And, in this upshot, purposes mistook fall’n on th’ inventors’ blogs. 

Hello and good morning.  I hope you’re all as well as you can be—which is sort of self-fulfilling, since you can’t in principle be better than you actually are at any given moment, and so you’re always as well as you can be, however disappointing that fact might seem.

I walked to the train station this morning—making quite good time, it ought to be said—because I had more issues with my new bike on the way back to the house yesterday evening.  It was raining, not insignificantly, when I arrived at the train station in the evening, but I was reasonably okay with that.  As I’ve written before, I’m a veteran of riding a scooter in thunderstorms and even tropical storms*, so the rain, though irritating, was not a terrible bother.  If anything, it can help one’s endurance, supplementing the cooling effects of sweat.  I also wrapped my computer quite thoroughly, and as you can tell from the fact that I’m using it to write this, my protective covering worked well.

No, the real issue was the bike seat—although now at least it rests on a post that hasn’t fallen into the frame.  But it simply would not stay level.  I had done my best to tighten the thing down when assembling it, but perhaps the rain made that tightening less secure.  So, all the way back to the house from the train, I had to perch myself just so on the seat to keep it from suddenly tilting backwards, and I didn’t always succeed.  This did not make the process of riding through the rain and puddles any easier.

By the way, there are no fenders on this bike, so there’s a fair amount of mud splash now on my backpack.  I don’t mind the cosmetics, but the grittiness is nearly maddening when I get it on my hands.  I hate grittiness and stickiness.  I always have, but I was raised, or trained myself, to avoid indulging in avoiding such irritations, though they make me feel disgusting.  I basically take the life approach that I don’t have any right to be comfortable.  This makes me able to endure a lot, but it probably contributes to the fact that I have needed to endure a lot, if you see what I mean.

Anyway, I had already noticed a little wobbliness to the seat despite my best efforts, and so ordered a decent socket wrench set—since I couldn’t find the one I used to own—which was supposed to be delivered yesterday afternoon.  Obviously, since I bothered to bring it up, and since I said, “supposed to be”, it didn’t arrive.

Perhaps the rain contributed to the delays in deliveries, but it was quite irritating, especially since one of the things that kept me motivated to keep riding was thinking that once I got back to the house, I was going to get out my new socket wrench set and tighten that seat into place until nothing would make it budge.  But I couldn’t.

The anger I felt toward the seat while riding probably helped with my speed back to the house last night.  I certainly didn’t feel as fatigued as I had felt the previous night or yesterday morning, though perhaps the rain helped that, too.

In any case, it wasn’t as though I could sensibly choose not to ride the rest of the way to the house.  At least, I couldn’t do that without just giving up on everything entirely, which I do consider on a frequent basis.  There are many times when I just want to be like the man in the video for the Radiohead song, Just, and simply lie down where I am and let the elements take me.  I still might do it someday.

Unless I’m going to do that, though, I have to get to where I’m going, and sooner is better than later when it’s raining, so I pedaled away.  I was soaked completely through by the time I got to the house.  And my new socket wrench set was not there.

So, anyway, now I’m writing this on the train, having walked this morning, and the train’s electrical system seems to have begun to have issues.  The air conditioning and some of the lights keep going out with a sort of humming groan as they fail, then popping back on after a moment or two, only to fail again.  It’s actually rather funny.  As long as it doesn’t affect the train’s ability to move, I’m relatively okay with it, but it is irritating that it keeps coming on and off.

At least the fact that I walked this morning allowed me to wear my new hat, which I rather like, but which couldn’t be worn when biking, since the relative wind would almost certainly make it fly off.  You have to take your silver linings where you can find them—if you can find them.

But so much of life is irritating.  It’s always been thus.  Maybe my tendency not to try to correct or avoid things that irritate me, out of some cultural tendency or implicit stoic philosophy or whatever, has led to the accumulation of more irritations than are tolerable, until finally they have worn me down almost completely, and soon I will crumble and blow away in the wind.  I can’t say that would be terribly disappointing for me.

I suppose, if I do give in and fail soon, you’ll more or less be able to tell by the fact that I’ll suddenly stop writing.  I wouldn’t think that would be much of a loss.  In the meantime, I’ll keep boring you with my idiocy, and you can indulge your masochism by reading it.


overlaid hat pic with distortion smaller

*No full-fledged hurricanes, though; even I am not that ridiculous.

I don’t know what my point is (in many ways)

I’m sorry in advance.  I suspect this is going to be yet another boring-ass blog post like the two earlier this week.  Something about walking from the house to the train station seems to set me up not to write very well, or at least not to write in a very interesting fashion.

Maybe it’s just that I’m not writing anything new, but am just rehashing the same old garbage that’s always moving through my mind.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about that, though.  I can’t move anything through my mind but my own thoughts, and I can’t simply choose those.  If I could, I would probably choose not to be depressed, as I think anyone with depression would choose.

Of course, it may be the case that I would have a hard time choosing not to be depressed because—presumably as a consequence of my depression—I often feel that I deserve to feel depressed, that I deserve to hate myself, that I am right to hate myself.  But, of course, if I could choose to change my thoughts, then surely I could choose not to think that I deserve to feel depressed, and not to hate myself.  Here we see the beginning of a potential infinite regress, one that’s related to the fundamental ontological* problems with any concept of “contra-causal” free will.

We also run up against issues of fundamental identity, relating to the concept of “terminal goals” as discussed in AI research and the like.  There are instrumental goals—piecemeal goals, objectives, chosen as steps along the way to achieving terminal goals—and then there are the terminal goals, the fundamental goals, the things that are the root drivers of a system.

Could any intelligence with true terminal goals ever opt to change those goals?  How could it choose, as an instrumental goal, the changing of a terminal goal, when such a change would almost certainly lead it to fail in its terminal goal?  I think it was Robert Miles, in one of his Computerphile videos, who proposed a fictional example as a comparable choice to a human:  consider whether (if you are a loving parent) you would be willing, for any reward, to have your personality altered such that you wouldn’t care whether your child or children lived or died, and indeed, that you would be willing to kill them.

If you’re not a parent—not a loving parent, anyway—it might be difficult to see the bone-deep trouble with this, but I suspect that most reasonably normal parents would rather die than be altered so as not to care whether their children live or die, and for good, sound, biological reasons.  I certainly meet that description.

