Tuesday, October 26, 2010

By whatever-in-this-fucking-world-You-go-by!

(God, if you're out there, read this.)

i don't want to be someone who craves for fancy cars, Feni-Rose flats, or excessive amount of money. I don't want to be someone who sees life as something to conquer. I don't want to have bank accounts with trillions of Rupiahs inside them - even if I do, and yes I will be grateful of it, please don't let me use them for my own benefit only. Please don't let me be one of those guys who don't know what to do with their money. Please let me stay as the the low-maintenance bitch that I am, please don't let me get addicted to luxury. Please let me be thankful for every resource that I have, please let me be thankful for every single new knowledge that I attain every single day, please let me be thankful for every good, amazing person that I've met and will meet in my life that inspires me not to be a self-centered spoiled-brat. I don't want to be vain. I don't want to be corroded by ambitions. I don't want to forget how it feels to be powerless. I don't want to stand on the top of the world and not give a fuck about everything else below. Even if it hurts THIS bad to remind me that I still give a fuck, I don't mind. I really don't fucking mind.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Loneliness is Bliss... Or Not.

“What I hate the most of being an insomniac is the way your friends say ‘good night’ one after another, and you know you’re gonna be alone soon.”

I just tweeted that. But now that I really think about it, I think I don’t really hate loneliness. We’ve become best friends.

I admit that after the last of your friends said ‘bye’, the silence would feel almost unbearable. But it never lasted long. Because then thoughts would start flowing into your head, filling it with inspirations. Of course, whether the inspirations were good or bad, it’s totally another matter. I mean they didn’t practically turn me into Neil Gaiman, but yeah, at least the silence gave me room and time to really think and contemplate. And it was, in a way, a luxurious feeling that you might not be able to find in any other place or moment.

Tell you what, my friends? I think we are the most underrated company of ourselves. When was the last time you really talk to yourself without any distraction? When was the last time you really analyze things independently without any external impulse like television, music, and others’ opinions? I’m sure most of you can’t even recall how it feels to converse with your own mind intensely about anything. And I don’t blame you, because the mind might make the most unfriendly company ever possible. It doesn’t conceal the truth, and it doesn’t give you any consolation–unless you suffer from some kind of delusion or mental problem. But hey, you are all you’ve got – that’s why your mind makes the handiest bestie. The mind’s a heartless bitch–that means you are a heartless bitch–but when nobody’s left beside you, who would talk you out of boredom and loneliness if not yourself?

Social Neuroticism -- Or When Ornamental Bowls Speak to You.

I woke up at about twenty-to-five to my mom calling out for me from downstairs, ordering me to come down for a morning prayer together with her and my dad. I rolled out of bed in an instant, but before that my reflex was to hide the ashtray in the gap between my bed and the wall. Because if I didn’t come down quickly enough my mom would go upstairs and check on me and even though she knows that I do smoke I’d hate it if she saw the ashtray. Arguing the freedom to pursue personal happiness is not the most pleasant way to start a morning, especially if you knew that it’s going to be useless. Besides, I was getting more and more used to this relatively new morning ritual (we never had it when my dad was still working in Jakarta or until recently when he spent his days as a retired worker plunging himself deep into Qur’an interpretations). There’s no way I would be up and writing right now otherwise. So I guess it was a blessing in disguise.

Usually the first thing I would do after I woke up–at whatever time of the day–was to check on my twitter timeline. In fact, I did. But I only tweeted a morning greeting and then I decided to continue reading Alastair Reynolds’ Absolution Gap, a book lent to me by a friend that I knew by heart and head wouldn’t be delighted by a mention of name here. Besides, nothing had happened yet on the timeline. So again, the half-assed morning prayer was a blessing in disguise. I made myself a cup of black coffee and helped myself to some fried banana leftovers then sit on the sofa across the pitch-black television screen. I read it somewhere that when you fry something, you cut down its nutrition value by half and raise the fat amount twice as much. But it’s okay; I could use some sugar with my coffee, just not in it. And I’m also sure that crap carbs is one of them universal guilty pleasures, God knows it.

