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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A GLITCH IN MY WORLD

all photos by vada, 2

I'm feeling neither here nor there. I feel connected to the blogathon, like I need to write for it, but am done with it, can't go on. I went into it open, giving it the chance to be what it is, to be a beneficial exercise if that's indeed what it is, but I didn't find anything. The thing was about mixing art up with business. It's not that simplistic. It didn't speak to me, didn't take ahold of my interest. Reading a new book, if it doesn't take ahold of me by page 50, I'm done. I'm all with what the blogathon group is doing, but it does not include me. My interests in this time of the life are more philosophical than studying how to be an artist entrepreneur. I'm not laying blame, pointing the finger or even suggesting it is something about the project I found objectionable. Not at all. It doesn't serve my interests any more than a workshop on how to take a gun apart and put it back together. I don't even want to know. I couldn't help but think my blog is my blog. It doesn't feel right making it essay answers to somebody else's questions. It felt something like an awkward vibration. I don't have a great deal of calendar time ahead. It's not like I have a checklist I am working on to complete before I croak. My attitude about the end is when it happens, nothing about this world matters. Two seconds after the spirit leaves the body it does not matter any more to me that a threatening letter came in the mail today from the tax office. The county is desperate too. Income has gone way down in the county since year 2000, businesses closed, less tax revenue coming in. The world of money is so objectionable to me it makes the blogathon emphasis on art business of no interest. The American emphasis on money sees everything in relation to money, takes the word value for price. I do tend to see this period of collective obsession with money an interesting time in our collective spiritual path.
 
vada
 
This time we're in appears a dead time in our "progression," but I'm not sure it's really a progression and I doubt it is a dead time. American history is a continuous string of wars and the country's only purpose has ever been money. We Americans have contributed a great deal to this time of rapid change. In a time of old calcified belief systems falling away from inability to function in light of the scientific method, money seems a neutral point to fix upon to facilitate shedding old belief systems that don't work anymore. When money is the one and only, peripheral stuff is nothing. The business ethic that it doesn't matter who is spending their money your way as long as they're spending it, clears the trail for whatever is coming next, the new that fills in where the old fell away. It makes me sad to see that the American obsession with money will ultimately come to nothing. An awful lot of people will be damaged. Money is not a loving god. I'm recalling an illustration Joseph Campbell made of modern man, who spends his life climbing the ladder of success and when he reaches the top, he finds it was the wrong ladder. I see television with a role similar to money's, to bring everything to neutral, flush all belief systems, one at a time, focus attention on the flickering screen and fleeting cash while everything changes around us, diverts our collective attention, pushes our reactive ignorance out of the way. It's a time of big change, evidently best got through unconsciously. Sleep through it. Dream it. Evidently democracy is a belief system that has to go, too. At least in the American form. The international corporations have crippled our democracy and our economy, perhaps irreversibly. To go on with democracy, it will have to take another form. But that's not my concern. It means I have to be more paranoid about government and law enforcement excesses. Don't give a cop an opportunity to shoot me; they shoot to kill now. It's legal now for them to break my door off its hinges, charge in here, empty their pistols on me sitting at the computer, and it be the wrong house. All they have to do is say, "He had a gun," and nobody questions it, procedure. It's a dangerous time for the poor people, white as well as black, the expendables.

