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Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Note

[It's just a passing darkness, as when we close our eyes, and open them again.]


I've thought about it for years. I've been thinking about the details. A bullet in the brain. I do own a gun. I'm holding it at my temple, I can see the path the bullet tears, transverse and slightly rising, the large ragged hole as it exits. Or through the roof of my mouth, bisection, severing the corpus callosum. But the thought offends me. My brain, after all. Through the heart then. But the awkwardness of the wrist. Anyway, there's too much blood.

No, it will be a car accident. I'll drive too fast at night along the Angeles Crest Highway. Just above Pasadena there are hairpin curves with thousand foot drops. Night, so I won't crash into anyone as I veer across the oncoming lane. I'd see the lights. Far far too fast, and I lose control on the sharp turn and crash through the guardrail. I won't be wearing a seatbelt. A drop of some long seconds, silent parabolic arc while I hold my breath and feel regret for the decades rather than the past few moments. It's dark, so I can't see the instantly approaching impact.

It's just that I can find no hope. I'd live too long, otherwise. You see the need for it, surely. I can't live like this.


J

23 comments:

bob k. mando said...

is your biological son no longer alive then?

Jack H said...

A courtesy: fear not. I should have noted that, too. I'm just depressed, and I process a lot of my inner life by venting here. The ideations I've outlined here are real, but they're just the sort of morbid self-indulgences that I think everyone has, or suppresses.

You pointed out the logical flaw in my performance. Family anchors us. We're not free to indulge. But in that same way, we can't be strong, always. In our weakness, there has to be encouragement. Funny. The thing that depressed me was the feeling that my son wasn't good at encouragement. And I can't be entirely honest with him. In the explicit. I can't let him see all of the damage. Seems like it would be a sort of betrayal. So I went and slept for an hour, then wrote this.

Then, later, we talked about many things -- not me -- and I found encouragement in that.

Humans. How God must smile.

Anonymous said...

Is there any way to hate futility without hating your own life ?

One can respond 'Yes, by anchoring oneself to the life of another. . . ' but that anchor holds nothing in the Abyss--being itself subject to the futile/unworthy.


There is a love of 'life' that damns one's soul. And there is a 'hatred' of life and family that breathes from beyond the grave.

Dead men don't breathe. Should you ?

Jack H said...

Usually I'd mask myself in absurdity and farce. *What?! But it was just a joke, a JOKE!* It's not though. It's not a joke, it's a feeling. If I didn't understand that, Jack H would have left the stage a long time ago. But I understand there is a stronger bondage, than feeling.

Even I cannot comprehend the damage I've done, from my terror at the thought of compromising with evil.

And the useful hopelessness when facing the inevitable. It's a sort of strength, I suppose. Yes, I am oblique. Dates and places and estimates of damage must await their accounting in God's ledger. This isn't the place. All I do here, once in a while, is try to find my own personal honesty. I don't let it sunbathe, but it gets a little light. Too much? I won't argue about it, and I won't apologize. The part of me that allows myself even this much, does so in the expectation that there are silent witnesses, like bystanders at a crime scene. They recognize the futility of intervention. They know their duty is to survive. Maybe they talk to themselves in the night. Maybe they confide in loved ones. Maybe they write a blog.

Anonymous said...

I spoke because I believe.

We do not breathe because of duty.

For most, the character of Christ, and what He has said, are irrelevant to the ongoing crime. And, perversely, in such circumstances faith remains for them but an irrational duty to do something.

The futility which produces hopelessness is useless for good—even if productive of futile striving.

Hope springs from recognition of the character and promises of God. ‘Good,’ then, is the work of God.

So, if you like, heap burning coals on your supposed voyeur. I won’t apologize for being useless.

Jack H said...

There is no argument here. We agree about election. I just think that it has only to do with salvation. Joy is a command, like being perfect. Our failure is not disobedience.

Does it seem as if I like heaping coals?

bob k. mando said...

You pointed out the logical flaw in my performance.

well good, because it would have been rather uncomfortable ( for me, self absorbed as i am ) for that to have been true and me to be further aggravating the point.

from what i've seen of your writing, i had suspected that if he were still alive you would be too cognizant of the damage you'd be doing to he and his family to be 'serious' about this.



fear not ... I'm just depressed,

"just depressed"? as if that is not the totality of 'reason' that most of those who do attempt/commit suicide use?

ah, you know better than this. twas a well written dissertation on the subject though.

you, of course, would not be surprised to get a call from your son asking, "what's up?"

