Archive for the ‘meme’ Category

The Philosophy of Slack 9: Slack and Success

March 8, 2014

Slack states unequivocally that it remains sedated in the face of success stories. There is no success, only survival. In a Darwinian struggle for existence replete with killer asteroids, super bacteria, mutagenic cosmic rays, environmental toxicity, dictatorships and totalitarian regimes, and oncoming buses just making it through the day unscathed is success.

Slack is inured to the inundation of insights offered by an unending stream of success gurus. In any event, these all boil down to a conspiracy on the part of “management” to just get you to work harder.

There is no “secret” to success. Success is an illusion – there is no success, as thing out there in the world. We are all Holden Caulfield, and the brass ring will always be out of reach. Success, rather, is perspective. Getting out of bed is success. Alas, even here slack is sometimes unsuccessful…

Slack understands that success is, quite definitely, not directly related to effort. The winds of fate and fortune blow hither and yon, and for some, success is an innate function of being. Would anybody listen to Anthony Robbins if he were 5’7” and had crooked teeth?

Slack is its own success. In just letting go and being, slack has succeeded where most fail. Success, after all, can only be measured, never truly felt. Success is a function of comparisons – with others – and judgments of those around us by often arbitrary and obtuse standards. In its dependence on judging, success is actually by definition failure.

Slack grows weary of the whole self-help and self-improvement craze. Taking a page out of Alan Watts, slack knows that “self-improvement is a hoax.” Better how? Better when? Better than what?

In embracing each moment and languishing in it like a lizard sunning itself on a rock, slack happily waves goodbye to success as it speeds by on the highway of life, always moving towards its next goal, objective, meeting or coronary.

Besides, success in a contemporary context amounts to the acquisition of larger and larger quantities of stuff, which is really just a drag (c.f. “Slack and Stuff”).

The Philosophy of Slack 8: Slack and Chaos

October 5, 2013

Slack accepts, even thrives, on the idea of chaos. Most fear chaos. Chaos reminds us of the laws of thermodynamics and entropy, of the breakdown of all things. For living things, this implies death and decay; that which lives naturally avoids death, and, by extension, chaos.

But avoiding something requires effort. This is antithetical to slack. As Epicurus reminds us “Don’t worry about death.” “Death is nothing to us,” he says, for “when we exist, death is not yet present, and when death is present, then we do not exist.”*

Thus, slack should not concern itself with the apparent perils of chaos. This particularly since slack is instinctually opposed to order. Order implies law and justice. And control. These are all inimical to slack. Control requires effort, often of monumental proportions. Justice gives one what one is due, but is contrary to the principle of slack, which holds that things “just happen,” sometimes — even often — unjustly. Law is the instrument of this unjustness.

Order is an illusion; a notion that we can impose structure with effort. But the real order is beyond us, and exists regardless of the outer appearance of chaos. Slack accepts this, and by extension takes chaos at face value.

*Brad Inwood and L.P. Gerson, eds., The Epicurus Reader: Selected Writings and Testimonia (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994), viii.

[N.B. This is part of a series. Here's the last one I posted. And here's the first.]

Dusk Over Sooke Harbour No.4

August 23, 2013


Random PKD Quote No.2

August 10, 2013

“Burroughs posits an information virus (or ‘virus’ [like]). (Not so, KW says.)

If that plasmic energy is alive, and it is (or it carries) information, then we have living information. Logos? Information plasma which enters through the optic nerve primarily — or auditorily. Signals that control our brains, open GABA blocked circuits. Like pressing keys on a typewriter.

Once having entered the person’s brain via the optic nerve it now modulates brain functioning so that the person subliminally transduces messages (including instructions) and hence is a ‘cell’ in the brain, responding to sentient override — lifted out of the blind forces of the Yin realm, his actions integrated with that of all others like him. It’s like a beehive, a colony entity, and is immortal, replenishing and shedding continually. Member-units (v. Schopenhauer on the fruit flies*).

*In The World as Will and Representation, vol.1, Schopenhauer uses beehives and ant-colonies as an example of the “will-without-knowledge” working in nature.”

From Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem, eds., The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2011), 360, 907.

See also.


July 3, 2013


Thoughts of Her

May 20, 2013

Why so many thoughts of her? Do I still love her? Or do I want to be her? The whole glossy fashion magazine life – the right brands, the right places. Somewhere between lululemon and YSL is Nirvana. There was – is – a regal grace about the woman that’s really sexy. The pinnacle of a plug for United Colors of Benetton extolling the virtue of temperance.

I imagine her also in a luxuriance only dreamed of in some Arabian legend of gold and wishes granted. Delighting in massage after massage at the hands of big strong men while little Asian ladies give the eternal pedicure – a kind of state of permanent blissful grooming.

In my thoughts, her Adidas tennis skirt is always hitched up revealingly, instantly recalling the après game, set and match. Her soul served in a chilled vodka (Absolut?) and cranberry cocktail, sitting on a mosaic-covered table overlooking the town of Santorini – bathed in sun and the snazziest French produit de soleil. She is certainly a tart du tropique.

