Zizek on not giving way on one’s desire:
In pure love I freely consent to my own damnation or disappearance, I ecstatically assume it, while in tragedy, I (also) accept my Fate, but I accept it as an external force without consenting to it - the tragic hero rejects it absolutely, protesting against it to the end (Oedipus of Colonous). There is no love in the tragic hero’s acceptance of his damnation by Fate. Therein resides the tragic hero’s uncompromising fidelity to his desire: not in the acceptance of Fate, but in holding on to his desire against Fate, in a situation where everything is lost.
(from his upcoming book “Less Than Nothing”)
N.B. followers: some folks on Tumblr will be organizing a reading group to work through Less Than Nothing come the end of May. Watch this space.
I also work at Kent Village; the place where I grew up. I landscape and work on repairing houses for the low income neighborhood. This is my way of giving back to something that I have learned to treasure in life. I treasure section 8 housing for helping my family get back on its feet from a real shitty circumstance. I am now helping my friends by being a hard worker, giving back to the community.
We live in section 40B housing now. It is probably one step up or so from section 8 housing. We pay a lower rate on our mortgage and the house costs less- but it is our condo. Nobody can take it away except the bank if we don’t pay. Why are lower income housing considered sections? Are we lesser people than those who can afford “real” houses? The size doesn’t make it any better of a home. Labels are stupid.
“Argentine soldiers buy postcards at a souvenir shop in Stanley, on the Falkland Islands, shortly after their invasion, on April 13, 1982.”
I’m dying right now.
"The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.”
Michael Anthony Kaskiewicz
“Namaste. Om Shanti.” According to this mantra, “I greet and recognize the divine in you that is also me.” Please keep this in mind while reading my story. I would also like to let you know that I have been diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder. “Be at peace.”
Part I- Depressed Manically
A few days before this manic episode, I was at the MMEA All-State convention in Boston, Massachusetts for music educators. This was exactly one week before the episode. A few days before the convention, I smoked, drank, and took an anxiety medication. At the conference, I met the methodologist Edwin Gordon. He is a practitioner and founder of modern music education. He took a special interest in me and he liked what I had to say about education in the 21st century.
The second night I was there, I dreamed lucidly. I had a dream with Dr. Gordon and one of my professors from Umass Lowell, Dan Lutz. They both simply told me I was going to do great things (like Harry Potter- LOL!). I opened my eyes and saw a light projection of a ship. It started floating off into the sea. In my peripheral line of vision, I saw a dark man. That dark man was a symbol of my father- all of the terrible things that have ever happened in my life. I woke up from this and I saw color for the first time in 21 years. The world is naturally beautiful. I have so much clutter in my mind that I was blocking out something as simple as colors, details so to speak.
The rest of the conference went well and we went back too school. On Wednesday, March 7th, I began writing my book and it all unfolded.
I began writing a book when I came back from the convention. It doesn’t have a title, but I would like to share it with you and give you my interpretation of what I wrote.
“It is time to change the way we think. It is time to reconstruct reality. Through interpersonal relationships, we can realize reality and then exploit it. It is time for a revolution. No revolution has been easy and we could prove that through historical evidence. If we want to change the way things are for the 21st century, it is time to take a stand. No more acceptance of pure submission. We must work together, people. The words listen, understand, enjoy describe what we can achieve through interpersonal relationships. To reconstruct reality we must work together and fight for what we truly believe in- true happiness.
Expansion of our soul group is not only easy, it is necessary. We each have a unique interpersonal relationship with one another that has existed since the beginning of time. It is time to be open enough with our relationships that we feel comfortable connecting interpersonally. Comfort and discomfort are the same thing. They both come from the mind and can be changed through the way we perceive our relationships. Enjoy the beings in our soul group. Ask questions. Figure out how we are connected. How are we connected? That is something you will have to answer for yourself. I cannot reconstruct your reality, but, we can build upon our interpersonal relationship.”
I decided on Wednesday March 7th, 2012 to go around and tell everybody to have a better day today than yesterday. I got nothing but smiles and laughs. My friends were worried because I was remarkably happy, manic so to speak. They brought me to the counseling center, as good friends should, and shit hit the fan. The doctor called my mom in and they told me that they wanted to bring me in for a mental evaluation. I refused and got up and left. I sat in the mud and I cried. My friend Brian found me and I cried on his shoulder. I was section twelve to the hospital and was discharged almost immediately because I realized something important. I wasn’t even listening to myself. I realized that I was not catholic anymore. I think that I am Buddhist and I would like to do some research on religion and figure out exactly where this is all coming from.
“Asking for help is important. I have rubbish in my mind that needs to be taken out to the dumpster. The trash is too heavy for me to lift by myself. I need to learn to listen and take any help that my friends, coworkers, family, doctors, and teachers have to offer me. If I can do this, I will be a better person tomorrow than I am today.”