Jack H said...

My son does not read this blog.

bob k. mando said...

[i]My son does not read this blog.[/i]

6 degrees of separation, jack m'boy. most of us are much, MUCH closer than that.

this is exactly the kind of article that could allow you to find out if any of his 1st degree friends [b]do[/b] read the blog.

but i didn't post on here to harangue you or get into an argument, quite the opposite. so i'll let it go at that.

Anonymous said...

‘Does it seem as if I like heaping coals?’
I left it for you to clarify, in the face of the implicit irony. In the presence of a crime, a mere bystander has chosen sides. Whether you wish to magnify the guilt of your bystanders or wish to see them delivered from evil, is not for those to say who don’t know Jack. Being gracious to your enemies is supposed to have the effect of heaping coals. I return the question to you, do you enjoy overcoming your enemies ?

“Joy is a command, like being perfect. Our failure is not disobedience.”
In a charitable frame of mind, I might agree with that formulation. But if I am a purveyor of sanctimonious platitudes, perhaps you will allow me to increase my guilt.
Integrity would compel me to say that the commands for joy and perfection do incur my disobedience, but not my condemnation.

In the face of either the trivialization of the ‘joy’ incumbent to the Christian walk, or embracing despair, I would have been encouraged by a sign of recognition from you that we, in Christ, are still filling up the sufferings of Christ in order that his own joy might be made full as others share in the grace we have known. As a mere matter of power, the fullness of ‘our’ joy could have been realized from the time of the resurrection. But his joy is the only real joy we know. It was his pleasure to suffer with his people a while longer. I am supposed to consider my present sufferings as if joy, not because they are, but because of the joy set before us. My joy is returning from a heavenly place, to dwell with me on a coming day.

Depression may be an unforgivable sin to many—certainly to those who promote a form of self-righteousness. And self-righteousness can prolong depression.

Up, for Air


When Christ arose
to pave the glassy sea,
He imparted
a fresh breath,
and established
a gate against
the Deep.

Creatures of
this dark, know
little use for an ark,
see no need
for air.

So great
a fisherman,
gives lungs
which only
He can supply.

The perishing
gill the surface,
but those who are
raised, inherit
a world where
they no longer go
up,
for air.

Jack H said...

My son doesn't really need a blog to get to know me. There is a sort of lack of integrity, that is one way here and another way there. On the other hand, we behave one way in private with our wives, and another with some other man's wife. There is much to be said, for adhering to roles. If any of the ten people who return to this address also know my son enough to discuss ME with him, well, my boy does after all know me. It's just that we don't revel in the details. When I was very little I opened the door to my parent's bedroom. My son knows better. We don't have to see, to know.



We were made, imperfect if not imperfectly. Our nature is fallen. Even grafted in, we are alien stock, new sap, old leaf. We are not yet transformed. Justified, sanctifying, not glorified. Imperfect. It goes without saying that we are not condemned. God knows mercy. As for disobedience, it's a yes-and-no thing. The spirit is willing, the flesh weak. All this is of course milk.

It boils down to this: who should I lie to? You? Is that why you visit? To hear my lies? You don't like what you hear sometimes? I don't like what I say. But that's what encouragement is for. Not to urge silence, but to change minds.

bob k. mando said...

If any of the ten people who return to this address

only one of ten? truly, i am of the elect.


There is a sort of lack of integrity, that is one way here and another way there ... It boils down to this: who should I lie to?

"lying" implies that it was required that you speak in the first place. this is a false dichotomy.

nor do i consider fiction ( an un-truth which is intended to be known as not-truth ) to be a "lie". call it 'mental exercise' if you will. you did give a small clue that the essay should, perhaps, not be taken seriously in it's context.

i was simply verifying that it was not as serious as it could have been mistaken for being.

it pleases me that it was not. but i'm sure my opinion on the matter would have no impact on you actualizing this or not.

It boils down to this: who should I lie to? You? Is that why you visit? To hear my lies? You don't like what you hear sometimes? I don't like what I say. But that's what encouragement is for. Not to urge silence, but to change minds.

this last paragraph though, this does disturb me. you change minds with lies? you don't like what you say ( i presume 'say' in this instance can be construed to stand in for 'think' ) but you hope to change minds to agree with it? you don't lie to people who's mind you are NOT trying to change?

it seems obvious that you are conflating several trains of thought here.



You don't like what you hear sometimes?

what i have found is that it is the truth that usually gives the most offense.

Jack H said...

