The Absurd

On my phone I’ll go to Google because they’ll have some pretty (sometimes) interesting articles to read below the search bar. One such article yesterday was something like “Top Ten Absurdist Books You Should Read.” I’ve considered myself an absurdist for years now after devouring Albert Camus’ books – most notably The Stranger and The Myth of Sisyphus. I also discussed The Myth of Sisyphus at length with a therapist I had at one point in my life and it helped me get through a hard time I was having back then.

For those of you who don’t know, absurdism is the belief that the universe has no meaning and doesn’t care about you one way or the other. The only solution is to see and accept the absurdity of the world that is just senselessly going through the motions, no rhyme nor reason. All such statements as “we are stardust” and “the universe becomes aware of itself” are narcissistic ego-stroking soundbites by a ridiculous monkey in an uncaring universe who can’t help but invent laughable fictions about its own imagined superiority. So go on living your life without meaning. Roll the boulder up the hill as Sisyphus did only to watch it roll back down over and over again and laugh in the face of that. As Albert Camus states at the end of The Myth of Sisyphus “one must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Sure, there is no inherent meaning in life so just find something you like to do and enjoy it. In the end of The Myth of Sisyphus, Sisyphus found the absurdity of pushing the boulder up the hill over and over again amusing.

A few Absurdist books I’ve read and enjoyed have been:

The Stranger by Albert Camus

The Plague by Albert Camus

The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore as well as its sequel … 

Secondhand Souls

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Best Pal by Christopher Moore

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

There was one book in the vein of Absurdism I wasn’t familiar with, The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe. I ordered it this morning and can’t wait for it to get here. It tells the story of a man trapped in a house surrounded by sand dunes that he has to keep digging in order to keep the house clear. He ultimately finds a way to collect water which gives him a sense of purpose and liberty. 

Another book (or in this case, a play) that I’ve had my eyes on for quite some time is Waiting for Godot. Two men are having a conversation while waiting for the mysterious Godot, who continually sends word that he’ll appear but never does.

Absurdism focuses on the pointlessness of life and occurs when humans try to make sense of life when life in itself is senseless. According to Camus the answer to the absurd is suicide. But wait! Going back to Sisyphus and his rolling the boulder up the hill only for it to roll back down again. We, too, can become fully alive through choosing to acknowledge the hopelessness of our condition. We can do this and carry on regardless. 

Camus believes we are condemned to absurdity but that’s not a bad thing. By confronting this absurdity and carrying on in spite of it that a truly authentic life can be lived.

Antinatalism Chronicles XV

The philanthropic antinatalism presented by David Benatar is rather compassionate with humanity and all other sentient beings for that matter. Recognizing their suffering while offering a way to stop the continuation of our collective misery. As the Buddhists would agree: with existence always comes harm. Any child brought into this world will experience pain and inflict pain on other beings, even though the magnitude varies per individual. 

Whether it’s physical pain, the pain of loss, or the pain of dissatisfaction, there’s always some suffering involved. Even Buddhist monks who attained the non-suffering state of “enlightenment” had suffered before and most likely squashed a bug or two. And thus, antinatalist arguing that coming into existence is always a serious harm takes a rationally strong position. If we do not come into existence in the first place, we’ll not suffer harm and not inflict harm on others. Moreover, we’ll not suffer the absence of pleasure because we’re not deprived of it. 

Yet, the general populace will undoubtedly cast these rational arguments aside, claiming that bringing new people into the world is good and even moral. But from an antinatalist viewpoint, how could it be, assuming that parents love their children? Isn’t the most ethical thing we can do to our unrealized children never to give birth to them in the first place is that spares them from significant harm? 

Sentient beings, by and large, are biologically driven to procreate. We make babies simply because that’s what we do, often without giving it too much thought. Also, people procreate to give their lives meaning, but don’t mind the painful consequences for the children themselves by coming into existence, let along entertain the possibility that the child may be better off not being born. 

Then, when these children grow up, they also procreate to gain the same benefits as their parents, and so do their children and their children. David Benatar calls this a procreational Ponzi scheme. 

