Tired Ontology

So far this is just turning out to be a harrowing personal journal. Well, maybe not harrowing. Even if that’s what blogs are for, I’ve got aspirations beyond, man. Oh well. Aspiration implies something not yet achieved, right? Wouldn’t be aspirational if you had everything you wanted. As a bit of random trivia, this bloke Anselm once tried to prove the existence of God using a similar argument i.e. by fucking around with words.

Me: 1. I have aspirations, which are important. 2. But aspirations stop existing once fulfilled. 3. Don’t need to achieve anything. [this argument is bullshit]

Anselm: 1. God is the greatest possible being. 2. He couldn’t be great if he didn’t exist though. 3. God must exist because he’s the greatest being. [this argument is bullshit]

It’s funny. Both of these arguments can lead to some interesting philosophical conclusions or explorations, even if they are, essentially, bullshit. Their processes can still be useful. My nonsense could be talking about the need for us to have constant purpose, and the broader necessity of constant change. There’s never a final fulfilment, except perhaps death. Similarly, Anselm could be saying something interesting if he did a better job of defining God and/or “greatest possible being”. A good definition of it is existence itself. Get it? “Greatest possible being”? Existence also fits Descartes’ four omni-attributes of God if you’re into that sort of thing.

Ah, but enough of the ontological bullshit this morning. I want to complain about myself. I’ve had a binge on a video game about the zombie apocalypse. I’ve been binging on video games too much during this lockdown generally, and fuck, I can’t quite work out why. I mean sure, it’s lockdown, you’re supposed to stay at home etc. But this is not how I’m supposed to behave. It’s pissing my eyes off bad, I have weird aches in my main gaming fingers and their related forearm. Probably some kind of repetitive strain injury. The binge is strange because of these things. Apart from the time wasted, it literally, physically hurts. Is damaging. I’d be healthier, if not wealthier, going back to the drink. And if drinking heavily is healthier than something else you’re doing, you probably need to stop that other thing. Gaming. You need to stop, Rosa.

I’m having an AA moment, except the alcohol isn’t the thing I’m worried about.

Why gaming? Well, I’ve fucked up my sleeping pattern, so I rarely feel rested when I wake up after my 5-6hrs sleeping in the daylight. Gaming can be like a caffeine high – it wakes up your brain, fools it into elements of emergency action mode. This creates a vicious cycle though, because it’s also easy to get lost in the gaming stimulation, especially when you’re in lockdown and there’s no work around. Basically it’s making my sleeping problems worse. So, I can’t use it as a wake-up stim. I can make espresso, I should make espresso. And sleep for fuck’s sake.

Apart from the sleeping, well, I’m depressed, about the state of the world mainly. And if not the world, then I’m sad to see my own country going down the tube. I’m not a patriot at all. In fact I hate the very concept of nationhood, but I also recognise it as a ‘necessary evil’, and so I think nations should be done properly where they have to be done. Right now, coronavirus is like the 60th nail in the country’s coffin. I don’t know. The political, governmental situation feels bad. Really bad. Like we basically don’t have a government, just a weird company that has public meetings in an old building. This is perhaps far more unsettling to me than it should be. I was supposed to have known it’s like this all along. Also, not entirely related, I’m out of work. Well, paying work. Well, mostly. Before the crisis I had a nice regular job lined up, great opportunities for growth and such bollocks. Now I got nearly nothing.

Haha, but the list goes on. I regularly get terrified of the fact I’m eventually going to die. Not of cancer or anything, just natural whatever-the-cause death that happens to everyone. I’m also struggling with my housemate. I just don’t get along that kind of well with others. We share everything, and after three years, it’s just too much for me. I need a tiny box to myself. Where I can have days of quiet. Where I can live in filth if I want to. Where I can be weird and talk to myself and not worry whether I’m going to be judged for it or not. And it often feels like that personal space is my only way out of this current bout of sadness. Gaming meanwhile helps me to forget. I’d drink to forget, but it’s too expensive.

The problem is, I’m not likely to get my own little private space. I’m not the kind of charge in and get it done character who’d demand their own space. It seems more righteous to me that I should just suffer. And that attitude is a longstanding problem. I’m not sure I remember a time when I didn’t assume that my interests are less important than other peoples’. Is that an illness? Well, if it is, I’m not overly keen on some quack recommending me happy pills or whatever. I prefer earnest contemplation. It’s helped me a fair bit over the years, and it’s another thing I struggle to do while constantly distracting myself, or being distracted. My head space is a mess. I need to sort it out. I’m going to try and get some sleep.

