inspired by some websites here, I think I'm going to start a journal, if only to make myself write a bit more often (and perhaps stop procrastinating reading and writing about some rather more important things). Also, I really don't know how to deal with emotions (like, any of them) and perhaps some stream-of-consciousness might work as therapy-substitute, maybe
Mood: good i suppose
Listening: Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine (thanks Kirsche!)
Times, times, times. Tick tock goes the clock. It's been interesting being confronted by oneself during this pandemic. Like, normally, during the usual neoliberal nightmare-time, we get so damn swamped by everything that actually paying attention to what we are feeling, thinking, wanting, hoping or just plain doing is very difficult. The forced stepping on the brakes back in march (that never really completely went away, even if people seem to think the pandemic is over) brought a very scary scenario to fore: that is, to actually confront ourselves.
It's somewhat of a truism to say we buy/consume things in order to avoid paying attention to deeper questions. Had a shitty day? Eat a nice burger (and nowadays even vegetarians/vegans can partake in the "impossible" burgers and the like); hate your job? Get a hobby, go drinking, whatever; have low self-esteem because you perceive your appendage to be too small? Buy a huge car or a huge house or both. It's the siren-song of those monsters in the marketing departments of the world - make people fill very real voids in their lives with bullshit commodities and experiences. The thing is, without most of the consumption experience, or with very serious dangers engendered by covid, we just can't quite consume in the same manner we used to. And this leaves a lot of unoccupied time in people's minds. It leaves time to gaze into the proverbial abyss, and it sure as hell gazes back.
One of those key ideas from psychoanalysis is that people will do just about anything, even get the most bizarre of pathologies, in order to avoid confronting a particular truth. The cruelest person is not the uncaring one; it's the one that's desperately trying to prove something to themselves. Say, for example, you refuse the idea you're gay/lesbian/bi/queer/whatever? It's not unusual to end up as in American Beauty compensating this contradiction by means of terrible violence (great movie by the way!) (also, it is well documented that nazis were full of weird sex hangups, see W. Reich and K. Theweleit). We, confronted by nothing but our (proverbially?) naked selves go into radical despair trying to avoid confronting our worst fears. It's not fun.
But there's something certain about this: that the desperate work of the repressed mind is much worse than the work of acknowledging a truth. It hurts like hell at first, but then it becomes liberating, and we become the better for it. I wonder how many people will be changed by these times - in a sense the fact they are so hard and terrible makes us unable to run away anymore. Now is the time to confront our priorities, to review our dreams of old and if they still fit a world in ruins.
I'm not so sure about my own. I'm not sure about so damn many of those things that I used to love doing (or at the very least I thought I loved doing). I can't justify old behaviors anymore. And yet they return, like poltergeists haunting myself and the objects around me, giving mystical fetishistic auras to what was supposed to be just simple behaviors. Habits become curses, and curses, as is well known, are hard to get rid of. And yet, and yet... and yet now is the time. Let us brace ourselves. Otherwise, it might just be too late.
Mood: metaphorically the way you feel after you recover from a hangover, like relieved but still a bit shit?
Ugh. Few shitty days. I guess my body just kinda rejects me trying to impose a routine and just went on strike for a couple of days. Not very convenient. Oh well, such is life. Seem to have recovered for know, who knows when the dreaded ennui shall strike again! (probably in a couple of days).
What to say, what to see? Don't have much to cry about. Seeing more breakups and people not being able to stand one another anymore. It's really sad especially because it feels like without the pandemic those couples would still be together (it doesn't just reveal hidden truths; it also transforms the way people exist, and sometimes that's enough to destroy the love people felt for one another); these times are just too trying and too cruel. Wretched business, I say.
I am constantly reminded of the lives of jews in Germany in the 30s: so many of them thought there would be enough time to finish their phds, to get married, to muck about and still be able to emigrate and survive. Too many of them were taken by surprise by the speed of events, and ended up tragically. We underestimate the way time passes; and when we swear we thought there was still enough time to do that thing we really wanted to do, it's already too late. Buddhists (and a bunch of other eastern religions as well, to be fair) make a good point when they talk about the present being the only thing that actually matters in the end.
So much, and yet so little. Just don't forget - time is cruel, relentless, and devours all.
(trying a slightly different style today)
Mood: something good I guess?
Listening: why the fuck does Granado Espada (never played) has such a good OST? those crazy koreans and their mmorpgs
Somehow every day is like a different day I guess, it feels odd but it's kinda good to know that just by the day changing a good deal of the bad things that happened in the day before just kinda evaporate, you know. A good night of sleep can do wonders - and a bad one just kind craps out the whole day and makes me be totally annoying and miserable and a pain in the butt. So much for being consistent I guess but it's not like I ever advertised myself as completely sane so I suppose it's the sorta shit you find out after spending some amount of time with me I suppose, hopefully it's not too much of a dealbreaker to most people.
Everyone has their weird quirks and it's kinda fun figuring out the strange habits of each person and being "huh, so you can do things that way as well, interesting, never thought it could be done that way". People are hella strange when you think about it, like we do stuff in such specific ways and get frustrated when we can't do it our way, though being open-minded can help.
Just been kinda really fucking lost and totally inconsistent, focusing on shit is so damn hard, but practicing an instrument has been helping a little bit i suppose so who'da thunk that finally getting off my ass and trying to learn guitar would also be useful in other ways, I wish I had started earlier but as I've mentioned before I was too busy being an asshole to everyone I knew and being really sorry for myself, self-pity fucking sucks.
So yeah I guess no much to say but well things are alright and hopefully they'll stay alright but if they don't well that's life but I'm honestly just happy that I've gone through so much fucking stuff with depression and shit that nothing much surprises me anymore, kinda battle-scarred (lol), so yeah. Stuff!
