NB: This is a repost from August 24, 2019. My eyes no longer permit long form writing.
Who Are You?
None of us wants our personality judged when we’re drunk, high, or have lost our temper. “That’s not who I am.” Fair enough. But what if you always want a drink, a drug, or live in a violent environment? Who are you then? What’s your true personality? The person you are during years of addiction? Or the person you were before? What’s the real you? With years passing and the changes that happen naturally because of that, can you even remember what you were before?
We all know people are different at twenty than forty. And that a person acts differently if they are an alcoholic, addict, or live locked up in a threatening place. They’ll get back to normal once their life gets back to normal, right? Maybe. So what are they now, in their present condition?
I started Zyprexa for my violent nightmares in 2007 and it helped immediately. It saved my life. And it drastically altered my personality, at least that’s how it felt to me. Drugs like Zyprexa or Prozac aren’t temporary and short acting, they build up in your blood stream and stay with you as long as you take them. They’re not like a drink or a fix, you are under the influence for perhaps years.
Although Zyprexa reduced the number of intensity and severity of my nightmares, it never ended them. They’re still with me but less bloody. And Zyprexa wasn’t my first attempt at ending them, I’ve been on psychoactive drugs since 1990.
With Zyprexa I became less contentious, less argumentative, less inclined to make a point. Actually, not inclined to make a point at all. I walked away from insults and slights I would have never tolerated before. I didn’t care anymore. I also didn’t care about many things that were important, that were worth fighting for. More difficult to explain was that I felt my brain changing. A physical-like feeling which was very disturbing. But I couldn’t live with my nightmares so I accepted my new personality.
The question, though, again, is what makes up a person’s personality? I worried tremendously when meeting new people. I didn’t want to start any new relation. Who were they meeting? I wasn’t myself, I was something else. A new person would only see me in this drug altered way. Would they accept me when I went off the medicine and got back to my real self? Or would that self return?
Zyprexa failed me last December and I went off it because it was no longer working. And I gave up alcohol on doctor’s orders in April of 2018 for health reasons. I’m still drinking coffee but stopping that has always left me tired and stupid. I should be as clear as I was before the drinking and the drugs. The real me. Right? And that’s a good thing. Right? But who was I all those last few decades? Something else. I don’t know what.
Life is now back in my face. Drinking and medications put a blanket over everything. A soft focus on the world, distance. That distance is now gone and I’ve noticed this every time I’ve stopped prescription medicines or drink. Everything is painfully close along with tremendous anxiety. That anxiety starting for me in the third grade. Well, here I am again. The real me. Right? It’s been a long road back.
“The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end – you don’t come to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river.” J. Krishnamurti
Or, an endless road.
I see the Latin phrase for seize the day commonly used to interpert this poem.
I’d prefer something less aggressive. Perhaps contemplate or think upon the day.
The poem’s mood is relaxed and thoughtful about time, not a call to action to drop everything to go skydiving today. Still.
Gather ye Rose-buds While ye May
Robert Herrick (1591? – 1674)
Gather ye Rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to day,
To morrow will be dying.
The glorious Lamp of Heaven, the Sun,
The higher he’s a getting;
The sooner will his Race be run,
And neerer he’s to Setting.
That Age is best, which is the first,
When Youth and Blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times, still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time;
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
Written by an unknown child in a Nazi death camp and translated from the Yiddish by Joseph Leftwich.
From Tomorrow On
From tomorrow on I shall be sad,
From tomorrow on.
Not today. Today I will be glad.
And every day. mo matter how bitter it may be,
I shall say:
From tomorrow on I shall be sad,
From a Gathering of Poems, edited by Maxwell Nurnberg. Pocket Books, New York (1969, second ed. 1975)
Some Connect the Dots Thoughts:
The rise of strong central governments were well on their way in 1940 when Auden penned this poem.
The Soviet Union under Russia and FDR’s America pointed at that time toward ever growing government observation and control. Ford’s assembly lines ushered in an even more regimented phase of the industrial revolution.
Huxley’s Brave New World foreshadowed an overarching society in 1932, along with outlining the consequences of the eugenics movement which was in popular discussion before the Second World War.
The character Ford in Brave New Worlds’ global state was referred to as a deity.
This worrisome concern of governmental control was sidelined with the urgency of World War II, only to reemerge most notably in 1948 with Orwell’s 1984.
Eugenics was delivered a crippling blow when the Nazis used its ideas in a horrifying and failed way to produce a master race.
Conformity again became a subject in America in the 1950s, only this time framed in the context of the business world.