Shakespeare Was A Knob-Jockey Who Ate Too Much Cheese

And I feel a certain amount of empathy for him, I really do.

We need to have a chat about these old littérateurs, the fucking gentry of fiction through the ages. And I don’t know if this is the time or the way to have the chat, but some things need to be said. For example, they’re all fucking boring. It’s important to note, however, that there’s a reason for this.

Number one if they’re the fogies who actually wrote stuff, the ‘greats’, we’re looking at them now out-of-context. When they were cutting edge, they were fine, but now they’ve been replaced. Some of them several times over. Greatness never extends beyond context, beyond the shit happening around it that makes it great, that makes it something other than just another event in a very long stream of events.

Shakespeare for example. We pretend he’s cool because you’re forced to learn about him in school, and then possibly act out his plays and study him for years after that. I say YOU are, I mean thousands of people are. And that’s enough to create a bit of a mystique, the idea that he means something beyond the ages. Nope. He doesn’t.

The work of these great names is kept up by their fans, not by their absolute quality. People who have either been forced to learn about and admire them, or people who study history, who found them and who thereby establish a new connection with an old author, knowing some of their context. Example: I looked up Catallus (a shitty Roman love poet) because a beautiful man in a waistcoat quoted me some lines. Now I have a book of Catallus poems, with Latin to English translations. I don’t think Catallus is a great poet, but I bother to engage with him and recognise some of what he WAS. I do this because I had a current connection with someone who studies classics – they have the connection because they love the Latin language (fuck knows why) and like old romantic poetry, presumably of all kinds. I can understand that much. And I have to admit that weird grammatical constructions like a chiasmus are pretty cool. Latin uses them. Chiasmuses. Chiasmi. Chia seeds. Anyway…

Back to Shakespeare, because some people out there will refuse to accept that he’s a dead idiot. I recently watched and enjoyed a new production of Twelfth Night. I’ve mentioned it on here somewhere, possibly in a poem. It was good. Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet is pretty decent. The Grigori Kozintsev Hamlet is fun times. But these aren’t Shakespeare. They’re modern adaptations of Shakespeare, all in their own ways trying to make old Shakespeare accessible. And I don’t want to say that’s a bad idea, but I will say “WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING THIS WHEN THERE’S SO MUCH NEW THEATRE THAT DOESN’T HAVE THE RESOURCES OR SUPPORT OR ATTENTION IT DESERVES?”

I’m not just writing this because I think people should pay more attention to my poetry than, say, Keats’ or Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s or Emily Dickinson’s. Shakespeare too, bastard did the sonnets. No I don’t think I necessarily deserve more attention, but, particularly in schools, other contemporary poets definitely DO deserve more attention. It should be on the English curriculum to regularly check out online poetry mags and browse new content. Or something. It should be 16+ syllabus to read Charles Bukowski. Life Skills and English in one…they could never pull that lesson plan off under normal circumstances. And if you start changing things in schools, the baseline for the rest of society changes. We pick up way too many bad habits in schools people. I’ve spent the last decade trying to unlearn or adapt the filthy stupid shit that got stuck in my head at school. And I went to nice schools – lucky bitch, right?

So on this site, on an ongoing basis, I want to try and devote the occasional bit of time to debunking myths about these literary ‘greats’. Yeah they WERE great. And they are great IN CONTEXT. But that doesn’t make anyone a generic, perpetual ‘great’. That’s fucking Jesus-complex, King-appointed-by-God NONSENSE.

Sorry for the ranting, I have a lot of pent-up anger at the moment. Also a hyperactive combo of beer, chocolate, coffee, sugar, sugar, sugar on the go. One of the sugars was rum.

P.S. At the start of this piece I wrote “littérateurs” because I thought it sounded good. Then I looked it up to double check I wasn’t making a fool of myself, and I realised I could talk about a whole other class of literary idiot: the critic. Now, I’ve tagged this piece “critique”, so that should tell you something. That should actually tell you enough for now. The critics are a strange breed, and despite my best efforts to lay into them by laughing at Aristotle and William Hazlitt (two corpses I really respect) I don’t think, right now, I can do what needs to be done to them. Not even in summary. So you’ll have to tune in some other time.

What’s a nice, high note to end on?