The Deluge, noun
1: an (almost) weekly stream of consciousness rant about art, politics, and whatever else is in my mind.
2: an excuse to weed my mind's garden of errant thoughts and get back to working on the novel.
Over the years I've become attuned to the notion that people like me for what they see in me- but only to a certain extent- and then they fill in what's left with a mixture of lies, bullshit, and wish fulfillment. Even as a child I found myself reckoning with some level of psychological projection from the adults around me, captive then to what horrifies me now. The degree to which this took place then was in a way I suspect unusual but then I have no metric by which to judge this.
On Projections: There is a certain level of negation to this, of fondness for one's own dreams, neuroses, or fears over the autonomy of another human being. I keep a certain distance from most people for this reason, resistant to their love and seeing it as fraudulent, an infatuation with the ghost of an ideal of me, their fixation on this and sweet gestures unconscious attempts at terraforming my person. It is a love that can often ring abusive, a hollow thing wielded by a hollow people who hold no conception of what it is to be human beyond the contents of their own feelings. I have often come across as cruel in the face of this, abrasive or even hostile when cornered by others who believe the lie (never get caught between a human being and their illusion, already willing to forfeit themselves they will do you in as a second thought) and for that I am grateful to my unsourced- altogether mysterious to me- indomitable nature.
For whatever reason people have always been particularly fond of the version of me they construct in their minds. It can range from the Good Christian Citizenship award I still have in my closet to an absolutely random variable of people finding me intimidating (who I myself am intimidated by) to even the vagaries of other people's infatuations for me.
Something I really struggle to disassociate from, to the point that I've sort of thrown up my hands in a state of bemusement (why fight something that seems to occur with all the certainty of gravity?) is how people think I'm this dark and tortured soul. Don't get me wrong- there were periods in my life where this was absolutely the case and I still have off days like any other person- but this is far from a fundamental part of my nature and hasn't been for a long time yet even new people I encounter operate under this impression.
Some of this can be attributed to disposition, some of it to my absolutely broken sense of humor or my propensity for wearing black (nothing looks better) but a lot of this I suspect is readily attributable to how people contend with my worldview. There are three tenets, three original sins I find untenable that most people wholeheartedly embrace and the articulation of my views on any one of these notions is enough for them to look at me like an update of the latest doomer meme.
I am not a doomer.
Some Satanic Verses
Terms like hope, idealism, and empathy are enshrined and unimpeachable tenets in the pantheon of our times (a kind of throw pillow philosophy) but these are all words I recoil from philosophically, aesthetically, and even emotionally. Others seem to wonder how I can even be happy in the absence of these ostensibly uplifting tenets to our shared humanity but I can almost see the millstones these concepts have tied around their necks and feel as though I am just sidestepping all the pain and confusion these ideas inflict on others.
I find myself less disappointed without the banner of hope, more reliant on the things I can control (even more aware of what I can control) but also much more motivated to change my circumstances in situations that displease me. There isn't a world in which things magically improve and a recognition of this- coupled with a realization that no one is going to save me but me- has worked wonders in my life both interpersonally and psychologically. As a tool hope is a quicksand of the lazy and unmotivated, as a feeling it is a precursor to despair. For when hope fails, and it often does, that joyous feeling curdles into a venomous snake.
In outright rejecting the naivete of idealism I avoid the pitfalls of its inevitable disappointments, its consistent grasping for ideals and circumstances that would never work once put into practice. That idealism can rarely navigate the terrain of the world as it exists, that its unblinking fervor makes it incapable of compromise and therefore keeps it far from the halls of power should comfort us. For idealism at its core is a negation of reality in favor of how things should be that finds its consequence in many horrors of the 20th century, some self inflicted but most of them evenly distributed among the masses.
Empathy is that most sacred cow of a modern secular society, a questionable tool used to masochistically experience the pain of others in a way that is somehow instructive or conductive to alleviating their suffering. I sidestep this by having sympathy, by knowing the difference between myself and others are so vast (even those I share a lot in common with) that raw emotions are of little utility to understanding their circumstances, that I must first use my intellect, raw intelligence and learning, to better educate myself and understand how to really help them. The idea of clumsily feeling my way through unfamiliar circumstances- attempting to parrot the nuances of an unfamiliar consciousness entirely alien to my own- seems condescending and gross, more an exercise of ego and emotional flagellation than an earnest attempt at helping another person. Other people may derive purpose from moralistically blundering around in another person's imagined pain but this strikes me as little more than masturbation by another name.
I hold these tenets, or rather anti-tenets, dear as as they have guided me through several pronounced rough patches in life while also keeping me safe and keeping me sane. I recognize this as a subversive energy I am putting out into the world- easily the most controversial thing I've said on this blog- but I only ask anyone who reads this to examine the content of their reaction to the things I've said here and ask themselves if these ideals really do make sense, if they really are all that helpful, or are people just attached to their outwardly comforting nature.
Stuck on You by Failure
A Teacher - miniseries (directed by Hannah Fidell)