Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Conversation with Writer’s Block Part II

frogWS : The last time we spoke you said that the lethargy, procrastination and inaction associated with writer’s block is fear based.

WB : Yes, I remember.

WS : But we never really fleshed out the connection between this behavior and fear. Could you explain this in a little more depth?

WB : Well, when somebody fears something he will tend to avoid it. Sometimes this avoidance is not executed in a fully conscious manner. It feels like it just happens. However, this feeling is misleading because underlying this avoidance there is a subconscious mechanism at work.

WS : So according to your position, when I experience writer’s block it feels like laziness but under the surface psychologically I am really avoiding a fear.

WB : Correct.

WS : Why am I not conscious of this fear?

WB : Maybe the fact that you are afraid of whatever it is you are afraid of is something you would rather not think about because to acknowledge it consciously would cause you to endure an uncomfortable feeling.

WS : Like what?

WB : It is always anxiety, stress, depression…

WS : But I feel anxious and stressed pretty frequently. I feel depressed on occasion too. Why have I not blocked those feelings out or avoided whatever triggered them in the first place.

WB : Perhaps those feelings are connected to or triggered by events or experiences over which you have no control. So you have to feel them. And because you know those feelings and do not like to feel them you subconsciously choose not to feel them when it is possible to exercise control.

WS : That makes sense but I still do not understand why I am not conscious of this mechanism at work.

WB : Duty.

WS : What do you mean, duty?

WB : You feel it is your duty to feel stressed about things. You think that if you do not feel stressed about things then you are not pulling your weight or that you are not being responsible. Am I right?

WS : Well kind of…

WB : Doesn’t your stress level go through the roof if you are running late for a meeting?

WS : Yes.

WB : Why?

WS : I like to be on time.

WB : And you hate to be late?

WS : Yes.

WB : In fact, some times when you are late because of traffic you experience such high anxiety that you will yell out loud as long as you know no one will hear you. Am I correct?

WS : Yes.

WB : That’s a pretty high level of stress, don’t you think? Probably more stress than is necessary. Can’t you cut yourself some slack?

WS : It seems difficult to do under the circumstances.

WB : Why do you think that is? Other people are late all the time and don’t seem to care at all.

WS : Well they’re not pulling their weight.

WB : So?

WS : So, if nobody pulled their weight civilization would collapse. This thing that generations of hard working, selfless, brave, patriotic people built up will die out.

WB : And you would be held just a little bit to blame for that wouldn’t you?

WS : Perhaps…

WB : All because you were late to a meeting and did not have the discipline to feel anxious about it.

WS : Where are you going with this?

WB : That’s a tremendous burden to carry on your shoulders, isn’t it?

WS : I don’t know.

WB : So maybe sometimes you allow yourself to not be aware of it and instead lapse into a state of lethargy without really knowing why and that is why you experience writer’s block.

WS : That sounds a little overly complicated to me. It should be more straight forward.

WB : Why should it be more straight forward?

WS : For example, when I write in the morning I generally experience no writer’s block at all. Or if I am writing about something I’m interested in the words just fall out of me. Could it be that sometimes I am just tired when I experience writer’s block?

WB : Absolutely. Sometimes you are tired and your brain is not firing on all cylinders and it is difficult to be creative. But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the times where you are well rested and have the desire to write but when you actually sit down to write you then feel like doing something else… anything else. What you described and what I just described are two different experiences, no?

WS : I guess so.

WB : Right. So how else would you account for your inability to be creative when you find yourself to be in a situation where everything is right for creativity but the creativity just doesn’t happen?

WS : I can’t account for it.

WB : Of course you can’t. That’s what I’m trying to get you to understand. The system is set up so that you cannot understand. That’s how it works.

WS : So will it still work now that you have explained it to me?

WB : Of course it will.

WS : How?

WB: It will work because you want it to work. This conversation we are having will conveniently not make sense or it will slip from your memory and you’ll go back to that pattern.

WS : What do you mean I want it to work? Isn’t the whole point of this conversation that I don’t want it to work? Isn’t the point that I want to be able to write when I want to write and not experience writer’s block?

WB : Yes, that’s how you feel. But you also feel the other way too. You want to write but you don’t want to experience the anxiety that the writing produces and you also don’t want to be aware of this dynamic so you revert to a state of lethargy.

WS : We’ve hit 1,000 words, haven’t we?

WB : Yes we have. See you next week.

