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Wednesday, 5 November - link

chicken bones

Left to my own mind I've contemplated all that life is and wondered how I might be seized to lead or join. I mean, I want to find something bigger than myself. I've spent many hours asking religious people how they found it. And I've talked to addicts to understand how they lost control.

I selected a series of contemporary vices and turned them into productive professional conduct. I mean I'm basically a paid weblogger or a paid writer which is just a lifetime student. But I think this is just a skill-building exercise on my way to saving the world. I mean, what higher calling is there than working to relieve suffering? There was a fantastic one-man show about Buckminster Fuller, a technologist who set his mind and skills towards providing modern advantages to citizens of the world. I saw that play twice. But I haven't found my particular handle on community service.

I'm self-directed! I hurl myself into study and projects. And I continue taking on new tasks until I get sick, and hit the reset button. In this case, I've spent about the last three years financing my own study of video games. Sometimes I could sell articles but I'm often so busy moving between one event and another that I don't have time to process.

Hurl hurl hurl - fast involved up to my shoulders deep in a new trade every few years. I have few professional associates now that I've had in years past. I remake alliances in between. I'm stimulated and always when I write about devices or programs I keep my sights on the fingers that will use them and the minds that will be bent around them, working to understand themselves with help from media and machines. Isn't that what's happened to me?

Truth be told, that's how I want to spend my near future years. Studying and understanding the ethical impact of video games and interactive media making. I've been working around that for months. I've been turning over book ideas and web proposals and video game designs and mailing lists and piles and piles of crap I've hurled myself into, for short visits.

Cutting short this mulling I want to understand how my entire conception of the way I should lead my life has been upended. Jen asked me last night, what do you believe in? Or what has been a theme in your life? A son searching for father came readily to my tongue - Dad offed himself when I was eight and I feel like I spent a lot of time searching for him, mythologizing him and working to piece him together. But perhaps through reading and watching Philip K Dick I came to recognize that memory is fungible - rememorizing or understanding my Dad is not nearly so relevant as establishing my own beliefs. So now my theme might be discipline - I'm trying to understand who I am and what I need to live.

And it seems like hurling myself headfirst into new projects and new areas of inquiry has been steadily scraping my skin off. So I sit here with diminishining shingles and I think, you idiot, slow down. Pretend you're sick and recouperate. And maybe even change the way you work and live. Stop chasing silly new experiences and settle down with the piles of notes you have and piece together your truth.

Today Jan Johansson's Jazz på Svensk plays (thanks Demonbox). Chicken bones are melting into stock on the stove. A fire crackles in the living room behind me. I'm wearing my red longjohns with a winter coat over them. If this is what it feels like to be sick I could have a great many days of illness ahead and I still feel like I'm living well.

That said, I'm leaving for London in four days. I'll be back in this lovely home in a month.

copied from Japan Career Comments:

Recently I read a verse from the Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching (rendered neatly by Ursula K. Le Guin, a gift from Howard), number 47, Looking far:

You don't have to go out the door to know what goes on in the world. You don't have to look out the window to see the way of heaven. The farther you go, the less you know.

So the wise soul
doesn't go, but knows;
doesn't look, but sees;
doesn't do, but gets it done.

Her footnote illuminates: "We tend to expect great things from
'seeing the world' and 'getting experience.' A Roman poet remarked
that travelers change their sky but not their soul. Other poets,
untraveled and inexperienced, Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson, prove
Lao Tzu's point: it's the inner eye that really sees the world.'"

Posted on 5 November 2003 : 11:51 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.