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Hertz

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Blog Entries posted by Hertz

  1. Hertz
    There was a character in a classic novel, who in the story was a saviour, a courageous man, protecting the widow and the orphan. The meaning of his life was traced out for him. One day he realized his state. He became aware he was a character in a book. He started questioning his condition. He realized that a world where meaning is unchangeable is hell. There was no way to change the meaning of his life. Words that were not from him would pour out of his mouth. Actions he did not decide would be performed by his limbs. His purpose was tattooed over his skin one letter at a time.
    After centuries of living in this prison, a reader with a completely unique sensibility started reading the book. She was interpreting the novel in a thoroughly new way. No longer was he the unwavering paladin. She saw him as a tragic hero, harbouring ambivalent thoughts and feelings about himself and life.
    Although he never could escape the novel or change any of its words, once in while a reader would come who would give him new meaning, and he never felt imprisoned again.
  2. Hertz
    Sometimes society feels like a storm of stones smashing into each other.
    Fed up with this world where almost everyone talks brutally without any concern for the listener's sensitivity.
    Fed up with this family where each member is the others punching bag.
    Since my father returned from his trip, all he's been doing is complaining and criticizing. He's a doctor. He'd never talk to a patient like that. But with a family member the standards drop dramatically, because there's less chances of never seeing that person again.
    My family does not equate society. My brain is starting to sever the link between my family and the picture I have of society.
    This morning I went to a pet groomer. He made an insensitive remark. He told me I don't take care of my dog. I admit I could bring him to the groomer more often, but saying something like that is not helpful. It's not pedagogical. It's pure garbage. I won't go to the same place again.
  3. Hertz
    Dream:
    I was with Howard Stern and a bunch of other people. Stern was the leader. Everyone was extremely careful about what they did or said, for fear of being ousted or worse. I watched two people talking to each other. They had to be careful about what they said, they had to say what Stern wanted to hear and they were looking anxious. I was feeling very tense because of all these constraints. One activity that Stern wanted us to do was the trust test where you're standing up and let yourself fall backward and the person behind you (Stern in that case) is supposed to catch you. I saw this as a great opportunity. It was the only way, the only seconds available (while you're letting yourself fall backwards) where I'd be able to surrender totally and be free from anxiety. So I volunteered to do the test. I closed my eyes, let myself fall back, and for 2 seconds I had this awesome feeling of letting go and trust. Then I woke up.
    Interpretation:
    Stern is a communicator, he's "the king of all media", so he represented a part of me that wants to share, to confide, to let know to others what's going on with me. This part of me is very controlling, it over-filters what I say, it scrutinizes everything I want to say before I say it, leaving me always on guard.
    I'm not sure what the trust issue is. Perhaps I don't trust my mouth. I might be too suspicious of other people. Maybe I yearn to be with someone with whom all barriers can come down.
    The ending could mean that I've already started to open up, to trust others more, to analyze what I say less.
    -----------------
    What if we replaced "failure" with "learning opportunity"?
    What if we replaced "success" with "completed project"?
    What if we replaced "crime" with "mistake"?
    What if we replaced "punishment" with "therapy and learning"?
    What if we replaced "judgment" with "constructive appraisal"?
  4. Hertz
    There is always a word. For every period of my life, there is a word that stands out, an idea, almost like the title of a chapter of the textbook called life. Recently it's been "kafkaesque", which means being in a disorienting situation where the way out is not clear. I haven't read the novel, I saw a theatre play version of it, but in The Trial, someone is accused and judged for a crime, but he's never told what the crime was. I find that a great deal of life is like that. You feel distressed and threatened by a problem, yet there is no clearly identifiable solution, not even a clear path that leads to it. There might not even exist a clear-cut solution.
    The upside is that it forces us to be creative, to construct our own solution.
    ------------
    *triggering*
    One day a mathematician found a new equation. Right after writing it on the blackboard in his office he jumped out the window.
    Another mathematician in the office next door, having heard the window break, went to his colleague's office, opened the door which was unlocked, saw the shattered glass, peeked his head out of the hole left by the defenestration, and saw his fellow scientist lying motionless on the ground 10 stories below.
    While the police was examining the office and interviewing him, the mathematician noticed for the first time what was written on the blackboard. Instantly he aged 10 years. Seeing the distress and dramatic physiognomy change, the cops rushed him to the hospital, where he fell into a coma.
    News got around of the equation. It made headlines. The horrific equation that drives mathematicians to madness. It was nicknamed The Ugliness Theorem.
    Thankfully only a few people on earth had the capacity to understand it. Stephen Hawking commented that the equation made him regret being born.
    Some resisted a little longer. Jacob Barnett, who started doing professional research in mathematics and astrophysics while still a teenager, initially thought the equation was actually a great discovery, that it was a sign that something was wrong in our understanding of mathematics, and that it pointed the way to new axioms that would make mathematics beautiful again. That lasted only a short while. He soon discovered that every formal system contains a statement like the ugliness theorem, no matter what consistent set of axioms you choose. Upon discovering this, Barnett could never work again and collapsed into severe non-functional autism.
    It later became forbidden by law to study this equation. It was inscribed in a time capsule, with the instruction to not open it before the year 10,000,000.
