My sister disapproves of my ambitions.

She's very clever, artistic too. Not in that bullshit way like when people kill their cat and nail it to something and then call it 'capitalism and fornication' and have old people with floppy hair and poncey voices talk about how you can sense the artist's keen zen-like attitude to the destruction of the indigenous flora of the inner city. She can put coloured goo on something flat and when you stand back it looks like something. She also has an eye for mood and so on. She's good at art.
Like me, she has very open views on everything: I cannot prove anything therefore I cannot be sure of anything thus I am open to all possibilities. Except when it comes to my views. Anything I think is usually wrong.

I am not religious, probably on account of mild nihilism. My sister is not religious either. So we don't believe in any great plan or meaning. We acknowledge that there could be such a thing but have yet to be convinced. As I see it you have to define your own meaning. Or nick someone else's I suppose, but it's all the same.

So I have this idea that my life will have meaning if at the end of it I could write it all down and someone could make a vaguely passable film out of it. If your life hasn't had at least one story in it then that's a bit of a waste in my opinion. Further, if you have the capability to actually cause some of this to happen yourself, then you should do so. I keep saying 'you'. I mean 'I'.

Of course my sister thinks this is crap. She says that you should just do the best for yourself, and not expect anything more from anyone.

You I can't take over the world from my parents' house. It's just not practical. For one thing it's a nightmare bringing girls home. Of course that really isn't a problem at the moment. I think maybe my standards are too high.
This notion of 'doing something big' is the fault of the media. OK probably my upbringing and genes too, but where everyone else was brought up on escapism, I was brought up on inspiration. I absorbed the message. But the message isn't meant to be remembered, it's supposed to be part of the show. You're meant to forget it. It's a bit off to show someone romantic dreams of danger, poetry and excitement and then tell them 'Hey you've finished puberty, well done! By the way the world is a boring shithole where the only interesting events that ever occur are either the result of collossal evil or stupidity or ignorance or a combination of all three.' Of course beautiful things do happen. Apparently. But not enough.

I need to do something. My sister is married. She is younger than I. Her husband is an Albanian immigrant. He did something. He walked to England.

Doing something sometimes just involves getting off your arse and doing it. But often by doing things this way you're relying heavily on luck. This is the other problem. I like to be spontaneous but I'm not about to step into the unknown. I see 'luck' as being random. I don't believe that I'll do better if I just kiss ass to some theory someone had a long while ago and had the good sense to write down.
To be honest I still don't entirely get this whole thing of probability. If you only have a 0.0000001 chance of getting hit by lightning say, but you do anyway, what use was 0.0000001? It doesn't make you any less crispy does it?

And yet I'm not afraid of lightning. Hmm.

I want to be involved in something. I trawl the internet hoping to uncover some secret plot. But there aren't any secret plots, well none on google anyway. For a while I had the idea that there were secret messages encoded into all those American family homepages which was why there were so many spelling mistakes. But I don't have enough computing power to analyse it all. Also I don't know any good algorithms for analysing webpages for hidden messages. Also I think it might just be bad spelling. It bothers me that the lowest common denominator is so low.

My sister got out. She made the move.

She goes to art college every day (except weekends), and works the rest of the time (including weekends). Her husband works about 14 hours a day every day. When they're not at college, working, eating or sleeping, they watch videos.

People do not appreciate big talk. My sister thinks that aiming high is keeping me low. By aiming too high, I am simply coasting along achieving nothing. On the other hand, people also dislike it when it looks like you really will achieve something big. Is it better to be hated by millions for the rest of the millennium or to be unknown and forgotten within a generation? The truly selfless person actively hides from fame. So was Jesus really that great? I bet more than a few people told Jesus to stop drawing attention to hisself.

I've been trying to get a flat with my mate. It isn't going so well. I think the problem may lie in the fact that he's a lazy shit. He currently has a flat in a town about 30 miles away. He was going to uni there except that he got kicked out for not actually going to the uni. Just being affiliated with a university, he discovered, is not enough. Big debts. Big.

Whenever I find somewhere that might be good he never gets his shit together in time. He only ever mentions it when I'm busy with something.

The thing is I could just get a flat for one person. But I did that before, it's really dull.

It's not going to be long now before someone successfully wins damages for disability discrimination due to laziness. I mean, if you're lazy what the hell can you do about it? 'Just get off your arse and do some work?' How? Maybe laziness is in some way clinical? Maybe it's unfair to be abusive about someones laziness problem.

Is it escapism to do something relatively easy and then just settle down? Or is it escapism to piss away your life trying to make shit happen but never succeeding?
What if you do something bloody hard but so do your peer group, and as such it's the psychological 'easy' route? Could that be seen as less virtuous than someone who shirks social respectability and fights for benefits because they can't get out of bed in the morning? (Hmm, I suppose someone else would have to fight for them, what with them being so lazy... hmm.)

Where the hell do people get their motivation from if the ultimate goal is conformity and stability? It begs the question 'what is the point?' but then I already said that there isn't one, so that's kinda irrelevant.

The west needs some problems. It's too damn easy here. Oh sure we live like fucking kings but what the hell do we accomplish? A family? A stable home? Oh it may be hard but what changes? All you've done is given in to nature and followed the cycle round again.

