Yesterday I thought of my work as a meaningful way to survive in the world as we know it, instead of some kind of sick, twisted way to maintain the flow of consumable trash through my little container, itself one of many containers inside of a larger container for disaffected young humans, and it worked pretty good.
This morning I woke up and read this piece in the New York Times by Leon Wieseltier, a man of whom I had never heard. By the time I got done with the article I was like, this man is a god damned genius. I printed that shit out on a piece of paper.
I haven’t had time to really think about it yet because I spent most of the day going to doctors. I haven’t been to the doctors, any of them, in years, not since I was a kid, and that was some weird shit going on in them “offices.” And then I got home and went out to the grocery store. And now I have to work on this old man’s book. But I’m going to read that shit again later.
I been thinking over that shit I wrote a couple of days ago some more and I think it’s still true. But here I am already relying on the feeling of it to decide whether it’s true. And again, some of the shit I wrote was brilliantly contradicted in this Wieseltier essay, so I will have to consider that shit.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been reading a lot of fiction or what, but I am feeling pretty insightful. I am off tomorrow, too, so I will have time to write a post and try to figure out what the fuck.
In case you don’t feel like clicking that link and maybe changing your life, I’ll just give you a little summary of that paper, as far as I remember, which isn’t very far. Wieseltier was basically defending humanism, which is especially interesting to me because I haven’t really heard much about humanism since I read Man Without a Country, Vonnegut’s memoir-ish essays (which also profoundly changed the way I thought for at least a week after I read it). But anyway humanism is…well I don’t know what it is but it’s something to do with believing humans can lead a meaningful life through being nice to people and improving themselves through critical thinking and education. That’s at least sort of like a part of it, or something.
And anyway he was saying that now we are pursuing information like we used to pursue profits, or rather we are doing both at the same time. Whether or not things are considered good is directly related to whether or not they are deemed useful by the marketplace, or whether or not they achieve some positive result quickly. We are kind of flattening the human experience by quantifying shit. He quips that economists are the people telling us how to be happy. This many people found this one thing that made them happy on this day, and since we’re all the same, we will do that same shit. A bunch of other stuff but I have to get to work. If none of that shit interests you, don’t read the essay. If it does, get on that shit. Here’s the link again, you lazy ass.
It was really mind blowing for me to read because I often think in terms of materialism, or rather what I call materialism, which to me means that emotions are just chemicals and humans are just another kind of machine the behavior of which we could accurately predict if we know all of the variables. I also often think in terms of results, like ok cut the bullshit let’s get down to brass tacks, you did A B C and you got D, I will do that shit, too, considering of course that D is desirable. Hm well I am having trouble expressing what I mean by results-oriented thinking and how it could be a bad thing, but I will try to figure it out tomorrow. The upshot, to use a word I’ve never used, is that I am re-thinking dehumanization, or vulcanization, which I was talking about a couple days ago.
He also accuses journalists of needing to have words and not having time to wait for thoughts. I do that shit a lot on this blog. Just write the same old shit sometimes because I like typing shit.