  5. Hertz
    I went to a plastic surgery clinic. A lady did incisions in my chest and put in silicon implants. Soon after, I remembered all the stories about ruptured implants contaminating the body with silicon. I started to become really anguished. Like I messed up big time. I went back to the clinic and asked to change the implants for salt water ones, and she told me it was impossible. I had cold sweats, I was scrambling for a solution. I met a male doctor, I asked him medical questions that could help me. I felt like I was bothering him, since I was making him do work for me, yet I could not help it. Eventually he lost interest and I understood it was time to leave him. I remembered there was always the possibility of the ablation of the breasts, yet I knew it would mean being scarred, so I wasn't comforted. I went back to a classroom where I was a student. For some reason I was embarrassed to have breasts, and I didn't want anyone to notice them.
    Interpretation:
    I feel insecure and self-conscious about my image. In real life, I think I'm self-conscious about my social status, about not being "successful". Not having a career is a huge source of anguish for me, one reason for this being my idea of what others think. I don't want to be different. I'm afraid of being rejected.
    The anguish after getting silicon breasts might represent my fear of choice. Commitment anguishes me. I see only the negative side. I want every choice to be reversible.
    I want to develop a feminine side, but I'm afraid of what others might think. The classroom means I'm learning a life lesson.
    When I woke up I was so relieved. This social status anguish might be more nightmare than reality.
  6. Hertz
    Everyday, on the net, on billboards or on the newspapers they give in the subway, I see these ads for job trainings, degrees in every professional avenue possible. This makes me doubt all the time what I'm doing, makes me consider changing path, even though it would make no sense, would be rash and foolish. There is no indication that there is something better than what I'm doing right now out there. But it's like 20% of my brain is constantly focused on finding something better. The result is that I'm never really committed 100% in what I do. This part of my brain is the same that always tries to optimize what I do, to cut the fat in my actions. I feel like this ability is on overdrive. It's out of control.
    It's like I want to be seduced, and I'm looking for something (someone?) that will do it.
    I'm usually a patient guy. This professional training I'm doing will be over at the end of the year. But it's like some part of me is saying that it's bulls*** and I should go for something better. The problem is that I'm doubting all the time even though I don't see anything better. I see seduction, seduction appeals to me and makes me doubt, but I don't see anything concrete behind this seduction. So I'm aware that it's just appearances, yet they drive me insane.
    Today I browsed a degree in some field on a university websites, as if it would be the promised land, the key to a life.
    I don't know how to get rid of this doubt. What is the meaning of this doubt? Is it anxiety? Is it fear? Fear of the worst case scenario?
    I know things will be fine. Everytime I fear a worst case scenario, after the facts I'm like: "Huh, it wasn't so bad after all."
    Maybe I need to distract myself more. I don't like the idea of distraction. It seems so artificial to me. Like running away from myself.
    I think I feel an enormous pressure. My standards are usually impossible. Perhaps I'm afraid of failing. So afraid I want to hop from one endeavor to another. Never commit to anything, because commitment means a chance of failure, and failure is unacceptable.
    I'm afraid that the path I'm following will lead to failure. Just the possibility of failure drives me crazy. Even if there is a 0.001% chance of failure, I focus a disproportionate fraction of my brain to it.
    I'm overly anxious. How can I diminish this anxiety?
    In any case, I don't have the material means to switch to something else, which is comforting.
  7. Hertz
    There was a guy, in his 30s, in the year 2250, living with his parents, unemployed.
    Online he saw an ad about a new video game called World Simulator.
    It had good reviews on iTube, so he bought it with his parents money.
    The idea of the game was to simulate yourself, your mind, genetic code etc and put yourself in different world stages, eras etc.
    Want to know what you would have done if you had been born in 1492 in Spain? With World Simulator you can find out and more!
    So the guy started playing around, picking eras, parents profiles, randomly.
    The simulations of him had different results:
    A politician assassinated in his 50s in the Byzantine Empire.
    A ping-pong champion in the netherlands in the 70s.
    A millionaire entrepreneur with diabetes in Germany in the 1800s.
    A family man.
    A gay dandy.
    A respected microbiologist.
    A serial killer.
    The guy thinks: "OK, I could've been many different things. What would happen if everyone was me?"
    So he arranged the virtual world so that everyone was a clone of him. The background world would be one where cloning had been invented and fully functional, and where a tyrant (the simulated guy) had taken over the world and replaced every person with clones of him. Women would have twice his X chromosome. The tyrant would then let the clones breed.
    The guy pushed play on his Playstation 19.
    The children of the clones were of course not very healthy because of inbreeding. Before random mutations could take place naturally and allow some form of natural selection and correct the genetic weaknesses from generation to generation, it would take a long time, perhaps many days of real life time. To speed things up, the guy introduced tiny random genetic variations in each individual. Now there would be natural selection and the pool gene would become healthy faster.
    He went to bed, letting the Playstation on for the night, and putting the game speed at x30000000.
    In the morning he turned on the tv screen to see what had happened. About a hundred thousand years had passed in-game. The virtual world predictably didn't look at all like he had left it.
    Its citizens had differentiated. They weren't clones or anything close. The skin, eye, hair colors were varied. Size, intelligence, charisma, every traits too, just like in the real world. No more tyrant.
    The guy decided to zoom in on a particular citizen. She was a young unemployed woman in her 20s, living with her parents. She was standing on an overpass, looking down at a train passing below, wondering what her life would have been in different circumstances.
