Wednesday, November 30


We're just skeletons
melting in the grand face of being
reason, candies given to the diseased
taste sweet and rot your teeth
sounds around me hiss and whoosh
I'm in bedsheets wrapped and reaching
just a skeleton
now there are no more exits for me.

Sunday, November 27

Tuesday, November 15

Power and freedom

Many people desire power and freedom, and think that the one can bring about the other. But amassing power usually means giving up most of your freedom. I am relatively powerless, for example, but my time is my own. I cannot bend others to my will, but I am not bound to theirs.

People who seek power can only acquire it by gathering around themselves a group upon which they can exert their will. A gang, a cult following, an electorate. Power is not a thing in itself (except perhaps for a godlike omnipotence) but is embodied as influence over others.

The problem with such an arrangement is power is never absolute, and you end up with the top-dog syndrome. The person in power must constantly defend that post or someone else will snatch it from him. Most sycophants don't really love you; they just recognize that an association with you is the best way to achieve their own goals, at least for the moment.

Hence your actions end up being those that keep you in power, rather than what you would want to do otherwise. And such actions inevitbly serve to please your followers more than yourself. A person in "power" is really a slave to their servants.

Wishing for omnipotence, such as the magical ability to make everyone think something, or leave you alone, or bring you gifts without you having to do anything to earn it, is another matter entirely, and falls outside of the present discussion.


I don't know why sadness and beauty seem bound together for me, and for many others. I know this perception isn't universal, but it's not uncommon either. Why is it we love to hear haunting, mournful music or feel transported to some elysian land when we lay eyes on a masterful painting in blues and greys?

In an unpublished manuscript of Return of the King, Tolkien had Sam explaining the fates of certain characters to his daughter Elanorellë. On the subject of the remaining elves in Middle Earth, she inquired whether they were still sad. "I expect so, dear," he answered. "Elves are sad; and that's what makes them so beautiful, and why we can't see much of them."

My fortune cookie said I would die horribly

No, not really. Actually it said I would "step on the soil of many countries." It's talking about the future, so I don't think it matters that I've already traveled a bit. Looks like I'll be doing some more!

Allow me to reproduce here a few of my favorite quotes.

Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens. But let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.
-JRR Tolkien

The prison of time is spherical and without exits.
-Vladimir Nabokov

Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.
-William Blake

Sunday, November 13

The kitten and the tiger

When I was younger all I wanted was to be world class at something (well, everything) - be recognized for breaking new ground, outstanding on every level. To not be seen as an amateur, a poser, a wannabe. I wanted to know I wasn't deluding myself about writing, ping pong, logical thinking.

But now I'm older and it's all broken; this isn't the way it should be, life is a trick. You're only alive when you're an adolescent, when you're changing and in pain. After that you settle down and accept all the flaws you used to hate, make peace with your limitations, give up your dreams. Now I just "want to be me," another way of saying I want to accept what I am right now, warts and all, and not soar into those impossible clouds.

Maybe this is the right way, but it doesn't feel right. Why do people always reminisce fondly on their teenage or college years? I'm sure they miss the freedom, the vast expanses of possibility in front of them, the feeling that they could do anything they wanted if only they put their mind to it.

Now my mind is ravaged by years of doubt and fear, my claws are retracted, and I'm looking for a fire to curl up by. I'm tired of the night. It doesn't matter how many brilliant things I could do if I just wanted it enough; I don't want it enough.

Friday, November 11


Sometimes it rains. The sky is dark when it shouldn't be, colors are washed away. I saw a cat under a bush trying to stay dry and looking sad, and the water trickled through the branches and found its back anyway. There was water on the path to the pool, because the drains had backed up.

Even the best of us don't believe that stuff about fairy tales anymore. People hold paper bags behind concrete buildings. Cars push their way through the crowds and everyone seems to be on their way to somewhere they'll never reach. Trees stand like skeletons, leafless, chattering in the icy wind. Everywhere, something is dying.

Even the best of us don't really believe in fairy tales.

