It's a fatal desire, the exploration of your own composition.

Any attempt at understanding love is at its heart an effort to dig up the self.

James River, RVA

Perhaps this desire for an increasingly baroque intensity of physical experience betrays discomfort with thought. I still doubt that wanderings in the halls of the mind will lead toward revelation. I suspect, too, that knowingness can't enter through the senses, but impatience with the speaking mind drives me to veins and muscles.


It's either all about or not at all in the slightest about atmosphere. Is it shallow to live in the senses? Is anything else worth my time?

Life always feels like it's about to start, starts continually
Saying a little prayer of gratitude today that my knees feel so much better than they did five... even four months ago. If I do another thru-hike, I'll prioritize lightness over saving money or avoiding human contact. I ranked those differently last time around, mailing myself fewer resupply boxes and was in town only about once a week... meaning I packed out 7 days of food every damn time, sometimes as many as 9. It seems obvious now, but my body is worth more to me than avoiding conversations or saving a few bucks. How did I not start out knowing that??? Anyway, well on the way to self-actualization over here.

ETA: I miss my trail dirt. I swear I feel way cleaner in a week's worth of trail grime than I do stewing in a week's worth of town juices. (Obviously don't shower more than once a week—what kind of sucker do you take me for?)
Without a camera I feel diminished. The best photo is the next one, right? My heart thrills perennially to images, reminding me I'm meant to do that. I still haven't managed to figure out what to do with them, but that's not the most important thing.

Can't be loved without being known, can't be known without being seen.

MT 2016

I like making rules but I hate to follow them.

I wrote all this the other day but didn't post it because there was no reason to; doing it now because there's no reason not to.

If you never make any errors that means you never met your limits and, what's more, you can't know whence your success derives. 
Still working out strategies for convincing myself that mistakes are fine. It's hard because my instinct is to try as hard as I can to impress people so they won't all think, as I can see from my privileged insider's point of view, that I'm a total piece of shit undeserving of life, let alone affection or respect. It's hard to determine to what extent my actions matter. On the one hand, maybe it never matters what choice I make because everything's meaningless anyway and I shouldn't be basing my decisions on other people's opinions, but on the other, who we are is constructed by the choices we make, and every thing I do adds up. I don't really think we as individuals have inherent value outside of the effect we have on the world, so if I want to feel like I deserve this life, I need to do a good job at it. 
Do we even exist outside of our effect, the human-shaped hole each of us makes in the universe? If we weren't interacting with the world in some way (inhale/exhale, eat/generate heat, etc.) we wouldn't be alive, and hence not human. So no interaction = no self, and no "inherent" value in the collection of matter that constitutes "me" in the physical sense. The system must be in motion to be at all. 
In these discussions I often confuse people's opinions with their best interest. Causing someone to think a critical thought about me is not the same as causing them pain, sadness, or even anger. The two are related—people will be critical of you if you hurt them—but not identical. Sometimes people enjoy being critical, so giving them the opportunity to judge my actions negatively could actually improve their day.
And let's not forget that the absolute sum total of thoughts and feelings I attribute to others is conceived of and projected by my own mind, so in the end it all comes down to my own opinions about myself. It's been me vs. me all along. 
Insofar as I feel happy when I believe I'm doing well at the thing in which I'm engaged, and despairing when I believe I'm doing poorly, maybe feeling okay in life is a question of redefining what exactly it is I think I'm doing. Is it the visible task itself, or is it the learning of the task? If I'm making mistakes I'm doing a good job learning. 
I think a deeper consideration of the concept of "value" is also called for. When I feel worthless, what do I really mean by "worth"? A dollar amount? Goodness? Measurable benefit conferred on the world? Something more essential? Do I believe that everything that exists has value through existence alone? That's what we mean when we're sad about a life ended, an object lost, or an experience that's no longer available to be experienced. I'm not sure I agree with that method of awarding value, though. Objects are never lost—matter goes on and on, and when it stops energy takes its place. One experience may no longer be available, but another will always take its place. (What's more, we think of experiences as repeatable when in truth each iteration is unique.) Is a life lost different? It has something to do with potential, the events we imagine would have happened had the life continued, but those things are immaterial at best, and in reality nothing at all: mere thoughts. (Is a thought nothing?) So if nothing can be said to be lost... does anything truly have value in the first place? If the concept of value is void, can I be said to be either worthy or worthless? I think the answer is that value can only be defined functionally. An object or system can't be valuable taken in isolation, but it can in relation to something else. So what do I relate to? What is my function? 
I'm frustrated that I have to keep having these conversations. Can't my current state of existence be enough to justify itself? I deserve to be alive. Or not. Does it matter??? I do want to do the things that constitute life (communicate, create, experience, react...) and constantly doubting that I "deserve" them gets in their way. 
I also need to escape the mindset that these problems must be solved before I can act. They can't be, so if I want to experience life I'll have to find a way to do it without feeling totally justified.

Killing yourself doesn't make sense if you reaaally believe life is meaningless. You have to believe that there's meaning but you personally are fucking up too badly to reach the horizon of that meaningfulness. So, ironically perhaps, thinking our application of sense is senseless makes it much easier to keep on living. I used to be upset that I was continually thinking about suicide even after I considered myself to be "past that" or whatever, but how can you choose life without a simultaneous awareness of the alternative?

I want to do violence to my memory because its inconstancy does violence to me.

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