Be fire with fire. Threaten the threat’ner, and outface the brow of blogging horror.

Hello and good morning.

It’s Thursday again.  It feels as though it ought to be Friday—some Friday in 2029, or 2929, or 20,299 or something, given how horribly long this week feels as though it has lasted.

I’ve rarely felt as unpleasant as I do this week.  First of all, as you know, despite medication and my attempts to improving my schedule and lifestyle, my depression has been very bad, and it doesn’t really seem to be improving.  Also, my pain has just been awful this week.

Yesterday I felt as if everything from my left shoulder blade on down was being eaten away by Drano™ or something similar from the inside out.  Then it spread out a bit.  It’s not much better now, though it’s not as severe as at its worst.  I don’t know what has set it off.  I’ve tried not to do stupid things, physically.  I’ve tried using knee braces and ankle braces and shoe inserts, but those quickly seemed just to make things worse (annoyingly).  I’ve tried various different brands and types of shoes.  And, of course, I’ve slightly but frequently overdosed on naproxen and aspirin and acetaminophen, which don’t help me feel much better.

There have been several times that I’ve been tempted just to grab a double fistful of aspirin and/or acetaminophen and just gulp them down—I only have about ten or twelve naproxen left in the little bottle on my desk, so I could add them to the meal, but they probably wouldn’t make much difference.  However, I know that the process of dying from even a large overdose of such combinations would be extremely drawn out, and I would probably have bad nausea and vomiting and the like as part of it.  It would be hard to tolerate without seeking some kind of help, and certainly without being obvious and intrusive to other people.  I hate nausea probably more than most anything else (I doubt this is unusual, given the nature of nausea and the purpose it serves).

I have to admit that I have harkened back with some nostalgia to the time when I had prescription opioids of one kind or another.  The side-effects and the dependency on those is annoying—so annoying that I weaned myself off the meds on my own—but at least they definitely work, for a while, to alleviate pain.

I’m getting very tired of pain.  That’s an unusual reaction, isn’t it?  Ha ha.

Seriously, though, I’ve been in chronic pain for a little more than twenty years now, and it’s not really getting better, or stabilizing, and although I’m still alive despite it—obviously—it cannot be said that I’m getting used to it, other than to say that it’s become almost a part of my identity by now, which is a horrifying and infuriating thought.

I keep thinking of a line from the movie Dragonslayer, when the wizard, Ulrich, says, “When a dragon gets this old, it knows nothing but pain, constant pain.  It grows decrepit…crippled…pitiful.  Spiteful!”  I can definitely sympathize with the dragon’s wish to burn the entire countryside, the entire world, out of frustration and rage and hatred because of constant pain—though I have no interest in burning and eating young virgins.  Is that the dragon equivalent of veal or lamb?  I don’t know.

I’ve tried many massagers (and I used my seat and feet massagers about five times yesterday at the office, to little or no avail), and patches, and creams, and ointments, and stretches, and exercises, and of course, medicines.  I’ve tried herbal things, and I’ve changed chairs, and I’ve changed the way I sleep.  I’m not a person who gives up easily; I tend always to be willing to check things out and experiment.  But there is a reason that opioids exist, despite the fact that they can be abused by those who suffer from psychological as well as physical pain:  they work.  What’s more, unlike the various OTC meds, when necessary, their doses can be increased without causing inescapable and catastrophic organ failure and a lingering, horrible death.

Even when one does die from opioids, it’s liable to be more peaceful than dying from too much Tylenol.  That is a terrible spectacle, involving total liver failure and all the dreadful, slow, wretched, painful ordeals that brings to the body.  NSAIDs, including aspirin, are not much better.  I suppose if one has a sudden, severe GI bleed from aspirin, it can be relatively quick, but it is likely to be messy, and extremely unpleasant, with nausea and pain as well as vomiting and/or defecating blood.

It’s somewhat ironic that the main cause of my disgrace and loss of career and what little was left of my life was born of my desire to try to help other people who have chronic pain—people who might not have the resources I had—to get their pain treated with the best medicines we had, however flawed they may be, in a society that looks at everyone* who picks up a prescription for an opiate or opioid as a disgusting, weak, criminal, degenerate drug addict who doesn’t really have any serious pain.  Only people with terminal cancer get a pass on treating their pain, even though, ironically, their course is usually much shorter.  It’s okay to treat your pain if you’re dying—which it ought to be, of course—but if you have to keep on living with your pain, and to keep on trying to make a living, then treating your pain makes humans see you as just a disgusting lowlife, which makes no sense at all.

Even those on the floors of hospitals taking care of patients with, for instance, sickle cell disease sometimes have the temerity to sneeringly refer to “drug-seeking” behavior in their patients.  As if they would not seek drugs for pain if I were to take a large baseball bat or sledge hammer and smash their major limb joints into powder for them, which is much of what the experience of a sick cell crisis can feel like.

Believe me, it was sometimes tempting to do such a thing.  Okay, it was often tempting.  See above about the whole “burning the countryside” thing.

Was I naïve about the pain treatment practice?  Of course I was.  I don’t tend to look for ulterior motives in people unless and until it’s glaringly obviously that I need to do so, and I don’t generally even try to understand hidden motivations and machinations of humans, who rarely seem to understand their own minds.  But even the book promulgated by the Florida Department of Health (or lack thereof) said—correctly—that there is no way accurately to test the degree of a person’s pain, and the general guideline is to take patients at their word unless and until there is a clear and good reason not to do so.  They actually sent this book out to all the doctors in the state who worked in that business.

Patients, in other words, should be considered innocent until proven guilty.  Too bad our justice system doesn’t have a principle like that to apply to it.  Oh, wait!  It supposedly does.  However, that really only applies to those who are wealthy enough to hire private defense attorneys (a rather obscene notion if you think about it).  It certainly doesn’t apply to the average person, certainly not to a person who has to use public defenders because he cannot afford an attorney, a person who hasn’t saved any money because his own life is in disarray from chronic pain, and because he doesn’t have a clue about money management or life management, or the ability to focus on them, and ends up giving much of what he earns away, and having the rest of it taken from him, because humans tend to take advantage of people like him, who are very smart and capable in some ways, but who are so very bad at taking care of themselves, and who find it hard to understand people who use others and take advantage of others and set them up to take a fall, and so on.

Again, see above about the burning of the countryside and/or the planet.  Doing that becomes more and more attractive with every moment.  Not just humans, but every life form on Earth is unworthy of existence, frankly.  At least, that’s how I often feel.  There is no innocent form of life.  Even green plants compete ruthlessly, choking each other, jockeying for the light and for water and all that stuff.  It’s all ugly and disgusting, even when it’s beautiful and amazing.

Anyway, that’s that.  I don’t even really know what I’ve written, other than general vague impressions, though of course, I will reread it as I edit it before posting.  I hate the universe at the moment, though not as much as I hate myself.  But I’m still grateful to those of you who read this blog, and so, to you especially, I hope you have a good day.



*This includes doctors, as I knew from repetitive experience.

Random Saturday thoughts on loyalty, free expression, and the supremacy of Nature

I think I mentioned that I was working again this Saturday—which is today—making it two Saturdays in a row that I’m working, and thus that I would be writing a blog post today.  I might not have mentioned it yesterday, however, so I hope this doesn’t come as too unpleasant a surprise.  Of course, one has to wonder why anyone would bother reading the post if it were unpleasant to them, but some people can be very loyal, and that’s a trait that—up to a point—we want to reward and encourage, so if you are one of those people, I thank you.

