date. 2021 - 2022
city. new york city
Say goodbye to something or someone
Take a week off. Completely. Shabbos for a week. Heck, Shabbos for a day.
Write letters to each of my friends and family
Death encourages us to forget the future and look toward the past.
Life as pregnancy / incubation / the Jews in the desert. Death is birth
Meditation as death.
Death is a story.
Add: ego death on acid. That’s okay. “I” will be okay.
Make a death list. Add something that died each day
History: everything which has already died / been destroyed.
Read the obituary section each morning.
Each day is born, lives, and dies.
It gets dark so I can see the stars.
“What does Christ do, but invite us to live watchfully, as if we were about to die at any moment, and to adhere to the practice of virtue, as if we were destined to live forever?” - Erasmus
Slipping into myself. Isolated. Sad.
The fear of annihilation passed from the World Wars into the Cold War into the ecological war. The fear is the same; it simply inhabits different bodies.
Let life melt away, like boiled flesh slipping off the bone. Now, what's left?
Death as a thing in itself
Ask people what they think happens after death
Death is beautiful (check out the Quora page)
By insisting that death is beautiful, I am trying to cover it up, turn it into something desirable. Insisting that death is this or that is just another attempt to hide from what death truly is.
Death is a going home
What is the darkness? It is the unwelcome appearance of my deepest fears.
Cremation vs burial
Death has become lonely. And thus far more dangerous.
I never got to say goodbye to tzvi. I missed his funeral.
How do I spend my last year alive? I fill it with celebration!
“In the beginning there was only one evil that had various aspects: suffering, sin, and death.”
Suffering lets the pain out. It lets the pain escape from within me. Psychological blood letting.
To be humble
Is to become immune to the opinions of the crowd.
It is to strengthen one’s self
Against the steady onslaught
of both praise and criticism,
Which meets one each day.
To be humble is not to be small,
It is not to crouch
It is to stand up
And become the largest person in your world.
Staying true only to your self.
No ideas of me
Will ever reflect
My true self.
[Words can only reflect
The experiences they capture.
I cannot be captured.]
My soul is
an infinite source
Give and Take
Life is but a question.
Death is its answer.
I used to think that the idea
Was to stay up late into the night
Breathing in the darkness.
I now understand that
Darkness only suffocates.
One should give oneself up at dusk
And slip into a deep sleep.
Accepts the darkness.
There are two kinds of darkness:
That which contains absolute terror.
And that which contains absolute nothing.
Evil vs. nihilism
Satan vs. the devil
Absence vs presence
Too much vs nothing at all.
And so two kinds of depressions.
That which desires nothing.
And that which fears everything.
The body consuming itself.
The World According to Garp
Him: I wish I knew you when you were fifteen . I wish I knew you when you were five. I wish we grew up together as kids. That way I could see you as flat chested and watch as your breasts grew.
Her: You’ll get to see my breasts sag, my teeth fall out, and my hair turn grey. It’s not as exciting but…
Him: Our youth is gone, isn’t it?
Him: How about that? I’m thirty. Dirty thirty.
Her: Do you miss writing?
Him: No, not at all. But if I do, I’ll start again. You know what I really love though? Thinking about everything. How we met and all that.
Her: We can’t live in the past.
Him:But I can live in the present and think about the past.
Her:You’re supposed to do that when you’re old and grey.
Him: Oh to hell with that. When I’m old and grey I probably won’t remember my past. You’ve got to be young when you do it. It’s really nice you know. To look back and see the arc of your life and it’s all connected. How you got from there to here. See the lines, you know? It really has been an adventure.
Against the desire to live, there is an equal and opposite desire to die.
In my own case, barely a day goes by where I’m not tempted to just let go, release, return, sinking back into the beckoning arms of warm earth. How much longer before my energy runs dry? I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. But what’s the alternative? Depression is no fun either. I find myself caught between exhaustion and restlessness. A desire to die and the need to live. I guess that’s where faith comes in.
Decay reveals itself as the residue of joy.
Durkheim, Suicide. Page 218. He claims that in ancient times suicide was far more palatable than a natural death. “According to them, death, passively awaited, is a dishonor to life.”
