Tag Archives: the self

Four Wheels Rolling

County Line Road

1

The whole world beside me
I have done all this before
Trees pavement sky & the long long drive
Just watched a game
At my sister’s place off County Line Road
It wasn’t the score that mattered
The salsa chips or soda pop no
But being there
For a moment
All my own

2

I’m in the driver’s seat
AWARE
Returning home for toothpaste pajamas & dreams
To rest the arms legs head shoulders fingers toes lungs & mouth
The brain heart ankles feet hair skin & face
But not the Soul
The Soul sleeps but never rests
The Soul is full but never satisfied
The Soul is AWARE of its awareness

3

Still in the driver’s seat
The whole world beside me
Driving up & down
County Line Road
Up & down
County Line Road
AWARE of everything
Absolutely
Of this & that & so much more

4

I know my eyes are here but it’s not their seeing
I am SEEING
I know my hands are here but it’s not their feeling
I am FEELING
I know my life is here but it’s more than me
I am BEING

5

We anticipatory creatures of maybe
Oh how we struggle
All this flesh in the way

6

AWARE of the deer
AWARE of the moon
AWARE of the radio
AWARE of the distance
AWARE of the thin white lines
AWARE of the luscious curls of wind
AWARE of the world living through me

7

Never a beginning or end
Always STRUGGLE & UNREST
Struggle & unrest
Bodies tied to infinite loops
Of struggle & unrest

8

Bodies bodies everywhere
And not a mind to think
Stressing bodies
Asking what we’re doing
How we’re doing
What we do for a living
Please the Doing will be done & yes
The Opportunity will find me yes &
Please the Moment will define me yes
For I am AWARE

9

Life is not a series of objects
To be moved from one side
To another to another
Progress is not living
Production is not living
Profit is not living

10

Oh the ways
The many many clever ways
We choose to struggle

11

Four wheels rolling
Up & down
County Line Road
I dream of a destination
Called home
Four wheels rolling
Up & down
County Line Road
Four wheels rolling
The way four wheels roll
I dream of a world
Beyond the beyond
Called home

c b snoad
draft 10-11-02
edit 1-29-17

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Filed under Poetry

Manic Monday

Just Another Manic Monday (Through Sunday)

I am the free will of my Self
I am the life of my Self
I am the breathing breath of my Self
I am the paper pen yellow tablet of my writing Self
I am the Right Here Right Now of my present Self
I am the visions of my viewing Self
I am the mistakes of my erring Self
I am the sadness of my desperate Self
I am the shower I washed my Self today Self
I am the chicken potatoes juice of my Self
I am the wandering of my restless Self
I am the problems of my troubled Self
I am the sitting chair Self on the floor Self
I am the room of my loafing Self
I am the limited Self that limits my Self
I am the passing moments of the times of my Self
I am the Poetry of my Poet Self
I am the wall ceiling lights hallway of my Self
I am the memory of my forgotten Self
I am the sleep of my snoring Self
I am the habits of my habitual Self
I am the pills of my medicated Self
I am the lunatic of my Beautiful Self
I am the age twenty-three years of my old soul Self

**********

I am the Second Stanza of this Poem Self
I am the movement of my do-it-yourself Self
I am the silence of my silent Self
I am the child of my infantile Self
I am the doctors of my evaluated Self
I am the tyrant of my terrorizing Self
I am the asthma of my allergy Self
I am the confusion of my poorly worded Self
I am the lazy of my boredom Self
I am the thirsty of my parched Self
I am the sex of my fucking Self
I am the gender of my penis Self
I am the dreamer of my dreaming Self
I am the misspelling of my phonetic Self
I am the sound of my hearing Self
I am the impending end of my doomed Self
I am the dying of my living Self
I am the editing of the original copy of this Poem Self
I am the free will of my Self (still)

**********

I am the omissions of my censored Self
I am the attack of my alien Self
I am the sloppy penmanship of my hurried Self
I am the trauma of my traumatic Self
I am the inmate of my prison Self
I am the space-filler of my occupying Self
I am the steadiness of my constant Self
I am the adjectives of my descriptive Self
I am the technology of my robot Self
I am the ALL CAPS of my little Self
I am the liar of my lying Self
I am the aching of my aching Self
I am the nausea of my nauseous Self
I am the cramping of my right hand Self
I am the arch of my barefoot Self
I am the Responsibility of my Self
I am the waiting of my patient Self
I am the insurance of my hospitalized Self
I am the No Exit of my inescapable Self
I am the No Self of my Self
I am the culture of my Self
I am the human nature of my Self
I am the helplessness of my learned Self
I am the Existentialist of my philosophical Self