Tuesday, November 8


The moon is a sickle in the sky
Crying star-tears, she follows me home
Around the hushed sounds of leaves
And trees and things
A verdure I have never known

For I am in my ivory white tower of mind
Always alone
She hears my thoughts and bows her head
As the four walls of night press in on me
And pull my heart to parts unknown.

v. Existing outside of time; eternal

There's something timeless about the music of Nick Drake and Syd Barrett. That "timeless" appellation, along with words like "otherworldly" and "haunting," sadly have become cliches in our mundane world, and yet they utterly apply to these artists. Drake especially was the poet I've always felt extant inside myself but have struggled to give true form to. Although I remained ignorant of his music until recent years, his was that vanishingly rare soul I feel completely connected to, from the simple, unpretentious and unspoilt beauty of his guitar to the strange detachedness of his voice. His words are small jewels, chipped and fading, but still burning with inner life on the page and in the air.

Barrett was every bit as unearthly in his own way, in a tragic way. Like Roger Waters said, he reached for the secret too soon. So now we have the myth, and every self-styled mad genius in black army boots and frilly collared shirt takes long drags from a cigarette and imagines that he's Syd, misunderstood by the world. But I don't think anyone knows who he was inside at all. What he saw, the twists and turns he took. Best to leave that long lonely path to those now gone; steer your own course through the howling absurdity and don't look back. The face of the unknown cannot be changed by learning from the past.

Saturday, November 5


Truth and beauty are both fleeting
pleasure is fleeting
you can only grasp them for an instant before they are gone
crush them like a moth if you hold on too long
time upon this turning world is fleeting
it seems like it goes on and on
but oneday you wake up stooped and tired
and it hits you, the brevity of it all
the impermanence of any state of being
the fragility of desire.

What happened to big science?

Big science seems like it's in a real funk. The world wars generated loads of big science, including such magnificent (and terrible) spectacles as the splitting of the atom. A brand new type of weapon was born and a phenomenon the world had never seen was demonstrated in a spectacular way. Earlier in the century, people flew through the air in powered craft for the first time, and in the same century, they left the earth altogether and landed on another world. Those are big, noticeable things. Also in the 20th century, relativity, quantum physics, the big bang, and genetics were described, the very foundations of our modern understanding of life and the universe.

So what have we done lately? Computer advances have been remarkable, but so what? They're just technology, not science. Tools for our use like the combustion engine. If true AI had been devloped by now, along with a theory of mind, that would be something to add to the list, but it hasn't. And we don't seem to be making much headway, despite the precipitous increase in computational power. The big idea is not there. The Internet is amazing, but it's not science either, it's an application of technology and a sociological phenonmenon. It's still probably the most life-changing thing to come along in the second half of the 20th century. We haven't done anything else remarkable in space since landing on the moon 36 years ago. There have been refinements but no revolutions in physics, certainly nothing even close to the twin explosions of the early 20th century. Chemistry has been dead for a century.

Geology and biology are where all the action are, especially biology. Cloning/genetic engineering, disease theory, and aging are all active areas of research. But even these exciting developments pale in comparison to Darwin's theory of natural selection, Mendel's working out of the laws of inheritance, and Watson and Crick's discovery of DNA. Those were all fundamental discoveries that defined the field, and they all occured within a 100 year span, which ended, as most all big science did, in the middle of the 20th century. Today's biotechnology is just that, technology. It's largely derivative and only contributes to greater understanding of specialized areas, rather than overturning the entire field. It remains to be seen of course where these studies will lead us.

Maybe all the big science has been done. Maybe it's all just filling in the details now. I don't really believe this though; I tend to feel that somehow we've still got most things wrong. Every era is convinced it has done away with the folly of the past and secured a basic understanding of truth, and so every era has been wrong. I see no reason why the trend won't continue. For example, I don't believe the conventional explanation for the rise of life from nonlife is adequate, nor that our definitions of such things really make sense. I believe systems are fluid and cannot be divided into discrete areas of study and reduced to fundamentals without losing much of the essence of the larger structure. I believe the sciences will converge and that therefore laws of synnergy and emergence will need to be discovered. These call for statistical breakthroughs and more sophisticated mathematics in general. Philosophy is ripe for a shakeup - perhaps as the mind-from-matter issue becomes more empirical. Psychology is just now making the transition to a hard science.

