Orwell’s Ultimate Dilemma (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 223)

Gordon was not ashamed of his surroundings as he would once have been. there was a faint, amused malice in the way he spoke.

“You think I’m a bloody fool, of course,” he remarked to the ceiling.

“No I don’t. Why should I?”

“Yes, you do. You think I’m a bloody fool to stay in this filthy place instead of getting a proper job. You think I ought to try for that job at New Albion.”

“No, dash it! I never thought that. I see your point absolutely. I told you that before. I think you’re perfectly right in principle.”

“And you think principles are all right so long as one doesn’t go and put them into practice.”

“No. But the question always is, when is one putting them into practice?”

“It’s quite simple. I’ve made war on money. This is where it’s lead me.”

Ravelston rubbed his nose, then shifted uneasily on his chair.

“The mistake you make , don’t you see, is in thinking one can live in a corrupt society without being corrupt oneself. After all, what do you achieve by refusing to make money? You’re trying to behave as though one could stand right outside our economic system. But one can’t. One’s got to change the system, or one changes nothing. One can’t put things right in a hole-and-corner way, if you take my meaning.”

Gordon waved a foot at the buggy ceiling. “Of course this is a hole-and-corner, I admit.”

“I didn’t mean that,” said Ravelston, pained.

“But let’s face facts. You think I ought to be looking about for a good job don’t you?”

“It depends on the job. I think you’re quite right not to sell yourself to that advertising agency. But it does seem rather a pity that you should stay in that wretched job you’re in at present. After all, you have got talents. You ought to be using them somehow.”

“There are my poems,” said Gordon, smiling at his private joke.

Ravelston looked abashed. This remark silenced him. Of course, there were Gordon’s poems. There was London Pleasures, for instance. Ravelston knew, and Gordon knew, and each other knew, that London Pleasures would never be finished. Never again, probably, would Gordon write a line of poetry; never, at least, while he remained in this vile (lower class) place, this blind-alley job (of not selling shit to others along with his soul to the devil) and this defeated mood (depression). He had finished with all of that. But this could not be said, as yet. The pretense was still kept up that Gordon was a struggling poet—the conventional poet-in-garret.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936

 

 

 

 

Hyper-Emotional Addiction versus Love (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 221)

My love, instead of growing, had come to a standstill, and a new sensation of restlessness gradually invaded my spirit. Loving was not enough for me after the happiness I had known falling in love. I longed for activity, instead of an even flow of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to renounce self for the sake of my love. I was conscious of a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in our quiet life. I had bouts of depression, which I tried to hide, as something to be ashamed of, and transports of violent affection and gaiety which alarmed him. He notice my state of mind before I did, and proposed a visit to Petersburg; but I begged him to give this idea up, not to change our mode of life, not to spoil our happiness. And I really was happy, but it tormented me that this happiness cost me no effort and sacrifice consumed me. I loved him and saw that I was all to him; but I wanted everyone to see our love and put obstacles in its way, so that I could love him in spite of everything. My mind, and even my senses, were occupied, but there was another feeling — the feeling of youth and a craving for activity — which found no scope in our quiet life. Why had he told me we could move to town whenever I wanted to? If he had not said that, I might have realized that the feeling which oppressed me was pernicious nonsense, for which I was to blame; that the very sacrifice I sought lay right in front of me — in the suppression of that feeling. The idea that escape from my depression could be found merely by moving to town haunted me, yet at the same time it seemed a shame and a pity for selfish motives to drag him away from all he cared for. So time went by, the snow piled higher and higher around the house, and there we remained together, always and for ever alone and just the same in each other’s eyes; while somewhere far away amidst glitter and noise multitudes of people thrilled, suffered and rejoiced, without one thought of us and our existence which was ebbing away. Worst of all, I felt that every day that past riveted another link to the chain of habit which was binding our life into a fixed shape, that our emotions, ceasing to be spontaneous, were being subordinated to the even, passionless flow of time. In the morning we were bright and cheerful, at dinner polite, in the evening affectionate. ‘It’s all very well . . .’ I thought, ‘it’s all very well to do good and lead upright lives, as he says, but we’ll have plenty of time for that later, and there are other things for which the time is now or never.’ I wanted, not what I had got, but a life of challenge; I wanted feeling to guide us in life, and not life to be the guide of feeling. If only I could go with him to the edge of a precipice and say, ‘One more step, and I shall be over; one more movement and I die!’, and then, pale with fear, he would catch me in his strong arms and hold me over the edge till my blood froze, and carry me off whither he pleased.

