Archive for April, 2010

The power-hungry and the power-shy

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

What is the deal with power.
Why do some crave it?
Why do they lust for it at the expense of all else?

There are people whose lust for power is so fierce, so consuming, they throw all good reason and logic out the window in its quest.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Baron Acton.

For most, power is important insofar as it helps fill the coffers to the brim, and beyond. For power is but one elemental ingredient in the grand scheme of materialistic and societal attainments; wealth, status, sex…power is the gasoline of this large, lustful vehicle. Some strive only for the gasoline.
The car may very well have no wheels or brakes. For it’s the gasoline that is their monomania.
Sitting in a car that doesn’t move matters not as long as the gas tank is full.

The lust for power, naked and untempered power, is the source of much demise, unhappiness and destruction.
The lust for undiluted and unaccountable power kills spirits and destroys ambition in those unfortunate to cross the path of the power maniac. The absolute fulfillment of power in the absence of other neutralizing qualities is diseased.

Even those who seek and discover the greatest power in our society (presidencies of Country and Corporation) are driven by a complex set of values and goals which serve to pacify the power fixation. Riches, reputation, privileged access, notoriety…the list is endless. These power spin-offs, ready to spring to action if the drive to power should begin consuming the devotee. As with everything, this is definable in a gradating series of qualities ranging from the lowest to the highest and the infinite number of case points in between. No one is driven purely by the drive for power, and no one is completely free of the drive to power.

I actually despise the concept of power, much less its practice.
I have a strong distaste for power and those who wield it blindly.
I see those who thrive solely on power as idiots and self-obsessed morons. Quite a generalization, I realize, but my experience has thus far justified this rather close-minded opinion, over and over and over…

Power is an empty tool.

Power is like a big screen digital television in the middle of a remote wilderness.
Impressive in the right context. A small and trivial context.
Stripped bare of life’s rudimentary nature, it doesn’t mean shit.

Power is hollow.
I can’t fathom powering over others.
I can barely bring myself to assert even the slightest parental power over my son.

I’m sure that speaks to a quality I’m lacking or to other troubling issues of self-perception.
It’s not guilt.

Apathy, perhaps.

Shoganai!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The Queen of Wicked, Shawn, got me thinking about something this morning.
I actually do that once in a while. The smoke billowing out my ears is fearsome indeed and sets off fire alarms.

She recently bemoaned the phrase, “it is what it is” and its tiresome pseudo-philosophical pretentiousness. I flippantly compared it to a Japanese phrase I learned long ago, shoganai.

Shoganai, according to Hanami Web:

Shoganai is a Japanese word that literally means “there is no way of doing, it can’t be helped – nothing can be done”. It is interesting word, because it shows the culture of restraint in Japan – people should not complain. Indeed, complaining in Japan has been always kind of a taboo. Complaining is a sign of weakness. Relative word to shoganai is gaman, which means something like “Be patient”.

Shoganai is something like c’est la vie. However, shoganai demonstrates the inability of the person to change the outside circumstances. Summer is hot and humid. Shoganai. Government workers are not friendly. Shoganai.

Perhaps the concept is too fatalistic and rife with helplessness for the Western mind to digest. I’ve always conjured shoganai as a means of shrugging off the cold hands of fate. Shoganai, rather than used to illustrate helplessness, is better suited at describing from the perspective of that which has happened or is happening. That which cannot be changed. The immutable forces of life. That which we must come to terms with lest we are reduced to a blabbering and incomprehensible idiot seeking to avenge the “wrongs” of the world which are not really wrong, they just are. Shoganai.

Shoganai does not weep. Shoganai does not complain. Shoganai pleads for stoicism.

Shoganai accepts that which is unchangeable, like the seas or the mountains, the skies, Britney Spear’s ceaseless presence in the news. It cannot be helped.

“It is what it is” does not exactly capture the sentiment, I’ll admit.
“It is what it is” seems weakly cold and lazy. Irresponsible even, lacking in depth or sincerity. It sounds like the command a bad parent might bark at their young child.

Shoganai is a surrender of sorts, a surrender to the incomprehensibly unyielding forces shaping our world and the misfortune they are prone to lay at our feet.

The night Phoenixism went read-only

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

 

Yup, for reals.
Tuesday night, April 27, about 9 p.m., Phoenixism went “read-only.”

 

There I go. You see me? Falling face first into the next stage of my evolution or progression or whatever the hell you call it.
Advancement?

 

I’ve been thinking about bloggery lately.

Going through my many typically weird moments, revisiting some old hang-ups.
Second-guessing much, deciding less, but feeling decidedly unspectacular lately.
I took a look at what I’ve posted, at the “Me” section on my first page. I’ve slowly been dismantling a lot of the ideals and viewpoints I’ve been propounding around here. Fueled by the notion. Am I being a hypocrite? Am I really full of shit? In many, many ways I feel the archetypal blog formula of post–> comments –> response –> comments is essentially antithetical to all that I lay out here in respect to my life outlook.

