One comes to crave meaning so much one learns a new way of craving. I can’t even say desire because the term is so wrapped up in Lacan and how speaking about Lacan reverses the work Lacan suggests one desire by, yet there exist entire publications designed to pull the curious and unrecruited in to act as confirming gaze for psychoanalytic milieus transferring young souls into the academic bank. This is not a cynical rant. I have no interest in mania, or passivity, or being being-seen. Sometimes I think television … and I suppose now all moving images on//with dual narrative screens are simply religious icons, the better to practice the fantasy of being seen and judged by embodying that gaze for a screening of a future perfect self.
More than a month has passed since my last entry here. This time, between then and now, as I hold it in my mind’s eye takes the form of a channel, or current, with more swirling eddies of retrospective questions than any yet in my time so far as a New Yorker. Questions of purpose, questions of knowledge: what kind of life have I been seeking? When have I felt things were going according to plan? When have I felt like there was a plan? It’s as if parts of me have been systematically cut from myself, and put up for board review to the crew of the ship of fools.
It’s so strange how much I’ve expected from people who are essentially strangers. Stranger still, I’ve thought over the past week, how directly I’ve transferred my own voice onto this “picayune” blog, how superlatively narcissistic these words have become. Most others who compose do so in a voice not so different than what one would find on any other social networking site, implicitly praising univocity. Of course, I have full non-consensual access to the voice of imagined dissent, too. The one which crosses oneself on the grounds of what one does not or should not possibly know, but I’ve always felt entitled to expressing my thoughts, and this tendency has only become more fastidious and inexorable as the weeks go on, because no one I live amidst is thinking about these things so directly: Time, Desire, Repression, Eros, Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Philosophy, Linguistics, Poetry. All whom I’ve personally met and carried on an extended correspondence with are more concerned with mainstream humanism, philanthropy, ideologically-ridden sentimental solace, efficiency, mental ticks, advertising, profit, drugs, modernist ethics, games of categorical denotation, decadence and unconscious hedonism.
But the strangest thing recently, since I returned to that unhappy vocation on the streets of Manhattan, is how quickly I’ve coated myself in psychosomatic, syntactic and rhetorical code. I’ve sunk into myself, embedded my own feelings in my appearance, hidden away from the daily world of capitalist-driven charity and its infinite greed. Why? I’ve not had a single real desire answered (let alone sated) in six months, and the city, in its sound and fury, has no translatable import to my real voice. What I mean is that I have not truly communicated one single word or gesture in this city yet this year.
Everything is mediated. There’s no “there” there, just a husk.
Consequently, anything resembling a real sense of identity has switched tracks from the physical, embodied space of skin, substance and dimensions to the vicissitudes of time itself; I am here, but I am not here. Most of what I think about and feel has as its object things which exist only partially, yes in memories, but also in their manifold interpretations, and the alternate relationships and manners and genders I’d persist in now as a result of them. This multiplicity of past timelines has a substantial philosophical effect; namely, an acute sense of enhanced authenticity; every quip, tick, retort, mood and voice has an entire narrative of its own, each again with another higher-order manifold in alternate origins. The greater the complexity, the more I seem like everyone else; the simpler, the more abstract, odd and exceptional I am. What this means is to be myself is to be a very strange man, indeed.
But it’s the future that completes this shift in personality to the temporal. A dandelion blown away into a gust of full wind no one else believes in, a cloud of infinite forms pausing for a moment to return my gaze.
A man named Arthur living in the upper east side, born and raised, spoke to me for twenty minutes about his temp job, how he’s losing the battle for his house against the forces of gentrification, how he’s facing early retirement, how he has survived cancer despite his family withering away. He is attractive, with gray hair peeking out of his face; vibrant, strong and experienced, yet tired, and afraid. He almost brought himself to tears. He kept repeating “it’s only getting worse, it’s only going to get worse,” looking over my shoulder all the while, addressing what I imagine is his last conversation with the present.
On the subways I read Derrida on my phone, and contemplate the ironic value of how perfectly my former college life’s socially available (and virile) narrative fits into his notion of différance; repetition within origination, the mechanism inside the singularity; the machine in the event. The train transports me between worlds, from my own homebody’d phenomenology of spirit and somber recognitions to the Sisyphean masques of the weekday; the tribal assemblies pre-sales-dissemination, the curious eyes I send away, the spiked coffee to tolerate quantitative individuation, all of it is a strange machine everyone turns into gears for, and I give thanks to myself for having even accidentally given myself a place abstracted enough from the artificial movements of others’ quotidian woes for me to at least have three hours’ physically manifested space which does not forbid melancholy, and tears are fought back on that 2 train to work, every other day, whether I know which thoughts are bringing them to bear or not.
