With eyes closed begins the dream.
This dark simulacrum, which has tormented me for more than a year, begins the same way every morning.
In my dream I cannot see my surroundings so I must use my other senses, I reach my hand above my head to feel the pattern on the wall paper, then I slide it over towards where my book shelves should be and sure enough I find them, I feel every corner, every edge, every imperfection, “Is it real” says a voice that sounds like my own, at this time I notice the sheets that have been hugging me all this time and I pull them back so I can authenticate my own being, everything in this dream appears to be as it is in my wakened state, but I can’t help but feel like it is only a mirage, leading me on, and taunting me as it does.
Suddenly I am hit by a jolt of electricity, it does not do damage, but causes my muscles to shudder, more like a cold breeze, but then the breeze becomes a gust of wind, forcing me against the wall, I am dumb struck, “who are you?” I hear the voice say again, there is no response, but I can feel a heavy force holding me against the wall, I try to move but I am paralysed with fear and confusion, and then, and then something new, I hear a voice I don’t recognise, so soft that it floats through my head but so sharp it can cut through all this chaos to reach me, it says “come to me”, it’s words are drawn out and warm like a breeze on a summers day, and with it the storm quietens, I get up from my bed and follow the voice towards my window. I encounter no obstacles on my way but do not notice as the voice has me in a trance and leads me closer still.
When I reach the spot where my window should be I reach my hand out and feel it’s smooth surface and with the tips of my fingers I work my way down to find the handle and find it unlocked, I push the the window open and step out on to the ledge. The feeling of warmth is much more intense here, I hear my voice again “who are you?” and another warm breeze brings the response “come to me and you will know me” I edge my foot towards the edge but then a thought comes to my head, what if this is just more taunting? what if this is the same dark heavy force luring me towards it, I hear the voice again “come to me and you will know me” I edge my foot closer to the edge and feel some rubble, I push it over the ledge and wait for the sound, I wait for what seems like an eternity and hear nothing, I back against the window and realise it is ice cold and I know that that dark force is behind me, what I can’t figure out is whether it is trying to draw me back, or trying to push me forwards, for now I remain on this ledge, caught in a choice, to have faith and risk falling into nothingness, or to go back to the darkness that seems so familiar, but for now I remain on this ledge.
With eyes closed begins the dream.
I am currently working on an actual direction for this blog, so this post will just be a excerpt that inspires me to no end from a book that means a lot to me “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche.
translated by R.J. Hollingdale.
“In truth, man is a polluted river. One must be a sea, to receive a polluted river and not be defiled.
Behold, I teach you the Superman: he is this sea, in him your great contempt can go under.
What is the greatest thing you can experience? It is the hour of the great contempt. The hour in which even your happiness grows loathsome to you, and your reason and your virtue also.
The hour when you say: ‘What good is my happiness? It is poverty and dirt and a miserable ease. but my happiness should justify existence itself!’
the hour when you say: ‘What good is my reason? Does it hunger for knowledge as the lion for its food? It is poverty and dirt and a miserable ease!’
The hour when you say: ‘What good is my virtue? It has not yet driven me mad! How tired I am of my good and my evil! It is all poverty and dirt and a miserable ease
The hour when you say: ‘What good is my justice? I do not see that I am fire and hot coals. but the just man is fire and hot coals!’
The hour when you say: ‘What good is my pity? Is not pity the cross upon which he who loves man is nailed? But my pity is no crucifixion!’
Have you ever spoken thus? Have you ever cried thus?
Ah, that I had heard you crying thus!
It is not your sin, but your moderation that cries to heaven, your very meanness in sinning that cries to Heaven!
Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the madness with which you should be cleansed?
Behold, I teach you the Superman: he is this lightning, he is this madness!”
This is something that I try to follow everyday, mostly failing, but the hour of the great contempt tends to hit me when I get lazy and complacent and knocks me back on path. if you feel you are too lazy and satisfied in your life, read this a few times, really let it’s meaning and it’s power envelop you and bring you into your hour of the great contempt.
“A recent struggle with my idea of spirituality has, as well as certain existential conundrums, left me wondering “where am I?”, there are also other crises of self awareness that are troubling me, but I wont go into those in this letter.
So where was I?…oh yes! where am I?
Well I’m on my bed, in my room, in my parents house in the small town of Enniscorthy, in the ocean side County of Wexford, in the Province of Leinster, in the magical land of Erin; but that’s not what I mean, I mean where am I in my life, spiritually, mentally, emotionally.
Well I know one thing, at the tender age of twenty three I don’t know if I have the spiritual, mental or emotional maturity to figure any of this out, but damn it, I’m going to try.