“It’s a Ponzi scheme in that evenually it’s going to go bust. And the final people are going to have to pay a price and will pay a price.” Benatar stated in an interview. 

Our children will suffer. They will grieve, have their hearts broken, be abused in one way or another, suffer physical pain and misfortunes like poverty, addiction, war, illness, loss of loved ones, and, in the end, death. 

And even if life largely spares them from misfortune, they will experience the perpetual dissatisfaction of being alive. On the other hand, as defective as we are as a species, chances are plausible that our children will harm the environment and other sentient beings. Hence, from the antinatalist viewpoint coming to existence is always a serious harm. 

So what should we do? Suppose we agree with Benatar, showing us that we would have been better off if we’d never come into existence. What should we do now that we’re already here? Should we spend our lives sobbing about our unfortunate fate? Should we attempt to destroy conscious life as a way of reducing suffering? Should we, for the same reason, end ourselves? The antinatalist argument that not coming into existence in the first place is best doesn’t imply that we should cause pain or engage in self-destruction if we’re unfortunate enough to be alive. Such suggestions overshoot the goal, driving what we seek to reduce, which is suffering. 

Moreover, there’s a fundamental difference between taking life after it’s created and preventing life from being created. Also, there’s a difference between a life not worth starting and a life not worth continuing. Not being born at all might be best, but second best may be a life worth living. We could even find some meaning, for example, by helping others make life more bearable. After all, no one asked to be here. And so we’re all fellow-sufferers: a realization that could be an immense source of compassion. 

Bipolar I and Bipolar II

I got diagnosed as having bipolar 2 disorder a few years ago. Not as extreme as bipolar 1 disorder, but it still sucks. With bipolar 1 you have manic episodes, which can lead to being extremely happy or extremely angry. You may also experience hallucinations. Manic episodes last for about two weeks. Manic episodes are followed by depression, which is why bipolar disorder is sometimes described as a “roller coaster disorder.” Manic episodes are more than simply feeling happy or angry; they can make you delusional or paranoid. My dad had bipolar 1 disorder and committed suicide when I was 17. My sister also has bipolar 1 disorder.

I, on the other hand, have the less severe form, which is bipolar 2 disorder. I don’t have mania. I don’t have hallucinations or anger issues. I’m ususally on an even keel until I bottom out and just don’t want to get out of bed, don’t want to do anything, don’t want to live. I have racing thoughts and can be easily distracted, which is why sometimes my blogs are all over the place. I also have a decreased need for sleep and when I bottom out all I want to do is sleep. Here recently I haven’t been getting any sleep. I’m awake now and have been since yesterday morning around 8. I’m unable to sit still, which when I visit my mom it makes her nervous. “Did you bring your pills or weed with you?” she’ll ask. I’ll tell her “yes” and she’ll tell me to either go take my pills or go smoke so I can chill out. The weed also helps with my sleep. Unfortunately for me I don’t have a lighter at the moment so that’ll be something I need to go get at some point today.

At times I feel very happy, but other times I get very irritable. People around me can be having normal conversations. No one is talking loud and in my head I want to scream, “Will everyone just shut the fuck up?!” I also know I spend more money when in a hypomanic episode, which I don’t need to do. I try to watch my money and spend it wisely, but it doesn’t always work that way. I’m glad I just recently got paid.

I don’t think I have to explain what depression feels like. Weeks go by and you just don’t feel like there’s a point to life. I’m in the car with someone and think, “I could easily grab the wheel and swerve into oncoming traffic.” I’ve had my guns taken from me a couple of times because I was on the verge of suicide. I’ve called the suicide hotline a number of times just to have someone who was a total stranger talk to me because I felt like a friend or family member wouldn’t get it.

I used to drown my sorrows with alcohol, but that didn’t help and just left me with a bad hangover the next day, which made me feel worse. I used to pop pills, any pills I could find. I just wanted to numb myself out and escape for a while.

