Friday, September 30


I've made a lot of mistakes
Felt defensive and persecuted
When I was as guilty as anyone
When I was the weak one
The only way out is through restraint
No king's ransom is ever enough
No drugs nor food nor bodily harm
Ever reaches that deepest part
I want to go on my way now
Out of one door or another
I don't want to hide from myself
Or be afraid any more.

I love writing too much to be a writer

The main reason I haven't written anything for publication or developed software or really done much of anything is that I have too hard a time deciding what specifically to do. I have so many choices, an infinite number really. Why commit myself to pursuing just one, to the exclusion of all others? Why would I want to become known as a fantasy writer, for example? I would feel that just a tiny sliver of what was possible is now representing me. That doesn't appeal to me.

I don't want to be a "working writer" ... to write with the market in mind and judge success on whether I make a sale or not. This all seems extremely vulgar to me. It would spoil the joy of creation and the thrill of the written word to see it commoditized like that.

Playing it safe and sane

I'm attracted to obscure, harmless subjects like geology and paleontology because they seem a safe refuge from swirling thought. I feel like my greatest talents of observation and analysis lie in things like psychology and philosophy, but endless musing in these directions has proved fruitless when it comes to finding peace in my life. So I choose to spend my time pursuing more esoteric pursuits. I feel that many people will look at me in this role and decide that I haven't the stuff it takes to do the other, that I am running from that world out of a lack of understanding or identifying. Quite the opposite. I feel that given the proper motivation, I could have written admirable works of literature, or made well-received films, or contributed to the sciences, or championed some great cause, or become a well-known eccentric or funny man, or seeded a cult around some original new idea. But I don't want any of that. I don't see the point. To become famous? That holds no appeal for me. To become rich? I am afraid of becoming greedy and corrupt. I want a simple life. To realize some unused potential? The fact that I know I could do it (or could have) is enough for me. I don't need to prove anything to anyone else. If it helps me to keep my sanity by diverting my intellect into less ambitious endeavors, than that is exactly what I will do.

Thursday, September 29

Standards of perfection

The problem with perfectionism is you never get anything done. Anything that's done in the real world is by nature imperfect, requiring unsightly, asymmetric compromises. So you sit around doing nothing. It's being told you're to create the website to organize all thought and accomplishments of all humanity, to be presented to God for final judgment, and all of eternity hinges on it. How do you even start? What's ever good enough, complete enough? How can anything be the "best" if it leaves something out? How can anything be "complete" when Gödel showed that no system can fully describe everything, because 'everything' includes the system itself. Strange loops prevent perfectionism becoming practical.

Simple as it is, it's taken me a long time to figure this out. My entire life seems a battle against the 100 foot tsunami face of not-good-enough. Nor is it something I can conquer with realization, although I can mitigate its effects somewhat. Clearing the mind and moving out into the senses, getting outside and moving around and talking to people, playing sports and sleeping well and finishing projects - these help spring me from the prison of perfectionism. But getting going is always the hardest part. Sometimes you have to bootstrap yourself out of bed and out the door even if it seems like a lousy idea.


Pastor oh pastor
Stars shine black shuffle madly waiting
Mull silently over the countryside
Heaped clouds and farmers trundle
Their flocks and herds and prayers like children
Back to bed inside stone shelters
Can't convince me of their wiles I am
Braced comfortably feverishly shut
But places fall under
The spell of your seductive whisper
The book you carry in your heart
Is dripping with blood
You must know this
Faith in an unseen, unheard, ambient grace
Is just a solicitation of patronage
Belief merely a business
But my heart and mind are not for sale
As much as any street peddler you lust
In your godly pursuit of power
The same aching will that dominates all humanity
Pushes up your veins and consumes you
I don't believe because I am not willing
To live my life under another's thumb, trivialized
Made secondary to anyone or anything
Under the canopy of heaven, empty Heaven
Give me freedom from your opinions
Sovereignty to do what I will
Spill all your poison into
Someone else's weary but hopeful ears.

Wednesday, September 28

Posts ahoy

I got the sudden inspiration to plan a trip a couple days ago. I have free time and a bit of money right now, so I kind of want to do it while I still can. I'm thinking pretty seriously about "escaping" to Ireland for a few weeks, to do some introspection. Well, basically just to live in my body and in my senses and try to get away from my mind for a bit. I know that can be done anywhere, but when you're in a new place it always forces you to be a bit more external. More extroverted anyways.

Some of the best times in my life have been when I was traveling. Places and feelings I'll never forget. Russia, Germany, Thailand: 3 months of my life that loom so much larger in memory, when I rose to the challenge of life instead of shrinking from it, if only for a little while. Tickets to most of Europe are extremely inexpensive right now, and I feel like I'd be a fool not to take the opportunity to go.

I'm not really interested in the sights so much as the people and the way of life. I can even imagine just staying in a single village the entire time, getting to know the locals at the pub, listening to music, eating, going for walks. Maybe renting a bicycle to check out the countryside. Take my journal with me everywhere. A chance to be someone else for awhile, or more truthfully to see how the same self reacts to a different environment. The more you see the more you begin to understand things, your own character included.

Plus it's exciting!

Tuesday, September 27

Poor Syd

I find it all a bit sad, more than a bit, overwhelming really. When I read about Syd Barrett's story I'm quite affected, as it could be my life. Well in a small way it is my life. We both had a bad time with mind-altering chemicals and have fared poorly in the face of enormous pressure. Where the pressure came from, what form it took, and the details of our breakdowns may differ in small ways but the pattern is the same. I'm thankful that I retain much more function than he (apparently) does. What a tragedy.

Monday, September 26

The only real question

Living with pleasure, even or especially simple pleasure, is certainly preferable to living in fear and pain. This seems an easy idea to accept. But to have the choice to not live at all... why is that abhorrent? Albert Camus said it most succinctly when he stated that the only real question is suicide. Why live at all? Once you answer this, emerge from that particular black box where reason doesn't operate, then the rest is, as they say, all details. Sure you want to be as happy as possible, so that means doing such and such... Not to say it's easy to actually accomplish those goals, but philosophically it's easy to accept them.

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