Boy. Another day, another head trip. I made more mistakes, probably alienating Vivian even further. I said things that were, again, true in the moment, but these cycles distort everything. I must remember that where and who I am at the bottom of these cycles is not representative of who or what I am.
I must remember that. I am allowing the cycles of depression to distort who I am. I am allowing my behaviour to be altered by some temporal distortion of reality. Since when was this true of me?! Temporal reality distortion is something I should have skill at dealing with! There is something else I must remember. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Direct from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. I need to bash myself in the head with that until it becomes second nature. Not a single statement in that verse was embodied in the message I sent. In fact, the message I sent was the antithesis of all of that. When viewed in that light, all of my behaviour since about mid-August has markedly failed that test. Vivian, I’m sorry. I was lost, and in my distorted world, I lost who I was. I’m trying to fix that. You have my total forgiveness, insofar as it is needed, and I ask the same of you. I repent of my past ways and am trying desperately to realign myself. I have no excuse except that time-worn lament: I was deceived. I know you must heal now. I shall try my best to stick to the promise I broke today. I was entirely at fault. I do not blame you any longer for not speaking with me. I wouldn’t want to speak to me either, given the back story.
He screen flickers appealingly. The seated forms erupt in laughter, simultaneously with a million others. More stimulation to the visual cortex… The flood of neuroreceptors begins the addiction, ingrains the habits. The programming takes control. Because of the “content”, whatever that means, it is more socially-acceptable than a wire into the pleasure centres of the brain or an intravenous injection of heroin into the median cubital vein. Yet it is no less dangerous! Capitalism, economics, they tell us that the content is designed to sell the products splashed across the screen in the convenient breaks. Without these advertisements, the television programs would not make money. Consequently, the primary content is the advertising and not the programs. Some argue that there are forms that lack the advertising. Are these more acceptable? No. Why do we seek to find this sort of behaviour acceptable? We are glorifying the sedentary lifestyle. Even better: sitting in front of the idiot box shovelling food into your mouth. And we wonder why there’s an obesity epidemic? Television exalts the hedonistic to new heights. Sex. Food. Drugs. Music. Violence. Extremes. Imbalance. The television is the altar of the consumerist lifestyle. Instead of kneeling in front of it, its doctrine declares that you shall sit instead, lest you be made uncomfortable. Indeed, comfort and creature pleasures are king. Flashes of food appear at a regular basis. Actors chosen for their attractive forms are common-place, leading those with lesser forms to feel profoundly inadequate. I am one such individual! Those in charge have realized that people with attractive figures are more pleasant to watch than those without, and as such, the market exerts a selection pressure towards a hot body. Television communicates information poorly.
Its structure demands that content be precisely-constructed, delivered at an appropriate pace, and accessible to even the uneducated. Yet millions watch news programs and consider themselves informed afterwards. They neglect to consider that the news programs are as warped by the capitalist perspective as the other “content”. None of the content is personalized the the viewer. The viewer is not able to guide their own exploration of the topic matter nor delve deeper into information that intrigues them. They are portioned the information serially by some immaculately made-up news anchor. And yet we continue to consume it. Our brains are wired to consume. Our visual cortex is wired to notice change. Flickering forms and shapes attract the eye. Taking an abstract step backwards, we desire stability and certainty. As such, we are wired to eat more than we will burn in a day. We are wired to horde things of value so that when instability comes, these things of value might be traded for food. We are able to understand that money and food are mostly equivalent. Though we cannot eat money, we can trade it for food. We want to consume. Only our moral and ethical codes can change that behaviour. Television is not the only form of consumerism. It shares many aspects with film, with music, with drugs. I am as guilty as any. I am addicted to music, to the forms of audio. I have difficulty giving up caffeine. I buy new clothing when I do not have need. I consume when I do not have to. I am trying to change this. I believe I am slowly succeeding. I am losing interest in the niches of music. I have seen what there is to see. There are few things created that I find intriguing any longer. Our society is distorted. We purchase new vehicles at ten times the cost of an older, working, unblemished vehicle, ignoring fuel efficiency in favour of “safety”. We place children on drugs instead of trying to help them through their psychological problems. We exalt the consumption of consciousness-altering substances at “parties”. We ignore the opportunities to do things ourselves and grow from them and instead allow others to do it for us. I could go on forever. We are monkeys, drawn in by flickering sensory input. Until we exert some self-control and wrest our attention from mass-produced media, we will never be free of it. It panders to the lowest common denominator, to the unthinking mind, to the mind in fetters. Each passing day we grow less likely to tear ourselves away from the screen and create. We become accustomed to sitting and setting our brain to receive input. We stop creating output. We cease to be useful. We cease to create. We cease to make a difference any longer. We become replaceable cogs in a giant machine, aimed at keeping us content and extracting the days of our lives from us at the lowest price.
I see now that her training is futile. She seeks understanding, but it will evade her. She lacks the fundamental truth. Until she has that and sincerely pursues it, there is no hope, only guilt and uncertainty. I say this not with glee, but with a heavy heart. I see now the abyss into which she descends, and I truly fear she will never re-emerge as whole as when she entered. She enters the holiest of holies without preparation and turns a blind eye to suffering within and without. That is not truth! Instead she bends the knee to false idols. Does she hear the voice of the wind that whispers as it passes across the face of the cold stone? I pray she is not deceived into thinking it is the voice of the idols! But whence this pain in my heart? Am I mourning my loss or hers?
Am I mourning what could have been or what will never be? Is this pain selfish or empathic? I doubt I will ever know. Yet this pain I feel, as real as it is, is nothing compared to the havoc that might be. My pain is real. Yet I fear that I am hurting for two, that the pain I feel should belong elsewhere. Perhaps part of the change that this pain catalyzes within me is meant for another. For from pain comes change and strength. I must hold onto that truth, or I will be lost in the pain. Perhaps my strength comes at her expense, though I pray it is not so. The wind blows and I moan in pain as the flames lap at my soul. I cry as they sear away the dross. The carefully-tended coals spring to life again after the tongues of fire are extinguished. Yet many miles away, the same wind is blowing at the candelabra a young woman uses to guide her path. I see the candles flickering and dying. Yet the bearer seems unconcerned, and that frightens me to no end. She holds it and looks only forward. She ignores her shadow as it flickers and dances in the wind, craving her attention, begging her to heed the action of the wind. Instead she tries to shield her candles from the wind with a hand. The turbulence whips around the hand and snuffs out a single flame. Does she relight it? Does she heed it? Does she heed the wind and the signs and seek the truth? I do not have these answers. I simply pray for her safety. That is all I can do any longer, until she once again listens to the voice of the wind.