I don’t know why I’m telling all of you this. You’re strangers on the internet. I could off myself later today or tomorrow and you wouldn’t know any different. Life would go on as it always has for you. Just someone on some blogging site stopped blogging one day. I’m not at that point at the moment thankfully. I just want this dark cloud over my head to go away. I just want to sleep. I just want to feel at peace.

The Strength of an Antinatalist

I am an antinatalist because I have the intellectual strength of the body and mind to recognize that the body and mind are dominated by mindless, biochemical programming that traps people into a cycle of consuming and breeding. Something that is often called life, but should more accurately be called death because life beyond the fluff and bluster is nothing more than things eating other things.

I have the strength of will to confront, control, and subdue my biological drives. I have the strength of foresight to recognize that a toxic overpopulated, over-consumed planet of the living dead ruled by sociopaths and populated by selfish, biological zombies is already a world of pain and suffering and will only get worse with time.

I have the strength to recognize that most children are little more than fodder for their slave masters, damned to a life in the open prison called earth; working bullshit, unrewarding jobs often for below subsistence wages that only serve to maintain the circus while destroying their souls.

I have the strength of curiosity to have thoroughly examined history and found no evidence that humankind has ever been capable of living in peace and harmony. And to know that slavery, rape, torture, war, disease, famine, conquest, greed, and control have defined all known civilizations. I have the strength of courage to recognize that progress is a lie. 

I have the strength of learning to know that those who delve beyond superficial religion and the dictats of their priest masters will find a rich history of spiritual culture that recognizes this world to be evil and whose most committed adherents are aware that the primary goal is to transcend the material or escape the trap of rebirth, including the rebirth of their genes.

I have the strength of reason to know that discounting paranormal explanations for which there is not strong evidence, no child can ever consent to being born nor can it choose its family. 

I have the strength to deduce that throwing a living being into a world of needless suffering without its consent is little more than an act of sadistic abuse. 

I have the strength of mind to understand that people who choose to breed do so to satisfy their own desire, not because they are martyrs or heroes.

I have the strength of compassion to avoid repeating the mistakes of my ancestors and to save my children from being born into this whole realm of suffering.

I have the strength of forgiveness to acknowledge that my ancestors’ mistakes were born of ignorance.

I have the strength of character to take up the mantle and act differently from the normative expectations of the herd.

I have the strength of heart to find beauty in the peace of eternal nothingness.

I am an anti-natalist because natalism is weakness, and I am strong. 

Anti-natalists are the strongest of people. We have the strength of mind, heart, and will to recognize reality for what it is and to do the hardest thing of all, and face down the puppet strings of biological programming.

It’s Just a Ride

Last weekend a cousin of mine went to California to pick up his kid and came back with all sorts of goodies: edibles, bud, and some psilocybin. We sat around for a bit, just chatting. He and I don’t have a lot in common, but we still enjoy each other’s company from time to time. I get along with the son he went to pick up. Not saying I don’t get along with his other two kids, but I’ve just gotten along with this one better than the other two.

Anyway, we took the mushrooms and waited. It started out slow, the trees started moving in rhythm with each other when there was no wind blowing and I started seeing shapes in the trees. There’s a certain shape on the side of my cousin’s camper that started moving kind of like Pac Man that started just chomping away and that gave me the giggles for a while. I don’t know why it was so funny. As time passed (it passed pretty slow for me) the pebbles surrounding the camper came to life and started to look like maggots moving along the ground and the trees started twirling and changing colors then looked as though they were melting.

I don’t know how long I was at his place, but at one point during the night I decided it was time for me to make my way home. Don’t worry, I didn’t drive. He lives within walking distance from my house (2 minute walk. I timed it before.) The grass was swaying back and forth and the one single light in my yard illuminated the entire yard in this rainbow color so I’m seeing just waves of colorful grass all over the place.