Of course, truly blind loyalty isn’t generally a good idea.  For instance, I’ve never been a fan of notions such as “my country, right or wrong,” which surely would have been welcome in any totalitarian regime from Nazi Germany to Communist Russia (or to modern Russia, alas), back to the Roman Empire and so on.  It has no legitimate place in the United States, though there have been and are people who espouse it.

This is a nation founded on the principle that governments derive their just power only from the consent of the governed, and are in place only to secure their rights, such as those to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  It is also founded on the principle, stated in the founding document, that when governments become contrary to the rights and principles of the people, they should be changed…but that this should generally not be done for light or transient reasons.

So, maybe the guiding thought, far superior to “my country, right or wrong” should be one that gives one’s country the presumption of innocence in a sense, i.e., to grant the present government provisional loyalty, but not to give it carte blanche.  Unquestioning loyalty breeds not only abuse—for when no one is telling a person they might want to reconsider their actions and choices, they are liable to become more and more extreme over time, even if only because they have a wider phase space in which to meander—but also failure.

We can imagine and see this happening in Putin’s Russia—where the head of state is a man surrounded by sycophants who, out of self-preservation, will tell him only the best news about their readiness, the strength of their army and their economies, and will tend not to give him bad news for fear of being imprisoned or poisoned or falling to their deaths in a “freak accident” from some balcony.

There should always be openness to dissenting voices; they should certainly be allowed to speak, though I suppose one cannot be required to listen.  A heckler’s veto, or coerced disinvitation, or any other de facto censorship ultimately will rebound upon those who do the censoring, for they will, over time, become less and less aware of many of the facts of reality.  But, as Feynman famously said during the Challenger inquiry, Nature cannot be fooled.  It makes no exceptions.  It doesn’t care about ideology.  In its absolute implacability, it makes the Terminator look like Charlie Brown.  And, to bring in another saying that’s a cliché because it’s true:  Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.

Of course, you cannot do anything but obey Nature.  If you think you are disobeying it, you’re just obeying that part of it that allows you to delude yourself.  But survival and thrival (which apparently is not a real word, but I’m leaving it there, anyway) are generally best served by having accurate information.  And the quality of information, of ideas, is honed and improved by testing it against other, contrary ideas, seeing which ones are better supported by evidence and reason, which ones are more convincing, not just in quality of rhetoric—which is, after all, just a game of manipulation at its root—but in ability to convince the truly disinterested and dispassionate, and above all, in how well they match reality.

I’m not quite sure how I got onto this general topic and subject, but it’s clearly an area about which I’ve thought a great deal.  When I first read John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty about five years ago, I felt frankly impoverished that I hadn’t been introduced to it in my youth.  But, it’s not too late to have read it now (obviously), and it wasn’t as though freedom of speech as an ideal had never occurred to me before.  I just hadn’t quite encountered as well-made a defense of it.

I think many of the young and “educated” and in-education people these days have clearly not read it, or at least have not absorbed or considered it very carefully.  Oh, well, young people are always foolish.  The trouble is, foolish young people grow into older people who are still foolish, though usually in slightly different ways.  I do not exclude myself from this general pattern—not by a parsec or a Planck length.

Wow, again, I don’t know where this all came from, but it’s probably at least a little improvement over some of my other posts.  Maybe it’s partly because I fasted during the day yesterday—i.e., I ate no breakfast or lunch, and only ate anything once I’d gotten back to the house.  This was my general habit during the times in my life when I’ve been both most successful and healthiest.  It’s also, quite possibly, a more natural way for humans (and anthropoid replicants) to behave.  In ancestral days, food generally had to be hunted and gathered prior to eating (duh!), so those activities were pursued during the day.  A recently well-fed and satiated animal does not tend to get up and go hunting.  Better to let the digestive system do its work.

But when one has an empty belly, one is sharper and more motivated, at least up to a point—a belly that has been empty for a very long time, obviously, is not so great.  Though I kind of think it would be nice for me to try.  I have enough stored fat to last me quite a while, even if I ate nothing.  We’ll see what happens.  But it would be welcome if my mind became sharper than usual.  It’s not as though it could readily get much worse.

And, now, I’d better leave to head to the bus stop.  Thank you for your patience and your loyalty in reading my blog, and in particular, for reading this little rant for today.  Have a good remainder of your weekend, if you’re able.

I’m too tired to think of a title, sorry

Well, it’s Wednesday morning again, not even five o’clock yet, and here I am, sitting on a piano bench, writing my daily blog post before leaving the house to head to the office.  I’m not heading there directly, of course.  It’s more than thirty miles away, which would be a ten or eleven hour walk, even if I walked without a single moment’s rest, which is not going to happen.  Then, of course, by the time I got there, there would only be a few hours before I had to head back.

I suppose it would be great physical training, apart from the fact that walking 64 miles within the course of a single day would probably exhaust me, and almost certainly give me horrible blisters.  I’d probably lose weight, though—much of it water weight, but at least some of it fat.

Anyway, that’s all nonsense; I don’t know why I started talking about that.

I got a few hours’ sleep last night at least—not interrupted, and no more than two between awakenings, for a total of maybe four hours.  Still, it was better than the night before.  It’s times like these I can sympathize with Michael Jackson over his use of Propofol to get to sleep, even though it’s actually not conducive to a restful, beneficial slumber.  I can also envy him for what Propofol did to him and how he no doubt went on his way:  while deeply unconscious.

I was so tired and worn out yesterday at work, but apparently it was not obvious to people.  I told the boss that I’d only had twenty minutes of sleep the night before, and that I was seriously tired, but as far as I could tell, there wasn’t any attempt to foreshorten or soften things much, and at the end of the day, we still stayed late because a last minute deal was closing.  I got on an earlier train than the night before, but because of the way the buses run, I still didn’t get back to the house more than fifteen minutes earlier than I had Monday night.  That’s a bit frustrating.

Many things are frustrating in a vague and fuzzy sense, but right now most things are just plain vague and fuzzy.  I’m still seeing illusions of insects and even cats out of the corners of my eyes, though at least when I turn to look, the things don’t persist.  This is just the predictive modeling system of the brain getting a bit out of whack because of fatigue, but once my foveae are brought to bear, it corrects its models.

As far as I know, I’m not encountering any full-on, persistent hallucinations.  Of course, there could be such hallucinations happening, but they haven’t been revealed to me for what they are.  And, of course, since I don’t socialize or spend time with anyone, except at work—and I don’t really interact all that much with the people there except as part of my job—it might be quite some time before anyone pointed out to me that, for instance, something to which I was reacting wasn’t even there.

Of course, in principle, someone telling me I was acting strangely could be the very hallucination itself, but this is an issue of epistemology that goes all the way back to Plato and Descartes and then on up to The Matrix.  It doesn’t bother me much, anyway.  I never do really assume that I have the full and final picture of things.  I’m not prone to delusions, as far as I know, and I dislike dogmatism in any form.  I’ve often thought that, perhaps, part of the disorder of depression, or perhaps a situation that makes one prone to it, is an under-powered belief module in the brain.  In other words, I think that depressed people are less likely to feel that they are right about things than people who are not prone to depression.