But the point at which I’m getting is to imagine if, somehow, I could once and for all cure my dysthymia/depression, but it would have the effect of changing my character, my nature, my personality—my terminal goals, if your will—would I do it?

It’s somewhat difficult for me to imagine, because I can remember times in my life when I was not depressed, and not all of them were that long ago.  I very much think that I was the same person at those times, fundamentally, as I am now.  There’s a continuity of thought, at least from the point of view of my present memory, which is the only point of view I have.  I don’t feel in any serious way that I was a different person either twenty years ago, or thirty years ago, or forty years ago, or whatever, back to as far as I can remember, to when I started grade school and a bit before.

Of course, I apparently have always had some form of ASD**—Asperger’s or whatever—though I don’t have a formal diagnosis.  Does anyone really have a definitive diagnosis for that, though?  The criteria are semi-arbitrary and are not based on a measurable, physical structure or quantity but a constellation of attributes.  Still, whatever the case, it is something inherent to the given person’s nervous system.  And it does seem to predispose one to depression (and presumably to dysthymia, and certainly to alexithymia), so maybe that tendency has always been there in me.

There are certainly many, relatively early times when I found myself feeling burned out or washed out, or just blank and empty and exhausted, but I didn’t connect it to anything or know why it happened.  By the time I started high school I was already having periods when I would be depressed and have suicidal thoughts.

But I didn’t hate myself back then—not most of the time, anyway.  I even put on something of a show of pretending really to think very highly of myself, to be egotistical and narcissistic in a playful way.  And I did have moments of somewhat megalomaniacal tendencies, but then again, I was good at a lot of things, and I got attention for it.

I definitely always felt different and weird compared to the people around me.  I tried to turn that to my advantage, to make it a defense mechanism—to make myself seem vaguely scary and dangerous because of being sort of crazy, I guess, to make sure no one messed with me.  But it is a fact that I did feel weird; I felt like I was strange, or crazy, and I also felt vaguely hostile and even borderline hateful toward many other people at least some of the time, because what stranger in a strange land of alien beings would not feel that way?

I don’t know where I’m going with this, or what point I’m trying to make.  Again, I’m sorry.  It’s not a very good blog post.  But if it helped you pass a few moments in which you would otherwise have been staring at a wall or—cat forbid—a TikTok video or something, then I guess it’s been worthwhile.

would i lie to you

*I think that’s the term for which I’m looking.

**Apart from the congenital heart defect, I mean.  That was definitely something I had at least until I was eighteen.

Sometimes jokes are expressions of desperation.

Well, it’s Monday again.  Welcome to another Monday.

I walked to the train again this morning, as I did on Friday, and since I chose to get up and go a bit earlier today, I’m actually now on a train that will arrive at my destination earlier than would have the one I would have boarded had I taken the bus to the train.

Wow, that was a long and convoluted sentence, wasn’t it?  Sorry.

I think on Friday, after my first morning walk to the train, I started the day off a bit giddy, and I think that affected the quality of my blog post that day, so my apologies for that.  I think I was experiencing my first real endorphin rush from endurance exercise in many years, and it got me rather wired and a bit garrulous and—for me—outgoing for the very early part of the day.

That didn’t last, of course.  By early afternoon my general outlook was diminishing and deteriorating and various other verbs starting with “d” and ending in “ing”.  I don’t know how well that fact came across to others in the office, though.  I seemed to make people laugh a bit more than usual in the morning, and I certainly felt less tense than I usually did, but I can’t tell at all if my personality from their point of view was any different than usual.  Even when I’m profoundly depressed—in my immediate mood in addition to my general state of neuro-psychology—I tend to say sardonic things that people find funny a lot of the time.

I think this actually impairs my ability to convey the fact that I really feel deeply horrible.  People seem to assume that if you’re making jokes and are funny, you must be doing okay.  I can tell you from personal experience, this is not necessarily the case.  Sometimes jokes are expressions of desperation.  Just look at poor Robin Williams, if you don’t believe me.

But by the end of the day I felt tired and frustrated and grumpy and gloomy.  That was me on Friday afternoon, which makes me rather different—according to popular understanding, anyway—from most people.  Friday afternoon leading into a weekend in which I don’t work is not a prospect that meant much good for me.  I just sat around in my room at the house, alone—after walking home from the train, which at least caused another, if less notable, bump up in my mood.

I walked to local convenience stores a couple of times over the weekend, and I walked to Burger King on Sunday, and of course I did my laundry, but that was it.  I didn’t really do anything enjoyable.  I certainly didn’t spend time with friends, since I don’t really have any—though I did speak with my sister on the phone on Sunday evening, and that was very nice.

But really, I have a hard time being at all interested in anything much.  The YouTube algorithm is beginning to fail me with respect to offering me things I’m interested in viewing; but perhaps it’s me failing at the algorithm, in that I simply don’t have anything that interests me, and so YouTube can’t offer me much in the way of stuff I’d like to see.  It does occasionally offer me the little option box of being shown an assortment of things that I’ve never seen so far.  I’ve used that box once or twice in the past, but I don’t remember it being particularly beneficial.  I didn’t use it this weekend.

I wish I could find some longish-form fiction that I could enjoy again, like I used to.  Back when I was reading The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and The Belgariad, and later the Harry Potter books, and even things like The Sword of Shannara, and then The Elfstones of Shannara, or various Stephen King and related books, the books gripped my attention and could keep me occupied for quite a long stretch each.  Also, of course, in between reading books, I actually had a group of friends with whom I did things that we enjoyed.

Not so, now.  Now the only fiction that I’ve been able to stick with has been a few select Japanese light novels, most of them centered around high school kids, most of those being loners of some sort or another.  But these books, though I can stick with them, seem just to make me feel a bit more depressed when I’m done, as if they are surrogate friends or surrogate lives, and once they’re done, I’m even more alone than I was before.  And they are all ridiculously short, being light novels.

I have noticed a peculiar and rather amusing effect of reading some of these stories:  When they are written in first person, which is common, I often tend to think to myself in the fashion of the character for about twenty minutes or so after a bout of reading them, almost narrating my actions as if I were writing a first person story.  This goes away rather quickly, but it’s a bit unsettling.  It’s as though my sense of personal identity is so effaced that I just start mirroring the only identities from which I can get any inside view, which are those of first person narratives.

