Diary, 12/27 to 12/29/18

Browsing Amazon for philosophy books, I came across one called Practical Stoicism which makes me think that there might be room and an audience for “my philosophy book.” Philosophy books can become best sellers; at least, the “philosophy” books that Amazon has in their best seller lists. I had said to Pablo that I like to shop at Barnes & Noble because there I can find new books that interest me, but the Amazon lists, I see, can fulfill that function.

My Diary, 12/23 to 12/26/18

There are some thoughts that are too horrible to be written down or even described. Some such thoughts came to me between 4:30 and 5:15 am this morning, thus I have no hope of getting back to sleep before I have to leave for the Hemlock Club at 9:00. Thus I again recognize my complete inability to control my own mind. At this moment, “free will” is (again) revealed to be a joke, an impossibility. This fact seems so certain and indubitable right now that I am forced to wonder why anyone ever believed in such a thing.

My Diary, 12/19 to 12/22/18

Writers Writing this morning was just me, finishing my first complete read-through/edit of my book-in-progress, Kick Me: A Lifetime of Humiliations. An easy milestone, but an important one. Next step is to edit the computer file, which will be harder and more labor-intensive. I’m hoping that that will be “enough,” but of course I’ll want at least one more reading before I’m done. It would help to get an impartial reader…

My New Diary, 12/15 to 12/18/18

So, up to age ten or twelve, life seemed to me entirely trouble-free and a complete pleasure of outwardly-directed activities. Yet as a teenager I was mindlessly destructive, a petty thief, and very troubled and unhappy—but also, while I thought it the best of times, I dreaded having to become an adult. Puberty was not kind to me, and I cannot begin to fathom what went wrong, if anything did. I guess that I mean physically, because everything was wrong mentally and behaviorally.

My New Diary, 12/14/2018

Bartley will help me get past the quote from Wittgenstein that has hung me up for a couple of decades: “The difficulty is to realize the groundlessness of our believing. At the foundation of well-founded belief lies belief that is not well founded.” This is quoted in Kai Nielsen: Philosophy and Atheism (see Collected Quotations). The details aren’t worth recounting here; Bartley will persuade me that CR provides a “ground” that is not “groundless.” I’ll write about it as I go along; right now, I’d rather not.

My New Diary, 12/12 to 12/13/2018

A disturbing dream last night. I was in a courtyard before a building which I was to enter. There was an elephant that was standing on three legs because one of its front legs was missing. Also, it had only one very short and small, discolored tusk. I entered the building. When I exited some time later, the elephant was standing now on only two hind legs, part of its head was missing, and the skin—the remains of one missing leg—hung in folds like drapery where bones had been removed. As I walked past, I saw a second elephant, which had even more parts removed. I was fearful, thinking that these elephants must hate all human beings because of what we had done to them. But the elephants were quiet and did not move other than to sway where they stood. Then there was a third elephant, in still worse condition, and finally, a fourth, which was hardly recognizable as the remains of an elephant at all, still living, but little more than a heap of skin piled over a stick or perhaps a single remaining, standing leg.

My New Diary, 12/8 to 12/11/2018

The weight increase looks like a wakeup call. Maybe I need to pay more attention to how I’m living my life. Yesterday I ate half of a chocolate cream pie instead of dinner, and I concluded my day with “another day shot to hell,” suggesting that I felt that I had wasted my day.

My New Diary, 12/6 to 12/7/2018

My most exciting reading right now is Edward T. Hall: Beyond Culture. I always learn something interesting from his books (I’ve read two previously). This one starts with a chapter that examines how various cultures structure time. He’s explained this in another book, but it’s worth the review. I picked this up last night after failing to get interested in Bill Moyers: A World of Ideas II and also rejecting Will Durant: The Renaissance, which has just too much detail for my poor brain. I’d like to use the Hall for more than my going-to-sleep reading, but I also have the Köhler and Bartley’s Retreat to Commitment which is anxiously awaiting my attention. It’s relatively unusual that I have three books that I’m eager to read, but of course I just bought the K&B.

My New Diary, 11/30 to 12/4/2018

Nearing the end of Goldberg’s book. It’s very interesting, and I’ve had the thought that “the best books about writing aren’t about writing, but about writing and something.” What Goldberg offers to the aspiring writer mostly isn’t practical advice about methods or anything, but heart. And perhaps sincerity and courage.