From the end of this world to the back of the alley – Part II
Now for some of my own thoughts:
Im limited by my sensory perception of the cosmos, but Ive no belief of a transcendent beyond. I am, and have already been, uniquely a part of what I cannot fully see or feel. Im both accident and agent set in motion. Embracing the uniqueness of this experience as a human being (what I am) over the human abstraction (the idea of what I am) seems preferable. Enriching the relations I have with other beings (human or otherwise) strengthens this embrace. This calls for abandoning three interrelated tendencies: the obsession to manage, orienting around predictability, and the desire to preserve ideals. When I die, the limited perception Ive been familiar with will end, and I will decompose to recompose to decompose again. Here are three ideas to help me until then:
1) Break the clock. We now live in a world so pervasive with measurement that the science of it (metrics) has become dogma. The goal seems to be endless comparison of every incomparability, no stone left unturned. Evading measure is a key part of avoiding capture. Though there are some practical uses for measuring when cooking or crafting, rejecting this dependency is crucial for any liberatory lifeway. Most importantly, this applies to time and money: the most limiting of measurements. Doing this full-stop could have some interesting and painful results, but a limited engagement strategy seems more viable in the current state of things.
2) Light the candle. Focusing excessively on preserving an ideal of life is an unnecessary and fraught way to live. Taking efforts to burn out quickly (while at times admirable) is often just as fraught, and can lead to miserable outcomes other than death. Rather than arguing for a moderate life, Im instead for allowing life to take its course as a lit candle would. This could look quite extreme in infinitely imaginative ways.
3) Empty the cup. This is a derivative of pu, often translated as uncarved wood: an early Daoist concept of a return to simplicity or emptiness before being put to use. Other derivatives include a clean slate (tabula rasa), and the unlearning process. Nietzche’s final stage of the child in Thus Spoke Zarathustra is another similar idea. The forgetful child sees the world anew as a bounty of possibility, theirs for the taking. Nietzsche’s Übermensch as child loses in order to gain, yet I prefer Stirner’s Unmensch (or inhuman being), who loses in order to gain in order to lose. Once your cup is filled, it requires an emptying-out in order to remain capable. That capability is not an end in itself, but to be put toward a loss of the self through the self. Get lost and stay lost.