Surely some of these fields, as well as others, will provide fertile grounds for more big science and more breakthroughs that will make the public sit up and take notice. But it may be that the days of remarkable individual achievement, of Newton and Darwin and Einstein, are largely over, and that teams of scientists and huge corporations will author the advances of the future. My generation may be one of the first to miss out on the days of maverick science, and that is a shame. It's a pity I couldn't have lived a bit earlier.

Friday, November 4

Catonephele numilia

It tastes like beef but it's not beef
Looks like the ocean but it's just waves of heat
Feels like a friendship but it's just something to do
Creates a state of emptiness and then jumps in
It rains like love but the red is colored wrong
Designed for lonely nights that are actually days
You've got the blinds pulled down but you're far away
In a tunnel of imagination that feels real.


No need to make the thing sad, or uncomfortable
Give it hypnotic-eyed background music
Make it exotic and effervescent, a feather
Feel out of your head in a cool drift of air

Take the thing which most makes you inwardly smile
Count it out on all your fingers
When the phone rings, stay your ground - look inside
Take it out on all your fingers

I get inspired, want to live and contribute
A burst of energy but no racing heart
I go in many different directions, but I'm focused
I get one thing done and I can't wait to start another

Contrast this to the grey stone overcast thing
I feel when my legs weigh a million pounds
And I can't summon up the jinn of art anymore
Than I can part the red sea or walk on water.


Why do so many people have the ability/desire to forecast the future of things to a certain point, like convergence of communications technologies, and then fail to take it all the way, to really ask the pertinent question, which is where it is ALL going? It's like they see an always connected future as a place where people are still individuals but can message each other, talk, and get information instantly. They stop there. They don't start thinking that the concept of individualism might fade altogether, as human intelligences become the neurons in a larger consciousness a level up the chain. Maybe they do think this way and just don't find it profitable to talk about, being such a foreign concept or something that is still a ways off. I don't know. Certainly there are people who extrapolate a given topic of discourse to its logical conclusion, but the vast majority, even those supposedly expert at predicting the future, at conjuring up speculative fiction, at developing innovation, don't think this way or don't meaningfully dwell on it. Why not? How can otherwise intelligent people who work so hard to think outside our current situations and visualize where we might be headed then stop at some finite point in that future and be unable or unwilling to go further? It boggles my mind. I can't help but take everything to the bitter end. Like James Dean said, "It's all I ever do."


There is no such thing to me anymore as intelligence, as it relates to something desirable to attain. All philosophical possibilities have been probed or at least sensed, in an endless cyclical pattern for the better part of my life, and nothing that anyone could do or say at this point could impress me. All I can do for now is to shut off that faculty for introspection and analysis that so many people find glamorous, and to survive my time on this planet in a way that maximizes tranquility and minimizes anxiety. The point of doing that, I don't know, but it's a whole lot more attractive than the alternative.

Thursday, November 3


It's crazy how things can seem so real and so horrible, then the entire universe changes and now they seem so real and not so horrible. I can be two completely different people within the space of hours. Reality is a strange, unknowable thing. Those of us who obsess over it have it the worst. I know anxiety and panic is a widespread phenomenon, but I can't help thinking the majority of those who suffer from it don't have it the same as I do. Most people tend to talk about fear of dying, of illness, specific phobias, etc. I think about the meaning of life and about eternity, about being a god alone in a vacuum without beginning or end, without the possibility of ever escaping or ever meeting another discrete intelligence. My hell must be worse than theirs, or at least less common. I believe my panic disorder manifests itself in this way because I puzzle over all these things anyway; it's the makeup of my mind. Anxiety disorders likely just exaggerate one's existing fears and insecurities, the way psychedelic drugs do. They don't create the monster, but they do give him a big ass injection of steroids and let him out of the closet.

