Saturday, 20 February 2016

Roads and Bridges

I have a strange phobia of driving. I don't think it's the same kind that prevents some people I know from even getting a driving license - I think it's more akin to my strange phobia of life. Or of people, I suppose.

Driving totally kills people. Cars in general are a dangerous failed product and should be recalled. It's more dangerous to drive to and from work than to fucking fly ten kilometres off the ground. We live a sheltered, spoiled, basically rich-free life, except for when we daily head to the roads to die.

And yet when I drive I am not terrified - I am annoyed and alienated. Despite the previous opinions which I do kind of hold, I see it less as dangerous than as stupid and warped. Of all our bourgeois rituals and fetishes, it is the most enraging in its renunciation of life.

It's not even just and probably not even mostly the danger involved. It's the fact that we travel unreasonable distances at an irrational frequency, and, yes, at real self-risk, in order to perpetuate a system that probably doesn't even justify getting out of bed.

So yeah that covers my people-phobia as well. The main reason I'm writing was because I remembered my recurring thought that I keep (quietly and gradually) burning bridges with people in the context of bridges being where we put roads. So it seemed like a thought worth exploring.

I have a thing with water. I suspect we all do. In a previous post I gushed specifically about ponds and probably ducks, but really it's all water bodies, and I will probably need to eventually find myself living in a city with a river running through it. Or Amsterdam, but anyway. I am remembering randomly that the Chinese traditionally travelled their land through rivers and canals rather than above them, though I'm probably running a risk here of overstretching the metaphor.

The point is, water rocks, and we're missing something essential by building our life above and around it. What does water stand for here? Is it legal to say the Tao? Probably, considering I don't even know if anybody reads these things.

It is important to the Tao Te Ching to differentiate between "The Tao", which is the tao (way) of nature, and the tao of men and society. I think I can sort of narrow it down and modernise and demystify (and Westernise?) by also calling it the choice of emotion, intuition, love and truth over ideology and bullshit and bullshit ideology. The problem is, bridges of bullshit ideology is where people live, or at least where they interact.

And road interactions totally suck. Even when people are not colliding and killing each other, or directly murdering through road rage, the aggression and hostility are palpable because I am very far from being the only one affected by the inherent dangerousness of the situation - a dangerousness inherent not just to the actual physical situation but probably even more so (or more intensely) to the heightened sense of fear, which is an emotion so terrifying to us almost nothing can provide too ridiculous a pretext for us to suppress and deny it.

I am in tune with my emotions. It's the kind of thing that alarms psychiatrists and impresses chicks (hopefully?). I have a principled adherence to feeling my feelings and a problem with not being able to say in polite society that driving is scary and I don't want to do it. Or, sometimes, that I'm horny and would like to masturbate, for that matter, but never mind.

But, again, getting out of bed too is scary and I don't really want to do it. And I do recognise that a job and possibly even the whole bourgeois edifice with all their flaws could, very probably, as an immediate consideration, justify even the inhuman act of getting inside of a vehicular deathtrap in order to drive to a cubicle. But putting it in any other, less dramatic terms is dishonest, and denial of its scariness insane.

And the same is true for getting out of bed! The world is too big and we are all of us too small and the deal is rigged and everybody's full of shit and I don't think meaningfulness is inexistent but for many of us it is effectively unattainable and the bizarre emotional asceticism we seem to have collectively adopted as a culture to deal with all this is probably almost the worst approach possible. It doesn't make sense to not be screaming and crying all the time.

I'm almost done, but I remembered that in recent years I have come across the truism that basically everybody hates dating. But they do it because they like relationships. Dating is like a bridge. It's a little bit of temporary artificiality, which will hopefully eventually be dismantled and leave just a relationship between two humans, but realistically will probably leave behind enough stupid conventions to potentially ruin everything. Bridges are a danger in themselves, which probably terrifies me mostly because how unaware or in denial everybody seems to be about them.

People need the artifice to feel safe - i.e., to help smother and deny the fear involved in engaging with another human being. But what would induce a system designed to deny life to ever change to affirm it? What makes "Life" become alive?

1 comment:

  1. Nothing worth doing is worth the time it takes to do it.

    If one can be said to have principles they don't act on, then my principles are very much like yours. I think the fact that we've willingly given away so much of the world to roads designed to not be walked on is obscene. The fact that we continually put ourselves in little boxes that don't fit us, just because they're the standard-sized boxes that are provided, is moronic. A person should be able to decide what to do with themselves, and then do it, and if it doesn't work out they should get to decide exactly what to do next. I don't know why this seems like a radical proposal to nearly everyone I know. If I say something is worthwhile for me, then it's worthwhile for me until I say otherwise. Those are what I think of as my core principles.

    It's been years since I've acted on these principles, because the only way you can ever do anything other than what society tells you is if you're either okay with receiving absolutely nothing from any part of society, or if someone else is paying for your food and shelter. I was sick of being around my parents, so I couldn't have them pay for my food and shelter. I have a wife and daughter whom I deeply care about, so homelessness is out. And that leaves the one option everyone chooses: participating.

    So I get out of bed, work at a shitty job, put aside everything I need and like, and I get to pay the rent and have a bed and do it all again tomorrow. And even after all that, we still literally don't have money for food, because the game is broken and always has been. But then I get to have people I care about. Just now I was playing the computer game The Witness with Yardena, and it was beautiful and terrifying and challenging and frustrating and haunting. And I say, that's what "meaning in life" looks like for me. It didn't last long, because we're so permanently tired all the time that Yardena passed out in the middle, but while it lasted, it was something. It was more than nothing.