Friday, October 29, 2004

Your Bed is Your Enemy

My grandmother once told me, while talking about depression, “your bed is your enemy.” It is true to say that nothing seems as bad as it does when you are lying in the dark on your own. Just the act of getting up seems to alleviate depression, although it may be that you just swap some for wanting to go back to bed. It strikes me that the best thing you can do with depression is to sublimate it, by doing something you don’t want to do. It appears that the brain only has so many receptors for pain and that these fire off more or less whatever is going on; therefore you may as well feel your existential agony related to something tangible instead of it simply torturing you unmitigated as you lie in bed. Perhaps its because you’ve so recently left the happy world of sleep, wherein you prove the truth of ignorant bliss; perhaps it’s the jarring transition. Perhaps its just me. Suddenly I feel terrible.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Rant Begins

Never let it be said that I was hindered by the lack of technological accoutrements – I am able, if not to write as fast as I think, then at least to think as slowly as I write, which amounts to much the same thing. At least it allows me the luxury of being able to fill acres of electronic pixels with my ill-formed ramblings, a skill and pleasure which I little indulged in over the years, fearing that I would be some sort of pretentious weirdo, making up for his lack of social skills by sitting at home battering a typewriter to no good end.

Ah, now I am able, if only I could generate some thoughts with which to relay. I can easily act as conduit, but the lightning is lacklustre, merely scraping the grass instead of carving great craters out of the earth. If I sit here long enough translating electrical impulses into rapid finger movements, surely something will happen. Like the way radio interference is occasionally livened up by the odd alien transmission, similarly, the more words that I concoct from my internal conversation, the more likely I am to hit upon something worth all the jabbering. With this confidence in my mind, I shall attempt to say one thing per paragraph.

Luck is not something that I have close acquaintance with; my brain is apparently too slow to fully appreciate the opportunities that do come along, and luck is mainly, I would say, the ability to appreciate opportunities. That is how you make your own luck. Of course, you could say that you have to be lucky enough to appreciate those opportunities, which would also be true, if a little (here the word escapes me, but I know that its one my mother would use about me).

If I sit here in communion, utterly undisciplined muttering, scattering the blank page, with occasional bursts of poetry falling in accidentally, if I sit here long enough perhaps they will pay me. The thing about luck I have noticed is that its not enough for it to ignore you, it has to kind of shuffle alongside you, look you up and down, make you fully conversant of its locality and only then turn up its nose and scoot off as though to say “Ha! Made you look!” “Its not the despair,” John Cleese says in Clockwise, “it’s the hope.”

I did think, previously, that a good idea would be to extinguish all hope, in the hope (ha!) of finding some kind of peace and happiness, only it didn’t turn out that way. Perhaps I failed to utterly extinguish all hope. In fact, looking back, that is exactly what I failed to do, because I failed to extinguish the hope that I could be happy. This Hindu chap I was reading was criticising the Buddhists with their “extinguish desire” teachings, on the grounds that it was impossible and would only give you a complex. He, on the other hand, suggests that you extinguish all likes and dislikes, which seems to me to be equally as unlikely. Can you extinguish all likes and dislikes? Doesn’t one like being happy, and dislike being unhappy?

Oops, I seem to be slipping, as I used to in the past, into writing about philosophy, as though that was the only thing in the world that is important. How to live a good life, that is probably important. What else should we be thinking about?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Blair's heckler

Richard Ingrams pointed out, in yesterdays Observer, and Rory Bremner also noted on his show, talking about Blair’s heckler at the party conference, that as Blair wisecracked (not for the first time) that the protestor was lucky to live in a democracy where he could protest all he liked, that self-same protestor was being frog-marched out of the hall by goons. It's self-evidently ridiculous, and quite galling, for Blair to speak about the merits of our truncated democracy while smothering it with a huge fat arse. Of course Blair’s point is not that the man is allowed to interrupt his speech, but that at least he will not be murdered for his opinions, which is true, but it doesn’t say much about the level of politics in this country if we pat ourselves on the back for not being a tyranny. Is Saddam Hussein the benchmark now?