My state of mind affected my health, and I began to suffer from nerves.

I fancied he did not want to talk because he thought me a child who could not understand his preoccupations.

But no, he must needs suppose I shouldn’t understand, must needs humiliate me by his lofty composure and always be in the right against me.

I eventually said to him, ‘Why do you suppose I can never help you with anything?’

‘Not help me?’ he said, throwing down his pen. ‘Why, I believe that without you I couldn’t live. You not only help me in everything I do — everything — you do it yourself! However could you get such an idea! he exclaimed with a laugh. ‘You are my life. All’s well with the world simply because you are here, because I need you. . .’

‘Yes, I know all that: I’m a delightful child who must be humoured and kept quiet,’ I said in a tone which made him look up in surprise as if he were seeing something for the first time. ‘I don’t want quiet — there’s enough of that and to spare with you,’ I added.

I was now finding it very pleasant to disturb his equanimity. It annoyed me that he should be all serene and calm, whereas I was full of vexation and a feeling akin to remorse.

Happily Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859

 

The Energy of Interaction (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 220)

The energy that flows back and forth in a genuine interaction between two souls is much different that the nervous energy of delusion, distraction, and pretend, which spins, flutters, flies, and reels, awkwardly and uncomfortably, between those who are too fearfully embedded within their own projected personas to even consider the genuine cores that exist within themselves and within others. The numbed avatars playing their assumed roles of acceptance, comradery, and understanding, as if on stage in a poorly directed play, continuously falter, stamer, and miss their ques of expressive devout attentive interest, perceptual awareness, and empathetic and contemplative exchange. It’s more like two dogs barking at each other, sometimes in competition, sometimes in alternation, and sometimes in seeming unison, but all the while, each dog only barking and barking and barking his own reflexive deafening distraction of avoidance, never actually listening, never actually perceiving, never actually contemplating, only barking relentlessly like everyone else, like everyone else, like everyone else. And woe be unto whomever strays from such noise and barking, because non-conformity to such collective delusional herd behavior cannot be tolerated. It’s a threat to the bosom of non-contemplative barking and the satiating numbness of an unquestioned pseudo-plausible existence. The nervous energy erupts and writhes from the instability of the illusion which centrally governs all such behavior. Negation of the individual souls, of their core interactive existence, is what I perceive as the product of that infectious and unstable nervous energy of illusion. That negation yields a unified imperceptive herd which can only effectively serve one purpose. That is its own destruction.

The energy of a genuine interaction is composed of an unmistakably different nature.

Cribb          2017

No Hell (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 218)

Mama said the stars are the universe’s eyes.
I can feel them watching over me most of the time.
We grew up believing we could learn how to fly.
We came from the earth, but we belong to the sky.
I saw your soul without the skin attached,
and you’ve got the guts of a coyote pack.
We’ve been kissed, we’ve been cut, but we do what needs the doing.
We’re just rainbows dreaming we are human.
Please excuse the lights shooting out of my head.
I keep them in a cage, but they come out when they see a friend (you must be a friend).
You’re never really gonna have control of it all,
so you best get cool with where your chips gonna fall.
We are the sun and mother’s milk and cuss words and poetry.

There’s no use in running, unless you run like heck.
The best things we’ve learned, we learned from the wreck.
Jesus coming back as a woman this time,
handing out hugs in the clinic line.
Someone tell the devil we don’t need no hell.
We’re all pretty good at beating up ourselves.

As kids we believed that the angels talked.
Everything is magic, til you think it’s not.
It’s easy to be thankful for the things you’ve got.
It takes guts to give thanks for the things you’ve lost
We grew up believing good wins over bad,
So you gave away your heart but the wolves attacked.
(But then a bigger heart grew back)
Please excuse the words coming out of my mouth,
I’m a happy man, but there are some things I need to get out…

There’s no use in running, unless you run like heck.
The best things we’ve learned, we learned from the wreck.
Jesus coming back as a woman this time,
handing out hugs in the clinic line.
Someone tell the devil we don’t need no hell.
We’re all pretty good at beating up ourselves.