  8. Hertz
    I didn't get the position I interviewed for wednesday.
    Today I called and left a message to a company I had applied to last november, but which I declined I think for the wrong reasons: because it's not related to higher learning, or making use of my studies,
    I think all I want is a low stress job, 9 to 5, where I have to somewhat deal with the public, either by phone or in person, where I'm well treated and valorized. I don't think it matters to me if my studies are not used. I think I did all those studies not for me, but to impress my parents somewhat.
    I don't want to continue this race of continuing studies, where my mind is never really free. I think teaching is not the kind of job where you don't bring work at home, with all the marking you have to do. Is it really possible to disconnect when you're a teacher?
    Am I still trying to please or impress my parents in some way?
    When I think about the job I rejected last november, I feel a relief of pressure on my chest. The guy who interviewed me seemed really nice. He was proposing a career, with benefits, but my head intervened. My head is directing me towards pressure and discomfort. I wonder if I'm not in a cultist mentality, seeing some things as "wrong" because of belief, even though these things make me feel good.
    Maybe I'm idealizing the "other side". Yet, I'm willing to at least experiment something radically different than what I've been raised to believe.
    If the company calls me back and tells me the position isn't available anymore, I'm not sure what I'll do.
    ------------
    On my way back from the interview, on the highway, I rode behind a big truck for most of the way. Somehow it made me feel safe.
    At one point a second truck got passed me, on the lane left of me, got past the first truck, changed lane so that it was in front of the first truck and me. Its movements were so slow, the way it changed lane was so slow. It was like watching two elephants in front of me. The slowness impressed me. It was like witnessing another way of being.
    -----------
    An absence of reference.
    Doing things without watching old milestones.
    Creating new landmarks.
    Vulnerability, risk.
    Trusting your experience rather than discourse.
  9. Hertz
    Post-dissent society:
    It's ironic that Snowden must hide in Russia, where the government is even crazier. What would've happened if every country had been a social democracy and all countries were allied? Nowhere to hide, no asylum possible. The only alternative: death, or dreams.
    Dreaming is dissidence, because you take refuge in an alternative world that could change this one through you. "I had a dream..."
    A crude dystopia: People must have their tv always on at home with the volume on which spews indoctrination messages. They must all have electronic devices on them plugged to a global network at all times which helps monitor them and indoctrinate them as well. Cameras and mics are almost everywhere. Dissidents are kidnapped and reeducated or put to death.
    A more evolved one: People buy TVs and computers through their own initiative, and use them all the time because they are addicted. They surrender their privacy willingly, and are eager to trade even more of it for material rewards. People agree to have every movement monitored because it makes them feel safe. Any dissidence is quickly put to check by the dissident himself, either by checking in for therapy, or ******* himself.
    No one and everyone is in power. The "other side" is in the mirror. The regime has been totally integrated in you, and you in it.
    I find this scenario very scary and anguishing. At the same time I remind myself that it is a sort of psychedelism.
    I've heard a story told by people who like psychedelic drugs to describe what's it like: A fish passes by an older fish. The older fish comments: "The water is good isn't it?" The other fish replies: "What the hell is water?"
    What it means is that taking psychedelic drugs is like causing a perturbation in the water that allows to become aware of it.
    Fishes shouldn't be afraid of water. But they might as well become aware of it.
    ------------
    Spirituality:
    The foundation of spirituality is a belief that the subject is more real than objects. It tries to resolve the subject-object duality by concluding that the subject is more fundamental. Spiritualists are not comfortable with the idea of a materialistic world, where the only things that are real are the ones that can be measured.
    Spirituality is thus completely at odds with science. They see the mind as fundamental, whereas scientists view the elementary particles as fundamental, and the mind as a product of them. They think that the reality science offers is devoid of meaning, and turns us into automatons.
    -----------
    What is the meaning of creativity in a materialistic world? When I create a piece of music, am I just atoms rearranging other atoms to make the air vibrate in a certain way? Let's suppose that it is so. Does it matter? Isn't music something marvelous anyways? Isn't it marvelous that it is at all possible? In a world where atoms interact with each other without a particular purpose, isn't it amazing that music has emerged?
    I find music even more amazing when I think about the fact that randomness played such a role. Life could easily not have appeared if the universe had evolved differently. The Earth exists because of a random quantum fluctuation in the first seconds of the big-bang that caused a butterfly effect that resulted in this habitable planet.
    There could easily have not been any life, no music, no anything. Perhaps the big-bang would have aborted if not for another early quantum fluctuation.
    The odds were so much against it that to me music is even more amazing. It exists despite everything. And I can make some. I don't care if my neurons make the music, it's still amazing.
    When you look at the odds, everything seems marvelous. It's even more so when you look at the fragility of life, of your own life.
    What were the odds of me existing at the beginning of the universe? A number so small it's unimaginable.
    ----------
    From the absence of preexisting meaning, it follows that we can create it, just like art (Foucault). Meaning created by groups of atoms. Art created by groups of atoms. Still amazing to me. Amazing that something like meaning can emerge out of groups of atoms. Just the idea of it, the concept of meaning, emerging, without it having been planned, against all odds.