Oh, well, I think we’ve established already that I’m a weird person, so I don’t know why even I am surprised when I find new weird things about myself.  Maybe I’m just irredeemable—you certainly cannot save me up and exchange me for valuable prizes or anything of the sort.  If you save me up, so to speak, I just become wearisome.  Everyone who has ever spent a long time with me on a regular basis has ultimately found me not worth enduring.

I am one of those people.

I guess I don’t have an endorphin rush today.  I hope you have one, if you can.  They’re nice.

A turn or two I’ll walk, to still my blogging mind

Hello and good morning to everyone reading this, even if you’re reading it in the afternoon, or the evening, or at night, or if you’re fundamentally not a morning person and so you never see mornings as “good” no matter what anyone says.  Don’t feel bad about that, if it is the case for you.  Even Gandalf expressed his skepticism about the greeting “Good morning,” as we see almost at the very beginning of The Hobbit.

Most greetings are bizarre things, or at least many of them are.  I particularly dislike greetings that involve questions, because I have lost my former hard-earned skill, such as it was, at treating them as the vacuous, ritualistic bird-calls that they are.

If, on a Monday morning, someone asks, “How was your weekend?” I can’t simply reply with a ritual, “It was great,” and then ask about theirs, whether I care about their weekend or not.  I actually have to stop and think about the question*.  Often, I’m sorry to say, I can only shrug and quote Bart Simpson, saying, “Meh.”  This is me trying to avoid being too negative.  But, of course, humans—or at least Americans—don’t want to hear that sort of thing.  I don’t quite know why.

Similarly, some people will ask the rather grammatically suspect question, “How are you doing?” usually with some dropped consonants or strange contractions.  My first instinct, which I almost always resist, is to respond with, “How am I doing what?”  Instead, I tend just to go for the puzzled look followed by a shrug and, again, “Meh.”

The foreshortened version of the earlier question is “How are you?”  It is if anything more bizarre.  It sounds like the beginning of a deep, philosophical discussion, related perhaps to the old “Why is there something rather than nothing?”  How am I?  Does that mean “How is it that I exist?” which seems to be what it means if you take it at face value?

It’s an interesting thing—to me, at least—to think about the same question but changing “How” to various other words such as who, what, where, and when.  The first three make straightforward sense, the last one is an intriguing question calling to my mind the notion that, in GR, there is no time that passes, merely an extra dimension to reality.

They are all better questions and make more sense than the “how” one.  Then, of course, we could take our cue from the improvised, hilarious line given by Drax in Avengers: Infinity War, and ask, “Why are you?”

Okay, let’s move on to other matters besides my steadily atrophying skill at dealing with small talk in anything but a literal (and annoyed) way.

Today is the final valid day for my current bus pass.  These passes are really quite good if you ride the bus more than a few times a week in Broward County.  Unlike the Tri Rail, which charges full price for each calendar month—even if you buy the pass in the last week of that month—the bus passes start ticking (so to speak) only when you first use them, and they expire a minute before midnight thirty-one days later.  That’s it.  Straightforward.  So if you buy a bus pass and “sit on it” for months, you still have 31 days of use once you first use it.

I like it.  It’s a good system.

That being said, I think that after this evening, when I use this pass for the last available time, I’m not going get a new one.  Instead, if I can summon the courage, I’m simply going to walk to and from the train station every day.  That’s slightly under five miles in each direction.  If I can pull that off, counting the walk from and to the station up at work, I’ll be walking eleven or twelve miles a day.

I really ought to be able to do that.  Endurance is not an issue.  I just have problems with still-healing blisters.  But I can’t coddle myself with respect to those.  My blisters are all that’s holding me back, and they are annoying, but I have to push through to the other side of that barrier, because I have a task before me that I want to accomplish.

It won’t be a particularly useful task for anyone but me, and there will no doubt be those who will think it’s not good for me either, but that isn’t really my concern.  I want to try.  As I always say, I don’t want to inconvenience people I care about, so I’m thinking of something that hopefully will minimize “me-related” problems for them, though adjustments will likely need to be made at some level.

At least the number of people close to me personally and physically is small—it’s zero if you’re looking at the combination of the two attributes.  Also, at least my idea shouldn’t be messy or locally problematic.  That’s one advantage, at least.  Or is it two?

I feel that I have to do something though.  I don’t think I can endure much longer with nothing meaningful in my life in any serious way.  My foundations (metaphorically speaking) are crumbling; you can see the cracks widening if you know where to look, and when they give—I keep trying not to let it give as long as I can—the failure will probably be abrupt and messy and will cause trouble for the neighbors, so to speak.  I’d really like to minimize that if I can.  I cause other people enough unpleasantness just by existing; I’d rather not make it worse.

Of course, I’d rather do good for other people, especially the ones I care about.  I’d rather try to relieve suffering and cause joy, or at least to entertain.  I like to make people smile if I can, but I’m not good at it, and I don’t smile very well myself anymore.

I used to practice smiling in the mirror all the time, to try to get it right, but I’ve kind of stopped bothering with that anymore.  My smiles are usually façades and charades, at least in recent years.

Anyway, my bus will be here soon.  I’ll try to keep you all posted, and I’ll probably write something tomorrow again, whether you like it or not.  Have a good day, if you can, but you don’t have to have a good morning if you don’t feel like it, no matter what I said at the beginning of the post.



*Lately I’ve considered simply replying, “It was about sixty hours long”, but I always forget to do that when the time comes.

Is a feral cat that’s locked in a shed alive or dead? Alive…or dead?

I hope no one was worried about me on Saturday when I didn’t write a blog post.

I doubt anyone was.  Why would they be?  Even if something catastrophic had happened to me, it would probably have been for the best, anyway.  If anything, someone might’ve had a positive thought, rather like Ben Affleck’s character in Good Will Hunting, when he says that he hopes (or dreams) that one day he’ll come to pick Will up and Will simply won’t be there.  He’ll have gone, as it were, to a better place.

