Boredom as a Universal Force

How much of our lives is due directly or indirectly to the influence of boredom, that incessant threat to our mental livelihood? We find that people devote many years of their lives to their hobbies, passions, chores, jobs, and careers — because, well, what else would they do? Because we are animals with an expanded consciousness, to eat, breathe, sleep and reproduce seems not enough. Unlike cats and dogs, we find it unfitting to simply live in the present moment until we are dead. Instead, we require filler – life filler, existential filler. The needs and desires of human consciousness are indeed great, and they require great action, commitment, and dedication. Otherwise, we are apt to feel the force of boredom dooming our minds into the dusty, cobwebbed corners of passivity.

The “extras” which fill in our time upon this earth are composites of culture and creativity, enabled by ennui as a looming and dark influence, not unlike death. I believe that even religion, just as much as it was a creation to satisfy mysterious questions about our place in the universe – was initiated as a vanguard against emptiness and malaise. This is especially the case for religious observances, holidays, and sacrificial processions. In the self-righteous eye of the priest or the holy man, boredom is sacrilegious because it is completely non-devoted to anything, including the higher power(s) that be. For one to regard life as tedious, one must necessarily infer God or the Creator to be a tedious artist.

Human beings may even behave aggressively, to the point of killing one other out of boredom. For how could two or three tribes ever live in the same jungle or upon neighboring lands without the eternal entertainments of death and danger? Wars are always justified by imperatives, yet they must cloak themselves over an emptiness, accompanied by the question often spoken with a drowsy nod and shrug of the shoulders, “Why not?” Indeed. If nothing better to do, why not art? Why not religious service? Why the hunt of an animal, and not of a man seemingly deserving to be made a meal of?

***

Now for a personal anecdote on this universal force of boredom. When I was a child on the playground at school, my friends and I would invariably find ourselves bored to bits. The monkey-bars would cease to be an amusement, as well as the bright yellow slides, which were, after all, intended for “babies”. We’d wander around condemned to ceaseless monotony, awe-struck by “nothing to do”. There was a forest on the outskirts of the field, and some of us would wander there. Soon enough, this was forbidden by our teachers. We found ourselves, once again, wandering about the grounds, aching for something meaningful to spend our time on.

After nearly two weeks of this stagnation, we stumbled upon a grand idea. We would split into two warring armies and fight each other. But, over what? What was worth a war? What precious item or possession might be worth such conflict? Upon the grounds were a finite number of large rocks, and due to their rarity, they were worth a great value. It was therefore decided we were to have a long and violent “Rock War”.

One army of children would discover a pile of precious stones behind the covering of some bushes, raid them, and hide them in another secret location – behind a tree, under the woodchips, beside a fence, etc., until once again discovered by the other side. One had to be extraordinarily sneaky in finding the rocks, because being caught on the enemy’s base meant certain hell to pay.

The war waged on for many months. Each forty-five minute recess session was a display of brutal conniving and militaristic tactics. At one point, upon locating a magnificent pile of rocks, I was caught red-handed by an enemy soldier named Tim. Tim pushed me into the dirt and wrapped his arm around my neck, employing a standard choke hold. He had me pinned there for what seemed like half an hour, very much intending to suffocate me. Two little girls ambled over and witnessed what was happening and so ran and notified our playground attendant.

Tim was swiftly taken away by the higher authority and I returned to the battlefield. Tim, the sociopathic little twerp he was, spent the rest of the week in detention. I, however, was awarded a rare, purple stone for my bravery, and for suffering inordinately while in the line of duty. And yet suffering was the one thing we did not do in this legendary rock war of ours– quite the opposite. We were delighted, entertained, amused, and totally swept away from that terrible tyrant of time – ennui.

***

People committed to activities and hobbies (whether they be chess, golfing, going to the cinema, sewing, gardening, playing card games, etc.) often claim that they “do it to pass the time” – as if the activities themselves were absolutely necessary for clocks to function and for time to continue to exist. It is as if the fourth dimension of the universe (Time) were an option according to our discernment. Perhaps it is. As we learned from Albert Einstein at the beginning of the 20th century, time is relative.

