Recently I have been playing the game Skyrim. I play the game with the sound off so I can listen to audiobooks. Lately I have been been listening to Ernest Becker‘s The Denial Of Death. Here’s what the Wikipedia has to say about the book.
Another theme running throughout the book is that humanity’s traditional “hero-systems” i.e. religion, are no longer convincing in the age of reason; science is attempting to solve the problem of man, something that Becker feels it can never do. The book states that we need new convincing “illusions” that enable us to feel heroic in the grand scheme of things, i.e. immortal. Becker, however, does not provide any definitive answer, mainly because he believes that there is no perfect solution. Instead, he hopes that gradual realization of man’s innate motivations, namely death, can help to bring about a better world.
Hah! and here I am playing a first-person hero simulation game. Today’s convincing illusions sure are on the nose.
The Papers came in really late this morning. I didn’t start my route until 4:30 A.M.. I wasn’t tired but I didn’t want it to get light so I went as fast as I could. I didn’t beat the sun though and I began to have some strange feelings. I remembered a time around 15 or twenty years ago when I lived in the university district in Seattle. The memory was like one you get with certain smells, like it was way down in the primitive part of the brain.
I was working nights at a nursing home in Bellevue, WA I liked working nights and it felt good to have a job but of course I was still going nowhere, I had no thought of what to do but to get through the next day. I made a friend with this guy I felt kinda superior to. He let me decide what we were going to do, how we were going to slide, disappoint make apparent our lack of direction. We both were white and had Asian girlfriends though I’m not sure what that meant since neither of us dominated our respective relationships in a normal way. In fact we both ran around like naughty children. We played video games all the time(super Mario Brothers 3) and we drank a lot.
What hit me so hard as the sun was coming up was the times we drank whole bottles of Robitussin (dextromethorphan). I remember getting lost in the arboretum, I remember driving around to get more alcohol. I remember how there just wasn’t anything to do and how desperate I felt being in my own skin.
I had no goals and I just wanted distract myself from feeling like a failure. Of course at that time I had no Idea that my life would just continue to slide out of control until I ended up homeless. I had no Idea that I was probably hurting everyone around me. I didn’t think to actually write or draw or do anything creative I just plugged my self into video games and listened to Public Radio.
Maybe it was the chill in the Tennessee air that reminded my of those days in Seattle. Being up in the morning after having worked all night. Being alone in the morning after being alone all night changing bed pads and emptying urinals and catheter bags. We had a lot of time to sit working nights and I believe I spent a lot of time reading the PDR (Physicians Desk Reference) just desperately looking for a way out.
I think I felt I was totally unique in my baseness. I mean who drinks Robitussin to get off, not to common at the time I don’t suppose. Then again last night I listened to Nietzsche‘s the Antichrist and I doubt I’ll share that with anyone. What a wall one builds. What a strange bunch of distancing maneuvers.
No it’s not like that was then and this is now. It’s not like there is a narrative here. No nothing so simple as that. In fact I wander sometimes if anything has really changed. Perhaps I just misvalued things then, perhaps I do that now.