Thursday, December 21, 2006

Blahhg Post

In the late stages of starvation the body turns to its own muscle tissue as a source of protein, literally devouring itself in a last ditch effort at survival. The functioning of the brain becomes impaired as cellular processes fail. The subject becomes listless, apathetic, and withdrawn as he consumes himself.
The solitary man, having by chance or choice found himself removed from society, must also turn inward, as his psychological needs for love, companionship, and human contact must be sated. He too consumes himself.

Take it from me, I know. All this other stuff I talk about; well, I’m a fraud. What do I know about the affairs of the world, of human nature, of man’s relationship to society? My knowledge is all second hand, acquired by reading or worse, watching television, run through my shoddy filter of a mind, fouled by my vanity and prejudices, worthless in the end because only the lived experience achieves anything near certainty. And while my education is merely paltry, my lack of experience is a scandal. Snatch anyone out of a crowd at random, you’ll almost certainly have found someone who’s done more than me. I can’t help it. My natural state is dull torpor. Want to know about sloth? Listlessness? Apathy? These are the materiel with which I wage my campaign of inertia.

I was sullen from the moment I was forced, literally kicking and screaming, into the harsh light of day. I believe my mother once told me that I was a relatively well behaved baby. This was no pleasant disposition; I'm sure I'd already made up my mind about the futility of effort. Why waste your breath?

As long as I can remember I’ve been looking back; even as a child I remember thinking that if only I could go back to some earlier point and start again, then I’d shake this thing, this curse, this personality that I'm sure belongs to someone else, that I carry about with increasing fatigue and resentment. Sometimes when I catch sight of myself in a mirror I think I see the stranger who’s hijacked my body, there behind the eyes, faintly mocking, the bastard.

My whole life I’ve gazed longingly into the past with bitter nostalgia. But it was never so very good until it was gone, this life. That part of it spent and squandered is mourned; that which lies ahead is feared; its end is resented.
But life does grow sweeter, in spite of me. In spite of this undeserving ingrate, this incomplete creature bestowed with an awareness he misunderstands and manhandles, like an ape tearing the pages from a book. Life has never been better, truly, than now--yet still!
Mankind is glorious; man is wretched.

Don’t mistake this for modesty or low “self-esteem”, whatever the hell that means. Talk to me about self-esteem and I’ll punch you on the chin. You will likely then beat me senseless, because I can’t fight either and I’m an awful coward, but that’s beside the point.
No, quite the opposite. I think only too highly of myself. As do you. We cannot help but turn inward, even when we look at the heavens. This is the source of our dispossession.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have a very Merry Christmas and thanks for writing. Just remember, Eric Hoffer also didn't have an education. He wrote pretty well, too.

bill said...

An education? What's that worth anyhow? I guess it's been quantified in numerous articles explaining the relative earning power of various education levels, but higher ed. these days is no more than a litmus-test for future servility.

It's no wonder that some of the more creative and interesting writers to appear online, like the "War Nerd", have little in the way of "higher" education.

Let's take a highly-educated writer like Tom Wolfe as an example. He is actually an exception to the rule historically speaking, and he isn't even that good. Wolfe strains to capture the reality of the unreconstructed American's life, and he fails to comprehend his depth. I give Wolfe credit at least for trying and coming closer than the vast majority of those who pass themselves off as writers, but I think he was irreparably damaged by his subjection as a youth to the dogmas of university education. In a way that was his fault, too, because he submitted to it. Kurt Vonnegut, a lousy student who got his master's thesis rejected, beats the slick, foppish Wolfe by a mile.

This obsession with certificates of social approval such as degrees cripples us culturally. The Bolsheviks had the same problem; we see over the 7 decades of Communist rule in Russia a cultural desert.

A Phd. qualifies one for little more than writing introductions to books anyway. I'd say let the people make up their own minds, but these days it seems they don't matter much in any decisions. Too bad. Let those with too much education cure our illnesses (God save us from their incompetence too) and sue the people who hit us with their cars.

As for school, it is a prison of the mind.

Bah, I've ranted enough.

Keep it up, D.

Anonymous said...

John Dolan (aka the War Nerd) has a Phd in English lit and is a college professor. Just sayin'.

MQ