It is also said that philosophers are unmarried people with nothing better to do than think. I tend to believe this to be a correct assertion. Hobbies and activities, wars, religious observances, philosophizing, painting, writing, sculpting, all things of form and beauty as well as chaos and disarray are done out of instincts relevant to a particularly human consciousness. How related these instincts are to the influence of boredom might be well summed up as thus, if are to take a page from Descartes:

I think, therefore I am bored.

I am bored, and therefore I think.

Make no mistake! I don’t want the reader to get the impression that everything in life is purely due to boredom. My aim is to simply provoke a questioning of boredom as a very significant feature of the human experience…

All About Writing

The Writer upon Death’s Door (A Note to Myself)

Just sit down and write. Don’t you know you are going to die? You only have so much time and yet you have so much inside of you that’s been kept a secret. It will go to the grave with you if you do not write it. You will die a man with a convoluted brain, riddled by mental discontent and dissatisfaction far more than any boring old cancer or tumor. You will be a dead man with a song in his heart. Write it out. Write it right now. Sit your ass in that junky office chair and type away at that keyboard until your fingers grow numb. Poor out all those little discontents of your mind. Don’t stop until your soul seems ejected from your body, hanging in the air like a strange, haunting vapor. Time constitutes the entropy of our existence. Don’t you know the juice of life is being bled from your being at this very moment? You’re a writer, for Christ’s sake, and you’ve only so much time. What are you waiting for? To hell even with being a writer. Just be writing!

***

To Be a Writer

A writer with a desire to write feels an aching in his heart, a heavy load on his mind. If he’s trapped by a conventional influence, such as a day-job, a social obligation, bad traffic, the aching will continue and likely grow stronger. He feels as if he were in a prison. When he finally does discover his way to solitude, to the pen and paper, the keyboard and word document, he is bound to pour out his soul in the fashion of a butterfly being let loose from a mason jar. As the writer writes, he flies away in total freedom. The shackles have been undone. The tyranny of the world is dramatically reversed into the tyranny of the writer, whom molds and controls worlds of his own making. The whip of society has been handed down to the creative, whom whips the muse and smiles. This is the joy of creation, to see beauty whipped into form.

To be a writer is not always convenient. In fact, to be a writer is often not only inconvenient, but a disadvantage. A functioning member of society may not be able to write at any given moment, as a writer desires to do. To be among a crowd, among family and friends, among the throng of civilization for too long a time, can build up that aching to a climactic point wherein one may feel he will explode or disappear altogether if he cannot write what has been crawling, breeding, festering around in his loaded mind like a pound of rattling dice.

Make no mistake. It isn’t just important for a writer to write, it is absolutely necessary. If a writer were somehow determined not to write, his mental existence would shrink to the pin-point of obscurity. Expanding this hypothesis, if all would-be writers never wrote a single word, then the world would not have its brilliant minds – no Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Twain, Whitman. No bibles, manuals, legislation, scientific theses, or even a basic cook book. The world would be empty of ideas, devoid of historical records, our grand stories and traditions. The life of humankind would never have grown past the pre-literate nomadism of ancient times. We would be barbarians of the jungle, the pre-literate remaining pre-literate, the epitome of unfulfilled potential.

The Muse of Creative Agony & Other Such Mobile Perversity

First, a few aphorisms of divine intoxication…

Perhaps the most unappreciated invention of all time: the zero. So unappreciated, in fact, that it can (and often is) used as an epithet. What did the poor zero ever do to us, besides provide the very organization of our numerical system?

*

An imaginative exercise: imagine what your life would be like if your brother (or sister) were an only child.

*

Books are a life support system for the mind. A library is a mental hospital. The reader is the ailed patient. The authors are our doctors, our healers, our cerebral nutritionists. For maximum health, I advise one to read, read, read…

*

Writing is a form of cerebral sex. It just feels so damn good.