In many cases, I think this failure to believe is a good thing.  I dislike dogmatism and unwarranted certainty in pretty much all of its guises and incarnations, from religious fanaticism to braggadocio to those who insult others on social media to just people who arrogantly assume they know the answers and are smarter than the people around them.  I think intellectual humility—not to be confused with intellectual timidity—is a surer way to advancement and improvement of human* knowledge and prosperity than is any kind of pseudo-certainty (and nearly all “certainty” is pseudo-certainty) or boldness of conclusions.  All progress is change, but not all change is progress.  Course correction is essential, and must be near constant, if one wishes to arrive at any destination worth seeking.

I mean, I’m sure it’s fun and ego-syntonic to believe that one is right.  But heroin, I’m sure, feels pretty good when one first starts using it.  That good feeling doesn’t tend to last, though.

As I’ve said before, I don’t want to believe; I want to be convince by evidence and reasoning.  Such conviction is always, in principle, provisional.  Of course, some things are so close to certainty that they might as well be complete convictions.  I am convinced that 1 + 1 = 2 (barring changes in the meaning of the symbols).  I don’t need Russell’s formal logical proof of the fact, though knowing that it’s out there is reassuring.  I assign an extremely low credence to the possibility that the above equation is incorrect, far lower than, say, the likelihood of a massive asteroid striking the Earth in south Florida tomorrow, and probably even lower than the likelihood of a phase change of the cosmic vacuum state happening tomorrow.  Though if either of those things did happen, particularly the latter, I wouldn’t exist long enough even to say, “Well, I’ll be!  Who would’ve thought it?”

I don’t know what I’m really getting at here.  I’m really frazzled and confused and tired.  I’m still taking the Saint John’s Wort—I think it must be nearly three weeks since I started back, but if you lot recall when I restarted it, feel free to let me know.  I can’t be arsed to look back and check myself.  But my mind and my mood don’t feel like they are improving.

Anyway, I should get going to head out to the bus stop.  If I don’t write my usual blog post tomorrow, it will probably be because I just got sick from the stress and lack of sleep, as I fear I might.  But, of course, I do have to go in on Saturday, so unless I get so horribly broken down that I no longer care about inconveniencing people or failing to stick to my commitments, I’ll be writing then, and almost certainly Friday as well.  And, let’s be honest, I’ll probably be here tomorrow.

I, after all, do not have access to Propofol or any other similar dangerous but relaxing substance.

*And pseudo-human, replicant, changeling, alien, robot, monster, and any other form of intelligent life.

A session of digression but without a confession

Hello, everyone.  It’s Monday morning, and I’m still at the house, sitting on the piano bench—the only piece of furniture I use for sitting, though I almost never play the keyboard anymore—and writing this blog post on my laptop.  Last week, every post was written on my phone.  Also last week, my posts didn’t get as many views or “likes” as they usually do.  At least, that’s my impression, and I wonder if writing on my phone contributed to the outcome.  I haven’t actually done an empirical, side-by-side comparison of the numbers, so I could easily be wrong about the posts’ popularity.  Perhaps it’s more a sign of my emotional state than the state of the world.  As Radiohead so aptly sang in There There, “Just ‘cause you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.”  Or, as I like to say, “Just because you inferred it doesn’t mean it was implied”.

Still, this is my own blog, so I suppose I can allow myself to proceed from my subjective point of view.

I’m not looking forward to this week.  My coworker with whom I share some of my duties is out today and tomorrow, and I’m also going to be working this coming Saturday after having worked this last Saturday, since said coworker was/will be out of town.  I had already had a week of terrible sleep, even for me, which didn’t help.  I did take a bit of rest yesterday, though I had to do my laundry.  But a lot of the resting was simply me being wiped out due to the fact that I had some form of (presumably food-borne) enteritis, so I didn’t feel well at all, despite taking some loperamide*.  That illness, at least, appears mostly to have run its course, for which I am grateful.  It’s not pleasant to try to commute while fighting a lower GI issue, but it’s not as though I can stay out of work today with my coworker out.

Sorry, I know all this trivia about my day to day life is probably both boring and depressing.  What can I say?  I’m a depressing and boring person.

Yesterday, between trips to the bathroom, I picked up the Les Paul guitar that my former housemate built, because I wanted to practice some more on that David Bowie song I mentioned last week.  As with most songs, it sounded even better on the Les Paul.  It’s the best sounding instrument—of any kind (which includes cellos, pianos, guitars, violins, and keyboards in general**)—that’s I’ve had the privilege to play.  He did an amazing job with it.  The red Strat he made is also excellent, and I love it, but the Les Paul is almost miraculous in its tone.

It was remarkably dusty, but that didn’t bother me too much.  I’m not one to polish or tweak or maintain things, except when using them, and then only to the extent that it’s necessary in order to use them.  My brain just doesn’t work in such a way that, for instance, I would ever notice or care that a car I owned could use a car wash, or that my room was cluttered, or that my desk was cluttered, or whatever.

Cars and the like are merely things one uses for a purpose, as far as I’m concerned.  And I’m actually quite happy that I seem to have been spared the whole social hierarchy, showing off, keeping up with the Joneses, owning things as status symbols, and so on, kind of mentality.  I’m not intimidated by so-called superiors, and it usually doesn’t occur to me that I ought to be so.  I’m also not disdainful of so-called subordinates, and I am provisionally convinced that this is the correct attitude.

Of course, all this sounds a bit like a species of showing off in its own right, I guess.  I don’t mean it that way (though I am glad of it, as I said).  I just recognize now that perhaps some of the things that have always been true about me, and which I guess are different from the way many other people are, may in fact be related to ASD if I do indeed meet the criteria for that.  I have never been a person who cared about owning the latest popular brand of sneakers when I was a kid, or a particular brand of clothes or jacket or whatnot—I honestly couldn’t even understand why people cared about such things.

I did like some things that I thought looked cool, or neat, or interesting sometimes, and I still do.  I also had a jacket, on the left breast of which were pinned dozens upon dozens of buttons depicting the band, The Police, because I was fairly obsessed with them and bought every such button I encountered.  But I am not and have never been the sort of person who would have put racing stripes or LEDs on a motorcycle, or tried to get bright chrome doo-dads for a car.  A car is just a tool.

So is a guitar (or a piano or a cello).  These are wonderful tools, and I care more about them than I do about cars, because their purpose is to make music, which is much more aesthetically pleasing than just being able to get places quickly and easily while sitting on my fat bottom.  Even so, what matters in a guitar, say, is the sound.  I honestly don’t really give a flying f-ck at a tiny little rat’s a-s if it looks shiny or fancy or whatever***.

I don’t know how I got started on that big and pointless digression.  I suppose I’ll be able to see the route when I go back to edit this, though I still might be mystified by it.  At least it fills the page, so to speak.  And it isn’t even late enough that I would normally have left for the bus stop, which is good, because it’s raining a bit, and even with the bus shelter roof, the rain tends to get little splatters on the laptop screen if I write there.  I definitely write much faster on the laptop, though at least doing the phone stuff last week doesn’t seem to have hurt my thumbs too much.

I have to work up my courage to go in to work, though.  I just need to survive until Saturday, at least, because I don’t want to leave everyone at the office in the lurch.  After that, it’ll be two weeks in a row where I won’t be working on Saturday (to make up for two weekends on), and so there won’t be any time when my presence is essential—well, except for payroll, I guess, but I can’t be too tied down by that.  Having to prepare the payroll for people is not by itself an adequate reason to continue living, not indefinitely.

