–the following piece was written after Jessica abandoned us for what must have been decades. Fortunately a very nice lady heard our Sisyphean calls and took pity on us until Jessica came back. Our delight at the return of our lady in waiting was short lived, as she brought a small, tightly wound neutron star of a human who called herself “Grandma” and who required ample amounts of coffee but little to no food or sleep. This woman seemed to exert and unprecedented dominion over Jessica, whipping her up into an agitated state and forcing her to disassemble our world, imprison us in small boxes, and have strange men carry us through some infernal wormhole to a new world at its chaotic formation. As our new celestial body cooled and solidified we have grown to love it as our own, and over time the stories of the great cataclysm turned to legend, degenerated to myth, forgotten. Their remnants remain. But I digress. After a period of many feedings, sleep, burning of plants, and frantic movement punctuated with periods of quiet rocking, Jessica produced this short poem —G.L.S.
I shelter my thin skin in external walls.
The world incurs, some days invades
others almost none at all.
It is a gift from quiet to regain
the strength with chaos drains,
to have the luxury to disengage
from a world that spins the speed at which mistakes are made.
–the following series of poems and prose have been generated in a renewed period of what I believe you humans call self-analysis and improvement. In Standard Galactic Cat, it is simply referred to as ‘unnecessary’–G.L.S.
Reasons to Leave the House
To be in nature
To visit friends
To get stimulation
To get exercise
To get healthy
To see new and beautiful things
To discover new places
To run into people I forgot all about
To get ideas
To smell and taste fresh air
To see, interact with, and maybe even touch new animals
To try new foods
To buy food and other necessities
To see what is happening
To meet new people
To touch things
To be a friend
On Severe Depression
I’ve heard it said, ‘write what you know.’ So, at the risk of being a negative nancy, I’m going to write about severe depression. The problem with writing about severe depression is that it doesn’t exist.
Severe depression is an absence, not a presence. Severe depression is the absence of desire. Not just the desire that we call desire, the wanting passion, the grasping at the world–nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs; but, also the abstract desire to be, the desire to live. On top of the basic desire to live/be is the desire to live/be in a certain way, the desire to be a good person, both in general and in the specific roles we play — child, friend, lover, employee, boss, parent, etc. What good means is culturally mediated but, ultimately, individually determined.
For much of human history, being good has meant being obedient. And, while this still applies to children as well as certain ethnic subcultures–for the rest of us, being obedient has been eclipsed by being actualized (at least when we’re not at work). Unlike being obedient, which usually comes with specific instructions, being actualized remains maddeningly vague. The best I can figure out is that it has something to do with pushing yourself as hard as possible to cram as many things into your life as possible.
It turns out the opposite of the desire to live is not the desire to die, for that is also a desire, however perverse. The opposite of the desire to live is severe depression. This is not to say that severely depressed people don’t kill themselves, they do, but I believe it is more out of the impulse to escape pain than any desire for the imagined relief and peace of death
Impulses are pretty much the extent of the severely depressed person’s interactions with the world. And even then, these impulses, these actions, are actually a break, a spark in the void of severe depression, driven by panic or some similarly reptilian emotion; as far as possible from the will power of the frontal lobe. I’ve felt that kind of panic. I found it both barely tolerable and blessedly unsustainable, like rage, eventually you run out of steam. Severe depression, like apathy, runs on the lack of steam; it is an absence not a presence.
Thanks to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, it is easier to destroy than to create. Maybe this is why modern medicine insists on treating depression as a thing, a malignant presence to be vanquished. Or did you not realize that those white coats were suits of armor and all the disease dragons?
-  Nobody likes a negative nancy… well, nobody who isn’t dying for somebody to mirror and articulate their pain~
-  Do not fret, dear reader, I am not severely depressed. This is not a cry for help. If I were severely depressed I would not be able to write this. The fact that I am writing this is a good thing (IMHO~) because it means that not only do I have the effort to spare on writing this, but also that I believe this effort may make a positive difference — for myself if no one else.
-  See future writing on this as a point of potential personal and collective power.
-  See future writing on ‘The Spirit of Accumulation’
Reason to Meet New People
To get to know
To know me
To be taught
To introduce me to all sorts of cool stuff
To introduce to me friends
To spread my ideas
To help me
To help me become
To have fun together
To team up and create something new
To change the world
On Attraction and Rejection
We live in a culture that bombards us with messages about who we are almost all our waking moments. One of the main themes behind these messages is, “you are not good enough.” I don’t know if it is possible to grow up being bombarded by this message–not just from the media, but from the people in our lives (friends, family, teachers, coaches, bosses, etc.)–without coming to believe it about ourselves, at least a little bit. I think this is the reason that most of the people I know put a lot of effort into making themselves more desirable to others in order to attract the people they want as friends and family. I do this too.
In order to describe this phenomenon I am going to use the metaphor of food, specifically, of coating oneself in sugar in order to be more appetizing to the real and imagined objects of our desire. The problem with coating oneself in sugar is that it doesn’t only or even necessarily attract the people we want into our lives; it attracts anyone who is hungry; the hungrier the more attracted by the quick sugar rush we offer. The inevitable consequence of this strategy seems to be that we become increasingly surrounded by the starving, because they will try the hardest and the longest, forming a plaque around our person, blocking access for the merely peckish and frightening away all but the most desperate competitors. If this state of affairs is allowed to continue to its logical conclusion we will be eaten alive. I’ve seen this happen, and it’s not a pretty sight.
