An interlude. The next post (4.15) continues with the production of virtue.
Here we are in the middle between old and new. That means we are simultaneously at the end of the old and at the beginning of the new. One of the predictable feelings in the middle is lostness. Far enough away from the beginning that enthusiasm has burned away, some weariness has set in, and the intensity of aim has subsided. This contributes to aimlessness. “Why I am I here?” asks the one in the middle. In addition to distance from beginning and end, and given the relative good feeling of “starting” and “finishing”, the middle feels comparatively mundane, boring, ho-hum. Guard against the guidance of mundanity. That the feeling occurs is explainable and so has some logos for the human animal, but that it is to be taken seriously is another and far more disastrous matter. In particular, he who is in the middle must stay focused, must remember where he came from and where he is going, must repeat, must hug boredom!
Boredom shows itself like a mild “sigh”. But its catastrophic implications are in its mildness. For it is assuaged, silenced, pacified by distraction. But the pacification of boredom is not permanent but temporary. To make more vivid the reality it is best to turn to metaphor. Pacification is brought about by feeding boredom. So, boredom sleeps for a time. But when it wakes it wants to be fed again. And what feeds it? Distraction.
Two things happen as we build the system of growing the monster of boredom. We grow accustomed to not feeling boredom. Thus we grow more sensitive to its presence when it does appear. We also grow more accustomed to living distracted. For a time the limits of technology require hauling the eyes to the stage or paying the jester to perform. Now? Every escapee from boredom has the jester in his pocket. Swipe. Flicker. Swipe. Flicker. Swipe. Sigh. Swipe. Flicker. Swipe. Flicker. Sigh.
The implications are catastrophic. Distracted from aim at the good, and if never found, distracted from the pain of not aiming at the good, more and more the escapee from boredom hugs a meager existence of aimless, boring, escaping of boredom. The best that can be done is to pacify the now bloated monster of boredom as much as possible. But other monsters lurk. They are the progeny of boredom, and the Puritanical Libertarian is not going there today.
Today the meditation is about checking he who comes to steal and destroy. To personify this evil is not more problematic than to personify anything else. But to treat the person as “other” and to blame him and beg for someone else to take him away is folly. It is inside the Puritanical Libertarian where boredom, discontent, frustration, sigh lurk. They are either given shelter and fed or they are evicted.
Aah, we found property rights. Let’s go there. Evict! I do not say live without this or that feeling. I say live without being guided by this or that feeling. The sustenance of the feeling, the currency that allows for trade with it, the calorie that such feeling grows on is attention and care. Withhold it. You stay focused on the good dear reader. I go today to attempt the same.
Is it not the most magnificent gift that another day is given? I have failed so far to be entirely unguided by malformed, undeveloped feeling. And yet–the great distributor has thrown more time in my direction. I go to produce, the lurkers be damned.