I can totally see why some people go nuts. If you spend the first 15 years of your life being fed images of sexy/funny/beautiful/incredible heroes struggling against sexy/funny/beautiful/incredible villains and then spend the next 5 years wondering where the hell all the villains are it's quite easy to see why some people do terrible things. They are supplying the evil. If I can't be the hero then dammit I'll be the villain, and I'll be a damned good one. We need a Dr Evil. We need an evil that the people too smart/wierd/independant/beneficially-mutated for the army can fight. The comic book villains always get it wrong. They always try to turn the heros over to the side of villainy with bribes of wealth and power.

The way to make a villain is to feed them escapism whilst coccooning them in safety and stability.

The final showdown...

Detective Ryder: (Straining in his bonds) "You don't have to do this Retina! There's still time! Abort it before it's too l-"
Retina: (Preoccupied with a laptop) "Oh give it a rest Ryder. You know this is what you want."
DR: "?"
R: (turns to grin at Ryder) "You've loved all this from the beginning! We've had a great time, you and I! The discoveries, the chase! It's been fantastic!"
DR: "What are you on about? Do you think this is some kind of game? You're going to kill millions of people!"
R: (suddenly calm & serious) "Oh no Ryder. No, they're going to kill each other. But it's not about them. They're merely pawns."
DR: (shakes head in despair)
R: "It's about you and me my friend! This is our show!"
DR: "You're insane!"
R: "Oh perhaps, perhaps not. If it hadn't been me it would've been someone else, there's a good chance that it would have been you. We're really very alike you know."
(A big screen on the wall shows a cityscape somewhere in the world. It seems very calm, there's no sound. A clock is counting down in one corner. It is at 00:01:01:52)
DR: "Why are you doing this? What possible good will it do? You don't stand to gain at all."
R: "You're wrong! I already have gained! I've had a purpose - and so have you. It's a shame maybe that it turned out this way, that I won, but we both knew from the start that this was one possible outcome. And you had your share of the glory. If it hadn't been for me then what would you be doing? Trawling the web looking for N-bot recipies? Filing reports about the paedophile-rights activist riots? They're all idiots Ryder. They outnuber us thousands to one. They've shaped the world to be interesting for them. There's nothing for people like us, we have to make it for ourselves. This is a two-edged sword I'm swinging here buddy, on the one side I'm about to squash all those ignorant little bugs they call 'humanity' and at the same time I've created an adventure - an adventure worthy of us. They've had their decades of domesticating us. No longer will we be walled in by the fear they instructed us to feel as the smart-but-weak. We won't be distracted by difficult equations or obscure poetry whilst they create their own little wars over trifling irrelevant tosh and have fun oppressing each other. No more!"
"In..." (Retina looks at the clock on the big screen) "...38 seconds the first blow will be struck for the liberation of the intelligentia, we'll start having a little fun of our own! A world of intelligent warlords weaving intricate webs of -"
DR: "Oh will you shut the fuck up! Jesus you're so full of shit!"
R: (grins) "You're right of course. I was just stalling so you didn't ask the obvious question..."
DR: (unamused) "... Oh for fuck's sake do I have to say it? 'If it was all just for the thrill of the chase why don't you just call it off?'"
R: (very calm, speaking softly) "Because that would be a very cheesy ending..."
(Retina reaches out and presses a big red button, the wall panel clock goes from 00:00:13:43 to zero instantly and the main picture of a cityscape somewhere in the world briefly shows a rapidly brightening blue glow near one of the buildings and then blacks out).

I told this idea to my sister. She said it was shit. I said 'might make a good idea for a short story.' She said 'and who do you think is going to buy it?' I said 'That is not the point' to which she replied 'There is no point, you might as well just buy a book, it'll be better than your stupid story anyway'.

A simple trade then... I stop escaping to my dreams of achievment and buy someone else's escapism and read that instead.

Although fragments of a person's life may be congruent with certain notions of aesthetics, like those we see in books and movies, why not go all the way and assume that the entirety of a person's life may be made into a movie? If fostering fragments is desirable, surely having the entirety of a life composed of these fragments as to make a whole is the ideal. As espoused upon in Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly, there is difference between what we experience as ourselves, and what we see when viewing ourselves through a glass, or, a scanner. Likewise, the aesthetic life, meaning, a life that one would want to watch, cannot be complete unless we both experience it (as the actor), and watch it (as a  spectator). But this is physically impossible.

If one's life was a movie, there would hardly be enough time to watch it. You would essentially be splitting your life in half, the "actor" part, and the "spectator" part. One could never live a movie-worthy version of a lifetime, and watch it at the same time, except for a movie about you making and watching a movie of your life half the time, but would this be a movie that you'd like to watch? It would be like looking into a glass, with half the time you watching the movie wishing you were acting out what you'd like to be, your wish half the time unfulfilled. The aesthetic life thus remains unlived. To aim for it would be escapism, a denying of reality.

This is of course assuming the time needed for replay of a situation is equivalent to it. A solution would lie in dreams, where time is malleable. A dream lasts less than an hour for most people, but in the space of an hour one can traverse across days and continents. With enough psychological training, one could conceivably train the self to remember the details of the day, and then synthesize them into a narrative by night. Perhaps our dreams are evolution's imperfect tendency to the aesthetic life, where one spends the waking life living it, and the night reflection of it, resulting in the movie of a lifetime, albeit with the reels stained with rust, slides missing or parts manipulated into error, the projection onto the screen yellow and strobing.

 

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