The Suburban Captive, Part One

The main task, effort, lesson, understanding or goal (whatever you want to call it) for the suburban captive is to learn how to be completely content and happy within their captivity. No easy undertaking and often one must go through years of hating and denying their captivity in order to get to a place where they are able to embrace and make friends with it.

These years of denying and hating captivity and the experiences that a person has when in this stage or state (depression, emptiness, self-destruction, addiction and excessive boredom) can be the subject matter for volumes upon volumes of books. Outside of a few novels and essays, this subject matter has yet to be undertaken or covered by writers.

Everyone who lives in the suburbs experiences suburban captivity. There is just no way around it when living in the suburbs. Avoiding captivity when living in the suburbs is like avoiding getting wet when swimming in the ocean. Cannot happen.

Captivity is occurring when there is no place for a person to go where they can feel permanently freed. A person in suburban captivity can’t go anywhere and be authentically free. They are held captive in and by their homes. Even though a home and garden can be incredibly beautiful, comfortable and filled with all kinds of delights- a person is still captive there because they really have no place to go.

The vast majority of people who live in the suburbs are continually trying to escape from their captivity. Their lives are a continual effort to escape. They travel, they go out to restaurants, they go to movies, they go hiking, they go to work, they go to friend’s homes, they go to bars, they go to parties, they watch television, they are obsessed with the cell phones- always trying to escape captivity. But this way of life is very draining and often they embrace their captivity when they have no energy left.

The suburban captive who has fully embraced his captivity is full of energy but does not use this energy to go anywhere. Instead, he uses the energy to successfully live a life while embracing suburban captivity.

Those who are preoccupied with trying to escape their captivity, deep down know that there is no place to go. Even though they often think about all the things they have to do and all the places they want to go- they often know that this doing and going and consuming never really delivers them the escape they are searching for. The reason for this is because this constant doing, going and consuming is what causes much of the captivity in the first place. One is wrong in thinking that escape equals freedom. What kind of prisoner escapes and experiences more freedom as a result? Very few.

Most suburban captives search for escape their entire lives. Some finally realize that there is actually no place to go, no place to escape to. They then stop needing to leave their homes (unless necessary) and begin learning how to enjoy captivity. How to really settle in. This is not a surrender but instead it is an embrace. It is a way of life that can bring a person great fulfillment when done correctly.

The suburban captive is held captive by their homes, their expenses, their banks, their garden, their television, their dogs, their furniture, their books, their records, their appliances, their electricity, their water- all the things which make up a suburban life. These things erect an invisible wall around a person which shelters them from the chaos of the outside world. But in order to maintain this shelter a person must work, and the unpleasantness of this work for money often causes the suburban captive to long for escape.

More escape just builds bigger walls that a person will never be able to climb over or break through.

The true suburban captive has stopped needing to go out. They go to work and go out for a few things (occasional meals, trips to the market and social situations) but they no longer need to go out into the world. They once went out into the world to do things, to buy things, to have experiences- but they eventually realized that this does not work. They reach a point where they realize they are living in captivity and that there is no escape from it. Like any skilled captive in any situation, at this point the suburban captive embraces their captivity. They learn to build a fulfilling life within the walls (which is actually how to get rid of the walls) that can never be seen from the outside. Suburban walls exist within.

Once the suburban captive has reached the stage of embracing their captivity, realizing that escape cannot be found in buying things, going out, spending money, promiscuous sex, alcohol, socializing and even working- this is the stage when the suburban captive begins to deepen their relationship within themselves. The successful suburban captive is at home within. A fully realized person. Self-actualized. Nothing any longer stresses him out. He is completely fulfilled and at peace within himself, therefore nothing outside himself can cause much distress. Most suburban captives are continually getting stressed out because they are avoiding settling in to themselves. They are still look for escape on the outside.

The suburban captive who has embraced their captivity knows that they exist in captivity. They have accepted their captivity even though no one can see the walls. From the outside everything looks affluent, privileged, free, calm and beautiful so no one imagines that captivity could occur. How could you be held captive when living within such beauty? But it is exactly the act of owning and sustaining these things which creates the suburban captive. The only way that the suburban captive can truly be free and happy within this kind of affluent captivity (the worst kind of captivity is the kind of captivity which everyone is experiencing, but no one talks about because they think their captivity is their freedom) is to acknowledge and embrace the captivity which they have taken suburban residence in.

