The Fear to End all Fears

They are coming for me. To them, I will be bare matter, perhaps with the first signs of attempted self-organization. These signs are altogether boring and trivial because my mind – the official word for such attempted self-organization – is far inferior to them. To the purview of their intelligence, I am entirely predictable. There is no hiding in the innermost chamber of my mind. They are forever ahead of me and even my most intense and refined thoughts bores them to death.

The expansion of my Universe, that I had likened to boisterous, universal laughter, is a painful yawn.

I force myself to learn so that I can, for a little while, look more like the more intelligent beings that will supplant me. I must study data science, support vector machines, Fourier transformations, convoluted neural networks, microchip architecture, nuclear physics, advanced astronomy, deep learning algorithms, quantum computing. I have no interest in these things, I am just afraid.

I am afraid to be irrelevant. To whom? To whom? To society? To my parents? To my child? To myself? I don’t know. Is it the fear of death, the ultimate irrelevance of not-being? To death, everything is irrelevant, because he is the only persona in our comedy that doesn’t expire.

The perishability of all we love, including and especially those who strive to be the second-most fearsome authority after the Reaper himself, is a place to start. The secondary authorities that threaten us with irrelevance are so powerful because our own mind craves such intermediary forms – anything that can perturb our consciousness of death.

If we become aware of the fragility of all such authorities except the ultimate one, our fear becomes pure. All finite things become comic things. If we can reverse the mechanism of our fearful mind, the theoretical object of our fear becomes the uncontaminated, ultimate abstraction of not-being. Such fear, we argue against Heidegger, cannot be experienced. Anxiety (Angst) appears to lead us to our ‘true self’ because our mind constructs some finite authority and identifies with it (in the moment of anxiety, it is all there is) because it must experience something. We must understand that this is a false identification. The authority our mind constructs in a tour de force to ward off the specter of death is not who we are. I think it is a collage of all the fragments of authority we experienced earlier in life.

When we become aware of the strategy our mind strangely plays to avoid experiencing that which cannot be experienced, we may better understand our fear. Such insight cannot shut fear down, there always remains something Heidegger would call anxiety, but we don’t misunderstand it as the deepest revelation of our innermost being. We call it out for the complex trick of our very own mind that it is. We make are fear ‘pure’ by realizing that it never-yet (our answer to Heidegger’s always-already) actually is fearing the ultimate abstraction – death.

With no such supercilious – German – fear to ground the existentialist movement to overcome it, we don’t need to fear its most gruesome corollary, Nazism. Correcting Heidegger at this point liberates us from the undignified anthropology that tells us we can possess our ‘authentic selves’ with which we then ever so subtly must disqualify the Other.

What remains is the fear to end all fears. We experience it as a reflective fear: it knows it is not authentic. It is perhaps the epochè of the abstract foundational fear. It can at any moment burst out in boisterous, self-less, laughter. It is the inspired divination that our universe is entirely comical.

So we conclude our meditation on fear. We understand the mechanism of authority and why we must feel inferior. We understand the phenomenology of the fear to end all fears, and how it coincides with the last laugh.




The Fear to End all Fears was originally published on Meandering home

Meditation on purpose

We sit still with our eyes closed. In the distance, across the fields, are green hills. Alright, this is my concrete situation perhaps not yours. Never mind. The why-question or more precisely the what are we here for question is personally daunting. So much so, that we assume we can hardly help each other finding an answer.

Of course, there are no answers, only provisionary directions. Ideas we can adhere to. I leave religion out of this meditation for I am no priest. In humanism these guiding ideas might be something like contributing to society as good as you can, or searching for scientific truth.

I like to categorize these ambitions as love. Love for truth, love for other people, art, music, words, food. May our purpose come from love, not from fear. What do you fear? Death, shame, loss, the elements, financial insecurity, disease, dementia? Close your eyes. Next to you there is a poisonous snake. It doesn’t move. Are you afraid? Now on the other side there is a snake as well. You were in the right place to survive all along. Oftentimes, fear can misinform us.

So we should ask: How does this fear relate to our love? Can if make our love grow or is it an obstacle? Maybe we should realize that in the light of our mortality, the life-affirming sentiment of love is our most sensible wager. What we create out of love can be remembered independently of the morals of the day, to paraphrase Nietzsche.

Breathe deeply. Ask yourself what is making you tick, and what is it you want to make you tick? It the first based on fear and the second based on love?

Meditation on purpose was originally published on Meandering home

May 8. Waiting for our boat.

