The 601st post

Do I get paid for blogging? Not a single cent.

http://onemansblog.com

So why do I blog (been doing it for two years and ten months, and counting) then?

1. It’s a faster and a lot easier way to get published. Unlike waiting months to be published in books, newspapers, journals, and other traditional forms of publication, and going through hopelessly circuitous bureaucracy and esteem-crushing peer reviews, blogging is faster, more efficient, and way more accessible.

2. I was able to create a small but knit network of readers and bloggers who may not be as bitter as I am but are very willing to read all my bitterness and misanthropy and berate (or praise) me for these.

3. There’s no way for me to tell if this has worked to my advantage or the opposite, but previous and prospective employers got/will get an idea about the man they consider hiring through his thoughts (or portion of these) laid out in the open.

4. I get to feed my inner monster’s thirst for affirmation of its existence.

5. Since my posts do not serve any practical purpose besides giving other people something to read about the person they’re stalking, through this blog, in a way, I am giving them something to do in their free time or to scratch when the itch to be ‘in-the-know’ strikes.

6. It’s a welcome respite from the unforgiving weekdays (this I know most of us know too well).

7. I’ll have something to chuckle about when I’m too old to still be shocked and awed by the world. Hopefully, that is, if I reach that age.

8. It gives me control (well yeah) of what aspect of myself I want  the world to know and how I want it to see me. (Assuming the author is not dead.)

9. I have the comments to look forward to after each post.

10. I’m a narcissist, and I want to see images of me being reflected in the monitor of my computer.

11. Finally, I blog  because I’ll die (or worse, go crazy) if I stop writing.

Untitled

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I’m right in the middle of filling this blank space up with words, characters some would be quick to correct me. It is early morning of Saturday; I’m in front of  the television that gives off soft glare, hearing Gus Abelgas’s glottal detailed narration of a heinous crime committed by an obese twenty-something. The ambiance of the living room makes me sleepy.

If not for the unforgiving fluorescent, I would have already stopped writing, climbed up the staircase and should’ve already been sleeping now. Thanks to the 40-watt bulb, I am still up until this time to continue writing. I thought of using this free time, the only one I have this week, to distill my rambling thoughts.

A friend told me that I wallow in the banalities of my writings. Although this isn’t the exact words he used, but the manner he said it sounded as strongly as ‘wallowing in the banalities’, that while I constantly remind my students that their writings should have a purpose, that it should comment, albeit subtly, on their social reality, complete with the trappings of an elegant utilization of the English language, my own writings have barely escaped the personal and the mundane.

I hate it when I do not write for several days; losing this very precious momentum I’ve painstakingly built, because of a long break, makes it even more difficult for me to gather enough propulsion to hurl myself back in front of Microsoft office and commence writing. I’m like a weightlifter suffering from massive muscular atrophy after a long respite. Or a soprano unable to sing an aria after a tonsillectomy. Or somebody whose former memory could be described as eidetic but stopped being so after undergoing three frontal lobotomies. On a second thought, one cannot hoard momentum, just like one cannot hoard sleep, time, or courage, when it comes to writing. Every day is a different day; a better metaphor would be somebody being on a labor bed giving birth every time he decides to put his thoughts into writing.

I just ran through posts I wrote years ago. At the very core of it, the entire act or reviewing posts of past years was nothing short of narcissism, and a blatant one to boot.

www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

I find it remorseful reading old posts. They remind me of my latent naivete, still obviously present in my newer posts, but hopefully more subdued this time. I quietly enjoy mocking my former youthful decadence. But while I take pride in how I unreluctantly debase and berate my old self, no holds barred, like all narcissists, I derive an inexpressible pleasure from the act of reading my old thoughts, more like Narcissus staring down at his own reflection in the pool. The images I see may not be beautiful, but how the image appears is immaterial, the fact that they’re mine and that I come close to enjoying the covert exercise, are enough to classify this as self-worship in nature. One philosopher, his name escaped me, said that self-love is insidious.

So right in the middle of filling this space up with characters, these things occur in my thoughts. I cannot help from writing them down, for future’s sake.  I find being afflicted with Alzheimer’s romantic. Though the idea scares me, reading these from the perspective of my Alzheimer’s-ed self is  rather intriguing.

Now, I certainly need start to writing.

Pictures of the author

And since blogging is a truly personal medium for individual expression, this narcissistic exercise of posting my pictures here is far from being impertinent, and I, being unabashedly honest, think this was done in good taste. This post is as personal as ‘personal’ can get.

