It’s 5:15am. I woke up a while ago. What time did I go to bed? I think around midnight. This is an unusual occurrence, and yet it’s something that I’ve wanted for quite some time. I’ve always wanted to wake up early to do some writing, but I’ve almost never been able to. What’s changed? Well first of all, it’s the weekend. Today’s a Saturday. Last night was a Friday, which in my head signified “end of workweek” (even though I often have work that I save for the weekends). Also, much more importantly, I think– last night I was reading some of my books.
I have several bookshelves worth of books that I haven’t gotten around to reading. My wife suggested that we get rid of those that we’re probably never going to read, and I agreed with that suggestion at first– having books that I’m never going to read is unnecessary mental clutter. Yet something has always bothered me about getting rid of my books. What is it? I think it’s the realization that there IS something about the books that I’ve saved for myself that I want to keep with me. So I decided that if I WERE going to be getting rid of my books, I at least owed them a last/final chance to make an impression on me. So I spent about an hour or so, maybe more, going through some of my books. In particular, I started with Children of Prometheus– which is about the accelerating rate of evolution of humanity, Energy of Life, which is about light, cells, steam engines, ATP and so on, The Face In The Mirror, which is about consciousness, Theory of Mind, self-awareness, the relationship between social experience and self recognition, The First Idea, which is about symbols, language, signalling, cognition, social skills, herd instincts, and TechGnosis – about “myth, magic + mysticism in the age of Information”. I was quick-scanning through that last one before I decided to go to bed, and those ideas have been circling in my mind and I believe they’re what got me up this morning with some sort of sense of excitement and purpose. I took a shower, drank some coffee, popped a third of Modafinil and now here I am.
My brain is swimming in oceans of thought and I love it. The words that are circling my brain are– Hermes, Hermetic, Mercurial, Manichean, a deep dissatisfaction with superficial clickbait, the Peaks and Valleys of the Self, all culture as technoculture, the medium is the message, the written word as Animism, infotech booting up the sacred self.
Something becomes clear to me, something that was sort of unconsciously buried in my mind that I’m not sure I’ve ever made precise. Part of the reason I do these word vomits is a sort of personal rebellion against the modern state of affairs. That sounds a little higher-and-mightier and haughtier than I was hoping it would sound, but it’s in a sense true, perhaps in both positive and negative senses.
I realize that I have been getting tired and weary of everyday life, and that if I want to persist and survive and thrive and enjoy living, I have to create meaning for myself in a manner that is of my own choosing. I can’t just accept what is given to me by my circumstances. I can’t just read whatever is on Facebook or Twitter, whatever the herd mind decides is relevant at any given moment. That’s not my proper wavelength. That’s not the pace at which I want to be thinking, being, seeing, feeling. I’ve always felt that I don’t quite fit in neatly into the world around me, and to be fair I don’t think anybody does. But I think that also goes beyond the physical– the fact that my limbs are too long for the chairs and tables that I sit at, for the doors and windows and taps and mirrors around me. My mind doesn’t fit in at a schoolboy’s desk, either. My mind is wild and crazy and a total firehose. For a while I wondered if this was merely me finding an excuse to avoid doing the work that I was tasked with, and I think that was definitely part of the equation of my adolescence. But now that I’ve spent many years away from school, and many hours alone by myself, and away from the minds and spaces of others, I realize that this is also fundamentally who I am. I am a man who operates in hundreds of thousands of words, not just clickbait. And yeah, that’s a bit of a false dichotomy, I can and should try to summarize my thoughts and make them accessible for communication, because it’s through the feedback loops of communication that ideas are refined and developed. But my “home” base is massive. I need many, many, many data points. I need to read many many books and drink in many, many ideas.
I’m thinking about when I’m tired and dreary and frustrated with life, and I’m thinking about how much of that is a result of a sort of dissatisfaction with the status quo, a sense that there’s nothing to look forward to, nothing to imagine, no possibility, no excitement. And that’s a sort of death all by itself. It ends with cynicism and despair and this terrible malaise, a sort of depression.
Reading these books– and I haven’t even fully gotten around to thinking and writing about the ideas in them, and the collisions that they’ve been creating in my head (that I’m not even fully aware of yet until I write them down)– keep me sane. They make me realize that there’s a vast ocean beneath the agonizing superficiality and short-term BS of ephemeral day-to-day communications. Most of communications is small talk, less about the subject matter and more about playing status games with one another. And that’s fine, that’s a part of what it means to be human. But part of what it means to be Visakan Veerasamy is to eat and drink vast amounts of information from far, far out of what’s in front of me, and synthesize all of that in a glorious explosion.
There exist potential ideascapes and spaces that have yet to be explored, yet to be painted, and I need to hold on to that realization, that possibility. It will keep me excited and eager to wake up in the morning.