Rather than: Blue talks with “Bloo”

This is a transcript of an email conversation between myself and Betunada that rapidly sprawled into a bunch of metaphysical speculation of the sort that we find interesting.  We agreed to both post it up, and true to form, it took me forever to do it.  I can’t vouch for the validity of the ideas that we discuss, but then that’s the nature of the beast, isn’t it?  It’s just always made sense to me on some deeper level that’s very difficult to articulate.  Still, we tried, and here it is.  Hopefully you’ll find it interesting too.

Then again, we’re both writers; we think everything we say is interesting.  It’s why we’re writers!

Rather than: Blue talks with “Bloo”.


Dharma, Upheaval and Uhaul Trucks

Howdy folks.  It’s been a while.

There’s a very very good reason for that.  And while I don’t want to say too much yet as things aren’t completely finalized, every aspect of my life is in upheaval now.  Good upheaval.  Great upheaval.

What I can say is that I’ve quit my job of eleven years – if my reader(s) hasn’t(haven’t) given up on me, you might recall that I worked in a warehouse – and am in the middle of a move.  And let me just say, the one redeeming feature of poverty is not having much stuff to move.  And it’s not just that moving sucks, but that my back is roughly the same diameter as those little sticks of lead that mechanical pencils use, so this is doubly important.

Seriously, on my last day of work, there was, coincidentally, a pizza party.  It really was a coincidence, as a merger had just gone through that placed the company in far better management, allowing me to leave feeling like the place was going to be okay.  At this party, no less than five people urged me to eat more pizza because I am too skinny.

This is, of course, exactly like urging an overweight person to, hey, lay off the pizza, it’s not like you couldn’t survive for six weeks on your reserves there, buddy.  Yet I still feel the need to defend myself and say that with my metabolism, working in a 110 degree warehouse for eight hours a day, five days a week is in itself one hell of a weight-loss regimen, however involuntary.  I really think that by next summer it would have become a health concern.  Plus, given the nature of this town, everybody probably thinks that I’m on methamphetamine.

I’m not.  I mean, I think we all know I’m not exactly DEA material here, but drugs are one thing and poison is quite another.

At any rate, I plan to return to regular posting once some sort of equilibrium is established.  Other details I can offer:  my car died.  For good this time.  She and I had a good long run, but all things come to an end.  I traded down for a bicycle, which is a pretty radical shift and helpful for cultivating that eco-green-hippie-hipster image that absolutely no one in Texas is so crazy about.  Hopefully that’s how you can know I’m sincere.  I’ve also done volunteer work for the first time.  Lastly, this place we’re moving to on Monday is a sweet one.  I’ll be back out in the country where the term neighbor only applies very loosely.  Not only that, but it’s like living in a Zen retreat; B-Dog knows what I mean, his place has that vibe too, judging from pictures.  Very, very much looking forward to that.

And as I’ve brought up the eco-hippie thing, check this out.  I believe we’re going to go this route once we’re out there.  And sorry to beat that dead horse, but having grown up in the land of Oil and Smoke, it’s a hell of a revelation.

Let me expand on that revelation part of it for a moment, though.  I mean that almost literally; I’m not religious at all, but I’m spiritual as hell, and all this upheaval feels good and right.  It’s a path of a sort, no different from those followed by monks in monasteries.  Every aspect of the transition, including the new job I’m about to start, has simply fallen into place, only requiring me to not be lazy and shiftless and reach out.  As I believe my posting patterns bear out, that’s a problem with me.  Still, I gave ample notice at work, ample notice to the apartment, planned everything out, budgeted the available monies in such a manner to carry it all off without a hitch.  To a normal person it’s business as usual; for me it’s nothing short of glorious triumph.

The universe, and I literally, honestly believe this, made a way for me, and it seemed to me nothing short of blasphemous to shirk the walking.  I know it sounds corny, and perhaps even narcissistic, but think back on your own life when you were pursuing something that you knew at the deepest core of your being was the Right Thing To Do, and see if you can remember the world opening up.  Not so much the things you had power over, but the things that you didn’t.  It’s when the outside forces align with you that you know you’re onto something.  Luck, sort of.  Roughly.

And given the job that I’ve accepted, that all this is for, literally a childhood dream job, it only strengthens my conviction that this is all in accordance with…something.  Will, Tao, Dharma, call it what you will.  It’s there for everyone, and I’m certainly not special in the least that it’s playing out for me, particularly in that what it’s leading me to is ultimately a humble, quiet thing.  The reason it doesn’t make me special because it’s actually inescapable, for all of us, and if life disrobing before you isn’t enough to get you aroused, life can and will progress, sometimes rapidly, to beating you upside the head and in the face in order to get your attention.