In other words, the rejection of death is a cultural performance.
See also, Philippe Ariès’ The Hour of our Death.
Thus Baron Bunsen writes to his wife: "Nothing is near but the far; nothing true but the highest; nothing credible but the inconceivable; nothing so real as the impossible; nothing clear but the deepest; nothing so visible as the invisible; and no life is there but through death.”
Bryson, The Body: “Before we move on, Ben examines the wrist more closely for a moment. ‘You shouldn't ever try to kill yourself by cutting your wrists, by the way,’ he says. ‘All of those things going in are wrapped in a protective band called a fascial sheath, which makes it really hard to get to the arteries. Most people who cut their wrists fail to kill themselves, which is no doubt a good thing.’ He is briefly thoughtful. ‘It's also really hard to kill yourself by jumping from a height,’ he adds. ‘The legs become a kind of crumple zone. You can make a real mess of yourself, but you are very likely to survive. Killing yourself is actually difficult. We are designed not to die.’”
“There you are then, I thought, that’s what is waiting for you, 20, 30, 40 years hence: that is how the lucky ones die, the ones who live to be old. One wants to live, of course, indeed one only stays alive by virtue of the fear of death, but I think now, as I thought then, that it’s better to die violently and not too old. Natural death, almost by definition, means something slow, smelly, and painful.” - George Orwell
“I was required to exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur for realities of little worth.” - Mary Shelley
“I had desired it with an ardor that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.” - Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
“Like one who, on a lonely road,
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And, having once turn’d round, walks on,
And turns no more his lead;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.” - Coleridge, Ancient Mariner
Autumn was created to show us just how beautiful death truly is. Just how necessary, comforting, peaceful, restorative, it can be.
CS Lewis: page 73, the focus on ritualizing death and thus preserving, might be a way of keeping the dead dead. Not allowing them to come back to life.
I know you don’t want to talk to me anymore, and I respect that. I won’t bother you more than I already have. I just wanted to say that I’m sorry and thank you for standing up to me and my words. You showed me, with your words and your actions, that what I said and thought is not okay. I’ll try my best to be better. I know you wanted to have a nice time and I'm very sorry for ruining your night with my behavior. Take care. I hope that the lesson you taught me will sting for as long as it takes. Most of all, I’m sorry I hurt you.
The sunset is so beautiful tonight.
But more beautiful still
Is the look on your face
As you turn to gaze
At the trembling sky.
Country of eternal light
To write is to confess.
And what is prayer but a confession of my deepest loneliness.
To confess, then, as to write, is to become intimate with my unbearable solitude.
As I sat upon my garden bench,
A large yellowed leaf fell
From the tree overhead.
I burst out crying.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead:
How pitiful is the view which dualises ‘higher and lower’,
When the center is free from higher and lower!
How deluded we have been in clinging to the dichotomy between higher and lower!
We confess this transgression within the expanse of the secret place, which is free from higher and lower.
There is a small land
Between desire and suffering
Of which the Buddha knew not.
It is where
One meets with God
And the world.
We have a name for that country.
We’ve all visited it at one point or another.
It’s a land called love.
Celine - Journey to the End of the Night
“I was very fond of her, but I was even fonder of my vice, my manner of running away from everywhere in search of god knows what, driven, I suppose, by stupid pride, by a sense of some sort of superiority.”
“Don’t worry about me. You’ve got this sickness. Always wanting to know more and more. That’s all. Anyway, you have to live your own life. Out there, all alone.”
“Maybe that’s what we look for all our lives, the worst possible grief, to make us truly ourselves before we die.”
“I was so tired from walking and finding nothing that I finally fell asleep in my coffin, my private night.”
It is either the case that every word that has ever been uttered is absolutely true, or that no true word can ever be spoken. There is no middle ground.
Honesty, not truth, is the most we can ever hope for.
Can death be healthy?
The opposite of death is not life, but health.
“Humor is the mistress of sorrow.” Emerson
Savor life like a memory.