I’m not sure I’ve ever found an adequate reason, even during the times when I was reasonably mentally stable.  I just didn’t much think about it, not in any serious way.  When you’re not feeling depressed and/or stressed, you don’t really need a reason to continue, you just coast along on the surface of biological drives and follow the local path-of-least-action.  At least, I do.  But it’s been a long time since I’ve had a noteworthy interval of not being depressed and/or stressed, and unfortunately, when depressed, time seems to take much longer to pass than do the times in between.

Probably, reading my blog posts feels like that sometimes.  Meaning that the time is much longer, more wearing, than other times.  Apologies for that.  I hope you have a good week, nonetheless.  And to all you mothers**** out there, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday.

*Look it up if you don’t know what it is.  It’s an excellent product.

**I’ve also briefly played a saxophone—a cheap one bought from a flea market.  It made a lovely sound, and I enjoyed diddling around on it and making absurdly loud but cool noises, and it was easier to play than I expected it to be, but I lost interest pretty quickly.  I like to sing and play, and you can’t do that with the saxophone.  I do, in retrospect, regret that I had never even thought to try to work out and play the sax riff from Baker Street.  What a missed opportunity!

***Though I do grant that the guitars my former housemate made are lovely.

****And I don’t mean that as “half a word”.

Silence will fall when all questions are answered by the unthinking

It’s Saturday morning as I write this, in case you don’t know.

I hope you all had a momentous night.  I wouldn’t say that I had one, but I was awakened by pain again, which is not a rare occurrence.  I do take something for pain before I go to sleep, but I guess it wears off too quickly, even though the dosage period for Aleve (the “something” to which I refer) is 12 hours.  That’s a bit frustrating.  I also had reflux, which hasn’t happened in a while, but that’s a minor problem, and I think I know what caused it.

So, here I am, with less sleep this week than I think I’ve had since one November rotation in the ICU/CCU at Einstein/Weiler hospital during my medical residency.  That was the rotation during which, on one shift, I literally did not even sit down for nearly 36 hours.  It was very stressful, but at least I was doing some good in the world, and practicing my skills to do more good in the future.  That’s not the case now, and frankly, I’m not sure I could ever have the energy even to try to figure out some new way to do good.

Here’s a little aside:  When I wrote the phrase “even to try” just now, Google Docs underlined/noted it as possibly incorrect, as most word processors do nowadays.  But the thing is, it recommended that I change it to “to even try”!  That’s right, automatic grammar checkers are encouraging people to split infinitives*, instead of encouraging them not to do so.

I can be reasonable and nondogmatic and accepting about split infinitives‒they occasionally provide a cheap means of rhetorical emphasis that might require a full second or two of thought to achieve otherwise.  But ever since I started studying Spanish in high school and college and realized that there are many languages** in which it is impossible to split infinitives without actual tmesis, I’ve decided to try to avoid the practice.  In writing dialogue, of course, I’m quite happy to split infinitives, since people do that frequently in extemporaneous and casual speech.  But I try to leave it out of narration or nonfiction.

I’m sure I accidentally allow it to happen without even noticing at times.  Such are the fruits of living in a society that indulges in lazy grammar.  But between the fact that autocorrect keeps replacing “its” with “it’s” when the added “s” is possessive, and that it’s*** now suggesting that writers split infinitives, I’m leaning toward the conclusion that it’s time to pull out the Glaive of Silence and do a restart on the world.


Just wipe it all out, everything but the microbes, and see what happens next.  Because with bullshit shortcuts like ChatGPT and whatnot, humans are going to get lazier and lazier, and their thinking is going to get sloppier and sloppier.  And, of course, since these “deep learning” programs don’t actually learn deeply or understand at all, but are merely “trained” on oodles of brain droppings from across the internet and web to predict what sorts of words might follow a previous one, and what might be a typical response to particular queries, cyberspace is going to be flooded with recursive nonsense.

Future ChatGPT type programs will “learn” from, among other things, the garbage produced by prior chatbots and so on, with no way to discern what’s good, or what’s correct, or what’s reasonable or logical or true, only what’s common.  Then it will make those things more common by its own actions.  And while it might be interesting to see how such crap evolves as people use it more to avoid having to think and work themselves, there’s no path toward actual understanding.

Probably most people don’t think about how things work, and they don’t want to do so.  They just want to become the Eloi.  Who cares if they’re being eaten by Morlocks?  It’s worse than the Matrix.  People will become addicted/enslaved, to a system that can’t even know it’s enslaving them.  It’s worse than an idiocracy or a kleptocracy or an autocracy.

Imagine a world consisting solely of second-rate, “postmodern” literary and social theorists whose intellectual pursuits consist only of critiquing others of their ilk, in a cycle that never forces itself to make any contact with actual external reality, or with any actual literature, for that matter.  Then take that to the billionth power and turn it into the new, accidental paradigm of civilization.

How long can it survive?

Not long, I would wager.  But it can do a lot of damage before it goes.  So maybe we should do a reset.  Okay, maybe it’s not necessary to wipe out all multicellular life.  Maybe we should just eliminate civilization, but keep the history and scientific knowledge, so that when rebuilding, repeated mistakes can be avoided.

It would be like going back to the last “save” point when your character is killed in a video game; you can learn from what killed you last time.  It would be so much better than just being forced to continue the game without saving, and then, if you die near the end, just losing, without even the option to start over.

Maybe even that would be better than continuing to live indefinitely in a big “neural network” that doesn’t even actually understand itself, let alone anything else in the universe.

Wow, I didn’t expect to be writing about that when I started.  But I know what initiated it and why, and I didn’t just react to it randomly, but have thought about such matters before.  I even explored some of the issues in Son of Man, though not specifically those relating to chat bots and related civilizational tumors.

Son of man icon

I guess I get a bit grumpy from lack of sleep and depression, not to mention a week of persistent and horrible sensory overload that’s borne down upon…well, a person who is probably somewhere on the autism spectrum, and who has never been particularly amenable to loud noises and random conversations and chaos except when it serves actual purposes.

I don’t know how long or even if I will be able to tolerate much more.  Every camel’s back has a breaking point.

I already think I probably gave myself a mild concussion yesterday from banging my head repeatedly against a wall out of stress.  I’m not exaggerating; I got woozy and sleepy not long after that, and even felt a bit confused and spacey.  I still have a slight headache and just a mild degree of spaciness, even now.

I probably should avoid doing that too often.  Knowing my luck, I’d probably get debilitating brain damage with which I would then live for decades, rather than something that kills me on a relatively short time scale.  That would be ironic.

I need to find other, better reactions to my extreme stress, I guess.  But it usually needs to be something painful, whether psychologically or physically (or both), to do the job.  I’ve torn up drawings and paintings and music and the like in the past, but I don’t really have such easy targets nowadays.

Of course, it would be nice not to feel so tense and horrible that I have the‒sometimes irresistible‒urge to hurt my things or myself.  But I don’t know how that is ever going to happen.  The world only seem to grow less tolerable, not more, and whatever doesn’t kill a person often kills one slowly, with drawn out pain and suffering.

On that note…well, I hope you have a nice remainder of your weekend.  ^_^

*And to do so boldly, one might be inclined to think.

