new years begin with little light. the least light. not much is done in the dawn or twilight. just long shadows and reflection.
i had been thinking quite a bit how this has been the longest period of my life. time has stretched back to childhood levels where seasons drag. weeks feel like decades. historically, whenever i have this specific reflection — that a season or period has gone on too long — it is a harbinger of whirl wind passage. ruts dug deeply enough in my routines to carry me without thought or consequence from day to day. this is dangerous. this is when the years fly by, inertia pushing me at staggering speeds.
then, like you, i had been keeping up on ben’s winter travel journal. all good stuff, but of course i paid more attention to the 12.22 entry as i was privy to the conversation. i mean, it was sort of tangentially about me. obviously. so here we are at the word “whim” and me, and this has all put me in a good frame of mind. in my experience there is a newness to whim – there is always an “i didn’t expect myself to do that.”
and then finally, i believe i have listened to precisely one podcast before today. i think that first podcast made me tear up in some wholesome way. not tears of joy, but tears of goodness or something. anyway, that first podcast was a very positive experience. that was at least six months ago. i still shun podcasts religiously. it’s just not who i am.
but a new year, caught on a whim, caught by an ad, i listened to another podcast. a michael pollan interview where he discussed, among other things, consciousness, the modern day ego and mental entropy (“whim” as defined above). this was all set against the backdrop of medicinal psychedelic experiences. definitely worth a listen.
this podcast reaffirmed many thoughts i’ve had about my sense of self, and my ego’s role in isolation and encapsulation. especially in the ego’s creation of its own affirmation through the stories it repeats to itself. these stories continuously retell themselves to me and serve to tell me who i am. they define me. and definition has it’s place, but my particular ego continues from these historical definitions and projects into the future, foreshadowing and forestalling any would-be attacks on itself. after all, what is an ego but it’s own posturing? as such, the definition it has carved out for itself is quickly used to prevent new experiences. my ego will try to relegate a future me to an already-told story. unless i view myself principally as a traveller, and i do not, my ego will attempt to keep me confined to a known story. a well defined story. and, this is of course fertile ground for addiction, depression, and other hermetic behaviors. autonomous tautology.
this is all great. cool. you’re welcome for the book report. but three things pointing to the same, nearly identical conclusions, all from different angles. whoa. trippy.
i haven’t done any drugs for a few decades, but i will admit to learning quite a bit about life from them. there is some terror in the new, but newness is also the only place most people find the good moments. moments away from your ego (what pollan was advocating for more research in). moments you haven’t yet marred with your own crappy desires. moments that last for years.
d) (almost) aphorisms
there is coyote shit all over the place around here.
i have fashioned a chimney box that will look okay from 30′ because the store bought one would still look bad from an 100′.
despite his attained age, think how quickly kant’s life must have flown. the precision of his day to day circumstance must have had him in a free fall toward the grave.
if you want to be miserable, just get really comfortable.
e) the other
today is my 15 year work anniversary. i have been with cait for a couple more years than that. these have been very consistent parts of my adult history. these two facets have encompassed and defined nearly all of my adult identity. luckily, they have grown and changed just enough over time. i suppose if i evolved mentally the way my marriage and profession do, i wouldn’t mind an upcoming change. i might look forward to it. perhaps it is the relational part that keeps these things from stagnating. perpetually confronting the others’ demands and rewards is quite stabalizing without becoming a rut. after all, it can never become codified as “my” ego, if there is someone else participating in it.
and yet left to my own insular mind, i coagulate almost immediately. the perpetual unfolding at walking speed is just about a perfect sensation. it’s almost like humans evolved to be at their peak while walking.
f) the verb
oh.. right. not-depressed is walking along, terrified (or maybe not worried) and experiencing everything. psychadelics and neuvo-faux-homesteading are both flights of fancy, untethered from a reaching a destination at high speed.
“whimming” is the cracking of my ego just enough to allow new, undefined mes (multiple first person singulars) to emerge. further, this actually stretches my perception of time (if indeed it is external and immutable). whim makes my life longer. i’m trying to allow for some mental entropy, as yet undefined, a place where i have no self already, and let the seconds tick by slowly.