Another Post About Me!

Until I have evidence that doing something other than blogging is going to help me with my various goals, here I am!

Yes, I am quite self-focused. The main question which provokes my self-centeredness is, how is my thinking different from the “mainstream”? If I had a solid handle on that, I could set up a program to behave rationally.

In some ways it behooves me to just draw attention to myself. In a field where there is no “right” place to focus, one might as well try to get as much attention drawn to oneself as possible. Consciously working on behalf of oneself is okay. But openly doing so makes people dislilke you. So I must deceptively work on behalf of myself, just like everyone else does.

I must deceptively work on behalf of myself, just like everyone else does. It’s only because my blog is strange that I say that out loud, because in a way, it goes against its own purpose. Of what value is it to admit that one is deceptively working on one’s own behalf?

Hopefully the audience is sufficiently self-confident to see the truth and honesty in the statement rather than the dark reality which I linger in so much. It benefits me only if the audience is of a mindset to appreciate the insight.

Serving oneself is best done unconsciously for the most part, because so long as one remains unconscious of one’s true motives one is free from the moral burden those motives carry. My curse, and the reason for the existence of this blog, is that I am aware of the driving motivations which make me me.

But I have faith in exposing darkness to the light of the public eye. I somehow hope that it will be redeemed. Ironically though, it could go the other way, as in when the crowds insisted on crucifying Jesus. So putting stuff into the light could go either way. Redemption and infamy are both possible. But at least it will be dramatic. Sometimes you just want drama even if it means getting crucified. It staves off boredom.

So which is it, deceptive self-service, or boredom? I admit it, I’m not that bored. So I guess it’s the former. On the other hand, insofar as people perceive me to be serving myself alone, they will chastise me for it, thus reducing my net gain. You’re supposed to serve yourself while also serving others. That’s the only type of service people will stomach. I’ll do my best!

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Being Unfocused, and Some Other Topics I Forget Which Ones

Another day, another draft. Am I just a window shopper of life? For each focused idea I have, I chase six tangential thoughts. I feel divided because I really like the places I go with my tangential thoughts. It’s a privilege to be allowed to be so unfocused. Well that’s actually a good subject for a blog post.

Is it a privilege to be so unfocused or is it really a negative trait? I’ll tell you right now I feel basically good about it, although divided. For example, yes, I am unfocused, and yes, this blog post is actually about that. But if I do blog about being unfocused, of what practical advantage could it be? While I can imagine a winding route in which blogging in this way is actually practical somehow, the fact that the route is so twisty and winding does make me nervous.

How could blogging in this way be good? Well, let’s say my readers enjoy the post… alright, let’s back up and acknowledge two basic groups, myself and the readership. The readers could be further divided into those who have met me and those who have found this blog without actually having met me first. I will ignore the anonymous readers for now, since I believe they are few.

So my readers gain a little bit. Perhaps they are entertained by the writing, either by the ideas or by the style, and their entertainment could circuitously wind its way back into bolstering my life at some point. Perhaps, if they keep me in mind, then maybe they’ll find some employment opportunity for me… look, I know it’s a long shot, but I’m trying to analyse the value of blogging.

So my readers may or may not be of use to me with regard to practical future things. That’s what keeps bothering me. If I am so prone to distraction that I can hardly keeping anything front and center, then how will I get through life? And you’ll note that this “worry” goes in direct contradiction to how I actually feel about getting distracted. My “gut” tells me that allowing distractions is fine. But my reason keeps haunting me with questions like, if all I ever do is get distracted, where will my money come from? How will I ever get out of bondage to various patrons who allow me to stay at their houses?

But all this haunting is somehow away from my core center. But I still don’t understand how life is to unfold. Perhaps blogging here is a crucial part of its unfolding. Someone reading my status on the blog could take action which would lead to the next step opening before me! I guess that’s the price I pay for being so unfocused, I have to rely on chance events. So maybe the fear that such events won’t actually occur will bump up my focus throttle so that I don’t just blog and hope that something will happen.

I still haven’t finished my Esalen application. I hit one of my many tangents and I put the application into the freezer for now. If I do regain a speck of focus, I suppose it will most likely be by way of defrosting the application. Actually, the thing I’m MOST focused on is this blog. So does that make me a window shopper of life? Truth is, I don’t care if I am, but what’s harder is not knowing. The notion that I’m deceiving myself is more repulsive than actually being a window shopper would be.