Regrettably, I cannot give you all any such good news as, for instance, that I’ve gone anywhere better, worse, or nonexistent.  We simply didn’t open the office on Saturday, because there were quite a few people who were out sick during the week, and even among those who were not, perhaps only one had planned to come in.  Since that would leave just me and one other person in the office, and since I commute from North Miami to Deerfield Beach, with no car or anything, the boss just said, let’s not bother opening the office.

Since we hadn’t bothered opening the office, I didn’t write a blog post, because I wasn’t commuting.  I considered getting on the site on Saturday morning and leaving a brief message about it all, to prevent anyone worrying, but it occurred to me that this was silly and stupid.  No one out there in world with any sense actually cares about me—other than family, of course, and they can always text me if they’re concerned.

People in general are right not to care.  I’m thoroughly worthless, I’m a real downer, and I bring little to no good to anyone in the world, myself included.  I’m extremely unhappy and I’m very tired; lolling about in my room over the weekend is no more pleasant or restful than going to the office.  I’m also always as tense and uptight as a feral cat, but less charming, less trusting, and less able to express myself clearly.  Except in writing, of course—I’m better at writing than feral cats are, unless they’ve been brilliantly hiding some skills of which I’ve never heard the slightest inkling.

Then again, my writing doesn’t seem to get my feelings across very well at all, though I try.  But either there aren’t enough people reading it for anyone who’s able to do anything to get the point, or people understand me but don’t really care or simply have too much on their own plates—which is fair enough, of course.

I watched a video last night about “Cassandra Syndrome” which I’d never really heard of before, though I was aware of the name.  No, it’s not the daughter of the villain from The Incredibles.  Apparently Cassandra was some Greek mythological figure cursed always to tell the truth but never to be believed.  The syndrome is apparently associated with people trying to convey their feelings or thoughts or emotions and thinking that they’ve done so, and yet finding that others don’t get the message.

It’s like that line from Brain Damage that I always quote:  “And when the cloudbursts thunder in your ear; you shout and no one seems to hear.”

That line always hits me quite hard, as I feel it expresses exactly my usual experience.  And then, of course, it’s followed by “And when the band you’re in starts playing different tunes, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”

Well, the “band” I was in has been playing different tunes for more than fifteen years, now.  I’m no longer with them, of course.  My involuntary solo career has been a huge flop.  As for the preceding line, well, I feel like I’ve been shouting and shouting and shouting every day, all day for what feels like an eternity.  I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs, but clearly, no one seems to hear—or they just don’t seem to get what I’m saying.  It’s as though there’s some weird auto-correct on all my attempted communications, making everything I try to say come across differently from the way I’m trying to make it come across.

I guess that’s the way these things work sometimes, at least according to the video I shared.  I’m speaking a different language from everyone else or something, and it’s just terribly frustrating.  I’m tired of it.  I don’t really want to do it anymore.  It is, apparently, pointless.

I stopped writing fiction, and I stopped playing (let alone writing) music.  I probably should just stop bothering to do these blog posts, too.  I’m just shouting upwind into a gale, or spitting into the ocean, or throwing around metaphors that no one seems to grasp.  I’m apparently not capable of being more explicit than I’m being, probably because I hate myself and don’t want myself to succeed.  Something like that, I don’t know.  I don’t really have any clue.

If I don’t write anything tomorrow, you’ll have at least a clue about the probable reason.  If I do, well, you’ll know that, if you look.  If you don’t look, then it will all be Schrodinger’s Cat to you, anyway, only it’ll be a cat in an experimental box you’ve never even heard of.  It’ll be a feral cat—paranoid and tense and scraggly and unlovable, whether alive or dead.

Also, it’s really heavy-handed with the metaphors.

What? Were you thinking?

Ugh.  It’s a new day—and a Wednesday, at that, so I have to do the payroll.  It’s a new month, too, so there’s rent and water and electric bills and eventually cable bills and all that coming soon.

I suppose it’s nice that the vernal equinox is this month, and thus the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere.  And of course it’s nice that my brother’s birthday is also coming up this month (and one of my best friends from back home has her birthday before that, but we haven’t interacted in a long time).  But other than that, I have no interest in any of it.  Frankly, I don’t have much interest in anything at all.

I spent about ten minutes scrolling through my Audible app this morning, trying to find something I wanted to listen to on my way to the bus stop.  I didn’t find anything, though I have a fair few Audible books—not as many as I have Kindle books, but still, there are quite a few.

I eventually just returned to a podcast that I had started yesterday—an old one with Anil Seth on Sam Harris’s podcast, two interesting people talking about interesting things.  I get a bit frustrated when Sam betrays some of his bias toward the “hard problem of consciousness” being a legitimate, persistent thing, which I think is just a notion he holds onto as a meditator and thinker about consciousness—the notion that there’s something pseudo-mysterious about the fact that neural processes give rise to actual subjective experience.

I don’t understand what he thinks the alternative is.  The so-called philosophical zombie thought experiment is self-contradictory and incoherent when you look at it closely*.  How would a self-monitoring and flexible, self-directing, agentic, information-processing system that’s part of a biological organism with problems to solve and a not-completely-predictable world in which to live be expected to function?  It monitors itself internally and externally, including monitoring at least some of the contents of that processing, because that’s a useful thing for an organism to do to survive and reproduce in a complicated world that includes other beings like itself in addition to predators and prey and whatnot.  Why is it a hard problem that all this produces “subjective” experience?  What do you expect it to do?

It’s not any more sensible than asking why there is something rather than nothing.  What do you expect?  Obviously, there are only people asking that question if there is something.  And why would there be “nothing”, anyway?  Why do people assume that’s the default state?  Of course, I don’t think any actual, conscious being can truly imagine “nothing”, anymore than any conscious being can really imagine or contemplate the experience of ceasing to exist.

If you’ve been under general anesthesia—particularly really deep general anesthesia like you have for open heart surgery and the like—you’ve experienced the temporary cessation of pretty much all of your brain functions.  Try to remember what it was like when you were under complete general anesthesia**.  If there’s something for you to remember, then you were still conscious, and that means you weren’t under complete general anesthesia.

Alternatively, try to remember what it was like (for you) long before you were born, before even your parents were born***.  That’s what it was like not to be conscious.

