The peak

Suppose that

to experience

there is a geometry

 

a range of triangles

of different angles

different heights

 

they are set together, mountain-like

each one of its own kind

of its own time

 

to each, two vertically distinct sides, too

one for the way up, complemented by

another to come back down;

 

Now, if the better experience is

in heading up, and the best experience

of all, the tallest triangle of them all

 

how early on, in the unfolding

of your experience, would you like

to be on the ascent of that one?

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The habit

Habit is not a perfect circle

but it does deceive the one who tries to abandon

for the further away has one moved from last commitment

the closer, in fact, is one

to committing again.

 

To leave a habit altogether,

it is not enough to walk away

the route from habit bends all the way round

and the faster the escape

the sooner is the trap met again.

 

Likewise, the soonest time after a habitual satisfaction

is all of determination strongest, too

to drop, to rid, never to repeat that again

yet this is also so habitual, so en route

that it is never by itself sufficient sign of circle evaded.

 

What, then, can be done and guarantee of habit-breaking?

Habit is not an indefinite circus

but it does elude the one who tries to abandon

in the belief that commitment is avoided at distance

when, in habit-having, distance is less truth and more performance.

 

So, circular, and the meeting more or less ineluctable

success is reduced to that moment

not away from, but in the face of, the latest encounter with a habit

where avoidance is limited to a jump

a saying “no” when most likely, for most prepared, to say “yes”.

 

Because a habit is not a perfect circle

a breaking is not impossible

but several revolutions will be likely necessary, several leaps

until a new habit is made out of that

and the trap of the old habit, still there, but not in the way anymore.

A hypothetical distinction between the Depressive and Non-Depressive

I would like to propose a hypothesis.

Perhaps the most pressing difference between the depressive mind and the non-depressive one is the nature of the emotional architecture which inheres in each and its general orientation to the world as “sensitivity”.

Under the framework of this hypothesis, it is supposed that that which is most regulating of the mood of the non-depressive mind is the specific context of the moment. Depending on the ratio of positivity-negativity bound up within an absolute present, the mood of the non-depressive will not oscillate dramatically outside of that. Thus, it is argued that the sensitivity of the non-depressive is ultimately oriented towards the “context of the current experience”.

For the depressive, on the other hand, the regulation of the mood is not derived from a specific context in one time but potentially trans-contextually, from many different contexts of many different times. And depending on the outcome of a general summation of all these different contexts, whether overall good, or overall bad, the mood of the depressive will follow. The sensitivity for the depressive, therefore, is ultimately much more oriented towards the “context of multiple experience”.

Now, of course, this is just a hypothetical proposition. However, it does have the interesting implication that the depressive mind could be looked at as a bellwether for a more generalised picture of the total state of things, of experience overall, as opposed to the non-depressive mind which, equally important but for a different purpose, is much more connected to the experience of an immediate time and/or location.

I would argue that we are more than well-acquainted with looking at the non-depressive in this way, but not yet so accustomed to taking up the depressive from this point of view. Perhaps, it should be adopted into formal consideration.

Sol, eterno

No fundo da noite, cegueira de solidão

Onde apenas constelações de mundos já findos

se distinguem entre o negrume todo envolvente,

Uma imagem com a força de cem mil nascentes

Vem assaltar o repouso, a paz, o contraste

de tal cor e claridade que arde contra o resto;

É um sol fora de sítio que, sem respeito,

Afasta o sono, aceso como um sonho em si,

de luz que não se põe, vinda da ideia de ti.

 

On Depression, Society and the Future

This is a difficult topic for me to open up about, especially because it is so personal. I have always been more comfortable thinking and speaking in abstractions and general ideas, the sort of things that don’t demand confessional outpourings but, rather, focus on impersonal speculation. However, my depression is a burden I have had to live with now for many years and, truth be told, hasn’t really been getting easier – I would say that the contrary is probably more accurate. Today, I have something that I would like to say about it, an appeal that I think very important and I hope brings forth some consideration.