Then there is the innate mastery of arts gastronomique. She will always be rosy and smiling, filled with Paris, fine wine and enough chocolate mousse to choke une cheval. Her lovely long blonde hair forever bathed in the candlelight of a bustling Parisian restaurant. Dinner at Chez Janou, for the rest of time.

Well, anyway, cheers to you madame. On avait l’amour, si meme pas pour longtemps.

Trafalgar No.2

January 30, 2013


Recurring Dream

January 28, 2013

Hoping that my blog readers (such that they are) can help me with some dream deconstruction:

It begins with the beauty of nature – life is simply a stunning incomprehensible fact. Present. Everywhere. Wonderful. It’s the verdant green of Vancouver Island. British Columbia. Then I notice it’s not so ideal. It’s flawed. There are signs of the hand of man – in this case some oil tanks, a chain-link fence, some crappy little sheet-metal buildings. An industrial site on an otherwise uninhabited little island as I sail by.

A sudden scene change; I’m in the suburbs or a small town with my two long time male friends – A & R – both big guys. One – R – is a Leo – the life of the party type. He’s a sensualist, full of passion and joie de vivre. The other – A – is the angry man. A guy that’s always wearing a mask – he’s a comedian and glib performer who always needs an audience and entourage, but who I often see as deeply lonely. They are my advisers in this context – just being supportive, being guys, and hanging out.

The dream is always about girl trouble – they know I don’t necessarily struggle with girls but am always after the wrong girl. They marvel that I can have a wide choice, but I always focus on the one who is…Not right.

Why? She’s the man-eater; a stunning but aging blonde who knows she’s hot and doesn’t need a man. She has a kind of “male” approach – a stable of boyfriends, guys always coming and going, but never settling into a monogamous dynamic.

I know this and I don’t care – I’m like a moth to a flame. My friends marvel at my perseverance – my attempts to charm her. They know she likes me, but they also know she knows I like her – and to her it’s a game. For me too, in a way; In the back of my mind I get it – and am OK with the chase, but still sometimes let it (her) eat me up. They think it’s pretty amusing and are always just saying: “Don’t worry about it. You have other options.” But I have a harder time always just being playful and light about it. There’s too much of the Byronic romantic in me.

A scene shift again. There are some children in a little house – actually out in front of a house, playing – particularly a little girl (I’m not sure if this is always a part of the dream). She’s hurt herself – twisted her ankle. We’re all bachelors and not exactly warm, fuzzy types so we’re not sure how to react. They stand back, concerned but distant. That’s my inclination too, at first. I wonder if her parents are around…

But then I just crouch down and say hello. I look at her leg – it’s swollen. She tries to get up and grimaces. I turn and say to my friends “maybe she should see a doctor.” They’re disinterested.

Suddenly, I just pick her up in my arms. This is a totally unusual thing for me to do. I’m generally somewhat indifferent to children and little girls even more. They seem so small and fragile. Anyway, I pick her up and give her a big hug. She smiles. She hugs me back, tightly. I am suddenly filled with joy – almost to the point of tears. This is, without exaggeration, one of the most beautiful, pure and lovely experiences of my life. Transcendental – yet so simple. I put her down and she runs off, apparently feeling fine.

The scene shifts again. Now I’m alone and looking into the water. Underwater. There’s a sort of diving bird there. A cormorant. It plunges down to grab a fish – and spears through it. Suddenly, the fish almost explodes. Gets eviscerated. The viscera then transform into…Puppies?? Totally weird, especially since I think that this fish was to be food for the bird’s young. I think about life; How we idealize animals and nature. But even the cute ones (like rodents and, yes, even puppies) can end up as someone else’s dinner.

Shift again, to a living room. Talking with my two friends about “the girl” again. They’re amazed. In the know, somehow, that this has all happened before…

I get up and leave…Drive away (even racing away from A who is following in another car). At one point I’m driving crazily, quickly backing up along a winding road. The car flips. I get out, not hurt, but feeling silly. I think that driving is an interesting thing to be doing in a dream for me, since I’ve only recently started driving regularly. Then it hits me…I’m dreaming!! Not only that, but it’s a recurring dream. I realize I’ve had this dream, or at least parts of it (my friends, hanging out, talking about the girl trouble) before. I literally try and climb up out of it…Up a staircase from some basement. All along, I am repeating to my friend – “It’s a recurring dream A!” over and over as I go up the stairs. I get to the top of the stairs and there’s a door. I open it. A man, his face and features not visible, is standing there in the doorway. I awake with a start, aware I’ve been talking – even kind of yelping – in my sleep.

N.B. When I got up I still felt very powerfully that this was a recurring (and in my notebook I initially wrote “recurrent” in every instance) dream I’ve been having for some time, but never recall much after waking. So I grabbed a pen and furiously wrote this all down.


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