Truth Against the World

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Compass for Where the Wasteland Ends

I've decided to put the "Whoville Chronicles" to bed, for the time being at least. I have the feeling that what's left to say is more of the same. The Whos and the Spencers have been outlined, and their dysfunction and insanity has been exposed to the internet. Revenge is mine!!! The broader subject that deserves specific attention is my attempt at escaping this thing called The Matrix, or the American Hologram. It's a story that encompasses more than just the first place I landed after my escape, the Whoville sector of Palookaville, and more than just the people who reside here and their ridiculous antics. To continue with this specific story I would most certainly have to begin fictionalizing it, and I have contemplated doing just that, but I've finally elected not to. I've been told by just about everybody who knows me well that I should write a book. I always respond with, "I have written several books." What they mean is that I should publish a book and get paid for my efforts. I'd love to get paid for writing, but I'm afraid that's not in this deck of cards. I'm just too pessimistic to believe that publishing a book, especially in today's world, where everything is monetized, is worth the effort.

There is the incessant rub; money appears to be the only thing that The Hologram cares about. How simple of an epiphany to make, and yet it has been almost 33 years in the making for me. I can tell you that by the age of 18 I had already made the majority of the "epiphanies" I would make in my life. It was like I had already formulated the chapters of my spiritual and intellectual life, and what was left was for me to understand them all with more depth. You can drink a wine after a couple of weeks of fermentation, but if it's done right, after years of resting in itself properly, it will taste magnificent. Still, you have to have the refined palate to taste the subtle and nuanced differences. In the beginning, after the initial fermentation process, it's still fundamentally the same substance it will be after years of resting, yet it's not the same is it? It is qualitatively very different. Now, when I read what I wrote from the view point of an 18 year old, I can appreciate that I really had no idea what I was talking about, yet I did. I understood in a very single visioned, flatland, horizontal, Cartesian and youthful way. How could I understand any differently? The lion's share of epiphanies have to be lived.

I struggle with the need I have to read and write. What I've come to understand is that what matters most in life is how you conduct yourself. What do you spend your time doing? That is how you are the change that you want to see in the world. What can be more important than that? I've read a lot of books and written thousands of pages searching for that one epiphany. What matters is what you do with your time. When I'm reading, or writing (or participating in my favorite escapism which would be movies), what am I doing? I'm sitting on my ass not being the change that I want to see in the world. Yet it doesn't have to be as rigid and defined as that, and it isn't. I can just as easily argue that the sage sitting in meditation in a cave is changing the world in the most important way possible...spiritually. The answers I have come up with to the question of what change do I want to see, are mostly a product of Permaculture. The reasons for that being my answer are many, but Permaculture is also not my destiny, and if it is than I can't see it. If it is my destiny then why have I landed in Whoville?

I can't state with enough conviction what it means for me to have finally realized that there is a reason why I have always felt so different from my fellow human beings. It feels like a homecoming, and it makes me very emotional, which is very ironic given the specific condition I'm referring to. This condition makes it impossible for me to register unspoken communications that are supposedly received through things like facial expressions and body language. Now, I have learned how to read these things over the years, but I am unable to read them in any way other than intellectually. It's not something that comes naturally. This deficit goes a long way towards explaining why I have always avoided people in general. Again, probably as a matter of survival, around 17 years old I developed an intense interest in understanding human psychology. Now I know that I was searching for the protocols that would allow me to "fit in." All of this is only gained in retrospect after receiving the key that belongs to the lock that has kept me in this cage. With Aspergers exposed to the light of my conscious awareness, I feel like I now have the last remaining puzzle pieces to the puzzle of my life.  It feels like figuring out my destiny has gotten much closer.

The thing is, I have had my entire life to adapt to this condition. Psychology was one of my intense obsessions. I learned how to hide in societies day light. I waited tables and tended bar successfully (of course I think my regulars were just entranced by my eccentricities and that's why they continued returning...cause they couldn't figure me out). These are activities that somebody with this condition are not supposed to be able to do seeing as how they deal with other people. I do just fine with people, so long as it's one on one, or it's a well defined social situation. Put me in a group of people that I'm supposed to interact with (like the permaculture tribe I spent time with this year) and a minute feels like an hour. I feel like every person in a group is a vampire that is feeding off of me, but that can't possibly be true...and it's not true, it's just my way of being in this world. To be clear, I have not been diagnosed, but I know it's true like I know that I'm a male human being on planet Earth. I know it with enough certainty to know that I don't need to waste my time, and lack of money, on paying professional shrinks with certificates and licenses to verify it for me. Although I imagine I'd get a LOT of money from the government due to their failure to detect it while I was in military entrance processing. Definitely since I got kicked out with an "other than honorable discharge" when it should have been a medical discharge for psychological reasons. I also don't want some incompetent ass hole telling me that I'm wrong and sending me back into that cage of lonely isolation.

