Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Voice Out of the Past

Almost exactly a year ago, and after years of searching, I managed to find an old friend through Facebook. He moved into our house as a renter after my parents' divorce. He's actually mentioned briefly in my book. We lived recklessly together for a time, and/but eventually wound up living in the same religious cult for many years.

Funny, after finding him we didn't really communicate much after the initial contact. He sent me an email Christmas card to which I didn't reciprocate, and that was about it until a couple of days ago, when I got a message that started like this-

Thought I'd say hi. Your daughters are doing really well, congrats.:) I had a heart ablation procedure last weekend, so I'm indigent for sure now. I remember asking the doc to not let me wake up.

After relating some of my own recent trials and travails- including a rather nasty upcoming one, I'm afraid- he returned with this-

Life is definitely not kind as we would like. The Buddhists got it right, in NW timberland lingo, "Life's a shit sandwich and then you die." The Buddha called it suffering. Anyway, if you make it this way, there will always be a place for you in my home. Don't forget to occasionally use the public libraries to maintain online communication. An iPod touch for $150 will keep you connected with everyone; that's pretty important. Please keep in touch. Don't fade on us. :)

I may immediately file a bankruptcy when the bills have come in. Been there. Done it.

Love from your friend

It's hard to write beyond this point. How do I express the hatred I feel for an impulse that creates a person like this? This guy and I go way back, into our teens. We've suffered emotional and physical violence together, as well as inflicting it upon each other on occasion. We've loved, and lost, and lost again. I feel him falling away between my fingers, along with everything else; as I am falling away through others' fingers. Loss, loss, loss. It's the way of things.

Anyway, this and Shadow's thoughtful missive have me feeling a bit maudlin, and Seinfeld's almost on, so I guess that's it for tonight. I really need to write some poetry, but I don't seem to have it in me these days, if I ever did. Anyway, blessings to Rich, and to you all. See y'all on the flip side.

P.S. Don't be concerned about that 'nasty upcoming' part. I'm always overly dramatic when I'm feeling maudlin; comes with the territory :)


Unknown said...

Jim, sorry to hear of your recent and upcoming ordeals. And your friend's. If misery loves company, I'm right there with you, pal. :-)
Schopehauer hit it, as he did so many things, when he said that optimism is a wicked mockery of the suffering of the world.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Presumably, he was and still is the ordinary guy next door (from surfaces appearances). Yet, below the surface, he finds life is a bitch then you die.

Question: If so many people agree that life's bitchy enough that the sentiment is a fairly commom meme -- then why do people decide to have children in the first place?

metamorphhh said...

Kalki: Sorry to hear that, and yes, it DOES make me feel slightly better :0 Not really, but it is a curious truism, isn't it? Great Schopenhauer quote, btw. Optimism feels so disrespectful to me these days, like an unjustified cockiness in the face of others' misery.

filrabat: I think the answer to your question is that denial is a primary survival mechanism, and the affirmation of life through procreation is one of the ways we support that denial.

In arguing for antinatalism, there are often times when I'm tempted to abandon the denial argument completely, and just center on the risk argument, which is easier to articulate and harder to, well...deny. However, denial of how bad things really are actually feeds into our risk assessments, distorting the facts to feed our delusions. And like I've said before, I truly believe that the 'fairly common meme' you speak of is, indeed, far more common than most people let on. So I guess I'll just keep banging my head against that brick wall, and hope others will be there to take my place after my brain's turned to mush :)

Sister Y said...

why do people decide to have children in the first place?

Half of pregnancies are unplanned. People are too lazy, irresponsible, uneducated, or stubborn to take effective measures against pregnancy.

As for the other half . . . still trying to figure that one out.

TGGP said...

"why do people decide to have children in the first place?"
Have you read much evolutionary psychology?

The Plague Doctor said...

TGGP, evolutionary psychology predicts that people desire sex, not that they desire children (althought they will desire taking care of their children once they are born):
Where are the kids?

Even if half the pregnancies are unplanned, Curator's answer does not explain why people choose not to abort (those unplanned pregnancies).

Ann Sterzinger said...

Well, a lot of people let others do their dirty work for them... sending soldiers to kill other soldiers, for example. If you accidentally cause someone to exist, and you kill them before they leave the comfy womb and develop an uncomfortable consciousness, you may be saving them a lot of suffering, but you have to directly face the fact that you are causing their death. If you just let time and disease do it for you, it's much easier to let yourself off the hook. Heck,if they beat you to the grave, you can even wallow in self-pity!

Unknown said...

I actually meant that question as a rhetorical one, but I appreciate and agree with the answers. Evolutionary biology is an obvious one plus the simply urge to screw. It's written in our genes and neurological architecture to commit acts that lead to procreation. Fortunately, humans see through this enough to control our reproduction for whatever reason.

Chip said...

Regarding PD's "Where are the kids" link, I rejoin with the observation that people who are actively "trying to have children" usually consider adoption an option of last resort, if they consider it at all. This fact (which I assert without citing data because I know damn well that it's true) is not easily reconciled with the view that evolutionary psychology "predicts that people desire sex, not that they desire children." Thanks to modern birth control and cultural shifts, a lot of that evolved neuro-architecture is easily channeled into recreational gameplay, but when people want to have children, they still overwhelmingly desire biological children. If EP didn't have something -- everything? -- to tell us about the underlying "why," this truism would be baffling.