Journal from June 7th, 2017
1. Anxiety results when the the idea of what ought to be does not conform to what is. Expectations set a limit by which a circumstance or event is measured. If the outcome is not within expectations, unhappiness and anxiety result. One must accept that all things are independent of the self, and that the control an individual can exert over any given situation or person is minimal, as that person or situation is also affected by everything else in his environment.
2. Constant introspection and observation of the self creates a disconnect where the person is both subject to the whims of his personality and yet fully aware of the unchangeable fate in which he resides. The role of observer means the man must treat himself as a subject; that is, objectively. Is it any wonder that the man who sees himself as just another observable phenomenon falls victim to ideas of futility and meaninglessness?
2a. This is the core concept that is the foundation of my struggle to come to terms with the purpose of getting a tattoo. I struggled for a long time with this dilemma and eventually resolved it by coming to terms with who I am. Accepting myself. I felt ready to get a tattoo, but that readiness and wanting quickly wilted. The tattoo was a vehicle to accepting myself, yet the dilemma surrounding the tattoo goes deeper than that. I have no desire for it because I see no point in designing a body for which my mind is merely a passenger, like one rides the bus to work. What meaning could I possibly ascribe to any permanent art drawn onto a body that is dissociated from its mind? The earrings helped but I often forget I have them. Surely a sign of successful self-integration? Or am I supposed to be aware of them on some unconscious level at all times, as I have made them a part of my identity? A tattoo would have the same fate. Inked, loved for the brief high it provides, forgotten in time because my body is not my identity. My crucial misstep may have been excluding it from my identity. It has a meaningful place in one's identity, though of course not without pitfalls.
"Cerebral". That's what I tell myself. That I live a cerebral life, stuck in my head. It's true, evidently. But is it good? And can it be changed? Even the most novel experiences quickly give way to predictability and degradation -- morally, spiritually, physically, emotionally -- and so we come full circle to humanity's endless hedonistic pursuit. "Live every day like it's your last." What is supposed to be a solution to dealing with the inherent emptiness of life is simply a fortune cookie doctrine proselytizing consumption and physical experiences. Go somewhere, do something, "experience". Few follow the doctrine, though many more identify with it. Why not live some days with comfort in the knowledge that we will all likely be alive tomorrow? Why not slow down and think? Ponder. Consider. Introspect. Know who you are and why you do what you do so that you may navigate the world and all of its challenges in effective ways. Walking through life day-to-day with that knowledge that every action undertaken is for survival, pleasure, or both, is not in itself a catastrophic event. Occupying ones mind so thoroughly and so dishonestly, so as to avoid confronting the truth -- that is catastrophic. To the person, to the integrity of humanity, to our honor as a species.
An honor long dead, for much of the world has split the balance of industry and honor, and pushed both to the extremes of the spectrum: efficiency and radical doctrine. Do more, do it faster, hurry up and live! Die for something, find your passion, devote your life to fighting an injustice that exists as long as humans do. Maintain, calibrate, balance the world's problems on your shoulders. Because we're all in this together, right? We all have a moral obligation to collaborate and make the world a better place for us all to live? Yes. But, only in our dreams. Peace is unattainable because peace is constant, and no living state remains constant. Peace is a state dependent on the living that uphold it, and is therefore subject to the whimsical shifts of human nature.
Work small, start with the self. Be selfish. Focus on those close to you. Be selfish. Then perhaps you are qualified to help strangers. Too few are those who learn and understand their place, be it small or large. Too many are those who claim to know better yet cannot explain why. Too many are those who oversimplify the inner workings of phenomena outside of their experiences. So few are those who are willing to admit they know nothing, and fewer still those who listen, learn, think, and only then dare speak. But they are a part of the puzzle, as are those opposite them. All are needed for humanity to continue on its path of birth and death, but all humans share the same trait that steers us towards the inevitable collapse of our species: the tendency towards self-destruction on an individual and collective basis. And in the most poetic irony we know, the greatest organized mass killings we know -- war -- is carried out for survival, either ideological or physical. But survival nonetheless.
As ever, I long for the woods, man's final respite from the concrete super highway of pleasing others and sacrificing oneself for the continued survival of oneself. Truly, the self-sufficient life is the only honorable one left, for life as it is, and life as it will be, is an exercise towards the futile end of the carrot. Left to chase it for all of our lives, we imagine how it might taste. We hope, we expect, we work hard to fulfill our expectations, and then we are left with the final half of our lives to ponder just how insufficient the carrot was at sating our hunger.
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