Come get your dignity! Dignity for sale

What is this word that sticks in my throat? “Dignity!”

But what the fuck is dignity? Is it just the proud pose someone strikes; maybe on the prow of a ship or when one is president of the united states?

What is it?

Satisfaction that I have done what I set out to do?

Well we call that achievement; but fuck-it the parents aren’t home so you can have that for your semantic cauldron.

“Ah but isn’t dignity also the ability to hold your head high?” surely you don’t mean physically so I’m going with the obvious and assuming you’re talking figuratively.

“To hold your head high!” what a term! What a rabble-rousing and admirable project to have in one’s life.

To have it said of you that you could have walked anywhere without reason to avert your gaze from anyone; you can just gaze calmly on from the fortress of sublime obedience.

Dignity!?

So you can stand proud before who?

Your family? Society?….

I won’t say friends because if you’ve found the right lot you won’t really care about dignity in the world your lot constructs on the foetid ruins of the world left behind by you entrapment… I mean up-bringing.

Again before who?

Your family?

That’s an idle pursuit!

The attachment you have to your family is a manifestation of the attachment you have to yourself. It is entirely constituted by a compound of care and concern that neurotically subsumes other human beings under the self.

They will never be happy with you because if they were happy with you what excuse could they use to love you – or express it anyway?

Society?

Well society can just go and fuck its capricious self with something big, spiky and corrosive. 1 minute this is the appropriate attire the next it’s this; always changing its mind!

Before God?

Well he choose to make you so the only person who should feel any worry about how they are perceived and judged is not you!

You’re just a piece of art and do you think David with his marbelous willy spends much time worrying about how people see him?

Before yourself?

What so after all that time; after all that time you spent trying to fit in so you could be dignified and you now stand proud and tall amongst your fellow man, it turns out you were the boss the whole time!

Well cook me a duck-billed platypus and call me tonsured if that doesn’t just take the fecking piss out of all of us!

All this trite that people say… these meaningless sentiments that repeat from mouth to mouth like some virulent form of dementia.

For example “Don’t be afraid of dying be afraid of never having lived”!

What’s there to be afraid of?

Oh and notice how people use this to denigrate people who don’t “live” in the way they do. It’s the ever present mystery of individual preference – “how can you not like chocolate!” – given a moral stab – “Eurgh you don’t like chocolate!”

And anyway what’s the difference between laying on your death-bed shitting in a colostomy bag and gazing avariciously at all the gold you’ve managed to hoard and gloating over the moments in which you “lived”.

Dignity!? It’s just an analogue of pride – or maybe an expression.

Fuck dignity for there is no reason for me to be dignified; and just what is it exactly?

It’s like all those slippery words and turns of phrase the powers that be use to keep our nascent powers from blossoming.

It’s so ambiguous and slippery that you can quite easily use it as criteria for calling someone “undignified” in almost any situation.

Chuck it in the bin!

You know I see so clearly with the eye that verbalizes; the eye that watches the behaviour of others; that this is so.

That it is utterly absurd and unwarranted to stand in shame before anyone…

but the experience that is attached to dignity….

or rather the experience attached to what we call “undignified” haunts me!

So what do I do?

Me fully wide-eyed awake and aware whilst doing so do?

I stammer!

I stutter and I slur!

I cower before the other,

the very other who’s

behaviour I have

(in their eyes)

just slurred with my causal analysis

(Unintentionally of course

But what can I do

ask a slug for forgiveness

After mistakenly treading on it
(I jokingly slur)

And see how far that gets you!

There’s a communication problem!

All this whilst knowing that if someone insults you and you are stung then the least of your problems is that someone’s insulted you!

“Eyes wide shut” Erikson

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What’s the best compliment?

I think that the best compliment anyone can give someone is “You’re weird!”

Sometimes weirdness can be symptomatic of pathology; sometimes people could be weird through effort because they want to maintain an identity or because they think that weird is cool.

Those kinds of weird aren’t the kind of weird I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the kind of weird that everyone really is. Weird is just a derogatory way of saying someone is unique, individual and their own person.

Everyone is weird; some are just better at hiding it than others.

The reason why I consider weirdness as a positive description is because it is often symptomatic of someone not pretending; someone not lying. It’s the taking off of the mask that causes the phenomena of weirdness in the authentically weird people.

The people who don’t have an agenda when they talk to people.

The people who aren’t trying to fit a cube into a small triangle hole.

