Got a contribution from a friend of mine The Owl, this is what he writes:
Empty is modern life. Void of a purpose, we live in physical comfort and security but writhe in mental anguish at the dismal aspect of meaningless existence. How the fuck, then, do we get by?
Reading Kaczynski's Manifesto, among what amounts to paranoid venom against an innately evil, yet strangely ambiguous, "technology", something of a truth appears. Modern man, supplied with all the necessities of survival, obtainable with a minimum of effort, must supplement his psyche with "surrogate activities." These activities are our jobs, aspirations, hobbies and passions. They are, in the accepted morality of today, all of what constitutes a healthy and useful life.
It is unfortunate, however, that they are all bull shit. At the root, each an every pursuit not focused on the basic survival or gratification of the basic senses is a pathetic attempt at fulfilling that empty hollow hole we all feel deep inside.
Whether Kaczynski is right to blame technology for these woes is a mute point, since it is obvious that technology and humanity walk hand in hand. Thus, to denigrate technology is to denigrate homo sapien as well, which, all of us being human --or am I writing for future A?I-- is pointless.
Taking technology, and all its circumstances, as a priori, we see that this vapid, wasteland of purpose is unavoidable and must be dealt with as a force outside our control.
How to deal? Suicide? Hedonism? Some form of blinder that allows us, in the words of Peter Gibbons, to "just come home and think I've been fishing all day or something?" Or is the ability to deal simply, turn a bilnd eye to what's apparent and plow on ahead, what most of us term "growing up"?
Last weekend, these existential woes had me deep in a shadowy valley. A highly anticipated day off from work, without school or any other obligation, should have been blessed, but instead I awoke with a terrible feeling of anguish. I could think of nothing to do, or more to the point, nothing that I wanted to do.
So, at her suggestion, Ellen and I wandered down to the Charles river to watch the regatta. (By the bye, did you not know that I now live with my girlfirend, ******?)
It was boring. The boats moved endlessly down the river and it was impossible to know what you were watching. Who was winning? Who was racing? The fluid strokes of the rowers and the boats cutting through the water were aesthetically pleasing, but so were the clouds in the sky and I could have watched them just as easily (which I did).
The most notable aspect was the veritable fair the grew up along the river banks, having nothing to do with skulling or Vespolis and everything to do with Consumption. Apparently, the Head of the Charles is a great place to stock up on free samples of junk food, shop for overpriced clothing and be more or less cerebrially inundated with commercial ectoplasm. I had no wish to push through a crowd like an infant pig to the fat teats of the Dunkin Donuts truck handing out free shot glass sized Pumpkin Spice Lattes, so I applied myself to naviating safely through the masses and not sobbing out of pity for the all those present.
This has nothing to do with my overall argument other than to set the scene for my emotional state of mind. Any other day, any other time, the setting and circumstances are different, but the basic story is the same. Without a surrogate activity, I am depressed, lost, confused, antisocial and altogether, so pathetically, sane.
Now, the day continued in this blase manner, growing ever more tedious and unendurable. Naturally, my ill feeling permeated the air around me and infected my significant other (who doesn't share my former sentiments, or at least refuses to acknowledge them) until we were both exhausted with the effort of living effortlessly.
Towards evening, Ellen brought up the current Best Buy sale. Our apartment was without a television, one white wall in our living space glaringly vacant, the whole room some how incomplete. We were living in American sin. She suggested we atone for this sin by buying a TV, and in the process, though this was not stated, only implied, supply ourselves with a purpose.
Consuming - not the food we need, nor the sights, sounds, smells and touches of an active life- but commercial goods, is an extremely effective surrogate activity. From the moment I agreed to the plan, I felt immensely better. We looked up bus schedules, purposefully gathered the necessary cards, bags and clothing for the trip, all the while feeling more and more sure of our own agency. Throughout all of this, I was aware of the fiction, and yet it still affected me positively. I knew how pathetic, how false and, may I use the word, EVIL this turn of events was, but like scratching your ass in public, once you give in to the craving, even the disapproving glare of a beautiful girl cannot stop you from sphincter spelunking.
We took the trip, the deal went down. All the way home we guarded our precious new purchase like it was the physical manifestation of that happy feeling. It really (and this is totally without sarcasm) was a wonderful night. All because we were able to fill that drafty void of existence with this greedy, self-centered activity.
You could argue that there are many other surrogate activities that are not so base. But with each example, e.g. jogging, reading philosophy on the internet, volunteering at a hospital, smoking phat-ass blunts etc. you must acknowledge that at the root, these are all desperate attempts to paper over a structural fracture at the cornerstone of our being.
There is no conclusion here, only complaint. Please respond.