Saturday, May 15, 2010

Struggle for the legal tender

That's what's happening on the surface, a hustle for a buck, but underneath everything is paid training to be focused on the moment. This is not easy for me as 12 months of pondering infinity have left me weeks behind the present moment. I'm mentally in Utah looking for a place to park in a butte filled area near Salt Lake City, slowly dodging pot holes, looking for birds and wildlife and finding hundreds of shotgun shells and computer husks. Are we lucky the earth is big so our carelessness is hard to notice or are we careless because the earth is so big? Anyway, that's where my consciousness is and the only thing that's good for is the careful analysis of human (my) experience. It's philosophy if I'm able to write a treatise or manifesto that revolutionizes man's. If I am unable to do this then it's called daydreaming. Emerson had a line that I stole for my screenplay (It was in his "Oscar" monologue) "The true preacher can be known by this, that he deals out to the people his life ... life passed through the fire of thought."
I set it as a slow transition from Emerson at his Unitarian Church in Harvard giving the Thoreau getting a canoe ready in Concord with Emerson's words echoing in his head as he stares at his reflection in the river. A bit polyanna, but a guaranteed Golden Globe award.

Anyway, I took this statement personally, as a challenge to walk through those same flames. How else could I call myself a philosopher? Impossible. Another quote that I read early on and has figured on my journey through the fires is from Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I took that as a challenge too and it's been 20 years since I decided to examine my life and walk through the fires of thought. Two decades. My findings are as slippery as fine sand. How can I explain them when I can't control them? The other influential concept is from Ignatius in Confederacy of Dunces. He speaks often and highly of cultivating a personal worldview that is ever evolving from new experiences. The worldview is basically his conceptualization of the ideas put forth by Socrates and Emerson, that a person is responsible for self examination and reflection and self criticism. That a man's entire moral and social code must be generated from within.

Another book I incorporated into my fantasy was "The Razor's Edge" I read it before the Bill Murray movie came out and everything by Somerset Maugham is excellent. It's a very good study of wanderlust. It also predates Into The Wild by many years and I'm surprised it doesn't get referenced more in discussions about Chris McCandless. I don't think it's a perfect comparison but there are elements there that fit. It was about the sole pursuit of truths. I wonder sometimes if reading books by Thoreau and Maugham shaped me or if they just reinforced and refined my own self image as a seeker of truth and wisdom. I will ponder that.

Anyway, defining ones moral code is easier written about than accomplished. My own book set in Santa Cruz is an attempt to not only extend these excellent concepts, but to demonstrate the disastrous consequences when one takes them too seriously, or when one dismissed them entirely. It's a groundbreaking approach that will break my spirit if it doesn't kill me first. But it's the culmination of a 20 year research assignment. It's my manifesto.

As Ignatius learned, eschewing social norms while living in normal society is just a terrible idea and leads to awful confrontations. And god help you if you actually succeed and replace most or all social conventions with some patchwork worldview based on books and songs you like. GOD HELP YOU.

And yet, (and this is the kind of question that makes me fuck up the most basic task because it can never be answered without constant consideration) WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO DO? Do you adopt WHAT IS simply because IT IS? Or do you make a thorough investigation of your self and your surroundings and come to scientific or philosophic conclusion as to your conduct? If you answer that it's best to go along with the status quo then what is that saying about our autonomy? And if your pondering results in a personal incompatibility with society then you are also fucked.

And another dynamic I'm looking into is the difficulty in being unbiased TO BEGIN WITH. Like, no matter what conclusion you reach it will not be scientifically or philosophically based, but more inclined to stem from early, suppressed, almost innate learning that could easily have been implanted because of an article in Time Magazine or an episode of Sesame Street. So what the fuck? Is it all futile? Can we never be fully responsible for our habits and worldviews? Is Big Bird our philosophical patriarch?

These are difficult questions and since I'm at work right now I can not go further into detail. This whole time I was supposed to be organizing boxes of shoes but I thought it was more important to sneak into the boss's office and use his computer to type this essay. If I didn't do it now then I might forget all these fine details and formulations. I mean..what? Oh. Shit. Here comes the...fuck. I just got fired. Here come the security guards. God damn it! Why does this always happen to me? Fuck! I only have two more seco...
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.