Once in my room I turned on some music on YouTube and watched the video come to life and the music did as well. The video and the music were both dancing. I know that makes no sense, but it was beautiful. I did have a bit of a bad experience at one point and retreated to the bathroom and just sat down, staring at the floor tiles, which were twirling and had a mind of their own. Death came to mind also and I learned there’s nothing to be afraid of, but I also felt that I had already died. This part of the trip freaked me out a bit, but I had to tell myself to just relax and go along for the ride so that’s what I did. I crawled into bed and just let the trip take me wherever it wanted to take me. Eventually I dozed off and fell into a deep sleep.

I woke up feeling refreshed, even with the bad part of the trip happening that night. I did them again the following night and sat out in nature most of the night, admiring the stars and the night sky. I should have had a pen and my journal with me to jot down what came to mind. Ah, well. That’ll be for another day. 

Finding Joy in Despair

Have you ever wondered why bad people seem to get away with their actions, and likewise, why good people are often faced with hardships? Ever suspect that what we experience in life may just be an illusion or, in other words, a manmade creation only to make existence more bearable? Is there a godly man behind all of this? Is there an afterlife? And is our time here just a preparation for it? It could be that life is ultimately meaningless. The universe is irrational and indifferent to us. Humanity is nothing more than a cosmic joke. French-Algerian philosopher Albert Camus believed that life has no inherent meaning and is therefore absurd.

In a way, this might be a reason for despair, and a reason to end our own lives. But a meaningless universe is a way to free ourselves from from the shackles of hope and experience meaning more fully. 

A great deal of existence cannot be rationally explained, and therefore we have to find something outside ourselves to hold onto – things that gives us clarity and guidance in the face of the unknown. He found that religion is the answer and that we should take a leap of faith by embracing this higher purpose of life even though there’s no solid proof of its validity. Such an embrace may solve our existential angst, but it comes with a price. 

Philosophical suicide is what Camus called the solution of faith. Camus argued that reason has its limits and that our understanding is indeed inscrutable. He believed that life is meaningless and that all forms of meaning that we give to it are nothing more than constructs of the human mind. There’s no proof that the universe has a meaning, and if it does then we simply don’t know it. 

He states in his philosophical Myth of Sisyphus:

“I don’t know if this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I do not know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it. What can a condition outside my condition mean to me? I can only understand in human terms.”

Thus he concluded that the only honest observation that we can know about the world is that it is meaningless. There are no universal values. There is no divine plan. Everything happens randomly. Life is absurd. But what did Camus mean with the Absurd? What did he mean that we, humans, are absurd beings? Or that the world around us is absurd in itself? 

The predicament we face as humans is that we are rational beings (some of us anyway.) We have a strong desire to create order and give meaning to life while we are part of an irrational and indifferent universe. The response from the universe as it pertains to our search for meaning is absolute silence. The Absurd is that we keep trying to make something out of this universe, understand a riddle, give meaning to its ways. As soon as we think we’ve grasped it, it slides through our fingers. 

The realization that we are a bunch of primates, living on a rock in a universe that is indifferent to us. After 100 years, our lives will be forgotten, and our planet won’t survive anyway because sooner or later it will be swallowed by the sun. This could leave someone to despair. Knowing this, we might start to wonder, “What’s the point in all of this?”

This is when one becomes aware of the absurdity of it all. 

Camus stated, “Rising, streetcar, four hours in the office or the factor, meal, streetcar, four hours of work, meal, sleep, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday according to the same rhythm. This path is easily followed most of the time. But one day the ‘why’ arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement.”

So, why are we here? What’s the point? To find rational explanations for these questions in an irrational and indifferent world is absurd, and according to Camus, the absurd cannot be negated. We can react to it in two ways: we can live it or we can escape from it. Many people explored this by creating ready-made answers. These may come in the form of religion, but there are also secular substitutes that attribute to existence. For example, the Nazis believe in a Master Race that is set to rule over all other races or the secularization over all other races, which makes the act of serving one’s country an ultimate concern. 

There’s the belief in karma, which isn’t always valid. Many bad people get away with their deeds and live happily. Many good people are faced with misfortune. The problem with all of these is that we set our rationalities aside and choose to believe in things that lack proof and explanation, or even go against our own experiences. Camus called this “philosophical suicide.” A way to allude to the absurd and placing the uncertainty of existence with a set of man-made beliefs. A more direct way to escape the absurd is the act of actual suicide, which according to Camus is the only real philosophical problem.