Looks like there's some unnecessary disagreement going on. It's not uncommon.

"of the elect" -- part of a minyon.

"this is a false dichotomy" -- it might be, somehow, if your premise were correct. It is not implied that lying is required, nor that speaking is required. Some lies are motivated entirely by choice. Free will ... what a concept. And I don't suppose I've ever said that I'm compelled, required, to speak. I chose to. My meaning, then, was that when I do speak, I will strive for truth. If you think you see some illogic in my prose, read again, more carefully. I do try to be rigorous. I might make such an error. But I haven't yet. When I say "logical flaw in my performance," well, that was an imperfection I saw as I wrote. Of course I am constrained, as those who have a sense of FP will know -- as you saw.

Am I giving this too much attention? There is a pride that isn't ego, you know.

I agree re "fiction". Did you think I wouldn't? "A Note" isn't fiction. I thought I was clear about that. "The ideations I've outlined here are real..." See how difficult communication is?

"it was not as serious" -- yes, it's only a feeling. I went back and put in a preface, having realized that it was otherwise too stark.

"have no impact" -- but you see, just now, you have an impact. Do I matter to you, a little? You matter to me. When I toy with you, I hope you're in on the joke. The joke is that I'm not toying with you. I'm toying with Jack H, that absolute fool. I just wrote "Fatboys." You may not see how, and it is a secret, but I wept. What a fool.

"this last paragraph though, this does disturb me" -- we'll just have to disagree. It was the whole point. I must not have been clear. You don't change minds with lies (well, yes, you do...) -- you change minds with encouragement. When I say "To hear my lies?" the expected answer to that rhetorical question was, NO. My meaning was that I'm not telling lies. Sometimes I write truths and "You don't like what your hear, sometimes." Misunderstanding. A common problem, when we are too telegraphic. But the alternative is this, long passages explaining trivia. Hey, I can do it. It's just tedious. Perhaps that's what you mean when you say I'm conflating. Not so much conflating as assuming that implicit links were seen. But you could have unraveled it, I think, knowing me as you do.

"say ... think" -- in FP, they are the same thing.

"truth that usually gives the most offense" -- I don't know. I suppose it's ego that takes the most offense, regardless of proximate cause.

bob k. mando said...

You don't change minds with lies (well, yes, you do...)

[in this paragraph, "you" is being used as in indefinite pronoun, not for jack h specifically]
do you? 'change minds', that is? or do you signal to those to whom you speak that your lies provide license for them to lie? such is not 'changing minds'.

having observed Clinton's presidency, that is my evaluation of his success. "if you will pretend to believe my lie i will pretend to believe your lie" is as accurate a description of his sycophants as i can come up with.

part and parcel of that was the first lie that it is reported that he would tell everyone he met, "you are the most important person in the world to me, right now" . oddly ( or not ), the more powerful you are the more effective falsely abasing yourself to someone else becomes as an interpersonal relationship tool. and who would be more powerful than the POTUS?

this is also key to his success with women. "hey baby, i really care what you feel ( caught myself, i almost wrote 'think' )".

you can use lies to mislead. but how often have you actually changed the principles or core beliefs of the person so misled? and once they discover the deception, be they persons of integrity, will they stay on your side of the issue?

if they have no integrity, keeping them on your side only serves a purpose in a democracy or republic.



Do I matter to you, a little?

no, not at all. [grin]




When I say "To hear my lies?" the expected answer to that rhetorical question was, NO. My meaning was that I'm not telling lies.

There is a sort of lack of integrity, that is one way here and another way there. On the other hand, we behave one way in private with our wives, and another with some other man's wife. There is much to be said, for adhering to roles.

so ... you tell the truth to strangers, here in this ephemeral neverland? and you keep the lies for those you know under the daystar? the better that you might play your role?



"say ... think" -- in FP, they are the same thing.

normally, i would take that as a given. but in a discussion of role-playing and the deceptions inherent therein...




"truth that usually gives the most offense" -- I don't know. I suppose it's ego that takes the most offense, regardless of proximate cause.

having "taken away" one of my false dichotomies, you will provide me with another?

how considerate of you. we must give the star wars kid an excuse to exercise himself.

that tickling in your ribs? that's my elbow.

Anonymous said...

I am corrected on the usefulness of hopelessness. I needed to be on the same page about who 'hopelessness' is useful to, and what 'hope' is understood to be. Selfish me.

Carry on with your scripts, then, and I with raging to myself in the night. Yours sounds better.

Jack H said...

Good lord.