**********

I am the villain of my evil Self
I am the hero of my savior Self
I am the money of my worthless Self
I am the questions of my ambiguous Self
I am the peace of my fragmented Self
I am the graduate of my undergraduate-degree Self
I am the arms hands fingers of my Self
I am the clothes that hang about my body Self
I am the pointlessness of my pointless Self
I am the enemy of my Self
I am the perpetrator of my Self
I am the Becoming of my Self
I am the refusal of my Self to fully be my Self
I am the empty of my hollow Self
I am the Unique Insignificance of my Self
I am the __________ of my __________ Self
I am the water of my wet Self
I am the belabored point of this ranting of my Self

**********

I am the happiness of the pursuit of my Self
I am the feeling of my numbed down Self
I am the crossword puzzle of my wordsmith Self
I am the fear itself of my fearful Self
I am the free will of my Self (yes still)
I am the shadow of my presenting Self
I am the gentle tap on the shoulder of my lover’s approaching me Self
I am the Possibilities of my future Self
I am the logic of my illogical Self
I am the God of my non-believing Self
I am the reading of my scripted Self
I am the italics of my italicized Self
I am the absurdity of the absurdity of my Self
I am the flavor of my tasting Self
I am the fart of my farting Self
I am the loser of my losing Self
I am the vapor of my phantom Self
I am the dog-walker of my dog-walking Self
I am the unshaven mask of my follicle Self
I am Nothing More Than the Everything of my Self
I am the depression of my depressed Self

**********

I am the moving away when people come towards me Self
I am the sole participant in the world of my Self
I am the hyphen of my self-esteem Self
I am the fulfillment of my Amazon Order Self
I am the balls of my naked Self
I am the ME of my ME Self
I am the free will of my Self (of course still)
I am the neurotic of my psychotic Self
I am the rage of my macho Self
I am the repetition of my repetitious Self
I am the repetition of my repetitious Self
I am the anticipation of my anticipatory Self
I am the navel of my gazing Self
I am the THE of my THE Self
I am the simile of my metaphorical Self

**********

I am the Buddhist of my mindful Self
I am the activities of my daily living Self
I am the violence of my violent Self
I am the syntax of my grammatical Self
I am the hunger of my insatiable Self
I am the appearance of my doppelganger Self
I am the signs of my signified Self
I am the cost of my expendable Self
I am the desire of my longing Self
I am the reactions you have to this Poem Self
I am the disaster of my post-apocalyptic Self
I am the television of my TV Self
I am the free will of my Self (on and on and on)

**********

I am the stock boy of my stocking-groceries Self
I am the knife of my cutting Self
I am the process not the product of my writer Self
I am the compassion of my nice guy Self
I am the darkness of my light Self
I am the smell of my nostril Self
I am the grunt of my brute Self
I am the drifter of my drifting Self
I am the rhythm of my rhythmic Self
I am the embers of my burning Self
I am the English of my language Self
I am the unconscious of my Jungian Self
I am the proof of my self-evident Self
I am the okay of my okay Self
I am the glasses of my bespectacled Self
I am the free will of my Self (it has only just begun)

c b snoad
draft 10-16-03
edit 1-23-17

I am the line below my name and date on this page of my Self

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Against The Wind

In his 2010 book The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age, Alain Ehrenberg examines how psychiatry (and by extension culture) has viewed and diagnosed depressed “selves” over the last hundred years.

Ehrenberg asserts that today people in the West are less bound by morals and appeals to outside forces than by an obsession with self-improvement and an inner-directed responsibility to reach one’s full potential.

I am in charge of my life and must perform at peak levels, even when I don’t feel like it. Free from old-fashioned moral constraints and the fear of God’s punishment, I have too many options and courses of action. The idea of limitless potential leaves people vulnerable to depression, or “the weariness of the self,” when they don’t live up to unattainable standards of super-excellence.

As Ehrenberg summarizes our current situation:

In the end, the story is very simple. Liberation might have gotten us out of the drama of guilt and obedience, but it has taken us straight into the demands of responsibility and action. And so the weariness of depression took over from the anxiety of neuroses. (229)

People still suffer from anxiety; Ehrenberg doesn’t deny this. But patients aren’t considered “neurotic” today. They aren’t troubled by the internal battle between Id, Ego and Superego. Today depressed patients struggle with inhibition and indecision. The depressed can’t act quickly or adjust to the frenetic pace of hyper-reality. In America not moving fast enough is a cardinal sin, akin to saving too much money or eating less carbs. Hence the status of “outsider” attached to the depressed.