Tuesday, November 1

The opposite of poverty is poverty

I wish the world could find equilibirum in a state of wholesome family values. Wholesome because it nourishes our souls, provides the sustenance we crave, and doesn't leave us emotionally bankrupt. A state which didn't exactly exist in the past, burdened as that time was with other inequalities, and which certainly doesn't exist now. I wish women still felt they could wear dresses and be taken seriously. I wish no one had tattoos or belly rings. I wish teenagers could respect their parents and recognize the value of belonging to a family structure while they're establishing their independence. I wish adults were actually wise, got along with each other, and did what was best for their kids. I wish people worked less and spent more time together. I wish they were more earnest and sincere. I wish the pace of living were slower and costs were lower and giant commercial interests didn't create fictitious needs and bombard us with them at every single instant of our lives, night and day. I wish life was healthy and pastoral. I wish we all got exercise and fresh air as much as we sat indoors in our machinations. I wish people took the time to read books, to listen to people, to understand what they read and hear, to question things that don't make sense, and to value reason over sensationalism. I wish religion were a quaint idea that people grew out of along with Santa Claus, at the appropriate time stepping wholly into the enlightened realm of the intellect, of the senses. I wish superstition, rumor, and pettiness were not a part of the human character. I wish people cherished rather than feared their differences. I wish people told each other the truth. I wish it never occurred to them to lie, or to put on masks. I wish people were noble and professional, courteous and clean. That the world were full of mystery and excitement, pirates and adventure, good food and good cheer. I wish there were love and laughter in our hearts, sympathy and simplicity in our eyes. I wish everything happened in moderation. That people slept for eight hours every night and awoke feeling refreshed and cheerful. That no one died in pain, or lived alone. I wish life truly meant something - that the Universe wasn't a cold, indifferent place but a comforting abode of warmth and certainty, and all of humanity united under its auspices could feel a part of something greater than itself, loved and giving love in return.

Ours goes to infinity

My tooth hurts. It's the one I had a root canal on - how can that one hurt? But it does, though my stomach's doing better.

Spent most of the night drenched in sweat. Dreams of the Cold War, nuclear war, trying to end my life peacefully, the end of the world, omnipotence, running from things, creating the ultimate art (achievement) and having it lost, falling in love and having it denied. It stretched on for weeks as my mind dilated time to fit its own agenda, but when I woke up and barely six hours had passed, I rose from bed not rested and ready for the day, but psychically aged and covered with the crumbs of a mind's unraveling.

Funny how reluctance to write creeps in. I suppose it's because of the overwhelming nature (and volume) of what's to be said. I can only capture a tiny fraction here of all that has passed this night, but perhaps it will make me less anxious to have done so. Before I take the pills that will line my brain chemistry up in just such a way, before I retreat to that narrow condition of 'normality' that exists like an imprinted wafer in the turbulent three-dimensionality of existence/madness, I will try to write what I can. But it feels thirdhand now, passed from experience to a waking cache mind to a person distanced from the dreamstate.

Does God get sad and bored? What is the nature of omnipotence? Can he create constant renewal, constant happiness, constant discovery, constant purpose all around him - even in his own mind? Can omnipotence nullify itself too, take omnipotence away, or does it lie outside its range of effects in some metaplane? This is important. Can God (we) exist in an ecstatic state all the time and never readjust? Can he fly around, make people do what he wants them to, wave his hand, dive into refreshing water, do naughty things, find subtle peace...and not get sick of it all, not get burnt out and feel it's all hollow? Like playing a game on invincible mode, does it get old really quick, become just another mystery-free mechanical system, or can he control that too? Does he get lonely with all this power, can he create other equal minds that satisfy his need for companionship, or is that impossible in an act of subcreation? Would he have to create other omnipotences, and is that possible? Does the fact that he can do so at will invalidate the comfort they bring? Can he will himself to die?

Nature seems to show us what we want to see, this malleable dreamscape that exists around us like some kind of embryonic membrane. It's all just a dream. They talk about the nature of matter at the lowest levels being some kind of duality of particle and wave; I believe it's much more than a duality, it's an infinite array of possibilities, it's anything you want it to be, it metamorphosizes freely based on your expectations, your desires. Everything is like that. Reality is tiny, we don't go anywhere. We don't even move.

