich by pandering to people’s weakness for spooks. I guess I have to just turtle my way through it. My case manager at Laurel Hill is going to call me tomorrow at two o’clock. This agency hasn’t changed much since the time I was employed there. I think those with schizophrenia and bipolar ought to have more alternatives than the crap we’re stuck with. Of course it matters what belief systems we are fed, and fighting delusions with religion doesn’t work. But when you’re at the poverty level, this is the kind of nonsense you have to deal with. I’ll be glad when the appointment is over with.
Eleven twenty. No band rehearsal this weekend because Mike has to work. I’ll go to church tomorrow night just to have company. I’m beginning to think what’s the use in blogging anymore; what am I trying to achieve by making posts? I realize I won’t be persuading anyone to my personal point of view. I reckon it’s about putting stuff out there for me and not so much for others. Maybe I’m merely burned out on blogging.
Three thirty five. The afternoon is already deepening to dusk. There’s an irrational thought process at work. If I get drunk, then Kate will return as my friend. It’s a form of sympathetic magic such as primitives use. This reminds me that I should read The Golden Bough, a great expose on superstition. Anyway, nothing, not even magic, can bring back my lost friend. It doesn’t work! The transfer of power to the Democrats is meaningless to this end as well. Accept that Kate won’t be coming back and forget about it.
Four thirty five. I searched through some boxes of books and found my copy of Frazer. It’s kind of a dangerous book to someone like Pastor, who had no answer when I compared prayer to magic spells. This was the beginning of my loss of faith two summers ago. Well, I can’t help that. You know what you know, and it can’t be reversed. Probably every summer is going to be a period of skepticism and doubt for me due to that first time in 2019… As for my imitative magic regarding Kate, I caught it and I can dispose of it. Changing my mental state doesn’t alter the objective reality. I can try all kinds of conjuror’s tricks, to no avail except as a delusion. The past remains in the past, and the present is today. It happens to be November and we happened to elect a Democratic president, yet history will not repeat. The fact is that I wish very strongly for Kate to come back, and wishes drive every kind of dream and attempt at magic, every sacrifice, and every prayer. Every delusion! But we learn to negotiate the world as it really is, ultimately getting over the pain of loss.
Eight thirty five. It’s below freezing outside. I’ll go to the store after feeding the dog at nine o’clock. I’m a little confused on where I stand regarding the existence of magic. Generally I don’t believe in the supernatural, but I know a lot of people do. Why so, when there’s no evidence for their claims, I don’t know. I had a difficult time over the summer, debating with myself whether the apocalypse was a reality. I left the church up in the air for a while until La Niña kicked in. The seasons keep changing like normal, but we had a summer that suggested the end of days. Climate change is the truth. In fine, I didn’t want to believe in the Second Coming and the Last Judgment. Now the election is over and I still have to make a choice for or against metaphysics.
Nine thirty five. The day started out okay. I got a renewal of my food stamps, so that means I’ll save cash. Vicki acted a bit weird about it, as if disguising envy and resentment. Otherwise her mood was good. The leaves have really dumped at the end of my street, carpeting the pavement and lawns with gold. I saw Karen’s vehicle outside the salon, but the blinds were still pulled down. I didn’t feel like knocking on the door. All in all, people are not very sociable right now, but keep to themselves with their private thoughts. One thing I observed is that I’m a world class procrastinator. But I don’t think I’m marked for hellfire because of it. I’ve been through very rough experiences with treatment programs in the past twenty years. I’m still not a fan of those tactics, and I stay away from fundamentalist churches. I was educated in humanism; people are supposed to respect each other. Some of the immaturity I witnessed in group took my breath away. I also saw racism, but the counselor didn’t care. Nowadays, that particular facility is filthy rich and no longer takes Medicare. And people still pay out of pocket to be mentally abused. I guess we’re not very discerning as a whole bunch.