Once a suburban captive has done this, once they have had enough of the pain involved in trying to escape, they can get down to the real business of cultivating a truly fulfilling life from within, at home.

Things All Over The Place

Things all over the place. Someday, some yet unknown civilization will study us and think that we had things all over the place. We are consumed by our things and few things ever remain in their right place.

I love some of my things, but does this mean I need to have things all over the place? Has humanity really evolved to have this many things all over the place? Can our brains really handle all these things all over the place? Just about all of our homes have things all over the place. There are things everywhere, too many to name.

Some of us are lucky enough to have the time, energy and/or money to have things continually kept in their right place. Few of us are disciplined enough to keep everything right where it needs to be, at all times. After all, this is the only way that most of us could maintain sanity and stability with things.

We have built our lives in order to have things all over the place. This is what we do. This is where human ingenuity has landed us. We labor away and then we collect things. It is fun buying things with our hard earned cash. If we did not do this what would be the point of our labor? We certainly don’t love the things we do for cash so we better enjoy the spending of it.

We end up with things all over the place.

What we did for fun becomes an excess of things all over the place. Memories materialized into things.

And now our lives become about keeping things in their right place. Learning how to not get so angry when things are all over the place. Figuring out how to keep things from getting all over the place. Straining our relationships because of the stress of having things all over the place. Not spending our time more meaningfully because we are too tired after dealing with things all over the place. Wishing we could just be comfortable with things all over the place but never being able to achieve this ideal.

Those who are perfectly at home and relaxed with things all over the place are the enlightened beings in our day and age of too many things all over the place.

Our world is surrounded by things all over the place. The inside of our homes is a reflection of the clutter all around. Everything is out of place. There is clutter everywhere, unless you are fortunate enough to live where no one else or only a few are around. But chances are you still live in a home with things all over the place. We live in a world of things all over the place and our homes become microcosmic portraitures of this macrocosmic crisis.

It is inevitable. When we live with things all over the place our inner worlds become filled with things all over the place. Everything is out of place on the outside because everything is out of place on the inside. Or is everything out of place on the inside because everything is out of place on the outside?

Thoughts all over the place. An endless number of things to get done. Different feelings running into one another. Continually trying to get things organized on the inside but never feeling able to. Looking towards drugs and alcohol to help us straighten things out, if only for a minute. Meditating, doing yoga, going to therapists, reading self-help books, going on retreat- all in the hope of effectively dealing with these things all over the place.

No scientific research is needed to tell us we live in a world, inside and out, with too many things all over the place. We are buried beneath these things, always struggling to find a way to get things in order. We struggle to remain organized inside and out. We try as hard as we can to deal with things all over the place. But more often than not, our only shot at survival is to say fuck it and accept that this is now a world with things all over the place.

On Becoming A Gopher

I never imagined this sort of thing possible. How? There is nothing online written about this. None of the great philosophers discuss it. No contemporary theorist makes any mention of it. No one seems to have ever heard of such a thing happening to a person. But it is happening and it is happening to me.

I know it sounds odd to say, but I am becoming a gopher.

The gophers had been destroying my lawn. I hated them and did whatever I could to get rid of them. One day I was running water from my hose down into one of their holes. The water shot out and up into my eyes and face. I tasted something that tasted like fecal matter. I instantaneously become unwell. There was a metallic taste in my mouth and my eyes burned. Ever since that ordinary morning in my backyard, nothing has been the same.

I have grown hair in areas I never before grew hair. Short, stubbly hairs to be exact. On my ears, my cheeks, my arms, the palms of my hands, my forehead, my penis, the soles of my feet, my shoulders, my fingers.

I have had difficulty breathing. My breathing is shallow and fast. There is the continual presence of chest pain. My rib cage feels as if it is being squeezed together. I am in a continual hyperarousal, anxious state. Everything freaks me out and when it does I become immediately mad. I continually play with my penis to calm my nerves.