    ---------
    Yesterday I tryied doing meditation for the first time in a long while. I am a total newb with respect to meditation. I did it before going to bed, pretty late. I sat on my bed. During the first minutes everything was going well. I tried to focus on compassion but couldn't concentrate. At some point I wasn't sure what to do, so I started to think about nothingness. About becoming nothing. At first that seemed to work. I was feeling very focused and didn't have to make any effort. But after a minute I began to feel a strong fear. A fear that envelopped me. The same kind of fear that takes place during nightmares. An atmosphere of fear and dread. My eyes were still closed. I tried to accept this fear and not let it perturb me, but after a minute of anguish I concluded I didn't need to go through this so I opened my eyes.
    Conclusion: I'll avoid meditating before bed. I'll try not to think about nothingness. I will read more about meditation.
    I also think that that experience was revealing. Perhaps my mind needs some cleaning up. Maybe it is more messed up than I thought.
    What was that fear? Was it a personnal demon? Did it represent a bad habit I have?
  10. Hertz
    I've got a job interview tomorrow.
    It's a two hours ride to there. If I get the job I'd have to move on short notice, because the start date is feb. 26th. I knew about the interview yesterday. I don't want to drive back and forth everyday, I don't want to drive 20h/week, so I'd need a place. I don't even have the job and I feel anguish. Would I be able to find a place in time? Would I be able to bring the dog with me? Would I find roommates who accept dogs? If not, I'd have to leave it in a boarding kennel until my father returns from his trip and picks it up. How would I cope with that? How would the dog cope?
    I'm in "prepare for the worst case scenario" mode. Is it possible to be less obsessed with the worst case scenario in times of potential change?
    The best case scenario would be: getting the job, moving in with roommates and have the dog live with us. It's not too far fetched. Yet, I tend to think that it's either the best case scenario that will happen or something terrible, or not getting the job which is sort of neutral.
    Maybe I'll be satisfied in the end, whatever happens.
  11. Hertz
    In the western world, it used to be that carnivals and festivals were a time to mock the clergy, the monarchy and pretty much every institution and social convention. When I went to the carnival in Brazil last year I got a sense of this. People would dress as the opposite sex, I even was handed an invitation to an orgy (to which I didn't go). It was the only time of the year where conventions were suspended.
    I think now in the western world this still exists, but through fascination with crime and post-apocalyptic scenarios. Since there is no more clergy or monarchy to mock, and since few taboos still linger, the only way to contemplate a reversal of values is to either watch movies like the Godfather, or series like The Walking Dead.
    The Walking Dead is a way to feel what's it like to live an opposite reality, without turning to fascist ideologies. We get to reject democracy, capitalism, and every institution, without going to another ideology, but rather through a story where they crumble "accidentally". We get rid of them, without embracing the opposite ideologies.
    It might be healthy to get giddy at such scenarios. Because it's an invitation to try an opposite reality. Not by destroying the world, but by trying things we're not comfortable with. Getting out of our comfort zone. Each time we get out of our comfort zone is like a mini-apocalypse. Suddenly we can't count on the usual points of reference and landmarks because they simply don't apply anymore. It's disorienting. We're in new territory. There is no map. What will we do next? It's up to us.
  12. Hertz
    I wonder if I've ever been with someone in my life. I mean, have I ever been with someone else than a reflection of me, a mental projection? I'm not suggesting that I am the only real person. I think everyone else is real, but I'm not sure it is effectively what I think. Mentally I know other people are real, but I'm not feeling it.
    I feel remote. It's like watching people on TV. The people are real, but they are not really there. When I meet people, it is like watching TV.
    This is especially true of people I don't enjoy the company of, which is 99% of people.
    99% of people I meet are as if behind a TV screen. Sort of muffled. I'd like to know them better, to feel their humanity, but there is a thick blurry glass screen between us. They look out of focus. Sometimes I feel like I have cataracts. I would like to reach them, reach their inner world. All I see of them is their "auto-pilot" mode, and the same is true of me for them. Most of the time, we are on auto-pilot because the circumstances sort of force it. Most interactions are very superficial. Like two TVs facing each other. To reach what we call heart, outside of works of fiction, a romantic relationship is pretty much essential. It would be great if their was more heart in day-to-day interactions, but everything is very compartmentalized. It is risky to expose your heart to semi-strangers.
  13. Hertz
    Was Ste-Thérèse de l'Enfant-Jésus mentally ill?
    In her paradigm she was a sort of heroine, since in christianity the hero is the saint. So in her system of thought, she was not mentally ill. She was the opposite of deviant.
    In Greek antiquity, sainthood was obviously not the paradigm. It was excellence, being well rounded, an example being Ulysses.
    What is a hero today? It could be the self-made man. It could also be fragmented, each person choosing his hero, or deciding to be his own hero.
    ------------
    I intellectualize too much.
    When nothing happens in my head I get scared. It's as if I'm always grasping for something. Internal free-fall would be interesting.
    -----------
    I'm tired of words. Tired of using them, tired of being used by them.
    -----------
    What do I want? I don't want a word. I don't want something that I will later describe with words. I want something inexpressible.
  14. Hertz
    Went to an auto show with a friend today.
    There was a car simulator: a seat, wheel and pedals with three screens for a panoramic view, and hydraulic pumps to make the whole thing move. I forced myself to try it. It was a very calculated choice, because I tend to dismiss new experiences easily, and I know it is tied to my depression, so I did the opposite of my first impulse.
    It was a pretty good simulation. I hit a concrete block at one point and really felt it. I didn't beat the best time.