I’m still sick of lemon drops and lollipops, so I will just keep writing the truth. It is overcast this morning. The church filming is tonight, but I think I’ll stay home. I feel un American and unchristian. What does God have to do with anything? I take my medication and have no spiritual delusions. What excuse do others have for superstition? The mail carrier just drove by at a very odd hour. Will we have multiple deliveries today?
Quarter after ten. Karen was in a temper this morning. She called me in for a donut, so I accepted, but didn’t stay very long. I felt kind of bad for the girls. Kim was very cool. Aside, I told her to hang in there today. It may be a long one for them. Also I ran into Colin and Harry on the way home. Lolo came up to me to be petted. Such a nice dog. I saw that my ballot came in the mail last night, so without much delay I will vote and send it off Monday. Music: Vivaldi, his piece for guitar in D major. I wonder how he pulled off such a Modern sound for his century? I first heard it on Sesame Street when I was three years old, accompanied by a film of flowers in the rain. I’m not the only one who remembers that. I read someone’s comment on YouTube.
Eleven thirty. I noticed yesterday how much traffic my street gets. People think it’s a shortcut to Maxwell, I guess. I don’t know very much today. It’ll be a long and lazy day. I should open a book and forget everything for a while… Just one more word: obnoxious people suck.
Debris from the wind yesterday is everywhere on the street. Aside from that, fall is in the ambience outside, replete with memories of previous seasons. Mostly cloudy skies right now. I’ll probably stay home from the church event this morning. The squirrels are still busy in the backyard, making no attempt to be furtive. Aesop is bored with them. I’m trying to ignore the discomfort of my body today and get on with what makes me happy. I could do some music this afternoon, go for a bit of jazz on my bass. The healing properties of music might override the pain. I can’t believe that the tradition of social music is gone away forever. Not for a silly thing like the coronavirus.
The present I ordered for my birthday is coming tomorrow by UPS: two volumes of sci-fi writing from the Library of America. I don’t know much about the genre as such except for its classical roots in Edgar Poe and a little Jules Verne. Doubtless it came a long way from there.
Like yesterday, I bought two Snapples rather than a Coke and saved 75 cents. For some reason, soda doesn’t appeal to me lately. I’ve had quite a few bad experiences with Coke. I think the carbonation disagrees with me. And maybe I just got tired of pop. It’s a rather big step for me quitting the soda. In the parking lot outside the store I passed by two people smoking cigarettes. I asked myself why people do things like that, but then my addiction to alcohol was likewise inexplicable. I still think about it every day, but I believe I’m safe in the absence of toxic and slippery people. The person I worked for was like the devil on the subject of alcohol.
The sun is splashing down on my backyard, orange and mellow. The notion of freedom and control comes to mind. Possibly my willpower keeps me sober, but what’s wrong with that? I wouldn’t entrust my sobriety to the wheel of blind Fortune or the four winds. If I’m not in charge of staying sober, then nothing is. It’s nothing to be fatalistic about, but instead, free and responsible… I can remember deferring credit for my bass playing to the inspiration of the “muse.” It was my little romantic superstition, influenced by Homer and Plato, and by Emerson and Jung. I believed in it for a decade, from 1999 to around 2009. The problem with this belief was that my muse quickly assumed the form of a demon, if not the devil himself. This happened because of the Satanism of the local rock music scene— however ridiculous that sounds. Eugene is a rather backward community for rock and roll, and in the outlying boonies it’s even more unintelligent. Perhaps it wouldn’t break my heart to have to give up my music. Life is changing radically with each new year, and no one is immune from mutability.
Quarter of eleven. I’m beginning to have faith that common sense will triumph in the world, or at least it will in my life, even if I have to emigrate to Canada or something. Americans, my fellow citizens, are mostly gutted with the unreason of Jesus and the delusion of the supernatural. I daresay America is the next Atlantis, this sinking continent drowning in the deluge of superstition and absurd politics. How can we call ourselves great when other countries shrug and shake their heads at our stupidity?