From within its own realm, consciousness is, in a sense, endless, because it doesn’t feel itself begin and it doesn’t feel itself end—it’s almost like one of those Penrose/Escher diagrams of infinite hyperbolic spaces contained within another, finite space.  And this, of course, may very well describe the configuration of our own universe, since GR allows for spaces that look finite from the outside but are infinite from within, and mathematics can deal with them rigorously and consistently and thoroughly.  It’s not readily intuitive without a bit of thought and practice, but why would one expect it to be****?

Anyway, that’s the sort of irritated but at least engaging argument I get into within my skull with people who are not actually present with me, and with whom I’ll never interact.

When I try to talk to people at work about such things, I just get blank looks and confusion.  I tried to bring up my discussion from a week or so ago—regarding the M-theory related notion I had of a potential explanation for “dark matter”—with the smartest person I know in the office.  It was disappointing.  I was actually enthusiastic—I get that way about science and math, still, sometimes—but though he listened intently and politely, he said that it all really just went over his head.

It’s very frustrating, and quite disheartening.  I really do feel like a stranded alien castaway, sometimes, and in many ways, I always have.  This is part of why I always liked the villains in stories, not because they were bad guys—who cares about that?—but because they were always different, but strong and confident nevertheless.  They were people who got things done and changed the world, and who, by the way, also didn’t let other people fuck with them without cost.  They were strange, they were weird, but they were powerful and capable, though often not in productive ways.  And they’re fun, at least, or they used to be.

Nothing is very much fun, anymore, to quote the Pink Floyd song One of My Turns.

The next few songs on that album are Don’t Leave Me Now (too late for that) then Another Brick in the Wall, Part III, which definitely resonates with me, and finally Goodbye, Cruel World, to end the first half of The Wall, one of the greatest concept albums ever made.

The very fact that Pink Floyd’s only number one single was Another Brick in the Wall, Part II, the least good song on that album (though it’s got a great guitar solo…of course), is just another example of how unutterably stupid and worthless the world is.

Goodbye, cruel world, indeed.  And good riddance.

hyperbola hyperbole

*Just because one can utter the words of a “description” of what a philosophical zombie is and make it syntactically correct doesn’t mean the idea makes sense.  I can write 2+3=12, or say it, or whatever, but given what we mean by those symbols or words, it’s not a coherent mathematical statement.

**Not what it was like when you were just going under or gradually coming around.  Don’t be an idiot.

***Not any nonsense about past lives/reincarnation.  Don’t be an idiot.

****I think people tend to exaggerate, quite severely, just how complicated hyperbolic geometry really is.  (Get it?)

“What the hell am I doin’ here? I don’t belong here.”

I apologize for my rather boring blog posts over the past few (or several) working days.  I was trying to be as upbeat as I could, and to stop dwelling quite so much on my mood disorder and my otherwise disordered mental state, such as it is, because I feared that I would end up just turning readers off.  So, instead, I’ve focused on walking and blisters and silly things like that which, upon occasion, and in passing, would give a glancing blow at some interesting (in my opinion) subject matter like yesterday.

The fact is, I’m having severe, ongoing, worsening problems with my depression, and I feel like nothing I’ve done here or said here has been of any benefit to it or to me.  Or, well, what I’ve said and done might benefit the depression in and of itself, i.e., it might have made it stronger.  But that’s not necessarily good for the larger organism (me).

This is referring to the depression as if it were a being or entity in and of itself, with a separate nature and goals and criteria for thriving and so on.  It’s not, of course.  It’s a state of my own brain/body, a sort of self-sustaining but destructive pattern of internal and external interactions in a brain that’s already not exactly functioning in quite what might be considered a normal, or at least normative, way.

I’ve previously likened depression, as a state or an “attack”, to a hurricane—a self-sustaining pattern that forms and grows when conditions are right and is very difficult to break once it gets going.  I think that’s actually a decent analogy.  It’s certainly vastly better than the popular “chemical imbalance” notion upon which I’ve spat my vitriol more than once in the past.

As with hurricanes, I think it’s not entirely unreasonable to think of depression as if it were an entity of its own that tends to act to sustain and strengthen itself, as if it had intentions and a will, as long as one maintains the implicit awareness that this is a metaphor.  It’s easy to get into the habit of using metaphors so often that they stop behaving like metaphors in one’s head and start being, effectively, literal interpretations of things that are fundamentally otherwise, and it’s important to try to avoid doing that.  That way madness lies, as they say.

And madness does lie—almost always.  That’s one of the big problems with it.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make and to which I’m struggling to stick, is that depression acts as if it has a life of its own, rather as a tumor more or less literally acts as an entity in and of itself within the body, with its own “agenda” of self-sustenance and growth.

I’ve said to others, and to myself, that my mind is not my friend.  This is one of the reasons, for instance, that though I’m intrigued by them, I don’t think I would ever seek out an experience with any form of psychedelic.  My mental state often already has the feel of a bad trip of sorts, as I’ve heard them described.  I don’t want to pour gasoline onto that fire.

But I’ve fought with this entity in my head for almost as long as I can remember.  My brain, my mind, has always been weird—to me, relative to the people around me, and to many of them as well—though others also often seem inscrutable and inexplicable to me, at least in the sense of feeling things “in my bones”, though I’ve read and learned many things that give me at least an academic, intellectual understanding of things people do.  But I can’t say I grok them.

I’ve often said that basic primatology—particularly that which applies to primates that live in large groups—provides a sufficient framework on which to hang the vast majority of human behavior.  I suppose this should not be too surprising, since humans are primates, after all.  But it’s disheartening how rarely humans fully depart from the simple, chest-thumping, fang-baring, hierarchy-climbing, mate-seeking, dominance-submission behavior patterns that could with only a little simplification be transplanted onto the average baboon flange.

I cannot claim any superiority, of course.  My own, apparently “neurodivergent”, brain* is erratic and irrational even by its own—my own—standards, and I certainly cannot claim to be a well-adjusted machine running in optimal condition.  There are aspects to my machine that really are well put-together, and I’m glad for those, of course.  But they don’t seem to be enough to keep the whole thing operational.

I decided to give up even trying to look for help or improvement or to expect myself ever to get any better, and I tried not even talking—or writing—about it.  But that didn’t make for very good blog posts, apparently.  So maybe this one will at least be more interesting.  It’s truer to my inner state, if nothing else.