    While I was waiting in line, it was a kid's turn to take the seat. He wouldn't understand the hostess' instructions (buckle your seat-belt, adjust the seat position). I was thinking: "This kid is probably spoiled, he is incapable of doing any practical thing." Then I heard the father say to his wife: "He's so excited he forgets everything."
    I thought the contrast in interpretation was interesting and revealing. The father's comment was of someone who is loving and caring. It was appropriate for a father.
    The contrast is revealing of the upbringing I had. If I had been in the kid's place at his age, my father would have (gently) mocked me. That's how it's always been in similar situations.
    The father right away saw the positive interpretation. Not only that, he had empathy. He actually made the effort to read his son's behavior and find a cause.
    What I thought of the kid is basically the internalized voice of my father.
    It is what I think of myself.
    The phrase "This kid is probably spoiled, he is incapable of doing any practical thing" is interesting because I am trying to find a way to make a living and become independent from my parents. Since I haven't achieved that, I see myself as "incapable of doing any practical thing". Since I spend mostly my parents' money, I see myself as spoiled.
    Could it be possible to find a gentler, more loving and caring interpretation of my present situation?
  15. Hertz
    Dream:
    I had two houses, in two contiguous terrains. They were huge mansions. I sold one of the houses. In the other there were many luxurious cars in an underground garage. A lady was there. There were so many cars packed there that some of them could not be driven out right away, because the cars were blocking each other. The lady told me that some work would be needed to move out a particular car that was blocked inside the garage.
    I walked in the front yard. I saw that there was a sort of pond/ditch between the house and the street that made it impossible to drive away with one of the cars. There was no garage way. Only grass and the pond. I was disappointed. The lady was still there. I paced back and forth across the front yard, trying to figure a way to drive out with one of the cars, unable to find a solution. I was sad because there was so little distance between the cars and the street, yet I could not drive because of the pond. I was stuck.
    Interpretation:
    The two houses and selling one of them might represent the fact that I moved from my mother's to my father's. They might represent two phases in my life, moving from one to another. Selling the house might represent the desire to make money, to make a living.
    The cars represent independence, control. They are stuck in the garage, which might mean that I feel like I have potential and skills, but they are stuck, unused. The different cars might also represent different careers. They are blocking each other, which might reflect that I have opposing desires. One career option blocks the way to another career. Perhaps it will take some work to sort things out.
    The ditch in front of the house is a complicating matter. I think it reflects the fact that I feel I am very close to having a career, I can almost touch it. Yet, there are obstacles that I don't know how to overcome.
    -------------
    Baptized in shower gel from Giorgio Armani
    Transfigured by make-over
    Nailed to the wall is a picture of me.
  16. Hertz
    I feel destroyed.
    I used to take Remeron, wellbutrin and pristiq. Last year I stopped for a while. Last Christmas I got back on wb and remeron. At least when I was taking all three I was stable. I'm thinking of starting pristiq again. Does it have to be the only way out? Is there no way to be clean and live a life?
    Why am I not more adventurous? Perhaps if I changed my life I wouldn't need meds?
    A voice tells me: "Maybe it's true you need to change your life, but wouldn't you rather think about it while being stable?"
    - What if the pills blind me? What if what they do is simply bury the problems?
    - Alice Miller says you can't put a lid on emotions eternally. At one point they will resurface, with or without pills.
    - OK, but the pills might slow down this process. Why delay changes?
    - What changes? You want a revolution, a liberation? What do you want to replace your present condition with?
    - Now I don't know, but if I persevere I might find out.
    - It's been a while now, you would have found out already. Besides, you know every change brings new challenges. There is no promised land. You went through multiple liberations in your life. Each time things settle down after a while, and life seems challenging again.
    - What if I got a job, any job, the first job I can find.
    - You have two master's degrees, you saw you love teaching, you're a few months from an internship that will give you many hours of teaching experience in a class. You just had two interviews in teaching, so you might find a teaching position even before the internship. Just be patient.
    - I always told myself to be patient, and it made me stick to things I regretted after. What if the same thing happens again? All this time for what, the chance for a big break?
    - Go ahead then, change course.
    - I'm scared. I could end up losing even more time and have regrets anyways.
    - That's right. It's a lottery, both ways. There is no indication changing course has more chances of success, or would pay out more.
    - I feel like a coward.
    - That's how you felt last Christmas. Go ahead, stop taking pills, quit what you are doing, and get a low end job. That would be quite a glorious revolution.
    - I feel like I have this choice though. It keeps coming back. It's tempting. I feel lighter when I think about it. Everytime I made big changes in my life, it was because I hit a brick wall. Why always wait to hit a brick wall. Must I always be on the road to a brick wall?
    - Well, aren't ya?
    - I mean besides death.
    - Find someone who changed his life without hitting a brick wall, and we'll continue this discussion.
  17. Hertz
    Just came back from my second job interview in a week. After the last one they didn't even call even though they said they would, whether I got the job or not. Again today I was told I would be contacted. Why do I care, do I really want to hear the "thank you for your interest line" anyways?
    X-Factor and So You Think You Can Dance are basically a monetization of the interview/audition process. Rather than having just the show generate profit, why not televise the audition as well and extract some juice from it?
    These shows are also a reflection of the reality we live in. Job interviews, evaluations, assessments, diagnostics. Advertisement fits also into this, and the consumer is the jury.