It’s a perfectly normal enterprise, an essential endeavor that comes naturally based on public understanding of the capitalist idea of ownership that is reminiscent of pre-Cold War definition of  ownership (the blog domain, that is, as applied in the contemporary times).

Besides, readers are free to enter and leave this site at their own pleasure (and/or risk [!]).

These pictures were taken outside Miagao Church almost a month ago by the author of the blog whose link appears below the pictures.

http://rjsolis.wordpress.com

http://rjsolis.wordpress.com

I abhor my style of writing above. This means to say that I do not tolerate myself writing in such a way and that this will be the last time I am utilizing this tone.

Why “Why did the chicken cross the street?” is the most frivolous question ever formulated

There are questions about life whose profundity is worth reflecting about. For instance these three questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go from here? are very critical questions for the spiritual survival of mankind. The attempts to find the answers to them sparked the birth of specific bodies of knowledge such as metaphysics, semiotic, and ontology that can stand on their own right as an independent branch of philosophy.

There are questions that are asked because they require practical answers which, although not philosophical in nature, are still necessary to maintain civilization. For example: If the slope of the line is the tangent of cosine b, what is the angle of the line opposite teta as it approaches the asymptote of the 4th quadrant 28 degrees east northeast of that toilet bowl to your left, granting that the formula y=mx+b is half of the diameter of that circle whose pi is not 3.1416 but 2.3X10 raised to the 23rd power of the speed of light in a vacuum?

Questions like the one before this paragraph may sound pedantic but they have actual applications in the field of civil engineering, architecture, weather reporting, space technology, communication, etc. They are not meant to be answered by laymen not because they are not capable of answering them but because there are specialized groups of people who are paid to answer them. Answers to these questions make our existence on this planet more comfortable, our lives easier, therefore allowing as to pursue the answers to questions of the first type.

There are questions that keep the society in order, at peace, and well-functioning. How are you? How’s your day? Can I call you tonight? Do you love me? Can we make love tonight? Will you marry me? Can I have a divorce? are of this kind. These questions maintain human conduct, the foundation of an urbane, civilized, humane, and cosmopolitan living. Without questions like these, we are nothing better than wild beasts or members of a barbaric tribe who are yet to be tamed by what we universally refer to as ecumenical acculturation (I am literally clueless as to the meaning of this phrase, but it sounds good so I am using it anyway).

The last kind of questions, which, I believe, is the least studied but the most interesting, is where the Why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-street? type of questions belong. These questions are devoid of any spiritual, utilitarian, or cultural significance. People who ask these questions indulge in their own frivolity and the buffoonery of the questions they ask. Mankind asks “Why did the chicken cross the street?” because of a combination of boredom and unabashed narcissism.

Different societies around the world have their versions of jokes involving the innocent chicken. This particular chicken, however, did not even think of crossing the street because, as all of us know, there’s nothing to be seen on the other side of the street that can’t be found on that side of the street the chicken is standing. But man’s prying won’t give the chicken his peace. Despite the apparent absence of any laugh-inducing tales that are truly humorous involving our chicken, mankind doesn’t stop concocting stories that explain why the chicken crossed the street (or if our chicken indeed did cross the busy street).

But it appeared that on the other side of the street, the chicken in question is staring at the entire of mankind wondering why the most advance species in the animal kingdom is wondering why the lowly avian crossed the street, which in fact he did not.

“See what boredom can do!” The chicken exclaimed.

Tips on forcing yourself to leave the bed

Sleep

I always see to it that I end my day with an hour in the gym. Not so much because I have become a narcissistic health buff or I want to have a body akin to that of a macho Guess model exhibiting his stuff for all the motorists plying EDSA to behold. I work out and pump iron with a dedication comparable to somebody who enlisted himself in a body building competition set a month from now. But my justification is nothing close. I am doing this out of routine. The same routine that kicks me to wake up too early each day to go to Makati to earn extra money and then leave for my real job after I’m done with lunch.

But these past few weeks, I find it getting more difficult to wake up each morning. I set my alarm two hours before any appointment to give me enough grace period to snuggle my pillows for fifteen minutes and to contemplate whether the measly amount I shall get is worth the ordeal and the psychological battle I have to wage just so I can abandon my bed with at least a tinge of sanity left.