We sit in our egg. The cosmic egg. Funny it's the symbol of the big bang, the start of the universe. The start and end of all we know. It's no different than our own birth and death, curled fetal position inside our own egg, self-contained, finite but boundless. We can't crack out because there's nowhere to go. There is no outside. And we can't crack up because there's nowhere else in our minds to go either, and Mind must be present. We can freak out, run from point A to point Z, but at any given instant we have to be at some letter of the mental alphabet, some discrete state. There is no escape, no release.

I don't even think it's WE, it's me, or it's you, whatever you want to call it. We're all one, all different facets of the same being. Even that which we call the outside, the nonliving, is a part of us. It's a dream in our heads. We are alone - I am alone. It's all here, an infinite regression of dream-realities inside my head inside my dreams inside my soul. Physicality is an illusion that can never be disproved but is wrong nevertheless.

Everything scales infinitely both ways, readjusts to norms constantly. There's no use in trying to get happier, more powerful, to be ecstatic, to be omnipotent, because you end up right back where you were. There's an infinite sky of possibilities above you, an infinite hell of limitations below. Net result is the same. Look at career promotions, material acquisitions, carnal pleasures. They give you the first indication that this is the way it is. No net gain. No movement.

And here it all comes spilling out. Funny what happens when you just miss a day (it used to be two or three) of your antidepressants. Those go-go-go, don't question anything, keep your eyes on the road ahead and don't look sideways, you might see something you don't understand or, worse, something you do. You may start to wonder where you're going in the first place. Eventually you'll realize the car's not actually moving, it's just scenery parading around, sounds of black-clothed children in the background and a heavy velvet curtain waiting to ascend. And for god sakes, don't look behind you.

It's just a thin veneer over this overwhelming, de-ranged reality, which comes right back when you stop taking the pink pill, the blue pill, the red pill, and it's progressed in the meantime, like a disease, like the disease of truth. A pickled brain in a jar thinking thoughts, wondering why it's hard to run in its dreams. A shadow on a wall. Pride of craftsmanship, dissolving cruelly, going up in smoke with the rising of the sun, so you do it again, for real this time, and another sun rises. Pride of something that never happened at all. Hell's just a few inches a way at all times, in a direction we can't normally go. When the brain chemistry is right, sails are up, and all bets are off. My teeth hurt. They feel like they're falling out.

When you're dreaming and you're asleep, everything makes sense, you make such profound revelations, clear the webs away and see things as they are, you're at the height of your powers, you have so many things you want to say so eloquently, an understanding so complete, a richness so deep you could fill novels. When you wake up, though you clutch frantically, it all wafts away like a breeze; and in the shadow of dimly but profoundly remembered greatness, you're supposed to get up, take a shower, and carry on with trivial, animal specifics.

I can't create anymore. Things fall to pieces. My heart is pounding in my chest and it feels like I am going to die. This is the least of my concerns, for I'm more worried about what it will be like if I live, how I can go on with what I've seen, the logical conclusions I've come to. You can fancy it up with words any way you like, a hole is still a hole. Are we all just mindless sex-crazed depressives going out of our heads trying to find some meaning to what seems like a hollow search for pleasures and peace, who can only stumble on without exploding if we're under the sedating effects of a medication that makes us forget our nature? Yet I want that sedation back. I don't want to think anymore, not about this. I can't.

Something from the sea

I catch the flames with my face
Stand holding the blame and the door
When it all goes to crap
Don't lie to me anymore, I know
There's no such thing as heaven or hell
It's all just human desire
To escape where we are right now
And I run from the church holding my eye
Spilling blood from my nose
Nothing noble about those
Who would kill others with a prayer
Damn them to a life of insignificance

Now emotions come roaring back
Words are tinged with 200 meanings
I feel like flinging tears from a mountaintop
Screaming as loud as I can
I feel like something dragged from the water
Dried out but still thrashing about
Stomped on and kicked and burned and
Torn limb from limb and frozen
Left for dead in the driest place on earth
And I'm just struggling for another breath
On my way back to the water.

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