The weirdness that’s caused from being genuine and the cessation of lying.

Throughout most people’s’ lives they are always trying to be what they think will be acceptable. They spend so much time and expend so much of their mental activity on trying to fit in that they are constantly distracted from themselves; they are constantly not doing what they want and doing what they don’t want purely because they fear the ridicule of others.

To be called weird is to be told that you’re behaviour doesn’t conform to what is arbitrarily acceptable; to be called weird is like the they-self pinning a medal on your chest for escaping the trap of conformity.

Of course the they-self – being stupid – thinks it’s insulting you but if you’re weird because you’ve realized the lack of ground that the They-self’s protean “acceptable” has you’ll see the irony.

To be called weird is to be told you figured out the puzzle…. at least some people’s weirdness is caused by such things.

The wonder of life through defamiliarization

Today… well this morning I suppose. There was a storm the likes of which I haven’t seen for at least a year.

I stood out in it with my arms spread, face facing the sky as it poured out its anger in rain, flashes and deep booms. I gave myself to wetness and the wind and the violence but after a while I went back inside, closed the door, forgot the wonder and made a tea.

Now I’m sat here, dry and comfortable; faced with the familiarity of Facebook and the everyday comfort and security of home.

I’m thinking “If this situation, this mundane, run-of-the-mill, everyday situation had never occurred for me before would I not stand in awe at the very presence of a cup and a table?”

Those flashes and booms – spectacular though they were – are only special because they rarely happen; they are to all intents and purposes novel events. Sure I have experienced a storm before; but not for a long time.

So this time, standing outside with my friend Ethan as Daisy gazed down upon us from Ethan’s bedroom window was the first time.

What lesson did I hear in the flashes and bangs? Defamiliarize, defamiliarize, defamiliarize!

Casually stroll through life as if you’d never seen any of it before and you’ll see the wonder that’s just waiting there to be unlocked by a particular way of gazing, smelling, touching, tasting or listening.

Stand quietly and imagine you’d never breathed before and feel the joy that just being alive brings, that just breathing brings.

Living is a beautiful thing all the time; we just get caught up in the trivialities; in mere trifles of problems that won’t matter tomorrow or in a weeks time.

They certainly won’t matter when you’re laying on your last bed! You’re possibilities limited to whether you’re going to shit in the colostomy bag now or hold on for a bit longer; whether you’re going to ring the bell just so you can ogle the curves and breasts of the young nurse on duty.

Will anything matter to us then about what happened now?

So why not forget the trivialities and gaze upon your kingdom; see how bizarre everything really is; see how it could be any other way but it’s not; it’s the way it is.

See that wherever you are you are in a truly novel situation; you are on the cutting edge of your life; you don’t need to travel (though that would be fun) to find wonder; it’s right before you all the time almost bursting with its suppressed excitement; like a child tugging at his parents attention saying “Look at me! Look at what I can do! Look at what I am!

“See look: Red, sound of distant traffic as the human world wakes up, feel the keys on my keyboard, smell your home, taste the bitter coffee that you don’t like the taste of and delve into the taste and see that its distastefulness is a part of all the wonder that forever surrounds us but is hidden by familiarity! Live every moment of your life playing pretend that it’s the first moment of your life because then I’ll show you who I really am!”

Openness and Intelligence

I think a good definition for the range of capacities we call intelligence would be openness.

Let’s say that intelligence is the capacity to assimilate new information; to learn facts and understand lots of different things.

If we define intelligence as that then openness is certainly synonymous with intelligence; or rather you might be able to say that “all intelligence is openness but not all openness is intelligence” though I’m uncertain about that proposition.

But intelligence also includes the ability to solve puzzles and this seems to me to be a different phenomena from the intelligence I characterized above.

But let us say that intelligence is the capacity to solve puzzles.

This would include engineering, physics and mathematics.

Really all that engineering is is the activity of solving puzzles; you have a set of objects (rubber, petrol, cogs etc) and a function you want to perform without man-power (the solution to the puzzle).

In this sense computer-programming is engineering.

Even this kind of intelligence requires an openness.

I think the idiom used to convey this openness is “thinking outside the box”.

The person approaches a problem that requires a solution and the more open they are the more likely they are to spot the solution.

Whereas if they rigidly stick to their pre-conceptions about the problem and if these pre-conceptions are wrong or not conducive to solving the problem the less likely they are to solve the problem.

So I would say that openness is at the least a defining feature of both these definitions of intelligence.