Think About The Way VI

Think About The Way VI

The sixth of a never-ending series

By Doctor Gonzo 

2 August 1999

Minneapolis — Strange mode of thought tonight. I was caught midway between heavy-duty pondering and simply soaking up the atmosphere in some Zen-like state of meditation. Normally, frantic thinking and Zen mindlessness cannot easily exist side by side, but there are always times when you are able to shoot that extremely narrow gap and float among the five-dimensional lotus petals. My relief at work came in and said that I looked "beat." On the surface, that was apparent, but underneath things were swirling around in a slow circular dance of pigment and sounds.

I have been doing this for nearly a year now, and I still have yet to receive a single payment for my work. True, it is not being published anywhere that is pulling in money, but to a writer that kind of excuse sounds hollow. There is but one good thing about not signing any contracts nor getting money for my work, and that is the fact that I have carte blanche to write whatever the hell I feel like. I have granted myself carte blanche in other places as well, but we will get to that later. Much later . . . or maybe not, depending on where my mind goes during this foray.

In any case, there definitely was something strange going on in the mental sphere. It was the kind of night where the senses were hyper-sensitive to any stimuli, and the smallest prodding, whether it be the smell of fabric softener or a sight of a letter, would set off a huge train of thought. Going through memories and feelings at a lightning speed, with the biggest mystery being this: why did I no longer go down this path? It is usually never a good idea to ask that particular question, but from time to time it can't be helped, and I am forced to try and figure out what was and why it no longer is.

I am not sure if the people at Woodstock '99 did the same exercise, but they should have. And it is no real surprise that our contemporary society created that monster, out of the "good intentions" of re-creating the peace and love of the original. It failed horribly, blowing up the our faces, though most were too stoned or drunk to realize it. Either that, or they were in their minivans with the children in back, shaking their heads at the youth of today and what a fine mess they have created.

Well, shit. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem, and the solution to the atrocity that was Woodstock '99 has yet to be found. It probably will still be missing by the time we really need it, on December 31st, 1999, when the hammer may fall once and for all. I have very little faith in the future of participatory democracy, nor order of any kind, after that date, and if what my knowledgeable friends and I have been predicting actually happens, I will flee to Canada. Or hell, why not leave the hemisphere totally and go to Australia?

But for now, I have to keep on keeping on here. I have been traveling again, and like every single trip I have taken in the past few years, this one was a journey into places I did not expect. Not bad, but just interesting. Enough to shock me out of complacency for a bit, to make me see that there's a lot going on here in this reality that I am a part of.

But that's how it has been forever, right? Always learning new things: reality snapback, the Mick Jagger/Jerry Hall syndrome, backsliding, other things that I have yet to assign English words to but exist all the same. Every time I add another page to my little instruction book for life, I still stay one step behind everything. The more I see, thinking that I have seen all there is in this world, the more I come upon things that I haven't yet understood. However, at each point, I say to myself, "Well, damn, I think I've found just about everything I need to know to have a happy and successful life." And then, like clockwork, I find I am wrong. Hell, I have even figured out how to create something new to deal with, but I shan't let all my secrets out.

I am more certain of myself than at any other point in my life. At the same time, I am less certain of what I want than at any other point. It's a shite situation ta bae in, to be sure, but that's what comes with the territory. I live to speak in French, to pray in Latin and Japanese, to ponder in Russian (and yes, I do still speak English, but there is a reason I choose to speak in other languages, and it has to do with poetry, domo arigato goziemashita). I see more and more that the emporer, and all the subjects, have no clothes, but am I instructing people of this fact or simply getting naked myself? If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, then what kind of intentions should I have? Selfish intentions? Selfless intentions? Seems to me like I'll have a paradox of the Bart Simpson type: Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

The back-asswardness of life kind get to you after a while, fine sense of irony or not. Plato once said In Vino Veritas, and far be it from me to argue with him. Besides, I have found it to be true, no matter where I am: an Uptown apartment on New Year's Eve, clubbing in Georgetown, a party with my coworkers. I am usually disgusted with such scenes, but why is that? Is it the stupid things that people are doing? Or is it the fact that there is much truth in liquor, but so little in sobriety? No longer do I feel it is the former, for stupid things are just fine and dandy with me. It's the fact that people are unwilling to act unless they are inebriated that pisses me off. I don't understand it. As I told some of my coworkers, "I don't need to be drunk to get naked." And I don't. If I feel the urge, I'll run around wearing nothing but my size-12 skirt. No, I didn't paint my toenails while drunk, involving a drunken bet, etc. No, my car got painted out of depression, not Leinenkuegels.

Why the aversion to truth in everyday life? Last night, at the aforementioned party with my coworkers, a discussion (as it was about life truths, of course it was held while people drank) ensued about deception. Hell, yes, both men and women are deceitful. The women I was talking to said that they deceive people at every turn in order to get what they want. Men are just clumsier about it, that's all. I found that out at the Third Edition in D.C., with a kind of "ye gods" feeling as I danced on the incredibly crowded dance floor. It was not the best place to do any studies on deception, because people were drinking, thus forcing the truth out. However, it was all I could find at the time, and the meat market atmosphere was certainly evidence of the motivations that people had. What they wanted was to cop an easy feel, and that's what they got. I've heard of testing cantaloupe for ripeness by squeezing them, but not people's rear ends. I still wonder if that certain patron decided if my ass was seasoned enough or not.