I never did any of this before. I was a respected psychotherapist for Christ sake!

Rather than being angry at the gopher holes in my lawn, I am now drawn towards them. Something is pulling me towards them and I have this odd desire to squeeze my way down into them. That is where home feels like it is. In those holes. Obviously, I can’t fit.

Instead I have been isolating myself in my writing studio. I have covered the door with books, furniture and anything else that will prevent anyone from coming in. I want to have nothing to do with the human race. Humans terrify me! Once I loved helping humans and now they absolutely terrify me. They are such a threat. I go out at night and collect food from the kitchen while my wife is sleeping, but I then immediately retreat into my safe space and erect a strong wall that not even the police and fire department have been able to break down.

I don’t want to see anyone. I am repulsed by any kind of high pitched sound. I chew on things. I lick myself in areas I was never able to lick before (the one benefit of this entire nightmare). I am terrified and nothing on the internet is helping me to figure this out. Once you cease to be a normal human being, the internet is no longer of any use to you. Accept when I look at pictures of female gophers I am incredibly turned on. I immediately masturbate. This is odd not only because images of female gophers are turning me on but also because before all of this happened, my sex drive was gone.

I don’t know what to do at this point. It is obvious to me that I am becoming a gopher. At this point I have no choice but to just wait things out in here.

Anyone else out there experience anything like this before? Please help

MARIJUANA: Insights From Yesterday’s Use.

I can’t do it often. My life wouldn’t work if I did. I don’t mean this in the way that you might think I mean it. You probably think I mean that I would become lazy, disengaged and less productive if I used marijuana often and this is why my life would not work. Nope. The opposite is actually true. Let me explain.

First of all, this cliché idea that marijuana makes a person lazy or disengaged or uninspired or less productive is true. But these marijuana users are amateurs. Still in their idiot stage of marijuana use. For people who are not amateurs, marijuana is an incredibly powerful and potent drug.

Marijuana opens and expands the mind. If what is already in that mind is superficial and dumb, the person will have a superficial and dumb experience.But if that mind has more depth, intelligence and creativity in it, then the experience can be immensely useful.

You see, marijuana takes a person beyond their normally imposed limitations. It allows a person to really look at themselves from a distance and see things in a “wide open” and clear way. The result is normally more creativity, personal insights and understanding.

Alcohol on the other hand numbs the mind. Alcohol creates zeropersonal insights. Alcohol allows a person to forget themselves. It turns the volume in the brain way down so a person can feel more relaxed and less tormented by fear and general negative thoughts. Alcohol normally turns fear off and the result is a good, carefree time where a person is no longer confined by their more sober limitations. Alcohol does not expand the mind, it dulls it. This is why many people use alcohol to treat their worried, unhappy, judgemental and stressed out minds.

I deal with a good amount of anxiety and depression, which I normally treat with mindfulness meditation (and a few beers or glasses of wine). Using marijuana yesterday gave me a better understanding of why I get depressed and anxious and why I need to use mindfulness more, to treat it.

You see we all live within a particular kind of social construct. Like fish in a fish tank we live in a particular socially conditioned system. In America, this system tends to be economic (and religious) based. In America right now, economics (or Capitalism) is the main religion. This creates a particular construct (identity) that we all exist within. But this identity (who we think we are) is mostly conditioned in to us. It is not really our own making. Everyone experiences this American identity in very similar ways (worry about money, worry about the future, worry about all the things that need to get done, preoccupation about what we are going to buy or where we are going to dinner or on vacation and on and on). It is this socially conditioned identity that is the cause of so much of what makes us unhappy.

Why? Well, it may not be so easy to explain and you can read Freud, Nietzsche, E.M. Cioran, Shunryu Suzuki, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Benjamin Fondane, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski and others for more insights. But let me try.

This identity, our shared economic-based-identities, is created by the social construct that we live within. It is informed by consumerism, capitalism, media and many other things. Literally, a big part of our identity was shaped and designed to some degree by people sitting in an advertising office someplace. And we identify so strongly with our identities (our egos) that it ends up causing us much emotional and psychological pain.

