25.9.09

A good man is hard to find...

say Sufjan Stevens, Flannery O'Connor, Sophie Tucker and Micah: "The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men." (Micah 7:2)

Spinoza's one Substance/non-anthropomorphic divinity 'sees' all the possible manifestations of the universe, all infinite variations, down to the most minute differentiations. God allows only one of these variations to unfold, and, according to Spinoza, this is the best possible variation, the best possible coming-into-being of the universe. For whom and according to what master plan, though? If this is indeed the best way for my life to unfold according to some abstract concept of divinity or 'essence' and a deterministic model of order...well then, I suppose thankfulness is in order, even if happiness for me personally is sacrificed for the sake of some more general 'order.' I'm not an altruist but the idea of my life and its events fitting into some 'larger,' essential and intrinsic order appeals to moi.

I don't enjoy Stoicism but I think it can be useful. It's useful when applied to suffering. And when Epictetus says, "
Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well," my gut response is a 'fuck dude' groan of exasperation but then, sure, I get it. Stoicism requires you form no attachments to avoid all excess and pain. Recognize that everything is temporary and perishable. Extreme self-discipline to the point of repression. This kind of restraint is not only difficult for me but also seems like a ridiculous approach to life. But its starting to look like a good option. I'm so tired, tired, sad, sad.

I am not a practical or matter-of-fact person, which is why I am drawn to some mystical notion of (shall I say) fate, maybe because of my Christian upbringing, maybe because I am a softy-idealist not far beneath the surface, maybe because I want certainty and direction and a reason not to throw my fucking hands in the air and say 'fuck it' as is so fashionable with my generation. Fuck, I think that I gave up God and replaced it with philosophy, which is essentially the same thing. And now I'm reeling at philosophy, angry at having discovered its tendency to continously point back to God, with subtlety and patience and occasional urgency. All philosophy speaks of a certain kind of 'faith.' I have a deterministic streak. Which is why, when I looked at you that day and I felt something very strong, I knew you were important to me, and I still feel that way. And no, I don't want to give this up. Shit sticks with me, people stick with me. This is my curse and blessing. I feel lonely most of the time because I miss everybody, always. I miss that boy I punched on the school yard in kindergarten and later kissed. I miss the person who taught me how to smoke. I miss God sometimes.

I spent this evening curled up on the floor infront of the fireplace. It is getting cold here. Talking to my brother about his eventful sex life, laughing at and with my Mother, watching home renovation shows, reading Robert Duncan. Family is all I have and all I want to be surrounded with right now.

15 comments:

  1. "Religion ends and philosophy begins, just as alchemy ends and chemistry begins and astrology ends, and astronomy begins." - Christopher Hitchens

    Hang in there, babe. Everything passes, and, luckily, the Stoics were wrong: we will NOT have to live it over and over after the universe is destroyed and then the exact same predetermined one is manifested again by fire. But, of course, to be fair, if we did have to live it over and over again, as with Nietzsche's eternal recurrence, Zeus would have given us perpetual amnesia, so it would always be like the first time.

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  2. I guess as long as you don't nail yourself (Christian joke) to any ideology you'll always be confused because nothing is certain. That's where God comes in pretty handy. "He" will punish you for disavowing him.
    Every now and then I wish I could believe to stop all those doubts keeping me away from being happy a lot of the time. But then I'm happy to think.

    I miss a lot of people badly, too. Sometimes I wonder whether it's really the people I miss. Maybe I miss who I was at that time or how the world appeared to be - way back when.

    (I hope this makes any sense.)

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  3. For sure. If you consider that 1) our identity is formed through identifications and primary object cathexes (introjection) of the Other 2) the ego is ultimately a layered mess of these severed or interrupted connections...we literally take the Other inside of us to preserve them and take on characteristics of their identity as a way of sustaining the relationship, albeit internally and only in an 'imaginary' sense. So we never really miss the 'Other' except for the part of them that is still contained within us, expressed as one component of our multi-faceted identity. This is also why memory is so fractured, because we pick and choose what we want to 'know' in order to (not only) create a particular (false) image of that person but to create a particular (false) self-relation.

    This is pretty depressing though and reduces relationships to shit.

    So I'd like to believe instead that I miss people because I cared about them, because they are worthy of my thoughts.

    Nostalgia is a bitch.

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  4. I don’t see that reduction to shit considering that the Other is contained as part of our identity. What makes people special is a certain interaction that can’t be replaced, I guess. So maybe we miss the interaction with this part of our identity that only exists because of and for the particular Other. Besides there must be some self-relation otherwise you wouldn’t feel bad.

    When I’m worried about sense it’s a lot about language. Not only nostalgia is a bitch but English too.

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  5. I do agree. Its not that it makes relationships less valuable, but I think its disheartening how selfish (probably the wrong word there) relationships really seem, when I dissect them to down to unconscious, mechanical processes. But I can't help thinking in those terms. Still, I want to be critical of the way I perceive and think about things.

    Oh, yes. Language is a huge bitch. I wrestle with that 'problem' too.

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  6. I see what you mean. However, mechanical or not, the feeling remains the same.
    And I like your critical thinking that’s why I read your blog, besides the beauty of your “wrestle”.

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  7. wow, new layout, no comment allowed?

    i love the Charles Olson post!!

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  8. Some Hegel to lighten the mood?

    "When we say, ‘God is love,’ we are saying something very great and true… Love is a distinguishing of two, who nevertheless are absolutely not distinguished for each other. The consciousness or feeling of the identity of the two – to be outside of myself and in the other – that is love. I have my self-consciousness not in myself but in the other. I am satisfied and have peace with myself only in this other – and I am only because I have peace with myself… this other, because it likewise exists outside itself, has its self-consciousness only in me, and both the outer and I are only this conscious of being-outside-ourselves and of our identity; we are only this intuition, feeling, and knowledge of our unity. This is love, and without knowing that love is both a distinguishing and the sublation of the distinction, one speaks emptily of it."

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  9. Fuck, Luke, that is awesome. Thank you. Why didn't we hang out.

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  10. I don't know, but I wish we did.

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