I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
September 07, 2017 - 3:01 p.m.
I had therapy homework this week; overcome my anxiety to do one scary thing. The question is, did I succeed? I did a whole bunch of things I had to overcome my anxiety to do but were they difficult enough to count? I kept saying no till a I wrote a scary email. I told the recipient it was my therapy homework. I'm afraid that any email to someone I feel comfortable enough to say that to doesn't count. I counted it because I had been putting it off for weeks and the longer I put it off the more anxiety it created. That's one of my patterns and what usually happens is I end up totally avoiding it. This counts as a success. My therapist and I will appeal the ruling.
I often feel like King Canute commanding the tide to not wet his feet and robes. Much of what I write here and post on Facebook is in the interest of influencing people's thinking and behavior. Then I go online and see my friends, believing anything on the internet that confirms their prejudices, attacking and alienating people with common goals, emulating the tactics of those they find reprehensible, seeing everything in absolutes, avoiding thinking, and even rooting for the Yankees.
It's how I feel today. I'm faced with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of persuasion, once you point out that someone is wrong they won't listen to anything else you have to say. I remind myself that King Canute knew he couldn't command the tide, that was the point of the exercise. I know that I'm not going to see any changes. All I can hope for is to have a tiny effect that can be added to other people's tiny effects and add up to something significant.
It's very much like my therapy homework, it's difficult to judge whether or not it counts. As I know that doing nothing doesn't help I should keep trying. I should keep writing. I should keep going to protests. I should take more action, not less.
I have had some success mastering the tides in my brain. Not the anxiety tides, those are still coming in and out and I've been learning how to avoid getting wet. The tides I'm doing better with are the ones that whisper to me in the night, telling me that I'm unloved. Instead of falling down the rabbit hole of painful memories I'm walking around them. I have taken to calling it meditation but I don't know if it counts. I don't know if it's meaning to ask if it's meditation. It works and I feel like I do when I formally meditate so it should count. When I'm alone in bed in that place where it's always dark and always 2 AM I close my eyes, and see. I'm not talking about using my imagination, this is the exact opposite. I try to not picture things. I look at the inside of my eyelids. There is always something there, the dark is never uniform, even when you are in the dark. Even if is no external stimulus there are nerves in your eyes that will fire. I focus my attention on the noise from my neurons. I breath deep and focus my ears on the sound of my breathing. I maintain that focus as long as I can. If I find my mind slipping into the rabbit hole I start over again. The next thing I know it's morning or still the middle of the night but I have to go to the bathroom. I can work on my mind but my bladder and intestines don't care what I think or don't think.
I'm up in the air over what to do today. Part of me wants to see Rachel Baiman in Brooklyn, a new venue for me, Brooklyn Pool. I have to go into the city anyway to pick up my mail. I haven't gone this week and I can't go tomorrow. The problem is that there's not just the expense of the concert but I'd have to buy dinner. I will probably pick up my mail and decide then. You on the other hand should go see Rachel, at least if you live in Brooklyn or Manhattan. If you tell me you are going, I'll join you.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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