Ha ha ha, well, that's a bit spooky. I am precisely in the middle of the, ahem, 'priest v warrior' thing myself. To be perfectly honest I'm neither but it sounds nice to put the conversation in such terms. Very 'Grrrrrr'. And did someone say 'wannabe' just now? No? Good.
Actually, I was doing really well at the shedding-of-ego thing for a while there, right up until I started doing my blog and people began complimenting me on my writing. Then slowly but surely the ego kicks back in and I want to be seen and heard. If I'm not, then I don't exist. Perish the thought!
So I exist, and at the moment I'm in amongst the tedium of buying a van so I can kit it out to live in. I'm as slow as a Finnish Winter, ha ha. But it's easy to dawdle what with living at my Mum's. Like some kind of sitcom caricature. It's me transported back to my childhood and I dislike it intensely. Dope is the way to cope. And the way to get nothing done. But never mind all that, I’ve run out of dope now and slowly but surely everything’s getting sorted out. And once that happens I should be in a position to eat my ego cake and have it too.
Did you ever read Papillon? It was pretty good, I actually read it twice. And there's one bit in there where Papillon is sent to the smallest of the Devil's Islands which is so isolated that there aren't even any guards. The prisoners live in little shacks and look after their farm plots, chickens, and pigs which supplement the food that's brought by boat from the mainland once a week. For Papillon that was some kind of desolate hell, with him spending his whole time figuring out how to escape.
Weirdly enough Papillon repeatedly finds himself in paradise but, what with being obsessed with revenge against those that sent him there (um... to paradise) he can only think of leaving. What an idiot. For me it sounds like heaven. The only thing this Devil's-Island-of-my-imagination is missing is the internet. I don't need it as a daily gig - once a week would be fine. Okay, that sounds do-able so why don't I gun for that?
And that's what the van is for. Do you know my plan? To buy a van? And drive aran? Sorry, I was gripped by the muse there. ('Cough!' she said, ha ha ha). Anyway... I don't actually want to drive around Australia like some kind of gift-shop frequenting tourist. God spare me tourist towns. Instead, I'll be heading in the opposite direction. I want to find a place barely on the map that makes its own sense and feels right. Somewhere I can live an ascetic life without any distractions. This is the real world, you understand. The other world, the virtual world, the world of the conversation in my head, I reserve for the net. And this will be nobody.
When I was at the Zen temple in Japan the first thing the Abbot's assistant said to me was: 'Shiraberi wa dame' ~ 'Chit-chat is bad'. And that's true but the temple was full of its own contradictions and that phrase likewise. So I've refigured it. This pivots on ignorance and delusion - under these headings conversation isn't bad per se. If a discussion seeks as its goal to dispel ignorance and delusion it's a worthy thing surely? Excellent, so where do we find such conversations?
Certainly nowhere in this real world. Friends, relatives, whomever - an endless series of discussions about house prices, shopping, and a thousand other worthless topics. Of course, if it was framed in an understanding of the-world-as-falsity that would be fine. But it never is. In a world without context God help anyone who wants to reset a conversation in any context that isn't inane. Ayah, let's change the subject. The only place I find conversations that are possessed of context (and thus aren't bullshit) is on the net.
Okay then, that's what I'll do. In this world where my exterior skin is me, I'll have nothing to say. I will be that zen priest. Meanwhile in the virtual world (that people in the real world are free to visit, and do all the time) I shall be... well, let's say a 'threepenny warrior', ha ha, albeit with words as a weapon. And sure, I sound like a wanker but, you know, whatever.
God knows how it'll work. Right now, there's a certain intellectual logic to it, but the realness of the world has a way of pulling threadbare logic to pieces. In all probability I'll crash and burn but that's fine - no one ever said being bloody-minded was easy. Madness looms of course, but only if I forget why I'm there and what I'm doing it for. The thought I'll need to remember will be:
"What the fuck did you expect? You knew this was coming. Empty your head of all that whiney shit. The world is beautiful. The Buddha was just a man and what one man can do, another can also. Besides which, the only certainty is change and however you feel now, that's only now."I've done this mindset before - like every time I quit smoking and wonder why I'm alive. And yeah I know it sounds like some cheesy Eckhart Tolle platitude but that doesn't mean that it's without utility. In many ways it's just mindfulness, a way of stepping sideways from your unhappiness and viewing it as a thing-not-you. A thing that can be let go of, sure enough.
Not forgetting of course, that the conversations on the net, even though they're possessed of a worthy context can still serve as clutter for the mind. They certainly do for me. Do you ever read Jeff Wells? He's very good, easily a better writer than I am. His latest piece, whilst being somewhat abstruse, has some interesting points not least of which are his thoughts on the effect computers have on the brain.
But all things have a flipside and computers are no different. None of us would be here, or be the people we've become, if weren't for the curiosity machine - Jeff Wells included. Paraphrasing Paracelsus, 'Everything is a poison, it all depends on the dose'. And yep, I just looked that up on the net.
So! I'm going sit out the net as a day to day thing. It's just more chit-chat, and like he said, shiraberi wa dame. Instead I'll be in the middle of nowhere writing, taking photos, painting - ideally with nothing but the wind in the casuarinas for company. It will all be about focusing as opposed to being dissipated. And then every weekend I'll drive into town, hit the local library, and load up the latest piece. I'm already prepped for this: on my hard-drive I have the OED (plus another dozen dictionaries), Wikipedia, Wikiquotes, Britannica, and an e-book and photo/art collection you could barely jump over. I am my own library, ha ha.
But this will mean the end of me as the chatty chap in the comments, my own included. I expect I'll miss it, but this and a thousand other things. No great loss.
So there you go mate. That's what I'm doing. Now all I need is a fucking van and I'm gone. Do you know anyone wanting to sell a late model, high-roof, long wheel base Ford Transit? In New South Wales? For under $15,000? No, me neither.
But never mind, I'll get there.