Boredom

Accountability

The salt is out everywhere and right now we are in the midst of a rain that is frozen.  I’m content to remain here and do various things that need doing, but the dogs, they are bored. And I am anxious over their boredom. I feel responsible for it. I feel responsible for everybody’s boredom. Even yours. My therapist would probably remind me that nobody actually holds me accountable for their negative feelings, least of which their boredom. Nobody. Probably not even the dogs.

I know she’s right. At least about people. At least about you. But I do tend to think that I am in my dogs’ thoughts constantly. They are in mine, after all, and it only makes sense it would work the other way. They may not “hold me accountable” for their boredom, but they certainly hope I will fix it. On the list of things they hope for every day (a new bone, a fresh tennis ball, a squirrel under the shed, a groundhog sighting) there is certainly this: Bald Man Relieves Us from Boredom.

Look, scratch what I said previously. I’m positive the dogs do, in fact, hold me accountable for all of their feelings, especially their boredom.

I am looking through lists of links on the Internet. It is Sunday night, but it is almost Monday morning. It is 11:30 p.m. The new Boardwalk Empire episode ended at 10 p.m., which means it should now be available to watch for free on a video streaming website.

4 boxes of condoms; 2 boxes of Metamucil tablets; 10 frozen pizzas

Scenario #1:

a)    Throw pizzas off freeway overpass

b)    Crush Metamucil tablets

c)     Spread Metamucil powder over floor like sawdust

d)    Unroll condoms over hands, pretending to be an amputee

e)    Dance over fake sawdust like fake dancing amputee

Scenario #2:

a)    Tie some of the condoms together, stretch across second-storey window

b)    Slingshot pizzas through window at annoying neighbor

c)     Save Metamucil tablets for when constipated

Scenario #3:

a)    Glue Metamucil tablets to face, pretending to have infectious boils

b)    Eat pizzas in fake self-pity over fake disease

c)     Blow up condoms into balloons

d)    Allow condom balloons to float out open second-storey window

e)    Contemplate own death, the existence of ghosts

Scenario #4:

a)    Put pizzas in oven, let burn, call fire department

b)    Snap condoms at firemen as they break down the door to your apartment

c)     Pop Metamucil tablets like fake uppers to feel important

 

6 boxes of teabags; 5 bags of corn chips; 1 bottle of scotch; 1 bag of ice

Scenario #1:

a)    Melt ice

b)    Make tea with melted ice (water) and tea bags

Scenario #2:

a)    Tape corn chips to the backs of your hands to fashion fake Wolverine claws

b)    Put genitals in bag of ice

c)     Make Wolverine-like grimaces in mirror in response to iced genitals

d)    Consider growing out sideburns

Scenario #3:

a)    Drink bottle of scotch

b)    Empty bag of ice in kitchen sink

c)     Urinate on ice to watch it melt

d)    Realize that kitchen drapes have been open

e)    Yell out window at neighbors, “Don’t think I don’t know you weren’t watching me!”

f)     Realize syntax of previous sentence was wrong

g)    Close drapes

Scenario #4:

a)    Stomp bags of chips into powder

b)    Put on ski mask, run up to stranger on the street, throw chip powder in stranger’s face

c)     Hide behind bushes while stranger wipes chip powder out of eyes

d)    Take off ski mask, walk up to stranger, saying, “Wow, I saw what just happened. Are you okay?”

e)    Make friends with stranger

f)     Pour tea and/or Scotch for new friend

Scenario #5:

a)    Make tea with Scotch

b)    Drink tea-Scotch

c)     Get sick, throw up

d)    Throw ice on pooled vomit

e)    Clean up ice-vomit

f)     Rethink life

 

1 Oxford shirt; 1 Seersucker jacket; 1 Panama hat; 1 box of lawn darts; 1 bottle of Teriyaki sauce; 4 tubes of petroleum jelly