When I was growing up, my mother used to repeat to me "it's not what you say it's how you say it." I never could understand what the hell she was talking about, and it always just pissed me off even more. "What the hell are you talking I say the fuck am I supposed to say it," followed by storming out of the house to escape in my newly acquired personal transport vehicle to do something crazy like jump off of a rail road trestle head first with a bit of rope and metal. In my marriage, my wife has been brought to the brink of insanity for the same reason. It just doesn't register with me. It's cold, calculating, and rigid reasoning. I could make the best defense attorney the world have ever known if I didn't have a soul and could play the game. Or is it just because when I was five my father abandoned me? It's all bound up and hidden in the dysfunction of my own life. Yet I know it to be true, and the fact that my half brother has been diagnosed is enough of a diagnosis for me.

My son is different already. He's two and a half and Wendy and I both know it as well as we know it of me. Sometimes he covers his ears up for no apparent reason. He walks up to adults at the park and sits in front of them and babbles on as if he knows them. He refuses to be contained in one space and likes to run off to the fringes when in a group of a wild animal trying to escape a cage. He already has an obsession in all things king. In a bit of synchronicity, at the park the other day, a ten year old girl with Aspergers showed up. She walked up to me and started telling me about a little girl who was running around the park with no underwear or pants on a few days prior. Her dad instantly pops off with "she's talking about that because she's autistic." I responded with "aspergers?" He looked at me as if I was psychic. How could I have known that after only a minute of interaction. It's easy, I recognized it in her because it's in me as well. I was just recognizing my own kind. How mysterious that is to me, to be around somebody that I recognize in that way. Did I mention that she's ten?  Her and Ayden hit it off like fleas on a furry dog.  

How does this all fit into permaculture and what my destiny is? Asking me to be a community leader is sort of like asking a fish to live out of water. I'm simply not cut from that cloth, and now I understand why. They say that Aspies should concentrate on their abilities and not on their disabilities, and my ability is not in groups of people. If I could take the community and explain it to them each one on one, maybe, but that's not the way it works. It simply takes too much energy from me to be responsible for fostering community in person. It takes too much talking to people about trivial things.  I would rather dig a very deep hole all day longWriting on the other hand. I am definitely suited for rallying the troops in this form, with the written word. The irony is that the one thing I have determined is needed in this world is the one thing I am simply incapable of. I can do Permaculture, but I can't be concerned with convincing the zombies of the hologram that they should do permaculture. Yet permaculture is more than just putting the right plants in the right places while capturing rain water and building soil. It's about a way of life that centers around community.  

When I become interested in something, it quickly becomes an obsession. I read about it and do everything with it until I am exhausted and bored...usually. Permaculture is starting to fall into the exhausted with it category, and yet it can't be because everything I know intellectually says that it can't be. I came to Permaculture because of my obsessive study about the future of our planet. Yet what am I, one man, going to do about it? Plant some trees in my yard, grow some soil, collect some water? I want the entire thing intellectually, but in reality it's the last thing I want. It's like I told Dylan, one of the instructors of the Permaculture In Action class I attended, "I'll dig a hole a hundred feet deep wherever you want it for permaculture, but don't ask me to talk to people." I don't know, it's a conundrum for me. I've painted myself into an intellectual corner.

The "Whoville Chronicles" are now complete. Epiphany Now has never been about anything other than my epiphanies. So it is, and so it shall continue to be. I'm not sure where I'm going now, but I want to know my destiny, and so I have to figure it out. Unfortunately money has something to do with where I'm going, and that has nothing to do with what I want, because money is the last thing I want to be concerned about. Yet, I'm a husband, and a father...with another on the way, and the hologram does not care about my ideas about the change I would like to see in the world. I can't move to where the permaculture is right now because of money, and I can't spread it in Whoville because nobody gives a shit, and dealing with people in a community way is just not possible for me.