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A Conversation with Writer’s Block

MoonI have been working on a story lately. It is actually a rewrite of a rewrite of a rewrite of a story my cousin and I collaborated on many years ago. I have made a few attempts to write it in a final form but I always seem to get derailed and end up not finishing what I have started. That is why, in the tradition of Gestalt therapy, I have invited my writer’s block here today to discuss what is going on and perhaps get to the bottom of it.

WS : Let’s cut to the chase. Why do you block me?

WB : The simple answer is that I am writer’s block and blocking your writing is what I do. But I know that you are not looking for the simple answer. You want to know why I desire to block you. I could answer that question in one of two ways. The first way I could go is that I block you for your own protection. Whatever you are attempting to write about or the reason for which you are trying to write is causing you to push up against a fear. I am protecting you from having to experience this fear. The second way I could go is that I am blocking you from writing because I am fucking with you. Which way do you think I am going?

WS : Probably the first one.

WB : I suspect you are right although it is difficult to be sure. Why I think you are correct, however, is that writer’s block is a type of lethargy, procrastination or inaction. This is always fear based although it feels like laziness. The fucking with comes in afterwards when you beat yourself up for being lazy.

WS : Alright let’s go with the protection theory. I like that better anyway. So what do you think I am afraid of?

WB : Most writers experience a fear of being judged. When they write they are being vulnerable. What they have written is intended for others to read and there is a bit of vanity involved. So there is the fear that they will be judged for being or appearing to be vain.

WS : Is that my fear?

WB : That’s part of it. But there is another related fear there too.

WS : What is it?

WB : I’m not going to do all the work for you. I block you to protect you from this fear. That means there is a feeling that would be triggered if I allowed you to write this book. This feeling is unendurable or at least you think it is unendurable. So you won’t go there. What do you think this feeling is?

WS : I don’t know.

WB : You do, but it makes you too uncomfortable to articulate it. So you pretend not to know. Actually, “pretend” is too strong a word and it suggests that you are aware of this dynamic which you are not. Let’s say that approaching this fear becomes uncomfortable and so you by default veer off course. It is something along those lines.

WS : So the fear does your work for you?

WB : I am merely a personification of this dynamic playing out within you. You have personified me to have this dialog in order to better understand the dynamic. You know all that so don’t waste our time asking me those types of questions.

WS : I apologize.

WB : No problem. Let’s just move forward. The solution to this problem is that you must face the fear and endure this feeling. The good news is that you don’t really have to identify or label the feeling you fear in order to have gnosis of it. All you have to do is write the story and notice when you feel blocked. Then you will know that you are pushing up against it.

WS : What do I do then? How do I get through it?

WB : I have a simple answer but not an easy one. There is no other way to get through it than to get through it. In other words, you cannot face your fear without experiencing what makes you afraid.

WS : I understand that. But when I sit down to write and nothing comes out it just feels like I am experiencing writer’s block. I don’t have any sense at all that I am afraid of something. It just feels like I can’t do it.

WB : Yes. I am very good at what I do. I am so good that I can explain the dynamic to you and you still will not be able to get past it. Just remember that I do it for your own protection.

WS : Now it feels like you are fucking with me.

WB : Does it?

WS : What if I told you that I do not want your protection? I willingly want to endure the feeling by facing my fear.

WB : Are you sure about that?

WS : Yes.

WB : If you were sure then you would face your fear. You would not need me to be here. Remember, I am merely a personification of the dynamic at play inside of you. It may serve your purposes to think of me as a separate entity with a fully independent will of my own but that is not really an accurate description of reality.

WS : What are you saying?

WB : What I am saying is that if your writing is blocked it’s because you want your writing to be blocked. And like I said at the beginning of this conversation we can go one of two ways. Either you block your writing because you are protecting yourself from something or you block your writing because you are fucking with yourself.

WS : Why would I want to fuck with myself?

WB : We’ll have to leave it there for now. We’ve exceeded 1,000 words.

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Exploring the Motivation Behind the Accusation of “Self Annihilation”

pic stackIn this post I would like to discuss Thordaddy’s oft repeated sentiment that I am a “self annihilator.” I believe he accuses me of being a self annihilator because I have admitted that my wife and I use contraception. To clarify, we are both in our forties, have been married for 15 years and have had two children. I suppose this accusation annoys me a little because there is an intense energy of judgment attached to it. He is a self-identified white supremacist. As such I understand that to him, it is no insignificant act when a fellow member of the white race commits an act of self annihilation (such as the use of contraception) because such an act impacts the white race at large. In other words, the use of contraception by any member of the white race works to prevent other potential members of the white race from coming into being and accordingly makes the white race weaker relative to other races with higher birth rates.