Why does pain always feel more real? Why does sadness seem so honest? Why does happiness demand constant attention, like an illusive daydream? Was Schopenhauer right? Is life, essentially, suffering?
Do you ever just take a day and flush it right down the toilet?
“Let yourself go. Abandon all your senses to pleasure, let it be the one object, the one god of your existence. It is to this god that you must sacrifice everything, and in your eyes, nothing must be as holy as pleasure.” - Philosophy in the Bedroom
“Holy frigging god, what ecstasy! … Oh, ‘tis there, ‘tis done, I resist no longer … flow! My fluid flows! … and I die!” - Ditto
Discovery: that is the sole virtue.
It’s a shame we don’t all die young and healthy; perhaps then we’d have the energy to do it well.
I’m one of the lucky ones: I got to skip to the fourth stage of grief. Tragically, I’m still there.
When there’s absolutely nothing left to live for,
life itself becomes the goal
Art as survival
Hamlet was right, of course. Life, just like love, is impossible to win. Failure closes in on all sides. One choice, however, remains: to rest in faith or resign to failure. Which to choose? This choice, too, is impossible. It is chosen for me. Each moment simply collapses into one of the two. And so life crawls on.
When we love something or someone unconditionally, we do not love them for who they are, or what they do, or how they treat us; we love them because they exist. And as all existence must constantly fight against the constant and absolute siege laid by non-existence (as existence furiously floats on the surface of non-existence), we must take whatever we can get.
Death, like depression, is the great equalizer. In its shadow, everything fades into irrelevance.
My life is nothing but a carefully constructed pile of comfort blankets. And the intolerable gaps between.
We worship a god named Random
Our outer later of skin is composed of dead cells. All that makes us lovely is deceased.
The poet said it best: from dust we emerge, and to dust we return.
The key to Jewish immortality? The Christian refusal to just please let us die.
That moment in which you realize that the person you thought you were protecting has all along been protecting you.
So many ways to die. Only one way to live.
I so love it when a young boy pushes past me. In a hurry to get nowhere.
Turn life into a lullaby. Easing the way into sleep. Into death.
Falling asleep is preparation for death. Growing used to your consciousness drifting away into nothingness.
The moon is full
And you are missing.
Who can fear going to hell
When we're already there.
Lost in thought
Stop waiting for something to happen.
It’s hard to be miserable on a Greek island, but I’ll try my best.
Loneliness is the vacuum that remains when other people are no longer available to tell us who we are and how we should behave. We feel like we’ve lost a part of ourself, because so much of who we are is tied up in how we want people to see us.
Emet = e met. I am dying. I am dead. I am death.
An *absence* of intimacy is called alienation, a half-evil. A *loss* of intimacy is disappointment, a truly merciless demon.
"The perfect stillness of the night was thrilled by a more solemn silence. The darkness held a presence that was all the more felt because it was not seen." - James, p. 66
Two kinds of nothing: negative and positive (missing / lack / absence)
The word 'religion' derives from the Latin religare which means “to bind”
To practice death is to practice freedom. - Montaigne
I am ashamed to write about death
After a restful night
spent in a warm bed.
I am ashamed to talk about death
After a day spent eating
to my hearts content.
I play with my shadows
Flirt with my dreams
And all the while I remain
What was it that Celine said?
You can be a virgin in horror
the same as in sex.
Quick sand. Quick sand all around me. I am sinking in quick sand.
I want to sin
as much as
I want to moan
It’s never enough.
I know it’s hard
To stay so soft.
I want to shit
I want it bad bad bad
I want to whisper
I want it good good good.
I worship the devil
And bow to the savior.
I want to see in the dark
Piss on the floor
And lick off your snot.
I want to shine like the sun
Pray like a saint
And kiss til we cum.
Between good and evil
My favorite word:
Oh how I love
To lose my mind.
Both god and sex
In every breath.
A fire grows within me
Begging for release
I contain it.
And pay the price:
A pound of melted flesh
And charred bones.
Forever the Good Son,
I suffocate the flames
With my own body.
Stifling my soul
Like an errant grenade.
Im asking nicely.
I was never trying to be different.
I was only trying to be myself.