And every night, one promises oneself that emails will be sent, signals made to other machines, other jobs, other feeds and zines and queens, and that someday, someone wrapped up in self-contemplation among the stars of all the myriad ways one’s future-perfect self could turn out will unravel, to Ravel, and appear, laying, pre-stretched and relaxed on this multiverse one was always already treading through.
I was just accepted for a position on the first floor of The Strand. I think. I was very distracted by an acute case of depression, which I had been doing my best to disguise with sanguine continence. But the calling manager, who overheard my jumping for joy (and giggling with glee) changed his voice’s tone as he explained to me that I would have Tuesdays and Thursdays off. He sounded a little annoyed, much to my chagrin. Then he told me to come in next Thursday (the twelfth), which implied an obvious contradiction.
Now I have this reality-encompassing fear that a) I’m going to walk in on Thursday to the first floor information desk, and the manager will refuse me with a laugh, saying “a job for you at Strand? …hahaha, there is nothing here for you, you pathetic philistine failure!”, or b) that my overzealous exuberance at getting the gig prevented me from hearing a first offer I halfway may have heard him start to say as I failed to contain my excitement about an initial position on a higher floor (or better-standing strand of Strand’s crew) which my ill-timed jouissance convinced him (the calling manager) to renege, and amend, downwards.
I hope I’m just paranoid, but then I also kind of hope I’m not, for my sanity’s sake. Which brings me to the core of my current pathos–I have been feeling increasingly trapped by the rock of my extremelly limiting (veritably castrating) lack of funds and the hard place of both having become so hopelessly mired in psychoanalytic and antipsychoanalytic conceptual theory that my F.A. essay is practically capsizing from sheer incoherence, and the perfidious tease E’s turning out to be, and the vituperative self-loathing automatically ensuing at both having allowed myself to be so easily swayed and the plain, ineluctable fact that I haven’t even kissed a woman in over three months, coupled with the suspicion that this proverbial desert of the real will go on for quite some time, quite some time…
Firstly, I do not need to buy any more books. I do not need any more books. I should not buy any more books. I will not buy any more books. Secondly, I cannot join any more movements, clubs, organizations, charities, institutions, et al, etc. I have stupidly become involved with SMIN again, and an overwhelmingly foolhardy and onerous weight of biopolitical activism is on my shoulders. If I follow through on my commitments to canvass, recruit, train, “activate,” and compose the lion’s share of the 04.14.2015 “NYC shut-down’s” outreach program, there is no possibility of changing or overcoming or ultimately acheiving the desiderata mentioned on the last page.
Tack on top of that (yes, by the gods there’s more) my consenting to join a Mr. W.D. in the development of a re-launch of a (hard) scifi radio show. D’s an aged and rugged patron of the kind of boyish scientistic ogling of the sort of all-consuming impetus to get Humankind to the stars that sees its unconscious telos as being at once manifest destiny, genetic injunction and first cause. He’s nerdy, but incorrigably innocent, or so it seems thus far. He is resolute in his conviction that we should already be on the Moon, mining Helium 3 (what is that?), returning it to the International Space Station (ISS) to fuel not the Earth’s economy, but more, exclusively more vessels into not only interplanetary, but interstellar space, purely out of capitalist fervor, or (at best) piggy-backing capitalism’s (hopefully…or perhaps not) inevitable expansion into space. One thing he is objectively correct about is that we as a species do not have long to dwell on this planet, indeed likely will not survive the 21st century, if our effect on Earth’s ecology continues to carry on.
So. To start, I need to find a way to state my F.A. thesis as simply as possible, adding clarity to its concept in little steps, as all these others and Others pull me in, move on, or stubbornly rest as unreliable constants, at this specific juncture. [And, uh, whatever is to become of Sonder Q?]
It’s easier to write journal entries in portions as prescribed by blog-writing form, as something I’m obliged to portion, slicing off just enough memory to synthesize some intimation of what will be slated for short-term repression, done to process the myriad observations, recognitions, and the spectrum of narratives formed with decreasing relevance to the actual lives I live amidst, when they’re under the header of a single date. My relationship with time is one of religious devotion to a set of goals, a part of each (the ideological excess of phantasy and self-projection) drives me to bring the parts of each which I do not phantasize about, which do not in fact drive my desire, into being. These undesired things are the necessities; food, money, and the psychological growth and persona-adaptation that comes from engaging a socius, a social body.