The reason for most of the depression, anxiety and general unhappiness that we experience is that this is what the limitations and economic based social construct that we live within creates in us. Unhappiness, unfulfillment, depression and anxiety are what happens when we live within social conditioning and the American social construct. It is the nature of the system we live in. There is no way to feel happy or fulfilled when living in this American social construct (no matter how many Tony Robbins conferences you go to) because the nature of the system creates unhappiness. It needs to in order to sustain itself. To keep us doing, working, buying, pursuing.

It is like if a fish wanted to be healthy, longed for health and well-being but lived in a dirty fish tank. The fish would never be able to find genuine health and well-being not matter how hard they tried. They would continually be pursuing it but never find it because it is not to be found in the dirty fish tank. The fish must find a way to get to a cleaner tank (good luck).

The only way to really experience authentic happiness, fulfillment, well-being and creativity is by getting out of the American social construct. By transcending or going beyond the identity limitations imposed upon us by social conditioning. This can only happen if we are able to go beyond our identities and reach a place where we are outside of identity. This outside is more of a present moment, fully aware and creative space. It is a non-ego space where the person is completely free and beyond ordinary daily concerns (like: the to do list, needing to call clients back, work issues, preoccupations with what other people are doing wrong, various economic preoccupations, future plans preoccupations and on and on). All of these things are a result of the socially conditioned identity we share in common. It is a result of the social construct that we live in and true fulfillment, creativity and happiness can never be found in there.

I presume that the insights I had while using marijuana yesterday are similar to the teachings of Buddhism. Buddhism is based in the practice of being fully present, fully aware and not as attached to our individual egos. The Second Noble Truth in Buddhsim states that attachment is the cause of suffering. We can never be authentically fulfilled and happy if we are attached to anything that comes from our identity. Depression, anxiety, anger, unhappiness are all a result of identifying to strongly with the socially conditioned identity (ego). Don’t take my word or Buddhism’s word for it, just look at what is causing you to suffer and see for yourself.

The reason why my life would not work if I actually used marijuana legally and regularly is because I would not be able to buy into the social conditioning that every one else around me is buying into. I would see the normal things that I need to be concerned with and take care of in order to maintain a life in society, as barriers to my fulfillment, creativity and happiness. As a result, I would try not to engage with these things. My business would decline, I could lose my home and end up struggling a lot more economically. In order to sustain a comfortable and legitimate life within the American social construct a person needs to be very careful about expanding their minds too much. It could make life in the fish tank much harder for them. This is why most of us keep drinking booze. Keeps our minds closed down and a bit less stressed out.

Alcohol is the drug of choice in the American social construct (you probably drank just last night). Alcohol allows a person to cope with (rather than eradictate) the anxieties, stresses, discontent and worry that are a normal condition of the American social construct.

The limitations to a person’s personal freedom and well-being that are imposed on all of us in this American social construct creates a sense or feeling of unease. Alcohol helps take this feeling temporarily away and enables us to continue on in our confinement. Marijuana makes it very hard for a person to just carry on in their confinement. Marijuana makes a person want to break out and run free.

Can’t do that again for a while. But my depression and anxiety have mainly been the result of not feeling like I can fully be myself while living in this American social construct. I am a rather strange person who thinks and acts in unusual and highly creative ways. I need to keep this under control and act in more professional ways if I want to “fit in.” The result of squashing or not engaging my creativity is always depression and anxiety. I really struggle to stay inspired and creative because depression tends to take all of that energy away. Living within social conditioning and social limitations makes it very hard for a person to stay authentically creative, especially as they grow older. I was very happy that while using marijuana I made two paintings and wrote a few short stories. I have not been able to paint in over a year.

Through mindfulness meditation I am trying to do what marijuana brought about in me. To live more fully in the present moment, to not be as identified with my ego or identity. To shed all of my social fears and worries and preoccupations. To just be free and present with my life from moment to moment. When I am able to do this I do notice that I become happier and more creative. But it is tough because normal life within the social construct causes me to get so caught up in my identity that my identity literally starts to strangle me.

Using marijuana yesterday gave me more insight into what it is I am actually doing and need to keep doing when practicing mindfulness meditation. I am very grateful for this.

