Diary, 2/16 to 2/22/20

N came to the Hemlock Club today and we talked for four hours.  I told him about “the friendly voice” idea and that I thought I might give it a try.  The idea is that you publish an ad saying “A friendly voice” and your phone number, hoping to encourage lost souls to call you to talk, hopefully thus relieving some suffering in the world.  I used to worry that this would become a burden, and that indeed could happen; but I am not required to answer every call, necessarily, and I can limit calls to fifteen minutes.  I originally wanted to have a separate phone number for this, and perhaps I’ll do that, though it would be some expense.  Possibly Craigslist...

Diary 12/29 to 1/4/2020

There is no perfect solution that involves no pain.  Having five full bookcases is a pain only when I contemplate moving; but I am no longer content to remain where I am.  Alas, alas, I cannot expect to find “the perfect apartment for me.”  No bugs, no noisy neighbors, suitable furniture, good location…

Diary, 12/1 to 12/11/19

A bleak morning, thinking of the role the United States has taken in the world throughout my lifetime and before.  Thinking of the role the greedy rich have taken in the United States throughout my lifetime.  Thinking of the ineffectual Democratic Presidents, the hope-betrayers...

Diary, 10/7 to 10/19/19, biggest post ever

Lay in bed this morning half asleep, turning over in my mind several words: acicular, acuminate, corm, carom, and maybe some others. Oh, yeah, crom, which comes from Conan the Barbarian. I looked it up; under cromlech, I found that crom is Welsh for bent or crooked. On looking in the Scrabble dictionary, I found, to my surprise, many words beginning with bh…; the only one I’d seen before was bhakti. I think there’s a book by Joseph Campbell titled Bhakti and Baksheesh, about his time in India. I think I owned a copy for a while, started reading it, and gave it up...

Diary, 9/30 to 10/6/19

My recent episodes of binge eating and my reading of The Willpower Instinct suggest that I’m having willpower (“wp”) troubles. The thing is, I’ve been very good about some wp challenges, such as controlling my food shopping (except recently!) regarding sugar and sodium, and not overspending on books—always at best a partial success, and often a partial failure. So, I really need to work on the wp problem, and I think the easy solution, or better, the first easy test, is exercise. That, and continue focusing on cutting down sugar in my diet: no more binges (which always involve sugar), no more chocolate cream pie at Lorene’s, and keep my food shopping under control.

Diary, 9/23 to 9/29/19

... neuroses are essentially psychic bandages—how we unconsciously respond to hurt in order to prevent more hurt. But of course it is necessary eventually to get beyond that stage. This is a commonplace. Another valuable lesson is how to respond to verbal aggressions like criticism...

Diary, 8/18 to 8/25/19

Well, I started a Pathfinder Meetup and acquired a group member within the first hour. I doubt that J or Pablo will be interested. If I can get just two enthusiastic members, well, that’s two potential friends. I’ve also discovered just a ton of stuff on the Internet, no surprise. I haven’t found any online play yet, but surely it’s out there. I’m not sure that I want that, because I’d then want home Internet…well, I wouldn’t necessarily fall into the same black hole that I discovered previously, i.e., something like “all Twitter, all the time.” But the real point of Pathfinder is, as always, new potential friends. I wonder ...

Diary, 7/24 to 7/31/19

I’ve been reading Richard Rorty: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, which I think of as “my next step in philosophy.” I read this once before with the feeling that it was rather over my head, and have occasionally reviewed my typed quotes. But the “Introduction” by Michael Williams seems very comprehensible and persuasive—if I can keep its lessons in mind, probably by periodic reviews, I can pretty much let the sticky parts go.

Diary, 6/15 to 6/18/19

I read some of Georges Bataille: Visions of Excess last night. As I expected, it’s quite weird, but much of it was also dull and obscure. I most enjoyed the selection “Sacrificial Mutilation and the Severed Ear of Vincent Van Gogh.” It tells not only of the famous Van Gogh incident, but also of a man who chewed off his own index finger, persons who put out their own eyes, and of human and animal sacrifice generally. The stories...

Diary, 6/9 to 6/11/19

A dream: it’s Final Jeopardy, but the middle contestant says that he doesn’t have a pen. Alex Trebek springs into action, going behind the contestant’s kiosk (lectern?) and pulls things out from underneath, including a ring about as large as a soccer ball. I think that he’s looking for a pen, but apparently not: he then rolls the kiosk away to allow another to be brought in, and I am surprised...

Diary, 5/24 to 5/26/19

What insights? “The map is not the territory.” “The word is not the thing.” I might say, a general distrust of language and perhaps of my own understanding, my own ability to understand. In a word, I might say that Korzybski helped form and reinforce the skepticism I’ve apparently had ever since that awful day, at age ten, that I “realized” that prayers are unheard by their intended audience.

Diary, 5/19 to 5/21/19

I’ve been depressed, I have to admit it. Around 6 pm I was ready to go to bed. But I got into Korzybski, finally, and now it’s 9:00. I stuffed myself with chocolate chip cookies instead of eating dinner. It’s been a long time since I’ve binged like that. How many cookies? About eight. Breakfast was also a mess—I felt kind of sick when I got up, so I started with two cookies and a banana. Then a diet Dr. Pepper...

Diary, 4/20 to 4/23/19

If the last chapter is “pungent,” which I doubt, the Prologue is something else—astonishing and touching. It tells of Emerson disinterring the corpse of his late wife, who had been seventeen at their engagement and twenty at her death, disinterring her after a year and two months of deep grief, in some Poe-esque kind of exorcism-gesture. I don’t know what to call it, but it was striking and weird.