What is technology? What a stupid question. The luddite in me clashes with my techno-addicted worshipper of silicon. Did you know that the luddites actually didn't hate machines?? They actually only destroyed the machines that were owned by asshole bosses that overexploited their workers; when a factory was deemed fine they generally left the property pretty much untouched - after all, machines could very well be used just for labor saving! So much for ludittes being anti-tech reactionary idiots.
I feel defeated. By myself, and by everything else. Every time I think I'm winning, when I'm finally getting better and a little bit stronger in spirit, a bad day seems to prove otherwise. Paranoia, loneliness, depression. I wish this journal was happy and full of interesting tidbits to brighten your day; that would be too much for me. Not here as well. I couldn't take it.
Why write? Why write in a website for a minuscule audience that might not even read this stuff? Why bother keeping up with everything, why scream to the void, why vainly attempt to hear the deafening silence answer in kind with a joyous response: "good job! you are a person! nice work! you're alive! here's a star for you!" I just want peace. World peace, that's my wish as Miss Universe! Not really. What a dumb joke. Peace of mind, peace of spirit.
Peace, pax, shalom. The absence of strife, the lack of war, the time of gatherings and respect, the places without bloodshed. "This is a war, and covid is our enemy!" Macron, in his best De Gaulle impression, tried to convince the people of France - and was mocked, rightfully. But did he, and his imitators, not have a point? Covid is a war. But what is missed is that what we call peace is war. There is no peace under capitalism; there is only war of all against all, and the rich against everyone else.
Shantih, shantih, shantih. So much for Eliot's pretentious poetry. So much for my pretentious journal. There is no peace under the heavens - will we ever see peace again? Will this world finally calm down again? When the enemy du jour took the world by storm around march, all stopped. You could hear a pin drop. This extra-species "enemy" finally, if only for a brief moment, reminded us that yes, there can be peace in the world once more. All it took was near-collapse.
I feel like I am at war with myself. The world is at war with me. And I'm at war with it. War, bellum, krieg. Destruction, pain, loss, end. For how much longer will I withstand this? For how much longer will we be able to live in the midst of the trenches, an eternal Verdun in the mind, a million Hiroshimas exploding in the oceans every day. As it all falls down and our sight becomes marred by the new moonscape all around us, what shall we do? Will we ever have peace again?
One thing is for sure: if that time does come, we'll need new metaphors.
Mood: hectic? lost? kinda weird?
Listening: Alaskalaska's The Dots
So, as it turns out, this website shouldn't be the only concern in my life. Whoops. (But it's so fun!) As much as I want to work on a million texts for the website, I'v got a bunch of actual necessary readings to do for, you know, life and shit. So much for the world ending I guess. So yeah, actual content will probably take a while; it's one of the reasons that I wanted to finish writing the piece on Carmen Sandiego - so that this site wouldn't be completely barren of actual texts and stuff. It's not a particularly elaborate piece, but I'm kinda proud of it, I guess.
I'll keep the journal updated (and perhaps more frequently?) so don't worry, dear reader, if you enjoy for whatever godforsaken reason the bunch of ramblings I like to smear all over this website - I'll still have new content, albeit a bit less elaborate, coming out. Just sit back and enjoy the rambling.
Thoughts. Emotions are kinda difficult and strange. What a mess.
Mood: in the pits of despair.
Listening: John Frusciante's To Record Only Water for Ten Days
Deep breaths. Fill in the lungs. Expel out the air. Ah. I'm a little bit more composed now. Can write without getting hysterical. Good.
I take it as a matter not only of personal ethics, but as a reason to keep going, that I want to treat my friends as well as I possibly can. To my friends the world - to my enemies, justice; a fair motto. A couple of years ago, after many years of broken relationships and mistakes, I decided to put my priorities in order: to do my hardest effort to listen to and to care about the people I want to care about. A life-changing book was Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving, even though a bit old now, still remains surprisingly relevant. The humanist perspective is very dear to me - not humanist as in "humans first", but humanist in the sense of "always have compassion for your fellow humans, for they too suffer".
I therefore try as hard as I can to be a good friend. Too often I fail. Too often conversations leave scars - I've been told my tongue is rather acerbic and sharp, which I view more as a curse than a blessing, honestly. I don't say this as a sort of bizarre bragging or anything like that, it's just to situate my perspective as someone who deeply regrets saying too many hurtful things.
But I do try my hardest to at the very least always treat with the utmost respect when people do come to me wanting to talk about their problems - after all, they could have gone to anyone else, so it's my duty and my wish to properly listen to their thoughts, even though they might sound mundane or pointless. My god, I do try to make an effort. It might not be much, but for god's sake is it too much to ask for something resembling the same??
Whenever I talk to you and you scoff off my despair with a quick joke or a meme I feel like dying. It's as if I've gone insane, as if nothing I ever said ever made any sense. Yeah I fucking know I'm fucking melodramatic and a pain in the butt and you just don't want to deal with my bullshit so I'd be perfectly fine with just being ignored, but fucking laughing??? It's the only fucking thing I can't fucking stand jesus fucking christ is it too much to ask??? Don't fucking laugh at people when they fucking come to you in the pits of fucking despair and just begging to talk a little bit, fucking hell. And the worst of all is that I fucking know that you're a nice person and don't mean anything by it and that my head is a mess and sometimes I just wanna give up and disappear and christ what the fuck but seriously??? I'm not joking when I try to talk about this stuff. I don't have many friends close enough that I'd talk about this sorta stuff you know.
What's even the point of this. You're never ever gonna read this anyway. Fuck. For whomever is reading this, just don't fucking laugh at people when they come to you like a fucking mess. You might find their problems irrelevant but fuck is it too damn hard to just take them at their word? Fuck this shit.