**Spanish is one of them but not the only one.

***This is a contraction, and that is when an apostrophe belongs between that “t” and that “s”.

There are numerous dimensional axes to reality; it’s probably best not to grind just one of them at a time

Well, it’s Tuesday morning, and again, I’m beginning this post on my smartphone while still sitting in my room at the house.  I know that’s not very exciting news, but it’s one of the more noteworthy things in my day-to-day existence.  To quote my own song, albeit ironically, “Don’t you wish that you were me?”

I wish I had more interesting things to discuss here.  Goodness knows there are always many “interesting” things going on in the world, depending on your point of view.  But that’s the nub of the rub: interestingness* is very much in the eye of the beholder.

Many of the things that seem to intrigue other people seem dull to me.  And some controversial subjects about which I do have interest and at least some opinions are being addressed by others, to the degree that I really don’t have a whole lot to add.

I suppose the subject of mental health is near and dear** to me.  I do become irritated when the public argumentation about things like “mass shootings” using “assault” weapons becomes divided into poles of:  focus on restricting access to assault weapons versus focus on mental health issues, as though only one of the two matters could be addressed at any time by any government or political party.  But surely, these are semi-orthogonal questions, and both are worthy of discussion.

Now, I’ll grant you that, when it comes to deaths among civilians related to firearms in the US, more than half‒and sometimes as many two thirds‒are suicides, so here, mental health is truly a major concern.  I have personal experience with this danger; I used to target shoot recreationally, and owned a few pistols, but when I was deeply depressed, my therapist asked, rather pointedly, that I turn my guns over to her for safe-keeping, which I did.  Once I was doing better, she returned them, but later, after I had back-slid, I did come one sixth of the way to killing myself with one of them.

But all this isn’t really relevant to the so-called mass shootings, which actually make up a tiny (but slightly growing) fraction of even gun-related homicides.  Weirdly enough, it’s not a simple, one-dimensional question.  There are many things happening all at once, and some of them are independent variables, and some are dependent, and some are partially dependent, and the causal relationship from one to the other(s) can often be difficult to ascertain at a superficial glance.

Complex issues are rarely best understood via an “us versus them”, tribal approach, which rapidly tends to descend into ad hominem attacks and other manipulative, rhetorical, self-deceptive and counterproductive tactics.  Reality doesn’t actually take sides in general, and more importantly, it does not make exceptions even for people who are honestly and innocently mistaken.  The safest approach to dealing with it is to try to understand it as objectively and thoroughly as possible, without political bias or other tribal nonsense.

Oscar Wilde once wrote that fashion was a form of ugliness so repulsive that it had to be changed every six months.  Politics is in some ways slightly more durable…but only slightly.  The overarching trends can be important‒to humans and their victims and beneficiaries, anyway‒but the momentary fads and fashions and personality cults are so much candy floss, and they have essentially no relevance to the greater universe***.  Humans are tiny, pathetically self-important newcomers on the surface of one planet among hundreds of billions‒perhaps trillions‒in this galaxy alone.  Everyone needs to get over him- or herself‒or whatever pronoun-self an individual prefers.

I have thoughts and “opinions” about various subjects, about some of which I have reasonable knowledge and expertise, but one thing I notice very much is that almost every subject of controversy is more complicated than humans seem to tend to want to think.  That’s partly just down to primatology; humans approach many questions not from a position of dedicated, disciplined, rigorous, and self-critical seekers of truth, but as rival flanges of baboons, or rival groups within a flange of baboons.  They often behave not as if they actually seek to understand the nature of reality to the best of their abilities, but as monkeys throwing feces at other monkeys to gain or maintain a position in a dominance hierarchy****.

It would be nice if people could actually try to address the very real problems of adult mental health, which is still underappreciated and in an even poorer state than healthcare in general, instead of using it as a distraction from the orthogonal question of why there are an increasing number of “mass shootings” and whether restricting access to “assault weapons” would do more good than harm, and by what measures.

An honest discussion***** of serious topics should recognize that finding the truth is not a zero-sum contest but, ideally, a mutual exchange to mutual benefit.  No one has all the facts in hand at any given time, and probably no one ever will have all the facts, but to try always to gain more facts, more knowledge, seems to be a useful guideline.

But if you see someone who disagrees with you, even about an issue that you consider important, as merely an enemy, then you make yourself into an enemy, too‒not just of the person who disagrees with you, but of anyone who seeks objective knowledge and understanding of the world.

*This feels like it’s not really a proper word, but the alternatives that come to my mind seem worse.

**Perhaps something like “anti-dear” would be more accurate; a quantity with the same absolute value as “dear”, but on the other side of zero.

***Except as they might influence whether the creatures of the Earth ever truly initiate, as David Deutsch called it, The Beginning of Infinity.

****It’s in encounters with such tendencies that I find myself sympathetic with Lord Foul’s disgusted statement, “…yet in their pride they dare to name themselves earthfriends, servants of peace.  They are too blind to perceive their own arrogance…”

*****Note that I do not say “debate”.  I generally consider debate a poor means by which to seek truth, since the process tends to become merely a contest, a display of skill, where rhetoric and charisma become more important than actual facts, reasons, and explanations, and thus the spectacle devolves into mere chest-thumping by hubris-addicted apes.  Regrettably, the very courts of law take this approach, and thus we have the mortifying spectacle of a prominent murder trial pivoting on the mildly clever couplet, “If the glove does not fit, you must acquit”.  If anyone saw and heard that and was not filled with abysmal despair regarding the criminal justice system, I don’t know what you’re missing, or what I’m missing.

I didn’t write a blog post yesterday

Well, it’s Tuesday, and I’m back to writing on my laptop—the computer, that is, not the upper surface of my thighs when I’m seated.  Writing on those would not only be rather bizarre, but I think it would be quite difficult to upload such writing to WordPress without first retyping it, anyway.  And if I’m going to do that, I might as well just write my posts out longhand on paper before typing them in.  I sometimes consider doing that, but the time required is prohibitive.

I was off sick yesterday, which is why I didn’t write a blog post.  I had a migraine, with nausea, though somewhat regrettably, I did not find myself able to throw up.  So I laid on the floor with the lights off and the blinds drawn for a little more than half the day.

I’m going to be riding the bus to the train station this morning, though I was tempted to try my bike, because I got this new, portable, electric, USB rechargeable air pump on which you can set your goal pressure and it pumps up to that pressure very quickly then stops.  It came fully charged and worked beautifully on my scooter tires—then the scooter battery turned out to be dead, so I couldn’t use it.

I was frustrated, so I tried it on the bike and realized that, despite my earlier attempts, I had previously underinflated the tires a bit.  So, I rode the bike to 7-11 Sunday (and back—no need to leave it there), and I had no noticeable exacerbation of my back pain.

However, the trip to 7-11 is shorter than to the train station and back, and I’m a bit too nervous to do the latter today…cats walking on hot stoves and all that.  Anyway, I’m writing the beginning of this post (now) in my room in the house, but will probably finish it at the bus stop*, depending on how fast I write, which is, to be fair, pretty fast.

I started taking Saint John’s Wort again this weekend—it’s possible that’s what gave me a belly-ache on Sunday and then might even have contributed to my migraine yesterday, though I’m skeptical of that.  Still, it’s not as though any other antidepressant ever failed to give me side-effects, and most of the others require a prescription.

