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July 18, 2005

If I lust for power, it is because I believe I have a pure heart.

Sad that this is not the case. Sad? No, saying that is escapist cliche that I use to bypass actual thought. It is not sad, it is the truth. Let me have that last paragraph again. I can do it better.

If I lust for power, it is because I believe I have a pure heart.

I do not have a pure heart. My blackened heart causes my blackened lusts to appear transparent. I seek to obliterate my desires. Make a careful note of the paradox in that statement. My very goals preclude their own fulfillment.

I want adventure.
I want dangerous love.
I want Leia.
I want denument.

But what for? Here's our tragic flaw, we have profound emotions with nothing profound to say. And I feel that there is nothing new under the sun. What is worth dying for? Tell me that. I am not convinced enough of my faith to believe in miracles half the time; I have a hard enough time believing my own professions of faith. When I was younger, I had these convictions. I believed that good and evil really fought on an epic stage. Now I believe even more strongly in good and evil, but I can't find the stage. What is worth dying for?

if someone responds with "what is worth living for" i willl commit my life to reidiculing you mercilessly since there doesn't seem to be any other point to it.

This is typically the point in the blog where I lose my train of thought, fail to tie things together, and get frustrated at my lack of literary facility. I don't feel that coming on tonight. It is replaced with a feeling in my stomach that I recognize from the few times I've ridden on roller-coasters. The sinking let-down of everyday life.

Ouch. No, no no... Its the sinking let-down of MY everyday life. Perhaps geniuses can participate in the dialog of life (which this blog is a sad attempt at), but what are the billions of slightly-above-average grunts like me supposed to do? Procreate? Destroy our planet? Study the very marvels of biological inefficency that we are? Well, we carve out meaning. Some of us carve more than others. i'm don't know if I have it in me today to carve much more. It all just ends up an innumerable amount of holes in an infintely large universe anyway.

Forgive the nihilism. Or don't. I will continue screaming about why I feel like screaming about the fact that there is nothing worth getting all excited about. The funny thing is I cant decide if this sinking feeling is the same kind of angst that will put averil through college and then some, or the kind that stumps the most articulate of men. Neither is better nor worse than the other - one is just more common.


AFTER the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying 325
Prison and place and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience 330

Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink 335
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit 340
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses

-From T.S. Elliott's The Wasteland
Were I to have the soul of a poet, would it be this troubled?

Posted by pedalboy at July 18, 2005 1:09 AM | TrackBack

aldous huxley, author of brave new world was a contemporary of t.s. eliot and said of him, "i have never seen a banker look so much his part" yet praised him for his poetry. what i'm getting at is that indeed you do have the soul of a poet and if not the soul then you have the heart of one...albeit a computer programming, analytical heart but a beating one nonetheless.

and we all have our bouts with nihlism. just ask any philosophy/theology student.

if you have the chance...go to a bookstore and read the first couple letters in the essential kierkegaard. it's worth reading for sure.

is there something worth living and dying for?


Posted by: john at July 18, 2005 3:50 PM

Finding what you really believe often fails to match up with the fantastic images we develop in our youth. I know of very few people, regardless of where their faith lies, who don't at some point vehemently question their beliefs as simply reflections of the environment in which they were raised. This is normal...and in my opinion, the way to deeper strength in what you find rings true in your living experience.

The people I know who are so sure of what they believe point to their INTERPRETATION of whatever holy book they hide behind, even in the face of historical fact and self-contained contradictions. And why do they hide? Because when they are drawn out from the shadow of self-righteousness, the holes in their shallow understanding of reality are so large that they render them invisible. Their holy trumpet is made of tin, and the notes ring out no further than the reach of their own pompous voices.

Do not mistake this as a tirade against religion of any kind, nor against any religious person. However, do not be afraid to ask people who are strong of faith about their journey to their faith. Those with true beliefs will no doubt speak of dark times where they felt quite alone. But how much better for them to have found something real to replace the imaginary.