The issue with this is that we succumb to the Absurd. Admitting that the confrontation with meaninglessness and experiences of hopelessness is too much for us. In order to live life despite its absurdity, we ought to ask ourselves the following question: “Is a hopeless life in a universe that transcends it universally wrong?” No. A universe without meaning is an opportunity to let go of a life without meaning. The harsh reality comes to the surface.  Instead of despairing because of that, we can choose to see the silver lining. There’s no loss in judgment, no afterlife. We can focus completely on this life.

When there are no transcendent morals or values then we can create our own. When our time on earth is limited, along with our perception of it, we can just make the best of it and have a nice, hot cup of coffee, or a joint, or do a bump. Whatever gets you going. 

Camus believed we shouldn’t accept the Absurd. We should revolt against it because even though we are powerless and ignorant when it comes to the bigger picture, we still have control over our faculties. The only way to be free from unfreedom is through rebellion. 

According to Camus, the Absurd hero lives life to the fullest in the face of the Absurd. Despite the invitation of death, he will not end his own life – no matter if it’s philosophical or physical. Even if this means a life of despair, he chooses despair. 

Living an absurd life means an indifference to the future, the rejection of hope, and the lucid experience of what’s happening in the moment. 

“Hence what he demands of himself is to live solely with what he knows, to accommodate himself to what is and to bring in nothing that is not certain. He is told that nothing is. But this is at least a certainty. And it is with this that he is concerned: he wants to find out if it’s possible to live without appeal.”

Living without appeal means living in a present moment and not wanting anything more from a conceptual future. To point out what it’s like living without appeal Camus pointed to Sisyphus. Sisyphus made a mistake and challenged the gods and was punished by having to roll a block up and heal and do it all over again once the rock rolled back down time and time again. He repeated this process for eternity. 

Sisyphus’ existence is so meaningless and hopeless that trying to give his action any meaning is totally absurd and there’s the appeal: living without appeal. Our actions do not mean leaning toward something better in the future. The meaning lies in the act itself, which is sufficient to be content in a hopeless life. 

The gods based the punishment of Sisyphus on the idea that there’s nothing more dreadful than endless and futile labor. But this simply depends on the position we take towards that. 

So what if we imagine Sisyphus happy? What if he finds joy in despair and refuses to bow to the misery that life throws at us? Is there anything more rebellious than finding joy in what’s supposed to be our punishment? 

Covid and Camus

Albert Camus’ philosophy of the Absurd, in particular in his book The Myth of Sisyphus, challenges reason, logic, and rationality; describing our limits and understanding of the world as humans, and testing the laws of the philosophy itself as almost useless and negating. Camus was always asking the age old question: “What is the meaning of life?” 

If we knew the answer to that question, we’d know how to act. The question of acting is an ethical question. What should we do?

The traditional answers to these questions have, from millenia, come from religion. Religion tells us what we should do and why we should do it. We should not kill because we won’t go to heaven if we do. Answering these questions secularly becomes a bit more difficult. For Camus, it was ridiculous. How can we know what to do with any certainty when even the clearest questions have exceptions? 

“I shouldn’t kill? What about in the last resort? What about for protection? What about to save the lives of millions?”

Every single action is laden with these problems. Every decision could be the wrong one. Every movement has an infinity of alternatives. 

In every day life, we act through habit. We wake up, eat breakfast, go to work. We rarely have to think … really think. Only when we’re forced to do we ponder ethical problems. Heart attack? Global warming? Maybe I should take up cycling. Thought requires force. “Is my boss being unfair by requiring me to come into the office?” “Should I shut down my small business and lose my ability to live?” When we try to work through these problems, there’s often no right answer, only bad choices with limited information.

Decisions often have to be made with a gut feeling, not a rational confirmation. 

Camus writes, “The Absurd is lucid reason knowing its limits.”