So I finished watching The Boys season two. Still stand by my assessment: it's fun and well crafted but overall a bit on the vapid side. Nothing wrong with that, but I've been seeing people saying how The Boys is anti-capitalist just because it has some milquetoast neoliberal critiques; it's not really. Corporations being the big bad is admittedly closer to "real life" but this ends up being empty posturing, as I tried to argue on my article. Still, would I recommend it? If you want something exciting to watch it's quite good, not gonna lie - some very interesting twists and, surprisingly, some very good acting.
Haven't been updating much; I prefer to write when I have something to talk about. Setting up the now defunct IRC - not so great an idea in retrospect? - kinda sapped my creativity - though I'm kinda proud of the tutorial, it ended up pretty clear! Also doesn't help it's fucking nightmarishly hot where I'm at, fuck, just wanna lie down on a cold floor. Still, life goes on. I've been feeling kinda lonely these past few days and fuck I've been looking for any excuses to start conversations (sorry discord folks, might be a bit annoying??). The whole quarantine then kinda-not-quarantine then still nothing happening has taken a toll on me. I started this journal talking about this; and it has not changed terribly much, though I'm a bit better when it comes to self-destructive behaviors, so there's that.
As I write these these things only one thing comes to mind - fuck I need a smoke. Haven't been smoking much at all during these end-of-world times because of """personal circumstances""" but fuck I wanna smoke my death sticks the world is going to shit anyway who cares.
Yeah I know that's stupid. I'm actually kinda surprised how much better I'm doing right now considering how fucked up I was just a few months ago. The human being's capacity for adaptation is truly boundless I guess. Reading continues to be my nemesis though, and this saddens me to no end. Managed to nuke my instagram out of sheer annoyance so small victories! Why does it feel so empty though.
Words, words, words. After a while they become indistinct mumbling, small prayers (and perhaps curses?) wishing for someone, anyone, to listen. Do I even wish to be listened to? Or is this just fear to be left alone in the dark? As it were talking about myself is far less interesting than seeing what other people think about the world. Took me a long time for me to learn this lesson, but listening is, in the end, far more interesting than talking. It's also a lot more work. But, then again, worthwhile things generally are.
Mood: introspective (I kinda really like the weird livejournal style of posting for whatever reason).
Been doing a bit of cleanup in my spotify library. Kinda hate the service for a billion reasons, not least of them because it really fucks artists over, but at the same time it's the way I currently have to listen to music in a not completely shit way. When I'm in a bit better financial situation I'll just buy the artists' albums on bandcamp for a decent price and send spotify to hell. For now, though, I'm just trying to get a bit of bearing on my music taste. What do I really like? I feel I don't even properly know.
I've spent too much of my youth fucking around with games and pointless shit, and never really listened to music in a deeper way. Always felt I was missing out, but not much time was left over from being a fucking dickwad to other people and playing games (often just by myself since I kinda hate and kinda suck at online competitive games, especially shooters - only one I played for any length of time was tf2, and this was years and years ago).
Thing is, I think I kinda hate videogames now (board games are fine). Every fucking time I try to get into whatever game someone recommends me or something I, at best, kinda enjoy it for a couple of days but more realistically just get sick and tired very fast. It feels repetitive, a bunch of odd decisions in order to make the "gameplay" last as long as possible and frankly by now I kinda get pissed off when I notice the game is arbitrarily making me do "boring things" in order to get to the "good stuff". I know, I know, it's probably more my fault than the game's, but still, I didn't feel this way before at all. Guess I kinda became a bit jaded of all this stuff.
Why am I talking about all of this? Well it's my bloody journal and I kinda want to, but this sassy answer is incomplete: it's because I kinda feel lost without this old habit(?) of mine. I spent too much goddamn time on games and now I fucking hate them and feel like there's this big hole now - if someone asked "what do you like to do?" I might fumble a "reading, I guess..." but since my head feels like a fucking sieve that hasn't been happening much either. Also reading is too fucking lonely, geez, doing some other stuff would be kinda nice.
Music has kinda been the thing I've wanting to know better, I guess. Still feel like an absolute tool for trying to "get into music" but what you're gonna do? It's the way it is. It's very strange to notice you've become so different as a person that there's very little in common with you and the person you used to be. I feel like that, somewhat.
So I've spent a couple of hours dredging whatever was left of the pixel art I honed as a kid in order to make a totally rad button. Not much was left, unfortunately, and I got kinda lazy, so instead of four frames I just stuck with two and it's fine enough. Like it? Feel free to add to your totally tubular website, and I'll add yours back. What a great idea people in the 90's had. Wonder where all those ideas went. Probably shot dead by Zuckerberg's anti-competition death squads, leased from Coca-Cola. I wish this dumb joke didn't hit so close to home.
Fuck it's October already.
Been more than a month since I started writing here. It's an odd feeling knowing that people on the internet might be reading the stuff I write (and some even say they like it? Who'da thunk it.). I've always been bit shy so I've always been a bit afraid of saying what I really think, feeling what I really feel. Though I was fortunate enough to have made some friends even back when, I've always felt a little out of place. Like as if I was speaking in a slightly different dialect, enough for others to understand more or less what I was saying but always missing the mark by a little bit. It was, and still is, quite lonely.
I really love writing here. Don't know if it gets through given the morass of depressive schlock I every so often regurgitate here, but it's really special. It's a place to say things, and even if I don't say every single thing that comes to mind, as it is it's quite enough. Sometimes it's really really hard to just, you know, exist. Even when it's easy it's hard.
