It’s all vision.

Choosing is a matter of seeing, and seeing is a matter of believing. So maybe my problem is I don’t believe in the things I should be seeing, leaving me nothing to choose from.

What I did see today was autumn falling to the ground, nature’s palette of rustic colors painting a patterned blanket underneath the trees, as I strolled through the cemetery park, closing in on the city with its noisy cars and noisy people.

My headphones died last week, and I’m suddenly experiencing all the sounds I’ve been able to shield myself off from until now. It’s not that I dislike the sounds of the world. It’s just that I’ve always wanted to live in a movie, and a movie needs a soundtrack.

What I did see today was a road torn up and broken, machinery exhaling dirt into the air, trying its utmost to turn the blue sky grey overhead, but losing that battle in majestic form to the burning Sun that laid its warmth on my late-summer cheeks.

My skin is really good these days. I’m in a good routine of washing my face with lukewarm water each night before bed, and using a good cream after my shower in the morning. Seasonal changes are usually the worst for my face, but so far I seem to be battling it well.

What I did see today were places I’d led you when I showed you my city and wondered when I’d show you my town. I’m still wondering about that, and I wondered, as I wandered on, if you might one day have the same impact on my experience of my town as you’ve had on my experience of my city.

I’ve never been able to determine if I’m a small-town boy or a big-city kinda guy. When I’m in the city, I miss the quietude of the town, the water, the slowness. When I’m in the town, I miss the pace of the city life, the concerts, the tall buildings for people with high hopes.

What I did see today was your picture next to my records. I don’t recall the design that made me put it there, but I haven’t moved it since, except for closer examination. There’s something homely about having you smile at me every time I put on music.

I’ve hit a rough patch of melancholic music today. Max Richter, Beach House, Nils Frahm, Mr Twin Sister. Trying out new headphones at the hifi store, I almost broke down, fifty-fifty from an experience of sound and from a heartbreaking daydream.

What I did see today were all the ways in which I’ve made room for you in my life, and the ways in which I envision making room. And I’m hanging on for dear life here, trying not to turn my tears into an environmental disaster, trying not to confuse heartache with the apocalypse.

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One for my baby, and one more for the road.

Blaming the weather, you say, is another way of announcing defeat in regards to sensible clothing. But as the winter draws ever closer, winter here drawing closer since the last days of summer burned our cheeks crimson in late August, and the leaves start leaving the trees to fall to rest on the muddy ground, and the wind picks up its striking force on the unprotected parts of a forehead, it’s always hard for me to look at the world with a fashionable gaze, as if dressing up for the season would change the direction of the rain, as if a fur coat would righten up the Earth’s tilt and bring the Sun back into view from our Northern point.

No, it has nothing to do with clothing. Even hid underneath my warmest hat, I can still feel the cold shake through my human bones. It is, I realise, all about attitude to the environment, and happiness in general.

You see, walking home alone from a day without interaction, I feel the winter hit me like the darkness of space outside of our galaxy. It hits me, not just as a physical reaction, as a pain felt and localised in my material extention. But as a psychological constraint on my joints, on my thinking, forcing my lips shut tight and the short nails of my fingers clenched into my palms, leaving marks lasting even as I take off my layers indoors.

You see, walking with you by my side, or just in my thoughts, as a vibration in my pocket, as a sound in my ear, as a memory lingering from a year past, as a future and as the most real you in flesh and layers, I’m not even aware that the season has lowered the temperature and sent storms sweeping in, throwing nature to the ground to be rebuilt when spring springs, because my body keeps aflame and my smile stays wide as can go, my mind unoccupied with silly human limitations such as mortality and comfort, knowing I could never die an unhappy death with you on my wing and your eyes my last glimpse of a world that put me here to end me, only leaving me a say in how and when, and with whom.

Walking with you by my side, there’s only that. There’s only that to describe the world. Take my hand, and you won’t hear me complain ever again.

By the time it gets dark.

Dark night comes crawling in along the wet side of the road, glistening now under the heat of the street lights as if carrying on its back a million miniature crystals, raising the stakes for all souls, teasing the grandest prize for the mere cost of your life. The sidewalk has been depopulated, and only lonely soles walk the routes laid out by the city map, looking for a place to be, somewhere to escape to, other lonely soles to join in rhythm. It’s a solitary situation, and it’s quiet. It’s always quiet in solitude, as if that’s more than just a human condition, some stronger bond, a flaw in the universal production of noise, rendering the singles muted in a world of static. It’s there, even if we can’t hear it, the universe speaking through its background noise, immense forces fighting a war over areas greater than we can imagine, just imagine: we could fit 1,3 million Earth planets inside our big, red Sun. There’s no reason to be concerned with the darkness come creeping in here on a universal scale. But this is not the universal scale. This is the human condition that we’re kept in, and the darkness does form our lives, putting us to bed, deciding our diets, symbolising our deaths. The dark is the impenetrable mystery that keeps us up at night before ultimately laying us to rest. And it’s the home of longing and nostalgia, the dark matter in which I still see you clear as day.