Scenario #1:

a)    Smear petroleum jelly all over face

b)    Put on Oxford shirt and Seersucker jacket

c)     Hold lawn darts in both hands

d)    Pull down arms of jacket, pretending lawn darts are your hands

e)    Stab Panama hat with lawn darts, pretending to be pond monster attacking Truman Capote

Scenario #2:

a)    Get naked

b)    Smear entire body with petroleum jelly

c)     Put on Oxford shirt, Seersucker jacket and Panama hat with petroleum jelly still on body, also pants

d)    Fill mouth with Teriyaki sauce

e)    Go into crowded cafe and pretend to vomit Teriyaki sauce

f)     Fall on the ground and have a fake seizure, yelling “Unnnh!”

g)    As people start to crowd around to help you, get indignant about people invading your personal space

h)    Stand up, calmly order coffee

i)      Sit down, drink coffee, and read New York Times

Scenario #3:

a)    Stain Oxford shirt, Seersucker jacket, and Panama hat with Teriyaki sauce

b)    Consider selling stained Oxford shirt, Seersucker jacket, and Panama hat on Etsy

Scenario #4:

a)    Put Teriyaki sauce in bowl, step in bowl

b)    Make footprints with Teriyaki sauce all over floor and walls of your apartment

c)     Put petroleum jelly on lips to moisturize them

d)    Invite over a friend and stare unnervingly until he or she asks about the footprints

e)    Ask whether friend wants to play lawn darts

f)     When friend says no, give him or her the Oxford shirt, Seersucker jacket, and Panama hat by way of apology for being such a creep

Scenario #5:

a)    Sew Oxford shirt, Seersucker jacket, and Panama hat together

b)    Tie sewn together jacket, shirt, and hat into a bundle, with petroleum jelly and Teriyaki sauce inside

c)    Sit and stare at the wall for three hours

d)    Throw bundle off freeway overpass

A few years ago Roy Horn’s 7-year-old white Siberian tiger, Montecore, decided to act against six and a half years of complacent dutifulness and attack his long-time trainer, dragging Horn off stage, near death. That same week a 425-pound, 20-month-old Bengal-Siberian tiger mix named Ming had to be removed from a Harlem housing-project apartment, along with his companion, Al—a five-foot-long alligator. Why do people pay to see a man enter a cage with 600-pound cats and pretend to be their friend? And why does someone raise large dangerous beasts in an apartment in Harlem?

I was asked recently to explain what I’m doing here. At first I thought the inquiry was directed at some big cosmic question, like, What are you doing here, on earth? Or, likewise, What is the meaning of your life? Assuming that to be the question, I answered honestly: I haven’t a clue. But my interlocutor was not asking the metaphysical question. The question was directed to my writing, as in, What do you write about? It is a more embarrassing question to answer, actually. Embarrassing because, again, I haven’t a clue. People really don’t expect you to be able to answer the big cosmic questions. The questions have been around too long and everyone knows there aren’t really any answers. But the more focused question, like what do you write about? or the dinner party question, What do you do? those questions are due an answer. (The dinner party question drives me crazy. What do I do? I do what everyone else does: eat, sleep, shit, work, die. The real question being asked is: Are you above or below my socio-economic caste?–a disdainful and not-so-coy method of evaluation. But, for god’s sake, just come out and ask it straight-up.) The question, again, was What are I doing here? Here being this forum, TNB, or likewise my blog, or other such efforts. What do I write about? What am I doing here? The question achingly begs the sad answer: I haven’t a clue.

A Crisis of Vacuum

By Doug Bruns

Essay

I’m in crisis. It has nothing to do with middle age, though I fit that demographic profile. Simple people would label my crisis that way, I’m afraid, people with little minds, people who have little capacity for probing below the surface. It is easy, particularly for people who don’t really know me, to think: middle-aged crisis at eleven o’clock, and motion in my direction. I wish I could say that I didn’t care. But I kind of do care and have taken measures to keep my crisis to myself. I fear being a cliché. At least that was my intention–keeping it to myself–until I decided that perhaps the best way to confront this challenge is head on and declare it to the world. So, let it be known, throughout the kingdom, there is a crisis going on and it belongs to Doug Bruns.