I tried the curcumin stuff, but it gave me stomach problems almost immediately, so that was a miss.  I’ve got Sam-E, or however they write that stuff, but it’s more of a supplement to treatment or whatever and I’d rather not start it at the same time as the SJW**.  Anyway, since “the wort” (as in “going from bad to wort”?) was the first and most effective antidepressant I’ve taken, so I’ll try it again as, potentially, the last antidepressant I take.  I simply cannot go on the way I am.

I’ve been trying to do mindfulness meditation, as you may know, and when I do it helps a bit.  I also try not to let myself by constantly distracted by other things from it when I’m at work, and it seems to be somewhat useful as far as it goes.  One of the biggest benefits to meditation is that it seems to make me less grumpy at the office, and less stressed out when people interrupt something I’m working on to ask me to do something unrelated, derailing my train of thought and my work process and everything.  I still dislike those things, but at least I don’t feel like I want to lash out at the people involved with teeth and fists and claws and everything to make them go away.  Well…I do feel like I want to, but I can at least keep from letting it show in my voice.

I think it only shows to me, anyway.  I don’t think other people ever really pick up on what’s going on in my head.  I feel like it ought to be obvious to everyone that I’ve been depressed and self-harming and feel suicidal and all that, but no one really says anything, and when I mention such things, people seem to think I’m joking.

I suppose I have only myself to blame for that latter problem; I have a dark and somewhat morbid sense of humor, and I guess my delivery must be pretty deadpan whether I’m joking or not.

Here’s a hint, in case anyone is paying attention:  If I ever say that I hate my life and feel like I want to kill myself, and to hurt myself, and wish I would catch pneumonia or cancer or trip in front of an oncoming car or just drop dead—even if I sound like I’m joking, even if I am joking—I do mean it.  It may not be the whole story of me.  Obviously it isn’t, because I’m not dead yet, but it is true, nevertheless.  I hate myself, and a big part of why I haven’t actively sought out help or whatever, or at least not much, is that I really don’t like myself, and don’t want help, or rather, can’t let myself seek help because I don’t think I deserve it.

I have no sense of anything like a future for myself; I can’t imagine a life even one year down the road, even one in the autumn of this year.  I can’t imagine another birthday.  I have no image of my own future life in my mind.  It’s just a fog of emptiness and entropy.

Anyway, that’s that.  Go ahead, take it as a joke or as the mind drippings of a dealer in melodrama.  I missed yet another potential palindromic digit sequence in recording numbers at the office last week, and it’s getting old even hoping for one, however fun it would be.  If one appeared today, I don’t  think it would matter (though it’s not possible, currently).  What’s the point?  Is getting eight digits that read the same front to back as the recording number on an audio recording verification system really a good enough reason to stay alive?

I mean, I like fun with numbers and everything, but they only have so much charm.  Hell, there’ve been at least two new Numberphile videos with Professor Grime, one of my favorites, and I haven’t bothered to watch either of them.  I couldn’t give a shit.

That’s not a good sign, in case you didn’t know.

Anyway, it’s getting about time to leave for the bus stop, and I’m already at over a thousand words in the first draft of this.  I do type quickly, and when I can just write what I think pretty much as I think it, as I do with these blog posts, it comes fast.  It’s much easier and quicker than speaking, ironically.  Unfortunately, fewer and fewer people seem to read anymore.  They all want to watch five minute smartphone videos on Instagram or TikTok or whatever, with their annoying, vertical aspect ratios that just don’t really work to make a watchable tableaux of anything but some juvenile face, most of the time.

There are a few brilliantly funny videos, I’ll admit, but they are short.

There are reasons both movies and TV are wider than they are tall and always have been.  A lot of it has to do with the fact that we evolved in a world where all the stuff with which we can interact is within a fairly narrow vertical range but a functionally unlimited one horizontally.  We and other animals don’t do much going up or down relative to moving along the surface of the ground.  Even flight takes place within a range much narrower than the horizon is wide.

But because smartphones are relatively effortless—and thus mindless—people make all those stupid vertical videos.  Heck, I’ve done it myself.  See?

video screenshot

Anyway, that’s enough of that.  Who knows what will come next.  I’m giving myself a last chance with the Saint John’s Wort, but it may be just enough to give me the will to make an end, who knows?  Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.  Maybe this blog will all be the beginning of a truly long course of writing, and maybe it will be the final records of a mind headed for catastrophic failure and death.  The latter seems more likely to me, but I’m unable to be objective about it.

Thank you all for reading, anyway.  You know who you are:  you’re the ones reading, and thus the only ones who will be thanked.  That’s kind of convenient, at least.

*I finished it at the house before leaving.

**Saint John’s Wort, that is.  It has nothing to do with “social justice” or the warriors thereof.  I’m not even sure that’s a coherent term, “social justice”.  Perhaps it’s merely a redundant one.  What’s the alternative?  Anti-social justice?  Asocial justice?  Solitary justice?  It’s weird.

An intention to work on meditation

It’s Friday morning, now, and I’m writing this on my phone, because I did go back to the house from the office last night.  My boss actually made a point to have me leave a bit early; he took me to the train station himself.

I guess it was pretty obvious how worn out I was.  I actually felt rather giddy and weird much of the day, yesterday, but it wasn’t exactly a healthy feeling.  This morning I feel more like my usual self, which is not an improvement, necessarily, but at least it’s “usual”.

I’ve been reading a book called From Strength to Strength, by a guy who was on Sam Harris’s podcast and sounded like he had some interesting ideas.  It’s basically about how the abilities and habits people have as young go-getters, achievers, innovators and whatnot inevitably diminish over time, but that other abilities, and the possibility for a different and deeper kind of success, can happen after passing the peak of the “fluid” intelligence stage.

However, as he notes, it can be difficult for people whose habits of achieving have been honed and have worked well so far in their lives to achieve what they thought they wanted‒money, power, prestige, and so on‒to let go of those habits and move on to more rewarding “second act” kinds of things, like good relationships, family, teaching and helping others, and spiritual pursuits.

Now, I was certainly a high-achiever, but all my youthful rewards were taken from me by injury and ill-health, divorce, depression, and incarceration.  I lost everything I had except a few knick-knacks that had been lent to other people, and I lost my wife and kids (effectively), and I certainly lost any and all prestige I’d had.

The prestige stuff was never a huge deal to me, nor was “being a doctor” the way in which I defined myself (I’m not sure I ever actually “defined” myself in any way other than that I was the person thinking and doing whatever I was thinking and doing).  I went to medical school almost as an afterthought, when other plans got derailed due to my congenital heart condition.

Medicine was something I liked, though‒intellectually challenging and stimulating, full of science and learning, and centered around the ability to do real good in the world and relieve or at least lessen the suffering of some people within the reach of my arm.  That was good, because I have always felt a kind of inherent guilt over the very fact of my own existence, and have felt very much wrong in this world.  I’ve always felt that I had to justify, in some way, my continued existence, the inevitable depletion I caused of the planet’s oxygen and food and water.  Either that or I would simply need to embrace being a villain and willfully choose destruction and cruelty and evil.

That latter bit was too much work, though, and it’s hard to be a pure bad guy when you’re what might be thought of as a sort of anti-narcissist.

So, anyway, back to the subject.  I didn’t need to force myself to jump off the treadmill of my youthful power curve; I had already crashed and burned catastrophically.

