Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sex Theory

"...The men that think wealth comes from material resources and has no intellectual root or meaning, are the men who think--for the same reason--that sex is a physical capacity which functions independently of one's mind, choice, or code of values. They think that your body creates a desire and makes a choice for you just about in some way as if iron ore transformed itself into railroads of its own volition. Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a man's sexual choice is the result and sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life. Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself. No matter what corruption he's taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which he cannot perform for any motive but his own enjoyment--just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity!--an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exaltation, only in the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces him to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and to accept his real ego and his standard of value. He will always be attracted to the woman whose surrender permits him to experience--or to fake--a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer--because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of achievement, not the possession of a brainless slut... He does not seek to gain his value, he seeks to express it. There is no conflict between the standards of his mind and the desires of his body. But the man who is convinced of his own worthlessness will be drawn to a woman he despises--because she will reflect his own secret self, she will release him from that objective reality in which he is a fraud, she will give him a momentary illusion of his own value and a momentary escape from the moral code that damns him. Observe the ugly mess which most men make of their sex lives--and observe the contradictions which they hold as their moral philosophy. One proceeds from the other. Love is our response to our highest values--and can be nothing else. Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence, let him profess that love is not self-enjoyment, but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of pride, but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is born of, not admiration, but of charity, not in response to values, but in response to flaws--and he will have cut himself in two. His body will not obey him, it will not respond, it will make him impotent toward the woman he professes to love and draw him to the lowest type of whore he can find. His body will always follow the ultimate logic of his deepest convictions; if he believes that flaws are values, he has damned existence as evil and only the evil will attract him. He has damned himself and he will feel that depravity is all he is worthy of enjoying. He has equated virtue with pain and he will feel that vice is the only realm of pleasure. Then he will scream that his body has vicious desires of its own which his mind cannot conquer, that sex is sin, that true love is a pure emotion of the spirit. And then he will wonder why love brings him nothing but boredom, and sex--nothing but shame...

...Only the man who extols the purity of a love devoid of desire, is capable of the depravity of a desire devoid of love. But observe that most people are creatures cut in half who keep swinging from one side to the other. One kind of half is the man who despises money, factories, skyscrapers and his own body. He holds undefined emotions about non-conceivable subjects as the meaning of life and his claim to virtue. And he cries with despair, because he can feel nothing for the woman he respects, but finds himself in bondage to an irresistible passion for a slut from the gutter. He is the man whom people call an idealist. The other kind of half is the man whom people call practical, the man who despises principals, abstractions, art, philosophy and his own mind. He regards the acquisition of material objects as the only goal of existence--and he laughs at the need to consider their purpose or their source. He expects them to give him pleasure--and he wonders why the more he gets, the less he feels. He is the man who spends his time chasing women. Observe the triple fraud which he perpetrates upon himself. He will not acknowledge his need of self-esteem, since he scoffs at such a concept as moral values; yet he feels the profound self-contempt which comes from believing that he is a piece of meat. He will not acknowledge, but he knows that sex is the physical expression of a tribute to personal values. So he tries, by going through the motions of the effect, to acquire that which should have been the cause. He tries to gain a sense of his own value from the women who surrender to him--and he forgets that the women he picks have neither character nor judgment nor standard of value. He tells himself that all he's after is physical pleasure--but observe that he tires of women in a week or a night, that he despises professional whores and that he loves to imagine he is seducing virtuous girls who make a great exception for his sake. It is the feeling of achievement that he seeks and never finds. What glory can there be in the conquest of a mindless body?"

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (pg. 453-455)

This is an interesting theory on sexual desire that I actually typed out from my copy of the book a while ago for a project in one of my classes. It's interesting to think about and compare to the relationships in your own life. Are you acting to feel rather than because you feel? It's an important distinction.

What sort of women are you chasing after?


