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december 2005

Funkness1:45am thursday, 29th december
I’m in a little bit of a funk, and I don’t know why. I think it might have started when my father went back home from one of his semi-yearly trips here to Korea. As I’ve related to you, when he was here, he was hell-bent on setting me up with someone before the year was out. He did not succeed, as you might have guessed. And now that he’s not here any more, that pressure has been lifted — but it’s as if the release of the constant burden of (mostly horrible) blind dates has exposed in my soul an empty spot I had before filled in with other things. Now that there’s a social habit that I was (almost) forced to assume, now that I no longer have to go through such motions, my insides at this point seek it out, and I do not have anything for these social artifices to solace upon, however lackluster they had fed upon in the past. So, hm, perhaps I do know why I am in such a state of sunken heart. It’s my addictive personality, which I had not counted on, not for this, but which mark I recognize: yet another unbearable lightness of being that I need deal with.

If you don’t know of what I reference, in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera describes citizens who had fled the communist state of Czechoslovakia and, having no oppression constantly overbearing upon their souls, felt a lightness to their existence that was, well, rather unbearable to feel. The obvious such feeling I’ve had was when I was trying unsuccessfully to quit drugs. I remember not feeling as solid when I came down from the highs, ironically enough. Only when I found Jesus did I have a viable substitute for them, and that still meant many times when I relapsed back to the euphorics of intoxication. Some recovered madpeople, as I have mentioned before, feel such lightness coming down from seraphic power trips, down to the everyday. And so, thus goes my rather mundane problem, which I am sure is magnified to a degree by whatever little madness I have yet running through my veins. But it helps, at least, to write about it. Let it not silently gnaw at me....

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Christmas6:04am sunday, 25th december
 8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

If you don’t recognize it, this is Luke 2:8-14, what Linus says at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

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Life, in Perpetuity5:34am wednesday, 21st december
Right now I’m keeping myself rather busy, learning two new programming languages, namely, Ruby and Scheme. Ruby is the supposed hot new thing on the block, and the only problem with it is that it was invented by a Japanese person, and Korea and Japan hate each other. Yes, I’m just Korean enough that this turns me off. Almost. But I decided to learn Scheme, too, which is a dialect of Lisp, just in case Ruby turns me off totally somewhere — Scheme is noted for use in artificial intelligence, which is what I’m learning these languages for. Scheme, though, I actually used some 15 years ago or so (am I that old? egad!) in a computer science class, way back when.... Other than that, I have been going on a lot of blind dates, and disappointing the elders (dad, mom, aunts, etc.) by not hooking up with any of them. They keep telling me that I’m no spring chicken, but I think it rather is that they feel that they’re getting on themselves, which is why the rush (and the smell of desperation). I’m rather fine with where I am. Ob la di, ob la da — life goes on. La la honey life goes on.
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Escape6:04am saturday, 17th december
Odd moments I feel I’m about to jump out of my head.
I don’t know what would be left behind, exactly, so I don’t try.
One resists the little urge to escape — ’cause there’s nowhere else.

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Direction2:23am tuesday, 13th december
There are times when I am very directed, very focused, and there is no question why I am on this planet: there is merely the action, the thought, the purpose; and I do not even ask myself if I am happy or not, because there is nothing else that intrudes into my motion. Then there are moments of introspection, when I — well, not exactly falter — but pause in my going, and I wonder why am I doing what I’m doing, is this the way I should be going, what was that purpose, again? I mean, dreaming may be one thing, but as the saying goes, if a plan does not automatically degenerate into hard work, it’s just a fantasy. But in that frantic drive to do everything all at once, it might be that there was something in the original dreaming of it all that made you want to commit all those hours to it in the first place, which if you’re not careful, may get lost in the shuffle. Or maybe you had no original why — and you want one, now, especially since you’ve spent so many resources so far.