The first problem with his “logic” is that in order to have an emotional investment (i.e. to feel) that the concept of racial preservation is important one must accept the proposition that a race is a real thing. This may sound like splitting hairs but I wonder where the white race begins and ends in his mind. Is it confined to Germany, Scandinavia, France and the British Islands? Does it include Eastern Europe or Spain? How far east does it go? How far south does it go? The point is that the divisions between the races (if they are even real distinctions) are not clear cut. Accordingly, if they are not clear cut perhaps the distinctions are merely gradations of the same thing and not distinctions at all.

The second problem I have with his “logic” is that people can use contraception and procreate. Accordingly the use of contraception is not necessarily self-annihilating in outcome. As I have stated, my wife and I use contraception and have procreated. To my knowledge we have not annihilated ourselves to the extent that we can do anything to keep ourselves alive through the process of passing on our genes to the next generation. Moreover, even if one of my acts (i.e., the use of contraception) is self-annihilating in nature according to his definition I also commit many other acts that are not self-annihilating in nature. I eat well, I exercise, I take care of my aged father, I provide for my family, I work, I write and create, I worship etc. Does he honestly think my use of contraception erases all of these other non self-annihilating acts such that in my entirety I should be labeled a “self-annihilator”?

The main problem with his accusation of “self-annihilation” is that it is both counterintuitive and lacks logical consistency. Apparently “self-annihilation” does not mean the actual annihilation of the self. This is evident by the fact that I have committed self annihilating acts and yet I still exist and I have procreated twice to boot. Nor does self annihilation mean “racial annihilation” as the following interchange indicates.

WS : When you say self annihilation you mean racial annihilation correct?

TD : No… When I write of self-annihilation, I am referencing the totality of annihilating all aspects of the self including the spiritual, intellectual and physical self. When I speak of racial self-annihilation, I am speaking of the annihilation of one’s racial self WHICH may or may not have spiritual, intellectual and physical relevance to he who annihilates his racial being?[sic]

It would make sense if he meant “racial annihilation” by the term “self annihilation” because the argument could certainly be made that my wife’s and my use of contraception is in fact preventing more white people from coming into being. In this manner In that I can see the logic behind saying that the use of contraception equates to an act of racial annihilation. However, he clearly denied that this was what he meant which leaves me scratching my head.

Nor does “self annihilation” mean the annihilation of the soul as the interchange below indicates.

WS : According to your belief system do these acts equate to the death of the soul?

TD : No… But they could render the soul interned in a state of genuine radical autonomy, ie., Hell DUE a real desire to annihilate one’s own being…

So then what are we left with? Perhaps the interchange below can shed light on Thordaddy’s obscure thought process.

WS : [H]ow [then] can a person annihilate themselves? …

TD : A person can annihilate his Self with acts of self-annihilations. The most obvious acts of self-annihilation being suicide and abortion, but more subtle acts being homosexuality, miscegenation and contraception…

In other words, if I read him correctly (and that is never a sure bet with Thordaddy) to be labeled a “self annihilator” one must only commit the acts that Thordaddy has predetermined to be self annihilating. It is the acts themselves that affix the offender with the label regardless of whether these acts are counterbalanced by non self-annihilating acts and regardless of whether the commission of these acts result in an actual annihilation of the self.

As with all things Thordaddy it necessarily involves a circuitous journey from point A to point B through an ocean of pseudo-intellectual mumbo jumbo and ill defined terminology. His concept of “self annihilation” is no different in this regard. That said I do believe a couple of points can be distilled from the chaos.

The first point is that Thordaddy sees “self-annihilation” (whatever it truly is) as a morally negative or sinful act. This has no basis in Christianity as far as I can tell even though he often cloaks his use of “self annihilation” in Christian terms. He employs the accusation of “self annihilation” in an aggressive way that immediately puts the accused on the defensive. Because of this the question as to whether “self annihilation” as he defines it is in fact a morally negative or sinful act gets lost in the shuffle. In other words, it is not a given that “self annihilation” as he sees it is actually bad or wrong even though he discusses it as if that question has already been decided.

Second, Thordaddy connects “self annihilation” with his belief in white supremacy. As such, he connects this term to his racial identity. He therefore sees himself justified to judge the members of his race who are not acting or thinking as he acts or thinks. In other words, he sees these “self annihilators” as betraying the white race team which then gives him the moral justification to judge them. This is the “intellectual” veneer with which he covers his judgment. However, I suspect it is merely the excuse he is looking for to pry into and gossip about other people’s private affairs which I would not be surprised to learn is his true underlying motivation.

