12-SEP-2012 id est 12-SEP-2765 AUC
Rant-orandum to Self:
It is hard to stay bouyant. The world, unfolding as it would, seems hopeless – economically, in terms of work (my laziness trumps my pursuit of goals), in terms of my poor old children (none of them normal enough to get ahead in the world), and in terms of those never-to-be-fulfilled desires that cling to me “Like Tiberian bats” (Star Trek reference). By definition, as it were, the world is in no way under my control!
But when I say “the world” – what am I really talking about? The objective congregations of humans, existing and animated, that I encounter wherever I go? The greater flow of mass-struggles and political events as revealed in the news? Or is it a world defined or outlined by my contacts & interactons with whatever portions of the world happen to have been surrounding me at any given time?
Have started Seneca – On a Happy Life. Sometimes the old gasser admits he’s well schooled in vice and temptations -that is, sensual pastimes, intoxicating pleasures, dalliances, schemes and manipulations? He doesn’t elaborate. It’s tempting to rationalize my own stupra based on his scant admission. Certainly, I do go ’round and ’round with my problems, and think and re-think my relationship with the Stoic code. It may help to pin this relationship down.
Pursuit of pleasure is natural, desire for pleasure is natural – it is natural (to some degree) to desire beautiful women who are not your spouse, or to desire sweets or meats instead of brussel sprouts. But these desires, while understandable, do not lead to the apatheia that would free us, but rather, as desires, they warp us to self-serving ways (the self being desirous), such that we form Emotions (false opinions) which then entail frustrations, envies, jealousies, dismays and despairs. Worse still if you are born with a neuro-chemical setup that perpetually drags back in the direction of dismay.
Yet here is a crux – if Nature is provident, why does it provide so many failures, so many weaknesses? What would be ruined if we were ALL active, capable, vigilant, virtuous? If Reason is man’s natural Good, why isn’t it enfranchised? Why do we linger over sex and provender? I expect that, actually, Virtuous folk don’t, but we Merely Physical (merely animated) folk do. We vulgarian folk pursue the back alleys and broad ways, seeking pleasure or success, even if we have no clue or hope of ever finding such: that pursuit remains an imperative, a default orientation.
Myself, I remain astonished and stymied by my inability to interact, my inability to command my self, my inability to respond swiftly and well. Where is the will to power? The will to enjoy the game?
Just now, I am at my workplace. I have an obligation to support my family, but my distracted and lazy nature has me “philosophizing” instead of working at my assigned tasks. Such conduct could easily translate into being fired or laid off. This is irrational, given my obligation (to provide income); I should be responsive to what I am obligated to do.
On the other hand, it isn’t that I ever sought employment for any selfish reason – survival, yes, inegration into the human world, yes, the basic respect of others, yes – but not for any spontaneous urge, not as a desire. So, while it is rational that I work (to support my kids and preserve the home), it is not out of desire but domestic necessity. There is no unity in my purpose; there is an assent to employment, but very little will involved. I pursue that which I would (naturally) avoid.
Again, where is my will to enjoy the game, to take part and run with the pack? If I am intended to be Other, to be lazy and silly instead of effective or sexy, then … why? Oh, my God! Back to the “Why?” question! There is no “why” to it – it is chaos and causation, it is Fortune. Give it up. Move along. Don’t loiter in the “If Only” neighborhood! I have been given a defective whole – there is no other, better whole for me; I am what I am.