I'd rather avoid getting too sentimental. Might end up crying (which would do me a whole lot of good); though frankly sometimes I think I might have a really messed up emotional block or something like that. I cry real easy for sad movies and shows, the most obvious and cheapest tricks in the writer's arsenal get me real easy. "lovers get together then fate sets them apart forever?" I'm in tears. "heartfelt conversation between people that until then were emotionally stunted?" the river flows from my eyes. "someone who fucked up really bad gets redemption, especially bittersweet?" better drink some water because I'm about to get dehydrated. And yet, when it comes personal feelings? Stone cold, almost dysfunctional.
It's real silly but I'm telling the truth. I don't really like being this way. I want to feel things like for real. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. It's damn tough sometimes.
I wonder how it felt to be alive a hundred years ago. Without the constant buzzing of technology in the background, conversation at best at the speed of the telegraph but more realistically at the speed of a letter. I don't say this out of faux-nostalgia; I say it because I literally cannot envision a world without our current technological landscape. Is this a failure of imagination? Obviously yes, but I think my mind has been so throughly messed up by years upon years of "pseudo-skinner dopamine reward brain ted talk bullshit" that my twitchyness seems to be permanently etched into my brain.
Words words words. I bet the biggest difference that most people would notice is the relative silence in the air. Like, in the few places with nature more-or-less-kinda-intact (rural places, mostly) there are a few things that hit people out of the gate: air that doesn't feel like it's killing you by breathing; a soundscape that doesn't include the incessant noise of the city, as if urban dwellers were mortally afraid of peace; and the stars during the night.
I, obviously, am painting an unfair picture: there was plenty of noise and pollution already in the 1900's, given trains, artillery and working electricity already existed. Still, I am quite certain that if mostly any one of us were brought back a mere 120 years we would feel as if we landed on Mars. Sure, there's plenty we'd understand, but so many things would seem incomprehensible.
Where am I going with this? Nowhere. I feel twitchy. Like every couple of minutes I gotta scratch an unscratchable itch, take another hit of social media straight into the vein. Considering nuking whatever is left of them, honestly, but hell if I ain't lazy, too much trouble.
I miss those moments in between moments, those instants almost lost in time, those gaps between seconds when life happened. Did they really happen or was I dreaming awake? Fuck, I don't know anymore.
I sure was sad yesterday. It's always a bit grating to return to a somewhat more balanced frame of mind; suddenly one's mind gets rushed by thoughts such as "did I really say all those things? But why??" And it becomes all a bit embarrassing. Still, I won't erase it. Let it be a reminder for myself when I eventually get worse again.
As for something else: been really bothered by social media. This is nothing new, of course (or else I wouldn't be here!), but man has it been taking a psychological toll recently. Every bloody day I consider just outright deleting it, but there a couple (literally two) contacts that I wouldn't want to lose. Still, it's so fucked up and messes my mind up so much that even that is starting to not justify having it. There's also the bit about it hella spying on you, but frankly at this point my opsec is so bad that social media is the least of my worries. One of these days I'll just quit 'em all and curse windows to hell and transcend from this narrow closed-source nightmare. I don't even play games anymore, which pretty much is the sole justification to have windows over any other operating system. Fuck.
Yeah, I've been a huge mess (no news on that front captain). Yet with each passing day that feels utterly pointless and wasted I feel like I'm one step closer to actual change. It's like after repeating the same routine for long enough you either go mad or overcome it. Hopefully it'll be the latter. All in all, these are difficult times.
I need a smoke.
How many more ways can I say that misery keeps me company all hours? At this point I feel like I'm annoying not only the people who are reading but also annoying myself. I desperately want to talk to some of my friends and scream "i feel like shit listen to me please" but I know for a fact it becomes pointless after a while; they have their fair share of problems and I wouldn't want to spoil their perfectly decent saturday. So, I turn to here, my personal journal; if you, reader, are bored of this, you can just close the window - how convenient!
“My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known -- no wonder, then, that I return the love.” - "Either/Or", Søren Kierkegaard
Does Kierkegaard have a point? It sure feels like it. There is always a certain comfort melancholia gives the depressed; no wonder that Freud thought of it as a sort of narcissism. It's a falling into yourself, a closing off of the outside world in an attempt to reduce one's life to a bare minimum. The depressed, through his reduction of the world to the few certainties that remain in his head ("i am shit", "i hate myself", "no one cares") gets the pathetically small comfort of knowing something "for sure" - at the cost of becoming entirely dysfunctional. It's nonsense, and yet...
If you are depressed, do not read these words as a bitter invective. I direct the irony only at myself (and yes, I do appreciate the fine irony of saying that).
"Get up", "get out", "get better"; "just smile"; "think positive"; "it'll pass". The depressed mind looks like a airplane's black box to the uninitiated: incomprehensibly arcane. In well-intended attempts to say nice things, the knife gets twisted: "if it is so easy to be well, then why the fuck am i so broken?". Thoughts echo endlessly, as if they were an image in a hall of mirrors, progressively getting more and more distorted; or like a copy xeroxed a few too many times.
In the attempts to relinquish madness one trembles and cold sweat pours from every pore, reducing the person to almost a catatonic state. Every attempt feels hollow, predestined to fail, as if the gods had decided this was your lot in life and attempting to avoid it just amounts to hubris. Every one can have their personalized hell, tailor-made to suit just you. How convenient!
Bitter are the days in which one lives. In the background, Japan's "Ghosts":
Just when I think I'm winning
When I've broken every door
The ghosts of my life blow wilder than before
Just when I thought I could not be stopped
When my chance came to be king
The ghosts of my life blew wilder than the wind
I greatly admired the late Mark Fisher and his wonderful blogposts. This website is in part an attempt to emulate what he used to do - cultural critique with an edge never divorced from theory. Though he stands as a giant towering above most current left-wing cultural critique, it's a joy to give it a shot. As such, I've started to write down some thoughts on the Amazon Prime series "The Boys". If it interests you, maybe take a look at what I've wrote? It can be found under the "Texts" link in the sidebar.