It appears that my destiny, at least in the near term, is to re-enter into the Matrix for a prolonged mission with the objective of money extraction. That means downloading some more credentials from the mainframe. It appears that come January, days before my 33rd birthday, I'll begin the download. The program is called EMT-Paramedic, and it's my families meal ticket. At least until the world starts caring about the future of our planet, sustainable food production, and our progeny's survival in the not too distant future. I'm not returning with my tail between my legs, and I think it's important to put that out there. When Neo was learning how to bend the rules in the Matrix, after he had unplugged, he hit the asphalt after falling from a building. It bloodied his nose, but he learned. Justin of the blog "Americana" said as much in a comment to one of my blogs. It's true. One thing I've learned from my resignation, and my dealings with the inhabitants of Whoville, is that the skills to reside outside of the Matrix require that bloody nose. This is by no means recognized by me as a defeat. Quite the contrary, it's only made me stronger.


William Hunter Duncan said...

Don't worry about the puzzling part. If you continue to pay attention, as I expect you will, the more puzzzzzzling life will become, and the more at ease in it you will be, if you continue to focus on it like you do, in what you do.

"Sometimes he covers his ears up for no apparent reason. He walks up to adults at the park and sits in front of them and babbles on as if he knows them. He refuses to be contained in one space and likes to run off to the fringes when in a group of a wild animal trying to escape a cage. He already has an obsession in all things king."

Sounds to me like he doesn't yet see any separation, between himself and the rest of the world, and maybe he covers his ears because he's trying to close out a noisome sound, or maybe trying to hear the voice, or voices in his head. A wild child for wild times. Perhaps like you, to restore calm, when the time comes.

"It's cold, calculating, and rigid reasoning."

About exactly what there is way too much of in this world. You must be able to feel something, or you wouldn't care so much what happens to the world. Sounds to me like that's your difficulty, feeling what other people feel; empathy. You care about them, though; so you won't get any argument from me about how you go about bringing in money, in regard to the Machine.

Luciddreams said...

William, I do care about other people, immensely. It's just that I don't feel that caring in an emotional way. I care because I found myself drawn to Buddhism in my early 20s, and I read and contemplated obsessively in the Buddhist realm. I let the Buddha's message inform my life. I found that the eight fold path was a perfect form of ethics, a perfect way of being in the world. I find that the Boddhistava Vow is about as beautiful a conception of empathy as is possible, like Jesus on the cross. Yet, I don't feel that empathy. I don't feel others pain and suffering emotionally. It's like I don't have that channel.

When I got on Welbutrin I was able to feel empathy, for the first time. It was strange and alien to me, and I loved it. I was able to "small talk" with my work associates. Being able to feel took the boredom away from small talk I guess. My supervisor even complimented how "well" I was doing on the medication. I've medicated my condition with alcohol for the majority of my life. Not so much now, being a family man, I've slowed waayyyyy down. I know now that I was killing that person that was so different and couldn't relate. When I'm drunk I can small talk and enjoy it as well. I still don't feel it like I did with Welbutrin.

Marijuana brings out emotion in me, but I've had to let that one go as well seeing as how the Matrix doesn't want it in my urine. I'd rather not be medicated.

Justin said...

I'm on a cross country ride from NY to Cali, going to meet with former bosses about paying work. I've stated my conditions, no more than 5 hours a week, remote only, and I'll be living in another country in Asia. They are still interested, so I'll see. 2 years of being outside the Matrix and nothing has worked in a way that could be called a success in conventional terms. A couple of 'failed' ventures, including a family business, but I use the quotes because I really don't look at it in terms of success and failure. That construct reflects the values of the system, which I have very deeply rejected and purged.

I can say with absolute certainty that the last few years have been worth the time. Every day as it is experienced is like a lucid dream, every day as it is remembered like a vision, every day to come an awakening.

I never hid my reasons for going off from co-workers and friends. For the most part, they were all incredibly supportive. Many of them expressed envy and said they wished they could leave and do something else as well. I went down another path than you, through the education and all that. These people I am talking about were 6 figure earners, with multiple degrees, working in IT and Biomedical research. 4 people took me to launch to pick my brain and ask me about things.

It wasn't all like that, to be honest. Some of my old college buddies who are living the suburban dream treat me with indifference to almost outright hostility.

We are early adopters, I really believe that. More people are going to try something different, fewer are going to sit back and talk about how they wish they could. The way I think about it is that it doesn't matter if any of us individually achieve great success or failure, we are in a learning process of experience. For any kind of mass change to occur, and I am talking about the dismantling of industrial economies and the framework of growth and progress, it requires millions of people trying different tactics and strategies and finding the ones that are most effective. The process of elimination is one of trial and error. Keep moving, that's the most important thing.

Luciddreams said...

