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
-Bertrand Russell

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

April 14, 2017 - 10:58 a.m.

Let's Get Engaged

I'm still waking up tired. Is this depression? I don't feel depressed. I'll give the med change more time but I'll also discuss it with my therapist. I'm not going to make assumptions.

Yesterday's adventure was going to Aldi. That's not much of an adventure. I forgot to pick up pita. I'm almost out of bread so now I have to go shopping again some time the next few days. I do have matzoh. I learned an important lesson. I bought it at Stop & Shop on Wednesday, after the second Seder. I was going to buy a box. I couldn't. They were selling 5 1bs boxes for $3. That's less than I pay for one box most of the time. I see a lot of matzoh brei in my future. I had it yesterday and might have it again today. I bought bad Aldi peanut butter, it's only 90% peanuts, but that might be adequate to put on matzoh brei. Damn, now I'm hungry.

I've been having problems writing recently. There's a lot of political psychology running through my mind. I have not thought of an effective way to handle it. Shouting out, "You people are driving me nuts!" is not going to convince anyone. Once again, I'm going to put off writing it. I have not been critically anxious so I have not been meditating. I need to start. I am anxious, it's just not crippling. It is still affects me. If I meditate perhaps I can gather my thoughts and be as cool and rational as I want others to be. I'm not going to do that now as I have a deadline to meet. I will do it later today and tomorrow. I have to try and mediate every day. I'm not taking full advantage of the tools available to me.

I am going to write about the need to be engaged. No, I'm not saying I'm desperate to get married, I mean being emotionally engaged with a person, especially engaged in conversation. People often lament texting and blame it for weakening emotional bonds. There's no tone of voice in texting, subtleties are more difficult but the same can be said of letter writing and nobody questions the emotional impact of letters. People find boxes of old letters and are moved. Love letters are part of cultural landscape. Roxanne falls in love with Cyrano through nothing but his letters. Tone of voice is important but not a necessity.

Texting on a phone is awkward but messaging on a computer is simpler, at least for me. Some of the most meaningful conversations I've had have been through instant messaging. I have stayed up half the night with a friend baring our souls. We have helped each other with our most difficult problems. We did not need to see each other. What we had was engagement. That's the crucial thing. Our minds were focused on each other. That's the necessity.

The problem with texting is not that we can't convey our feelings through them it's that they distract us from the people we are with. They too often interfere with engagement. The same goes with TV and talking while reading. You can multitask during casual conversation but not during emotional intimacy. We need to know that the other person's attention is on us; that we are not part of the background.

A situation I find frustrating is when I need to talk about something and we do it via text and the other person disappears for long stretches and even just disappears without warning. Being forgotten when you are in an existential crisis is painful.

Total engagement is wonderful. One of my pleasant memories was waiting on line with Marti somewhere. Perhaps to go in to see Joni Mitchell. We were so engaged that we became oblivious to our surroundings. This wasn't about something of deep emotional importance, it was probably about something silly or fun. But all our attention was on each other. We did something I felt the need to apologize for to the woman behind us. It was probably just not moving up when we could have. The woman said that there was no need to apologize as she enjoyed watching us enjoy each other. That's emotionally satisfying. One of my friends said about a friend, "I feel that an hour after we talked she has no memory of the conversation." Being in a conversation like that is the exact opposite. Most conversations are in between.

Tonight, I'm off to a real adventure. I'm seeing Richard Thompson at Tarrytown Music Hall with Mike. I'm going up to the show with Linda from WFUV; she's working the show. I'll help her set up till Mike gets there. Richard Thompson is my favorite musician though now he has competition from Rhiannon Giddens.

Now to feed my hungry maw.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile April 14, 2017
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