So, welcome to Hell, population one—I would like to say welcome to Purgatory, but there is no process of cleansing or improvement—of purgation—going on here.  There is only malicious, sadistic, hateful torment meted out by the demonic overlord of a realm repurposed for the eternal excoriation of a lost soul that is also the demon itself.

Okay, well, that paragraph was gratuitously melodramatic and misleading.  Sorry.  It makes the whole thing sound more exciting and impressive than it actually is.  Oh, well.  At least it’s not boring.  Except when it is, which is actually quite a lot of the time, come to think of it.  That’s one of the many forms of torture it entails.  Actually, that’s one of the big issues about it; even things that ought to be interesting are utterly mind-numbing, or seem so because the mind itself is numb (not comfortably) in the first place.

This is all a bit of mess here.  Again, sorry.  Returning to an earlier point, I’ll say that though the hurricane analogy is good as far as it goes, hurricanes have a tendency to peter out, eventually, as they move through the atmosphere, certainly once they go over land and lose the source of their water and heat, and then they kind of just fade away.  Certainly, no hurricane is going to destroy the Earth itself.

Depression, on the other hand, can absolutely do the equivalent of such planetary destruction.  In this, it’s much more like a tumor than a hurricane.  It’s a slow-growing tumor, perhaps like an indolent prostate cancer—the sort of thing you can have, and not treat, and yet you still might die of something else before the cancer ever would kill you (though kill you it may).  But even if it doesn’t kill you, it certainly doesn’t make you stronger.  It affects everything else in the system.  It steals energy from all the “good” things, when there even are any, and it further whittles away at those few good things by making a person intolerable to the people and things that are good in that person’s life, until nearly all of them are gone.

I don’t have any answers to this problem.  I know of ways to end the problem, but not to cure it.  Unfortunately, I don’t see any evidence that anyone else out there has any good answers.  Believe me, I’ve looked, and I’m “qualified” to evaluate such matters, in more than one sense.

The world was not made for us; it was not made for anyone; as far as we can tell, it just happened.  Ditto with human beings and other forms of life—even weirdo, alien, replicant, robot, changeling, mutants like me.  Ditto with culture and civilization.  There’s no reason to expect them to work flawlessly or efficiently.  They just have to work “well” enough to be self-sustaining.  That’s natural selection, and it’s not pretty.

Well, it can be quite beautiful, depending on your point of view, but even Darwin noted how slow, cruel, wasteful, and harsh it all is.  Nevertheless, it’s the only game there is, as far as I can see.

I so just want to fold and walk away from the table.  Right now the blister on my foot is inhibiting that somewhat, but it’ll heal**.  Then maybe I can finally take a long walk off a short planet.  I don’t see any better options.

*Every time I take new or repeated tests to check on whether it’s accurate to describe it that way, I keep getting results pretty resoundingly supportive of that hypothesis.  I recognize that I am not performing scientifically rigorous evaluations, since the one administering and the one to whom the tests are being administered is the same, and it’s only too easy to introduce bias.  But I don’t have ready access, nor the mental wherewithal to take advantage of it, to resources to get a more objective assessment.  And when I go online and watch videos and when I read books and articles, when I go to social media and look at available resources and groups there, and so on, I find that, while these people all make somewhat more sense to me than most other people do, I still feel severely weird even in comparison to them, and I could not feel comfortable among them or interacting with them.  I feel no sense that I could connect to the related communities—to any communities, really.  I feel like a creep and a weirdo relative to every potential group or person with whom I could consider engaging.

**I almost accidentally wrote “it’ll heel”, which would be funny, but the blister is on the ball of my foot, not the heel, so as a joke, even an unintentional one, it just wouldn’t work.

Walking words, a bad “life” habit, and cheapened love

I don’t recall if I already mentioned it, but yesterday I did a little trial recording, using my headphone mic, while I was walking to the bus stop.  I said nothing of significance, of course, but then, the argument could be made that there is nothing that of real significance.  But let’s not venture down that path of inquiry for the moment.

I just wanted to let you know that I had done this recording, and that I am probably going to edit it (for noise reduction, at least) and post it here and probably as a YouTube video, unless it’s really just too embarrassingly dull or stupid.  Maybe there are those who will find interesting the words I self-consciously mumbled to myself on the way to the bus stop.  Maybe they really are interesting.  Perhaps I have world-changing insights when I do my walking, and I just haven’t realized it because no other person has hitherto heard them.

I wouldn’t recommend betting much money on that, but I cannot say that it has a literal zero probability.  I can just say that it’s probably close enough to zero for all practical purposes.

If I were following usual human protocols, I would tell you that I uploaded the recording to my Google Drive and then downloaded it to the desktop‒both of which are true statements‒but that I didn’t have the chance to edit it yet.  This last bit is a cop-out fiction, one of a type to which it seems almost everyone from toddlers to centenarians turn.  If I were to say I hadn’t had the chance to edit it, that would be not merely an error, but technically a lie.

I had chances to edit it; I even had times when I was relatively idle and could readily have edited it, but did not.  I simply had no will to edit it‒it’s that “executive function” thing, or whatever the current jargon is.  For most of the day yesterday, if I’d had to use mental effort to breathe, I would have suffocated.  And I would not have felt disappointed to do so, though I guess it would have been uncomfortable…for a short while, anyway.

My life is really uninteresting to me‒not in its specifics, necessarily, but in its mere fact.  It doesn’t hold any inherent interest.  It’s just a matter of habit, and I don’t know that it’s a very good habit.  It might, in fact, be a bad habit, though I guess you couldn’t call it a self-destructive one, at least not by the usual meaning of that term.

I can’t quite kick that habit yet, but I am working on it, and it is my intention to do so.  It’s just not good for me or for those around me, this life business.  Every illness and pain and sorrow that exists comes as a consequence of being alive.  I can’t recommend it as a habit.  It’s uniformly fatal, for one thing.

At the very least, we should protect the children from exposure to it‒in media, in toys, in advertising and so on.  Although…protecting the children would eventually become a moot point if one does that.

Obviously I haven’t yet thought this through fully, and also, my tongue has been in my cheek for the part where I was making recommendations for others.  I’ve no business doing that about such matters.  On the other hand, the preceding description of my personal attitude and intentions is not at all untrue; for me it’s just a matter of preparation and a bit of working up my courage.

