Archive for August, 2009

Me, myself, and saving the world.

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I don’t want a lover. The fact that I do not want a lover makes me angry. And as I review some past would-be lovers—people who threatened me with intimacy in addition to sex—I see that this has always been the case. In the past, I have pursued sex with extremely attractive young men to the exclusion of intimacy. Sex—the pretense of intimacy—took the place of the genuine article. Intimacy? Who needs it? I don’t want a lover.

This state of affairs (no pun intended) does not immunize me against loneliness. Indeed, considering all the risks involved in intimacy, if we could discard loneliness, then we would have no motivation to risk intimacy. Loneliness is a gift. Like hunger. Without hunger, we would starve to death without ever knowing what was wrong. And so it is with loneliness; it drives us to the essential.

We can survive on very little. I learned this when I first abstained from overeating thirty years ago. Then, I achieved a balance between a little hunger and a little food. Hunger, like loneliness, can never be banished. They both are ever-present, as they should be. They are not negative. They are not our enemy. But it is folly to pander to them. Excess is just another means of avoidance. If a child complains to his overwhelmed mother that he is too hot, throwing him overboard into the sea a thousand feet deep is excessive, and constitutes avoidance. On the other hand, finding a shady place on deck for him to rest, and gently mopping his brow with a cool cloth is far less extreme, and far more intimate.

I have discovered that the opposite of intimacy is avoidance. Therefore, like hunger urges me to eat, loneliness urges me to stop avoiding. Now, this idea of pursuing non-avoidance can be as slippery as a peeled grape. For example, confronting strangers in the street would be a type of non-avoidance, but it is, at best, a clumsy way to approach intimacy. Rather like attempting a tooth extraction using a baseball bat.

Long ago, I was told, and recognized intuitively, that a significant part of loneliness is isolation from oneself. If one is fragmented and alienated from oneself, one has no route to the other. This gets very existential-ey and bullshit-ey sounding, but experience bears it out as truth; it is only through the self that we touch another. Likewise, self is the conduit through which others touch us. Therefore, isolation from others, for whatever reason—past trauma, anxiety, fear—is most effectively accomplished by isolation from self. Cut-off the conduit, and I cut off all the perceived threats from others. I am as safe as a bug in a rug. Only I’m lonely.

Now, I can examine you quite closely. I can inhale your scent from the surface of your skin. I can explore the texture of your lips with my own. I can count your eyelashes from an inch away. Focusing on you is easy, but this focal point on the self is making me kind of cross-eyed. I can get close to you, but how do I get close to me?

Robert Ericson, a therapist who conducts a recovery group in Worcester for male survivors of sexual child abuse, says “In order to survive, the child has this sort of vertical splitting in the ego where they compartmentalize and seal off aspects of the self.” This fracturing in the self-structure is probably the most difficult damage to heal, says Ericson, and continues to cripple the survivor decades after the abuse has ended. He lists some problems which typically affect victims, “…a predisposition to all kinds of substance abuse, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, inability to trust, problems in relationships and intimacy, sexual dysfunction…” Victims are not only unable to trust others, he says, but unable to trust themselves – their own judgments and instincts.

That’s from an article I wrote, published fifteen years ago. What I have been doing since then is ignoring what I wrote.

Avoidance is an unrelenting erosion of awareness, like the sea against the shore. Giving in is easy. Fighting that tide is infinitely difficult, but the reward is great. The entire world has been lost to me because my contact to everything, through the self, has been broken. Reuniting with this thing I call ‘the self’ will result in nothing less than saving the entire world.


Monday, August 24th, 2009

Nobody reads this crap. I examine it with fascination after placing it here, I note the shape and consistency, the colors and texture, and the density or lightness. Sometimes I recognize a vulgar remnant of reality. Then it swirls in the bowl and I watch it all go away.

Life, death. Sex and loneliness. Joy, sorrow, heat, cold, day, night, sun, rain. Love. This is just a tiny excerpt, made grotesque in magnification, from the beautiful awesomeness of the never ending cycle.

david lanz

Monday, August 24th, 2009

The music was released in the Eighties. I was young; a former lover from the Eighties visited me a year or two ago, after not seeing me for ten years, and kept saying in amazement, “You used to be so hot.”

I guess I’m not hot anymore, but I used to be. I was 30, (in 1988) and still couldn’t grasp that the hot young men who were willing to sleep with me were not doing it out of pity. I was so much more comfortable thinking of them pitying me rather than recognizing that they were actually just hot for my treasure trail—or even worse, acknowledging that they simply liked me. A lot. And when we were done with each other, and I was alone again, I would listen to the mellow Autumn light of Free Fall.

It was the music I went to sleep with before I was positive, and I still hold it close, now fifteen years after that test.