I’d complain about my aching biceps, swollen chest, and abdominal muscles soaked in lactic acid, only that I have no one to direct my complaints to. I’d pop a tablet of paracetamol to alleviate my annoyingly wringy headache due to lack of sleep. I can only manage to have at most six hours of sleep everyday. Certainly not enough to allow my body to rest and recuperate from all the wear and tear I subject it every waking hour.

Huge Alarm Clock

But I am beginning to maneuver the ropes quickly and efficiently. I wake up daily at 7:30 or 8 o’clock the latest with little resistance. After 30 minutes from the time I wake up, you’ll see me checking my emails, all dressed up and ready for the day. How do I do that? Here’s how:

1. Take a bath before you sleep so there’ll be no need for an adverse bathing and grime removal procedure in the morning. This will save you time outwitting the rush hour, not to mention giving you a sound sleep during the night.

2. Set as many alarms as there is possible at varying time, a five-minute time difference each so in the event you are too callused to ignore the first one there will be several other alarms that will prompt you that it’s time to leave the comfort of your nest and face the uncertain day ahead.

3. Place your alarms in hard to reach places, in crevices and other impossible places, or stick them using adhesive, say a duct tape, as near your cochlea as possible. Never at an arm’s length for reason we are all aware of.

4. If you stay along major thoroughfares like EDSA, Ayala Ave, Commonwealth Ave, or Aurora Blvd the better. Do not close you window when you sleep. Since rush hour in these roads starts early, around five in the morning, the sheer noise the vehicles create is enough to bring you back to your senses or discourage any lame attempt on your part to doze off.

5. By the way, I forgot to mention that the alarm clocks you planted will also serve another purpose. They will annoy your roommates or neighbors that in the event these devices fail in restoring you back to life, they’ll place the burden on themselves to wake you up. Disclaimer: this blogger relinquishes any liability if you decide to follow this suggestion and your skull is whacked by these people you inconvenienced because of your alarms.

6. If you are into S&M and derive pleasure from inflicting pain or you want to be the object of pain then you may also utilize sharp and pointed objects placed in strategic locations dotted on your bed that will both wake you up and give you pleasurable sensation at the start of your day. Think of hitting two birds with one stone.

7. Remove all curtains that will keep the sun from shining on your sleepy eyes. Our body is wired to eschew sleep when it is in a bright surrounding. This explains the extra bright lighting in offices with clerical, and therefore repetitive, working operation. Without the curtains, going back to our tip No. 7, the last one, we welcome a bright day scurrying to the bathroom to start a busy day ahead.

Narcissism in the gym

I am far from being a narcissist. In fact I’m the opposite. I’m one of those brand of people who find amusement in loathing themselves, or something quite like that. Popular culture has oversimplified the definition of narcissism that it simply is “excessive self-love” which is partly correct.

But according to the American Psychiatric Association, narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a pattern of traits and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance and ambition.

Most narcissists (75 per cent) are men.

NPD is new (1980) mental health category. There is only scant research regarding narcissism. But what there is has not demonstrated any ethnic, social, cultural, economic, genetic, or professional predilection to NPD. It is estimated that 0.7-1 per cent of the general population suffer from NPD.

Pathological narcissism was first described in detail by Freud. The onset of narcissism is in infancy, childhood and early adolescence. It is commonly attributed to childhood abuse and trauma inflicted by parents, authority figures, or even peers.

Narcissists are either “Cerebral” (derive their narcissistic supply from their intelligence or academic achievements) – or “Somatic” (derive their narcissistic supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and “conquests”).

Going back to pop culture’s definition, most of people who are branded narcissists are not of the pathological type. They simply are people who succumb to vanity and society’s pressure to look good, achieve as much, or conquer as many possible mate as one can obtain.

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Since most narcissists are men, 75 per cent, the best places to study them are in areas like gym and beauty salons where mirrors abound, an important aspect of the metaphor of Narcissus. As an example, the gym where I go to every afternoon right after my class has mirrors on all its walls. Although most of the men that go there to work out do look at their reflections on the mirrors in a subtle, non-obvious manner, some go beyond and do it in a very conspicuous way, sometimes even bordering to exhibitionism.

For in the modern society, body-building, which used to be done for health reasons, is now morphing into a capitalistic endeavor that thrives on the market’s demand for bulging muscles in men who breed hidden narcissist in all of them. I do not say I am immune from it; in fact I sometimes have hidden pleasures in marveling on the reflections of my body on the mirrors in the place where I work out. But I just reason that I worked hard to achieve the definition I see.

We humans are such subtle narcissists.