The Man in the Gray Flannel suit was written in 1955 and addressed a lack of purpose in life when the only sense of purpose seemed to be to fit in.
It has been 80 years since Auden wrote this.
China is now using social scoring on its citizens and everyone in America has most of the information and events below recorded in their credit file.
The United States government may not be efficient enough to document everyone’s life but the three major credit bureaus certainly can. And do. You may not have a credit card but you have a credit score.
It’s not always Big Brother that you have to be concerned with. It’s also what we hackers called Little Brother.
The Unknown Citizen
W. H. Auden – 1907-1973
(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State)
He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
From Another Time by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1940 W. H. Auden, renewed by the Estate of W. H. Auden.
Ending All Political and Free Speech Commentary Here
From now on I am moving all of the above to another site like MySpace. Yes, it still exists.
Even though this is my own personal blog, I will in the future keep to thoughts on writing and poetry at this site.
The Media Still Doesn’t Get it
“They’ll be no shelter here. The front line is everywhere.” RAM
It took six months for Joe Biden to condemn Antifa after they and related groups had rampaged and rioted across America following George Flyod’s death on May 25, 2020. Yet it took only an hour for him to condemn the actions of the protestors who took over the Capitol building today.
As far as I can tell, Biden first condemned Antifa by name on September 7, 2020.(external link to Reuters) In the months before, a few weakly put sentences against violence in general were all Biden had to say. What leadership.
The hypocrisy is disgusting and telling. We are all hypocrites at some time. But we don’t coistrol people’s lives like politicians do.
Biden cares more about a single building than the thousands of businesses and homes that burned to the ground following violent protests that truly threatened our democracy. Entire cities burned night after night last summer. This single act today was no different than the years of occupations and sit-ins that happened in the 1960s.
(The tragic death of an unarmed Trump supporter occurred at the hands of security. There are no reports that any protestor brandished or used a gun.)
Many old guard Democrats in power today were student protestors during that era.
Back in the 1960s, the media condoned the activities of the SDS, the Weathermen, and the Chicago 7 because their cause was their cause. The same is true today with socialists like Biden and Pelosi.
Tom Hayden became a successful politician and Angela Davis became a celebrity.A recent TV production glorified the Chicago 7. The press at the time also tolerated the sometimes weeks long takeovers of government buildings and properties. Remember Alcatraz?
I’m here in Pahrump, Nevada. Trump country. The media isn’t going to tell me or people like me to stand down when they and their socialist brethren ignore the true terror caused in our country by Antifa related groups and organizations like Black Lives Matter. Burn. Loot. Murder. Defund the police?
This is the first large scale action that has turned violent by Trump supporters. Compare that to the rampaging, looting protests that have gone on since last year. Anarchists and such are still rioting nightly in Portland.
The media is shocked. I’m not.
I ran! First run since I injured myself in March. 9:33 for one mile.
I’m still under medication and awaiting a massive steroid injection but this is really positive. I may have hiked my way out of this. And to think, the physical therapists gave up on me after only two sessions.
Next goal will be to get back to under 30 for a 5K. I’ll be 63 then but I can do it!
Monday, January 4, 2021
“When I use a word,”Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘It means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
In the news this morning:
“Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., altered the traditional ending of ‘amen’ by saying ‘Amen and awoman’ as he delivered the opening prayer for the 117th Congress on Sunday . . .”
The politically correct and inclusive are now dragging us further into the insanity and chaos of Wonderland.
Amen means “it is so” or “so be it.”
It has nothing to do with gender.
And this nonsense will now be permanently enshrined in the Congressional Record.
Big Brother wasn’t fully formed in 1984. He is now.
Hello Mr. Farley,
You don’t know me, but I stumbled across your rockhounding blog a couple of years ago and have learned so much about the hobby from your writings. I’m in my mid-50s and am experienced enough in life to know that the more one learns, the more he realizes he doesn’t know. It truly is never ending. You know so much more about the subject that I ever will, and you are blessed to live in a part of the country that I dearly love and hope to move to someday. Way back when, I heard a saying that boils down to ‘Someone somewhere dreams about the things you take for granted’. There is nothing I would enjoy more than hiking and exploring the desert southwest every day, so in a way you are ‘living the dream’ and I’m envious as hell.
I have had family members who struggled with severe mental illness, and am sorry to read that you must endure that in addition to the difficulties posed by the aging process.
Please know that this reader (and I’m sure I’m not alone in this) is pulling for you and wish you many more years of doing what you so obviously enjoy. Thanks again for your educational and informative site, It is greatly appreciated.
All the best and Happy New Year,