Monday, October 23, 2006

Shared Consciousness Sucks

I’ve never been much for reading up on the exploits of others. Or the philosophical rantings of whoever. Most of the time, I feel like writers get all tangled up in their own pretexts that it just takes too damn long for them to make a point.

I realize how hypocritical this is, but it doesn’t change how I feel about the lot of it.

I remember in college, there were two instances where I felt almost robbed of my own intellectual radar strength. The first time was when a dear friend INSISTED that I read Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. It’s a pretty thick piece of politifiction, and I had never been interested in either politics nor fiction, so I shrugged Shrugged. But he continued to insist. At times, it felt like pestering. He felt very strongly about me reading that goddamn book. He kept claiming that I’d “really enjoy the concepts she expresses” about the form and operation of modern industrial civilization. The political ramifications of money votes. The “doers” versus the “critics”. All that anti-socialism jargon and whatnot.

So I cliff-noted that motherfucker. Just breezed through the little pamphlet in some bookstore I happened to be wasting time in.

Bitch took a huge sampling of my own observations, and had already molded them into a fiction template. Senseless entitlement. Relativism. The fair rule of the moneyed class. It was all there, amongst a trippy 1984ish plot. She stole my life philosophies right out from under me. Long before I was even born.

I never read her entire work. I was afraid to learn of what else I hadn’t actually thought up on my own.

I preferred to continue living under the delusion that I was capable of truly original conceptual constructs. Delusions are fantastic.

A couple of years down the line, and I had grown tired of my own conservatively righteous views concerning the purpose and meaning of civil society. After busting my ass for a couple of years, working for The Man while trying to play His Game with the whole College Thing, I started to turn proletariat. Never a Red Star, “kill the scientists!” variety of labor defender, but definitely more “progressive” in my thinking.

Coming from Alief in Houston, where there were very few, if any racial or socio-economic divides between peoples, I was not fully aware of how prevalent such divisions are in the rest of the US, and the world. In Austin, these divides were more apparent, and as I moved along through my little life, they made me increasingly upset.

Then I took an Econ course that revolved around Marxist theory. Motherfucker had already come to all the conclusions I was building in my head at that time, and synthesized those theories into several brick-like volumes: Das Kapital, over a hundred years before I was born, round about the time that slaves were being freed here in America.

And I was JUST finding my own way around to his theories. His 100 yr-old + theories, which were based on even OLDER theories that I hadn’t even come close to self-discovering yet.

As much as I enjoyed melding Marxist theory with modern-day capitalism, and all the philosophic snafus that pepper that process, I was highly miffed at the feeling that once again, I had been robbed of my own purely original experience.

The cogs in my head were simply churning out a reasonable facsimile of what someone else had already tired to produce, long before I became a genetic experiment. I was re-treading someone else’s tires. Following pre-marked trails. Inadvertently re-tracing the lines on someone else’s masterpiece.

It bothered me to the point where I stopped reading philosophy altogether (except for a handful of works on the theories of consciousness and dreams, because that shit’s badass) for fear that it would cause me to stop bothering with my own philosophizing. After all, what’s the point in trying to figure things out on your own if there’s a host of popular theorists who’ve already done it for you? Just read their ramblings and act like you thought that shit up all by your lonesome. Like every other book-smarty Psycholar out there.

But I couldn’t do that. Not to myself. Plus, I’m too lazy to read all that shit and again, it takes too goddamn long for any of them to break through their pretext fortresses to make a fucking point.

[again, hypocrisy observed]

I decided that it was the process that I was more interested in. The process of forming opinions is actually more interesting and important to me than the resulting opinion/theory. So I stopped reading other peoples’ opinions and theories and just set out to form my own. In its most vibrant mode: by way of life experience and reality warping.

And up until 15 hours ago, I was pretty pleased with my results thus far.

Last night, I watched the Bukowski documentary: Born Into This…



Motherfucker. Now I KNOW I don’t have an original bone in my goddamn body. But I’ve decided that I don’t care. I guess I can go ahead and read Johnny Cash’s autobiography now too. Fuck it.

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