Don’t think life is into S&M?  Read up on yogic or otherwise mystic philosophy sometime.  The real stuff, the old school stuff.  Life is kinky as fuck.  They not only actually believe that existence is basically Divine Masturbation, but it kind of makes sense the way they explain it.

That latter (the beating about the head, not the Divine Masturbation, although that’s a beating about the head of another sort) has been how it’s had to play out with me in the past.  Let’s hope it’s different this time, because as essentially my entire life is changing, there’s a lot to lose.  When you’ve quit your job that you’ve had for a third of your life, given notice on the only place you’ve lived outside of your childhood home and let go of the concept of automobiles, it’s hard not to feel a bit apprehensive, however otherwise hopeful you might be.

Serious shit, y’all.  Can’t wait until I can tell the whole story.

How Does I Reblog Poem: Leaf

Concrete Poetry: Leaf.

I don’t normally reblog stuff, but this came up in my Reader (I do actually check it sometimes, I swear) and struck me several times in the face and head this morning.  In a really good way.

The author has another piece of concrete poetry that I stumbled across months ago, from which I learned that during my early poetry writing days I had been producing said concrete poetry without knowing it was a thing that had a name.  The other one is a fairly whimsical ode to the semicolon, which is a punctuation mark I’m very fond of.  All due respect to Cormac McCarthy – who hates semicolons and never uses them – is intended.

This one, though, is a lot deeper, entirely coherent, the leaf shape symbolizes the poem, the color scheme symbolizes where the poem goes, the poem itself is incredibly well written…you know, most poetry you’d stumble across online is pretty self-indulgent, and when it’s not that, it’s pretty self-important, and this is neither.  This is a meditation on the Big Cycle of Life and Death, but also the little cycles that comprise the bigger one, spiraling down and down it goes until you see that every infinitely divisibly minute unit of time is an Apocalypse and the Creation.  It’s a treatise on time and how we too often misuse it, and yet even misused it isn’t ever really wasted.  It’s a contrast between the tiny fleetingness of a leaf and the vast, all-encompassing birth-becoming-death that we all share in, animate sentience and inanimate existence alike.  It’s about the small everyday pleasures, the fear and pain of maturity and its freedom, and not a little about a writer exulting in language; the author’s affection for words as things in themselves rather than merely a mode of communication is more than evident.

Hey, if you don’t believe me, let me remind you that the previous poem was about a semicolon.  And it was great too.

Seriously, this should be the national anthem of, like, reality.  It is, though, in a way.

Dear WordPress:

Please stop changing the statuses of my posts from Draft/Pending Review to Published.  Nobody needs to see that.  I am aware that it’s partly my fault due to my login habits, or lack thereof, and that the auto-logout seems to make your client act a bit funny, but there is no need to expose your readers to the liminal and maddening void that lies sleeping just beneath reality itself, one day to awaken and devour space and star and man.  On that incomprehensible day, no amount of begging, no prostration, no benediction will preserve our sanity from the horror of even the merest stirrings of those vast and tenebrous things that exist beyond form, for whom our highest gods are beneath notice, but until then we should probably just chill and try not to think about it too much.

It’s a good thing nobody actually reads this, and that this is only a motivator to finish writing the things I start, because this way I don’t have to explain those duplicated paragraphs to anyone who saw them.  I will, though:  I am incredibly, psychotically picky about the wordings with which I say things, and commonly write paragraphs multiple times to see which one I like best.  I firmly believe that with the proper wording, a reader could be moved to tears by a description of how to make pancakes.  It’s probably an unrealistic standard to hold oneself to, but when you get right down to it, it’s not actually all that important to actually meet that standard at all.  The thing is to keep improving toward it, to never think “okay, this is as good as I wanted to be, now I’ll just maintain.”

A thing is only an amalgamation of circumstance, and circumstance alway changes.  Time always moves forward.  The you that began to read this isn’t the you that just read this line, and it’ll be another you still that reads my last sentence.  You are constantly being created and destroyed in every moment.  Maintenance, then, as well as anything that appears to neither proceed or degrade, is just a trick of perception.  It’s a pretty word for stagnation.

And you know, I don’t even like Lovecraft that much.  Or rather I like his ideas far more than the way in which he wrote about them.  Huh.

