Luxury Before Necessity

I’ve moved again, moved out of your brain. I hate moving. Nevertheless, there are advantages. I’ve got money at the moment –won’t say how– and I can afford to make the new place the way I want it. God damn, it’s a bloody wonder what you can do with money. I got a ton of furniture given to me, I had to turn down half a dozen couches; I, beggar that I am, got to pick and choose. And then, for sundries, I had, for my taste, a lot of fucking money. What did I do? I bought luxuries. I bought a new headset, I bought a cool bluetooth speaker that I control with my cell-phone, I got plisse blinds, custom fit to my damned windows. Nobody seemed to have a bed left over, thank God, so I bought a bed made of oak, a good slatted frame, and a mattress that’ll last until I’m dead. Add to that cambric linen bedding. Motherfucker, you wouldn’t believe what that all cost.
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Unfortunately, my lighting is limited to reading lamps. Two. Makes me go to bed early (well, unless I simply do without light, excepting the light that comes from my monitor), and the early worm, as everyone knows… I have a television, but no connection (I’ll miss those vignettes from your brain). Well, I have a connection, but I’d have to pay to have it activated. Does that count as a necessity? Not for me. Light? Ahh, I’ll get by. I have to wash my dishes per hand, no dishwasher. If I stopped drinking for a a couple months I could buy a dishwasher, but… necessity? Nah.
Drinking a mudslide, listening to Vorbei ist vorbei from Die Ärzte –it’s blasting out on the new bleutooth loudspeakers in the neighboring room– and thinking: Yeah.
Luxury before necessity. I catch myself thanking God that the level of my „necessity“ is so high. My supposed necessity is another man’s luxury. I could sink to his level, and I would still be satisfied. The fact is that I live at an incredibly high level of civilization, a level which I don’t need. I got music, any time I want, and drugs, and a bed so incredibly comfortable that it boggles the mind. Do I need all these things?
The answer is easy: No. I don’t need all that. I Love it, I enjoy it, but I don’t need it. I’d be just as happy sleeping on a palm-matt. Probably happier. Most humans are happy as long as they don’t have to fight for their lives on a basic level. Sure, they want to improve on things, that’s the way humans are, but basically their doing fine.
As I think these thoughts, further delights are awaiting me. I had today off, and I took the opportunity, being flush at the moment, to buy two expensive bottles of rosé and some smoked salmon. This is what I mean with luxury. That salmon is waiting for me….
And now comes a song that reminds me of my previous (and still) love, and I revel in my regrets, my melancholy. That, too, is a luxury. If I was looking for my next meal, I wouldn’t have time for this mental self-torture crap. And I’d probably be healthier and happier for it. Looking for the next grub, and thankful if I found it.
All this make me fearful for the way humanity is going. All these things surrounding me, the plates, the forks; what good are they? The salmon lies on the plate, enticing, lovely. The bread toasts in the toaster. It’s lovely, these are the fruits of civilization, but…
It’s luxury. And it doesn’t make a damned difference. Yes, I enjoyed buying all these things, but it didn’t make me happy. I will enjoy eating the salmon on fresh toasted white bread, but it won’t make me happy. Give me that woman back, then I will be happy. I’d gladly live with her in the meanest hovel, scraping lichens from the rocks in the winter to get through… then I’d be happy.

Time

You lose. There is a sort of deep ferocity about it, isn’t there? The next are waiting. It’s cruel, time. You simply can’t win against time, being mortal. You’ll never get to say all you wanted to… there isn’t enough time. You’re waiting for the right moment, and it just isn’t there. Or it has already past… you’re not fast enough. By the time you’re old enough to realize what you want to say, no one is listening anymore. Time’s up, you’re fucked. Well, perhaps it’s all for the best. Or not. You’ll never know, because you’ll be dead. In any case, you’re fucked.
Listening to Turkeychase, from Bob Dylan, by the by.
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Another Conversation with God