Switching gears to other matters, but returning to notions of usual protocols among humans: is it just me, or is it just in south Florida, or is it something else, or are people saying “I love you” to coworkers and other non-family members a lot more often than people used to say it?

I don’t like it.  I could sometimes say that I hate it.

I think it’s perfectly okay for spouses and siblings and parents and children to say they love each other‒these are people one knows well, deeply, intimately, people who are integral, important parts of one’s life.  Loving them is natural, it’s good; they are in a sense part of one’s identity.

But when I hear people at work telling each other they love them, as while saying goodbye for the day or whatever, it cheapens the concept, it seems disgusting and disingenuous.  Sometimes it even seems manipulative, as though it’s an attempt to invoke a familial level of fealty and benefit by invoking such a powerful term.

To me, love is serious and important, maybe the most important non-survival-related thing in the human world, though it’s certainly not all you need*.  I don’t want co-workers telling me they love me, but sometimes they do say it.  My internal process when this happens‒in addition just to feeling squirmy and tense and uncomfortable and almost grossed-out‒is to think, “You don’t even really know me, you don’t share any common interests and experiences with me other than work, you certainly don’t seem interested in anything in which I am interested, you haven’t read my books or my blog or anything else I’ve written…you simply can’t love me, not in any sense that means anything.  You’re lying to me, to yourself, or to both.”

I suppose these people might think they are fulfilling some kind of Judeo-Christian edict of loving their neighbor as themselves or summat, but I don’t think that’s actually what they’re doing.  I think the words are a mere verbal ritual without meaning, and people throw them around haphazardly, as though giving their pre-school children plastic explosives and arc-welders as toys.

I even had a coworker‒who had requested feedback about something for the eighteen thousandth time and to whom I gave a rather sharp and impatient response‒who laughingly said, “I love you, too.”

I know it was a sarcastic, jokey remark, but I simply had to say, “I don’t love you.  I don’t hate you, either.  You’re fine.  I love my brother and sister, and I love my kids more than I knew I could love anything, and I loved my mother and father and my ex-wife and my extended family.  You are a coworker.”

It’s one thing if you’re honestly committed to the philosophy of lovingkindness, if you practice metta meditation, if you live your life not just saying the words but acting on them.  Then I think I wouldn’t be bothered by someone saying they love me, because it would not be some personal claim, or some attempt to achieve a claim upon me.  But otherwise, it’s almost insulting.  I don’t even love myself; I don’t need some person who barely knows me to claim to love me.  It’s not helpful to someone who hates himself for other people to fakely say that they love him; if anything, it merely highlights the notion that no honest person ever could really love me.

Him, I mean.  Him.

*With apologies to the Beatles.  No disrespect intended.

She told me to walk this way…

It’s Saturday.

I say that just in case you didn’t know.  I hope most of you are relaxing at home with your family and/or loved ones as you read this.  As I write it, I am of course sitting at the bus stop.

You may recall that yesterday my back was acting up especially badly.  It did so all day, pretty much without relent, despite copious use (probably to toxic levels) of OTC meds.

In the evening, after I had ridden the train back down south, I was waiting for the bus and watching the app that tracks arrival times at any given stop, with real time updates on delays or earliness.  The timing of the train’s arrival had been such that there was a bit of a wait (about twenty minutes or so) before the next bus.

But the bus didn’t show at the predicted time, and when I looked back at the app, it had just skipped ahead to the next bus time, half an hour later.  It seemed they had simply canceled that bus without notifying anyone.

I waited about five more minutes before getting fed up.  My patience was far from its peak in the first place, after a day of significantly elevated pain, and the lack of notification‒much more so than the apparent bus cancellation‒irked me mightily.  I figured, “You know what, I don’t feel like waiting for the next bus,”  So, I started walking.

Of course, as I’m sure you could have predicted, within another five minutes, the bus on which I had given up went rolling past me.  I guess it had just been ten minutes late, but its transponder, or telemetry, or whatever they call them, wasn’t connecting with the system that updates the app.  That’s irritating, but I suppose it sometimes happens when you put naked house apes (i.e. humans) in charge of technology.

It wasn’t too bad, though.  I decided I would just continue my walk for the 4.5 to 5 miles back to the house.  I took a route through the neighborhoods, some of which I had never passed before, though I knew the way.  It was just after sunset when I started; there was a fairly stiff breeze, and the temperature was in the sixties, so it was a pleasant walk.  It felt almost reminiscent of being out trick-or-treating back up north in my childhood.

Regrettably, of course, there were no Halloween decorations, and no kids in costumes‒I was mainly by myself on the sidewalks, listening to my shuffled “favorite songs” list on YouTube Music‒but I did see, through the large picture window of a third-ish floor “luxury” apartment building, that someone still had their Christmas tree up, and it was fully lit.

That was actually rather nice, although slightly odd and certainly unexpected.  I can understand why someone would want to keep a festive, brightly lit item around even after its traditional moment had passed, especially during the comparative holiday desert that follows New Year.  Sorry, Valentine’s Day does not count as a festive holiday!  And Saint Patrick’s Day, in America at least, is mainly a drinking holiday‒though corned beef and cabbage can be a quite wonderful dinner if one has it!

Returning to the original topic, though, I found that, as I walked, my back began to relax a bit, and before a few miles had passed, the pain had reduced to a much vaguer sensation, then finally it became insignificant relative to my normal tendency even to notice it.  My right Achilles tendon began complaining slightly* by the end of the walk, but it tends to do that anyway, almost since college, after I badly sprained my right ankle while playing catch.

Sorry, I know, this is all rather boring for a blog post, but I felt like having a mild celebration of the fact that I had soothed my back some by walking.  It hurts more again, now, starting as soon as I woke up, but it’s not as bad as it was yesterday, and hopefully it won’t become so.  If it does, I guess I know what to do about it at least.  Just having that degree of available control makes things a little better, even if one doesn’t use it.

I keep thinking about better types of subjects about which to blog‒as you know‒including medical topics and physics and philosophy and psychology and whatnot.  I still owe you all a blog post or audio blog/podcast about sugar.  I haven’t forgotten.  I just have to decide to buckle down and do it.

But motivation, or executive function, or whatever they call it, is apparently often difficult for people with ASD, as I suspect I am, and also, of course, for people with dysthymia/depression, as I know I am.  That’s not an excuse, so to speak, though both are things I certainly didn’t choose.