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma

What an interesting subject.  It could be anything!  After all, hedgehogs must have fucktons of dilemmas, not the least of which would be the fact that they’re actual hedgehogs, which must suck.  They’re tiny, kind of stupid and if a hedgehog were to fall onto its back, it would be fixed by its own quills to the very earth, and what would be a minor embarrassment for most creatures would quickly become a deadly yet broadly humorous predicament.  Or, less literally, perhaps its a Victorian take on the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, where our blue hero finds himself forced to choose between social convention and true love, between what’s expected and the unexpected, between filial obligation and the obligations of the heart.  SPOILER:  like every single Victorian story ever, he will choose the latter in a highly dramatic yet obviously telegraphed “reveal”, to the consternation of his mother, sisters and that damn stodgy old Vicar.  Much corset-induced fainting and hmmphing ensues.

Seriously, you can’t respect a people who constantly wrote about flouting their own fucking values.  What’s that?  You say we do that nowadays too?  You say that humanity isn’t and can never be a homogeneous mass that subscribes to a homogeneous morality and that the flouting of the values held by the majority is perpetrated by a free-thinking artistic and creative minority and portrayed for the amusement and edification of those for whom the shackles of public judgment and condemnation weigh heaviest?  Well I don’t see how that in any material way changes what I said in the opening sentence of this paragraph, now GOOD DAY, SIR.

I know I shouldn’t write it down when I argue with myself, but I did it, it’s done and I’m not deleting it.  No, this is just some dumb old philosopher’s thingamabopper.

Imagine, if you will, a family of hedgehogs shivering in a wintery forest; I’m assuming hedgehogs live in forests, and I don’t care enough to look it up, so just roll with me on this.  It’s freezing cold, as often happens in the wintertime, and even kind of stupid hedgehogs know to huddle together for warmth.  Hedgehogs, though, are quite heavily quilled, and if they simply huddle closely, they will stab each other.  Thus, they are forced to remain somewhat apart and find an acceptable compromise between freezing to death and poking little bleeding holes in their loved ones.

The Dilemma was the idea of one Arthur Schopenhauer, a philosopher often criticized for his pessimistic ideas, making him a fellow misanthrope.  He related the above idea and posited that human social interaction works in exactly the same way:  if we are unreservedly open to the people we know, we cannot help but to hurt them, be it a minor pain or a mortal wound.  Conversely, if we withdraw completely, there will be no possibility of warmth for us, and thus to participate in society is to implicitly acknowledge that you will, regardless of your intentions, hurt people, and will in turn be hurt.  It’s interesting, because assuming it’s true, then from certain perspectives it follows that it’s actually unethical to even interact with another human being.  Of course, generalizations tend to not be true to some extent or another, and even if this one was absolutely true, any reasonable person would have to reject the notion that saying hello to somebody makes you an awful person.

Philosophers aren’t always reasonable, though; much the same sort of logic is used to argue in favor of another of Schopenhauer’s ideas, antinatalism, which is pretty much what it sounds like.  David Benatar, for example, argues that to give birth to a person is to indirectly do harm to that person, and thus procreation is immoral, backing his long lost sister Pat’s insistence that love is indeed a battlefield.  Still, if you stuck a gun to his head and offered to undo the great wrong that his mother and father committed against him, I’d be almost certain that he’d decline your kind altruism.  It’s the kind of argument that makes sense semantically, but instantly becomes nonsensical when made tangible in the real world.

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma is different, in my opinion; for such a simple metaphor, it’s very apt.  It does seem incomplete, though:  hedgehogs quills protrude down and back from the head, and with some care and attention to angles, they are perfectly capable of huddling as close as they like as their quills nestle flat and harmlessly against their loved ones.  It is heedlessness that creates the dilemma in the first place, not mere proximity, and it’s as true for hedgehogs as it is for humans.  Closeness only equals pain when one is reckless, and I certainly wouldn’t agree if Schopenhauer meant to imply that to show some care is to establish any kind of distance.  Not even a little.  Contrarily, apathy and recklessness become more and more likely the farther away one is from another, emotionally and socially speaking.  Certainly one is vulnerable to someone close, but there isn’t necessarily pain.  It isn’t even necessarily likely.

And so I present The Compleat Hedgehog’s Dilemma by bluinthisligget.  Take that, you dead German bastard!

No, I’m kidding.  His book The World As Will and Representation actually sounds awesome.  I also got some German in me on my mother’s side, so I’m allowed to say that.  Comments/opinions from my readers would be most welcome.