autonomous actions

A wave is ocean, and when it rises up, it is given the name “wave.” When it is given this name, it is like it has an independent existence. It seems to roll along the surface, which is all water—water flowing in water—and this we call a life. Then it subsides and this is called death. Nothing happened to the water. It is just a spontaneous movement, but because of the name and the form, it appears as a separate existence. All the while it is only the play of water rising, flowing, subsiding—no story. Mind makes the story by creating an illusory identity. In true understanding, it is all one. When the identity rises up, we call it life. When it subsides, we call it death. But really, if you look from the perspective of the pure Self, there is no such thing as an autonomous, independent existence. All actions are the actions of the ocean.
—  Mooji

A few years back (I believe some time right after I’d broken up with Erin) a person I am no longer friends with (due to their overbearing belief in happiness through fitness and only liking shitty television dramas about teenagers) was trying to tell me that there was something about watching the sun come up on the beach that was so powerful it would change my life. 

I, being who I am, got drunk a couple nights later and said “fuck it” and walked to ocean beach, sat on the very edge of the parking lot (don’t want to get sand on my suit), and waiting for the sun to come up. 

And it did. Like it has every day of my life, and presumably always will. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t know, because I’d either be frozen or flash-fried by whatever specific stellar phenomena had occurred. 

It didn’t do anything for me. It’s just the sun. Some autonomous action of orbiting stellar bodies doesn’t really interest me. 

But I realized that’s, in and of itself, the problem - I view nature as simply an autonomous, inconsequential segment of being alive. Since I’m human, and therefore imprint my existence and agency on everything I come into contact with, I see it as something that only happens in the background. There’s no beauty to nature because nature simply is. When people rant at me about how great some natural vista is, I view it the same way I would someone ranting at me about how great breathing is, like yeah, we gotta breath but, at the end of the day, who gives a fuck? 

If there isn’t some tactile creative force behind it, I am basically indifferent. 

I tried to explain this to my friend, who of course accused me of missing the forest for the trees (in and of itself a hilarious mistiming of aphorisms), and insisting that living life to the fullest in and of itself could always be seen in watching the sunrise. I argued the concept of living life to it’s “fullest” is misleading anyway, as personal meaning is inherently subjective from a moment-to-moment basis, and there’s no basic deep meaning that applies unilaterally to the human experience – even the sun doesn’t apply. Some cultures worshipped the sun, but their bones are dust now, and I live in the big city, and while it will also someday be dust, it ain’t yet. 

Once in awhile, I think about that night. I know I don’t see this world as a lot of other people see it. I know a lot of my misery and solitary habits come from that I don’t know how to enjoy things, or like things, or take some substantial “human” experience away from them and grow rather than simply ontologically analyze. But I don’t think I’m ever going to understand the idea that some transformational experience is simply indulging your sensorium. 

As far as I can tell, moments of transformation are huge, and painful, and abrupt, like Saul on the road to Damascus, not when Saul was sitting out in his mud hut outside Tarsus wondering when they were going to invent central heating as the sun was coming up.

prometheansins  asked:

❛ they always trust me to be someone who i don’t even want to be. ❜

he didn’t respond for the longest time, really, lost in the slick movements of the knife as he diced the tomatoes, gathered the chunks and dumped them into the boiling pot of the stew they were cooking. his actions, though autonomous, were carefully thought out – expert, even at such a young age.

it was at the sink did he ponder atlas’ question. he didn’t know how to broach it. offer him sympathy and a pat on the back, to inevitably sound like he was patronizing him? he was centuries older, he didn’t need advice or apologies from a boy of sixteen.

the sound of running water was all he could offer until it switched off, knife safely placed into the soapy depths. jim decided to merely say what he felt was most sincere.

“i will fight for a world where you can be who you want to be.” he said simply. “i can’t change the ways trolls think of changelings overnight, but i’ll never stop fighting for you and your species. i.. i know it’s not really as simple as that and – maybe i’m just making things worse. but you have my word as the trollhunter that i’ll make a difference.”

The legitimacy of state power is… reinforced by the very affirmation of its own impotence, of its lack of choice faced with the world-wide necessity it is dominated by. The theme of the common will is replaced by that of the lack of personal will, of capacity for autonomous action that is anything more than just management of necessity. From an allegedly defunct Marxism, the supposedly reigning liberalism borrows the theme of objective necessity, identified with the constraints and caprices of the world market. Marx’s once scandalous thesis that governments are simple business agents for international capital is today the obvious fact on which ‘liberals’ and ‘socialists’ agree. The absolute identification of politics with the management of capital is no longer the shameful secret hidden behind the ‘forms’ of democracy; it is the openly declared truth by which our governments acquire legitimacy
—  Rancière