Sunday, September 26, 2010

House of Leaves Excerpt

"Of course there will always be darkness but I realize now something inhabits it. Historical or not. Sometimes it seems like a cat, the panther with its moon mad gait or a tiger with stripes of ash and eyes as wild as winter oceans. Sometimes it’s the curve of a wrist or what’s left of romance, still hiding in the drawer of some long lost nightstand or carefully drawn in the margins of an old discarded calendar. Sometimes it’s even just a vapor trail speeding west, prophetic, over clouds aglow with dangerous light. Of course these are only images, my images, and in the end they’re born out of something much more akin to a Voice, which though invisible to the eye and frequently unheard by even the ear still continues, day and night, year after year, to sweep through us all. Just as you have swept through me. Just as I now sweep through you."

-Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

Have I?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Finishing Projects

I received a digital camera last year for Christmas, and it was around this same time period that I became interested in the "paranormal." It's important to know that I don't mean ghosts, aliens, Bigfoot, or any of that--what I am interested in are projects like Marble Hornets and UVB-76. I don't believe that there is anything truly mystical about either of them: I know Marble Hornets is just a film project and I don't imagine that in reality there is anything special about UVB-76; however, things like that are incredibly fascinating, which I why I decided to start a project of my own.

I decided that I would take at least one photograph every single day and I was going to turn the collection into some sort of creepy project. I had the feel for what I wanted the final result to be like. I wanted to do something with the pictures to create a sort of treasure-hunt for someone else. I wanted them to take some paranoid, puzzling journey; something that would give them the same feeling I had when I decided to create the project.

That's where most projects seem to get stuck. I can never think of a way to translate that feeling into something tangible. I continued taking photographs for a few months hoping that an idea would come to me, but eventually I would skip a day here-and-there, which eventually turned into several days, and then weeks, until I finally stopped taking pictures altogether.

What is the secret?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Peculiar Dream

Last night, I had the first lucid dream that I can recall. First I'll describe what happened, and then why it stuck with me.

The first bit I remember, I was in my bed (in the dream) trying to remember lucid dreaming. I could feel my body freezing up and I feel asleep (in the dream) and dreamed that I was in AP Spanish. The teacher was going around threatening us and telling us that the class would be the most difficult class we would take and that we were all going to feel bad when we failed. In the back of the class, these two guys were messing around, and the teacher hit them. I made some remark about it, and the rest of the class seemed to pick up on the spirit, and soon we were all insulting the teacher and eventually a food-fight broke out.

Afterward, the class was lead through the hall, and we walked through this narrow doorway and down some stairs. Eventually, it led us to a large stadium where there was a basketball game on the lowest level. The building was mostly made up of chain-link fences and sheets of metal. As the other people were being led somewhere else, I went around a sheet-metal wall and went up some stairs to a higher level. Up there, I looked around at the people in their seats before I went down a separate set of stairs that wrapped around the outside of the building and went down into the parking lot.

When I was there, I walked over to a comfortable-looking, old car and there was a girl there. I never saw her face, but in my dream, I knew I was in some sort of relationship with her. I walked over to her and she greeted me and we talked next to her car for a while. I don't remember the conversation, but I do remember reaching into her car and taking out a disc. Once I saw what it was, I felt suddenly happy, and I hugged her. She hugged me back, and I remember the most vivid and wonderful smell. I remember the little bit of her shoulder I could see as we hugged, and as I was about to stop, she pulled me back and we embraced for even longer. When she finally pulled away, I kissed her cheek and she smiled and said "three lanes." (In my dream, that made sense for some reason.)

After this, I woke up from the dream to see my dad's silhouette standing outside of my door. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was 6:50am and I needed to get ready for school. I asked my dad what he was doing as I got up to get my clothes around and he said "Oh, I was just making sure you were up."

After this I woke up again and immediately glanced at the clock. It was 6:50am, but my dad wasn't outside my door and it was much darker than it had been in my dream.

Throughout the day, I've been left with this longing feeling for that girl in my dream, even though I never even saw her. I told a few people about the dream at school, but I left out the part about the girl and mostly talked about having an Inception-esque dream-inside-a-dream. Overall, I don't think anyone is too interested in other people's dreams.

Anyway, the dream brought up some things I haven't thought about in a while.

Why is it the scent you remember best?