The last couple days it has been in the front of my mind, a question posed to me by my friend Lee, who was wondering if the wave of high tech phones, twitter, etc, is behind the faster pace of our way of life now. My first inclination is to see these tech items an expression of the quickening pace in the economy, the world of work. The introduction of the computer increased the pace in the business world, which everybody is subject to by having jobs and debts that are a part of the economic pace. I can see these tech hi-speed items as side-effects, symptoms. Big business I suspect is the lead. I'm recalling that in a herd of cattle there is one cow all the others will follow and no other cow. This cow is used to lead the herd from one pasture to another. I feel like business (busy-ness) is the lead cow, the lead we follow. I recall in January of 07 all news sources told every day for two weeks that the cd was over, downloads are it from here on. I had a small business at the time selling cds of regional music. After two weeks of announcements on the news the cd was over, it was over. Those two weeks were the end of my business. I know the news now is the corporate news, what "they" want us to believe. The news, like everything on television and radio, is about money. Television advertising is so expensive only big corporations have a budget big enough to include it. It obviously works or they wouldn't be investing so much in advertising. It's because advertising works that I stay away from the television. The pace in tv programs and advertising is directly influential in the pace of the viewer. It tells the viewer over and over that money is the only. It's an American state of mind from a long time before television, in partnership with the adoration of ignorance, reinforcing what we already believe in our tradition. We already believe it, so we follow.
The benefit I see from television is it taking us into such a fake world that we become fake. It seems like there comes a time in living a fake life that the fake doesn't work anymore. I'm wondering if this is part of what we're going through in a collective transition from unconsciousness into at least some degree of consciousness. In my own life, late twenties to early thirties, I had been seeing myself too much in relation to the world around me. I saw that everything around me was fake, especially people being fake, pretending to be what they're not. I fell for it. If I want to get along in this world I have to adopt my own fake self. The fake self I took to myself was pathetic. To be acceptable. There came a time I saw I was not being successful and never would be successful. So I get a middle class job and position as reward for taking on a fake life and making it work for me. The time came I realized I had taken the fake path and didn't even do it right. For reasons I can't comprehend, a large number of people are able to live a fake life if it means more money. I could not give myself to a lifetime of keeping my soul in my back pocket like the way tv golfers wear a glove in the back pocket with the fingers hanging down outside the pocket for show. I was attempting to write poetry at the time, but going at it for the wrong reasons, knew it, but denial took care of that problem easily. After I came to the mountains intent on writing here, I became acquainted with a young American poet (YAP) of about my level. I was glad to meet another yap. He was so obnoxious, so fake, so full of shit his bucket overflowed, arrogant, regarded self the apex of existence. I saw myself in a mirror every time I saw him. This was what I was aiming for. This was my goal for myself. I saw myself so clearly it became like they say people on lsd see in a mirror.
I had fallen in with Meher Baba just a year before and my thinking was shifting away from the fake in myself. I came to the mountains to shed my fake self like a snake skin and start fresh. Second winter I became acquainted with this guy who was like a hologram of my own fake self. I made a resolution to myself that I would not attempt to write again until whatever it might be wrote itself. I shut off writing poetry because I saw I was not true. I was doing it for a certain kind of attention. Denial took care of seeing it in myself until I saw this hologram of self and freaked out. The mirror seen without denial. We don't deny as readily for others as for ourselves. I cut two paragraphs out of a National Geographic article, page randomly picked. I cut out each word from the paragraphs and put the words in two separate saucers, picked up words licking the tip of my finger, touching the pile and a word stuck. I put the word on a piece of paper making a poem-shaped string of words randomly picked up. Did it twice, made two poems. I typed them onto paper, put them in the yap's mail slot at work with a note saying, "These are my new poems, I wanted you to see them." Had a woman friend in California who was a poet. We wrote back and forth regularly for years. I wrote her about what I'd done and my decision. She wouldn't have any more to do with me. It made her mad. I thought, there wasn't much there if it was that easy to break. It's like after leaving a church when the people don't speak to you anymore. She was part of my fake life too. Not that she was fake, but my attraction to her was fake. I can't articulate it, because I can't put a finger on it, perhaps something like her role was enabling the fake me. That's awfully simplistic, but as close as I can get without resorting to the psychiatric couch. Nonetheless, I had committed with such resolve there was no turning around.
I've never regretted shifting direction. It was not the poetry I was abandoning, but my own fake self the poetry was attached to. Worked on the farm for seven years, liking manual labor work for the meditation in it. I believed the farm work would work off my anger, thinking it had to do with physical assertion. All the time I worked, my mind seethed with anger and I was at a loss for what was up. The physical exertion didn't make me less angry, it made me more angry. When I left the farm and took up house painting, the anger fell away from me, again, like a snake skin. It was gone. Evidently the labor put my anger up front and center to deal with it. Seven years I dealt with it, then poof, it was gone, not even gradually, but a snap of the fingers, now. Overnight. Woke up one day and the anger was gone. My own mental health was more important to me than being a yap. I'd made the turn, like shooting an arrow straight up. It goes as far as the momentum of its push, slows to a stop, turns and returns to the source, faster and faster. The move to the mountains was the turning point. I wanted to find my true self, needing distance from influences of habit in the city, playing the role. Wanted no social roles to play. I read Thoreau's Walden soon after arrival during the first winter. I romanticized it in the beginning that much. I felt like my real purpose in the mountains, my reason for needing the mountains was to develop my own inner resources. I was so tired of living among signs, noisy cars, ugly low-bid buildings everywhere, too many people too close together, too many styles and trends, too much that was devoid of value. Required to be superficial, I could not see living the rest of my life wearing a mask or maybe have hundreds of them like Dolly Parton has wigs. I fell in with the mountain people like jumping into a heated swimming pool. Trust and respect are important in the mountains and mountain people have learned city people can't be trusted, as a rule, and don't know anything about respect. I love being in a place where you're not trusted until somebody knows you thirty years. I'm comfortable with that.
tj worthington hiself
photo by cheyanne