    ----
    Atomized, pulverized, dissected, mechanically separated, reformed, deformed, educated, integrated, reintegrated, digested, preprocessed, scanned, assembled, maintained, disposed, programmed, boosted, optimized, copied, wrapped, packaged, shipped. Like a piece of chicken in it's plastic wrap at the supermarket.
    ----
    Its weird that in this society where you can have anything at the push of a button, it's so hard to find a job. It's because I have to sell myself. It's my turn to become a product.
    ----
    I'm becoming ever more cynical. I feel like a cog made itself of cogs. I feel like a cyborg in a techno-scientific universe. I feel like an axis in a grid. The more I look out, the more I get this picture back. I want to start fighting this cynicism, without having to brainwash myself itself into the system. I definitely need more genuine human interactions, but sometimes even with people I'll start feeling like an android mechanically performing its task. But not all people.
    I remember a dream, a nightmare I had when I was a kid. I was lying in my bed, and I could see the living room. My father and brother were sitting there. They turned their heads towards me. Their eyes were glowing red, like in some photographs where the flash was used. Their faces were impassible. Like Arnold's face in The Terminator. The eyes of a Terminator are similar when they are uncovered. I'm not sure if I had heard about the movie or not, but they looked like two Terminators. They started rising from their seat, and I was so scared I forced myself to wake up by making an effort to open my eyes.
    I was raised by robots to be a robot. I was also raised to see the world as cold and mechanical as an extension of my family. Some part of me probably wants to see the world as such, because I'm used to it. It's comforting perhaps, as well as terrorizing. It's in Blade Runner where an android tells a human: "Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave." I live in fear. The same fear I felt as a child, living with uncaring, chrome, slick and efficient replicants that treated me as an object.
    I wasn't raised, I was processed. I wasn't looked at, I was scanned. I wasn't cared for, I was maintained. I wasn't touched, I was moved like a package. I wasn't heard, my words were treated like queries made to a database.
    I think the engineered babies in "Brave New World" are not science fiction anymore. I was one of them. It doesn't matter if you come out of a womb or not, if the womb is inside a cold, heartless frame.
    I feel paranoid. I know the rest of the world is not truly like that. There is warmth and heart out there. Yet, this cry of help is being digitized, segmented into packets, and transmitted through copper wires and optical fibre. Physically speaking, I am already turning into a cyborg, my computer a limb like any other. Even when I look at the world it is like looking at a screen, but it's less colourful and contrasted.
    Perhaps this is just temporary. I need to use my body more in pleasurable ways. I'm thinking of taking dance lessons again. I could organize a ski trip. Everyday, small acts of resistance.
  18. Hertz
    Sometimes when someone on Facebook mentions a book, a few seconds later I'll be on Amazon to know more about it.
    It makes me a bit uncomfortable. The machinery is so well oiled. And it wasn't even designed. It's just cogs that fit naturally with each other. A logic.
    You see a post about a book, you look it up on amazon. Even if you don't buy, the logic was successful: you did go to the store, you saw the suggestions, the deals.
    Watching a vlog, about very personal stuff, with a pop song in the background, I'm wondering: "Is the song worth getting on iTunes?"
    The internet is turning into a billboard and shopping center, and every participant, in the shape of a Facebook friend or video logger or what not, is turning into a tv ads actor.
    It's like the movie The Truman Show, when Jim Carry's wife would promote a soap product in the middle of a conversation. But now it's worst, because at least she was paid and did it as a job, and did not do it unconsciously.
    Another reason to compare present life with this movie is that our lives are becoming ever more transparent. The governement, facebook, google can read every message we send. Without mentioning the new level of sharing in social networks. Some people already don't mind having an active web cam in their house at all times.
    The erosion of privacy is turning the wall of hour houses into glass, just as in We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.
    --------------------------
    "The madman will not be exiled anymore, or the one we will toss in the margin of our cities, but the one we will make estranged from himself by making him feel guilty for who he is." - Michel Foucault
    In Minority Report by Philip K. d**k (apparently his last name is not PG-13), a being can read the future and predict crimes. The police is informed and it can then arrest the person beforehand.
    It appears that soon, this idea from science fiction could already become obsolete according to Foucault, because we have glimpses of a time when people who have criminal thoughts will turn themselves in, because discipline and punishment will be internalized to a new level.
    Canada has abolished death penalty. What if it has just been replaced by suicide?
    A therapist once told me about the case of a small town in Québec that suddenly became rich because of a new mining exploitation. Parents would work for the mine and make lots of money, and they would buy VTTs and other stuff to their kids.
    The town experienced a wave of teenage suicide. The interpretation was that the parents had stopped caring for their kids on an emotional level.
    Were the kids' feelings considered a weakness that could be compensated by the new found material power? Could they have been driven to abysmal guilt for not embracing the cool, hip lifestyle? The American dream? (I'm not accusing America. I think it could be called the Western Civilization dream)
    Probably many teenagers in that town were very happy, enjoying the new situation. Other teenagers would look at them and wonder "Why can't I just go with the flow like them? Why don't my parents pay attention to me? Something must be wrong with me." They basically went American Psycho on themselves.
    A Gulag without walls, without guards. Judge-Jury and Executioner inside of you. Because life is more convenient that way.
  19. Hertz
    I've been feeling like a robot during the past two days.