„Who are you?“
„I am what I am, I’m Popeye the sailor man.“
Hellstrøm is nonplussed. „Wh… what?!“
„I’m sorry, wasn’t that the right answer?“
„Don’t you know?“
„Yes, I know.“ God giggles, then knits his brow in thought. „At least, I think I know.“
„Wait a minute… you’re just fucking around with me, right? Who are you? What are you?“
„I’m, uhh… it’s impossible to pronounce in your tongue.“
„What do you mean, you mean, like, you’re an alien or something, with a name impossible to pronounce?“
„No… uhh, yes.“
„What the…?!“
Hellstrøm decides to approach the matter from another angle.
„Where did you come from?“
„From never-never-land.“
Hellstrøm’s mouth writhes wordlessly.
„Wrong answer again? I’m sorry. It’s just…“ God’s voice peters off.
„Yes?“
„It’s difficult to keep all this stuff apart…“
„What stuff, what do you mean?“
„Everything.“
„Everything…? To keep everything apart?“
„Yes. Maybe.“
„But, but… who are you?!“
„3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592…“
„Stop!“
„I can just tell: wrong answer again, right?“
Hellstrøm curses under his breath and wonders how he can get out of this conversation gracefully. After all, it wouldn’t do to offend God, would it now? On the other hand, something in him wants to get to the root of the matter.
„You can’t keep everything apart… what do you mean by that exactly?“
„Nothing.“
Once again Hellstrøm’s mouth writhes wordlessly.
„Anything? Is that the right answer? Nothing seems to satisfy you though! That is to say, in a manner of speaking… nothing.“
„I have the feeling you are leading me in circles here, God.“
„Circles? Circles are fun. One, two, three… it’s the threes that get me. Or the sevens. I’m not sure. All those little numbers… put ’em together, and they’re big. Made so many I’ve lost track. But I am not leading you, Hellstrøm, I am you.“
„So, you’re Hellstrøm?“ Hellstrøm feels utterly silly in posing the question.
„Yes… uhh, no. Yes.“
„It’s the wrong fucking answer again, God. Now just stop bullshitting me and, and…“
„All the numbers,“ God grumbles, „it’s enough to drive you batty. I know them all, I am all the numbers, it’s no wonder I can’t concentrate. Too many variables. Possibilities. It’s gotten out of hand, but I can’t stop it anymore. And to think I started with zero…“
„So… so you’re saying…“
„No!“ God thundered, „Yes! Maybe! Take your fucking pick! There is no answer to your questions, and every answer is correct!“
When Hellstrøm had finished cowering, he went home and listened to some music and smoked a joint, reminding himself of Voltaire’s words on doubt and certainty.
Voltaire-Baquoy

The Flag

I’ve already written about patriotism, so you may already have an inkling of what I think about flags. Flags are signs, signs for something or other… I really like signal flags, you know, the kind sailors used to make themselves understood before the times of radio and all. But I can not stand flags as signals of a nation or an idea.
What made me think of this was a very good anti-war film I saw recently, in which many human ideals and feelings were presented. Personal feelings, personal ideals, a good story, great acting. I won’t say which film it was, since that is absolutely irrelevant. What ruined it for me was that, at the very end, truly, in the last 30 seconds, the American flag was shown, as if it represented those ideals and feelings. As if the sign of a nation could represent those things.
Because that is the very thing which disappoints me about America. It doesn’t live up to its ideals… I mean, what kind of fucking sick joke is that supposed to be? It doesn’t even approach the shadow of those ideals within a hundred miles.
I love ideals, poor forlorn romantic that I am, and I know how difficult it is to live up to them. But at least I am honest about it, to some small extent. I don’t go around saying: look at me, I am an idealist, see how I live up to it, see how good I am, how pure! I don’t wave my flag, and I don’t hoist it up on a damned pole for all to see, because I know how foolish that would be.
Unless, of course, you consider this blog to be a sort of flag pole, the posts being flags. In which case I have only one thing to say: a blog is not a flag pole. Christ, even I notice the difference.
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Levels