There’s a disgusting commercial on the television. They keep flashing photographs of some unfortunate woman’s foot – she appears to have a lot of trouble keeping the skin on her heels healthy. They’re yellow and cracked, and frankly, they look diseased. But then, the product the commercial is pushing came into her life and now she has happy feet and she could maybe even be a foot model, and everyone knows that men want to date models, so she’s pretty set. She doesn’t have to worry about anything anymore, unless, of course, she doesn’t want to be a foot model. Not every girl would want to spend the working hours having her feet photographed, day in and day out. Maybe she wanted to become an accountant. She might just really like numbers, you never know, not all girls are bad at math. If she were educated at a Montessori school in her formative years, the educators would have encouraged her to develop her natural skill set – they would have nurtured her true, instinctual interests by removing any road blocks standing between her and her professional destiny. I guess this would mean the teacher would give the kid a calculator or an abacus or something and tell her to go nuts. If the woman really did always want to be a foot model, I suppose the obstacle standing in the way between her and her dream job would be this nauseating foot disease, so the teacher would probably have given her the product in the commercial and maybe shown her how to apply it. “Do it in little circles. No, smaller. Smaller. Smaller.” I don’t really know what I’m talking about; I’m not a teacher.

 

I went to a Montessori school. The different wooden farm animals outside the door distinguished the classrooms from one another. There was a sheep and a cow and a duck – I’m pretty sure I have a memory of wanting to be in the duck room, and looking forward to the day that would happen. I don’t remember doing any work while I was in the Montessori school. Unless I’ve imagined it, I don’t think I did anything there but peel carrots and oranges. All day long, that’s what I did in school. It makes me wonder what the hell my natural skill set is, if this is what I did while the teachers removed the obstacles that might stand in the way of my professional development. I suppose I was preparing diligently to obtain employment at Jamba Juice – and hey, that job might actually pay me more than what I’m doing now, if I worked my way up to becoming manager. And most people who go to Jamba Juice are in a really good mood because they’re about to get some juice, and everyone likes juice. It’s nice to work in a friendly environment.

 

My parents took me out of Montessori – or maybe I graduated from Montessori, I don’t remember – and then I went to University Primary School, which was called Uni-Pri. It was the school associated with the University of Illinois, and I’m assuming it was also the school responsible for derailing me from my goals of becoming an orange and carrot peeler. Probably, because my interest in carrots and oranges was discouraged upon leaving Montessori, I repressed this urge to be active in food-related activities. This repression spawned an unconscious obsession with food, which would explain why I began sneaking extra fruit snacks (it’s no coincidence I preferred the artificial orange flavor) when my parents weren’t looking, and it would also explain why I’m unable to go more than five minutes without my brain screaming to me about food food food FOOD FOOD FOOD! I mean, what the hell do you people who don’t think about food think about? Please tell me, maybe I can train myself to be like you. I’m so tired of thinking about food, and really, I’m tired of thinking about most of the crap I think about. Why does my hand feel dirty? I was petting the cat. Is the cat dirty? Cats clean themselves, so you’re not supposed to wash them. But they clean themselves with their fucking tongues, and they stick their tongues in their assholes. Is there cat shit on my hand? Should I go buy some food? No one is looking, it’s okay, I can have more food. You can confess to facebook tomorrow if you feel guilty. Am I special? Do people think I’m special?

 

