“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From "The Cold Man Cometh" by Bob Durr

  " Mainstream America for me was too commercial, too aberrant to human nature and too quietly, smilingly desperate.  That an entire society can be aberrant , and not just some of its members, isn't an observation that originated with me. From Nietzsche ("Too long has the world been a madhouse") to Erich Fromm (The Pathology of Normalcy), from Joyce ("History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awaken") to Paul Shepard (Nature and Madness) and Ken Kesey ( One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), and so many other thinkers and artists, it's a given.

  How could I live from my real self, or even be aware of its existence, in such a distorting social environment? If you are living in  or near a swamp and keep coming down with malaria and then one day you discover the cause to be all those millions of mosquitoes, it behooves you to move away to some healthier location. For me, city and suburb and even the mental life of academia were the dismal swamp and all their influences the malarial mosquitoes.  These intuitions were operative in me long before I consciously realized it, long before I thought it through."


7 comments:

  1. Harry,

    (captaincrunch)


    I am also "weary of such a distorting social environment" (therefore I don't socialize often)

    I am well versed in philosophy and I question the meaning of existence (existensalism) even though I cannot spell the word worth a damn. I stay away from "sub-human masses" that have never progressed beyond using materialism and image as a foundation of existence.
    I think that if I had won 20 million dollars in some lottery I would stay in the same house for as long as I long I still live in the gulf coast. I like my house. Whats the point of moving to a larger house. I would just buy more stuff to fill it with and I cant take it with me when I am dead on day, so whats the point???

    I am not anti-capitalist. If someone wants their life to be filled with materiel items, that's their existence. I prefer my own existence to be unencumbered and uncluttered, streamlined you could say. I can spend more time on pursuits like surfing and less time attending too and maintaining materiel items.
    (As it stands now I may pay someone to mow my lawn so I can 'clean the house' One of the pitfalls of bachelorhood is not having a division of labor with a wife (I do not think a wife should do housework. On the contrary, she can mow the lawn in the hot sun and I can clean toilets in the air conditioned house)

    Back to existenselism (which I have yet to master spelling:) I have studied "Nietzsche (which surprisingly I can spell:) Socrates and other great (and not so great) philosophers from history.

    I always fallback to Socrates as one of the best.

    At some point I may move back to the desert (West Texas) and buy some land out in the middle of nowhere and attempt to go as long as two weeks without talking to anybody. Not that I am trying to escape or be a loner, but to think. Alone with my thoughts to ponder the nature of existence (and other things) I don't like being in constant contact via cell phone, texting and other trivial pursuits. I would rather find the humor in nature as a "Dung Beetle" struggles with an oversize load of manure or have a pack of desert burro's arrive at my house in the desert at 5:00 AM seeking breakfast of hay or other livestock treats. Things like that or more satisfying in life than purchasing the latest 65 inch flatscreen tv.

    Search' Terlingua, Texas and the native desert burro's and dung beetles. There is lots of stuff on the web on them in Terlingua. On a side note, there are "Burro Crossing" signs on Highway 118 south of Alpine, Texas (God help us if someone orders a "Dung Beetle" crossing sign for Hwy, 118) I can just see that sign, yellow background with a beetle using its hind legs to propel a nice round terd.





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    1. Harry,

      (captaincrunch)

      forgot to mention for those that are unfamiliar with Dung Beetles such as Canadians etc. Imagine a Volkswagen Bug, pushing a full size diesel truck (trailer and all) down the road. Its quit fascinating and well as humorous being that, that load is manure and food.

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    2. Well, if you ever wind twenty million, allow me to relieve you of the burden. I'm sure I can think of some way to see it is put to good use, like buying an entire island solely for ferrets to live on.

      I am not that familiar with dung beetles, but from their name I doubt I would want to make their acquaintance. We don't have them here, as far as I know.

      You have the same problem I do. You live on the beach, which is great. I live in the mountains, also very nice. But we both think the desert would be a good place to live, too. I suppose if I were phenomenally wealthy I would buy a place at all three and just move between them, like my brother does.

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  2. That just about sums it up for me too :)

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    1. Durr was writing in the 60's, when a lot of people from every walk of life just threw the routine existence overboard and headed out for the mountains, or the islands, anywhere they didn't have to be a nine to five wage slave. A lot of what he says still has validity for people like you and me, even these many decades later.

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  3. "Real" life can be incredibly difficult and not all are able to get out in time. I retired at the age of 53 and went part-time and eight years ago I retired to the mountains full time. A lot poorer, a lot healthier.

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    1. Your place is really beautiful. It's a good one to settle down in and figure out what to do for the rest of your life. I sometimes have a bit of difficulty putting the past behind me. You can't be free of responsibility and still be puffed up with self importance, something I struggle with sometimes now. It's hard to accept that outside your own family circle you really don't matter much anymore. But it's nice to be free, and to enjoy every day and not waste them kow towing and scraping for the daily crust. Trading money for peace of mind is a good trade, I think.

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