Saturday, May 15, 2010

Honesty Through Boredom

It is one of the faults, I believe, of the moral mind - that mind now living which has been trained to be moral, to be just, to respond to social obligations and personal responsibilities - that its instruction, its inculcation, can no longer be recognized as a distinct period in its growth. The moral mind has trouble remembering its immoral or amoral past, as if the process of "moralization" has transformed the nature of the mind's essence into something entirely foreign to its first birth, something which can no longer feel an association or basic empathy with the amoral mind, but which we are told is drawn to it anyway, drawn to it in despair, across distances it can not bridge. The moral man often looks at immorality as freedom, and amorality as an even deeper form of restless negativity, but these are just moral judgments of natures or characteristics (or states) which morality itself can not touch or understand. Does it judge out of fear? As a warning, as a method of giving itself boundaries and definitions, its own identity? How can it judge something it can not understand? Or does it have to "judge" these states as self-protection, as feeling an identity in common with them or feeling empathy with them would remove the capability of judging in the abstract? Does it judge in order to remain blind?

There are moral rules, a moral history inside a thinking, feeling human being, a moral imperative (reflected as a conscience), a source or method of bargaining with one's conscience (desire can destroy the conscience, desire is often utterly amoral - not even immoral, although the pursuit of the self's needs or wants can be judged to be either universal and moral - appearing as recognized in everyone - or amoral outside of objectivity, impossible to place, name, sound, trace, etc.), a fear of supervision and fault, a fear of lack of courage, moral priorities and their spiritual connections (or confusion) - often created as characteristics of the "wished-for" self, the heroic, the "high standard" which one can never live up to, and then there is the moral self seen reflected in the statements and judgments of others. There are many other facets of the moral relationship between a man and his environment, these are only a few of them. In each step or removal from a man's internal reflection and understanding, there are opportunities for error in perception. I believe the greatest is, of course, the distance between the perception of The Other and the judgment it brings as a reflection of the Self. This is the space (which might as well be infinite) between souls. How does the Other judge? By assuming a morality behind a cause, a cause behind an action, an action behind an effect, and an effect behind a reaction or moral result or judgment. This is an oversimplification, but in order to even talk about these things in the abstract it is necessary to reduce the abstractions out of the endless concatenation of causes and effects into basic concepts which are, in themselves, almost always false. Why "false"? Is it because in the realm of morality there is no room for shadows? Must every link in the chain of reasons and causes be seen through its origin and termination? Is truth being searched for, however? I don't believe so. Perhaps "truth", here, is just a consequence of time and place, as it is one of the applicable perceptions. The method that we apply to in order to simulate meaning is to trace the logic of judgments and perceptions between internal motivations or desires and the results they inspire (I will not say cause) in reality. But again, at every meeting between perception (internal or external) and motivation, and then between motivation and action, we have disjunctions between perception and reality - there are lacunae in which mistakes or the ironic irrational can hide themselves. The irrational, as usual, always threatens to cast its illusions in the eyes of the Will, even though there are some who consider the irrational in life to be the greatest expression of human will, and indeed its internal essence, its "true" manifestation. This is a belief (seen as true without evidence), not a permanent fact of existence - although it can not often become a fact if it is put in that position by desire. How often do you fear the irrational inside yourself? What part of you is it that fears this? What do you fear, exactly, from the irrational? Crime? Embarrassment? A loss of "control"? What part of you is in control?

One has to go through these questions in order to recover (from Plato - but also from the sense of remembering from one's youth in the amoral) or discover something essential. However, all of these questions are, in the end, completely useless as a methodology to highlight something original - the only purpose they serve is to focus the analysis and sharpen it, allowing it to penetrate further. As obstructions, they whet the curiosity, they frustrate desire and increase it. As clichés, they rarely touch life...and so I don't bother with their weak grasps at immediacy, at what is taking place inside of me. They are for the Others, for the ones who fear going deeper into themselves...of course when I say "deeper" that concept in itself is meaningless, there is no real abstraction of "profundity" - as if we all carried the same essential, eternal truths inside of us. There is only the individual self and its own "relative" profundity, reflecting on its own life. I'm writing down these questions in order to mock the similarity of pursuits, of searches, of surface and obvious (objective) periods of scanning for meaning. I'm writing them down in order to forget them, to take away what little power they have. Once again language folds in upon itself.

