Saturday, November 30, 2013

Half year report card

By way of explaining, for the foreseeable future, I suspect time will be measured relative to the end of that experience. I wasn't in a mood to pin down any resolutions or concrete goals for myself at that time, but certainly decisions were made with internal harmony very much in mind. It seems worthwhile noting how things are going on that front, then.

Overall, not too bad. While I still suffer attacks from a swarm of overwhelming negativity (as earlier posts attest to), they're not nearly as frequent as they used to be. Certainly I no longer go through entire months of black. My attempt at curing the blues thus far has been to go quite overboard when it comes to consuming things I enjoy -- music, movies, etc. -- and attempt to put in place structures that facilitate positive interaction with people I spend most of my day with.

The former has been going swimmingly. With age comes throwing away the shackles of self-assumed responsibility, and so evenings have been largely devoted to rock 'n roll, rather than grinding away at calculations. This feels closer to what a balanced existence is probably like, and it has kept me quite satisfied. At some point I imagine I will add books to the list of things to obsess over, and dare I say it video games too. Some restraint will likely need to be exercised in future, to prevent a healthy balance from tipping into wastrelry.

The latter has been going well enough, and certainly the environment is much better than before. I do think there is more to be done socially, though, at least in my immediate surroundings. (Those from the past life don't really count, though of course I'm always pleased to know they are vaguely around.) I'm not sure how to go about doing this, exactly, though; once a critical threshold is reached, as I understand there is a strong feedback loop. So getting to that threshold is the key. It might help if I had hobbies that were best shared with other people, but that's pretty much the antithesis of carefully considering records in the twilight. So what's the way forward with this? Not open problem, I guess. If progress is made on this front, and everything else doesn't deviate too wildly, I will be quite pleased with the annual report.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's a pity
These words must end
Because this is all I know is true;
Each day
Repeats the lie
That life keeps going without you.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I thought that there was hope that an odious trait I observed while on exile was endogenous to the area. I speak of my peers' tendency to casual, vile putdowns of anyone deemed not technical, intelligent, or accomplished enough to occupy the same planet as them. The fact that it was based on perhaps the most vapid of criteria -- the ability to crudely manipulate symbols -- was bad enough. What was more shocking was the callous disregard for the human on the other end. It's one thing to come up with an assessment of someone -- I think that's near unavoidable as the result of an interaction -- but another to convert that to a judgement, and yet another to confidently proclaim that to the rest of the world. I had hoped that this was a function of the environment they were in, the gag-worthy self-congratulation and deluded disconnect from the lives of everyday people. It manifest in for example the tendency to treat people from different fields as inferior beings, a laughable conclusion. Anyhow, today I realised that far from being an isolated issue, it seems to be a common ailment to anyone in this profession. It is the environment, but not the geographic one. The field seems to attract egomaniacs and sociopaths, who think their (undeniable) skills deign them elevated status over the roaches that populate this earth.

But, I've concluded that this is just the way a greater evil manifests itself. People as a general rule seem to seek power and control, and when they can't get it in the absolute (which is most people), most settle for the next best, which is getting it in the imagined. Any system or collective where human nature is involved invites, possibly encourages, abuse. From my perspective, as someone whose thwarted non-quest for power resulted in me deciding that giving up was the best option, I think that means that there is no utopia. What I've sometimes blamed on study choices and distance from familiar faces is likely instead me coming face to face with what they used to call the "real world", the one outside my precious books and records, the one I will have to inhabit by myself for the lonely years ahead. The journey has just begun. It is not one I am enjoying.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Her usually composed smile, never revealing what she really thought or felt, broke for a second. He was laughing at his jocular reply, clearly oblivious to how she was taking the moment of awkwardness. This was what I thought I wanted, as I imagined it was a sign of her being more honest, less emotionally distant. But I took a look again at that dumb grin on his face, and wondered what else one could do when putting up with fools all day.

I stared into the black mirror, and could foresee the countless times ahead when I would find myself here. No matter how difficult, any way out has to be better than this fate.

Friday, November 08, 2013

In His Diary

Every so often, I think about R, and wonder why it was so important for me to earn his respect. Part of it has to do with my difficulty in reading him. Part of it is how he used to hint at what he really thought of people like me, and it wasn't altogether pretty. He all but said the words I've been using to dismiss myself since inception, but having them spoken by another makes the failure real, makes the pain something that I then have to grapple with the rest of the world being able to see. He told me he keeps track of reality, as he sees it, in his own diary. Even if not in paper, I know I am there in spirit. How does it feel, now that you're on the inside looking out? Now that you're a character in someone else's reality?

When you read back those letters to yourself, what is it that you feel? Was that automatic writing fun for you? As you sank further into whatever perverse dream you had, wasn't it a strange way down? The harder it gets to separate illusion and reality, the easier it gets to write.

If I could've been someone else, maybe things would be different. But that's the simultaneously beautiful and tragic thing about this game. The storyteller casts no judgment on what unfolds. Its sole job is to explore all possible combinations of people and their personalities, which one can only assume is an amusing game to some greater being. Some flourish, some flounder. So while the experiment has failed for me personally, there are many others in waiting. This is not a loss that matters to anyone or anything.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

1) Elliott Smith, "Pitseleh". The narrator knows better than to think his personal devastation counts for anything -- the problem starts and ends with his inability to solve his internal puzzle. I'm sure I'll think of other examples after writing this, but the theme seems curiously under-explored in song; the one parallel that comes to mind is "Walk Away Renee", where self-pity is sidestepped by the conviction of the self-negation.