The really sad thing is that America has produced some of the most brilliant works of art and culture, but we kick them around like the useless gems on the streets of El Dorado in Candide. I was fortunate enough to get a great education from the State of Oregon, one that gave me a broader perspective on the world. And, to America’s credit, when I was a student I was assigned to read A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen three times. Now it seems to me that other countries benefit more from American genius than we do ourselves. Things like cognitive behavioral therapy and the latest pharmaceutical discoveries are all but unobtainable here, while we ship them abroad to the great behoof of more intelligent countries.
But all I really know is my personal experience of this nation. The most compelling writing I can do is to keep reporting my daily life to my followers and hope it will educate them. And for my part I hope to have a fulfilling life in spite of every obstacle in my way. Is that selfish? I don’t think so, because the writing I do, honest and true, is doing you a service.
Ten thirty. I put my vote in my mailbox and raised the flag. I don’t care anymore what religious people think. The supernatural is impossible; just a figment of the imagination. If you go out and test it, then the biblical stuff falls every time. I’m thinking like an empiricist. I’m done with playing children’s games. America needs to grow up and out of its superstition… The rain has been coming and going. I feel hungry. I don’t know if my brother will call me back, but I’m sort of hoping he won’t.
Eleven thirty. Home again from the store. I bought Aesop’s bacon strips and something for me. I voted for Sanders even though he dropped out. I skipped over most of the other votes…
In my head I’ve been going over a couple of jazz songs and noting similarities in chord progression. I wonder if jazz is in the cards for me? There must still be some musicians doing jazz in Eugene. Maybe Ron is into it. Going to eat now…
One o’clock. Played some Jaco and Mark Egan on my bass and it sounded good. The bass doesn’t respond as well to playing it hard. It has a very clean tone and seems suited for jazz. I think I’ll read for a while now. Victor Hugo gives me food for thought.
Three o’clock. I made it through the worst of the Waterloo part of the book. I felt like I was getting old while I sat here reading. Nor is there any reversing the process of aging. The progress of life can move forward or stop, but can’t go backwards. I would do some caffeine for power, but then I couldn’t sleep at night. At the same time, there’s this rediscovery of jazz fusion that feels like something new to me… No, I think jazz these days is on the wane. Dunno. I need to meet with more musicians and see what’s up locally. I feel tired.
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.
There’s more to life than lemon drops
So blogging seems quite dumb;
The pleasantry of lollipops
Has left me feeling numb.
The superstition of the age
Has worn my patience thin;
Psychology is all the rage
But the answer comes not from within.
Mental pain’s like anything
You cure by taking a pill;
Putting on a happy face
Makes everything worse still.
I don’t believe in devil or god
Or that I am possessed;
Medieval notions go away!
By you I’ve been oppressed.
I’ve had it with your attitude
Of skipping ropes and sunshine;
I’m moving to a latitude
That offers me more gratitude.
Six thirty. It has taken me some time and effort to sort out my thoughts on Christianity. I think there’s an instinct that responds to religious stuff around me, especially set to music. It’s an emotional knee jerk, very powerful, and it’s the basis for my delusions. Unamuno asserted that religion is a thing felt and not cogitated about; a thing of passion. But when I do think rationally about it, I can’t reconcile myself to my perceptions. I don’t know whether to call religion a superstition or something stronger. I grew up thinking it was the former. My mother used to reassure me that things on tv were only a story when I was a child. The key word is “child.” By the time I was nine years old I saw through the illusion. And I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I haven’t recalled my childhood like this in a long time. Am I to understand that the grownup perceives more accurately than the child? Wordsworth turns this on its head in “My Heart Leaps Up.” But can we take Romanticism seriously anymore? It’s the riddle of the Sphinx. This is just my own personal struggle with what I believe. It appears to me that humanity as a whole is growing out of its illusions and moving towards maturity, which means dispensing with superstition. It’s up to every individual how they want to believe, but for me, Christianity isn’t the answer. So I guess my problem is solved.