B:

[correct -- following common informal usage]

"do you? 'change minds'" -- It can't be a controversial observation. What are lies for? Among other choices, one is to convince, which in some cases would be a change of mind.

"An Illustrative Dialogue"
by Jack H

Socrates: I say! Phaedra, stout fellow! Was it you just now who peed on the toilet seat?

Paedra: No. No, I did NOT pee on the toilet seat, neither now nor at any other time! Most emphatically I asseverate this truth!

Socrates: Ah, I had thought otherwise, but your earnestness has convinced me, and I have now changed my mind.

Phaedra: [sotto voce] Ha ha! My crafty scheme has worked! For, indeed, it was *I* who peed on the toilet seat! Ha ha ha! And now I shall never be blamed for the act! And I shall be eternally happy! Ha ha!

The End

You seem to have assumed that *a* reason is *the* reason. Nothing was implied about core beliefs.

[grin] -- You're a hard man, Bob K. Mando.

"truth ... daystar ... role" -- if that's a reasonable implication of what I wrote, I'm slipping, badly. I will try harder.

"false dichotomies" -- second time you've used the phrase, and I'm still not tracking it. Where is my either-or? It wasn't set up as a logical formulation, just a rhetorical contrast. (Work with me here. I have felt the potential for all sorts of misunderstandings, and hoped you'd be bigger than them. A rule of thumb I use: is there some way he can be right? Assume that's what he meant.)

Yeah, we're dyin' about the fat kid. Har de har. You jocks make me puke. (Feel that elbow? It's tickling you.)


A:

Dude. Lighten up.

bob k. mando said...

[be that as it may, it would have been unnecessarily harsh if those reading had understood that paragraph to be a direct indictment of you]


What are lies for?

to corrupt others. [zing]

and yes, i am a very hard man. compensation for all my flab ( easily 30lbs ) i suppose.

speaking of fat, i would have been very impressed had you worked Tron Guy into your post.




"An Illustrative Dialogue"
by Jack H


it is so considerate of you to provide an example which makes my point. truly, you are a most excellent host taking all due care of your guests.

Paedra does not 'change' Socrates mind. Socrates is aware that there is a possibility that Paedra is a committed seat pisser. one would also hope that a man such as Socrates would consider it within the realm of possibility that Paedra is a liar. searching for evidence to prove/disprove his seat pisser hypothesis, he asks Paedra for direct testimony. Paedra lies and, in the absence of contradicting facts, Socrates accedes that Paedra might be of cleaner personal habit than he had suspected. this supposition will last ... until either Socrates or one of his friends catches Paedra in the act or the group notices that the toilet seat is always pissed on subsequent to Paedra's usage of the facilities.

IOW, Socrates is 'misled'. his underlying principles and reasoning are unchanged. he is simply holding final judgment in abeyance until such time as better data can be collected.

as he should. i mean, what kind of world would it be if rampant, unproven accusations of seat-pissery were taken as fact simply because the accusation had been made? ( shades of the Duke rape case, anyone? )




"false dichotomies" -- second time you've used the phrase, and I'm still not tracking it.

"bob - truth that usually gives the most offense" --
jack - I don't know. I suppose it's ego that takes the most offense, regardless of proximate cause.


your statement is not in opposition to mine but it appears to be because of it's placement. 'give' and 'take' are opposite ends of the transaction. hence, any apparent dichotomy between our clauses is false.

IOW, i agree. it is most often the ego that takes offense at truth. although, if you're going to use Freudian terminology perhaps it would be best to say that an improperly moderated id is what takes offense when it is frustrated by truth/reality.



"truth ... daystar ... role" -- if that's a reasonable implication of what I wrote, I'm slipping, badly.

it was you who asserted that RL involved "role playing" and that role playing was equivalent to deception.

and it was also you who asserted that "A Note" was not deception. not that i had characterized it as such, but there you are.




part of a minyon

a minion of a minyon?

i'm moving up in the world.



OT, should not A come before B? i'm so confused ... and serious, mustn't forget that.

yes, i know, 'anon'/'bob'.

Jack H said...

Tronguy. It would have been too easy. Do you forget with whom it is with whom you are dealing with? It's just that he was unnecessary.

