June 19th, 2005


Big post

I could talk about meaningful things or I could give a recitation of what today involved. I'll start with the former, then a poll I can't believe no one's posted yet, then we'll see where we go.

The day started by seeing my parents off. They're headed to Canada for two weeks so I'm really living on my own (my sister's spending as mcuh time with her boyfriend/down the shore as possible) in a way that I haven't since, well ever. Even last summer I was living with Jessa. In the dorms I was living with everyone. I'll see what this is like and probably have a good analysis (hear that, Netta?) about how I really handle the alone thing.

Then it was over to Danfish's and make up for his movie. Danfish is currently taking a film course at Temple and has recruited many of us to help in his film projects as possible. Today's was a version of the "Jaberwocky" poem from Alice in Wonderland. After far too long getting everyone in make up we headed to some park, the name of which sounds like Laramie but isn't, and began shooting. Several of my scenes went first because I had to leave for Aikido, and they involved choking and throttling Shana.

Now I'm not going to explain Shana. I touch on her very briefly here, but it was unpleasant being around her. Not because of any lingering feelings but because of her seeming refusal to believe there weren't and her constant provocations about how much I must've been looking forward to throttling her. Yes I was... four years ago. She's no longer a part of my life and, quite frankly, a bit pathetic. Worse, the provocations were getting a rise out of me. At some point I really do need to have a talk with her.

At any rate, I left the shoot early to go to Aikido. This was an excellent class as there were only three other students which meant I got a lot of one-on-one attention from the senior teacher. She wants me to do a lot of stuff differently but I'm here to learn, not push my old system. I'm a guest. We talked a bit about that and it's nice to know she appreciates where I'm coming from and is satisfied with my progress.

Then it was back to the movie. This was long, drawn out, and irritating, though according to Reed actually went pretty easily for a film. I cannot express how happy this makes me that my interest is in writing the damn things, not performing in them.

After the film was finished Danfish had to head off to his grandmother's birthday but he gave us money for dinner as way of recompense. Adam, Caitlin, Heather (Shana's friend), Reed, and I all headed back to Caitlin's house and chowed down on pizza, hoagies, Chinese food, and shrimp while watching Galaxy Quest, Spiderman, Robot Chicken, and Sealab 2021. It was much fun. Then Reed and I took off for the Mermaid Inn.

Reed has been looking for a place to go blues dancing in Philadelphia. Apparently they don't exist, but we did find a good place for live music. The musicians were more than acceptable, though one of the guaitarists was well-beyond the rest of the group, but the lead singer was out of this world. She had a voice that was just... well the best I can describe it is, "velvet," and they got a guest singer who blew me away. There wasn't much room for dancing, though we did get in a few semi-swing dances and one of the best, if simplest, waltzes I've ever had (thank you, Dessa, for getting me over my fear of waltzing). After a while we gave up on dancing and just listened to the good music. I drank about half a glass of wine over an hour and a half, and just enjoyed the bar, the music, and being with a friend. It was good times, if not exactly what was expected.

Then I drove Reed home and met the squirrel. That nearly broke my heart. I was kneelign by his box, praying for him in one of the few non-everyday Hebrew prayers I know from memory. To see him like this... Reed thinks he may have to be put down and I don't know what we'll do if that's the case. It's not right to let him suffer but I think he may have an infection and there's no way we can get him hundred-dollar antibiotics.

Then it was back here (through an enormous traffic jam I might add; who starts construction work on a three lane highway that provides access to Center City at 11:00 PM on a Saturday night when everyone's headed into the city for the nightlife) and LJing. Normally I don't like the idea of LJing about LJing, but tonight was a surprise. Jessa had commented on my journal. It really hit me how open this was. Furthermore she was responding to the "waht do you think of me" meme which involved a big honesty question on my part. There's a lot I don't like about both her and our relationship but she was always adament that I not discuss it publicly. Now she was asking questions that required me to do just that. I decided to be honest, if circumspect. I'm not linking to the reply but check it out if you're curious. (EDIT: said comment thread has since been deleted for reasons of privacy)

Now the poll.