I unfortunately have no close relationships whatsoever to cultivate anymore, not really.  My sister and brother, with whom I get along well and always have, are more than 1300 miles away, and my cousin slightly farther.  I cannot face the prospect of trying to move closer to them, to change where I am located, to try to find a new place to make a living, and to become a burden, even a minor one, upon those people‒even if they would be willing to take that burden up.  I am not willing to deliver it.  Not to them.

However, I may be able to try to approach some kind of “spiritual” life.  I can’t be religious in any kind of traditional, “western” sense.  I just can’t buy into that stuff.  I’ve tried.  I’ve read the whole Bible (parts of it multiple times), both testaments, including the first chapter of Genesis in Hebrew.  I’ve read as much of the Koran as I could force my way through (about half).  None of them are very impressive, and I’m willing to bet the Book of Mormon, for instance, isn’t any better.

However, I’ve always been pretty good at self-hypnosis and meditation.  I’ve had trouble with meditation in recent years, because, while it tends to reduce my tension and stress, it seems to exacerbate my depression.  However, that was often meditation associated with a sort of mantra, drawn from my time of self-hypnotism habits.  But maybe if I try simple, pure Vipassana meditation, it might be better.

I don’t think I could possibly become very much more depressed than I already am without crashing full-steam into a life-threatening‒or life-ending‒crisis.  And that would be at least some kind of result, so that’s not so very bad.

Anyway, I think I’m going to try, in my moments of lack of work, to get into a more persistent practice of mindfulness meditation.  I’m not ready‒and I may never be‒to work toward any metta (lovingkindness) meditation, because it’s hard for me to feel beneficent feelings toward the world in general, though it’s easier than feeling them toward myself.

It’s not true that in order to love others you have to love yourself; that’s patent nonsense.  It may be that you have to love yourself in order to be loved, but I doubt even that is close to being true.  These all seem to be just tropes and gimmicks trying to trick people, often with good intentions, to work on loving themselves.

Anyway, that’s a tangent.  I do hope that maybe, at least, being less tense will make me snack a bit less, since eating is almost a form of “stimming” for me, a kind of self-soothing behavior, a reliable source of at least transient positive feeling, strongly wired into the nervous system.  I don’t eat because of actual hunger, that’s for sure.  When I actually am hungry, I usually don’t eat, because the feeling, the sensation, is quite interesting and stimulating.  But, of course, these kinds of eating habits end up making me feel worse about myself, and they aren’t good for my physical health.

So, I’ll try to do the mindfulness stuff.  I might as well.  I’ve tried every class of antidepressant except MAO inhibitors in the past.  I’ve not tried psychedelics, unless you count my disastrous attempt to take a hit off a former coworker’s blunt that led me to feeling weird‒not in a good way‒and throwing up repeatedly for a few hours.  I’m very nervous about psychedelics, because my mind is not my friend, and I don’t know what it might do to me.  Anyway, I have no idea where I would even get psychedelics from, or even MDMA (which seems like it might be interesting, but is apparently neurotoxic).

I’ll try to try meditate, and who knows, maybe I’ll develop at least some insight and improvement.  If I do, I imagine the character of this blog will change.  That might be something to which my readers can look forward.

In any case, I work tomorrow, so in the shorter term, I will be writing some form of blog post tomorrow, barring the unforeseen.  Don’t expect any real changes by then, of course.  That would be almost ridiculous.

“…and we sang dirges in the dark…”

I’m writing this on my phone again, today, because it’s still a relief not to have to carry the laptop.  I wouldn’t have thought it would make such a big difference, since the computer really is quite light, but the subjective experience is a notably easier feeling‒physically, at least.

I had to run a bit across some major roads to try to catch a connecting bus last night, because the first one was 35 minutes late, and it was good not to have the minor bit of weight in my back when doing that.  Of course, now, today, my back and hips and legs are aching more than usual, probably as a consequence* of that running.  It’s not the muscles that are the problem, though they do spasm up in response to the pain.  It’s the joints and the nerves.

Speaking of that, I’m not sure why typing on the phone isn’t giving me more trouble than it is.  Maybe my thumb joints have adapted after the initial use back a few months ago, or maybe I’ve adapted my typing style.  Or perhaps the problem is still coming, and I just haven’t been doing this often enough for long enough yet to trigger the inevitable flare-up.  I guess I’ll soon find out if it’s the latter, though even if I don’t get an exacerbation, it’ll be hard to differentiate between those first two hypotheses.

It’s not really important, I guess.

I haven’t been riding my bike, as I’ve said before, and I don’t think I’m probably going to be riding it.  It’s been too clear from the timing and the specificity of outcomes that it was triggering both pain exacerbations and postural adjustments that interfered with my sleep.  I can’t lose more sleep than I already do, and I already have enough pain** every day.

I literally feel fear at the thought of riding the bike because of the clarity and certainty of those outcomes.  It’s a shame and a waste…but then again, so am I, so I guess that’s fair enough.  I’ll just walk and take the bus until something kills me.

Speaking of that, it seems one of the people who used to work at our office, and who had recently had a heart attack at a rather young age, died yesterday, in the hospital.  One of the people at the office rents a room from him and he was devastated by the news.

I won’t give names, but the former worker was an electro-pop musician in slightly earlier days, and though his stuff isn’t really my kind of music, it was really quite good.  He wrote and performed it, and had albums and everything.  One of his songs was used in a movie.  So, he was the real deal, if not truly a big star or anything.

He said he really liked my song Breaking Me Down, and that if a slightly shorter version of it had been released in the 70s, it might have been a hit.  He also said he was impressed with my guitar playing on my “baddish” cover of Street Spirit (Fade Out), but that the vocals didn’t sound great***.

It’s very sad that he died so young, particularly for the guy who rented from him, because they were friends in addition to being “landlord/tenant”.

We’ve had a surprising number of people die who worked in or used to work in the office since I’ve been there.  It’s not my fault (I think) nor the fault of the business.  Of course, when I was in medical practice I saw a lot more people die, but that’s the nature of adult medical care.  Still, it’s also kind of sad.

Well, it’s very sad.  These are people who‒as far as I know‒did not actually want to die, and yet they did.  And here I am, ironically relatively healthy apart from my chronic pain and my mood disorder(s) and whatnot.

I would say that it’s hard to make sense of it, but that’s not really true.  It’s just that the universe isn’t set up such that the laws of mortality apply relative to one’s desire to live.  Biology leads us to tend to want to stay alive and have offspring, and after that, whatever happens is really just stochastic and erratic, and an adult human body is like an empty seed pod that lingers on a branch past all use once the age of reproduction has gone.

And I think to myself, “What a wonderful world.”****

I really don’t think I’m going to be able to go on much longer.  By which I don’t mean this blog, though of course that is subsumed in the larger subject matter; I mean I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to continue living.  There’s really nothing to which I look forward, short or long term.  I don’t look forward to getting up and going to work, I don’t look forward to coming back to the house and going to bed.  I don’t look forward to meals or drinks.  There are no shows or movies I’m awaiting‒I’ve become more or less indifferent to the Doctor Who specials and new series that are coming later this year, and the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie also doesn’t particularly spark my interest.  All the new Star Wars related crap seems just to be blah at best.

I wish there were some book series I was reading that was enticing, whether new or old, but I still can’t seem to read fiction anymore, which is a truly hellish turn of events for me.  Reading fiction was always my refuge, my joy, my escape.  Not anymore.