The Muse of Creative Agony

As any writer whom has suffered from writer’s block will tell you, the muse can be quite the elusive and frustrating bitch. Once she has been absent for some period of days, weeks, or months…you might even begin to wonder why you bothered with her in the first place. That is, until she returns, and kisses your smitten mind, turning everything exultant and beautiful and ravenous once again. Then you will be saying to the muse, dare you never leave me again! I cannot bare the thought of any length of time without you! Oh yes, and you will be making love to her, night after night, like a return to bliss. Your spirit will be that of a cancer patient upon news of full recovery. You will make love to the muse for as long as humanly possible. After all, no Adam or Eve desires to forsake the garden once he is there.

The muse lifts one up to heaven and upon leaving suffers the artist to the fates of stark gravity. Indeed, the muse is one holy, abusive bitch of agonizing delights – any artist shall tell you. Even writing of her now causes me brief heart palpitations of vague superstition. It is as if she will hear my curses and grievances and out of a cruel and casual spite, totally abandon!

***

Mobile Information

I love to pick up a book of history, science, or art and eagerly consume its pages until my brain begins to feel overfed and lethargic. An evening of learning for me is very much akin to the enjoyment of a large meal.

I like to brain-bathe in the information. I like to swim around in it. Soak in it, relax in it. The goal from there on, is to bring some of this information with me wherever I go, like a traveler’s hefty suitcase. This mobile store of information is what we tend to call, one’s knowledge.

The key, of course, to maintaining one’s knowledge, to keeping it up to date, is to utilize it throughout daily life as much as possible. Otherwise, one is apt to forget his or her learned facts. This is a simple case of cliché: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.

Whenever we are going about the daily routine, or are idle, waiting in line, driving our cars, riding in an airplane, etc., we must consistently work to compare our learning with our external environment. This is to say, we must work to externalize our internalities and observe if they sync up with each other. If they do not sync, it’s likely our thinking about a given subject is faulty.

 

Ponderings — Fools, Immoralists, Elastic Limits and Brown Liquor.

A Few Aphorisms of Divine Intoxication…

If there is such thing as a moderate extremist, I am it.

That glorious dome of stars o’er the planet is Nature’s cathedral ceiling for the reverent Naturalist.

Patriotism is a euphemistic word for anti-intellectual pride and militant barbarism on parade, cloaked in national color and a vague symbolism fit to stir empty hearts.

***

The Fool and the Immoralist

A fool acts not knowing not what he does — a victim of his own ignorance committed to folly.

An immoralist is one whom acts out the same deeds as the fool, the difference being that his wisdom is far greater than his deeds. This is to say, he does wrong knowingly.

Better to be a fool than an immoralist. At least there is hope for the former!

***

Pour Ze Brown Liquor

“Pour ze brown liquor, ye fette sau!” — something I’d like to say to a disagreeable bartender just once in my life (preferably without being decked for it). Employing a few Germanic words seems to be a means of more eloquent defense than smashing a beer bottle over the bar and keeping the jagged bottleneck for a weapon. Same goes for uttering something in French. “Garder le culture en vie, vous le philistins!” You see. How could one say I am not a man of delicate sensibility?

***

An Elastic Human

We ought to envision the limits of a human being, physical and emotional, as that of a rubber band. When the limits are tested, there is unease and suffering, there is tension. Yet within the stretching of limits, there is room for the growth of one’s inner-strength and dignity of character. When the tension eventually recedes, one will have learned something of him or herself. When the tension picks up again later on in life to an even greater outer-limit, the suffering will be endured with greater, more learned fortitude and dignity. Of course, if the tension causes us to snap like a rubber band stretched beyond limit…those said limits, sadly, may never be tested again.

***

 

Pop Prejudice

Some folks tend to object to my usage of such words as, ‘unconscious’ and ‘incompetent’ in regard to the general population — that moving, undulating mass of what forms ‘the collective’. Would then “individuals exhibiting involuntary behavior” as opposed to “performing unconscious actions” be more in line with proper etiquette? It is true I may be judging a large group for being generally mindless and acting stupidly, but if the boot fits…

In any case, when it comes to language, connotation is the infection of popular prejudice.