Meanwhile, as I was damaging my psyche with this repression, I was being changed. Uni-Pri, the school I actually remember quite fondly, was offering me up as a participant in psychological studies measuring child development and the like. I didn’t know about this until I took a class in cognitive development, and we watched a video about object permanence. Object permanence is a concept children achieve at some early age – I’d tell you which age, but I can’t remember because it’s not that important to me. If I ever get pregnant, I’m sure I’ll suddenly care, and then I’ll think it’s the most important information in the world and I won’t believe that some people out there don’t care! What it is, is when a kid realizes that just because he can’t see an object, doesn’t mean it ceases to exist. So if you show him a toy, and he’s all happy, then you hide the toy, a child who has achieved object permanence will cry and reach for the hidden toy and etcetera, while a child who has not achieved object permanence will be all “woah, that thing is just fucking gone now, it’s just gone.” It’s easy to fool kids because their brains aren’t fully developed yet. They can’t be, otherwise they’d be so big that they’d destroy a woman’s vagina on their way out. In any event, I was enrolled in a cognitive development class, and we watched a video about object permanence, and, to my surprise, I was in that video. “Lenore, can you find the Snoopie doll?” they were asking me, and there I was, in a really cute little dress, representing, thank god, the kid who had achieved object permanence. How humiliating it would have been to be the slow kid in the educational video. “Did you ever involve me in any psychological studies?” I asked my father, and he said: “I don’t know.” It’s okay with me, really. It’s not like it’s upsetting – all they were doing was having me locate a stupid doll.

 

But I do wonder if maybe this is why I ended up getting my doctorate in psychology. Because at the same time I was being deterred from developing and nurturing my natural skill set of peeling oranges and carrots, I was compelled to take part in psychological studies. I was young, my brain wasn’t fully developed – it couldn’t have been difficult to confuse me and replace “carrot peeling” with “psychology.” I really don’t know what I’m talking about. What the hell am I doing? It’s 2:10 AM between Friday and Saturday and I’m just sitting around. I haven’t even read a book or anything tonight, I’ve just been sitting here, and my neighbor is serenading me with his loud burping. I don’t know why he isn’t asleep. I can see a number of lights on and televisions flickering in the neighborhood. The middle of the night used to be so peaceful and quiet – it used to be my time, this was my fucking time, and now everyone’s wide awake, burping out of their windows at me. I should really get a boyfriend or something, this is getting really fucking boring. I guess I can read a book and stop all this complaining, do something proactive about my lassitude – I mean, I’m a doctor of psychology for crying out loud, but Jesus Christ, I just looked up and that diseased foot commercial is on again. It must be cheap to buy air time in the middle of the night between a Friday and a Saturday, and those foot people are smart, because the only people who would see it are the other slobs who didn’t do anything at all other than sit around in their pajamas from the night before, and those are the people who probably get skin diseases on their feet. I hope I don’t get one, but hey, at least now I know what number to call if I do.

There is no point to this. The point is that I’m getting sick. I just noticed it an hour ago. Suddenly I am blowing my nose. Out of nowhere. And now feeling a little wonky. So I took some vitamin C and ate about 14 pounds of sautéed spinach and now I am sitting here waiting to die. If the pig flu gets me tell them I was an okay guy. Kind of quiet and not very good at tennis, but basically decent.

I have had much more difficult commutes.  The 50-mile trip between Willimantic and Mystic was pretty exhausting (and nerve-wracking during snowstorms). The journey between New Brunswick and Iselin was only about 10 miles, but it took an hour each way. (That’s New Jersey for you.)  I’ve had daily travels that are far more trying than the 8/10 of a mile between my house and Real Art Ways.

That’s right. It’s less than a mile. And I drive it far more frequently than I walk it.

Don’t look at me like that – you would too, if you were faced with walking through that neighborhood alone after 8 p.m.

It’s not the commute itself, I think, that’s getting to me. It’s something about me at this point and how I manage to align myself with and against the unending ennui of modern life.

I should provide a bit of context, perhaps, on my relationship to boredom. My mother told me throughout my childhood, much in the manner of John Berryman’s mother, that to say you’re bored suggests that you aren’t intelligent enough to make your situation stimulating. So, for me, this is a topic filled with landmines and the discussion of it is in itself stimulating. Take that, boredom!