 
In addition, I rattle on about how Phoenixism is an extension of myself, of my personality. And yet, I feel there is something disingenuous about me persisting in indulging in the traditional blog formula I find doesn’t quite jive with what I am and how I think.

 

I’m not a joiner, I’ve made that clear. I don’t exist well and comfortably in groups. As I said yesterday, this blog is about self-reflection. It is a stage upon which my inner demons and aspirations can flourish publicly. This blog is also a personal and reclusive vehicle by which I elude interaction. It is where I interact, but don’t. Involved without being involved. It is so me. As such I believe that for me to post with the intention of creating discussion and other forms of interaction is not who I am, for it’s not how I would do it in real life. In real life I am likely to cause trouble or start something and then sit back and

 

Watch. I’m passive, but really not.

 

I feel as if the comment portion of my blog has acted as an escape valve or more accurately, a fracture, which has shaken the integrity of Phoenixism and allowed its innards to escape helplessly into the blogosphere. I need utter silence and calm surroundings. That is me. I realize comments are an integral and instrinsic element of the blogosphere. Yet I must take the plunge and make Phoenixism “read only.” I’ve turned off the comment feature. It’s actually a painful decision. It’s a drastic move and undoubtedly less than wise by conventional blog standards. Busting the blog paradigm.

 

To describe this as throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not terribly inaccurate. But I’ve been prone to do this in the past during periods of personal revolution.

 

The hardest part of my decision is the message I fear it sends to those (few) who have commented here in recent months. I want to make it clear that even though I may bemoan the draining nature, for me, of the commenting dynamic, I hold absolutely no ill will. Your comments and responses have been priceless and many times it’s your feedback which makes all the difference between this blog being an exercise in self-mortification and a really enjoyable social exercise.

 

That being said, my soul calls, it calls me to self-honesty and risking that which I’m too lazy adapt and fine tune. For I am both lazy and impulsive. My raw instinct guides me through many decisions.

 

I’m a One-on-One type of person. Always have been. I’ve eschewed crowds or as long as I can remember. For crowds, when formed and enervated by throngs of humanity, are most bothersome and annoying to my misanthropic sensibilities.

 

I will gladly entertain direct comments and arguments directed at me. I simply don’t buy into the community discussion concept. I wish I did, but once again, it would be self-delusion. That’s what I seek to conquer. As Ronnie Raygun said back in the 80s, “tear down the wall!”

 

Ever notice the concept of workplace e-mail is similar? There are people who seem driven to include as many groups and addressees as possible when sending out the most mundane email. It’s all about attention and recognition, two qualities I see no need to store in my personal toolbox. Well, that is a lie, isn’t it? Keeping a blog pretty much insinuates a requirement for attention. The difference being, I don’t need the feedback nor the overt interaction. I trust that some people will read. And maybe some people will be affected.

 

I used to dream of being a novelist. Writing novels, stories…much of which offers a closed loop for the writer in terms of immediate reader feedback. The writer has no idea if people are reading, and if they are, what their opinion is. I consider blogging in a read only environment a similar exercise in terms of audience-less eaction. It’s blind expression based on the trust of unfolding of certain happenings (ie, people reading). Trust, faith.

 

I still welcome the ability to discuss anything you see fit. My email address is listed on the Me: page. I would be thrilled to discuss any item directly with individuals who wish to discuss ideas, thoughts. I do not feel the need to expose our discussions to the public domain. I see no purpose in that, which I understand puts me at odds with most people.

 

I will continue to comment on other blogs because I enjoy it. I simply do not expect anything in return as is the customary practice in the blogdom. I comment because I like it, but in keeping with my “only when

 

I feel like it” nature, it allows me to involve myself in a non-involved manner. Everything on my own terms. Because of course, I will keep linkbacks/trackbacks enabled, heh.

 

This is the next progression in making Phoenixism a little more like me, for better or for worse.

 

 

David’s acting up again; someone needs to have a talk with him

Monday, April 26th, 2010

THE FEELING’S BACK – Suicidal Tendencies

I wrote a letter just the other day to nobody in particular
But if anyone were to read a bit-they’d think I was a bit peculiar
But it matters not what they think of me, it’s only what I know is real
And so all that’s left that matters now-is that the feeling’s back

The feeling’s back and you just can’t stop it
The feeling’s back and you just can’t stop it

I fought a thousand times-I never knew the meaning of the word fear
Till that one day when I stood alone-staring straight into the mirror
It’s not a pretty sight-and even worse it’s so hard to face
Until I realize I’m the only one that put me in this place

I’m gonna breathe I’m gonna live-that’s right-nothing’s gonna stop me
I’m gonna shout I’m gonna scream-that’s right-nothing’s gonna stop me
I’m gonna run I’m gonna fly-that’s right-nothing’s gonna stop me
I’m gonna fight I’m gonna win-that’s right-nothing’s gonna stop me
Nothing’s gonna stop me, nothing’s gonna stop me now-
Cause the feeling’s back
and you gotta love the feeling

I dug my hole too deep-I couldn’t admit, I didn’t know when to stop
But you can only dig your hole six feet until the dirt comes back on top
I’ve got a long way left to climb but I’ll still look you straight in the
eye
And I can honestly say I’ll never quit-not even on the day I die

I believe that in many cases, a person’s blog is the weather vane of their soul.