"When I was a child, I though as a child and spoke as a child. When I became a man, I set aside my childish ways." -1 Corinthians 13:11

This quote is often taken out of context, and left out of St. Paul's message about love during weddings. This is not simply about growing older. This is about learning the truth and being able to love. A few lines earlier he states, "...if I have all the faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing." Faith, you see, is not measurable by standard means. Do you have "enough" faith? This is a question that has no answer. Faith has little to do with our interactions with others. Love, on the other hand, can be expressed between people. It is something we can share. Faith is personal, and no one can tell you about your faith without being you.

Embrace your questions...but seek answers for all of them. And do not stop looking until you are satisfied. We are not children any longer, and fairy stories no longer satiate our logical minds. I promise that the answers are out there. I'm six years older than you and I am just starting to find them.

Best wishes on your journey.

Posted by: Ralph at July 18, 2005 6:16 PM

"If I lust for power, it is because I believe I have a pure heart."

wow, ever read "Crime and Punishment"? If not, read it now! At the beginning of the post I thought I was reading some dostevsky. It'll fit in the recent Russian/soviet author theme too.

Posted by: Jon at July 18, 2005 8:38 PM

Jon you read Dostoevsky? Funny you should mention that, because a few days ago I hit literary gold at a garage sale, and bought like 15 (great) books from some presumably dead guy - i believe Crime and Punishment was one of them, I know I had at least two dostoevsky books in there. When I get to that, I'll be sure to post.

Posted by: matt at July 19, 2005 12:09 AM

oh matt good. you and your genius soul. take you and your genius soul and get kristin and go to blockbuster. and then check out the film "robot stories." and then watch it and comment on my blog about what it made you think. and tell me what kristin thought too. or she could just comment. the moral of this story is to watch "robot stories."
the end.

Posted by: kate at July 24, 2005 9:36 PM

um. I am feeling exceptionally brave tonight and thought i would say something. I know I am not exactly welcome at the philosophy kid's table at lunch and I am pretty sure that if we were in a highschool band in a cheesey teen movie you all would be the drum line and I would be the kid with the tuba and bad glasses... but... from the tuba kid to the drum major.. Matt, I enjoy your brain. I want to be able to discuss things with you someday although you scare the poop out of me. Maybe someday over some more wet clay. I am completely on board with your profound emotions and nothing profound to say. It has been the torment of my human existence for the last year. If nothing else i feel a bit affirmed that almost that exact phrase occurs in one of my sketch books. cool. I'll make you tea sometime.

Posted by: bekah at July 29, 2005 8:35 PM

oh bekah you know i am against the exclusionary nature of philosophy (and nearly everything else). I'd really like to throw a few more pots with you this year, if you know what I mean.. *ahem* I understand how my vast powers or intellect can be intimidating. I scare myself sometimes...

No, bekah brown, I will make YOU tea. I happen to have a diverse stock of fine english teas that kristin got me. Something like enough tea to use a bag a day for the next few years.

Posted by: matt at July 29, 2005 9:32 PM

and good lord i need to stop posting things while drunk. with discontent.

Though I wear it well, it wears me in other ways.

Posted by: matt at July 29, 2005 9:33 PM

even those of us at that table don't know what the hell we're talking about half of the time. it's a word game anyway. what has been obvious to the artistic community, sans political manipulation, has finally made it's way into the great white minds of the west in the past half century. for the love of god, would somebody please tell these rich honkies to put down the dry erase markers and take a walk outside...they could use some wonder. and humility. philosophy is in dire need of the artists and prophets of the world because for too long the separated discipline of philosophy has been drowning in it's own analytic dungheap. this is why interdisciplinary stuff is very very good (kate) because it allows us to see things from a different perspective. as i write this i realize that i am stating the obvious in a very juvenile way and i apologize.

tea is good.
so is radiohead.
long live the angst-ridden tea drinkers of the world.

that is all.

Posted by: john at July 29, 2005 11:27 PM

can we PLEASE start a support group/ club/ i-don't-care-what-i-just-want-a-tshirt-that-with-that-on-it for john's "angst-ridden tea drinkers of the world". Please. I fear my life MAY be dependent on it.

Posted by: bekah at July 31, 2005 11:42 AM
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