In his 1973 book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Erich Fromm provides us with a description of the “compensated boredom” that occurs on such a large scale in modern life. He writes:

There are several probable reasons that chronic, compensated boredom is generally not considered pathological. Perhaps the main reason is that in contemporary industrial society most people are bored, and a shared pathology – the “pathology of normalcy” – is not experienced as pathology. Furthermore, “normal” boredom is usually not conscious. Most people succeed in compensating for it by participating in a great number of “activities” that prevent them from consciously feeling bored. Eight hours of the day they are busy making a living; when the boredom would threaten to become conscious, after business hours, they avoid this danger by the numerous means that prevent manifest boredom: drinking, watching television, taking a ride, going to parties, engaging in sexual activities, and, the more recent fashion, taking drugs. Eventually their natural need for sleep takes over, and the day is ended successfully if boredom has not been experienced consciously at any point. (273-274).

This makes a lot of sense to me, especially as I consider the way I approach my days. For instance, during my most recent “vacation” (by which I mean the period during which my office was closed – not some kind of trip I might have taken), I filled each hour with an activity. For example, here’s December 30, 2008:

  • 8 – 9 a.m.: Wake up, morning routine, coffee, time to read the paper
  • 9 – 11 a.m.: Read Michelle’s dissertation prospectus, collect thoughts
  • 11 a.m. – noon: Read Heart of Darkness
  • noon – 1 p.m.: Read Superdove
  • 1 – 2 p.m.: Draft response to Michelle
  • 2 – 5 p.m.: Gym (with travel and showering time included)
  • 5 – 6 p.m.: Work on TNB post (Hi!)
  • 6 – 8 p.m.: Work on New Wave Eve mix
  • 8 – 9 p.m.: Dinner
  • 9 – 11 p.m.: Watch La Haine
  • 11 p.m. – midnight: Catch up on emails

I made myself an hourly schedule for my time off.

Fromm proposes why this method might be unsuccessful at staving off the effects of boredom:

in the superficial relief from boredom, the whole person, and particularly his deeper feeling, his imagination, his reason, in short all his essential facilities and psychic potentialities remain untouched; they are not brought to life; the boredom-compensating means are like a bulky food without any nutritional value. The person continues to feel “empty” and unmoved on a deeper level. He “anesthetizes” this uncomfortable feeling by momentary excitation, “thrill,” “fun,” liquor, or sex – but unconsciously he remains bored. (275)

So, while it might seem that filling my day with art history, literature, writing, and film would lead to “deeper feeling” that engages my “essential facilities and psychic potentialities,” the very way I go about filling the day gives rise to a feeling of emptiness. I imagine the reason I so often can’t sleep at night has something to do with a need to provide myself with still time – quiet, unconstrained time – during which I can reflect.

When one is bored, time stretches out; it becomes languid and difficult to grasp onto. Meaning seems to me to work like knots in a rope. Lars Svendsen, who’s written a philosophic overview on boredom, describes it thus: “Where there is a lack of personal meaning, all sorts of diversions have to create a substitute – an ersatz-meaning” (26). Perhaps it isn’t surprising that to ballast myself up against this onslaught of repetitive and unceasing routine, I find ways of exercising my fancy, ways of tying knots. I feel better during those fleeting moments each day in my car, on my 0.8-mile commute, when I see the flock of pigeons, than how I feel when I’m being productive.

From Sylvia Plaths copy of The Great Gatsby

DAILY THOUGHTS ON SERPENTINING SUPERDOVES

Every morning, somewhere above the buildings near the southeast corner of Farmington and Sisson, a flock of pigeons serpentines again and again. I watch them as I’m stopped at Hartford’s second most annoying traffic light.

You can look at the superdoves here. This was all perfectly safe, of course.

My mother isn’t crazy about birds. That’s not entirely true. My mother isn’t crazy about large flocks of birds. I think this probably has something to do with the age she was – thirteen and impressionable – whenThe Birds came out. She particularly dislikes pigeons and generally puts them in the category of dirty pests. I have what I consider to be a healthy streak of contrariness, so I like pigeons. I would probably never do this:

liz plus pig(eons)

but I’ve always liked those little iridescent bits at their necks and the fluttering sound their wings make and their cooing.