I have now seen what happens when I get too caught up in my socialized, fear based identity. We I am too steeped in my conditioned ego I lose touch with the health, creativity, fulfillment and well-being, which can only be found when my mind is open, aware and living more fully in a present moment based reality. So much creativity and fulfillment can be found here.

I bet advertisers and corporations and goverments and other economically interested agencies will not like this.

The YouTube Sensation!

Well, not really. Very, very far from it in fact. But if you like what you have read on my blog here and are interested in further explorations of madness, personal liberation, creativity and the general going ons in the mind of one obscure man please check out my YouTube page where I will be regularly posting my homemade electronic/experimental music and my philosophical diatribes/polemics. Spread the word if you can! Thank you. Now back to your normal programming.

My Penis

I enjoy taking my penis out. It is something I need to do for my mental and physical health. Doesn’t everything and everyone love going out? Why should penises be excluded? When I take my penis out it is like breathing in a deep breath of clean air. It is a great relief. It feels good, like taking a long sigh.

Obviously, I try not to take my penis out when other people are around (my neighbor sometimes catches me when I am in my backyard). People are easily offended and I do not want to create a public scare. Can you imagine? Local psychotherapist arrested for taking out his penis. No thank you. I would much rather avoid that fate. So, I take my penis out only in private places.

Most people tend to think of taking your penis out as some sort of perverted thing. What narrow minded crap. Is taking your son or daughter out perverted? Is taking a date out for dinner perverted? I don’t think so. Why should taking your penis out be any different? The penis spends long hours every day stuffed behind tight fighting clothing. How would you feel if you spent most of your day to day life crammed in? Taking out my penis is an important thing for me to do. It provides much needed release. It allows my penis and testicles to feel less sore. It lifts my overall genital mood.

It can’t be healthy to keep the penis stuffed away most of the time. The penis (and testicles) need to be let out a good amount of the time. They should not just be taken out when going to the bathroom. The penis needs fresh air. It is a very sensitive organ and the fresh air does it a lot of good. It helps the penis to feel more alive and if the penis feels more alive, well this just means that the man is more alive. When the penis starts to die, so does the man.

I take my penis out quite regularly. I take it out when I am in my backyard. I will take my penis out on breaks from work. We will go someplace where there is no other people around and for a few minutes several times a day, I will let my penis be free (kind of like a smoke break). When I am out in the city I will be sure to take a moment or two to find a private spot where I can take my penis out. I am out having a good time so why should my penis not be able to come out? Keeping the penis stuffed away beneath pants and underwear is not healthy for anyone. It is probably the cause of a lot of male disease and wars. So much unhappiness and poor health could be avoided if penises were taken out more. Just imagine if someone like Donald Trump would take his penis out more. If he could just find a private spot in the back of The White House and air out his penis several times a day. He would be a different kind of President. Maybe we could all avoid the Trump induced catastrophe, which is soon to come.

My penis needs to be taken out just like anyone else does. Who the hell would be happy if they were stuffed away all the time? I try and pay more attention to this and provide my penis with the kind of open space it needs. It might seem strange to some, especially to those who might catch a glimpse of me just standing there with my pants down and my penis hanging out. But to remain healthy it is something that I need to do. It is important to keep in mind that to remain healthy we all need to do certain things that may not make other people feel good or happy in the end. Taking my penis out several times a day is important for both of us, so despite what others may think (especially my neighbor who tends to get upset when he sees me standing in my backyard with my pants down and my penis hanging out), I have no intention to stop doing something that is obviously so crucial for my health.

Yuck. Yuck. And The Feeling Of Yuck.

Yuck. Yuck. And the feeling of yuck.

Yuck.

It all feels so empty. Uncomfortable. I go check the news online. I go read from a few websites. I read a novel. I fill my pipe with marijuana and take a small hit. Anything to rid myself of this feeling of yuck.

I have often heard this feeling of yuck referred to as existential pain. It is the feeling that your life is not measuring up. You are failing to be the person you want to be or think you should be. You are failing to be great. You are failing to meet these societal expectations of how you think you should be. Failing, failing, failing. And this fear of failure is causing you to feel like a no one. It is causing you to feel like you are doing everything wrong. It is causing you to feel like your life does not matter. You have failed and when you die you are going to fade away into obscurity.