There is some interesting nonfiction, which I usually tend to seek out after hearing someone on a podcast with Sam Harris or Sean Carroll, but the podcasts are getting boring, and I haven’t finished the last 3 books I’ve gotten under those circumstances.

It’s like the line in the Beatles song I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party: “There’s nothing for me here, so I will disappear.”  She’s not going to turn up while I’m gone‒whoever the metaphorical “she” is‒so there’s no need to worry about letting me know.

I’m so tired and in pain and depressed and I really, really hate myself.  I wish I would have a heart attack, or develop cancer, or catch pneumonia, or something like that.  In my case, it would have no serious, life-altering repercussions for anyone, though I’m sure there are those who might find it sad.

There are sweet, kindly, compassionate people out there, after all, and my family members and some of the people who know me are among their number.  They would be sad over the deaths of anyone they know, and particularly family members‒as I am sad over the death of my former coworker‒and it’s good that people feel that way, I guess.  But death is the guaranteed payoff of life, after all, for everyone. It really feels like it would be better just to skip to the end.

*If you can have a consequence, why is there no sinquesence or perhaps sansquesence?

**One might even be inclined to say that I have too much pain every day, but let’s not be reckless.

***He wasn’t wrong, though I’m not sure if he meant my voice itself didn’t sound great, which it didn’t‒I had recently had Covid, and was not fully recovered‒or just that the recording of it was not great, which is fair enough, since I don’t have a studio or high quality recording equipment or mixing equipment or anything.  Possibly he meant both.


Can one exaggerate the dangers of “mental health”?

Well, here I am again, writing a blog post on my phone, because I didn’t feel like toting my mini* laptop around.

It was really rather pleasant not to have to carry it at all yesterday.  Even after I picked up a seltzer and some minor dinner items at a convenience store between two buses on the way back to the house last night, the load was minor.  Despite my light burden, however, I didn’t walk from the train station, as should be obvious from the fact that I mentioned two buses; it was simply too late in the evening.  As it was, I didn’t get back to the house until just before nine.

It’s a glitzy, glamorous life I lead, I know, but don’t envy it.  You don’t see the struggles I face when out of the limelight.

Actually, I guess you do “see” a lot about them if you read my blog regularly.  You don’t see all of them, of course.  Even I am not quite so indiscreet as all that.  But you certainly know about some of my difficulties with depression.

With that in mind, I must (and do) apologize to StephenB for my extra-gloomy reply to his comment yesterday.  I think he was trying to perk me up with a little good-natured humor, playing on my words in a way that skillfully echoed how I played on them, but I just doubled down on the doom and gloom.  That’s one of my greatest skills.  It might be innate enough for me to consider it a talent, or even a fundamental attribute of my being.  Maybe it’s just my nature, my design (or design flaw) always to feel self-hateful.  I don’t know.

I do wonder what it would feel like to love myself.  Much is made in literature and spiritual inquiry and religious teaching about the danger of self-love**.  Certainly, in public discourse we see frequent reminders of the perils of narcissism.  The generally believed notion seems to be that everyone loves his or her own person more than they do anyone else.

But the Judeo-Christian admonition to love one’s neighbor as oneself is very bad advice for me.  I’ve always tended to feel more positive and generous in spirit toward other people than toward myself.  Cat forbid I should view other people as dimly and darkly as I view myself.

I’m reminded of a line from a Monty Python sketch in which some TV criminologist, played (if memory serves) by Graham Chapman, says, “After all, a murderer is only an extroverted suicide.”  It would be very bad, or at least not very positive, for my “neighbors” if I started to “love” them as I do myself.  I have become more prone to misanthropy over the years, and even edge toward pro-mortalism, but I recognize this as probably irrational and born of my mental illness, as it were.

Incidentally, I’m puzzled by a recent apparent shift toward referring not to mental illness but rather to using “mental health” when one is actually referring to what would previously have been called “mental illness”.  We live in a world in which people say things along the lines of “we have a growing problem of mental health” or “if you’re troubled with mental health…”*** or similar phrases.  I wish I could think of a specific example.  But it’s weird because mental health is not a problem, it’s the lack thereof.

Tiptoeing around words to avoid upsetting people by naming the fact that an illness is an illness and a problem does not seem like a healthy thing to do, as far as I can see.  If you’re afraid of words, how are going to deal with actual illness, actual pain, actual, physical danger?  Not too well, I would guess.

Speaking of actual pain, I’m at least somewhat pleased to note that my thumb pain doesn’t seem to have been too badly exacerbated by writing my post on my phone yesterday.  This obviously influenced my decision to do it again today.  I may come to regret this choice, but my future selves often get pissed at my past selves.  My past selves don’t really have to trouble with that fact, though, because they aren’t around to have to face the consequences of their actions.


I guess I’ll just have to wait to find out if I have troubles from doing this.  Some form of trouble will always come, of course; that’s the nature of the universe.  But I may or may not avoid this specific one.

Meanwhile, I’m having a hard time staying motivated or disciplined even to go to work.  I won’t just slack off, because I don’t want to cause unnecessary trouble for the people at the office, and for my boss, and so on.  I’ve never been any good at doing things for me, really, but I do find it distasteful to be rude to other people or to let them down.

I’ve always tried to live for other people in some sense, but it’s left me prone to real problems when either other people get fed up with me‒which tends to happen‒or when other people take advantage of me because I like to work hard and be productive and be appreciated, and try to relieve suffering when I can.  Sometimes that ends up landing me in prison, while people who took advantage stay free and clear and go on about their lives.  Certainly I was the one who bore the brunt of that situation, the one to which I am not-so-obliquely referring.  I still am bearing it.

Apparently, this sort of thing happens to people with ASD with some frequency.  This is another clue that’s caused me to sneak myself toward the suspicion that I might be “on the spectrum”.  I doubt that I’ll ever get an official diagnoses****‒the process is expensive and not easily entered by adults, especially ones who are, on paper, successful, or who at least have been in the past.

Also, frankly, there doesn’t seem to be much benefit in America, certainly in Florida, to receiving a diagnosis of ASD as an adult.  It’s not as if I’d be able to get disability benefits, and even if I could, such benefits are laughably inadequate.  So, what would be the point?  Better our nation should spend its cultural energy arguing about what terms are harmful and should be avoided at universities or should never be mentioned in a public school or whatever, right?

That was sarcasm, just to be clear.  Yes, my self-hatred is beginning to leak out onto my “neighbors”.  Should it ever fully escape containment, that would be a direr catastrophe than Fukushima and Chernobyl combined.

Okay, that was wildly hyperbolic, I admit it.  But who doesn’t appreciate equations like y=1/x?

And with that very bad, very nerdy joke, I’ll begin to end this blog post.  If I’m still alive and still able to do it, I’ll write more tomorrow.  Don’t get your hopes up: I probably won’t die today.  More’s the pity, right?

hyperbolic speech

This is the most important diagram of all time in the entire universe.

*This has nothing to do with the Mini Cooper or Cooper Mini car, or whatever the proper way to name it is.  Although, I think it would be rather cool if they made a small laptop with their logo and design or something, as a promotional thing.  Though that would probably have a very limited market.

**People even used to think it could make you go blind or grow hair on your palms.  Ha.  Ha.

***I’m quite sure I’ve literally heard that phrase.  “Troubled with mental health”?  I wish I were so troubled.  I’m troubled by a lack of mental health.

****Though I do carry “official” diagnoses of depression and dysthymia, from more than once source.