Thursday, January 05, 2012

Restless Brain Syndrome and the Quest for the Perfect Word

My mission here -- in case you're wondering -- is to help scattered members of the vertical diaspora discover their destiny and thereby reclaim the slack that is their cosmic birthright. For the rest of you unrepentant assouls, there's nothing I can do but irritate you. But even that would be enough for me, since my needs are few and my amusements simple.

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.

13 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Ah, fate and destiny. I know someone who, until this past year when her (I)s were opened, believed that she was fated to follow the path of her mother and grandfather. She's diabetic, and believed that once she was diagnosed, there would be an inevitable deterioration of her health leading to amputation and an early death. Then she got a job that required her to be active, and lost weight - and discovered that it doesn't have to be that way after all.

1/05/2012 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

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.

Being in a technical field, I have worked with a number of Vietnamese people. One is a friend I had, until a few months ago, communicated with only by phone, email, or IM. When I met him, I was surprised that he is nearly as old as I am because he sounds so bouyant and youthful. He escaped from Vietnam in the early '80s -- long after the benevolent [yes, that is sarcasm] Communist takeover of the South. He and his brother made a dangerous trip through Laos and into Thailand. When he tells it, it is passed off in a casual sentence. But you know.

Another woman I worked with years ago, we called Vannie. She was Cambodian. God only knows what she had seen. She hinted at it in a comment or two. A flash of darkness would pass across her eyes with those thoughts, but she never ceased to glow and smile.

These guys understand slack.

1/05/2012 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I wonder if the human idiom isn't what Dudley Dawkins was searching for when he burdened the world with his meme.

I'm probably just an idiot, but I have never really gotten "meme" except in cases like the cat in the lime-rind helmet and similar silly stuff. But idiom makes sense, and I can see how it would develop the healthy trinitarian relationship of family and community.

1/05/2012 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gabe Ruth said...

I haven't been following at all for a couple weeks, but another blog I read had the beginning of a train of thought that I felt would be fruitful and important the second I read it, and very relevant to your project as stated at the beginning of this post.

http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.com/2012/01/understanding-charles-williams-co.html

I plan on catching up. As a further provocation though, in the spirit of the season, chew on this:

http://www.altcatholicah.com/altcatol/a/b/spa/4383/

Now there's a quote in there that is probably the most mush headed piece of fluff the doctor's ever uttered, but that aside, I feel a pretty good case is made.

Peace!

1/05/2012 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

"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."

Characteristic of totalitarian conditions, but it can also occur in conditions of liberty: so many possibilities, so many pulls on you, that to cope, you start to fracture yourself, compartmentalize, and encourage your own disintegration. This you mistake for a "life in full." The result, I can tell you, is constant frustration, mental parasitism, and psychic warfare. A blanket of fatal attractions. Baudelaire's spleen.

Cf. Daniel 2:31-35. Daniel interprets Nebudchadnezzar's dream prophetically as having to do with the fate of his political kingdom, but Neb's dream of a "man of division" (head of gold, arms of silver, legs of iron, feet part iron, part clay) is also a powerful image of a divided soul.

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/daniel/passage.aspx?q=daniel+2:31-45

Divide yourself, and you will soon be at war with yourself. When that happens, sooner or later, disaster will come. Only in integrity -- the willful, emotional alignment of our selves with O -- do we have health, freedom, and peace.

1/05/2012 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Slack isn't just time, but time well spent -- which means that it purchases, or perhaps ransoms, something or someone."

Exactly, and be sure to spend it at your leisure!

1/05/2012 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"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."

Horrifying. But enough about our educational system.

1/05/2012 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"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."

One of the most glaring examples of how far we have fallen, is how widely you see that sentiment expressed in our Founder's era, and the uncomprehending gaping glare, or the gasp of indignant shock from those today who recognize that only as a 'greedy thing to say! You One percenter!'

"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."

Hmmm... almost sounds like a spectre...

1/05/2012 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Catching up on some recent posts. I'm glad Bob is funny.

wv: midicin

Laughter is... :)

1/05/2012 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

we need a Pisces President: Romney, Washington
Clinton & Obama: Leos
[dont despair, kitties, there's always good & bad in each signo vinces]

1/05/2012 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Being a Cancer myself, I could not imagine that one of my group had ever been elected to an office higher than Sargeant-At-Arms. I was wrong.

Lo, and behold, Coolidge was Cancer, born on the 4th of July no less.

And there were three other less stellar Cancers -- GWB, John Quincy Adams, and somebody else so mediocre I can't remember the name. Ford, maybe.

1/05/2012 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Pens mightier than swords or high office!---
Hemingway, Thoreau, Proust = Cancers

1/06/2012 02:50:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

The principles upon which America was founded trace back through Europe to Ancient Greece.
Now, however, America is training immigrants from Asia to fill many of its key posts.
This begs the question: Is the American Constitution culture-specific, or is it adaptable to all humanity?
We--rather, our children--shall see.

1/08/2012 01:25:00 PM  

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