Fortunately, for most of us, our survival instincts kick in and, after escaping and repairing the damage, we develop filtering strategies to protect us from such cannibalism. The two main filtering strategies I have come across as well as employed myself are: 1) becoming a more acquired taste — by reducing the amount of sugar coating, substituting a less immediately gratifying and addictive substance, and/or mixing some (high quality, well-aged) vinegar in with the sweet; and/or, 2) building a more closely guarded gate by learning to spot the warning signs of potential danger in those surrounding us and rejecting these threats, either actively or, more commonly because it’s easier, passively.
Of these two strategies, I believe the first one is more compassionate, as the second one involves rejecting someone who was attracted, however unintentionally, by our actions. It is easier for other people to hurt their feelings on this strategy. That’s right! I don’t believe it is necessary to be hurt by rejection, or at least to remain hurt after our initial reaction. We remain hurt from rejection for two reasons: 1) we hold the other persons rejection of us as externally valid; and/or, 2) we feel loss at the removal of our imagined future with this person in it enriching our lives.
In truth, the person we desire owes us neither acceptance nor their company. To think otherwise is to be presumptuous and entitled. Furthermore, and more importantly, both of the aforementioned reactions occur entirely within ourselves and, as such, remain under our control if we so chose to exercise it.
I’m far from mastering this control, but what seems to help is being appreciative of all the good things I have in my life and, as much as modern life permits, being fully present. In order to develop and maintain an appreciative attitude I leave notes, both physical and mental, to remind myself to be thankful – for all the people and hard work that led to the food I am putting into my mouth when I eat it; for all the brilliance, innovation and dedication behind the technology that enables me to connect to the rest of the world and be a part of communities of affinity, unhampered by physical limitations, when I am online; for my good fortune at having a soft, warm bed in a safe, comfortable apartment when I lie down; etc. etc.. In order to remain present and focused (as much as my damaged and deranged flea brain allows) I also leave physical and mental notes reminding me to look, listen, feel, smell and taste what is around me (as appropriate, of course~). Holding something in my hand and trying to feel not just its shape and weight, but also its temperature and molecular make-up is another strategy that works well for me. Feeling the weight of gravity on my feet and legs when standing and on my butt and back when sitting also helps me stay in the present moment. Finally, trying to make sure I fully understand why I am (re/inter)acting in the way I am (re/inter)acting really cut down on unintentional hurt feeling–both mine and those of the people around me.
Of course, like you, but even more so, I am far from perfect. That’s why in doing this I think it is essential to remember that you are just a silly, fancy monkey, and so are all the people around you, so don’t try to be a machine or a god, just try.
Wow, it looks like this essay started out as one thing and turned into something else. That seems to be the way of things when you let them happen.
Things I Love About Myself
my ability to think outside the box
both – in questioning assumptions and set ways of doing things
and – in creating new solutions
my aesthetic sensibilities
my way with words
my mad cooking skills
my sense of humor
Positive Versus Negative Motivation
I’m thinking there are (at least) two (ideal) types of motivation:
1.Positive Motivation – Doing something for the reward (enjoyment, engagement, mastery) of doing it.
2. Negative Motivation – Doing something to avoid the punishment of not getting it done (guilt, shame, self-loathing, loss).
The first is a focus on the present or near present act of doing; resulting in a focused mindfulness, patience, resilience and success. The second is a focus on the future; resulting in a rushed carelessness, frustration, and frequent injuries (to self and objects at hand).
Both of these forms of motivation tend to form self-reinforcing cycles. Positive motivation arises from being nurtured in a secure environment where life is viewed as constructive play and mistakes are viewed as a natural part of the learning process. Negative motivation arises from deprivation and/or chemical depression–a lack of ability to feel reward (a la serotonin and all that good stuff), although it can also be inherited, to some extent, through upbringing. The latter engenders an anxious orientation toward life, an avoidant personality, and a dependence on external validation. The former encourages engagement, self-confidence and healthy interdependence.
Neither of these forms of motivation are destiny and, like most things, each one contains a little bit of the other.
Reasons to live
To give and receive love
and all the creatures I will find dear but have not met yet
To tend my garden
and think new thoughts
To see plants shoot up in the spring
Endless summer days
The leaves changing color in the fall
Snow falling from a pregnant white sky
To be in love again
To love myself again, first
To try and understand
and maybe once again, to help build castles in the sand
the midday heat and grit between our teeth
salt and water
touching your skin
and feeling electricity
— The more reflective, less reactive tone of Jessica Miriam Littenberg’s writing in the Late Early Period reflects a sea change in consciousness. This change at first alarmed my compatriot Whitey Littenberg-Starchild (the 5th) and myself, but we have grown to embrace this latest evolution as we slowly came to understand it had no effect on the level of petting and in fact increased the consistency of feeding. Like you, dear reader, we are left wondering, with a subdued curiosity and hopefulness, what changes future evolutions in consciousness will bring to JML’s work. In the meantime, we are happy to enjoy the warm, quiet company of our beloved lady in waiting, staring lovingly into her eyes, then licking our rectum free of stubborn fecal matter.
Until next time, go in peace, and keep looking up