Glimpse of you.

My chin is smooth, though I know you prefer it rugged against your skin when the lights go out and there are only tactile elements left for the orientation of body parts. But it doesn’t stop you–my smooth chin–from scaling me, moving your own soft parts against me as we turn limbs into webs and find ourselves caught in constellations we neither can nor want to break free from. I just pull you closer, my chin resting against the side of your neck, and place my mark on you.

I tremble. I feel your lips on me too.

Machine lifeform.

I wish I had something to write here. Something worth more than just a few lines. That I could somehow create a tale from my heart, just by putting my words out there. But I feel empty. As if the stories have been told. I’m uninspired, and the inspiration I do receive, I forget to put down in time, and it leaves me remembering only that there was something, but not what that something was.

My dad is on ventilator support. He’s fallen ill, but the doctors do not, as of yet, know what the cause is. They’re looking for a virus to treat, but the virus is hiding somewhere in his body that they have yet to locate. It’s all gone both extremely fast and very slow at the same time. He’s been rough on himself, drinking and eating strange mixtures of pills to battle anxiety, depression and physical pain. So in that regard, it’s quite impressive that he hasn’t been hit by a truly difficult virus or other form of organ failure until now. But seeing as I saw him Sunday, and just the next day he’s being admitted to the hospital, delivered there unconscious, things have just suddenly sped up.

People, the staff and my family and friends keep telling me that I’m being admirably calm about it all. I’m the primary visitor seeing as I’m the one who’s had the closest contact with him the last years and I’m the one living nearest to the hospital. I am calm. But I don’t know if I’m admirably so, or if it’s more a lack of sympathy on my side. I’ve been expecting this route for a long time. I don’t believe much in fairness and karma and God’s will. But it’s obvious to everyone, even the staff at the hospital who’s only “known” him for days, that he’s been less than caring with his body and less than caring towards us, his children, when he’s been on drinking binges.

I’m hoping for the best. But I don’t know what the best is. This is becoming a very honest blog post. I just know he’s been complaining about his life quality for years. And though I feel like I’ve been trying all in my power to show him different paths, open up new possible interests for him, he’s always extremely on-guard and unwilling to try new things or new ideas.

So I don’t know what the best outcome is. As a philosopher I’m inclined to weigh all possible scenarios, but I’m also restrained to only try to make informed judgments. So far there isn’t really conscious contact with him. He’s very far away. And I guess the sad thing is that it doesn’t really sadden me to see him like that. He looks peaceful, sleeping while hooked up to the machines — becoming the machines.

I visit him every day. And I’m interested in his recovery. I hope they figure out what virus he has, and that it’s treatable. But my focus quickly shifts to the machines and systems. It sometimes takes a visit to a hospital to realise how far modern technology is. It gives a different perspective when you see it used for a purpose like this: mapping out all the vitals of a person in real-time.

The staff there is such a kind group. I really like being there, talking to them and hearing all the inside-knowledge on how everything functions. Is it ironic that in my uninterested dad’s demise I happen to rekindle my love of machines?

This whole post sounds like he’s dying. I don’t think he is. But who knows, really. Things can always move so quickly at hospitals. Him being on ventilator support for days definitely isn’t a good sign. But at the same time it keeps him still and gives the doctors a fighting chance to locate whatever virus he might have in his body. It’s all just very wait-and-see. Especially for the non-doctor me.

I wish I had something different to write about. But my imagination feels tied down. I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling a bit stuck, but I’m feeling alright.

Desire as love.

Oh, you’re gonna love me
You’re gonna wanna hurt me
And scream

(Against All Logic: “You Are Going to Love Me and Scream”)

The candles have come back. Tropical summer of 2018 drawing to a close. The day is drawing to a close. Hello darkness, my old friend. Hello candles, we’re at it again. I switch between complete solitude and extreme socializing. I have a hard time figuring out if I’ve come to love the extremes, or if I’ve always been like that. Or if, maybe, I’m simply used to them by now. Not a lot of Aristotle in this one these days.

What can truly be said of the relationship between love and desire? Except for love to be longer lasting and the morally preferred. Love being the candle, desire being the flame. Longevity versus heat. It’s so easy to burn the fingers on desire when not handled carefully. It leads you down paths that your logical sense tells you are bad, and it doesn’t care if it leaves you stranded there. It only cares to be fulfilled. To be chased down and won over. And then to do it again. And again.

I’ve always been one for desire. I don’t know what that says about me. That I like pleasure? Or that I’m a weak soul? Maybe it says that my moral compass is ill-calibrated. Or maybe I’ve just not grown quite into an adult yet. Maybe what I long for just isn’t longevity, but the fleeting moments of bliss. Maybe what has tied us together so formidably has been the string of all those fleeting moments, coupled with a deep shared understanding, and an almost mad want to be together, against all logic.