Who would willingly choose to be depressed?  It’s truly a thing of horror, but it’s not even exciting or interesting or even disgusting horror.  It’s just a lack of any connection, a sense of learned helplessness that precedes any learning.  And, of course, it includes an inability to be optimistic or to feel certain of anything other than how horrible a person one is.

Maybe everyone, if they could see themselves without filter, without excuse, without delusion, would grow weary of themselves, would be disgusted, would end up hating themselves, and hating the world by reflection or projection.

I’ve read that the modern Catholic conception of Hell is not Fire and Brimstone, but merely a state without any connection to God, a complete removal from God’s presence, cut off from the source of life and light.  It’s rather like the Void in Tolkien’s universe, where Melkor wandered and first began having thoughts unlike those of his brethren, and to which he was consigned after the War of Wrath.  Anyway, that Catholic notion feels like a good metaphor for depression.  It’s not fire and brimstone; that’s all too dramatic, even melodramatic, and interesting in its own way.  Dysthymia and depression are much drearier and more dismal than that.  And yet there is pain.

Oh, well.  Maybe even in the Void, a good long walk can help temporarily ease some kinds of pain.  That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

*You wouldn’t think that something named for the mightiest warrior of the Iliad would be prone to whine, would you.  Then again, he was a bit of a snotty character, and he was invulnerable other than his heel in the original story, so he probably would have moaned a lot when in pain.

This is a virtual, placeholder title that has become “real”. Can an event horizon be far away?

Yesterday, as I noted when I started my post, I wasn’t sure if I was going to bother to find a Shakespearean quote to alter to make my title, nor to find a picture to add to the post, both as I usually do on Thursdays.  Then, near the end of the post, after I had spontaneously quoted King Lear, it just felt appropriate to find something a little later in that same speech to use for my title.  So, I did.

Once I did that, I figured I might as well find some picture of King Lear in the storm to use at the bottom of the post.  But most of the ones I found had the Jester there next to him, and various other sorts of bric-a-brac, so none of them suited.  Therefore, I did what I often do, which was to find bits and pieces of images that I could throw together and manipulate with the GIMP program to turn into what roughly suited my purpose.

My pictorial version of Lear, if you will, got transplanted to what looks like south Florida, based on the palm trees and the apparent hurricane.  This seemed appropriate, since I was channeling King Lear by quoting him.

I don’t know why I’ve decided to go into the mechanics of those processes, but it was a pretty good way to jump start today’s post.

I forgot to mention yesterday that it was Groundhog’s Day.  Or should that be Groundhogs’ Day?  Is it the day of some Platonic ideal of a groundhog?  Or is it a day named for‒and belonging to‒all groundhogs collectively?  Or is there some other apostrophe convention that applies?  Also, how much ground would a groundhog hog if a groundhog could hog ground?*

Who knows?  Who cares?  Why bother?

Anyway, it’s Friday, but I’m working tomorrow, so it’s not as though today is anything to celebrate or feel particularly good about for me.  On the other hand, it’s not as though time off is any more engaging for me than work time‒actually, it’s less so, though the physical rest can be useful.

As long as I can remember, I’ve always only socialized, if that’s the right word, with people in places where I was present for some other, underlying purpose, like school or work.  I liked my school friends a lot‒and then to a lesser extent my work friends‒but I’ve never been able to socialize with people purely for socialization’s sake.

I don’t think I’ve ever made a friend just for the sake of making a friend, though I’ve had friends who were very important to me.  But when I’m not local to them, not seeing them semi-automatically, I don’t know how to keep in contact or maintain friendships; I don’t even know how to try, really.  It feels awkward, and I feel intrusive and idiotic; I can’t seem to figure out what to say or do.  Also, I don’t really have anything to add to anyone else’s life, particularly from a distance, so I feel like I would just be a taker, or at least a beggar, even if I were able to reach out to people.

I’ve also never had a romantic relationship with someone who hadn’t approached me, really, and again, someone from “school” or work.  I have no confidence along those lines, frankly‒and no real impetus, either.  I wouldn’t even want a relationship with someone with whom I didn’t share a lot of interests and attributes in common, and whom I didn’t know well.  What would be the point?

My attitude is, generally, that having sex with someone with whom you’re not truly close, and whom you don’t know and care about a good deal, is just complicated masturbation.  And most of the time, I think people can do that better alone, and without risk of STDs and arguments and heartbreak and infidelity and all the potential nightmares that can come with a relationship.

I don’t know, I guess that’s one of the areas in which I’m particularly weird.  I am lonely, of course, but I’m not really able to do anything about it.  And I don’t think it’s that irrational to be “once bitten, twice shy” about romantic relationships, especially when one is neurologically ill-equipped for making such relationships work, and when the previous instance(s) in which one was “bitten” were severely painful, with deep and chronic ill-effects.

Better to die alone than to try to seek out a life partner when one is constitutionally ill-equipped to bring anyone joy, and when one’s previous attempts have all exploded catastrophically in the long run.  Who needs that extra-spicy, sour and caustic pain, enhanced by the fact that you thought your significant other would be as loyal to you as you were and would be to them?

Speaking of pain, my back is really killing me this morning.  Just in case you were wondering.  I’m not really sure what made it flare up.  I mean, it hurts pretty nearly all the time, but the amount isn’t constant, and I’m always trying to discern patterns in things that make it worsen or improve.  It’s the single most consistent aspect of my life, but I certainly wouldn’t miss it if I could cure it.

Still, I think there’s ultimately going to be only one escape from my pain, and though it couldn’t be called a cure, at least it’s an erasure.  Pain can be endured when one has reasons to endure it, or things that counterbalance it.  I’ve lost most of those, however, if not all of them.  All that’s left are attempts at distraction, and those are rapidly losing efficacy.  All the while I’m stuck between the poles of trying to find the courage to end it all and wondering if it’s even conceivable, let alone possible, for me to find any convincing reason to continue.

Oh, well.  I’ve got nothing on either pole right now, though I think I’m much closer to the former than the latter.  I guess I’ll “talk to you” tomorrow.

*Credit to James Acaster for that joke.  He’s very funny, in a purposely bizarre way.  His version of Pinocchio is priceless.