And I have particular affection for groups of birds – everything from the family of mallards that live in our stream each spring, to the Vs of geese that I’d crane my neck to see as a girl, to the murder of crows that lives in Hartford in the winters. On a recent trip to Prince Edward Island, I walked right into the ocean to get closer to some plummeting Gannets.

Pigeons weren’t always considered pests – in fact, they’re non-native to the US, so their entire existence on this continent is, it turns out, evidence of their former status. Courtney Humphries’ lovely and excellently-titled book Superdove outlines the social role of Columbia livia in American history. Keeping pigeons was something of a class marker, so naturally the aristocrats and statesmen who eventually made their way to America wanted to bring their pigeons along. These landlords’ birds propagated and propagated, and they served to mark their owner’s class as much as they also filled his gut.

Restaurants – mostly high-end ones – still serve pigeon meat. Apparently, it’s quite good.

But pigeon appreciation – can I make up a word for this? palomaphilia – wasn’t strictly observed by the leisurely classes.  Darwin only felt prepared to publish The Origin of Species after working extensively with pigeons. He actually grew quite fond of his little doves. As he states in a letter to a friend: “I am getting on with my Pigeon Fancy and now have pairs of nine very distinct varieties, and I love them to that extent that I cannot bear to kill and skeletonise them.”

The armed forces of many countries have put pigeons to work saving battalions and winning battles. In more prosperous days, when wire services were less reliable, financiers and market traders depended upon news that traveled by pigeon; they were called Pigeon Men.

They were once so honored! It seems to me to be so arbitrary, the favor in and out of which groups fall with humans.

As I sit at that damned stoplight, I make myself feel better by making up stories about my serpentining superdoves. Here are some theories:

  • sometimes I imagine they’re being trained to deliver crack
  • sometimes that they’re a colony of obsessive-compulsive birds who must perform serpentines en masse, before dispersing for the day to find food
  • sometimes that they live under their own small fascist state and that the flying pattern is part of daily required morning exercises
  • sometimes that they are carefully tracing the paths of some maniacally swooping mice on the ground below
  • or perhaps that the people who live in the nearby retirement community are out for wheelchair grace training (the superdoves are super-empaths)
  • Another flight of fancy is that they are actually passenger pigeons and that I am some kind of brilliant ornithologist savant who has discovered the only surviving flock!

Another possibility: Maybe this fascination, this weaving of unlikely narrative, has more to do with an affinity I feel for pigeons. If we define animals in relation to ourselves, our identities, our own lives, then the essence of the pigeon, the entire reason we fostered them through the centuries, is their love of home and their seemingly boundless will to return home. They are fellow commuters.


I have ideas to relieve boredom. I want to make videos of me laying on my bed, like my head hanging off the bed, on my back, eating cornbread staring blankly at the ceiling and sometimes at the bread occassionally getting up without changing my facial expression to do push-ups or sit-ups. That’s what I do sometimes. The videos will show me picking up Good Morning, Midnight or Like Life and reading a few pages and setting them down. The videos will show me eating cashews. The videos will show me cleaning the floor or windowsill with toilet paper. I will put these videos on Youtube. I want to make a series of videos showing me eating food or listening to music.

I have other ideas to relieve boredom. I can’t think of any right now.

I created a website that has a lot of my art on it and that relieved boredom.


Fish_one

I drank coconut water and that relieved boredom.


Fish_two

I have mostly constant philosophies that dictate my actions in concrete reality most of time and that relieves boredom.

For example that I only want to be published by independent publishers. I want to see how many people I can get to buy my books without being published by a publicly-owned company. This isn’t self-righteous, or moral (it is also moral, but as a means for something else, from my current perspective), it is a personal thing, like a personal game I play in my head. It relieves boredom.

