Restless Brain Syndrome and the Quest for the Perfect Word
The inalienable slack of which we speak is yours to keep and enjoy, even if it has been stolen, squandered, or given away. In a certain sense slack is all you have, but what you do with it is another matter entirely. Slack isn't just time, but time well spent -- which means that it purchases, or perhaps ransoms, something or someone.
America's founding generation risked all -- their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor -- to prevent Great Britain from yoinking our slack, and in order to establish a new empire of slack on earth.
But that was hardly the end of it. For example, we had to fight a seevil war against internal slack thieves who imagined that certain categories of human being weren't only entitled to nøslack, but that their own slack depended upon this theft.
It is no different today with the misguided OWSers and other radical leftists who imagine that retrieving their missing slack is somehow dependent upon stealing the slack of some other arbitrarily defined group. They absurdly call these targets of hatred and envy the "one percent" -- as if the latter have somehow stolen all of the slack for themselves!
But I would be willing to bet my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor that I have more slack than most of these so-called one percent. How can this be? Well, for starters, I don't fritter away my slack by sitting around at organized temper tantrums and complaining that I have none. If that is how you choose to dissipate your slack, don't blame people who choose different means to waste theirs. Unless being the CEO of Home Depot is your idea of fun. In which case, go for it!
Wait. Isn't slack just some dollar figure? And isn't there a finite amount of dollars?
Please. This is like saying that homelessness is caused by a shortage of inches and feet. If we could just distribute more rulers and tape measures to contractors, they can start using them to build houses!
You don't see Korean or Vietnamese immigrants risking their lives to make it to America, only to complain after they get here that all the slack is gone. Why? Because they appreciate slack and know how to use it. Indeed, if not for state sponsored racial discrimination, most of the students in the UC system would be Asian.
Now, spending time among the tenured is not my idea of slack, but what business is it of the state to say that only a certain percentage of Asian Americans are permitted to do so? I couldn't care less if every victim of tenure were Asian, any more than I would care if every deli owner were Jewish. So what? As long as I'm not forced to read academic drivel and can get a good pastrami sandwich, I'll be happy.
In a free society such as ours, slack theft is usually an "inside job." In short, it is a result of mind parasites, the internal saboteurs that covertly appropriate our destiny and subject us to fate.
Thus, there is Fate. And there is Destiny. Although often used interchangeably, they are actually -- for our purposes, anyway -- opposites. You might say that fate is the destiny imposed by the dead hand of the past, while destiny is the fate opened up by our living future. Allow me to explain.
The term "destiny drive" was coined by Christopher Bollas, and is discussed in his book Forces of Destiny. However, he's really just reframing established psychoanalytic ideas and presenting them in a more modern theoretical context. Plus he's an excellent writer, which is a rare commodity in the humanities and subhumanities.
The context just alluded to regards the mind as intrinsically intersubjective and "object related," as opposed to being more like a hydraulic machine driven to discharge instinctual tension. To put it another way, man's primary motivation is always relationship, not instinctual pleasure. Yes, we seek the latter, but ideally in the context of the former. The alternative is what we call cosmic ønanism, or he with no shedonism.
(Of course, in our world this ultimately derives from relationship to and with O, whereas psychoanalysis is a secular enterprise that is often hostile to religiosity. The former view has long been recognized, for example, by Augustine, who said something to the effect that our souls don't rest in peace til they rest in God. This is just another way of saying that anything short of relating to the Absolute, the ultimate principle, will cause restless brain syndrome.)
Now, the question is, how does the true self actualize and undergo development, or deveilop in the wondergrowth? Bollas's thesis is that it is through the discovery of one's unique idiom, which you might say is the signature of the true self: human idiom is that peculiarity of person(ality) that finds its own being through the particular selection and use of the object. In this sense, to be and to appropriate are one.
(And "idiom" is not limited to language, music, painting, etc., but can be anything through which we express our true self. For some people, their life itself is the idiom of expression, even if they leave no recorded traces of it. Parenting might be an example of this. My son has become my idiom in ways I had scarcely -- or only -- imagined. No him, no me!)
In other words, you might say that the true self is a preconceptual logos, or nonlocal clueprint, that must discover those objects it requires in order to elaborate itself and "live." In this regard, Bollas says that the self's idiom is "akin to a kind of personality speech, in which the lexical elements are not word signifiers but factors of personality."
There is no real being in the absence of this articulation of one's idiom, only a kind of paradoxical "negative being," i.e., ø, which is very close to the patent nonsense of e-i-e-i-ø.
Or, to turn it around, when you cannot articulate your idiom, your life will feel somewhat like a prison, whatever the outward circumstances. For example, many feminists choose to live this way, because it is less painful for them to imagine that the bars of their prison are outside their minds.
Recall what we said yesterday about the centrality of liberty, because I've forgotten already. Oh, right: in the absence of liberty, it is very unlikely that you will be able to discover your own unique idiom, which is again the key to the articulation of the true self.
Private property is a fundamental expression (and prerequisite) of liberty, and the most precious property is oneSelf (or we its, to be exact). But without secure private property, how can the self appropriate what it needs to speak its idiom? If those things are determined by the state, or by political correctness, or by scientistic fairy tales, the self is sharply constrained in its ability to find its real idiom.
You could also say that when you fail to find your idiom, you will feel as if you are haunted by a kind of fate that blankets your life, and from which you cannot escape. More on which tomorrow.