Regarding Phaedra, you simply err, sir. We are aware of the possibility of many unlikely and unbelieved things. Our choosing to take a position does not cause us to forget the others, merely to think them even less likely. Socrates' mind is "changed" to the degree that his conviction is made firmer. His awareness of other possibilities is not a factor. I know of other religions, lies. They do not affect my truth. As for "additional contradicting facts", did you not read, sir? "And now I shall never be blamed for the act! And I shall be eternally happy!" In my author's role of all-knowing narrator, I have made that pronouncement, and no ironic hint undermines the power of Phaedra's declarative sentence. We must even take Phaedra's own statement as a resolve never again to imperil his stolen grace and narrow escape from ignominy. True, he is a liar, a Cretan in fact, but his failure to pee straight itself is not a moral failing. In this, we will take him more as the Spartan boy, who rather then be discovered as having stolen a fox, allowed the fox to eviscerate him beneath his cloak, at the very moment he was being interrogated. Never a sound did he make, until he dropped dead at the feet of the general. And the name of that boy, sir? The name? It was none other than ... PHAEDRA!

"Socrates is 'misled' ... simply holding final judgment ... until ... better data" -- You are unfaithful, sir, to the text, our only facts in evidence: "Ah, I had thought otherwise, but your earnestness has convinced me, and I have now changed my mind." You find room in this for equivocation? You do Socrates a disservice. I pray he forgives you. I will intercede for you.

This matter is settled.

"dichotomies" -- not "opposition": *response*. "give" and "take" are not opposites, but complements. My careful use of modifiers such as "seems" and "appears" is meant to serve an actual function, of avoiding absolute, and thereby easily attacked, positions. I will be clear, when I elect to posit a dichotomy. My language will be unqualified and my clauses will be unambiguously bifurcated.

It is superego that moderates the id, and the offense would occur in the ego, since that is the seat of self-identity.

The anticedent of my "if that's a reasonable implication" was your "and you keep the lies for".

I never mentioned role playing. You introduced the idea. There is a difference between "role playing" and "adhering to roles". God has roles. He's not playing. Likewise, the role of husband, or of father -- what man plays at them?

Yes, it is I who clarified that A Note was not a deception. I did it twice, partly in response to your use of the word fiction, which while sometimes not a lie, is not the truth, as A Note is.

And now that I know about your similarity to Tronguy, you no longer interest me.

Anonymous said...

Jack ... this is really depressing. And you just got done giving Tim Russert a hard time (through a comment) about his "suicide." Your writings should not be wasted on such things that so please Satan. I say keep with the more positive/creative (and throw that jack-ass out!).

Jeanette

Jack H said...

It's not what we feel, it's what we do. It's not surprising that I should get argument and objections about this post. But I suppose it's better to have written it, than not. Anyways, the blather in these comments have moved far beyond the initial theme, eh? Allow me my idle amusements.

bob k. mando said...

There is a difference between "role playing" and "adhering to roles".

yes. the difference is, adhering to a role does not require the use of deception. playing a role does. who was it that introduced the concept of deception again?

ah, you separated the role playing paragraph from the deception paragraph with yet a third. you will say that you meant this as an intermezzo between the concepts.




And the name of that boy, sir? The name? It was none other than ... PHAEDRA!

well, i never did claim that my knowledge of Greek history and mythology exceeded yours....




In my author's role of all-knowing narrator ... This matter is settled.

ah. well there it is then.

forgive me for attempting to apply this to a real world situation.

or at least, you shall narrate your story and i shall narrate mine own.





And now that I know about your similarity to Tronguy, you no longer interest me.

the not so subtle slings and arrows that the differently beautiful such as myself must suffer. boo hoo.




It is superego that moderates the id, and the offense would occur in the ego, since that is the seat of self-identity.

it is the id that takes offense, regardless of where that offense is rationalized.




"dichotomies" -- not "opposition": *response*. "give" and "take" are not opposites, but complements.

you are truly serious about this? and here i had taken it as a well constructed joke/trap for the unsophisticated reader.

"take" is not a 'complement' of "give". there are many who take that which is not offered. and there are many things which have no owner to offer them but which are taken anyway.



It's not surprising that I should get argument and objections about this post.

my problem has been the exegesis, i have neither objected too nor argued about the original essay.

perhaps i am distracting you slightly though.

bob k. mando said...

"accept" would be the complement of "give".

Jack H said...

Dear Contributor:


The Editors appreciate your continuing interest, and encourage your attempts to contributed to the ongoing conversation. Your comment, however, is too long. It will be reviewed and corrected for accuracy over the next several months.

Please accept the accompanying coupon for a free carwash at Big Sal's CarWash and Taco Stand, "the only internet carwash/tacostand in the world!"

Sincerely,

The Editors