I didn’t have any idea for how long I had been reading before I suddenly found myself staring at my mom’s ornamented brass bowl. It was coated with shiny gold-and-orange paint and it had tangled-to-each-other roses all over it.
Then, for a few seconds, I thought I saw it moving.

Maybe the correct way to depict it would be that the bowl was pulsating. Like one very alive, beating heart. Maybe it’s my eyes–I knew my contact lenses didn’t really fit the prescription and it was still very early in the morning–my vision could be quite hazy sometimes. Then I looked at another one of my mom’s ornamental bowl, this one was made of crystal with three short legs below it. And holy fuck it did the same thing. I looked at the television, was ready to throw the 600+ pages in my hand at it if it pulled the same trick on me but praise Geezus it didn’t. So was it a kind of ornamental bowls’ quirk or was it in my head?

I know I can be quite neurotic sometimes, and I hate it because it seems like everyone is neurotic nowadays. Then again I think people went collectively neurotic as a society (social neuroticism?) every now and then. I’m quite certain that when the world poses down a threat considerable enough to a large part of the humanity or even to the whole of it, society would show the symptoms of this thing I carelessly call social neuroticism. The world witnessed the prehistoric society became neurotic over survival. It also witnessed the society got messed up in their head over wars, the need to establish social contracts and form a government, plagues, politics, poverty, religion, and whatever kind of tension you could name throughout the ages. In times like those, people get so depressed and frustrated that at their innermost part as humans becomes infected by suspicion, hatred, and fear of living. In fact, I’m pretty sure that in those historical moments where the tensions culminated, the suicide rates were the highest compared to other crisis. When life became so hard and they no more had faith in their own capability to overcome the crisis, it became a common choice–wrong nonetheless, I believe–for people to let go of their own life.

The thing is, if suspicion, hatred, a loathing to life as is represented by suicide are to be indicators of social neuroticism, then our society nowadays is experiencing the same collective state of (wacky) mind. Suicide rate amongst all layers of society all over the world, young or old, shows that we’re once again facing the same global anxiousness. We need not even to reevaluate hatred and suspicion among each other. We are living in an age where the existence of such psychosocial phenomenon is taken for granted. But what is causing it today? What crisis puts us under the flag of United Lunatics? Even when the media keep amplifying global terrorism as the crisis of the contemporary, I’m not sure that those teenagers who leapt from 30th floor in Japan thought about the Al Qaeda seconds prior to freefall. Poverty, being one of the world’s worst crises, definitely is not the reason why suicide clinics have become somewhat of a fad in Balkan countries, arguably the most prosperous and the best place to live on earth. We are not talking about people who have to choose which one of their children to feed today and which one tomorrow. Nor are we talking about people who chose to die for their ideals–learnt or installed–by strapping explosives around their torso and charging into a building full of–real or made up–enemies. We are not talking about such kind of desperation, but these poison-guzzling people from middle and even upper class of the society seem very eager to quit it all.

Many might argue that it shows how low the level of tolerance of our society is. Against pain, against boredom, against themselves. But to me, it represents something more profound: that humanity has become satiated with itself.

In premeditated murders, you would be thinking about why a person deserves to die. So you don’t kill this person just because; you kill because this person carries a particular value, represents a certain idea, or causes a specific feeling that you can’t stand, and you extinguish all those things along with the life of the person who embodies it. You don’t kill somebody per se; you sterilize the world–or yourself–from whatever this person may bring upon it. In suicide cases, what happens is the otherwise: you sterilize yourself from whatever the world–or others–may bring upon you.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not going to condemn those people who just lost it and decided that they had enough. I don’t know how it feels to be a gay and having my sexual activity recorded and disseminated as a prank. I don’t know how it feels to finish my lunch inside one of the toilet’s cubicles every day to avoid the bullies at school. These people might face something more significantly disturbing rather than… you know; palpitating urns.