Yes, it makes sense to do this and I can defend it morally, if I also define a context and a goal and the word “morals,” but I cannot defend it comprehensively, or non-sarcastically, because the universe doesn’t tell us what to do, it doesn’t know what to do (except continue to perpetuate physical laws, like gravity; if that is what the universe is “telling” us to do then it would mean people “should” stop their consciousness so that they can become something that does things based only on the physical laws of the universe). People have their contexts and their goals and their perspectives which dictate their morals. They get those contexts from other people, from books, from TV, from Noam Chomsky, Moby, or George W. Bush, who get them in turn from other people, etc., going back to the first conscious thing who got them from something no one knows anything about which is how that is defined, “something no one knows anything about.” There is always the knowledge, to me, that one has “made-up” their context, and therefore their morals, from nothing, their rules from nothing, from nothingness.

Sometimes I’ll get frustrated or angry with someone for things like hypocrisy or if they are being self-righteous or something. Or if their actions do not actualize what they talk about. But then I try to think about all this, what I typed here, and I don’t remain angry or frustrated, I don’t want to (I still do though sometimes). It would be like playing monopoly and getting angry at someone who is playing chess for not participating in your game of monopoly, like me taking a monopoly board and going everywhere forcing everyone to play. They are just two different games, chess and monopoly, created not by the universe but by other humans. Each has its own rules; each is equally “true.” But outside of those games is nothing, there are no rules, and a person can switch games and that is normal, I would be less comprehensive in my view of things if I got angry or frustrated about that.

Sarcasm or irony are the only tones I can process something with, knowing all this, having taken this context of including more than one game, of trying to be outside of all games, or as many games as possible. Then entering each game with the knowledge that all are equally “valid” from “where I was” which was “outside of all games.”

This is not “nihilistic.” My actions are not based on nothing, they are not arbitrary. A game must be played at all times. Killing a homeless person to relieve boredom, that is a game, it is the game of the context of your own body, of your brain wanting to relieve boredom, which is a goal, which is not arbitrary, it is based on brain chemicals. (Eating a hot dog fulfills something, breathing fulfills something, I don’t think “nihilism” is a word that can be applied to a human, unless maybe if that human is insane and messed-up to the point of not having urges to satisfy even physical urges.)

I play the game of wanting to have a more comprehensive context than most people, one that includes animals, people I can’t see, and future people not yet born. So I eat organic, vegan food; try to give little money to corporations or else exploit them more than I give them money; and want to only be published by an independent publisher. But I know I am playing a game. I think I am playing this particular game because to me, knowing what I know, it relieves boredom more (because my brain needs to think more, which distracts me from boredom; and because it lets me be around people who aren’t as “boring” to me, which relieves boredom relatively), and because I think it will make me live longer and enjoy things more, than if my choices were based on a smaller context, like if I only took into account myself in a time-frame of “right now” which would mean I would satisfy all physical urges immediately. And because of other reasons also.


Fish_three

One thing to complicate this is that if I want to play the game “even better” (to relieve boredom even more, and more effectively). If I want to have an even larger context, to include even more kinds of animals, and people even further in the future, I might need to disacknowledge all I’ve just typed, and try to forget all of it. Because maybe I will “try harder” (or else actualize my philosophy even more effectively in concrete reality) if I don’t feel sarcastic. For example more people might buy my books, and support independent publishing, if they don’t read that actually I’m just “playing a game” when I tell people to buy from Melville House and not Amazon. And in terms of boredom someone who does not feel sarcastic, for example an activist or senator or hardcore Christian, is even less bored. They are relieving boredom a lot, and probably almost never feel bored, because all their actions have non-sarcastic meaning. Based on this post maybe it is what I actually want, to not be sarcastic anymore but to be a hardcore Christian with no sarcasm. But I am not sure if it is possible for me to do that. But maybe it is possible. Sometimes I am doing something and I am very serious, I am not sarcastic. If I prolong those moments and focus on them more I can become a self-righteous politician probably. And I won’t be bored.

But for now it feels “bad” if I block out any knowledge I already know (does that mean my “ends” is not just “to relieve boredom?”). And I need to block out knowledge to become non-sarcastic, to do political things and think I am “right” and to call art “good” or “bad” without sarcasm and think I am “right.” That whatever work of art is actually “the best.” This is complicated. Have a nice day.