Get rid of the fucking levels, please. Often enough I’ve written about levels and how interesting they are, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty, I make things flat. Reduce it all to one level. At the moment I mean this in the technical sense. You know, technical shit, computers and all.
I get data from all over the world, and I feed it to machines that are supposed to make sense of it. And when they get data that is on many levels, they choke on it, more often than not.
I don’t blame them. If someone were to feed me data that included so many levels, I might choke on it, and no one would think the worse of me, though my brain is far more complex than any software yet invented, so complex that it can even master something we call intuition. So why do people expect that to work with a printing machine, a machine that reduces data to a two-dimensional graphic that someone can look at and understand? These are machines that, in the end, bring ink to paper. It doesn’t matter that the ink is actually not ink at all, but rather artificial resin, or wax, or solvent-based tints. It’s a physical process, dammit. It’s hardware. It’s simple. And though it is guided by software, it’s no wonder that it chokes on levels.
All these levels are only present in our minds, and they have no place in the physical, the real world. At least not in the real printing world. So, no matter what you want to have printed, please, just… just please… get rid of the fucking levels before you send it to the printer.
So much for the technical side, now to the philosophical. Gimme the levels, baby. The more the better. Maybe you’ll force my mind on its knees with them, but I’ll have fun trying to figure them out (well, mostly). Life is not as simple as bringing ink to paper, thank stochastic and the crazed human brain. So, gimme the levels! Make me think, please!
I may not like the truth you speak, but I will think about it. Even if it is a lie, I will think about it. I will take it in my mental hands and turn it hither and thither and look at all the levels and wonder. I’ll pick those levels apart and try to understand them. Why did you make those levels? What do they mean to you, to me? Who are you, that you were impelled to build those levels as you did?
It never ceases to fascinate me: the human penchant to take things apart, to categorize them in to many different little levels. But the most fascinating thing of all is that the actual goal of all this minute analysis is to make an understandable whole. In the end, we want to bring things down to one single level after all. We want to understand everything. We want a formula, a simple statement, that will describe everything. The answer.
That is insane. It’s impossible. Crazy apes! Crazy, stupid apes!
Is that all there is? There’s something in me striving, driving for more. There has to be an answer, it says. I doubt I’ll find it, but someone will, if the human race should be lucky, and survive long enough. Yeah, well, the other side of my coin says, each answer poses new questions. It’s like trying to find the smallest particle… there is alway something smaller yet. And the answer gets smaller and smaller… until there is nothing left but nothing.
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I am anything but alone in this, and I know many people find the answer in God. It’s a simple, flat answer. Belief allows them to live their lives in peace, because they don’t have to think about it anymore. It’s as if they’d been printed on a piece of paper, and that’s it, black on white. Well, maybe there are colors, too, but in any case it’s a done deal. Tempting, isn’t it? Someone printed me, with intent, I am a product, made with something in mind, with purpose. Though I may not understand the purpose, just as ink on paper has no knowledge of what it says, I have a purpose.
Well, I am literally laughing out loud, rolling on the fucking floor at that statement… purpose? You’re kidding me, right? You… *gasp* you can’t mean it seriously? Hahahaaaa…..! Oh shit, I’m gonna die, can’t get no air…! *Gag*
Alright, I survived. I didn’t die from that gut-laugh. My body prevented me from dying for lack of air. It’s part of the paper I’m printed on: my physical body will not allow me to give up. Not for comedy, not for philosophy, not for anything. No matter how hard I laugh or cry over it all, I have to go on. The man in me won’t let me give up.
That man in there, what does he want? I don’t dare forget him, because he is the one who drives me, in the end. He may think about all these things I describe, but basically he has another agenda. He wants to see his children grow, he wants to live and love… the basic things of life. He is an ape, and he knows it. He has no problem with that knowledge. He couldn’t care less about the world at large. He’ll kill to defend his own, and he’ll drink a drop on the way to make the killing easier. He doesn’t give a damn about purpose, provided it’s not his own purpose. He’s been indoctrinated with certain ideals, but he’ll bend them to suit his needs and desires. Slightly. He can’t, after all, jump out of his own skin. Even if he could, he wouldn’t want to. Fortunately he has not been brought up to believe in God, for otherwise he would most likely do so.
He has been brought up in doubt. He doesn’t know, therefor he inquires. Sometimes it makes him unhappy, nevertheless he reminds himself that, as Voltaire put it, doubt is not a pleasant state of mind, but certainty is absurd. On the other hand, it is his sense of absurdity, when he thinks about it, that keeps him from going insane. That, and his belief in love. Belief.
Oh, shit, belief? I might just as well believe in God, or? But for me, God is just a concept. I can’t feel God. I can feel love. You can tell me a thousand times over that love is just a mixture of chemicals in my body and brain that make me feel that way, and intellectually I will pay you heed, but you will never ever convince the man in me. So, when it comes down to it, am I just as bad as a fanatic religionist. My glands rule me, crazy little animal that I am. But I am at least aware of it, and I don’t swear it is the only truth for all of mankind. I wouldn’t go out and kill other people because they don’t love.
However, this is the belief that keeps that crazy little ape in me in line. If it weren’t for that, I would run amok. Without that belief, my life would be worthless, and I would show all the other crazy apes what that means: I’d kill, and kill, and kill… because I don’t like people. They are a bunch of fucking assholes, slaves to greed and idiocy and the feeling of power. Love, that is the most meaningful thing for me. It’s the way I am built, nothing I can do about it. Without love, I’d be a loose cannon.
So, you may be wondering, like me, how I came from levels in print-data to love and death. Just goes goes to show how everything hangs together. Or how a creative mind can establish weird connections. A crazy mind, what the fuck. As usual, you can’t take anything I say at face value. Trickery. The rings under my eyes hang down to my balls, and that is an indication of how seriously you should take my statements. Very seriously, or not at all.
More rum, please.

Unsocial Occupation

Writing. An unsocial occupation if there ever was one, for me at least. I know there are writers who take their laptop to the local café and write there, watching the goings-on, meeting friends now and again as they sit and drink their coffee, greeting, conversing, laughing, saying goodbye, but that’s not for me. I’d hardly get a single word down that way. I need the silence I can only get alone in a room of my own. Its only then that the single-minded concentration comes, and the ideas start to unfold in words.
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The ideas are already there. They’ve budded prematurely, fooled by the long summer, been hit by frost and fallen to the ground, where they’ve fermented during those two wonderful warm October weeks. They’re waiting for me. All that remains is for me to let them unfold in nice little words that most people, I hope, can understand. All those little words are like notes in a song, to be arranged in the best possible way I can conceive of. It’s a real bitch sometimes, but basically I enjoy it so much I can’t stop doing it.
It makes me something of a recluse at times, but then again, perhaps that’s the way I like it. Not always, mind you; I need human contact, God knows. What would my stories be, without the interaction of human beings in them? Sterile things. But I need that sterility in order to focus. I need calm and silence in order to think. I can’t let ideas unfold when I am surrounded by people, because I am then always thinking about what they are thinking. About what they are doing, and why they are doing it, and what they are thinking while doing it.
Well, not always. Sometimes I just don’t give a fuck what they do or think (pretty often; that is to say… almost always, actually). But you get my drift.