Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Nether World

I am reading The Nether World by George Gissing, and it has made me think about the significance behind the allusion to Orpheus and the meanads that tear him to bits.  Now, we all know the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, how Orpheus descends into the underworld to retrieve his beloved and loses her because he looks back to ascertain that she is following.  In the novel, three particular figures emerge as Orpheus figures, all of which are described as artists.  The only way they will ever escape the nether world, the world of urban poverty that surrounds them, is by never looking back, never showing concern or compassion for those they leave behind.

I am really able to relate to this idea.  I, too, am from the nether world.  I was born from a working class background, and while we were able to escape the misery of utter poverty, certain elements that characterize the lower orders of society can certainly be found within my family: coarseness, both of speech and behaviour, a lack of education, degrees of abuse and addiction... all of those issues that together create the nether world of Gissing's novel can be found in my family.

I, myself, am an Orpheus figure.  My natural disposition and my artistic nature are alien to the nether world.  My interest in books and in refinement are strangely incongruent with the background that surrounded me.  In a way, I feel very much like my intellectual self is Orpheus, and it descended in order to pull my body, my Eurydice from the pits that lay open before me.  And I have certainly found that in order to guarantee my security in the upper world, it has become a fundamental necessity for me to NEVER look back.  There are many who have found fault with me for doing so.  There are those who believe me to be self-righteous and judgemental... a very monster for never looking back to assist those I have left behind. I believe I have encouraged others to follow me... but I will not allow myself to be dragged back into the abyss by looking behind me to ensure they have made the right decision.

I wonder, though, if perhaps that other self is lost in the process... the self that technically belongs in the nether world.  Perhaps I have been unable to retrieve it afterall.  Perhaps Eurydice has become a sacrifical offering to the meanads in my place... 

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I am incredibly disappointed right now. No, disappointed is not exactly the right word. I am filled with a sense of dread, and this dread is caused by a type of recognition I think. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am experiecing the symptoms of disillusionment.

For the longest time my greatest fear has been madness. Not madness as an abstract concept, or madness as seen in others, but madness as an inescapable delusion that would engulf me and prove every thought and feeling within me to be unfounded and unreal. I have always thought contemplation and interiority to be my greatest weapons against such an onslaught, and that if I was aware of every impetus that leads me to action I would be able to combat madness effectively. In short, I thought that in knowing the Self truly and completely, I could know madness, and thus avoid it.

Apparently, this is not the case. Freud said that Nietzsche knew himself better than any other man... and yet he still went terribly, terribly mad. Am I to end up like Nietzsche? Will a lifetime of insights be rewarded with the ultimate negation of those insights? We who tread the paths untouched by others... do these paths inevitably lead to madness? Are we aware that this is our ultimate destination? Do we know the consequences of our choice? And do we choose to disregard those consequences simply because we are wise enough to know that enlightenment is not a destination, but merely the culmination of landmarks on the side of the road?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Inferiority is a choice.

"No one person is greater than another."

I have been accused many times of being an elitist, of making others feel like their existence does not even matter when in my presence.  I have been called a spirit crusher, and one who devours the earth.  Honestly, I think this kind of perception of me is more a reflection of the insecurities of others than an egotisitcal view I have of myself.  I have never once devalued another human being for being unable to "measure up".  I devalue those who devalue themselves.  I condemn those who are capable of wisdom, understanding, and enlightenment, but who choose to throw that away for the pursuit of idiocy.  I say inferiority is a choice, and if that is a choice you have made for yourself, deal with it.

I read a lot.  I think a lot.  I know a little.  If you ask me for my opinion, I will give it to you honestly and bluntly; I will tell you what I think rather than what you want to hear.  I will not patronize, and I will not reduce myself in any way by bending to a common or accepted ideology. You want to condemn me as an elitist for doing so?  Go ahead.  

Friday, October 24, 2008

First Blog

I am posting my first blog here.  I feel as though my first entry should be profound... that it ought to encompass the essence of Self, my Style (of writing, I mean) and my Situation (and by that I refer, of course, to my world view).  Afterall, the first impression I will make upon the still waters of the reading public will be forever immortalized here. One wrong step from me could result not only in the disapprobation of an unknowable audience, but in the knock of the Establishment at my door... or window. I could be dragged away, deported, and tortured!  It's not as though such a thing has never happened before... but already I say too much.

Really, this is too much pressure for any sane individual to manage!

Yes, well, I shall pretend that my first attempt was successful, and begin my true first entry as a second entry in order to alleviate said pressure.  And then I will eliminate this post, thus perpetrating a type of fraud on you, my readers.  Erm, but as that audience consists of me, I suppose only I will be the wiser for it.  Heh.