Recently, today and yesterday, I have been doubting the meaning of what I am doing. Today is my “death day” so I suppose a good time to be “taking stock” of things.
As usual my dilemma comes down to not knowing why I am doing what I am doing and if it is “the right thing.” I was feeling quite despairing about it all in fact; why do I write?
It seems to be a constant, desperate attempt to validate my perspective and so attain autonomy (freedom from other people’s perspectives) that only reinforces my dependence on other people’s perspectives!
The problem with this questioning is that it presumes:
a) that I have any choice;
b) that I am doing anything at all; and
c) that what I “do,” by choice or not, makes any difference to anything
That’s a lot of presumption.
But of course, the sense that I have no choice, am incapable of real action, and that none of it makes any difference anyway is exactly the sort of despair-awareness I am trying to avoid by writing!
While my creative life isn’t entirely compulsive ~ there appears to be a genuine movement from the depths, a soul-expression at work ~ the desire to put it out there and receive some positive response, to know that I have had some effect, very much is.
Sometimes I feel as if I am exploiting my readership by dwelling so much on my internal processes. More to the point, I suppose, is that I may be exploiting myself in some way. Using “poetic genius” ~ in Blake’s phrase ~ to dissemble, to prop up a flagging illusion of autonomy.
I wrote to my wife today that at the root of all existential tension is the fact that, because we were denied our own autonomy, we are threatened by any hint of autonomy in others. To see others as autonomous (which happens whenever someone disagrees with us) is threatening because that would mean they could control US. It is a vicious circle: we try to control what others think (especially of us, but also of anything we have strong feelings/opinions about) to be safe from being controlled. This only feeds the mechanism of control, and reduces the possibility of acting autonomously, because we are always reacting to an imagined threat.
Then I wrote this: “the ego is an imitation of autonomy that prevents us from developing the real thing.”
Later I tweeted it and got a couple of new followers, Buddhist-types. Validation!!
I think this dilemma is at the heart of everything I write, and what drew me to the Kubrick mystery. This is my own liminal zone ~ the area between unbudging, opposing, and irreconcilable beliefs. I am seeking, by writing, to create a perspective large enough to incorporate those opposites. This, I perceive, is the only way to get free of negative identity, which asserts its “autonomy” by resisting the thoughts of others, instead of just thinking for oneself.
Of course the only way to think clearly and freely is not to think at all, because group think is installed into language like a virus inside a program.
(I tweeted that too; it got 3 favorites, & one retweet.)
What’s the answer? Step away from the keyboard and go build some legs for a cabinet & paint it. And in the process, mysteriously choose to mount it upside down. . .
Then go for a walk.