I fell in love with a boy named Christopher the year I worked on the Cape in 1989. He was beautiful, and taught himself piano, and what he played for me in Chatham that year was at least as good as anything David Lanz ever played anywhere. We knew we would never see each other again, and I sent Chris the album, Christofori’s Dream. In a note I sent with the cassette, I wrote, “This is the tape, you are the dream.”

He really was.

Now is about the right time for Lanz’s version of A Whiter Shade of Pale.

let them eat cake

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

What the hell is wrong with Humankind? Don’t we ever get it? These monsters are not imaginary; history proves this again, and again, and again. But we recoil from that truth, and we insist that people who look like you and me cannot be monsters, really. Can they?

The problem I grapple with is how to concentrate reality into a bite size morsel, a consumable for a consumer culture. I struggle to find a particular link, or a concise excerpt, a quote maybe that captures it all, that will leave everyone nodding in recognition and gazing into the middle distance thoughtfully as they walk away, the whole world thus changed.

This is not possible. The monsters are real, the peril is mortal. And the reality which confronts us—the world—is not reducible to a single bitter pill. The terror which we MUST face seems far beyond our capacity to absorb in anything less than several lifetimes. But for the love of humanity, we must not only confront the peril within our lifetimes—within the next several years—but we must conquer it as well.

What is right with Humankind is that they always amaze themselves by overcoming challenges which they ‘knew’ were insurmountable, by accomplishing in their own flesh miracles which they believed none could achieve but the hand of God. Recently, I have discarded most of my former anti-religious rhetoric; I find my attitudes are greatly moderating as I wake from my foggy delusions. Current circumstances have revealed to me a belief I never knew I had, and it is this: I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will not be given one iota more than we can handle. Call it faith if you wish, though for my part I defer.

I very well may profess a newfound faith, with a still undiscovered voice, well before this nightmare is over.

The most powerful nation this Earth has ever known is being used to rabidly terrorize all of Humankind. The crimes of these over-takers are legion. They have co-opted every one of us as unwitting co-conspirators by cultivating our passivity and by developing among us a tolerance that seems able to ignore any atrocity conceivable. You think those are overstatements? Let me introduce you to the woman who doesn’t know that the black eye she got from walking into a door really came from the man she sleeps with. Denial is the most insidious deceiver of all. And chief among these monsters’ crimes are their cold-blooded and vile machinations to deceive billions of innocents.

If there is one thing that is mind expanding, it is experiencing extremes. For many who endured the administration of George W. Bush, and began to see the facileness of government during his illegitimacy, the advent of Obama was a hope that spanned from the kernel of our souls to the outer space of our dreams. To witness the depth and breadth of those dreams—nearly infinite, but not quite—to see that devoured with apparent ease into the gaping, salivating maw of deceit, reveals not only the breathtaking scale of evil, but hints at the heretofore hidden magnificence of good that by definition exceeds evil. For many who have seen the Alex Jones’ film, Obama Deception, it expanded our minds in just such a monumental—and terrifying—way.

These petty words mean little in the crisis of our ignorance. A small fraction of a percentage recognizes the evil that is upon us, and they are throwing stones at the tanks in Gaza, and dying for it. Others are losing farms, homes, and lives to CIA funded thugs in Afghanistan, or just losing lives in black-op fomented violence in the cities of Iraq. Still others who cannot hope to understand why, are the children in the smog of LA, cut off from medical care and dying of asthma. It is not only the relative few forlorn individuals on this planet who know of these dangers first-hand, but also nations, besieged, yet proudly defiant, like Honduras and Venezuela. They tell the truth, and truth cannot be rejected from any quarter, especially in a world where death-dealing lies come from almost every quarter.

I think Marie Antoinette was not so much flippant in her famous retort, “Let them eat cake,” as she was being scornful out of frustration with peasants who, at the time when she spoke those words, had not stood up for themselves, and had largely tolerated intolerable lives for a generation. She didn’t want them to kill her, one assumes, but some kind of revolt was certainly in order, she must have thought.

Your economy has been gutted, your children’s future is in the hands of a very few immeasurably wealthy monsters who are allowing a tiny fraction of their wealth to be used—at their pleasure—as the entire economy of this nation, until they are ready to pull the plug. They are not worried about a revolt. Indeed, they want a revolt; they have planned for it. And they will make it happen when the time is right for them. And your children’s debt will never be paid. You are dooming them to a life as wage slaves, where the only way they can get ahead is to be more evil than the next guy. But even magnificence in evil won’t get them very far because the competition will be fierce. The masses will all be evil, soullessly evil, just to survive. And if you hope for success for your progeny in that kind of world, I cannot imagine what you will hope for that success to be. “For if a man gains the whole world, and loses his soul…”

I say, let them eat cake. In fact you might as well start eating it right now. Either that, or you better start doing something very different, very soon.