Tuesday, July 07, 2009
There’s one problem with all psychological knowledge - nobody can apply it to themselves. People can be incredibly astute about the shortcomings of their friends, spouses, children. But they have no insight into themselves at all. The same people who are coldly clear-eyed about the world around them have nothing but fantasies about themselves. Psychological knowledge doesn’t work if you look in a mirror. This bizarre fact is, as far as I know, unexplained. Personally, I always thought there was a clue from computer programming, in a procedure called recursion. Recursion means making the program loop back on itself, to use its own information to do things over and over until it gets a result. You use recursion for certain data-sorting algorithms and things like that. But it’s got to be done carefully, or you risk having the machine fall into what is called an infinite regress. It’s the programming equivalent of those funhouse mirrors that reflect mirrors, and mirrors, ever smaller and smaller, stretching away to infinity. The program keeps going, repeating and repeating, but nothing happens. The machine hangs.
I always figured something similar must happen when people turn their psychological insight-apparatus on themselves. The brain hangs. The thought process goes and goes, but it doesn’t get anywhere. It must be something like that, because we know that people can think about themselves indefinitely. Some people think of little else. Yet people never seem to change as a result of their intensive introspection. They never understand themselves better. It’s very rare to find genuine self-knowledge.
It’s almost as if you need someone else to tell you who you are, or to hold up the mirror for you.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
With the mistake your life goes in reverse
Now you can see exactly what you did
Wrong yesterday and wrong the day before
And each mistake leads back to something worse.
And every nuance of your hypocrisy
Towards yourself, and every excuse
Stands solidly on the perspective lines
And there is perfect visibility.
What an enlightenment. The colonnade
Rolls past on either side. You needn't move.
The statues of your errors brush your sleeve.
You watch the tale turn back - and you're dismayed.
And this dismay at this, this big mistake
Is made worse by the sight of all those who
Knew all along where these mistakes would lead -
Those frozen friends who watched the crisis break.
Why didn't they say? Oh, but they did indeed -
Said with a murmur when the time was wrong
Or by a mild refusal to assent
Or told you plainly but you would not heed.
Yes, you can hear them now. It hurts. It's worse
Than any sneer from any enemy.
Take this dismay. Lay claim to this mistake.
Look straight along the lines of this reverse.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
We like to confuse fear and horror, but they're not the same thing. Human beings have only two inborn fears, fear of loud noises and fear of falling. Quite reasonable responses to eons of life on the savannah, where noise meant danger and high tree branches were sanctuary. Fear's a survival instinct. It tells you when to run. H.P. Lovecraft said the essence of horror is to walk into your garden to find your roses are singing... metaphorically he nailed it. Gardens of Song? Not in the natural order.
All stories start as horror stories. Every sitcom, every cop novel, every romance. They presume a natural order of things, then something disrupts it. Disruption is horror. This level of disruption and how it's dealt with makes it the kind of story it is. In most cases the status quo's restored. This is why most "horror stories" aren't really horror. If things go back to normal at the end, they're adventure stories. It's why some crime stories are really horror stories: because they're about death. Death is both the ultimate disruption to the natural order - there's no coming back from it - and the ultimate reminder of the real natural order, the one we pretend doesn't exist... By the time we're adults we learn to rationalize pain and death. Most children don't. Animals can't. That's why we have greater sympathy for small children and animals. Adults understand that under the skin of the world there are monsters lying in wait. We might not like it, but we know it. We know about death camps, about creepy men in backwoods houses who waylay strangers and make soup and tuxedos out of them, about burglars who rape and murder 85-year old women confined to wheelchairs and religious crackpots who kidnap teenagers from their bedrooms. For children these things are true disruptions of the natural order... disruption can never be healed, or even forgotten, only ignored.
Because ignoring it's the only way to tell ourselves there's a natural order where little girls can remain safe, where monsters don't really prowl under the skin of the world. Anything else means something has gone fundamentally wrong with the universe, or, worse, it was fundamentally wrong to begin with and there's no way to make it better.
Fear's a survival instinct. It tells you when to run. Horror's when you realize there is nowhere to run.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Staring at the many satellite dishes that now sprout like babies' ears from Lancaster's soil, ears cocked to the heavens, waiting to hear corrupting secrets from far up above
Imagine you are sitting down in a chair and on a screen before you you are shown a bloody, ripping film of yourself undergoing surgery. The surgery saved your life. It was pivotal in making you *you*. But you don't remember it. Or do you? Do we understand the events that make us who we are? Do we ever understand the factors that made us do the things we do?
