Friday, June 22, 2007

The Teacher and the Student

Hi Anne,
Let me first say, no, I am not offended by your commentary. I prefer discourse that stirs the passions and challenges what I say, over simple agreement or disagreement. In addition, I recognize more as I hear from each of you that I have a good deal to learn about the intensity that is my emotional persona, as well as the many and varied travails of depression. I myself have just begun the process of dealing with it and how it affects me. I'm no stranger to it, as now that I know it well enough and know most of its ins and outs for me, I recognize it's been with me farther back than I can remember. Not the least of which is the lesson that it IS an everyday occurrence and something that has no simple solution. And in many respects, a "solution" is not what is needed. More a mastery of ourselves and an acceptance of its involvement in our lives (which you seem to have).

I have felt what you refer to as the boredom of happiness. Although I'd put a different label on it for myself. I'd say it's less a boredom with joy than it is a love affair with the height of joy and the depth of sorrow. In some odd way, I seem to derive more feeling from a deep pain than I do from a mild contentedness. Being mildly content is not enough. Joy would be great, but since joy and happiness is so hard to attain, and pain and sorrow seems to come easy for people of our ilk, I gravitate towards the latter. Simply because, as you say, we are poets and we Feel very, very deeply. Our souls are junkies that need to feel intense experience I guess. And we must, in our heads, investigate and think about it quite a lot.

You're far more eloquent in your prose and language than I am. I'm a bit more of a layman's poet in that respect I guess. But we agree on many things.

Where you and I differ I think is that I'm still learning how to understand my depression, and how to avoid dangerous scenarios with it (such as drinking a day away, simply to escape for a bit). So Sonal my friend, I apologize for my naivete if I seemed a little cliche in my advice. But I do stand by some of it. Rather than just accept happy and sad as my options, I'm embracing all the less extreme options as well. I'd rather have the box of 64 crayons than the standard 7 I guess. Because let's face it ROYGBIV is simply not enough choices for us, and aquamarine is a nice hue :)

And just because it's a friday, and I'm in a good mood, and he's a sex machine, here's a little Neil Diamond action:

Later folks,

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the joy of living

hi peter,

listen, we don't know each other well, so I hope you'll take this well enough. but I have to fight you a bit. I know Mike. I know Sonal. I know myself. and I know that we've all tried the "do the things that genuinely make you happy on a large scale" thing and you know what? it only works for a little while. eventually we get bored of happiness. eventually we sit at our desk staring at the water fountain, desperately thirsty and yet refusing to stand up and take a drink of water.

Khalil Gibran says "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." the trouble is that we are poets, and for us sorrow's point is sharp, and we tend to over-empathize.

take my mother for example. she is a poet, though she hardly writes. her instincts are impeccable, but she is bombarded by intangible stimuli at almost every turn - your mood affects her physiologically. it hits her from across the room, and it intoxicates her. she is constantly and simultaneously allowing you to energetically possess her, and waging war on that energy once it is inhabiting her. she is always feeling and always fighting. sorrow has forged canyons in her heart, which can be alternately flooded with joy, swelling with compassion, or draughted and harsh. she can't "avoid the poisonous stimuli." she cannot, nor does she suspect that she has a right to control their ebb and flow.

I saw a book today, in the window of a Shambhala bookstore. it said "The Joy of Living," and I realized that the joy of living is that we don't have to do it forever. this is our solace, and our impetus for testing and retesting the infinite capacities of the human heart. if we do it right, it's like the love affair with an end-date. you can ignore certain things and delve into despairing passion with others, because you know it will end, and you will be able to breathe again.

for all intents and purposes, it already is over. like the journal's blank page, waiting to be uncovered.

god I have horrible cramps today. wouldn't mind using my own advice to realize that these were already over. ok see you later.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

i would be a happier American IF...

Dear Civilians,

I am going to go on a small rant to introduce to you a computer game developed by the US Army as a (no kidding) recruitment tool. This is one of the craziest things I've ever heard of. The point of the game is to be a part of an team of US soldiers fighting groups of terrorists. All the weapons are as realistic as possible, and the graphics are state of the art. The game is online with people from anywhere and is mission-based, meaning it's not a deathmatch style game, but a goal-style game. You have to recapture the enemy's territory and eliminate all the players on the other side, & c. It's also free.

Here's the kicker: each side thinks that it is the US army and that the other side is the terrorist group. The game changes the "skin" of the player entities on the opposing team so that everyone playing the game thinks that they are on the Army's side... the "good guys," of course.

There's a wealth of information in the wikipedia article about the game (especially under the "controversy" sections and in the cited sources). I have a hard time with propaganda devices like this one for something like the US MILITARY. You've all seen the "Army of One" ads on TV. The government in this country is trying to popularize war and militarism through entertainment. War is not entertainment. Perhaps that deserves it's own line.


I feel like we shouldn't have to learn this lesson. I feel like it really ought to be obvious. I would be a happier American if this game did not exist. I would sleep better at night knowing that a simulated environment where everyone thinks that the Other is a Terrorist was not something that our Government wanted to give out for free to every kid in the country. Just how sick and barbaric are we?

Sad and scared,

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Depression 2.0

Dear Sonal,
In response to your "any ideas?" question, I do have a few. To begin with though, I think what is often the case with brooders like us (us being all of us here on this blog) is that we feel the sting of reality in several ways. Something is indeed off-putting about the society in which we live. We find ourselves constantly thinking and rethinking about what irks us and why it does so. We feel frustrated and ill-at-ease with the way society operates. We feel a desire to have it be different, so much so that it eats away at our core. Most of all, we feel a distance from ourselves and what we perceive as "everyone else" who seems to go along with their lives and perpetuate this capitalist/consumerist/sonambulist society. Part of us rails against that contigent, but, and correct me if I am wrong, part of us envies their ability to be so at ease when we struggle on a daily basis.

Because we are the way we are, and feel things so intensely so as to make us think long and hard, we have to recognize that everything, and I mean everything, affects us in deep ways. I've become a real proponent of healthy living these days. For me, I make sure to keep my stimulation in check. Stimulation is a good thing, but only when it comes from the right sources. Chemical stimulants are poisons to your body obviously. Eating right and getting excercise, reading rather than watching tv or movies, and talking with people (even total strangers) are the best forms of stimulation I have found. And for folks like ourselves, the more of this kind of stimulation the better. By engaging in a lot of these healthier stimuli, and avoiding the other poisons, we ease up the anxiety created by our normally overactive and overzealous brains.

Now, everyone, forgive me if I sound trite and preachy. I am by no means trying to tell anyone what to do. I'm merely sharing a bit of personal therapy I have engaged in in the last few months and from which I made some profound realizations. I'm certainly no stranger to the unideal stimuli though. I find myself engaging at times and thinking "duh, moron, you're different from other people and these things affect you in much deeper ways for longer periods of time. And we've learned this lesson already, so wise up."

So my ideas, in this respect, are merely to avoid the poisonous stimuli. Seems pretty simple till we realize how much we self-medicate and how much we like these medications.

Just thought I would share that note for everyone. I personally know Mike well and love him as a brother. As a result, I know how much he drinks and how much he smokes cigarettes and/or doesn't get as much excercise as I would like him to. He does, however, avoid television almost entirely and experiences people and society interactively. So, a bit a this a that. Peace where ya can get it.

Whatever you do, it's really just important to do the things that genuinely make you happy on a large scale. Not those that seemingly do so. Easy to mistake the two trust me.

By for now folks,