So I suppose my dedication to truth stands out above a lot of my other qualities. But that could also be a case of, when you ain’t got nothin, you got nothin to lose. It’s easier to be loyal to the truth when you don’t stand to lose anything. But strangely enough this formula doesn’t apply to people in real life. Even the most destitute people deceive themselves about their status. Beggars think they’re hot stuff. But if you were to abstract yourself away from your own ego, you might realize that it’s the people who have everything who might be most threatened if the truth is revealed because it would be revealed that they don’t deserve what they have. Maybe the truth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

So what really matters? I guess I went off on another tangent. I was interested in how I seem to care about the truth in a way which I myself don’t even understand.

Fascinating Fragment

This is a fragment I found searching through my files.

I think it was about the worst disaster possible. If I hadn’t been so completely rejected by everyone in my family there wouldn’t have been such a need to grab hold of whatever was still visible. I simply wasn’t ready to confront what was facing me. I wanted to be regarded as an important thinker, a unique or at least rare voice. I wanted this characteristic to give me a basis for an active and happy life. I wanted to be necessary or at least important to the progress of some living activity in the world. But I found myself in a social desert instead, with no one loyal to me. The only possible course of action was to learn about those forces which make other people tick, because without an understanding of other people there would be no possibility of bridging the gap between my own psyche and theirs. The differences in core drives and thoughts between myself and other people had opened up a tremendous gap between my natural mode of behavior and the typical modes of behavior of the vast numbers of people surrounding me, forcing me into that alien realm of consciousness in which figuring out the natures of others becomes the only possible means of success.

Looking Outward – for the Well Is Dry!

Frankenstein. Dr. Frankenstein. That’s how I feel when I’m working on my videogame. And I don’t like it. Making a videogame all on one’s own is an isolating experience.

Even the reason I’ve remained loyal to the vision of making the game would not make sense to most people. This was my dream:

I live in seven-layer city. A woman knocks on the door of my house, which is on the fourth floor, and claims that she has my baby. She is skinny with long dark brown hair, and has an anxious but fierce appearance, signs of a difficult life. At first I don’t believe that she could possibly have my baby, but she insists she does, that it is almost two years old.

The dream has a few other fascinating aspects but this is the bulk of it.

What would you do with such a dream? I tried to figure out what the “baby” could have been – I have no biological kids. The thing I remembered from the time when the baby would have been conceived was that I thought it would be cool to make a video game. I had imagined a little bit at the time, studied a little bit, and forgotten about it. The dream was saying that the game was my “baby”. So I focused on learning what I might need to know to make a good game. Hey, at least I had something to focus on and something to learn.

Video games are really cool, but making them requires a huge array of talents and a ton of work. Drawing, music, writing, plus many more. In games, you gather information by making choices. A good game reveals itself to you by responding to the choices you make. The attraction of making a game as opposed to something else is the possibility of covering over your creation until the player’s actions uncover it. This gives games a tactile aspect – the player must use physical controls – to what otherwise would be a rather passive experience – a movie, a story, a sculpture, a drawing, etc.

Yes they are cool, if you have the time, energy, and resources necessary to create them. My problem is that I’m so isolated now, I’m just not that excited about doing it anymore. I would need a so-called “like-minded” community. It could be a while before I find such a thing.

But I do need to look outward. My two real interests are hardly a tremendous point of intersection in this world – video games and Jungian mysticism. But I do need to look outward. I’m too alone.

Thoughts of Hell

Maybe I’m just having a ton of fun writing blog posts. Here I go with another one. Am I fighting off a depression? Maybe writing blog posts is actually the natural state, but complications have prevented me from writing too many of them.

Somebody once said that the greatest pleasure a person can have is the certainty that they are doing the will of God. It is pleasure, because it exempts a person from moral choice so long as they are in the doing state. But those moments of certainty pass SO quickly. The usual state is making uncertain choices with too little information. And for this, the only relief I can find is in the notion Hell is large, with accomodations for everyone who finds him or herself in this position.

Suppose a man comes along saying Christ can save you. Well, you don’t know, and neither does he, and neither does anyone where he comes from. As long as the fantasy can be maintained, then great, welcome to heaven. But how well do Christians navigate the transition between fantasy and reality? Don’t they just kick you out when you can no longer stomach the contradiction they proclaim? But that’s old news.