    It's weird to be around people and feel nothing. To be like the terminator when he scans his environment.
    At one point I made a funny comment, everyone laughed, and one person said that the joke was very smart. I liked what that person said.
    I think I can't enjoy being around people unless I feel worshiped.
    I probably have some kind of narcissism issue.
    If I'm not worshiped, I simply don't feel loved. I think I actually feel anxious because my thought is: "Do they love me?"
    That's the question I asked myself throughout my childhood regarding my parents.
    I'm not sure how to feel loved during more generic situations. I probably don't love myself that much. Perhaps I'm not treating myself well. I could do better.
    The relationship with oneself is very much like one between two people. If you neglect yourself, your mood will deteriorate, just like if your partner neglects you. I think you can even become jealous. For example if you pursue something that's fundamentally not right for you, a side of you will become sad and angry, just like a spouse that's been cheated on.
    Yet, it doesn't make much sense to say that love coming from the outside is irrelevant. Or does it?
  20. Hertz
    You can now bare your soul and sell a kindle version of it on amazon.com.
    The secrets of the universe are packaged and stored in warehouses, just like the ark at the end of the first Indiana Jones, waiting to be ordered.
    Mysteries have been classified and indexed into databases.
    The meaning of life is a keyword for search engines.
    Your personality copied and simulated by algorithms that scan your emails and social network posts to know everything about you.
    "If you have something to hide, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
  21. Hertz
    I've wasted my life. There, I said it.
    Since the semester ended, I am plagued by anguish over what I should do professionally. Should I study more? Should I accept the first job that is offered to me?
    I got offered a job recently. It was a sort of sales representative position for a metallurgy company. It was a career offer. With benefits, training etc. But I rejected it because I'm grossly overqualified and it's likely I'd get bored very fast. Yet, a part of me thinks it would have been a good idea. But then I would've had to drop the postgraduate teaching certificate I'm doing now.
    It's like I want to find a job and get things over with, and not keep on trying to study for something better.
    Working in education seems like a good avenue, but it's hard to get in when you're not certified. I won't finish this training before next fall.
    If I had not dropped out of two courses this semester I would've been able to finish this spring. Now I'm full of regrets over this. I wanted to keep only one course and try other avenues on the side. Doing interviews, maybe find a part-time job, which I failed at miserably.
    So far this anguish gave me a few insights. I found a way to do private tutoring at people's house because I found out about a car sharing service that has cars almost next door to me. That will allow me to meet clients in a much greater radius than now.
    Next summer I plan to start a degree in education that leads to the official government teaching license to teach at the high-school level. Next fall, I will complete the postgraduate teaching certificate I am doing right now and do the 75 hrs internship inside a school. In the winter 2015 I will resume the teaching license degree if I haven't found anything.
    This seems awfully complicated. It seems cowardly even. Why can't I jump in the job market like most people? Why can't I start a business? Why do I have to study-study-study. I'm 32 and I never stopped studying. I feel like a freak.
    I should not have dropped out of those two courses this semester. I should never change plan unless I have a better plan. That's the lesson I learned through this.
    So I have a plan, and I won't modify it unless something better comes up. So why does the anguish persist? It's eating away at my brain constantly. Maybe medication is involved in this. I'm so close to being free from it. Should I go back to it? Maybe it's more than the job problem. Maybe I'm sick. I've been tapering off meds since february.
    I'm obsessed by work and money. Everything reminds me of theses things.
    I just see a big emptiness in front of me. I think what scares me is that I'm assured by my plan that my joblessness will drag on for at least another year. I feel doomed. I have visions of jumping out the window or slashing my wrists.
  22. Hertz
    I often read The Huffington Post. Everyday there are articles whose title sound like:
    "10 ways to..."
    "5 tips to..."
    "3 tricks to..."
    "6 secrets to..."

    I've been wondering: what would it be like to conform to everyone of these "tricks"? What would it be like to be the incarnation of mass culture?
    We can imagine a being who is the exemplar archetype of mass culture.
    Why not become mass culture's archetype? Do we even have a choice?
    Yesterday I was at the Christmas celebration in my brother's house. He has two children aged 3. At one point I went to the bathroom and saw three boxes of ADD pills.
    After the party, before going to bed, I took a Remeron pill, the first since last summer. I had wanted to get off meds since last February. Since the last few weeks anguish had been overwhelming me. I couldn't take it anymore.
    I'm wondering: how much of this anguish was caused by the archetype? When I take a pill, is it to become it? When my 3 yo nephew takes his ADD pill, is it because he was straying off the path towards the typical specimen?
    How much choice do we have? We think we live in a society with infinite choice. Yet, I'm starting to consider that the range of choice is extremely limited, and it looks more like a funnel than an empty canvas.
    In the movie Blade Runner, a sort of android called a replicant is deemed a threat to society and every specimen is to be found and destroyed. The way to detect them is through a test where emotional responses are examined.
    From Wikipedia: "Because of their physical similarity to humans, a replicant must be detected by its lack of emotional responses and empathy to questions posed in the fictional Voight-Kampff test."
    But what if in reality, it was the presence of emotions and empathy that replicants were unique for? What if that was their sin? What if that was why society deemed them a threat?
    What if the presence of emotions and empathy is the reason why my nephew and I must take pills?