“Namaste. Om shanti.” My friend Tim told me the definition that I left at the beginning of this book. I asked Dan Lutz about the phrase. He told me that the jazz legend Maynard Ferguson used to put his hands together and bow on stage. He was saying “Namaste.” I showed Brian what Dan had showed me. Brian bowed like Maynard in front of Dan. They both just smiled at me.
“I volunteer at an animal shelter. It is a great place to make some friends and do something good for the animals that need it.”
“I sang to all of the dangerous dogs in the Lowell Humane Society today. The simple combination of sound and silence helped them to listen and stop barking for one whole minute. Then, I called my mom and she told me that I was not Buddhist. She told me I could no longer think or talk about such things for the time being until I see a psychiatrist. I will be writing in a journal from now on because she told me to.”
Conclusion and Further Synthesis
I am happy. Here is an equation that explains everything.
21 years of Depression → Wonderful Girlfriend, Great Friends, Great Career → MANIC OUTBURST → I need help with this → I am not Catholic → I am just a good enough person being me!
My purpose is right in front of me. I am an educator.
Part II- Perception
Life’s euphoric rush is gone but I am still alive. Nobody can take away my soul.
I went on two walks today. On the first walk, I walked across the beach and found four different colored rocks. They all hold equal importance to me. Each rock is a reminder of my home town of Scituate, Massachusetts and the town’s natural beauty. On the second walk, I listened to the sweet, sweet sound of Frank Sinatra’s voice, luring me into the bewilderment of his love life. I felt the whispers of the trees as they sang in harmony, reminding me that love is a remarkable human experience.
Life has influenced me to go through an emotional roller coaster at times. I feel that these sort of emotions will be sustained for the time being. I had a rough childhood. My father beat me into submission and held me there for much of my early childhood. At one point, he showed me a gun and threatened to kill some of the people I love and care about. We ran away from him. I still have a lifelong restraining order against him. He tried to contact me through one of my cousins but I refused. Sometimes I ask myself if I am afraid of him. Now I know for sure that I am not. I have earned my happiness. I have worked hard to be happy. Frankly, I believe that I deserve eternal happiness.
We were then homeless. I lived on my aunt’s living room floor for two years. These two years were very uncomfortable. Imagine only having one couch cushion to call your own. I recently found out that we were on welfare when we were homeless. Nonetheless, my aunt still charged us to live on her living room floor. We still bought our own food and were self sufficient. It’s sad when you find out that someone whom you loved treated you no better than a tenant. I do not talk to the said aunt for more reasons than this; these will be discussed in later chapters.
My mom worked as hard as she could to break the class line of poverty. She worked countless hours for the Small Business Administration in Boston. We moved to Section 8 housing in Scituate at a place named Kent Village. This is where a majority of my childhood took place. I made a lot of friends there and eventually got a job as an on site groundskeeper. I still work there because I cherish the opportunities I have received from living in such a wonderful place. One could say I am “paying it forward” by giving back to the community and keeping the grounds like those of a five star resort.
I stole something for the first time in my life while I was living in Kent Village. I was playing football with my friend Cory when he said that he wanted to light things on fire. I saw a car that was unlocked with a lighter sitting in the cup holder. I suspiciously opened the door and grabbed it then ran away with Cory. We sat behind a tree and lit leaves on fire.
Speaking of lighting things on fire, my friend Alex burnt down a tremendous section of the forest behind my house doing the same thing. He was trying to make a bonfire and it spiraled out of control. The whole community knew who it was because the police investigator interrogated him after the fire department put the flames out. You can still see the charred areas today.
I am willingly submitting myself to these bipolar medications. I could have said no, but I said yes because I need help. I am eliminating samsara.
Rittity titt, rittity titt, lick the cigarettes to bitts! Aroo-haha Aroo-haha La di La di La di La.
I felt jealousy again today. It is not a very nice feeling. This emotion mixed with exhaustion do not pair well together. Tiredness creates an extreme of this emotion for me and puts me in a bad mood.
What if we are all being reincarnated until our soul group reaches enlightenment; paralell to what some perceive as heaven? Maybe we’re on the wrong path towards the perception of hell?
I began working at at Maria’s Sub and Pizza Shop in Scituate, MA when I was 14 years old. I still work there today and am one of the top pizza makers. I love this place. The employees are all like family and the owners treat us as if we were part of their own family. We get free meals on breaks and make substantial payment for an entry job. It is the perfect small business and their success proves this.
Understanding, cruel, malicious thieves,
a false sense, security lost by words.
Judgment, tedious messengers,
a path to find, ready, susceptible.
a life to live, requests?