Ehrenberg by no means calls for a return to less morally ambiguous times. He aims to develop an outline of the history of depression and lets us draw our own conclusions. One thing’s clear: in gaining more control over our bodies, our minds and our lives, we’ve developed new ways to torture ourselves for not being good enough or smart enough or successful enough. Especially compared to our Facebook friends.

The rain, rain won’t go away. For some of us—the brave ones—depression affords time to reflect. It’s an umbrella in a hailstorm when most people barely feel a drop.

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Filed under Philosophy

A Radical Metamorphosis Of Identity

In her groundbreaking 2012 book The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage, Catherine Malabou assumes different roles. She’s part psychoanalyst, part neurobiologist, part philosopher.

Malabou writes extensively about the plastic nature of the human brain. By “plastic” Malabou means the brain’s capacity to develop itself as we use it—as we create ourselves and live out our individual histories. Genes set the tone but humans are not genetically predetermined; plasticity ensures that we can actively change how our brains work, which in turn affects who we are, and how we see ourselves.

This is all well and good, but in The New Wounded Malabou alerts us to the brain’s capacity for destructive plasticity. Here the threat of the accident appears.

The accident is a material event. It emerges out of nowhere. Its effects are devastating. An obvious example is a blow to the head that causes brain lesions, but a host of tragic events can activate destructive plasticity.

Malabou cites “the globalized form of trauma,” such as those occurring “in the aftermath of wars, terrorist attacks, sexual abuse, and all types of oppression or slavery” (213). These events are often understood in the context of posttraumatic stress disorder, but Malabou goes beyond PTSD.

What happens after the accident is frightening in itself. The brains of the new wounded undergo dramatic changes—to the point where many victims become someone else entirely. They are no longer themselves; a shattered, post-accident self takes hold.

All of us are susceptible to this terrifying reality. As Malabou describes it:

The destructive event that—whether it is of biological or sociopolitical origin—causes irreversible transformations of the emotional brain, and thus of a radical metamorphosis of identity, emerges as a constant existential possibility that threatens each of us at every moment. (213)

Malabou is no pessimist, however. She aims to develop therapeutic models that venture beyond psychoanalysis or neurobiology, into political and philosophical realms: “Our inquiry revolves around the identification of evil. Defining the characteristics of today’s traumas—characteristics that turn out to be geopolitical—is indeed the prolegomenon [starting point] to any therapeutic enterprise” (213).

In dealing with a new wounded patient’s “deserted, emotionally disaffected, indifferent psyche,” the therapist must “become subject to the other’s suffering, especially when this other is unable to feel anything” (214).

Malabou, in arguing for the power of compassion, speaks not just to therapists but all mankind. She transcends psychoanalysis, neurobiology and even philosophy. For a thinker concerned with material events, Malabou reveals a spiritual calling: she’s interested in building a foundation for the soul.

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Filed under Philosophy, Politics

Person To Person

“I’m not your magazine
I’m not your television
I’m not your movie screen
I’m not commodity
I’m not commodity
I’m not commodity”
—R.E.M.

Like all good little boys raised in the Consumer Society, I was taught to have needs that only capitalism can fulfill. I’m a rational human being free to choose the best detergent, the best cell phone data plan, the best sexual partner. If I work hard enough I can be the Best Me.

We all buy into the myth of purchasing power. You are what you want. You want more. You can have more, and when that’s not enough try having more.

But I don’t know myself in the first place. I have vague ideas, but as Baudrillard writes, “I am definitively other.”

People are mysteries to me, but I’m divided in my own body, my own mind—a mystery to myself. The Consumer Society sees me as a product to be bought and sold, optimized, cleansed of impurities. I must exercise. I must have a family. I must shop incessantly.

I see myself as a commodity because that’s how you see me, and how you see yourself. But deep down I know things aren’t so bleak. There are brief moments when I find self-worth beyond my net worth.

Laughing through tears, Freudian slips, smiling at strangers, falling in love—these are acts of defiance. To admit I’m vulnerable, and recognize your vulnerability as my own—there’s no greater gift than connecting, person to person.

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Filed under Culture, Philosophy