vada
 
News today of someone I know, someone I like, a junkie attempted to OD a couple days ago, was sent to emergency room where they detoxed him and sent him home. Mother wouldn't have him in the house, let him fill a backpack with what he wanted and sent him on his way. There's nothing she can do. Largely because she's his enabler. He's looking at a trial coming up for selling pills he'd stolen from his mother to a cop, and his horizon has at least six years of prison. He's been acting like it's no big deal to such an extent I and a few others believed he ratted and got off. Now it turns out he's scared literally unto death. I feel a longing to extend myself to him, but can't do it. He has no resources, no job, no place to stay. He can't stay here and I don't have what it takes to deal with a junkie. Maybelle Carter was good with junkies, saw Johnny Cash through his junkie period, and I have a friend who is good with junkies, but I am not. I already know it, don't need to learn again. I have empathic feelings about what he's going through, but also know he is beyond any help I can give him. There is too much he doesn't get, and I don't need a giant baby to take care of. I had to talk to somebody like that years ago, who wanted to take up temporary residence, saying, "I hate everybody but you." I had to say, "Inside a very short time, less than two weeks, you will hate me like you hate  everybody else. Include me in that number now." I don't anticipate seeing this guy in the world much longer. He is terrified of prison. Plus, I've been around when he was given a straight-forward talk about what it's like in prison by somebody who had done a couple years. It scared the hell out of me, and he acted like, no problem dude. His direction all his life has been a downhill slide. He paid no attention in school. Had a job at Hardees until he was arrested, has been drifting downward the few years I've known him. He has no motivation to help himself, wants to be asleep all the time. I imagine he'll be successful next OD attempt. I can't help but see it inevitable, karma, like he didn't come into a body this time to stay. With no education, he can't live in this world. There is more to it than watching tv and listening to Wide Spread Panic in a stupor.

vada

It bothers me to see someone I know and like falling into a pit. I know how easy it is. All the time, all the way along in my life I have felt like it wouldn't take much to fall into homelessness and drop to the bottom. Let go of the will to get by and it's an easy drift downwards. In my own case, I have no motivation to do well in this world because I don't believe its belief system and don't want its rewards. The only interests I have that keep me going are aesthetic. And I have enough aesthetic interest to keep my interest going all the time. I'm more interested in aesthetic and philosophical concerns than making money. I'd rather live poor with a rich interior life than live in wealth with inner self in poverty. I never wanted to be somebody who works his way up a skyscraper and jumps off the roof. My heart is heavy this evening with concern I can do nothing about, the same as I can't cut firewood on somebody else's land without permission. I already know I can't help him, by knowing him and by knowing myself. My friends who know him agree prison may be what he needs, though I don't see him surviving prison if he survives the anxiety of the wait. I'm sad for him because he's as innocent as a three year old. I feel like it is a criminal society that makes a criminal of him. He's not a criminal. He's just somebody who can't take care of himself in this world. Whence his lifetime drift downward. He likes to talk peace and pacifism, but they're only clich├ęs to him. I'm in full empathy with him, but dare not jump into his pit with him. He does not want to come out. Nor is he the charming baby he pretends to be. He's past thirty, has run out of excuses and justifications. He needs help, not prison, but our society doesn't help people like him. And I can't either. Perhaps this bothers me the most, that I am unable to help him. I learned long ago I am not capable of helping other people with mental/emotional issues. I dare attempt to do no more to "help" somebody than I can do metaphorically with my hands. I dare not play psychiatrist. I know that. I have to allow other people to make their own decisions. It's hard to care and it's hard not to care.

vada
 
 
 
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3 comments:

  1. TJ - Thank you for sharing. I'm sorry that your heart is hurting. I agree with many of the things you said tonight. One thing I also agree with is rehabilitation for people like this young man vs. prison. Such a sad situation how those who are sick with addiction get criminalized. I love that you used Vada's photos depicting different viewpoints for this post.

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  2. This was such a heart wrenching story of the state of our lives. I have been in your position before, know the helpless feeling it can bring. You are right about our democracy as we knew it...it is changing and will be gone in the blink of an eye. The very last sentence in this blog sums it all up neatly..."I have to allow other people to make their own decisions. It's hard to care and it's hard not to care."

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  3. Although I of course do not know your friend, T.J., I know you're dilemma well. Although gut wrenching, it is perhaps more courageous to recognize where you're help is no longer helpful, than to jump in the pit to rescue someone who isn't ready to be (and maybe doesn't really want to be) rescued. I appreciate your self-reflection and honesty about the blogathon experience. I too have found it somewhat contrived at moments, wanting to respond to a different question than what was posed. I was never one to color inside the lines--actually got kicked out of Sunday school for it and never went back (thankfully). So I used it as a launching point for what I needed. You've got to meet your needs first (place the oxygen mask around your nose and mouth before helping others). Be philosophically well, my friend.

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