I guess I’d like a theology which had hell as a psychological state and from which one could transition rather fluidly. The medieval church promoted hell as a place of absolutes. Topics to be investigated:

1 – Did that serve as a social glue, and if so, with what might such glue be replaced in a modern world without such a concept of Hell?

2 – Was the advocacy of the eternal Hell merely in service of an evil power complex in the church heirarchy?

3 – In a society with permanent Hell, paranoid self-scrutiny is encouraged. After all, you can’t make mistakes, and there are no second chances. In what ways does this kind of intense self-scrutiny persist to this day?

4 – What are the advantages of a society which promotes this level of self-scrutiny within its individuals? When no amount of attention is too much when paid to one’s own thoughts and actions, what is conversely lost by the society? What are the disadvantages?

5 – What are the best counter-examples, i.e. of societies which forgo intense individual self-scrutiny in favor of more communal centers of attention?

Post-Partum Confusion

It always happens. I’m in one place with one group of people for long enough for a “personality” to form – of the place and the people. Then I’m ripped from it, either to a whole new setting or back to my more accustomed setting. And I have to remember and decide – what do I take with me, what do I leave behind? So I’m back from my trip at Esalen and the two “personalities” of there and my home life collide.

I cling to memories when the freshness of an experience fades. Then the memory becomes more important than the original event which caused it, because the memory is the only thing I still have. But why this clinging situation? Because I confront an emptiness and I must fill it with something.

I write this post partly as an attempt to fill an emptiness with something. I don’t really know where “real” life takes place. When I’m in a communal environment it seems more real. It coincides more naturally with what I imagine was the situation for the primordial tribe of monkeys we evolved from. I’m not sure how “real” writing blog posts is. It feels somewhat real, although all the monkeys seem to be gone. But I guess I have lots of freedom. I can write anything I want, and the only monkeys I have to worry about are the readers. It’s just a weird silence typing and staring at the computer screen.

I should digress here and say that I notice a significant difference between my ability to type onto a screen and my ability to handle face-to-face encounters with other monkeys. The face-to-face encounters are, generally speaking, more exhilirating, but I don’t want to dismiss the value of screen typing. If I can see the audience as I talk, I can respond to their situation, but in a certain way I do injustice to my own situation the more I pay attention to theirs. I suppose I have the chance to do justice to my own situation by typing in silence.

Money. Money, money, money, money, money, money, money. That’s one area of life I’ve made virtually no progress on so far. I sort of wanted to write this blog post about money. Really I had a shuffle of things to discuss and I didn’t prioritize them. But then one thing rose to the top – I would make this blog post about the hodge podge.

Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone… where we had thought to be alone we shall be with all the world.  – Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Now my interpretation of this quote is as follows. You can’t know until you take the risk. Therefore, you must have faith and jump in with two feet, or you’ll never get the information you want. However, there will be some parts of your adventure which really are tied to the fate of the world, and therefore you will be a hero because everyone will love you. But there will also be aspects of your adventure which pertain to you alone, or for which no recognition will ever come to you. Now that’s how I wrote this blog entry. Some aspects I’m sure will relate to many, but others only to myself, which is gonna suck, believe you me.

Esalen

I spent the week in California at a retreat center called Esalen. Such contrast to my lonely life here in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania!

I’m going to have to make a decision about whether I want to sign up for a month long work-study program there. God willing, I will write some posts about making this decision.

If I could only unite the two lives I have, the one at Esalen and the one I have in Swarthmore. The one at Esalen has the social and community components which are essentially missing from my life at Swarthmore. What I have at Swarthmore is time to myself, and no responsibilities. As a Jungian mystic trying to unite very disparate thought processes this freedom has been very valuable, but I’ve also paid the price for it. I have too few connections to the outside world. By attending a place like Esalen much of this lack could be remedied.

So it seems like an obvious choice, but I like to proceed cautiously because once you become aware of the presence of sin in the world, you must always reserve a place for disappointment in your heart. No institution is perfect, and I know that I will find flaw with Esalen. But I must interact with someone or something. I must put on the scales the quality of my life in Swarthmore and the likely quality of my life at Esalen, which I can predict from having been there for three separate weeklong workshops and met very many people there in that short time.

I say Esalen, but that’s because I don’t know too many places like it. I must research other retreat centers too. At the same time, my hero Joseph Campbell chose to celebrate his birthday there every year, a tradition which continued after his death to this day and which brought me there. So I know it’s a very good place to try, if not the single best possible choice.