This means I'll focus just on the content from now on, so maybe expect more regular updates and actual content that isn't just a journal.
What remains to be said? I try to think of something interesting to write, consoled by the plants at the edge of my desk. Personal feelings are funny - I enjoy reading about what other people have been feeling, for it, as I have said below in another day, reminds me of being part of humanity, of being not so different after all. And yet, I cannot help but to think that what goes inside my head and my heart (how corny!) must be supremely uninteresting for everyone else. Would they not, reading these thoughts of mine, react with boredom and perhaps scornful pity? "How supremely interesting must your life be if you go to the trouble of writing about it".
I have never ever thought that about other people's personal writing. Our mind is a cruel taskmaster when it comes to judge ourselves, I suppose; either wildly overestimating or brazenly underestimating, few are those I know who have a somewhat sane personal judgment. I write a lot about writing, reading and about depression; it's no surprise, for after all those are the thoughts that occupy my mind constantly.
I heard some ideas that left me pensive and somewhat miffed recently: the old argument, dating back to Herodotus and perhaps even before, that "we've (the left) gone soft and useless", that we need to become stereotypical cold calculating leninists, well toned and well armed. It sounded somewhat foolish to me (likely because of my own comfortable class background). But still, even in full knowledge of the coming hellish struggles, I couldn't help but to think that this was a radically foolish conception of strength. While yes, it doesn't hurt to be healthy and fit, and perhaps prepared for some amount of future violence (that is, frankly, inevitable and has already started, as seen in the protests), this Macho-style revolutionary who doesn't care for no bullshit feels a bit hollow.
Honest strength is, in my eyes, principled defiance, commitment to the cause, not particularly of any specific socialism (which easily becomes doctrinaire) but to universal justice and solidarity (which I don' believe excludes participation in organizations such as parties and such). And always with warm compassion and profound sadness for the human condition. This, of course, opens up avenues for being deceived; as any and all such choices do. To believe in another is to open the possibility to be betrayed. But only in believing in someone do they truly get to trust us. Left politics is sadly much harder than the mere efficient deployment of power and economic resources (extremely difficult tasks in themselves).
I don't have a pithy conclusion. I suppose this reveals me as an idiot who will never get anything done - there is a limit to this sort of unconditional belief before it becomes counterproductive, surely; and yet... and yet I can't help it. There will probably be the day in which I'll rue being like this, for these times are too cruel to allow for such foolish behavior. Still, I can't help but being like this.
... sometimes I write and then ask myself - did I just lie to myself? Are all these words above just mad ravings? Do I really think those things? By god, these thoughts of mine sometimes seem like they belong to another.
New layout. Though still missing a few details. Was a lot more work than I expected, but it was nice to actually try to figure stuff out. This is going to be the definitive version for quite a while, though minor adjustments are bound to happen. I'll keep the old website layout in a folder for now, just in case.
Been working on the website layout, so no new updates for now. Feel a little bit less shit, which is nice. Hope whoever is reading this is feeling well. Listening to Anamanaguchi now, sometimes chiptune stuff really hits the spot, not sure why.
Okay, the layout has been coming along nicely. I think the journal is going to stay like this for the time being, quite satisfied with the results. Though it isn't super easy to mantain (probably using a static site generator like Hugo would be far easier, but I wanted to code it myself) it's easy enough that I feel I confortable leaving it like this without it being a huge problem for now. Not sure about the way the sidebar looks now, but I wanted it to draw as little attention as possible.
Been listening to a lot of MASTER BOOT RECORD, there's simply nothing quite like it. Generally I'm not much of a metal fan, but the melodies and neo-baroque feel just make me really happy. Feels like Bach on meth or something like that, and by god it's good. Got nothing in particular to listen? Give it a try. My favorite albums are "INTERNET PROTOCOL" for a longer one, and "486DX" for an EP. There's also the KEYGEN CHURCH name by the same artist, though it is a bit more esoteric listening (and I love it just as much, if not more).
What else to say? Not much. Shit's tough even when it isn't, and I feel at the point of breaking all the time. It's scary. The easy conclusion is to think there's something terribly wrong with me (and perhaps there is??) but that's the easy way out. Despite my consistent self-loathing, I know for a fact that it's nothing particular special to be messed up like this, and I personally know enough people that are plenty broken in all sorts of manners.
In the end I guess it's more about how well you hide the messed up stuff than anything else. (Not saying there aren't actual healthy people, it's just they are few and far between, and odds are, almost everyone you know has some sort of addiction, trauma, paranoia or mental illness.) In the end we should be charitable to most - not to abusers and the like, of course - simply because if we aren't then most people are excluded by default. Sometimes it's easy to forget that subscribing to the side that defends that everyone has a right to exist means dealing with broken people - many times unpleasant ones - and the mess the capitalism has made. It's by far the harder stance to take, though it's far more confortable morally speaking. In the end dealing with such suffering folks ends up being messy, sometimes fucked up, oftentimes questionable, but always earnest. And I say this in the most charitable sense; what use is judging people? Making people feel inadequate just makes them angry at you. Again: who under the heavens has the right to judge people? Forgiveness and compassion is better than bitterness and revenge.
Do I always heed my own words? I wish. As always, saying is easy, doing is far harder. Still...
Working on this website has been really fun, figuring stuff out and trying to make it resemble the ideas I put on paper. So, all in all, these last few days haven't actually been bad. If that's the case, why do I feel so damn sad? Fucking hell, it feels like someone just stuck their hand inside my chest and yanked my heart out for no discernible reason. Fuck.