Insofar as depression is becoming more and more “shareable” and “accepted” in a lot of areas of life, there is still a long way to go before we can, as a society, claim that depression has become totally destigmatised and socially appropriated. Currently, there are major problems with the way depression is treated at both the medical and political level. The most up to date institutional thinking frames depression as yet another disease of which the world must be cured. It is an approach that often means prescribing a lot of medication, attending extensive and expensive therapy and perhaps, in due course, undergoing invasive brain surgery – a likely development if this over-medicalised and, in my opinion, quite reductive view of depression is allowed to persist unchallenged.

With all due respect to the medical profession, I do really believe that continuing to push the issue of mental health down this route is fraught with many dangers. Or, better yet, that it is especially dangerous if we do not, at the same time, seek out and invest in the conditions to bring about a possible second direction. This one, opposite to the “cleansing” ideal, would be much closer to a real “acceptance” of depression in and of itself. Instead of placing all energy and resources into finding/producing a cure (the possibility of which is very much up for debate), there would be a societal shift towards creating the time and space where depression could actually breathe and be lived with, as opposed to suffocated via intensive pharmacological and therapeutic interventions. Alternatively, but not exclusively, what I am here advocating for is a political intervention as well.

It is not hard to see why the option of drugs and psychological analysis, has so far been preferred and why that of transformative political action actually appears to have several revolutionary implications. Selling pharmaceuticals and therapy is more profitable, and has the ideology-sustaining benefit of situating all the focus entirely on the individual as the absolute space of problematisation – where the whole of disorder, from source to manifestation is located within the individualised body of each sufferer. Effecting political reorientation, on the other hand, demands contemplating depression on a scale that surpasses the physical bounds of each person, something which is naturally going to mean fewer money-making opportunities, fewer things to sell to the individual consumer, and, in lieu of that, a greater application of collective resources – put quite crudely, adventuring down this route is, of course, much more expensive and makes pretty much no money.

In practice, it would mean socially reassessing the work-life balance, creating more flexible professional conditions, refinancing support schemes for those who struggle to sustain full-time employment, as well as ensuring that there is a wealth of pockets within the whole where anyone can seek refuge and feel safe, free of shame, feelings of failure and fear of financial reprisal. Fundamentally, it means dropping this chronic belief that the individual can be completely self-sufficient, a self-enclosed site of cause and effect, and that the only reason why he/she/they may not get on in an atomised world is due to either laziness, weakness, carelessness or some other personal flaw.

If we are going to get excited about “acceptance” and “destigmatisation”, we need to make our society truly supportive of those who suffer – and this, of course, goes far beyond depression. As friends, family and generally empathic animals, we can continue to offer our personal time and our care (conversations, cups of tea, hugs…) and play a crucial role in guaranteeing one another’s mental health. But, as something greater than that, as a massive group of people made up of sufferers and non-sufferers alike, we should be demanding that the social fabric that keeps us together, cultural, political and economic, start to adapt itself to our uniqueness and limits and not the other way round. With that greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts power that collective existence gives us to accumulate the wealth of life in such abundance, we should demand that this wealth be used to sustain all life just as much all life goes into sustaining it.

In every positive, still the Negative

To those who argue for or subscribe to the philosophy of universal balance

that preaches “for every negative a positive, and vice-versa”

such that good things and bad things follow one another and ultimately cancel out,

I have a pinching question

for an internal debt has been growing slowly with each change

and I have not by myself been able to resolve it

thus, I ask:

is there not a sadness ineradicable that lives through all endeavour and hope,

despite all endeavour and hope

which fresh endeavour and revived hope never annihilate

only temporarily survive, then by which consumed, once again

no matter how articulate or vivid the promise of a Future

or how widely the children might be awoken to a new time

or how near or distant, audaciously or austerely, the parameters of paradise be set?

thus, is there not rather this understated melancholy so necessary and clear that it need not be said ever because it is already said always

said by a default mourning

every morning

there in the feeling that knows the difference between

gaining something and losing something

the irreplaceability of something, the absolute individuality of all things

that replacing one thing with another is not replacing it, at all

but trying to forget it,

to kill or postpone its memory with the presence of something else

as the day today does not replace the day yesterday

it is here instead

and all days are in their own way

once done, lost forever

tomorrow will come and be lost its own way too

and nothing will be able to replace it, just as it never replaced anything, either

the new only takes the place of the old and that is felt

the absence of the old is not covered or forgotten by the presence of the new

but is quietly mourned through the experience of the difference itself

as if the only real difference between a morning and mourning were a spelling mistake

fundamentally, are they not the same event?

to the philosophers of great balance, I turn and posit this

is not the miracle of birth still no consolation for the senselessness of death?

thus, is there not this residue in us that accrues like a debt

and no future able to satisfy

without adding to it when its place later taken, too

in the eternal return to the Negative?