Reasons to be for the things in your life surely make the reason to be for your life easier to manage. And that which you do is a thing, a thing in motion, a push in a certain direction, but an abstract thing is still a thing. But I for one like to step back, sometimes, as far back as I can go, and really ask why. And it usually comes down to one question: does this (or will this) help people? (“Me” is included implicitly in the “people”.) For the antithesis must be true to Lucifer’s cry in Paradise Lost, that it must be the greater thing to serve in Heaven than to rule in Hell: how does what I do serve the common good, in whatever proximity it is relevant to? And when I ask this, I usually find an answer for myself. It is an interesting exercise. Not everyone plays by these rules, I know, but these are the tests that I must apply every once in a while just to know that I am not only sane, but on the right side. Falling from grace, after all, is not usually a one time hurtle — but a thousand little slips.

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Incalculable4:22am friday, 9th december
The incalculable machine keeps on,
incessant and inevitable,
and thoughts stray from me like the sands,
and everything goes away
because this is their nature:
they are one with the machine, and follow
the courses of the seconds passing,
while I am somehow outside,
or inside, where I can’t get out,
somehow meandering outside the cycle
of life and death. The feeling
that I am a stranger is not new,
and in fact, it surprises me whenever
there is some semblance of me belonging;
just that now, I have this sense
that I want just to settle into the framework
of this world, where I am to be
these many years to come;
this noble savage, or not so noble:
let us dress him in finery and teach him couth,
and see if he can ascertain
the accoutrements of society.
It is a good experiment. For my part,
I think I must forget that the machine
even exists if I am to be a part of the niceties.
But I know in the back of my mind
the barbarian in me will let out
a healthy snort at everything,
and secretly, I will wonder
at the silver gears that underpin creation,
whose architecture inspires in me
the wildness to dance around the fire.

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Dreams2:44am tuesday, 6th december
Yes, dreams. Dreams. Every once in a while, I sit down, and I examine them, the “real” ones I’ve had, ever since my big comedown. They change, sometimes, pretty radically, too — when I graduated college, I thought that it was my destiny to become a writer; not like this here, but a novelist. I mean, I still have to write (I actually prayed for such a curse/blessing), but I could never seem to sit down for hours at a time and emote on paper (or in front of a screen, as it were). Then, in 2000, sitting while The Matrix was on HBO, it suddenly struck me that artificial intelligence was why God put me on this planet. And I have stuck with this since. And I guess it is not so radical a consideration I have these days, but what, from my current frame of reference, my path is in relation to that original inspiration. Hm. Just to write this little thing, if it comes to it, invokes in me a little sense of “keep on keeping on”. Thanks, I guess, for indulging this thinking on paper. I guess this dreaming keeps me goodly held, and things are going pretty well, all things well considered. Not too bad at all.
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I Am Become1:43am friday, 2nd december
“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” said Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita. And perhaps I understand the feeling. Someone on this site said that the real fear is not thinking that you’re powerless, but instead, that you have power unspeakable. How many reading this have felt that “fugue” sensation, that they wielded power over the fundamental forces of the universe, that they could will galaxies into being or snuff out the most distant quasars? I myself have thought that I played with the strings of existence themselves, that which causes all things to be — or not to be. Where does it come from, such delusion of omnipotence? What in us makes us believe that the reality out there is just as malleable as the one inside our head — is it that there is confusion between the two? And such grand plans I had, of a world made EUTOPIA (I’ve mentioned this before), though now I look back and cannot even be glad I did not possess such power, just embarrassedly smile and shake my head at myself for such overboard thinking.

One might examine the phrase, “drunk with power”. That was the sensation, if I think on it, feeling so powerful it made you high. Maybe it was a drug, after all, that gave me the whole sense, some chemical imbalance that made me so deluded. I do know that I don’t miss it. Wrestling with such huge imaginary demons — give me instead the ordinary, any day. Such highs always came with a price, and I never want to pay that kind of debt again. In the little sphere that I was reduced to when I became more or less sane, I know I had trouble enough controlling what little things I had power over. I cannot imagine if I were in a loftier seat and had say-so on greater governances. What do you think, you who came back down to earth? Do you miss the tastes of Heaven and Hell? The air up there, for my part, I need never breathe of it again, and I know that I will still be happy. To bear the responsibility for my own life is quite enough to have power over. Perhaps that, and to know that what there needed to be done, I did what I could.

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