Justin, your words are beautiful and well received. The past couple of weeks I've felt a weight lift off of me. The weight was being created by inner processes. I think it was idealism creating friction in my mind, and I was suffering immensely for it. It feels sort of like I finally graduated and got a degree from the Wasteland.

Shortly after this epiphany, my bank called and offered me a 10,000 dollar credit card at 0% for a year followed by 8 to 12% apr...not bad for a credit card. That makes a grand total of 35000 dollars in credit that I now have, and all of that at a time when I am not employed. I just tell them that I'm self employed and they give me money. She said "what do you do?"


"Is that the name of your business."

"No, it's the type of work that I do."

"How much do you make a year?"

"Couldn't say, I haven't been doing it long enough...I can give you an estimate."

"That's okay, the system approved you for 10,000."

"I'll take it."

What the fuck? The Matrix doesn't like the fact that I'm free I guess. It doesn't like the fact that I say the glitch and jumped through it. Living off of government checks indirectly. That feels like success to me. It's beautiful really. Aunt Bee would be spending that money on the exact same bills for the same amount whether we are here or not. I'm just trying to figure out what the hell to do come tax time. Got any suggestions? We get 850 a month from our renters to pay the mortgage and my wife's probably made about 15000 this year with her camera, but she hasn't charged any of her clients for taxes. Not sure what I'm going to do. I guess nothing, fuckem...I'm inclined to think we are small taters, but then you never know with the IRS.

Good luck with the work, I hope you get six figures and on your terms. Sounds like they're tapping into a unique type of genius and they know it. Where in Asia?

Justin Wade said...

My wife is a Thai national, she has a family farm in Nong Ki. I am very stoked to get started there, I was there for a few months last year getting a feel for the situation.

My interpretation is that the last generation left the family farm and scattered to the wild winds chasing the first world dream. The area is industrializing, but not all the way there. There is a definite schism between the old and young, the older people seem to value the traditions, younger people want to westernize. (And the only people with western obesity are young.)

Things are in disrepair, but not ruined. We started a laundrymat, there is a store that my Mom owns, and a pack of dogs that I worked with quite a bit last time around. Actually, I did this whole art project around the experience in 36 installments.

To be sure, I got my nose bloodied last time I was there, but I've learned some things and got some additional tools for this go round.

Justin Wade said...

You may also appreciate this little detail, but we just got the VISA situation straightened out. I read all kinds of horror stories about how hard it is to get approved online, of getting pulled into a protracted interview process, being asked to speak in Thai and answer questions about the country's history and such. Someone told me that I should plan on doing ample bribing, etc.

I told my wife to just tell the truth as she saw it about me as she could make sense of it and not worry about trying to make our story sound good, but be careful to only offer information if asked. So the interviewer asks the first question, "Why does your husband want to move to Thailand?"

She says, "Well, he doesn't like it here and he wants to live in Thailand." The guy smiles and says, "I see." Then he briefly flips through the dossier again and says, "You can come by tomorrow and pick up your Visa if you want."

Luciddreams said...

for what it's worth I'm jealous of you. I've been trying to talk the wife into moving to Mexico...she ain't havin' it. However, she had stated that she would like to move closer to my family in California, so at least I have the chance to get the fuck out of the south. Not sure where I'm gonna end up, west of the Mississippi River and not Texas. I'm thinking somewhere in Montana or Washington...perhaps Northern Cali.

First I've got to put in the time downloading EMT-P. Good thing about working as a medic is that you can find work anywhere. I almost went UA (unauthorized absence...AWOL) in Thailand. I've got a really shitty tattoo of a fairy that I got in Thailand. I like it there. I have the feeling that just about anything is better than this soulless excuse for a culture, so long as they will have me. Doesn't look like there will be any escape for me, or my family, so I'll just have to resign myself to being in the world but not of it.

Justin Wade said...

Well, its an interesting situation. The way I would put it is that I am going onto the front lines of industrialization, where the matrix is expanding. The place I am going is in the northeast and about 20 years into the project of ripping up traditional farms and laying down machinery and factories. I can step out the front door and interact with a water buffalo or get run down by a heavy piece of machinery.

The challenge is on several fronts, not least of which is learning the language, culture, how to negotiate the environment there, and so on. (I've just completed a crash course apprenticeship with a blacksmith/working tradesman to help on the nuts and bolts stuff.) One of the biggest things to remember is Robert Jordan's advice not to romanticize the people or situation and to remember that I am a guest, that I am not entitled to any expectation of outcome. That suits me.