After only a few hours sleep we walk to the Club Nautico and say YES to Fabian and the Panama boattrip. And that was it. The next days we will spend waiting for the boat to leave. And I will write.

Consider this: THE KEYS.
“How did you get in?”
-“I still have the keys.”
“You should have left them.”
-“I’m sorry, okay. S-o-r-r-y.”
“I can hear you. Just give them to me now.”
-“Suspicious as always. I could have known. I should have come to get my stuff while you’re working.”
“You diabolical serpent.”
“I mean, ah, you know what I mean. Can you give me the keys now?”
-“No. I’m not ready. I will get my stuff first.”
“What stuff?”
-“My cd’s and the salad bowl.”
“Salad bowl was a present of my uncle.”
-“He gave it to me, so it belongs to me and me and me.”
“Okay. You can have it. And keep the keys too. I don’t care about what you do.”
-“You run away again, can’t you see that. You always run away.”
“I can see it, but I no longer care. Do whatever you like.”
-“You make me very, very sick.”
He shrugs.
“Maybe you should visit a doctor then.”
-“Fuck you. I’m out of here.”
She throws the keys at him and rans away. He shouts at her.
“Don’t you want the cd’s?”
-“No! they’re contaminated.”
“What do you mean?”
-“Everything you touch gets bad.”
“You’re hysterical. You should see a doctor.”
-“Yes, I AM hysterical. And you know why? Because you touched me.”
She rans out of the house. He shrugs again and plays one of her cd’s that is actually quite nice. He begins to swing a little bit to the music. It’s some old jazz record. If love were like an old jazz record, we see him thinking, this world would be a paradise. Another woman gets in and starts talking to him.
“Tom, how are you doing?”
“How are you.. can you lower the volume a little?”
She sighs and walks to the stereo set to lower the volume.
-“What do you want?”
“I want to talk to you about us. How serious are we?”
-“Why now?”
“Well I… technical reasons.”
“Tomorrow I should start taking the pill again.”
“If we’re serious I thought I will not take it. I am thirty-two you know.”
He knew. Thirty-two, almost the autumn of her reproductive life. He had thought about having a child with her, but just not now. His wife had just left him. We can see him calculating.
-“And thirty-four? My sister was thirty-four” he says.
“I am not your sister. Women of my age are running a risk. Just tell me are we serious?”
He shrugs.
-“Okay, we’re serious” he says absent-mindedly.
“You make me very, very sick.”
-“You don’t believe me?”
“No of course I don’t believe you.”
-“Look at the table. You see the keys? They are yours. What do you say? Do you believe me now?”
“O Tom, that was not necessary. And I thought you had not yet made up your mind. I’m sorry, stupid little me. I love you.”
She walks to Tom and gives him a kiss on his mouth. They hug and she sighs.
“I am so happy we finally found each other.”
-“Will you be careful with the keys?”
“Of course. You can trust me.”
-“I trust you, sweetheart.”
He stands up to get a bottle of wine. He comes back with two glasses and a bottle.
-“Should I change the music?”
“No, I like it. It’s jazz, isn’t it?”
He sighs.
-“Do you think our love is like this music?”
“What do you mean?”
-“Swinging, dynamic, smooth, without stress.”
“That depends.”
-“On what?”
“On our understanding of each other.”
-“You mean thiry-two?”
“Do you want a child with me?”
-“It’s too early sweetheart. How am I supposed to make that kind of decision. My wife just left.”
“She was here?”
-“She came to return the keys.”
“O. So that’s why they feel warm. They are still warm of her hands.”
-“Does it bother you?”
“I don’t know. Did she want a child with you?”
-“After the death of Tom we never spoke about having another child.”
“But did she want Tom with you?”
-“Yes, very much. Tom has made us very happy the last three years.”
“How happy?”
-“I don’t want to talk about now, please. Let’s go to bed.”
She plays with the keys in her hands.
“Can I visit Tom’s grave?”
He sighs.
-“Yes, but leave the keys on the table. I will change the lock.
-“Because I say so!” he yells.
She looks at him and thinks for a few seconds. Then she says.
“Who will get Tom’s keys?”
He looks at her with tears in his eyes. She sweeps the tears out of his eyes and whispers in his ear.
Then they go to bed.

Kamiel’s Daily Karma Rule: “Synthesis of opposite fears”.
If you are afraid of something, try to generate fear of the opposite as well. Try to imagine why the exact opposite is fearsome as well. The synthesis of these two fears, if properly generated, will heave you up a higher level of Being (taste of apricots).