Cloud Cult – Lyrics*

*You should check out the song if you are not familiar with it.

The Difference Between Bandaged and Unbandaged Reality (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 214)

Pretext: I am a veterinarian and this piece relates to the practice of veterinary medicine, but its greater purpose and message is in its complete metaphorical potential.

I recently performed a skin graft on one of my patients because I did not have enough surrounding tissue remaining to close the incision after removing a tumor off of the dog’s lower leg. This surgery is almost always done at specialty hospitals and associated with a much higher cost that what I charged the client. My opportunity to perform this procedure in this manner and have the fortunate results so far experienced is also highly attributable to the clients/owners for being exceptionally attentive and observant in the post-op aftercare of their dog and in complying with all of my instructions and requests.

Today is post-op day 14 and the graft has done exceptionally well. It appears that 80-90% of it will take. That’s a pretty high ratio of expectation especially given the conservative manner in which the wound has been managed.

I was very excited about the results when I performed the recheck exam today and I almost took a picture so that I might share the level of skill and success my team/hospital has been able to achieve for the patient. But then, as I was talking with my staff, we collectively realized that anyone in the general public that viewed a picture of the wound in its current state would not be able to appreciate or understand what they were looking at. Most likely, they would think that a butcher had performed the surgery and was displaying a sick picture of his gore.

That is such a hard concept for me. To know, to profoundly know, and objectively see the exceptional product or change that you can bring about doing things the right way and yet, be unable to share it with others so that they might see, appreciate, and accept the truth of the matter. So, explicit truth must be tamed down or covered up with a bandage until it might become subtle enough in appearance for someone to not even appreciate its presence or the significant difference in effort and skill that it brought about.

Taming things down seems to make everything look the same. It collectively homogenizes outliers and noteworthy differences. In part, I think that’s why such a tolerance has been allowed to foster, or maybe I should say fester.

Maybe we should be looking at the raw unfiltered and unbandaged truth more; looking at the flesh, the ooze, the scabbing, the inflammation, the blood supply, and the compromised tissue, which are all involved and relevant towards the final outcome. That might tell the true tale; the difference between what works and what does not; the difference between what we are capable of and what we settle for; the difference between the illusion of proclaimed reality via lip service and the reality experienced through witnessing the healing of a very challenging and complicated wound.

Jeff Cribb DVM          2017

Work Life Imbalance, Balance and Bullshit (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 208)

It started off as a good idea where people would say “you must have work life balance.” Work life balance is certainly better than work life imbalance, but I think that the concept is basically mindless, and the reason for that is that we have these categories; work. . , life. . , and we have brains, and brawn, and so on, all of the different distinctions that we (feel we must) make. . .we make them mindfully and then start to use them mindlessly, forgetting that when we are at work, we are people, we have the same needs we had when we were on vacation, that when we’re talking to people, the people we’re talking to also have the same needs and so on. The idea, I think needs to be, to replace work life balance which treats these categories as independent, with work life integration. And you should get to the point where you’re treating yourself, whether you’re at at work or at play, in basically the same way.

Ellen Jane Langer          2014

Ellen Jane Langer is a professor of psychology at Harvard University, having in 1981 become the first woman ever to be tenured in psychology at Harvard. Langer studies the illusion of control, decision-making, aging, and mindfulness theory.

Phobic Towards Her Own Response (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 205)

Gwen was a good example of someone who had not allowed her anxiety, or possibly her excitement, to become part of her self-experience. Phobic towards her own response, Gwen was unable to experience herself as anxious and was thus unable to remain in any intimate encounter whose excitement or threatened loss of ego boundaries provoked the not-to-be tolerated emotion. As it turned out, Gwen thought that “it was wrong” for her to be anxious in a romantic situation such as this and that she should, instead, “be opening like a flower.” Her actual response confirmed a view of herself consistent with one she had developed in response to a critical and rejecting mother: that there was something wrong with her. The flaw, in her view, was the anxiety, which she experienced as a dangerous and threatening entity that could overwhelm and embarrass her, rather than as a temporary and contextual self-experience. 

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995