Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Let's just get this one little thing straight: image is all there is. Is it important for a man to have a clear view of himself? For a man to truly know who he is and what he stands for? No, not at all. To know a man who has fooled himself into thinking he knows himself is to know a fool. Identity is a delusion. What is truly important is to provide a clear view of yourself for others to see. What is most important is the image projected to the masses, for who you are is nothing more than the summation of the opinions belonging to those around you. What of the man who lives his life unknown to the world, shut up in his basement, never venturing outdoors? He does not even exist, and, in fact, is not even living a life.

You're widely thought to be a fool, so that is what you are. Nothing more. Not until you succeed in changing popular opinion, anyway. "A man ought to know where he's been to completely understand how it has shaped him - to completely understand who he is in the present." That's what you said. Something like that. And you couldn't even begin to believe that load of rubbish, yourself. Nightmares come so easily now.

Who was I, then, curled into that tiny chair in the musty lecture hall? What unspeakable deeds were committed by a past me to have had the present me sentenced to such horrible punishment? Condemned to a life of speaking the words of the dead, thinking the thoughts of those who were jailed before me. Whose hand wrote those notes? Whose eyes read those books? Whose ears heard those words, heard those words, heard those words, lies passed down, generation to generation. Certainly not mine. A stack of boxes sits in the closet, full of yellowing paper, fading ink. Pages filled with regurgitated suppositions and inaccuracies. Pages filled with wasted time. I'll never open that door again.

But you do. You can not help but to open that door every so often, peeking through the half-light. The boxes sit there still, never moving. They lurk. You're held back by a simultaneous fear of failure and success. Torn apart by it daily, you can't allow yourself to even live the life that has allowed your very existence. A comfortable life in 21st century North America. A life of collecting pieces. A lovely wife. A solid job. A cosy home. A reliable automobile. You look down on such a life, attempting to brush it off as the worship of the material. "To live a life of any import, a man's got to spend his energy in pursuit of greater truth." But you don't know how easy it is to waste an entire life trapped in such a pointless pursuit. There is no truth. There is nothing greater to know, but comfort. You're much too aware of yourself and your ideal, and if anyone should know this it is you: to be overly conscious of any action - be it physical, mental, or spiritual - is to have that action doomed to failure. And that path to failure is the one you have apparently chosen for yourself.

"What of the man who lives his life unknown to himself, projecting false images, allowing life to just take him? He does not even exist, and, in fact, is not even living a life." But there is not much to see here, either, it seems. Little more than the shell of a dead projector sitting on a dusty shelf in some little-used storeroom, I dream that one day I might be outfitted with new insides. I'll really be something, then. A bigger, better me. Horrible visions fill my sleeping hours. An eternity trapped in contemplation, evaporating one molecule at a time. Thinking myself to death in this bloody closet. Nostalgia brings me back to a time when I was whole, even though I didn’t know myself then any more than I do now. The rust creeps. Here, I may sit forever, deteriorating - or until the custodian comes to throw me away.

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