A day is an advertisement. Probably for tomorrow. But running on the promise of tomorrow is risky business because it is a teleological thing. And telos is a big tease.
(it never really comes because telos is merely the echo of your being’s possible future-perfect selves, each of which is advertising its respective future in disparate ways, waiting for your present self to stop repressing and step forward)
But about that – repression, or rather a human relationship to the binary of desire and satiation, repressing satiation // generating desire, or reneging desire // releasing subjectivity to a flow one becomes subsumed by. These releases include acts like sex, self-deconstruction à la Sharing Feelings in a vacuum, insulating the capacity to think with micro-fascisms or mental ticks, etc, etc, and the less I enjoin myself to do the former, the more I find myself slipping into thought-habits circling round the latter. And that is both healthy and pernicious.
I mean to write soon, about a woman I have met, who appears to have mastered the art of instilling desire, and managing, guiding, keeping-dirigible the desiring object’s narratological reliance on the promise of eventual satiation. It’s like neo-teasing. And it is both unhealthy and liberating.
My current engagements keep me from becoming-monomaniacally reactive to said desire-generating femme’s refusal to sate, which is good. Clarity is very important at this juncture.
Soon I will be back on the streets, fighting authority and simulating utopos with the masses.
Today my bag was stolen from 96th St in the upper west side. I suppose these things happen. Its contents were a tin water canister, a notebook, a scarf from Cambodia, French sunglasses, a bottle of ibuprofen, a book of poetry, a pencil I’ve owned since 2001, and my journal, which contained fragments of manuscripts, essays, personal thoughts, speculation and poetry. I sincerely hope whoever decided to take it performs a gestalt of reason on these contents, and concludes that he or she just stole from someone who was out to do something spectacular, but it’s almost certainly already in a garbage container by now, because there was no money in it.
I am trying to think of something profound to write in eulogy to these items, with my last modest spurt of energy, but it isn’t coming.
A part of me feels relieved, as my manual writings were becoming more theory and itinerant plans than actual passionate writing. Only half of the journal’s contents really seized their respective days. The rest were notes on others’ thoughts, and the depressive motions of a man in bad faith of a futile relationship. Maybe it’s for the best to forget my first few months in NYC. No record of beginnings really make a difference, because in retrospect, it’s during the middle and the end that the most profound recognitions occur, when the old habits break down and deconstruct, when one transforms and realizes he or she has already become an other, that the story actually comes to life.
But really, there was much to be unpacked that I wrote down … ideas i consented to forgetting because i wrote them down. Fuck. I’m going to have to re-research so many things. I feel so empty without it. My work and its media are obsessed with stoicism and buddhism right now, and it’s been getting on my nerves; as if I haven’t already practiced this. I don’t want to play mind games and trick myself into feeling better about the state of things. I want to go, go, go, move on and higher, and stop doubting how I feel. Of course no one needs to feel any different than they already do. I’m (ironically) a radical individualist. One can choose to remedy any set of emotions if they are an obstruction to extending a genus of ethical conduct, a flow of desire, but one should never be forced to assuage one’s present body. However, you’ll suffer that, regardless.
But moving on is all one can do in this situation. Damn. I’m so unattached to everything and everyone. Oh well, moving on …
I can’t stand only writing at night, when my mind’s spent and my imagination is asleep. Everything in this post feels so quotidian and uninspired, and that isn’t me. (PROGRAM …) This isn’t what it’s like to be around me. I can’t wait for this next job. Which one of the two awaiting me I cannot say. that is up to the economy.
I suppose this blog will be my journal of the more profound kind, in the meantime. But I miss pen and paper. At least the screen lights itself, but still. Text is so fucking democratized and minimal on these flat dull screens. There’s no character, no mistakes turned semiotic tricks to play off as coy slips.
A few notes:
reactionary→i am so very tired of people of ordinary craft and creativity using SNS sites to document their self-sabotage. (I made it! I did it! I’ve achieved jouissance! it exists only for me, and pretty soon it’s coming to destroy you, too!) … there should really be a public announcement illustrating the phatic nature of remediating gestalt-recognitions. It should begin with a soundless definition, and conclude with examples of online socialites of ordinary craft being cross-examined by homeless geniuses (again, soundlessly), to reveal how irritatingly much desire the viewer discharges in he/r adoration of them.
spontaneity→time. work. sign. lit. revolution. open relationships. negative capability. indifference to public dissent/assent. art, genesis, concept. reading//writing. thought, thought thought. sleep.