This one went to market
This one just came out of the swamp
This one dropped a payload
Fodder for the animals
Living on an animal farm

Perhaps you notice the new links on the side. Of note this morning is the one to future hi, ‘celebrating the rebirth of psychedelic futurism’.

I’ve recently felt it important to consciously balance the ‘slant’ of the site more towards the middle, and away from the excessively catastrophic and doom based. In keeping with the thoughts expressed here, I am being more careful about deliberately ‘selling’ a particular view, especially to myself.

On a more personal note, I’m very concerned right now with moving my personal view more in the direction of enthusiastic optimism. Y’see, lately the biggest disconnect has been between my objective experience, which is undoubtedly of a higher quality in terms of constructive complexity and productive personal growth than ever before, and my felt experience, which has increasingly been wracked by tension, anxiety, feelings of looming pressure, and most recently cataclysmic paranoia, and borderline psychosis.

What I’ve come to understand is the hidden trap inside the idea of ‘struggle’. The idea that I have to struggle to become happy, productive, positive and a fully realized person. This is doubtless a carry-over from my youth where I was surrounded by a family rife with crime, depression and addiction, generally disaffected and antipathetic toward society, unhappy, and lonely. It seemed my life at that time was nothing more than a struggle to not go under. It never occurred to me to simply change my view of life. All I could do was summon the fury to grapple enldessly with the badness of things. To be a good person in the face of the bad old world.

The problem with that idea is that, if your progress is based on constant conflict, then the moment you try to stop fighting you get dragged into the gears of life and ground up. So everytime I try to chill and just enjoy the ride, there’s a part of me that screams in terror that maybe I’m being overwhelmed just out of the corner of my awareness, and I have to pick up my spiritual two by four and start busting heads again.

But as things reach a higher pitch energetically, as they doubtless have with increased meditation practice, that internal contradiction introduces so much pressure into the system that the whole fucking thing could explode at any moment.

In a way it’s a kind of backhanded egotism. ‘The world is so bad, and to face it must make me so strong and important. I must really be dialed in to the good shit.’ So rather than build a healthy, well integrated self image, all I have to do is inflate the lovecraftian terrors on the periphery and I am automatically promoted in my existential and spiritual importance.

Which is not to say these aren’t valid or useful mechanisms of growth in the plane of duality. But to be married to them? To identify so much with the struggle that you go down with the ship? I think not.

When you act in a play, you seldom have to live the whole life of that character. You highlight some moment of dramatic struggle and walk away. You experience the catharsis and move on. Life can be just like that. No need to impale yourself on the sword of your life-script, my friends. Personal authenticity doesn’t neccisarily mean marching blindly to your self-ordained destruction.

Tune in tomorrow for a frothing nietzscheian rant on the disgusting self destructiveness of slave morality. Or not. If you haven’t noticed, I’m just making this shit up on the fly. Or maybe it’s channeled.

This is prophecy, bitch!

PROPHECY!

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2 thoughts on “This one’s optimistic

  1. I can so identify. I came up from a fucked-up background as well, and I don’t really know how to deal with happiness – especially in my relationships. If things are going well, something must be wrong.

    “Struggle” is a problem.

  2. Zac,

    I really enjoy your writing, you give me many ideas for developing my focus and rethinking my approach to self development. I’m so used to clearly structured arguments based on systematic logic in my everyday life and in my own writing, that I find that your passionate writing on the fly is really refreshing. I hope you can keep this more regular posting up, I particularly like the idea of trying to approach this from a slightly more balanced angle. Then again, I just enjoy your writing anyway.

    I choose not to see struggle as a bad thing. Anything that does not involve some cost, some degree of pain and struggle, is not worth anything. People who never struggle, never develop. People always seem to have trouble framing such struggle positively, they want everything to be easy. Some of the people I most admire have had the hardest lives. In such struggle though, there is always agency – there is, as you say, no need to go down with the ship. I do think that you need to frame such struggle positively however – like Camus’ Sisyphus – enjoy the feel of the rock you’re pushing under your hand and the sun on your back. Or do what ever works for you, playing out a dramatic struggle with yourself might also work. It certainly makes for good reading, and makes me question my own actions.

    Cheers,

    Benjamin.

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