Would it be justifiable for us to end our lives if we happened to be one of those oppressed minorities? Maybe not. Humanity has progressed so far that life has become so easy for so many of us. No wonder we have less resistance against burdens and ordeals compared to our great grandfathers who had to face Black Plague or the War of Independence, for instance. There really isn’t any strong reason, compared to the ordeals people faced back then or some do now in the other sides of the world, for you to kill yourself.

But maybe it’s exactly because we–or especially those people in developed countries–are at the peak of comfort. Even if they managed to crawl out of whatever it was they thought burdening their lives–bullying, discrimination, et cetera–they had no incentives for the life after it. They’d still have to face the same situation that they’ve faced since they were born. Hell, they have the best everything–what could possibly get better? But if they tried to fuck it up a little bit just to see what would happen, would they be able to stand the change? If you had nothing to aspire of, what’s the point of continue living, really? Life is perfect and it will always be; but at the same time, perfect means SNAFU, and to them, perpetuated SNAFU means FUBAR. And hey – isn’t perfect what humanity has always been in search for?

And if we put it with the previous premise, that suicide means sterilizing yourself from whatever the world’s offering to you; wouldn’t it mean that those people are sterilizing themselves from their perfect-since-born lives? If yes, wouldn’t it imply that all the struggle and bloodshed and tears and pain in the less fortunate parts of the world or even the ones that what we’ve had since millions of years ago (or 6000 years ago; your choice) only lead to–nothing?

I sincerely hope not. With all my heart, I hope that there is definitely something better this world has to offer in the future, for people that still try to overcome whatever that is testing them; for me, because every now and then I feel like I’m trapped in the web of this social neuroticism and I need someone to tell me that something is hidden somewhere, waiting for me to discover it, and that it would be worth it to actually release myself from the web. Because there is really no point of dreaming about a world where children are running free with smile on their face if we know that someday whatever it is that makes them smile will stop making them feel happy.

Maybe this world needs villains after all. Maybe we need them to stay evil, so that we have a collective purpose to move on as a human race. Maybe life isn’t meant to be perfect–maybe all of us needed to be damaged, flawed, and hurt. After all, no one wants to read a book or watch a movie about a bunch of people that always smile from the beginning to the end of the narrative–fuck, there will even be no narrative at all. Some people say that a perfect life is a boring life and I used to agree with them, but now I have to beg to differ; a perfect life is not only boring, apparently it’s also implausible.

With that being said, I’d have to say that now I feel grateful for the imperfection, all the broken-hearts (yes there is a reason why broken-hearts came first), the failures, bankruptcy, every single ugly thing that’s happened in my life – because every time I felt them, my conscience responded by saying that I still need to feel the opposite of those shits, like love, success, wealth. As long as that response appears, I will always know that I need to go on. And if you and other people out there get the same response from your heart and mind every time your life goes into a deep fucking (and not the good one, I mean), then rest assured, human race isn’t coming to an end.

Our problems, so long as we still think that they matter, will keep us alive. Somehow, it has to come to that simple conclusion. However, figuring out whether seeing ornamental bowls pulsating can be regarded as a form of response from my conscience might not be as simple–because if it isn’t, then it’s totally a different set of problems, and I need to go see a fuckin’ shrink.

So congratulations, then–that means you’re about to finish reading either a potential epiphany material or a potentially schizophrenic artifact. Toodle-oo!

I Need to Write.

I need to write. But I don’t know what I’m supposed to write, or what I’m writing for. In fact, I’m not sure if there’s any meaning for me to write at all. But that doesn’t matter. For now, I will write because I can. Because I can still move my fingers, because the synaptic and the neurons in my brain still function and it doesn’t need any trigger to function. I will write just for the hell of it, not for you, and not even for myself. I write because I knew it’s fun to write, and I’ve lost the fun of it somewhere along the way, and now I’m trying to find the old me who loved to write and could write without having to think about what and how to write. And I know you may find all of these ramblings contradictory or inconsistent, but I can say with relief that I don’t care, because this is a rare time, one of those times where I don’t object to myself being inconsistent or contradictory. I need to write, I want to write, and it’s what I’m doing right now.