 

 

 

 

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The Zero Sum Game of White Supremacist Love

KKKThis post is an analysis of the statements made in the comment sections of my previous two blog posts Deconstructing A Radically Autonomous Box of Subjectivity Part I and Part II by the self identified white supremacist Christian named Thordaddy. For the record I self identify as a Roman Catholic Christian but not as a white supremacist. The particular comments I would like to analyze in this post are the ones he made pertaining to love with specific emphasis on the Greatest Commandment which is to “[l]ove the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and the Second Greatest Commandment, to “[l]ove thy neighbor as thy self.” (MT 22:36-40).

Thordaddy has repeatedly taken the position that the Second Greatest Commandment does not instruct a Christian to actually love his neighbor as a general proposition but rather to love his neighbor only to the extent that he loves himself. Accordingly, if a person does not love himself he is under no obligation to love his neighbor. He uses this as a license with the blessing of Christian dogma to hate his neighbor if he so chooses. I find this to be a rather unique and novel interpretation of the commandment chiefly because, it has been my experience that with the exception of Thordaddy alone, all Christians seem to agree that there is an underlying assumption imbedded within the Second Greatest Commandment that a person would naturally love himself.

Moreover, Thordaddy’s interpretation of the Greatest Commandment is logically inconsistent with his unique interpretation of the second great commandment. His interpretation of the Greatest Commandment is to give all love to God such that there is no love remaining for the self and less still for the neighbor. In other words he sees love as a zero sum game in which there is a finite amount of love to go around and if all of a person’s love goes to God there is none left for anyone else. I would argue that the plain meaning of the Greatest Commandment speaks to the intensity of love and not to the percentage of love available. Furthermore, Thordaddy’s interpretation of the Greatest Commandment eliminates the need for the Second Greatest Commandment. That is, it would not make sense for Christ to specifically emphasize the Second Greatest Commandment in the gospels if the Greatest Commandment effectively rendered it moot.

His unique interpretation of the Second Greatest Commandment is made more peculiar still by the fact that he is obsessed with the concept of the (presumably sinful) act of self-annihilation which he seems to take delight in accusing other people of committing. I asked him point blank if he loved himself and he repeatedly dodged this question which surprised me. I would think a person who feels so strongly that the act of self annihilation is so morally wrong would naturally love himself. I assume, however, that he does not want to admit to loving himself because by his own logic he would then be compelled by the Second Greatest Commandment to also love his neighbor. In this light, his reluctance to admit to loving himself seems to prove that even he is dubious of his unique interpretation.

The final piece to this puzzle involves progeny. He has repeatedly argued that the use of contraception is an act of self-annihilation because it prevents more of the self from coming into the world. I asked him why he would want to bring more of himself into the world if he did not love himself. To this question he made the surprising response, “because we love our children.” This would imply that he sees his children as distinct entities separate from himself. But if that were the case then how could he at the same time see children as “more of himself” brought into the world which are frustrated through the use of contraception and which is therefore labeled as self-annihilation?

Thordaddy makes one seemingly legitimate point that the commandment to love thy neighbor involves a reciprocity between self and neighbor. Let us overlook for the moment this is logically inconsistent with his asserted right to hate his neighbor because he does not love himself. This concept of reciprocity seems right in that one should not be compelled to love another person who is actively hostile to him just because that neighbor lives near him. In fact this belief would require a certain love of self as someone who did not love himself would not logically be concerned with others who did not love him. In fact, if he truly believed himself to be unlovable on some level he would agree with his neighbor who held the same feeling in his heart. However, assuming (as most people logically would) that a person did love himself in some capacity he would also want neighbors who were not actively hostile towards himself. For this reason, although Thordaddy choses not to admit it I believe he does actually love himself. He perhaps loves himself to an unhealthy degree in that he cannot love other people who do not resemble himself which is the definition of the racism that his self described white supremacy refers to.

Indeed it is a twisted web that Thordaddy has woven for himself. Put another way, Thordaddy has constructed a radically autonomous box of subjectivity in which he can sit and believe that what he subjectively feels to be true is in fact objectively true for everyone. The fact that no one else seems to believe (or has ever believed) what he believes particularly with respect to his interpretation of the Greatest and Second Greatest Commandments seems to confirm this.

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