Desire is able to verge on love when it’s treated — or when it instantiates itself — as the foundation of a relationship. As that which we keep coming back to when life tries to show us the untenability of our choices. Thou shalt not look for the illogical love. Okay, but can we kiss now? Thou shalt not marry outside of your religion. Fine, so, you, me, bed, now? In the face of opposition, follow your desire, for that is a much stronger force than the weight of the opposition and the societal norms. And when done right, it’s love.

Five Years.

When I first picked up a copy of Sartre’s La Nausée (in a Danish translation), it was nothing more to me than an odd book by this recognisable-name author. The first few pages, setting up the premise: a collection of diary notes put together by an editor, almost had me putting the book away, thinking that it seemed overly concerned with itself. But I read on, while putting on Tame Impala’s InnerSpeaker, and found myself getting slowly immersed in the fragmentary narrative. The story of this French man trying to understand what went on in his mind, after one day being hit by a sudden feeling of nausea (nausée) while sitting in the park, got to me, and the short chapters/diary notes kept me moving forward at a time where I was yet to become the avid reader that I am now. The book opened up for me, and in return I was opened up by it.

Looking back, I can make all sorts of stories about how my life has unfolded. The choices I’ve made, the chances I’ve taken or missed. But few things are as clear to me as the influence this book has had on me. This book not just opened itself up to me, but it opened a new world: Philosophy.

This was the first time I had tried tackling one of the great minds of philosophy. Mind you, before this I hadn’t even given philosophy a thought. It wasn’t on my radar. I’ve never been a fan of larger theoretical frameworks, of drawn out thinking, of the complex. I like to think that I’m able to grasp the complex, but mostly I’m a person who likes things to come about quickly. I write poems, not novels. Even if I attempt a new novel each month, I can never get past the initial chapters. I lose interest with the stories I’m trying to tell, because I’m not going deep enough in it. I’ve yet to crack the code on the complex narrative, the multiple storylines, the character gallery.

And like the missing novel, I never thought of myself as someone who’d be into serious academia like philosophy and psychology and sociology. I always envisioned myself as a journalist, churning out articles and features, never staying in one topic too long. But reading La Nausée, I found myself immersed in the world of philosophy as this whole new thing that I’d never experienced before. Philosophy as a novel. Deep thinking disguised between common words and everyday observations.

It’s in all manners a strange book. It’s slow, it’s jumping from here to there. It’s dealing with subjects still largely unknown to me. But more than anything, it’s an interesting read, and one that I keep coming back to, either as a reading experience, picking up the book at the library whenever I come across it, or just as a fleeting thought in my mind, about this book that once started all of this for me.

Because it truly is on the legs of La Nausée that I ended up applying for the philosophy major at university, and it was my only truly serious point I could make in my application: I’ve read Sartre — let me in.

They heard my banging on the door, and they opened up. Allowing me to apply despite a highly failed high school career where I’d ended up getting grades too bad to post here. But university was a new deal, a fresh deal. This was all subjects I cared about. Human understanding in epistemology. Views of life and being in metaphysics. The power structures of political philosophy, and the question of moral right in ethics.

The only tragicomic thing, of course, was that my university almost didn’t touch upon Sartre or others who had used the novel as a vehicle for philosophy, and so, even though I’ve been taken by my studies through all five years until now having graduated as an MA, I’ve always been left wishing more. Wishing philosophy would get back to what I originally experienced it as.

My hope now, post-academics, is that I can get back to enjoying philosophy as I did back when I first picked La Nausée from the shelf. And I recently got a sign telling me that that’s exactly what will happen. The book is criminally hard to find in Denmark, and even more criminally overpriced at second-hand book stores. But then, a week ago, walking my dog, I come by a tiny little private book auction outside of a house, and lo and behold, just a month after my graduation, I find in all its wonder La Nausée being sold there for a mere 10 DKK.

I felt a rush of joy, adrenaline, longing, all at once, and I grabbed it and immediately transferred the money to the seller, and off I was with the book that started these last five years of my life.

It seems a perfect ending to a chapter gone by, that it’s bookended by the same book. During my time in philosophy, especially the first years, I’ve most definitely experienced the nausea of the book in myself, and I’ve been reminded continuously of Sartre’s words, almost working as a comforter for me, when I’ve felt philosophy might not be for me.

When the discussions have run deep or broad, and I’ve felt myself unable to follow the topic, or when some have questioned a professor, and I’ve felt my mind drift back to the original thought of the topic, I’ve reminded myself that philosophy, as life in general, is different for all. And I’m still not a great large-scale theorist. I don’t think I ever will be. But I’m as sharp as they come when dealing with communicative efforts, weeding out the waste of political communication, getting right to the heart of an argument and not letting someone get away with an attack on decent morals for a personal gain.

Philosophy for me has evolved, and I’ve evolved with it.

And I don’t know what the true subject of this post is. It has evolved as well. But I know these last five years have been good to me in many ways. And I appreciate them.

And I’m ready now to take the next step into the open, out of the book.