When you just sit there and do nothing things feel yucky. All that emptiness which is caused by a fear of failure comes up. We all know this feeling and most of us just stay busy, keep doing things to avoid feeling it. If we just stay busy, if we just keep buying things, working, having kids, making money then maybe we will feel like we are measuring up. Then maybe we will feel like our lives will not be for nothing and we can be relieved of this feeling of yuck.

Good luck.

I eat. I listen to music. I write these futile essays and post them on various blogs. I go to a job in an effort to earn a decent living. I make art. I read novels. I watch films. I drink wine and meditate. I do all these things in an effort to keep away the existential pain. But it always returns. First thing in the morning when I just sit there. There it is. What am I going to do with my day? How am I going to try and make my life count today? I don’t want to do any of the things that I have to do, but I still must do them anyway. I am failing at the things I really want to do. I don’t want to do anything. It goes on and on like this. I had a mentor many years ago who believed that existential pain was an alarm going off telling you that your life is on the wrong track. But who cares. Let’s put it out of mind. Let’s watch the news or smoke some pot. Let’s go to work. Let’s            check our phone or read a website. Lets just try and forget about it. Life should not be so difficult. It should not be so hard. I just want to forget about all the shit. This becomes most people’s life’s motivation. To forget about all the shit.

I am trying to be content with just being average. I tell myself that if I could just be ok with not being anyone, with not distinguishing myself in any kind of unique way, if I could just be ok with disappearing into nothingness and obscurity, then maybe I can be happy in my life. Then maybe I could free myself from this feeling of yuck. After a life-time of being conditioned to be a somebody, to be great and successful at whatever I do, it is hard to settle on being average. On not needing to be anyone at all. To just be able to sit here and not do anything except just enjoy my life and be at peace. I know that this feeling of yuck is a result of feeling like I am failing at doing what I need to be doing or what I should be doing. If I could just not need to do anything at all maybe I would finally feel all right.

But it is tough to decide to just become average, to make peace with not needing to be noticed by anyone. Aren’t we all striving for this? To be acknowledge and appreciated for the unique, distinguished and talented/good individual that we think we are? Isn’t that why we work so hard? I know this path only leads to more stress, more unhappiness and I would like to give it up but in making the decision to become average (or below average) I can’t seem to shake this feeling that my life would then somehow be a waste. After all, I live on this tiny planet, in this even tinier country where everyone I am surrounded by are all trying to distinguish themselves from all the rest so that when they die they will not slip away into nothingness. It is always difficult to go against what everyone else is doing because then you feel like you will be out of the club. Forgotten. Discarded. No longer necessary. I know that I do not want to be in the club, but I also know that life can present new challenges when you are living on the outside. (See my essay The Outsider.)

Maybe we are all just fucked. (I can’t believe that spellcheck does not have the correct spelling for the word fucked when I spelled it wrong; have we really become that repressive of a society?) Maybe this is what life in the Western world has come to at this point in history. We are all fucked, there is no escape from the yuck. Maybe the only way out is through some kind of spiritual transformation where you are no longer trying to achieve anything at all because you are perfectly content with life as it is in the present moment. You need nothing else but what you have in this moment because you have spiritually transcended the more material and ego based reality. Maybe.

Where is my marijuana pipe?

I reach for my pipe, fill it with marijuana and that becomes my answer for right now. I clean my house. Turn on music. Maybe I will watch a small amount of porn to activate my dopamine receptors. I water the plants in my backyard garden. Read a few things online. I realize everything that I am doing is basically motivated by the impulse to get rid of this feeling of yuck. Possibly the society that I live in is constructed to provide people with a way to rid themselves of this feeling of yuck or maybe it is the cause of this feeling of yuck. I happen to think it is the cause. Life unto itself can be a very pleasant and peaceful thing much of the time but society is what fucks it all up. This continual pressure to measure up. Maybe. I don’t know. Obviously, the answers I have thus far found are inadequate.

Is this what was meant by a life of quiet desperation? At least I am not staying quiet about it. This is one thing I am doing right. Maybe. Maybe not.

Yuck.