I’ll rephrase that. Now that I think about it.
A weather vane is such an archaic concept. It seems embarrassing to use it in the context of 21st Century cybertechnology.
No, not a weather vane.
I believe that a person’s blog in many cases is the 3-5 day computer-modeled meteorological forecast of their soul.

I specified “in many cases” for a reason. It is not always the case. There are as many blogs as there are bloggers. There is no right. No wrong. There is only different. There is what you like, what you don’t like, and what you simply don’t even think about. So when I say that not all blogs are a true reflection of the blogger’s psyche, that is not a damnation of those blogs. And to say that a blog is a genuine reflection of the blogger’s soul is not necessarily praiseworthy either.
Hell, look at Phoenixism.
This shit has become wayyy too interchangeable with the mysterious (and slightly scary) quirky mind I possess. And it is such because I’m incapable of any other way. I pour myself entirely into this blog’s writings. Whatever I’m feeling and experiencing at the moment of posting is exactly what the post will mirror. This was sorta born out a couple of months ago when I took the Myer Briggs personality test and discovered I was an INTJ type. At the time, I found another website which scans your blog, churns what it finds (words, phrases, ?) through its secret machinery before it gives your blog an alleged Myers Briggs score. Phoenixism was INTP. If that scan test is to be believed, what I post here is pretty true to life. I’m not terribly surprised, basically the words you find here are undiluted and unfiltered. I would say I withhold about 5% of my life from the readers…everything else is fair game.

I’m not here to impress or make friends or exchange cutesy cuddly tales. If that happens, it’s a great byproduct which I welcome. But it’s not my goal. The point of this blog is to literally bare my soul to an overwhelmingly disinterested global community.

Some blogs are centered around politics or crime or news or entertainment or the attention whore owner who uses her blog as a vehicle for attaining male attention and adulation, the whole gamut man.
If I had to put a lame tag on it, I’d say Phoenixism is a “self-discovery” blog, a blog of personal revelations and introspective examination gone bad.
It is for this reason, and this reason only, that Phoenixism is such a grueling reflection of the tortured mindfuck that goes on behind this pretty face.
Good, bad, ugly, who knows, and who cares. It is what it is.

When I was 10, my neighborhood friends had a nickname for me. A terrible one, actually.
“Acting all serious.”
That was it.
Not only was it pathetic and lame, it was incredibly long.
“There comes ‘acting all serious’,” I was greeted.

Because I was serious. I’ve always been serious. But I’m not. That’s the curious thing. I’m one of least serious people you’ll ever meet.
In fact, my absence of seriousness and gravity is a source of strife within my life, then and now. I can be way too light-hearted and glib and impulsive. Yet, my exterior persona conveys absolute seriousness. There is a disconnect.
Utmost seriousness. I’ve never done small talk well. I’ve never done goofiness well. I have the greatest Goddamned sense of humor but I’m reluctant to use it as a vehicle to entertain others. Well, I do use it on this blog, but the entertainment factor is questionable.

So I had this ridiculous nickname that took a jab at my serious facade and all the while, I was anything but. I’m not built like others, never have been. I don’t find the same sense of joy and disgust and fear and horror and delight and satisfaction in the same stuff most people do. Which is a very alienating experience, but I’m so used to it now, I don’t care anymore. Total acceptance.

Sometimes, though, shit just hits the fan. I think I’ve been sinking into a peculiar state of mind and it’s revealing itself on this blog.
I’ve looked back at what I’ve posted in the past few weeks. And the feeling’s back. The darkness has returned, the morbidity.

But there is no despair. This is a personal challenge. A call to arms.
As the darkness settles in and envelopes my soul, I will fight and prove myself stronger. I will vanquish the night. Light will return.
But for the time being, I am the King of Morose.

I need to keep my eye on the ball. Life must remain…as usual. I need to remove, sequester, something that I know is triggering this stormy pall on my psyche.
The knowledge is comforting, the knowing reassures me, for it offers me something I can wrap my hands and brain around and forcefully steer it clear of my life. It will take every last ounce of mental and emotional strength I can summon. A battle looms.

