Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Mystery of Motivation

I'm not sure if this is worthy of a blog post here, but I did want to just say something briefly-- though not so briefly that it would fit on my twitter feed, and it is relevant to this blog, so, why not...

The past few days have been challenging for me. I'm not going to go through details but to say that it's mostly neurochemical, and it has rendered even the things that normally drive me out of bed in the morning totally empty. Most of my other creative projects haven't held much interest for me the past couple days; I've shut off my phone, considered deleting all my social media accounts (I'm still considering that, but for other reasons), even pointlessly contemplated dropping everything and wandering off into some mysterious wilderness never to be seen again, and so on.

Yet, every single day, I get up, and the first thing I'm thinking about is the Immanence of Myth project. Aside from the very few closest to me that keep me tethered enough that I never would actually just disappear off the face of the planet without a word (for now, anyway), this is it. Every day, I have a book out, I'm going through looking for references, I'm writing. Even when it's hard to care about much of anything else. I honestly don't know why I care about this project so much at this point, and I certainly don't know if anyone else is going to give a damn when it is finally published. Despite all the hard work that has already gone into it by myself and all the other contributors and artists I've interviewed for it, it could just languish in print-on-demand purgatory. (Only with sufficient commercial demand will it make it to a full - in-store distributed print run.) But, unlike almost all the other projects I've worked on, there's a big part of me that simply doesn't care.

I do hope, of course, that it will be useful to other artists, writers, thinkers, for many years to come. On some level of course I care if it is read and discussed. But that's not what I'm doing this one. Not this one. I'll leave my delusions of fame and fortune for other projects. Right now, this is the one thing I seem to care about even when I don't care about anything else that I'm supposed to be doing. So who knows, maybe I'm onto something. Maybe I've finally gone round the bend. It does seem odd to me that it should be a book mostly composed of essays that would get its hooks into me like this. But who am I to say? Sometimes we're strangers most of all to ourselves, and I feel like I'm retracing my own footsteps when I work on this project in particular.

Well. That's all I have to say about that for now. If you don't mind, I have some research to get back to...


  1. In a month-long series of talks titled "Living Your personal Myth" at Esalen Institute, Joseph Campbell said "Mythology begins where madness starts, where a person is seized or gripped by some fascination for which he will sacrifice his life, his security, his personal relationships, his prestige, and his self- realization... it's not always easy or possible to know by what it is that you are seized."

    Looking forward to the completion of your project and would like to participate myself.

  2. Cry Freedom! That's what I have to say.

    It matters, it really does. I get emails from here (for some reason I can't remember), and I check out your stuff, I've never commented on it before nor do I know how I originally got on your mailing list, but it matters. You put little thought seeds into the mind of a guy who doesn't know you in Olympia WA, USA, that much I can tell you.

    Seriously, I wake up every day and look at my life, and in some ways its like I'm under house arrest or something. I have to go to a job I don't like to maintain a life with nothing interesting in it. And I know its wrong, I look around and I KNOW its wrong. So deep inside me I KNOW its not supposed to be like this. There has to be a different way. So I come here, and here is somebody rattling that cage by doing something they care about. And that gives me some hope.

    Its not enough, but its something, anything. More than most people can say.

    I really have no idea who you are, but I know why I feel compelled to rant at you as a total stranger: Because I woke up this morning, and I went out on the back porch. A bitter wind whipped at me as I stared at the blue sky, from which bizarre ice crystals like I have never seen fell. The entire sky had these subtle rainbow hues - the whole thing was insanely beautiful, but also absolutely wrong, I had never seen anything like it. Wrongness, literally written across the morning sky.

    How to explain it? I don't know. What I do know is what I felt; that what I saw is this accumulation, it was the sum of all the people in all the cages living all the lives we don't want in order to get the paychecks to sustain the lives we don't want. It was the subtle shadow of Shiv, the Destroyer, moving on waters way to close for comfort, seen with my naked sober eyes. It was the message "THIS MUST END" written across the morning sky.

    So my point is this, I really don't think you do all this because you want to, I think you know you do all this because you have to. You have looked at all these symbols long enough to know that meaning is something which is created, like the way the Christian creates their redemption by "choosing" to be saved. But what cat in a tree ever chose to be saved by the fire department?

    What abstract symbols do is thin the veil between the individual consciousness, and the awareness of its own capacity to create reality in accordance with will. Symbols enable us to work out the details of this with a little elegance. But we are both well aware that symbols do not hold any meaning in themselves. Veh in the Russian alphabet uses the same symbol as 'B', without conflict. Symbols are variables, meanings are endowed by the individual, that what is done inwardly can be manipulated outwardly, and in concert with others to create unities.

    So beyond everything, all the things that don't actually matter is this: I am to you a bit player, this post is the only thing you will ever hear from me. But I choose this interaction with you to alter the course of my life. I have imbued you with this power and meaning in relation to me. Does knowing this make you happy? Are you able and willing to do the same with me?

    The answer to both of these questions is insignificant to me.

    Goodbye, and Good Luck?
    -The Insane MAn

  3. It is very meaningful to me to receive messages such as this -- especially as it is not the only one I've received. (Far from it.)

    However, some of those moved by what moves me have become acquiantances, friends, even sometimes family and collaborators. You might be surprised how many of the connections in my life have resulted from my work- and the fact that the line between "my work" & "my life" is very thin if not nonexistent, even if I do have safety boundaries when it comes to strangers of course.

    So- first, there may be a lot here & elsewhere that I've done that might trigger something for you. Dig a bit, & share. Of course I'll keep it up...and thanks for the reminder!



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