November 2008

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One of Nietzsche’s challenges, thrown to the few in his posterity who would be his readers and soul-fellows: to be a “bad conscience” for the age (the war we wage against our own instincts as “man’s suffering of himself,” and sees in this struggle the suggestion that one “is not a goal but only a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise.” (“Genealogy of Morals”)

Searching, still; still searching for some sense of mission in this life, I wonder whether this would fit – me? – this age?

For years, too many years it seems now, I bitched, complained, railed upon the badness of things, the poorness of quality, the unwillingness of people to talk about issues, to discuss, to… I sense it sounded like whining, like a puppy which had lost its mother; a puppy who had strayed away to a place in which it could not place itself. Now, stronger, I want to do whatever needs to be done: to make this age better. If there are problems, where there are problems, it is not enough to make them known, not enough to raise the ire of those who ameliorate this age – those practitioners who keep the world going.

And go on it does.

The trick of power and government in this age: to stay low; quiet? A bad conscience is ineffective in an age where the energy of power is like a banked furnace: a mild glow whose heat, though still great, is diffused. Is there any point, in this age, to be a bad conscience?

Better to read Nietzsche, to study the other ages and places where bad consciences could be heard above the hum and drum of bureaucracy’s banality, to think and walk and talk with those who could and did.

During money bubbles (“Gilded Ages”), there are certain sorts of “mind-sets” toward the world, and (every/any) one’s sense of future. What seems obvious or natural during such times – attitudes toward the world, judgments of what and who are the best and most successful people – flows in the direction of big power and big money being the proper ways of the world.

We are (about to enter 2009), just emerging from a money bubble. The bottom is dropping out of the economy all around the world – interlaced as we have become during the past 50 years or so. This gilded age has been enabled by the great rise in technological innovations, which have refocused much of our experienced world, and opened the entire globe to our thoughts and interactions.

Some aspects of the money bubble sort of mentality, which hover upon our thoughts:

Fame is really good! Money and power direct themselves to the precious few, while the rest of us think this is the natural way of the world as we try to play along with the world and people we see, and often admire or even adore. (I want a BMW to park in front of my mega-mansion!) The people who “run” the risen economy “deserve” all they can siphon from their merged corporations. Students go to college less for an education, more for a credential which will ensure their future success (and a BMW…maybe a Jaguar as they mature). This state is the proper/natural state of the world, and will go on and on…! We are all independent individuals – the government should stay out of our lives. I am motivated to succeed…and will…to. Read the rest of this entry »

Living in a time when the use of drugs has been pushed by the curers of our illnesses, the question of what is an addiction looms large. Some substance, inhaled, injected, ingested to the roots of being, alters experience, perhaps outlook. Sometimes, often, always – some say – the alteration is bodily, real, the experience more desirable than what is usual and seems normal. Others worry less about the power of the drug, more about its use and application: alone; in company; what sense of tomorrow.

What sense of tomorrow?

But there is more. Habits, of body, of mind, of experience and its counter, also seem addicting beyond wish and desire: gambling, power, a sense of activity and action, of performing…athletic doings, jogging, playing musical instruments, writing…all of these may invade life and demand an increasing part of being. Power, some sense of greatness, of control over the world, over others, seems to grow quickest and deepest, finds its own sustenance within itself, addicting.

These all give fabric to life, shape to lives. They energize thought and action, frame hope and a sense of progress and tomorrow…

and tomorrow? The down-side of addiction: that we may not construe tomorrow, any next day, except within the sense of self which that drug or habit shapes. To do, not to do, no longer can be cleansed of the debris of the addiction. Like pain, which grows as it is opposed and made an enemy, addiction may control, possessing us in outlook, plans, and preparation.

Within addiction, freedom binds itself, no longer problematic.

Once we create the gods or transcendental concepts, after a little while they take on lives of their own in ours.  They are, they do, they become this and that; inspire us, threaten us, control us, cajole us. We beseech them, pray to them, fight them, pit them against one another. They reflect us, we reflect them. It is all very confusing.

Where does it all begin, we ask. At the beginning, we answer, no longer admitting, not realizing that the answer begot the question. No longer wanting to explore experience, the senses which are, which reveal and deceive, we decided not to grow in outlook when our bodies decided to halt growing in height.

The gods, the concepts like language and society and economy all become invisible hands, work over us and work us over. God fights Satan, and we are pawns. Capitalism battles socialism, my eyes blink arhythmically. Nature captivates culture which wards-off technology. Books are written which explain all of this: authentic texts, the word of…

Let them all fight, I think to myself, not wanting to be caught in epic wars of too-tall gods inventing intrigues. People, I think, are not all that different in the visible spectrum.

Searching for meaning, we are tempted to believe…it is not within us. The problem is in being large enough to live our lives, neither too diminished nor too enlarged, praying for bits of help or arrogating the graces of our own imagination.

My response: search for ourselves, the character within each of us which may grow to fill the longest life! Toward each of our next places…!