I wish I managed to be a bit more eloquent in times like these. All words seem empty and pointless, vain mumblings of self-gratification, cursed wishes for something else. I guess I'm just really fucking lonely. One would think that instant messaging would help with such feelings, but in practice talking through such means just makes me feel worse. Like, it's no substitute to actually seeing the person and giving them a hug and whatnot. Fuck.
Sometimes I feel like I won't be able to handle this for much longer. I know it's not really true, it's definitively possible to handle this and things far worse, but hell if it doesn't feel awful to the point of giving up. Shit.
Don't know what to say. Don't really want to say. And yet, I guess I write.
New-ish look. Still not my end goal, not by far, but closer to what I intend. Hope it's a bit better than before. Still don't feel very well, but trying to be around for my friends (metaphorically, covid's still a thing despite contrary assertions). It feels a bit arrogant of me to dispense advice (generally asked for, I think) when I'm not really that experienced. Like, aren't you supposed to get advice from wise old people rather than me? Still, people make do with what they got, and I guess even if I say some dumb shit it's still better than not being there. But man, does it feel sometimes like I'm trying to fill shoes way bigger than I possibly can. Hope this isn't too irresponsible.
Still working on the website, will take a while.
I feel like shit. Ugh. Loneliness is a bitch. Been really fucking depressed these past few days, withdrawal (from what?) is destroying me. Didn't think it would be this bad. Feeling all messed up. It being unbelievably hot doesn't help either. Fuck. Don't have anything even remotely smart-ish to say today. Hope whoever reads this is well; really scared of the hellish fires all over the place. Be safe.
It's always a strange feeling when I (once again) realize I'm not entirely under my control; it's impressive how bitter I become when a little sleep-deprived. Sometimes I wonder why people actually put up with this sort of shit. I guess when it happens to me I generally forgive it, so there's that. Still, it's not nice, and I hate acting like a jerk, even if it is a recurring problem.
Been thinking a bit about history. It's a strange thing; I often joke about it being "gossiping about the dead", and frankly, that's what it often is, rummaging through old papers many times without the explicit consent of those who wrote, looking for understanding and explanations. (It's interesting that diaries and journals are often written with the explicit expectation that someone in the future will read them, despite being so private.) I cannot help but wonder about the past, not in a reactionary way, wishing it could come back (it can't and shouldn't), but simply wondering just how people of the past felt about a bunch of things. Sure, they were humans and therefore we can expect a fair bit of overlap in things we feel and that they felt, but too often we underestimate the effect of language and culture on the way that we think and feel.
Every age and every place has it's way of dealing with the dead. In our modern, secularized and globalized times it's easy to make of funerals and the imaginary of what happens after death as merely casual things, personal choices or inherited habits - because, in the end, death has become quite banal. People are generally surprised when they find out that almost everything we do and feel nowadays is rather recent - take, for instance, "Death", as personified as a skeleton in a robe carrying a scythe. This depiction of death is remarkably new - from the late middle-ages, in the imagery of the danse macabre, where Death dances with both peasants and kings, and drags them, willingly or not, to the afterlife. It's no coincidence that it appeared after the Black Death, the apocalyptic plague of the 14th century, because, really, to have most people you know start to get ill and quickly die in horrific ways for no apparent reason, can only be properly depicted as a macabre dance where nobody is safe from the visit of Death itself.
I wonder how this pandemic will change our way of thinking. Clearly I can already notice that some changes that are absolutely interesting: when it started, back around March, and just a few people were wearing masks around here, when I went out wearing a mask it was as if I had been transfigured into an alien, given the looks of incomprehension in the faces of people; nowadays, even though there are the anti-mask folks, it's become normal to see everyone wearing masks, it causes no strangeness (on the contrary, I almost hyperventilated with anxiety the day I accidentally forgot and went out without a mask). This is a somewhat banal example, but it shows there has been one of those rare noticeable shifts in perception - and even with a vaccine, I doubt this feeling will go away entirely. The daily struggles of BLM in the protests have produced a similar change in understanding - not just the anti-police sentiment, but there's something particularly curious about seeing those events that only happen, as per the mainstream media, in distant places, not in the world's "first democracy" (bullshit) shaking the empire to it's knees. It reminds me of Mao's famous apocryphal phrase: "Everything under the heavens is in utter chaos - the situation is excellent". Is it really excellent? Few people seem to actually enjoy times of strife and struggle, but then again it's not like things were any good before. It's scary, but I guess the possibility of real change always is.
Melancholy has become the sound in the background of every moment. Recently got to see a friend that I had not seen in person in a while, and it was lovely. We talked a bunch, sharing small gossip and bitter new realities of this pandemic life. It is great to see people; even a recluse like me ends up missing dearly just being around friends and loved ones. What struck me the most, perhaps, is that as we talked of old times and dumb things we did, is that there was a certain unspoken understanding that those times are never coming back again - not in that style of a nostalgic old man remembering his youth, but because literally in the past few months the world has gone upside down.
That an economic crisis was coming was very obvious, though I think even the most paranoid doomer types were still taken by surprise when the virus actually hit and kind of validated their apocalyptic prophecies. It's strange to think that I (and many others) kind of quickly got used to the situation, even though it is deeply unpleasant. To think those old joys were so fragile as to be blown away spectacularly in a matter of weeks. And it's even more ironic, because it's not like I was happy before - a miserable pile of complaints, as always. So it should make little sense to want to go back - go back to what? Desperate hopeless alienated pain? In the very least it was a pain I've long known, unlike now.
Not sure what to say. The horizon seems rather bleak, and I'm not certain anymore. Don't want to evoke mindless clichés of "dark days ahead" that smell of pretention and bullshit, but rather say with conviction: "I'm completely lost. Totally. Have no idea where I am and where I'll go." Some people would call this liberating, to get away from our old chains, but I just feel like I'm stumbling in the dark.