If I desire to enact a crime, I often mistake my own motivations. Who am I to judge my own desires? Do I even understand them? When I am judged in the aftermath, what part of my being will be the one judged? The Will that set the events in motion (supposedly - as if all reality were just matter and time impressed upon by wills), the conscience, the personal judgment of moral and immoral actions, the memory? What or who created these desires in me? What part of life, what segment of my experience? Who or what made me desire? What part of my history determined my Will? Does external judgment rest on the assumption of free will inside of me? But these are all boring paradoxes, they have the boredom of the "eternal" inside of them. They carry the boredom of other people's lives, other people's ideas, history, "truths", reality - of normal, rational, traditional philosophical discourse, which can often seem like the conversations of those cruelly enraptured and bound by their own boredom. Through all of them there runs the desire for authentic experience - that is, to be "true" to one's own experiences, one's own immediate (before judgment and rationalization) perceptions, one's own life. Through all of them there runs the pressing need to remain subjective and defiant, no matter what the cost. The world and experience offers a wealth of meanings...and even though none of them satisfy, and that (lethal - as leading to death in life) second layer of meaning arises in which the despair of meaninglessness gives way to an apathy, an indifference, a retreat (not into the self, which is suffering, but nothingness, a constant hesitation) backwards from immediacy and perception - judgment and interpretation overtake and overrule perception, they kill perception and immediate sensation before it can even arise - one must still turn away and insist, intuitively, instinctively, only listening to commands from the inner world (which can not be defined, and as such takes priority over the Other, which fails through boredom), that the inner life's needs must be met: endless experience, endless personal, subjective meanings, an abrogation and dissolution of the External in meaninglessness, the priority and essential integrity of the Self. This is not something that is to be willed, but only accepted as the only possible approach to one's life. Anything else is a failure, a return to the slavery of objectivity.

The accepted meaning, then: it is in a search for this subjectivity (which is nothing but a quest for one's own humanity), this inability to flee from one's immediate perceptions and the consequences one "causes" to come into being through one's words and actions, then, that one must be completely honest with other people - in so far that they are equal actors of their own searching effects and wills which can create new life, new experiences, new diversions. To not be honest is to avoid the consequences of one's thoughts immediately, although new consequences may come about which may be more interesting...or, in fact, the true consequences of one's thoughts might come around through a warping and twisting effect of the reflection of one's motivations in the interpretation and response of one's hearer (two mirrors facing each other). It may come about that one's honesty (and this is, again, assuming one is interpreting one's own thoughts and desires accurately, and then representing these desires accurately as well - and then also communicating these representations in an effective form...there are so many opportunities for lapses in meaning, as mentioned above) does not bring about the effects one wishes for, but quite the opposite, and the consequences which do come about are the effects one so earnestly desires. I can not say "deserves". One might as well call honesty a "willingness" to accept fate, as if consequences and causes were always linked, as if there were never schizophrenic disconnections between subjects and predicates, as if this clockwork physics so permeated all human relations that originality of conception and a certain creativity of consequences had to be denied. Whether one uses honesty in discourse or not, consequences meet their leading causes and branching effects in a slow ballet of immutable relationships. To deny this is to deny time, to deny reality, to deny life itself.

This is the convention. Is it true to personal experience? And if this were true, is there any purpose at all in being honest? Is there any "meaning" in it - isn't honesty just as valid as dishonesty in a world where consequences follow causes without the intervention of human creativity, human discourse?

It must be said, however, that it seems that most people who employ (use or abuse, as a tool) honesty (that is, a direct connection between desire and communication, desire and interpretation, perception and interpretation and judgment) do so because they know, through experience and knowledge, what exactly the consequences of their words will be. Honesty does not often lead to novelty. It must be wondered, then, if it used only in order to punish - either one's self or others, and used in cases where one knows the punishment will follow an honest utterance. Is it used to finally release consequences long held in check, and so discharge tension? I'm sure there are mordant souls who use it only as a mockery, self-reflected (and inflicted) or otherwise, to unleash the clichés of existence, of social life, of interpersonal relationships. One can then retreat into bitter honesty and sneer at the tumbling consequences which play out like a script one has read through too many times. Honesty is a means of releasing comfort in the familiar - although some often use the familiar as a means to castigate the self, to create new suffering: this is honesty as a desire for disappointment (which can lead back to "control"). How many consequences which one causes to come into being through one's actions and words are...completely strange and unfamiliar? In your struggles (which, after so many years, seem effortless on the surface - inside and out) to manipulate your surroundings, your environment, the people in your life, etc. (the Other), how many times are you pushed forward into something new and unexpected? Is it better to lie and cause something new to come into being (but does this even happen?) or strive to be honest, always knowing the result? Is it possible to know the result in either case? Is it possible to ever be truly honest, except in the moment, in the first eruption and notice of desire? Can we only be honest in our actions, and not our words - words which can never completely reflect our desires? Is "honesty" only an abstraction, an illusion? If the main tenor of so many lives is dishonesty, then, a fleeing away from the consequences of the method of honesty (except in rare instances, when it's brought out to achieve certain effects, or to wound in cruelty), is honesty released, at last, only through boredom? Not as a means of achieving completely novel, surprising (diverting) ends, but as a means to changing the boring (constant) life of dishonesty into something else, if only for a while - even if that second life, through honesty, has already been diagrammed and dissected in the mind? Is honesty used as a means to mock boredom with an ever deeper layer of boring, meaningless existence/experience? The honest words and actions are brought into being and the dishonest soul says to himself: "Well, this at least is something deranged, and I don't have to live this way, it is temporary. I can go back to my "normal" life now knowing that this exists - and even that some people try to follow this unceasingly! Can you imagine? How much better off I am knowing that this world of honesty exists, only so that I don't have to take part in it!"

Can he afford to believe that honesty does not exist?

U. Amtey
15 December 2004
16:21 CST
NP: Necrophagist - Epitaph