Friday, January 27, 2017

One Hundred and Twelve

But none of this matters.

Freud and Marx, science and art, all the things to which I’ve given my attention all my life don’t matter. We all know now that all the things to which we used to give our attention, and used to call civilization, don’t matter. We created those things to keep us from thinking about the things that do matter.

Scientists say that what matters most to them, the question they all ask, is why there is something rather than nothing. That question can’t be answered. They should ask instead why there’s something and nothing.

This world, which seems to us to consist of things, really consists almost, but not entirely, of nothing. All the things that seem to our eyes solid are really only a few particles swimming in a sea of nothing. Even those particles aren’t what we call things, but only loci or foci in fields of force, waves of energy.

Einstein said mass is the form energy takes when a particle is at rest. Now scientists say particles are never at rest. They’re always in motion, and what we call mass is only one form of motion.

A particle’s motion varies according to its frame of reference. Not things, but the nothing from which all things rise, is real.
 
But understanding this doesn’t matter. Philosophers, Marx said, have always tried to understand the world, but what matters is to change it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

One Hundred and Eleven

The older I get, the more disgusted I become. I’ll die of disgust, if that’s possible, before I die of cancer.

I live like a hermit, seeing no one for days at a time, speaking to no one except salespeople when I go out to buy food, which I seldom have enough money to do. The closest I come to having a conversation is reading and/or posting comments online.

People who regularly read and/or post comments online, as I do, have a lot of free time and few if any friends. Other people regard them as eccentric at best, and at worst deranged. That’s also how most of them regard each other.

Most people are either uneducated or miseducated. Yet they think they know all they need to know, so it’s difficult to have a conversation with them, online or in person. But it’s more difficult online. They allow themselves to say online, to strangers, things they would never say to someone in person. At least I hope they wouldn’t.

It’s difficult to believe they could behave any more badly than they already do. Yet it seems to me the comments I’ve seen posted online since Trump’s inauguration last Friday have been more bigoted than any I’ve ever read before. The success of this disgusting man has given them permission to be equally disgusting.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

One Hundred and Ten

It’s a mystery to me why so many people say it’s a mystery to them why some people commit suicide. Are so many people so obtuse that they’ve never felt a despair great enough to make them consider suicide?

Perhaps their despair is so great that they’re afraid if they ever did allow themselves to consider committing suicide, they’d do it. Why they’d think that is a mystery to me. Knowing I can always end this misery if and when I choose consoles me, as it did Nietzsche, and gets me through many a bad night.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

One Hundred and Nine

Only fools say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Love is an illusion, the last illusion left in Pandora’s box when all the others are gone. I’ve always known it, and always striven not to know - striven to believe, or suspend my disbelief, in love.

I was a child and she was a child
In this kingdom by the sea
But we loved with a love that was more than love
I and my Annabel Lee.

A love that’s more than love is all that remains of what we used to call religion, which Marx called the sigh of the oppressed and the heart of a heartless world.

The sea is calm tonight.
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand.
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain.

We are like pebbles which the waves fling on the sandy shore. We rise from the sea, that eternal nothing from which all things are born, filled with love for this world so new and beautiful to us; but soon we learn it doesn’t love us as we love it. How could it, when it doesn’t know and love itself as we do? Our mission, the reason why we’re here, is to teach it how to love. Or so we think.

She and I loved one another with a love that was more than love. In loving her I loved the world as I knew it could and should be, because with her I was the man I could and should be. And if I could do that, anyone could. Or so I thought. But now the world’s as dead to me as she is. The man I was with her is dead, and I hate what I’ve become as much as I hate what the world's become.

Monday, January 2, 2017

One Hundred and Eight

Long before the infant becomes aware of sex, it becomes aware of power. Whether it perceives itself as belonging to its mother, or its mother as belonging to it, the infant knows they differ in power long before it becomes aware they differ in sex (if the infant is male, as it always was for Freud).

Eventually the infant realizes it is powerless and dependent on its mother. The first society is the family, and it’s a matriarchy. If the infant is well cared for, it's content to be dependent on its mother. Namque pauci libertatum pars magna iustos dominos volunt. But even the best mother eventually fails to satisfy her infant’s every need, whereupon it seeks to become independent of her.

It fails. The human infant remains helpless for a longer time than the young of any other species; an unnaturally long time, during which it grows increasingly restive. Eventually it rebels.

The son’s rebellion against his mother is the first revolution (Daughters don’t rebel against their mothers; they succeed their mothers as matriarchs). Even if his revolution is successful, for the rest of his life he’ll seek to dominate women in order to avoid being dominated by them, as he was by his mother. But his success doesn’t last. Every revolution is followed by a counter-revolution.

Society is a macrocosm of the family, founded and ruled as a patriarchy by the sons who successfully rebelled against their mothers and became men, fathers. Just as every rebel take the place of the ruler he overthrew, so does every mother's son become a father.

Every father, precisely because he successfully rebelled against his mother, fears his son will rebel against him. Laius feared his son would kill him and take his throne even while Œdipus was still an infant. By trying, and failing, to kill the infant before he became a man, Laius ensured that Œdipus would kill him when he did become a man. Œdipus, who Freud thought naturally violent, merely responded to his father's violence with violence.

Freud’s solution to the Œdipus Complex was for the son to surrender to his father instead of challenging him, and wait to become a patriarch like his father just as daughters wait to become matriarchs like their mothers. But being a patriarch himself, Freud couldn’t conceive of women as matriarchs, women with power. He saw women as childish, or castrated, powerless men. Even less could he imagine a society without powerful men, patriarchs who rule women and powerless men as adults rule children.