Keep my eye on the ball.

The ball for me is routine. Normalcy.

Tomorrow morning, my periodic widowmakers.
Widowmakers, haha. A snarky little term used by weight trainers to describe high-rep squats. Usually a widowmaker is made up of 20 reps and it’s exhausting as hell. In my last widowmaker, 4 weeks ago, I did 25 reps of 225 lbs, which is OK, not great, but good, considering I’m not the biggest guy.
I think I have a little more in me but you can’t race ahead of yourself when it comes to weights or you’ll be looking at some serious hurting or injuries. There is nothing quite as dramatic and ugly as a failed squat.

My weight training keeps my head clear and out of the clouds. It builds strength without, and strength within.
Because the clouds are proving too dark for my own well-being.

I have no mouth and I must blog

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

You’re reading an experiment.
An experiment in blogging.

This post is my own personal experiment.
I’m writing off the cuff.
I sat down to write about fatherhood.

Thought about it, determined by committee of One (myself) that the fatherhood post is not good. Not now. Not the time. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Monday, maybe in June.
I will not use the word “fuck” today.
So played out.
Nope.
Amazing that words flow so smoothly off my fingertips. They flow, and flow, and don’t stop. I may have nothing to tell the monitor’s white glare, but once I start tapping the keys, I find no shortage of words nor the will to relay them.

Amazing.
Because I was thinking earlier, as I sat looking at my cellphone as it lazily sat on the living room table, the Verizon paperweight that it’s become, and thinking about how much I’ve come to hate talking.
Seriously. I dislike talking.

Rather than write a post that degenerates into “hate” I will instead cloak all my negativity in value-free phrases, terms. Like that. Dislike.
“Do not enjoy.”
“Avoid.”

That’s how I feel about talking.

Avoid it. Dislike it.
Find no joy in it.
It’s worse now. I’ve never been a big talker. Even my best and closest friends, male and female, are fully aware of my verbal reticence. I’ve never been one to walk into a room and start frothing at the mouth without shutting up. Not my style.

Yet.

I’ve been told that even though I don’t talk much, I’m one of those people whose sparse utterances thus seem more valuable.
ie.
I don’t talk much, but when I do, it means more.
Each word, by virtue of its scarcity, is gold.

Which is cool, ya know?
I’ve always been like this, it’s my nature.

Deal with it.

It’s gotten worse.
I used to not mind having phone conversations.

I once knew a girl whose pants I could never enter. Forbidden land. I was a helpless and effete Beta. Especially with her. I humored her, I worshiped her, I bought her stupid gifts and mailed them to her parent’s house because I wasn’t even on friendly enough terms to visit. I panted after her marching Queen-like strut and placed my own life on hold for her. I spent anywhere from 5-6 hours on the phone with her overnight.

Overnight, I shit you not.
We sometimes chatted from 10pm until 3 or 4 in the morning. And it was all about her.
I listened and nodded approvingly.
I welcomed her “friendship” because I was convinced it would lead to a lot more.

I even had a chance once. She was in my Hollywood apartment, alone, on one of my kitchen stools, wearing a short skirt, we were giggling. And I didn’t do a thing.

I’ve grown up since.

You will never find me on the phone for 5 hours with any girl, I don’t care who she is. And you will never giggle alone with me in my apartment without getting the Big Beef Injection.

Talking is such a chore.
So much energy.
Expended.
Worthless.

In crowds it’s rare for me to join in.

I went out on a department lunch the other day.
Blahblahblahfuckingblah.
I tried to interject some thoughts, but they didn’t fit well into the womanspeak going on.

I must shut up.
Easily done.

Silence is my friend.
Silence holds my hand and soothes my soul.

Talking drains me.

Texting is talking.
I turned that off also.
My phone is technically incapable of texting.
Ha!!!!
Beautiful.

Texting is 21st Century conversing.
As in Facebook, any sort of IM, Myspace…you get the point?

Any medium which asks for my input, for a patented response, which demands such, inspires repulsion and disgust from me. Don’t tell me what the hell to do.
If I want to open my mouth, I will. If I want to scream, maybe I will. If you need my input. Good luck. If you want my opinion, once again, good luck. Maybe. When I’m in the mood.
The only woman in my life I met who feels the same is the only one who ever captured my heart.

Selfishness, isn’t it?
Self-absorption.

You know, I didn’t talk in Kindergarten. I didn’t utter one word.
Not once.
The teacher even called my parents in (a lot) about it.
Still. It was 1969. I managed to do well enough and they advanced me to the 1st grade despite my shady post-toddler mentality.

In the 1st grade, I did a complete turnabout. I would not shut up.
Once again, my parents were called in. But this time it was because I would not keep quiet and I was disrupting the class.

My social life, a cycle of involvement. Or alienation.
Right now,

This is my soul.
Uninvolved.