Natural Weather

Where the sun lifts the world like a flower-builder

which is to say an impression-grower

The clouds come and go as contrast-breakers

like doubt-creators

When the rain drops, soup-filler

and runs, route-divider

The wind, from breezy to fiendishly tropical, a plain-sweeper

and over water wave-sweller

with all the force of a coastline-to-beach-converter

Storms being a bit of most of these combined, awe-inducers

and when absolutely electric, apocalypse-teasers

then the temperatures, an all-weather phenomenon, season-dependent home-conceivers

in winter, armchair-by-the-fireside-philosophers

summer, all-night-dancing-in-the-streetlight-lovers

How would you describe sadness?

Sadness is the mistake

I make when

the unknown

smiles at me:

 

I avert my gaze

 

It scares me

because I know myself too well:

 

and in that knowledge

and also because of it

I know that I do not know the same capacity to smile.

 

A smile is like a beautiful lie

it not only stares from the unknown

but because of the unknown

 

If it knew itself, it would surely not exist

because to know existence is to know that the smile does not exist:

at least not more than its inexistence, anyway

 

for it is no smiling matter

that there is

not more to smile about

than less

 

and if this smile at me knew me, its U-shaped happiness would soon bend straight

it would forget its own capacity to smile

and if it did not, I would distrust its capacity to exist.

 

My fear

and sadness

come as much

from the things

that do exist

as those that do not

 

they come because I do not know what I want

because there is not enough world for all of my want

 

because my want

makes this world

too small

and me

even

smaller within it;

 

a smile looks happy with that

because it does not know

or because it does not want more

does not know more

and does not want that

 

it invites me

under those terms

every time

from the unknown

 

it tells me that this is enough…

 

will I

ever

give in

to it?

 

Looking back across, once more,

in search of my answer

holding my gaze more steadily since

privy to the meantime vision

of all this quiet acknowledgement

 

perhaps it is

me who

for the smile

at least

and its distant chance

stands, really,

most Unknown?

 

Sadness, then

would be

the mistake

of seeing-through.

The cave

Pyramid organisation

is triangulated through one

fundamental premise:

 

  • it will always be easier to stare at the ground and move than movement whilst gazing after the universal roof

 

it is within the exercise of the body

that horizon endlessly more visible

than the cloud to threaten the clarity of the way forward.

 

To counteract this rigid truth

that the least visible be at least visible in its invisibilising cause

must the neck be trained, the head prepared

 

for the body of the Pyramid, in turn

is divided in levels top to bottom

the lower, lower, than the higher, higher

 

the lowest of all feeds all

the highest is fed by all

the at-bottom at the bottom run by all the above

the topmost running everything altogether.

 

In this principled pyramid

easiest does focus come where levels the same

and over-all especially against those below

 

and, according to principle,

hardest under-all for the sufficient stare to see

through to the top and build vision really:

 

  • the lower the floor of the eye that tries to vertex meet, the sharper the angle for the neck to risk;
  • and riskiest of all for the body remainder needed itself resource to re-source the rest of the pyramid all the same.

 

So, does not the empirical distance of this pyramid in itself to itself therefore explain

the breeding of as many myths for the skies it obscures to its many grounds

and likewise uphold respiratory structure to that down-the-neck breathing of a total power exhaled through the layers by a crown placed singular, final, atop all?

 

Well, now, if to build this neck with hopes of observing the full distance of the structure it feeds and the crown it empowers without folding over itself

the burden on its spine and sight would have to be shared amongst a collection of angle-shapers

each in turn taking in different part-moments of an image and presenting the evidence across a language yet to be levelled out…

 

To outstand pyramid organisation

and the inter-level division it reciprocates neckline intra-level

only a head-sharing language could entwine the sufficient point of view to bring about a structural collapse.