***

 

Personal Good, Personal Evil

Questioning whether or not one is a genuinely good or bad person is the first clue to the former — especially if one’s heart weighs upon the question moreso than one’s intellect. “Evil” people care not if they commit atrocious deeds. If they do end up questioning their immoral behavior, they will do it with a casual intellectual curiosity and without any moral concern, unlike the generally good human being whom is questioning his or her own worth with a hope for goodness.

***

 

Ponderings: The Cosmic Recycling Program, The Wise Idiot & Other Placebo Prayers!

Placebo Prayer

When a human being puts two hands together, he may be doing either one of two things — applauding, or praying. It would be more appropriate, I think, in all respects, for a person to applaud, since the cosmos deserves earnest applause for its grandness, its eternal scope, and its natural construction of ourselves — all of which allows us to put two hands together in the first place! We should clap in whatever rhythm we think harmonic to the universe and be grateful that we are alive, situated at home upon a tiny blue speck among the infinitude of ancient stars — perhaps of even of other universes.

As for prayer, I believe it is about the same as talking to brick walls. It is just one more non-diagnosed form of human, schizophrenic behavior. Of course, this does not mean that if a person prays, he or she will not receive what they want. When a person prays, asking for strength of spirit, for courage, for fortitude, for a more enlightened state of mind, or for even material possessions, what he is really doing is asking, praying to and of Himself. He is giving himself permission to obtain these desired things. His subconscious resilience is thereby strengthened into a more conscious will to achieve. Hence the saying, each Man is his own God.

Un-Thinking

I think, therefore I am entertained. How often is thinking a mere vanguard against the treachery of ennui? Often, man thinks not in order that he get to the bottom of things, but that he may escape the suffering of a mundane present — thereby removing himself to live in either  in the past or the future. Man becomes unconscious, full of his own thoughts and full of mind, and full of shit too — but all the more he is without the gift of simple presence and mindfulness.

The Yin-Yang of Truth & Lies

There is a small part of truth in every lie, a small part of lie in every truth, which leaves a small part of all truths and lies, facts and fictions, completely indistinguishable. But perhaps this is just the immoralist in me talking…I am honestly not sure at the moment.

A Wise Idiot

It takes either an extremely wise man or a complete idiot to simplify the incredulous. At times I manage to simplify and communicate grand cosmic ideas with both of these personalities in ready hand. Thus, what I am — a wise idiot.

The Dreamer

I cannot help but remain the dreamer, the poet, the visionary. So many times I believe I have changed in my personality, that I have matured in ideas and concepts — yet I nonetheless return to the eternal dream of being at one with the lilies of the field. I daydream upon the white windowsill, facing the green hill, noticing how the swaying lilies neither toil nor spin…

Impermanence

Human beings are surely no exception to the Cosmic Recycling Program. If the mighty oak tree must fall, why not we? Surely we are not more noble, or in any way superior to the mighty oak, a tree that is perfect and beautiful and has never done any wrong to anybody. It would be shear arrogance, and an insult to trees the world over to stake our claim on being the superior — which is in the first place, nothing more than an ego game. Listen, preferably with your heart — All that is, is transmogrified, eternally. Seas dry up and new ones swell. Whole mountains are leveled and brought to great heights once more, glaciers form and dissipate. Whole continents drift,  merge, then drift again.  Getting more to the point of all this — it is of natural necessity that one dies, dissipates the contents of his sub-atomic energy back into the universe, in order for new forms to become manifested — such as a new flower, a new tree, a new star, a new galaxy, or a new human being. We are united by the “energy stuff” which is neither created nor destroyed, yet always is. The second law of Thermodynamics proves this to be the case. We live, are manifested out of the infinite and eternal energies of the cosmos, and then we dissipate. Our egos & identities (to the great denial and disappointment of our Egos  & identities) probably do not survive the journey, but our Soul is everyone’s Soul which is all Soul. Yessir! Impermanence is the name of the game in the Cosmic Recycling Program.

Nature is Balance, and no matter how crazy, how run-amok mankind is with its ceaseless wars, violent religions, mindless pollution — Nature always finds away to put the disorder back in order. Rest assured, beauty and impermanence triumphs. Mahalo.