Writing is a strange endeavor. For me it many times feels like something larger than myself, in the sense that I don't entirely control what I write. It seems somewhat absurd that something as involved and personal as writing can be outside one's grasp, and it kinda makes it sound like I don't want to be responsible for my words. Far from it, however; it's more like writing like this is somehow truer than my conscious thoughts, as if the words I cannot normally say suddenly gush forth in such moments. Of course, I do edit what I write a bit, and rewrite stuff that doesn't sound right, but the initial moment when ink meets paper is not entirely conscious, if that makes any sense. Is everyone else like this? Surely not, for I'm certain there are those meticulous sorts of writers that know exactly what they want to say beforehand.
Sometimes it's tough to make yourself understood. Words are way too unreliable to express feelings, and in my experience only good poets manage to actually translate sensations into words (it's a rare skill! - that I sadly don't possess). Which is ironic enough, because poetry too often uses words against their meaning, muddles up and shakes around our expectations. Makes me think of the premodern times, when orality and the unwritten word were the only ways to convey your thoughts to most people - given that only a few knew how to read. It is said that people that don't know how to read or write have far better memories than those who do - which would explain the incredible consistency in the transmission of epics such as the Odyssey - perhaps because the written word ends up shaping our minds to percieve only it as durable, and spoken words as merely ephemeral, quickly carried away by the wind.
Too often I'm careless with what I say and end up hurting people. Hate that in myself. Careless words many times wound deeper than sharp knives, and are much harder to heal. Recently I've been thinking that silence might be oftentimes better than ill spoken words - not when dealing with injustice, of course - but when talking of matters of personal failings and mistakes. After all, who under the heavens has the right to judge others? Certainly not me.
How often is too often? I've been in a rare writing mood these past few days, which explains the constant updates. I didn't intend to start a journal here, originally; despite the fact this domain is almost one year old, I've only recently started properly writing here. There is something about the journal format which I profoundly like; I suppose it's the apparent honesty and lack of explicit purpose. I mean, it's not like I write for anyone or any reason in particular. There is no imaginary reader that these words are addressed to; it's mostly reflecting out loud, a thinking-to-myself with a hidden audience. There is a certain small arrogance in writing in such a manner - are my thoughts really valuable enough to expose like this? - but in the end I'm not really worried about this site's reception in itself. Why write? "Because I want to" should be sufficient reason, hopefully.
I commented out a previous entry (dated the 29th) because I wasn't really satisfied with it, but if you want to read it just check out the source. If these are personal thoughts, surely perhaps I shouldn't be terribly rigorous with myself, and yet it doesn't feel like anything goes here. Like I should hold myself to some sort of standard or something. I've kept a few journals before, but I always end up burning them. Partly because I don't want anyone I know finding them, but also partly because I couldn't see the point of keeping those old words. Their objetive was cathartic, to say things if not out loud then on paper; reading afterwards seemed a bit pointless - for what purpose than to reminisce? I'm no lover of nostalgia for nostalgia's sake.
I don't really feel like "burning" this journal, but every now and then I might just comment out old posts that I'm no longer satisfied with. That way they're not entirely lost for those (whom?) that might want to read them for whatever reason, but also not really displayed. Not sure if this is a good idea.
There's something quite special in reading someone else's journal and finding feelings close to one's own. It's too easy to get lost in this alienated world of ours, feeling entirely atomized. To read someone else's voice and finding that they have thoughts so very like our own is like finding out about an old friend you've never known, another kindred soul lost in this hellscape (though I do very much enjoy reading the thoughts of people that are so very different from myself - provided they aren't detestable - and opening my eyes to so many different experiences).
Depression sucks. Yeah, yeah, I know that's a pretty tired trope nowadays, when the radical(tm) edge of mental illness has been replaced with a general feeling of "yeah whatever, we all are depressed, big fucking deal, go see a doctor and take some pills or something", but I insist in raising the subject. Why? Because beneath the tough shell of battle-scarred PTSD late capitalist millenial/gen z fuckups, it's tough to deal with it.
There was a dumb tweet the other day where a woman said mental illness had been a bit too normalized nowadays, and a bunch of people got rightfully pissed off and pointed out how many people, above all those marginalized, are seen as insane, get no fucking attention and thus no fucking treatment whilst bourgie idiots spout that sort of shit - and they were right, of course. But the dumb tweet had a small kernel of truth, it seems to me: it's not that depression and its manic friends have become popular, easy to talk about and thus not as relevant (obviously not), but that we kinda got used to the idea that having a mental illness is no longer surprising. Like, we should be fucking appalled at the fact that capitalist society churns out broken people faster than actual products for sale; in a sense perhaps we have gotten too used to the fact that yeah, capitalist life is shit and having a disorder or ten is to be expected - so just try to deal with it, go to a therapist or something (and if you have the means please do, I'm not advocating for the bullshit stoic school of repressing traumas).
Every fucking depression diagnosis, every person that can barely get out of bed should be an unquestionable indictment of the actual reality we live in. Has any other society, in any other time or place, produced as a matter of fact so many psychologically disabled people? Like, it's not like other times were good, but there's something to be said when living in Steven Pinker's perfect end of history progress liberal utopia how a remarkable amount of people have to take emotion-killers (also known as depression meds) just to cope with being alive. In a sense it's the age old sympton versus causes schools of psychology (with their schools being psychiatry and psychoanalysis, respectively). Do you treat the sympton and make the person be capable of just barely functioning, or do you try to find the root causes that broke them in the first place? And if those root causes turn out to be an inescapable dead-end job, what good does it do to find them out? "Well I'm sorry you live in a shit society not much you can do short of actual revolution, good luck" is not exactly immediately useful knowledge, even if it's far more truthful.