LiveJournal Username
What game will you be playing?
The game is by:monkey_bait
The group's twinky min-maxer is:theljparadox
The group's combat-wombat munchkin is:damn_robots
The one who's playing an idealized version of him/herself is:phoenix_snake
The one who arrives late and creates a wacky character is:lacrimawanders
The one who really gets immersed in the game is:chocomonkey
Number of hours you end up playing8
Chance the game will continue
This Fun Quiz created by Jacob Klünder at BlogQuiz.Net
Taurus Horoscope at DailyHoroscopes.Biz

Do I want to talk about meaningful things now? Sure, why not. My laundry's nowhere close to done and it's late enough that I'll be more honest and open than I will be tomorrow. Let's talk about desire.

For Jungle of Doom, the writing workshop I'm currently running, I recently gave a prompt to write a piece focusing on desire as a central element. This could be as simple as a love story, or it could be something more provacative. Specifically, it was a chance for people to write erotic fiction if they wanted but really get a chance to focus on what it was to want something with everything you had and learn to communicate that need, to instill a sympathy. Because of the somewhat taboo topic, to say nothign of the personal nature of the piece, people were not asked to share their pieces if they felt uncomofrtable. Nobody chose to share. I wish I could say this was a surprise but we all know it wasn't.

People have a natural tendency to hide their desires. Partly this stems from a fear of ridicule for wanting the "wrong things." The embarassment many people over liking top 40 music stems from this. Partly this stems from a fear that announcing the desire produces an impetus to try to achieve the desire, an attempt that may well fail, whereas the desire itself cannot fail because there is nothing to gain through sheer wanting. And partly this stems from a fear that merely announcing a desire may preclude its achievement. It is the latter that I wish to concentrate on.

Let's start with an example situation:

At first it may seem ironic that sharing a desire could prevent one from getting it, but in fact we do it all the time. It is called a crush. With whom should a crush be shared? With the subject? With friends? The latter serve no purpose to share with and it may result in embarassment, to say nothign of what happens if it reaches the subject. And if the subject doesn't return feelings, what then? Ridicule? Or worse, pity? Or perhaps worst of all, indifference? In any case there is a great fear, justified or not, that by telling the subject that future possibilities may be ruined. Then there is the status quo fear: that whether the feelings are reciprocated or not the status of the current relationship will change, either because it advances to a romantic relationship or because the crushee can't look at the crusher as a simple friend any more. Or misconceptions: what if the crushee misinterprets the crusher's previous actions as all manipulation to worm his or her way into a relationship. And it goes the other way: if after making one's feelings known the crusher is rejected, the crusher may be prone to over-analyze and misinterpret everything the crushee then says or does in the context of the crush.

So we can conclude that there are some situations in which people will not act on their desires out of fear of possibilities.

If you ever talk to me in depth you probably know that I consider myself a coward and that one of my life goals is to break free of fear's control. Not to let fear dictate my actions or do what I fear to do simply because I am afraid of it. Should this not apply to desire to?

But how does one measure desire? At what point does wanting something, hoping for something, and fearing something resolve itself? How does it do so? How can one measure the motivation?

Our lives are driven by desires. To know what one truly wants is a source of great happiness and is one of the hardest things in the world to achieve. To definitively state that one wants anything is to risk profound disappointment when that thing is acquired but happiness doesn't come with it. Why, then should we pursue our desires? They carry great risk and, even if achieved, we cannot be sure they will bring us happiness? What is the point?

The answer, of course, is that we desire them. We desire because we desire. It is without end. In Buddhism this is a source of infinite sufferring. I disagree. To desire gives us purpose, it gives us goals and meaning. The man who has everything is miserable because he has no purpose in life anymore. Buddhism tells us that in order to achieve enlightenment one must give up not just all worldly desire, but all desire - including the desire to be enlightened. That may be true, but it was the desire for enlightenment that set the Buddha on his path in the first place.

I am human. Though I will not be controlled by my desires I shall never stop desiring. Whether I get what I want or not, I shall never regret this.
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