Well, folks, here it is: the three motivations for all human behaviour. In no particular order, they are horniness, loneliness, and self-building. That's it. Everything can be reduced to one of these three things, and the question remains, "Is that a bad thing?" Why should it be? You can go at this question from just about any angle and find that there is nothing wrong with it. Whether God made us this way or Darwin, the end result is the same. This is what we are, so this is what we have to deal with.

So why is there a great deal of secrecy around this? Why are people so averse to saying "I want to get laid?" Why do people feel somewhat ashamed when they want to spend time with somebody? And why are people suddenly selfish when they just want to do things that make them feel good about themselves, and avoid those things that make them feel bad? Is there any reason so many people go around life trying to cover up the fact that they are vulnerable, that they have weaknesses, simply because it isn't socially acceptable?

If I must be the first to come out and say it, well, then, so be it. I do want to avoid loneliness from time to time. So I find people that I respect, that make me laugh, that I can converse with on a number of levels, that I can just feel comfortable with. And I will continue to do so forever, because I get something from quality company. If irrelevant people have a problem with this, they can simply fuck off. Why a person would have a problem with me simply finding happiness my own way, I don't understand . . . but it is simply another symptom of the disease we all have.

I want to feel good about myself. I want to hear that I am right, that my ideas are good, that my company is worth something. When words of kindness turn to words of hurt, however, I will leave, because negativity has no place in my picture of myself. When I cease to be cared about, then I shall no longer care, because to do otherwise leaves me behind in the game. Though I want to give, I have to get something in return in order to keep fueled,and when that ends, it ends.

And what the hell? I want to get fucked, too. Even though I do it out of love, there still seems to be a great taboo surrounding it. We have such an elaborate system set up to hide our intentions, and at what end?

The reason we need to acknowledge these intentions is so that we can understand them, so that we can see we all have them, because people sometimes would like to believe that they are somehow more pure or higher. Even worse, however, is when people just see the base motivations for behaviour, and they don't see the other emotions and feelings involved. They don't see that the important things in life are the interpretations we put on such motivations.

Does the fact that everybody has a sex drive mean that there is any less love involved, any less deep feelings, when I chose to have sex?

Does the fact that almost everybody needs companionship take away from the intense feelings of care and respect I have for my friends, or am I just pretending in order to get close?

Does the fact that people need to feel good about themselves make me a "bastard" when I choose to seek those who make me feel good, and stay away from those who do not?

Failing to understand the motivations of people, especially today, leads to abuses. Hitler did what he did because there is nothing like an army of saluting military men to make you feel powerful. He may have even gone in for the sex appeal of being in such a position; after all, he did have a mistress. Our own president has the exact same motivations, though he is probably hornier than Hitler. But both of them love the power, and who of us wouldn't? In all honesty, who would not like being in such a position where millions of people venerate you, where millions of people think you are right. Mother Theresa, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan . . . all the same.

When people don't understand motivations, or worse, pervert them, you get the rape and arson of Woodstock '99 instead of the free love and acid of Woodstock '69. When people don't see loneliness for what it is, they get to such a point where they are incapable of being alone for more than a week at a time. When people dissociate motivations from our own personal value systems that interpret such motivations, they are left with no value system at all. What the world is left with is only Studio 54, Heidi Fleiss, Monica Lewinski and the Whole Sick Crew to boot.

Those who seek to be selfless soon find that they get their wish, and it's not what they expected: to be selfless is to be exactly that. Those who seek to be selfish also get their wish, and once again they see it's not what they expected: in a just world, the selfish end up alone. In a just world, mind you, and the fact that this is not the case is the reason that there are many more selfish people out there than selfless. There is much truth in trying to find the Middle Path, but in this case, like most others, the middle path is not merely going between the poles of selfishness and selflessness. The only true Middle Path in this case is to go the route where selfish and selfless lose all meaning, where you just do. A path where scorecards and rule books are left behind; a path where acting naturally is actually natural. It is damn near impossible to find that path, because it has become overgrown with weeds, stemming from disuse. The high country, where the air is thin but the view is beautiful.

Where do you find it? No longer do I believe I have that answer. The fact that I have trod on that path a few times before is not indicative of me knowing about it, but merely that from time to time I wholly accidentally put my foot down in an unexpected place and find that there actually is a worn tread under there. Follow it I do for a while, but just as easily as I found it I lose it, and I am back where I started. Like now: a year wiser, to be sure, but looking out the same window at the same sun that I always have.

Truth. Beauty. Love. Sex. Friendship. Woodstock. Kent State. I could go on, for I know things that people shouldn't know (I was told this by the one graduate student I respect, so I take his knowledge seriously. Besides, I am the first to admit my knowledge goes too far for my own good). The world has got to make its peace soon, or else we will find that on 31.XII.1999 our time may be up. I'll talk to you on that day from the protection of a sturdy bunker. I promise.

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