For Camus, the absurdity of habit and the limits of any transcendental reason that’s illustrated by the image of Sisyphus, condemned by the gods to roll a boulder to the top of a hill only to have it roll back down again. In Sisyphus, Camus sees the human condition at its darkest. However, he highlights the moment when Sisyphus makes it back down to the bottom of the mountain toward the rock. It’s in this moment that Sisyphus is most aware, and most aware in the truth that everything becomes clear. We can acknowledge our fate and return to it anyway. Knowing that absolute truth is unavailable and being resolute anyway as a demand of being human. 

Camus writes that all of Sisyphus’ joy is containted therein. His fate belongs to him. His rock is his thing. Likewise, the absurd man, when he contemplates his torment, silences all the idols, we become most human and most free when we acknowledge this. We must live with an awareness of this absurdity. Risk being frozen and numb into an immobility. Fate is being able to act without being sure how to act. The important thing is not to be cured, but to live with one’s ailments. Life is unjust, incoherent, and reprehensible, and you must live anyway.

The question is not how to act, but to act. Until we solve these problems, like we have the injustices of the past, only inaction is immoral. Complacency and indifference are inexcuseable. The absurdity of enjoying the lack of clarity and acting any way that’s integral to the human condition.

Camus makes the case that rebellion is distinct from revolution. The rebel is not the revolutionary. The rebel, in fact, is a moderate. It’s somebody who insists, on the one hand, on telling that individual or that institution that “Here the line must be drawn. You cannot do this to me.”

Something worth highlighting, especially as we’re confronting our own pandemic, is that the plague in his novel The Plague, for Camus, dramatizes a permanent truth of our condition, which is that we’re all vulnerable to loss and suffering. No one escapes it. We’re all victims in that sense, and Camus thought we should always take the side of the victim. And if we were able to do that, then maybe we could build a real human community, or what Camus called an “earthly kingdom.”

There’s a moment in the The Plague where one character says to the other “Let’s take a moment off for friendship.” And they go for a swim in the Bay of Algiers, in the Mediterranean. And it’s silent. They don’t say a word to one another. And at a certain moment while they’re swimming, their strokes begin to synchronize. They mesh. And it’s one of the most extraordinary beautiful images in the novel. And perhaps by holding on to this image of just trying to synchronize our lives with one another in ways that speak to our shared humanity, our shared dangers, our shared aspirations, that would be a wonderful thing.

Albert Camus’s story reminds us of the enormous respect and admiration of the human spirit when a plague such as COVID-19 befalls us. There are many modern versions of the doctor in the story who have cared with the utmost professionalism and decency for those severely afflicted by this modern plague.

No One Likes Admitting When They’re Wrong

I’m including myself when I say that. My last post was concerning the coronavirus and how it has all been hyped much like several other things in my lifetime such as H1N1, Y2K, etc. so I decided I wasn’t going to take it seriously. The more I read about it and watch the news, the more I realize that I was wrong to not take this seriously. Precautions do need to be made when going out. I do wear a mask if I go into public although I hardly ever do. I kind of like wearing a mask when going into public if I’m being honest. As someone who has never liked the way he looks, wearing a mask in public make me feel more comfortable being at home.

I’m having to have my therapy sessions done via video calls for the time being. I had my first one last week, and my psychiatrist asked how I’m dealing with everything going on right now. I told her I’m being cautious, but not paranoid. I wash my hands and wear gloves and a mask when I go out, but I’m not digging a hole in the yard to build a bunker or anything. If the end of the world happens then I’d like to just sit on my front porch, sipping some whiskey, smoking a cigarette, and watching it happen.

I was talking with one of my best friend’s girlfriends about the whole ordeal a few weeks ago and we discussed that something like this was bound to happen eventually. The planet doesn’t want us here anymore so maybe we should just pack our shit and call it a day. I may sound like a fatalist when I say that, but it’s how I feel. No matter what we do in regards to this pandemic, it’s going to do whatever it wants and I don’t think there’s anything we can do to stop it … at least not anytime soon. What do I recommend? Just buckle up and ride it out.