I'm a depressed mess. Not really surprising, as I've said above. And knowing that doesn't exactly make me feel any better. But it does make it impossible to forget the reality we live in. I guess in a sense it's kinda the point: wouldn't it be really fucked up if we were alright amongst climate disaster, racial apartheid, cyberpunk corporations, an apocalyptic pandemic and a rentier neo-feudal nightmare economy? It's not that something has gone terribly wrong and now we have a bunch of broken people; that was the entire point: the system only functions properly when people are miserable, because that's the end goal of endless accumulation; to feel well is to be privileged, uninformed or just plain insensitive, it seems to me.
It's tough; I feel like I should always be there for my friends and comrades, but it ends up being like carrying more crosses than I can handle, being barely capable of carrying my own. I won't say it's our duty to always be there for those we care about because duty is an unfortunate word; but in the end we rely on those we can rely on, and vice-versa. It's tough. Writing here helps a bit, but no amount of words could make it better. In any case, if anyone feels like they need someone to talk, and if an anonymous idiot on the internet would suffice, my email is in the about page.
It seems like my brain has fried. Reading anything has become quite difficult - even comics; it's as if focusing has become an impossible endeavor, like reaching toward the stars. This is, of course, nothing new, in a personal sense: it has gotten worse and worse over the past few years; though it is, in a general sense, an incredibly recent phenomenon. I used to be quite the avid reader as a kid; now in my mid-twenties I can barely read a news article without making some significant effort - and what little I can read I can remember even less. It's tempting to search for personal reasons for this: as one gets older, many things start fighting for your attention; depression gets in the way of doing even basic stuff; and in general there are more important things to read instead of easy silly YA novels (and those stop being very interesting anyway).
But the incredible amount of personal tales and laments about stopping reading in the past decade indicate something else. Sure, all those reasons I've mentioned above do make it harder to read; but it doesn't explain why older (say, middle-aged) people who read avidly their whole lives suddenly seem to be incapable of holding a train of thought. The problem seems to be primarily both technological and cultural, and it's a shift of worrying proportions. The common enemies cited are social media and smartphones: the ubiquity of FOMO, endless scrolling websites and other cancerous features in recent internet design trends seem to be devastatingly addictive - to the point where the mind seems to be trained, pavlov-style, to reach for the pocket and check for new stuff every few minutes or so - or to open a new tab and check on Twitter or whatever. I wonder if people in general are becoming more ignorant (i'd certainly include myself there) for sheer incapability of properly paying attention to stuff, like some sort of ultimate alienation where even our thoughts become divorced from ourselves, constantly twitching towards the rush of gamefied bullshit at hand's reach.
Web 1.0 (god bless neocities) rejects this, and it's a dramatically different experience as such (though the whole feed and following other websites is, admittedly, similar enough to warrant some worry). In any case, I really miss reading like I used to. There is nothing quite like the feeling of losing oneself in a text, getting inebriated in good prose, dreaming alongside characters or being slowly seduced by a well-crafted argument. People recommend plugging off, deleting social media and all sorts of stuff, and surely it helps on a personal level to some extent, but it's naive to think one can escape totally from this nightmarish machine that is late-capitalist technology. A good book on the subject (and one I delighted in reading, though it took some effort, as explained above) is Jenny Odell's "How to do Nothing", which critiques all this stuff without forgetting the actual material and historical dimensions of these problems (highly recommend it by the way!).
I don't have a decent conclusion. This is in the end a dumb effort to write a wall of text which is hard to read. Why not just abandon this and accept the instant gratification of the internet version of crack cocaine? In the end I guess spending too much time online just feels bad. Like there's something that just isn't right, and not in a luddite sense, but like losing a bit of yourself that doesn't ever come back every time you press F5 to reload the page in hopes someone will have said something interesting or funny. I don't like it. (though i don't really judge people who do like it).
It seems like a silly endeavor to start a web 1.0 site in the midst of what is, essentially, capitalism's long delayed implosion. A long time ago I used to be a not completely useless programmer; nowadays I've mostly forgotten everything, to the point of having to look up "how exactly does html work come again??". I haven't mucked about too much around the neocities world of websites, though it does seem like right-wing leaning opinions populate the majority of websites - what is to be expected from tech-minded people and the like, to be fair (also, if anyone is reading this, feel free to disprove me and send recommendations of some nice left-wing websites around these parts!). In the end, I suppose I just want to sometimes write to somewhere that isn't my drawer, and maybe interact a bit with some people that otherwise I would not find out about.
The pandemic has raised the stakes to the point of causing a double effect: showing what really matters to oneself (cuts through the bullshit of regular neoliberal life by threatening with death continuing our old ways of existing) and at the same time making people so stressed as to rely on old vices or plain-old escapism in order to cope with the daily nightmare of news. I certainly have been less-than-healthy these past few months. Covid has produced closeness through screens and separation in person - i'm tired of seeing couples break up or terrible family fights recently (after all being forcibly close in small homes for months on end can drive anyone to a quick temper). I myself have been struggling with some rather old habits (addictions? I'm more convinced by the Fingarette school of interpreting addictive behavior, but that's just me) and unflattering behavior that has been pursuing me for years on end now. Falling into old patterns is incredibly dismaying, frankly. I'd rather not get into details here, even in a semi-anonymous kind of blog, because it's a bit too shameful; suffice to say it's bad enough that I've been trying to stop this for years now, unsuccessfully.
What's the point of saying all this? none, really, but all the same I suppose it's a product of alienated life on the extreme: there's only so much boredom that crappy netflix (or youtube or whatever) shows can stave off, and despair can lead into some regretful actions. I suppose one ought to be a bit less judgemental during this moment, but I can't seem to forgive some people (I probably should but I don't want to). It's tough trying to not be a complete piece of shit I guess (oh woe is me). All in all shit sucks, I suppose.