So spirituality…well I grew up Catholic as did most Irish children of my generation, at least the ones I grew up with. I was even an alter-boy at one stage, but despite all the stigma around it recently, I was never given any “difficulty” by any of the priests, it was a fairly pleasant experience, as pleasant as church can get I suppose. But I wouldn’t say that was significant in my being Catholic, it’s just a pithy tale that came out in the moment. I would say the biggest influence on my being Catholic was my parents and my primary school. Every morning in school we gathered in the main hall for assembly and found every way we could to misbehave before the principal got up on the stage to read announcements (most of which had to do with our parish church) after that he would start the morning prayer and hymns, when we all had to stand in lines organized by what class we were in and face the stage, standing perfectly still until the entire ordeal was over, and then would begin the systematic wearing down and remodelling of young minds that was the primary school education.
I am making it sound a whole lot worse than it was, but then, I’m a very dramatic person when I find a situation that warrants it.
My exposure to Catholicism didn’t stop there, my parents made sure that every week we spent Sunday morning in church doing our weekly aerobics workout, standing up, kneeling down, then standing up again, then sitting, then kneeling again and finally sitting down before we were aloud to leave and go about our Sunday playing video games or watching television or whatever we could find to try and forget that first hour of the day. Not to mention all the really good things being Catholic did for us like, Christmas and Easter for example, and although I have subsequently learned that they are not originally Christian holidays, that didn’t seem to stop going to church on those days as well.
I wouldn’t have described myself as a devout Catholic, I don’t know what that is, I definitely believed in God and Satan, Heaven and Hell and these were ideas that were very deeply embedded in my mind, I did believe that I was a sinner and that at some point I would have to repent for all of those sins or when I died I would be plunged straight into the depths of hell,I believed whole heartedly that when I got to heaven I would be greeted by all my family members and I lived my life under those beliefs for thirteen or maybe fourteen years, then I had an awakening, an epiphany moment in the middle of church and realised “holy shit!!’ everyone is chanting and bowing to someone we’ve only ever heard about from some fruit in a dress…what the fuck am I doing in this circus” and within the space of about five minutes after a serious inner debate I decided these people are all mental and I need to find some way of getting out of coming to this every week, so I discovered Heavy Metal music, which only threw fuel on the fire, I then proceeded to grow my hair long and wear black clothing with satanic, sometimes just eldritch but always cool images on them. Now I don’t know if this had anything to do with the fact that we started going to church less and less but it certainly seem like it may have been a factor, my life was mine now, even though I still had to go to school and be in bed by twelve, but at least I wasn’t afraid of going to hell if i disobeyed my parents and stayed up for an extra four or five hours.
I was off the millenarian band wagon and living it up on the existentialist express train, on my way to self awareness, truth was all I cared about now, I didn’t want to know about religion or spirituality or heaven or anyone or anything trying to run my life, I was taking matters into my own hands, I was learning an instrument, I was meeting new people and I was neglecting school, the latter being something I would definitely end up regretting later. Anyway I was now an Atheist, trying to discover truth, a mission that would lead me to another Atheist, Friedrich Neitzsche.
His life interested me more than his writings, though “Thus spoke Zarathustra” has meant a lot to me, to me he was modern day prophet, living in the mountains cut off from the world with naught but the wisdom of nature to learn from, I felt like one of Jack Keruak’s “Dharma Bums” everytime i read TSZ, like I was reading from ancient knowledge and I wanted to be like him.
I then discovered John N Gray and his book “Straw Dogs” and he talked about Neitzsche’s work being based on the same principals as Christianity and it made sense and I was crushed, this truth that I had put so much value to, was based on a lie.”
This was a letter I wrote to myself earlier this year, a rather overly dramatic ending wouldn’t you say?
I have since discovered through long deliberation that being a humanist and being spiritual do not have to be separate things, the search for the truth is, at least in my opinion a search of the self, and that is a very spiritual journey as I’m discovering every day.
for all those truth seekers and faith dealers may the force be with you.
Haigh ,Benjiman Anthony Hogan is ainm dom, cen Choai a bhuil tu?
Enough of that, this is my first post on my very first blog and I’m interested to see where things will go from here.
The topic of discussion will be me.
As I head into my mid-twenties I’ve found myself thinking a lot more about where I am now and where I’m going, where I want to go etc.
A journey of sorts, kind of like a John Hughes movie, and like one of his movies i hope that you, either man, woman, child or indeed F.B.I. analyst, whoever will see these rantings, will grow with me and at least take some solace in the knowledge that there is another out there who feels just like them, and maybe, just maybe, everything will be ok…
Well that’s it for now, I will be back soon with more, but untill then, slan libh!