I gave up on my hopes and dreams a little over a year ago. I don’t strive for anything anymore. I’m just defeated. Maybe this pandemic is just what we need.

Everyone disappears, no matter who loves them.

Be Afraid and Buy Shit

It appears I haven’t written in a while. It’s hard to write about anything when you don’t even want to get out of bed most days, but I’ve gradually pulled myself back up out of the pit that I was in for months. I’m not fully out of the funk, but things are getting better. I’m trying to make the best of each day. I have my good days and bad, highs and lows. My psychiatrist increased my meds, but my insurance won’t pay for the increase so the doctor gave me free samples of the increased dosage. The intrusive thoughts aren’t as prominent as they once were. You’d think they’d be worse what with the whole COVID-19 bullshit going on and all. That’s actually why I came on here to talk to whomever reads this damned thing.

It seems that things are getting worse and worse if you listen to the news. That’s all they want to talk about. Is nothing else going on in the world? I suppose school shooters are on vacation because they realize they won’t be getting any attention any time soon. I’m not saying I’d rather kids go back to shooting up schools. I’m saying we have a new scare tactic to focus on to remind people that the world is a dangerous place and they need to go out and buy stuff to keep the economy going. Buy, buy, buy; spend, spend, spend.

Every so often we go through something like this. Some pandemic happens and it’s all the media can focus on to keep the masses afraid. Give it a few months and it’ll blow over, we’ll have another election, and in another four years we’ll have something else to fear so we can elect some other incompetent putz who claims they’re going to save the day.

There’s no setting people’s minds at ease. It’s much easier to keep them afraid so they continue to spend their hard earned money on shit that’s not going to work. Money fixes everything in America. Am I right? I thought I was going to have more to say about this, but I’m sick of hearing about it, which means I’m already sick of writing about it. Forget everything I’ve said, hunker down in your bomb shelters, shut out the world, wait for everything to die around you, and the living will let you know when it’s safe to come back out and continue being good little consumers.

Don’t Let Me Get Old

I went with my mom to visit my grandmother in the nursing home today. I try to go with her whenever she says she’s going and asks if I’d care to join her. Lately I haven’t been up for doing much of anything since the depression has gotten bad and has lasted a lot longer than usual. I managed to go tonight, though. I watched as my grandmother said grace a total of six times, forgetting she had already said it time and time again. I watched as she talked to the baby doll my mom brought her as though it was an actual human being. I watched as she talked to people in her life who are long dead. I watched her jabber on about nothing at all, not making any sense whatsoever.

I also looked around the dining hall where a lot of the other patients go to have their meals. Some of them can still feed themselves. Others need help. A handful of others can’t communicate at all and are all but vegetables sitting in their chairs. It makes me wonder what they’re holding onto and why life allows them to keep going. It also made me think, “I hope I’m dead before I ever reach that point in my life.”

I’m reminded of a joke by Bill Hicks when he was talking about people reminding him how bad smoking is for you. “People say quitting smoking will prolong your life. They don’t tell you if a prolonged life is a good thing. I haven’t read the statistics on that one.” Why do people want to live forever? My grandmother is 91 and has no idea who she is, where she is, who anyone is. I don’t want to be trapped in my own mind, having to be fed by others, having others give me a shower, having others wipe my ass for me. If I get to that point I hope I have enough of my mind left to put myself out of my own misery.

I have tried taking better care of myself as of late. I stepped on the scale recently and noticed I am down 40 pounds, which I am proud of myself for getting there, but I still have a ways to go. I know I’m not going to live forever and I don’t want to. I struggle with wanting to stick around a lot, though. I dread waking up most days. I have thoughts of suicide race through my mind constantly, but I try to shake them off. I’m not quite ready to leave just yet. If you ask me tomorrow then I may tell you something completely different.

I don’t know what I want from one day to the next. I just know that I don’t want to be like those I see in the nursing home. I don’t want to have to be fed, bathed, and clothed by others. If that ever happens then I may just pay someone to “accidentally” forget about the air bubbles in my IV.