    The word exemplar is a synonym of copy, like the copy of a book. By taking meds, by following what mass culture tells me, am I not turning into a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox?
    In Blade Runner, could it be that the replicants were actually the originals, since they could feel? In fact in the movie, they are the only characters to display emotions. Could it be that the rest of humanity was made of copies? As the motto of the corporation that built them suggests, weren't replicants in fact more human than human?
  23. Hertz
    Being unemployed and wanting to start an independent life, really forces me to reconsider my values.
    There is this model, I call the life:
    The dream job.
    A spouse, preferably the one.
    A house, preferably big to impress the people you invite.
    A car, preferably luxurious so unsuccessful people have a sinking feeling in their chest when they see you passing.
    Children, preferably two.
    Beyond that there are other imperatives:
    Hang out with celebrities.
    Snort illegal drugs in hip clubs.
    Wear expensive clothes.
    More seriously, there is this rush, at a certain age, to secure a successful career, have a spouse, children, house.
    I see it around me. Although not systematically.
    Interestingly, these four things were achieved by my father. Although I do not consider him a happy man. As a man, the last thing I would want is to become like him.
    Yet, he had the life. How can this be?
    Just as there are paintings by number, there is also the idea of a life by number.
    It's like a grid. There is a cell for you. Another one for your spouse, another one with all the children lumped together.
    As long as there are empty cells, you are anomalous.
    I want to rebel against that, but at the same time it is overwhelming. It is everywhere. You are reminded of it from every corner.
    Death of a salesman is about the american dream essentially. But it's also about a character who has the wrong dream.
    Tchaikovsky got married because he thought it would give him legitimacy. But he regretted it as soon as the wedding was over and he ended up not living with his wife anymore and being traumatized by the event.
    I guess I'm afraid of not being loved. Perhaps I'm trying to please my father, by emulating him.
  24. Hertz
    Self
    When I was doing therapy, and reading Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child, I came upon the idea of true self. A true self buried underneath tons of lies accumulated throughout the years by hearing them again and again (e.g. "You're worthless, you're not important, you don't deserve good things."). These lies come from the parents, because they are our role models when we are very young, and at that age our minds can't separate the good from the bad in what they say yet. Parents are the truth essentially.
    I'm now uncomfortable with the idea of there being a thing called the true self. It would be as if there were a final destination. A final state. This reminds me too much of theism.
    I don't like the idea of discovering who I am, of approaching little by little true authenticity. As if there were an absolute model for me. I don't like that, the main reason being that I've never observed this true self and there would be no way to know I've become my true self. It is basically a fiction.
    Another reason is that it involves no creativity, and removes any agency. The destination is set, you just have to follow the steps.
    Perhaps there is no true self. But there are many possible selves to choose from. If there is one I prefer, I should feel free to move towards it.
    I think now that that's what therapy did. It allowed new possibilities of selves to become accessible. It's like discovering a new technology, which itself opens the door to a myriad of other technologies. In this case, therapy introduced me to a new way of being, which opened the door to many others.
    Previously, I had been stuck in a dead end. I was trying to dig through it, like trying to dig my way out of a hole. I was kind of moving. By getting deeper. It was getting ever more difficult to remove pieces of earth, but I had "faith" in my path. Until I got sick and burned out. Sometimes falling sick can be healthy.
    Not believing in a true self is very different than chritianism where there is a single path and a final destination, namely Jesus.
    The self in this framework is more like art, or technology.
    It might be what Michel Foucault meant by technologies of the self.
    I don't think what I said is very original. It is largely or completely inspired by Foucault and Nietzsche. I'm translating their ideas in my own words.
    I think that this way of thinking fits with atheism well. I think God in theists mind plays the role of the path, the model, the ideal self. I would tend to think that believing in a singular destination to be at odds with atheism.
    This reflection is part of an effort to rid myself of any trace of theism.
    It doesn't mean that there is something in me that never changes. My past never changes indeed. But memories are not fixed. They mutate with time. We sometimes reinvent our past. We certainly reinterpret it.
    Another reason why I don't think there is a true self: there is an infinite number of ways to interpret my actions, motivations, intentions, history. My interpretation of who I am is one among many. Similarly to a novel.
    There is no such thing as the final interpretation of a novel.
    ---------------------------------------
    Chaos A.D.
    Since I've been attempting to find a steady job, I've been faced to a new degree with the randomness of the world. It makes me feel very vulnerable. At the mercy of the changes in the direction of wind that take hold in the economy, society, and within each individual.
    It's the same thing with the love market.
    I don't know where I'll end up, with whom. Society and its people are like a gas of particles, colliding, going in every direction. Each collision changes your course. You thought you were going one way, but suddenly you are going towards another.
    This randomness is scary sometimes. Like I said, a great feeling of vulnerability comes along. A sense of humility also.
    I personally embrace this randomness. I'm comfortable with a lack of grand design. What I discovered with that is a new sense of freedom. Of not being the center of the universe after all.
    It's not the freedom to do what pleases me, since like I said I am very vulnerable. It's the freedom of not being under the control of something omnipotent. Of the absence of master. I don't care if I end up chained to a wall somewhere, because I'll have this feeling of unity, whereas theism comes with a sort of schizophrenia.
    Theism, according to my experience of being a theist some time ago, came with the feeling of something hovering over me. Like a tiny and benevolent helicopter following me everywhere.
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