I’m on a plane and we are landing in Portland soon. We’ve started to descend from the calmer layer of air and through slightly rougher air. I’m listening to music and feeling the movement of the plane underneath me. I’m struck with the notion of acceleration and how a body in rest or motion will stay in such unless acted upon by another force. Acceleration in physics is not only speeding up, but could also mean showing down, it is the change of velocity and has a positive or negative direction. What in our lives bring about acceleration? And this is just changes in velocity. What about change in direction? What gravity affects the path of our light? What strange attractors are there? In classical physics it is straightforward to predict the path of one particle in a box. Add two and it gets difficult. However, when there are 3 particles in a box it becomes extraordinarily difficult to predict the path of any one of them due to the influence of the other two.
Our lives have fears and hopes. That is two particles to predict right there. Add the fears and hopes of another person and it turns to four. Add our fears and hopes for each other and it is now eight. The non linear equation at work in the path of the heart, to the impatient, seem but straightforward. Yet the opposite is quite true, we are compounding factors of dynamic feedback. It is difficult in its simplest form to predict what a human being might do. The best we can do is predict in varying degrees of confidence, and that is in matters of simple manipulation. In love, we can tell with certainty what will occur, until our certainty reaches near fullness, and then chaos occurs.
Does it make sense to think of our fears and hopes as particles to track? Or as strange attractors? I think, for this moment, I’ll think of them as particles. Each hope/fear is a living particle gliding across the universe of your mind. It has its own energy and is acted upon something else, a strange attractor (another person, an event). We are complex webs of particles, flying through tiny infinity of space, acting upon other complex webs of particles. We are dynamic universes unto ourselves.
The stoics maintained there to be a Logos in the universe. All things follow this, they cannot help it, it is the logic and reason behind all things in the Universe. It is the “if and then” behind the Ethics of Spinoza. The good Stoic is to live in harmony with the Logos. It is useless and a source of pain to try and change the nature of the universe. So we attempt to understand it and predict it. And yet, recalling above, there is the uncertainty of the prediction of more than 3 particles… our minds attempt to predict the order underlying our lives and in doing so we infuse it with chaos. The more we seek it, the more it eludes is. The question of whether there is chaos outside of what we bring to it is a deep question that greater minds than I will have to tackle.
We are animals. Watch animals sometime and you’ll see patterns. We can predict pretty well the patterns of animals, their behavior, and so forth. Without fancy psychology labs we’ve domesticated animals and trained them, bred them, and altered them. Yet even in the worlds of animals, their own attractions to pleasure and aversions to pain, the flight/flight/freeze/fuck response in their systems, there are the beginnings of low order chaos. We approach certainty, but cannot fully capture it. Humans are animals, but we have this mind gripping feedback loop of self consciousness. Whether or not we live our lives mindfully at Walden Pond, in a monastery in Tibet, or we vege out on the couch in front of infomercials, there are greater/lesser periods/bursts/aeons of consciousness in our lives.
Yesterday, Thanksgiving, I awoke in a deep depression. I awoke with a full certainty, a deep feeling, that I was a loser, a waste, immaterial. It was a new sensation for me. I struggle with issues, but I can’t recall waking like this. In bed I looked upon my life, my failed relationships, one after another, that for a person who supposedly has many friends I’ve been visited no more than five times in the past ten years, less than ten times (and I’m being generous) since 1996. I looked at my path to obtaining my degree, my inability to get into grad school, my crippling debt, my health and fitness levels, my activities, and more. Lying in bed I could come up with no redeeming qualities. I sunk deeper into depression. It took me several hours to rouse myself out of bed. Most of this was due to the depression that I was in, the alienating sense of loneliness, the lack of motivation, but some of it was my own curiosity in investigating my state of spirit. As low as as I was, I was interested in what made sense to me, what would help rouse me. Borrowing from the above notion of acceleration, I was still and needed some method of jump starting.
Fighter aircraft have powerful engines that propel them through the air. Yet these engines are themselves unable to start themselves without help. An APU, auxiliary power unit, is rolled out to the aircraft. It is essentially a large hair dryer on wheels and it forces enough air into a valve of the engine to get it moving slightly. The pilot can then turn the engines one and because they are spinning slightly they are able to build up speed. The APU is disconnected and rolled out of the way. If it is a naval air craft, which operate with two engines for redundancy) the air from one engine is channeled over to the other in order to get it moving.
In bed I had a dream. I dreamt there was a pickup truck driving slowly down the road, walking speed. I was walking along with it and opened the passenger door to get inside. The truck sped off with me hanging half out of it. It was dangerous and I became quite angry with the driver for intentionally endangering my life. I looked over to the driver to see a robot driving the car. It wasn’t a fancy android. It wasn’t a smart robot. It was just a robot without any feeling and connection to life forms. In the dream I instantly relaxed and accepted the predicament and worked to get myself into the speeding truck.
I didn’t call any friends during Thanksgiving because I did not want to be a drain on anyone’s holiday. People were celebrating dinners and being festive. The last thing I wanted was to call someone and be needy on such a festive day. It could wait. Friends are the APU and without an APU I was pretty useless all day. My apartment was a mess and I just binged on tv.
I’m not sure what insights I got from this. I’m still heartbroken on the breakup. On my return home and the slowing down of daily schedule from what I’ve been doing the past month, the emotions have been rolling out of me. My heart changes with every shifting of the breeze. One moment I am angry, feeling like I’ve been hoodwinked, led along a path and ambushed. Then I feel sad and defeated, after trying to be as vulnerable and honest as I could with someone, to be cast away as unfulfilling and incapable of satisfying and undependable. This part haunts me. I can’t help but accept this indictment of me. It is what fueled my depression yesterday as I asked, ‘what have I to offer?’ over and over. Still, rarely… much too rare, I look at this as sacrifice for learning. I know there are people out there hurting and who could use a way out/through their pain. I look at this moment and, very briefly, I give thanks for this loneliness and hurt so that I might learn from this and perhaps offer someone else comfort. But it is a shooting star in the night, over quickly.
And so it is that I am trying new thoughts, new ideas, trying to find a way to start my engine again. I went through the motions of dating again, filling out Tinder and Bumble, and got several hits. But truth is I don’t want to go out with anyone. My connection with her was, I thought, incredible, deep, honest, rare. And still in the end she saw something in me and left. Or she was not ready for me, as I’ve told by too many women over the years, and she left. It is hard to lean into this again. How can I trust my feelings, with the expectation that this too will end in a matter of weeks? Why continue to subject myself to this? This hurts.
I am reminded of Sisyphus and it occurs to me that this is my rock. How might I become happy in this perpetual opening to another?
What does Fate have in store for me? What did the dream of the robot in the truck mean for me? Am I to continue this path? How might I do so and not lose my mind? How many times must I dip myself into these dark, languid waters? My relationship with T was a toxic one. She was highly manipulative and corrosive and ate away me. Separating myself from her was the first step and over time I gradually grew back to my old self. But this last one with B, I’m not sure how to handle this one yet. She wasn’t manipulative or toxic or lying. She was amazing. She was my Lagertha. The end was sudden, out of nowhere, and final. It is hard to listen to friends that try to comfort me with “you’re great”. They’ve not seen all that I’ve show to B. She’s seen deeper into me and upon doing so suddenly cut me out.
I should stop writing. This isn’t helping. I can feel the blackness descending upon me again.