When we sleep at night - when we walk across a field and see a tree full of sleeping birds - when we tell small lies to our friends - when we make love - what acts of surgery are happening to our souls - what damage and healing and shock are we going through that we will never be able to fathom? What films are generated that will never be shown?
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I don't care what colour you are. I don't care where you're from. I don't care what you do for a living. I don't care what class you are, how you dress, what you smoke or drink or who you know or whom you've fucked.
I hate you all. I hate every last living, breathing, snot and feces producing, promiscuously copulating, celebrity obsessed, opinionated one of you. From right here in Toronto right around the planet and back, coast to coast, nationwide and internationally. Every. Single. Last. One. Of. You.
Fuck love. Fuck your insipid grasping at some abstract concept of chemical imbalances and reasonless actions, fumbling around in the crowd trying to find some cinematic supposition for real human interaction. Fuck lust, too. Fuck you all, from the lowlife dirtbags that think dropping trou and waving the little soldier in a sloppy arc is a pick-up line to the sniveling of the desperate 'nice guys' who never get the girl due to a total lack of testosterone grown stones. Fuck you all, from the crazy, under dressed sluts that judge a persons character by the price of their shirt, right down to the fat, flabby chicks that think personality is enough.
Fuck you drivers, for thinking that a yellow light is a sign that says 'step on the gas'. Fuck you wheelmen and women that think it's okay to sit in a left hand turn in the middle of morning traffic, even though there is a protected left in the intersections before and after where you need to make your turn. Fuck you too cyclists - you're not exempt from the traffic laws just because your peddling, you miserable spandex covered neon reflective fucks. Fuck you too, pedestrians. Use the fucking crosswalk if you don't want to get hit, and use it before the little countdown clock says '3'. You don't have enough goddamn time to lope across four lanes of traffic.
Fuck you chick on your cellphone. Fuck you attitude packed minimum-wager that makes my coffee. Fuck you cops that spend all their time handing out speeding tickets. Fuck you douche bag doing ten over the limit in the passing lane on the highway. Fuck you lady using exact change at the counter at the grocery store. Fuck you kids having a conversation in the doorway. And fuck you also for not getting the fuck out of your designated handicapped seat when a pregnant or elderly person gets on the fucking bus.
Fuck taxes. Fuck welfare. Fuck the whole selfish, over politicized and party driven government system. I'm sick and fucking tired of policies and new laws with seven hundred bylaws that nobody but you and your cabinet reads. Fuck you councilors and your stupid 'district improvement' plans. Fuck you unions, for asking for so much and giving nothing more that what you already give. Fuck the whole process that allows people who are supposed to be working for us work for interests that only benefit the next campaign. Fuck your short-sightedness, your rush to the bandwagons, and your incessant arguing over fuck all. Fuck the parties, fuck the conventions, and fuck your campaigns. Do some real fucking work for a change.
Fuck you bottles of water. You're water. You're not worth two fucking dollars.
Fuck you trendsetters, fuck you fashionistas. Fuck your little dogs and and your idiotic outfits. Fuck your high heels in the snow. Fuck your five dollar coffees and your fifteen dollar veggie burgers. Fuck your health kick, your diet or your fucking new interest in kickboxing or sushi.
Fuck your culture. Fuck your race. Fuck your sense of entitlement. Fuck your sense of uniqueness. Fuck you all for the belief that you have something unique and interesting to contribute. Fuck you for filling the internet with your useless garbage. Fuck your blogs, your wikis, your forums. Fuck your name calling. And most of all, fuck whatever you believe. It's all wrong. Fuck it.
Fuck your complaints. Fuck your addictions. Fuck your dependencies. Fuck your pain. Fuck your tears. Fuck selling whatever it is you sell. Fuck your manipulation of others. Fuck movies. Fuck fucking. Fuck everything you own. Fuck your allergies. Fuck your stupid commons sense. Fuck your spelling and fuck your lack of education, or your ignorance, whatever is applicable.
I don't give a fuck. Shut the fuck up and just get on with it.
Original at Craig's List
Thursday, May 22, 2008
It is difficult to put thoughts into words. Difficult to catch those ephemeral visions and squeeze them out in ink. Difficult to understand the trickery of the unconscious with the subconscious. Difficult to locate those elusive mirages of questions and doubts and flashes and revelations. The mind is like a spinning collage, throwing up blends of fantasies and realities. Language chains this limitless space and calls that a thought process which never was a procedure.