1. In Journey to Ixtlan, Don Juan advises Castaneda to become inaccessible, to cease to be available to his old friends. Being a misanthrope and an Anglo-Indian fascist to boot, i have never had to work hard at solitude. Don Juan argues that we are drawn into a common narrative by our acquaintances & friends, their tale of us, and to change we need to free ourselves of their limiting vision. In my case, i began to change sometime last year, when i learnt how to switch off my “internal dialogue”after re-reading Castaneda. The internal dialogue, as much as our social circles, constantly reaffirms our personal narrative – our story of ourselves, and of the world – and blocks out what one could call divine or sorcerous realities.
i occasionally have prescient dreams or visions or what have you – always of trivial things, e.g. a dream that i’m walking to the s-bahn and a woman trips over and drops her phone, and then exactly this happens the next morning – in the same place, the same woman, dressed exactly as in the dream, me in the same position watching. These were always quite rare occurrences but have become more frequent of late. These coincide with my growing alienation from all my colleagues.
2. i now teach about 5 hours a week at McLingua’s Arbeitsamt (Job Centre) building, a piss-stained dump in an industrial suburb. Unfortunately, i am more or less forced to interact with my colleagues, a depressing bunch of mediocrities. i like one of them – a benign Mexican-American called Doug the Greaser, one of these 1950s throwbacks who never swears, seems permanently cheerful and has, as far as i can tell, not a single malicious bone in his jolly Mexican body. The rest are largely harmless but regard me with evident distaste and suspicion, e.g.:
Andy (a Brit): I had like this really weird student, a doctor.
me: Oh, you mean Gunther? Tuesday evening?
Andy: Yeah, he’s like really weird. He’s so like arrogant.
me: I liked him. He’s interesting.
Everyone stares at me.
Andy: He’s like a hunter. I’m not a vegetarian but that’s like really weird. I mean, a hunter. Come on. That’s just weird.
me [gathering my papers and about to leave the teacher room]: Well, i’m not a hunter but i can understand hunting. It’s as old as Man. Haven’t you ever felt the urge to kill?
An uncomfortable silence as i leave. Or:
California Jesus: Man, I had this fucked up Jap, I hate Jap students. They all lame.
me: I had this Japanese radiologist in 2011, his only hobbies were sleeping and eating.
California Jesus: Oh man, that douchebag, yeah I remember him. He be fucked up and lame.
me: What was his name…Akira Kubokai?
CJ: How the fuck do you remember that? I only remember because he was my first student in Munich. What are you, fucking autistic or something? [everyone stares at me with open contempt].
These are my colleagues – exemplars of the lesser man. In some ways it is like being back in school, where the slightest difference arouses derision and hostility, the only admissible skills being beer-drinking-capacity and sports. Having an unusually good memory or a book is grounds for a stoning. Most of them are thieves (bicycles most of all, but they will steal anything they can, and boast of it later), and they all vote for Bernie Sanders and despise any kind of traditionalism, except of course Oktoberfest.
3. i never had much in common with my fellow “teachers”, only occasionally socialising with Toddball and The Cop. Toddball has somehow regressed and become increasingly juvenile since his first child was born in 2013, and when i realised his back-stabbing malicious gossip had come to include me i ceased to tell him anything i wouldn’t want repeated (with his own twist) before people like California Jesus. But since switching off the internal dialogue the coldness between me and the others has become at times open hostility – on their side; i merely regard them as typical human beings. i haven’t changed my demeanour, but i think they sense the other realities at work, somehow – with their acute sense for difference, for abstention from the common reality (beer, sport, drugs, socialism, stealing). i take their hostility as a mark of Cain, in Hesse’s sense, a badge of achievement. A symbolic anecdote – i was walking down Kaufingerstraße in Munich, taking in the crowds (lots of military-age Muslim migrants prowling around in gangs) when someone tried to punch me in the chest, my right arm arched up and his hand bounced off the back of my wrist, and i somehow connected with his upper arm, apparently with some force for i then found myself wheeling to face Toddball. He was rubbing his arm and looking somewhat startled to find his punch-elberry-hard-in-the-chest jape had failed. i apologised, saying i hadn’t seen him, and i made a joke about Muslim rapists etc., and we parted.
Later, i realised i had used the opening move of the yang cheng-fu style to repel his attack. i was totally relaxed, my breathing didn’t even change, and my arm was almost floppy as it sprang up to parry the fist. It is typical Toddball – he is the kind of beery man’s man American who likes to get people in headlocks, punch friends hard and claim it’s a joke, to assert his playground superiority. i’ve never spontaneously used ycf before, though i’ve heard of others – people who learnt some tai chi form for health alone – spontaneously using part of the form in self-defence. i wouldn’t want to bet “health tai chi” would work against a trained boxer or skilled street fighter or gang of Muslims (which is why i also carry a tactical pen and pepper spray and a knife), but against belligerent Homer Simpsons, it seems to do well enough – not bad, since i never really trained tai chi seriously, and haven’t done it daily in a decade. In this case, i feel that my state at the time (with my internal dialogue switched off) enabled an adequate response.
Naturally, a week later i was in the teacher room and Toddball had to tell the others his version: “I was walking down the street, saw Elberry and waved to say hi and he screamed ‘hai!!!’ and attacked me like some fucking ninja, screaming about Muslims. He’s fucking paranoid.” i just shrugged, but later told this to The Cop, who snorted: “You should have broken his nose.”
4. There are many ways of frame your own personal narrative, for my colleagues it is generally “I am a beer-drinking American, I vote for Bernie Sanders because I am on the side of the good guys, I steal anything I can find, I’m cool and haven’t read a book in my life”. For my students it seems to be “I am hard-working and will leave lots of money for my one child when I finally die in the middle of a powerpoint presentation.” For me, everything is suborned to power – one could call it magical power but even that is incidental. There isn’t much to obviously distinguish the higher from the lesser man, it is more an instinct, a taste. Even politics is, i would say, of little significance, though i haven’t yet encountered a Leftist who was other than a mediocrity, a champagne socialist, an embittered freak, or just a fat loser.
5. i had to buy a wristwatch – well, wanted to – since i was sick of digging my fob watch out, and feel a reluctance to rely on mobile phones for the time. i bought a Seiko 5 after watching a great video on the Urban Gentry channel.
It’s the first wristwatch i’ve bought in my life, and the first i’ve worn in over 20 years. i like it and have been wondering, why i prefer it to my old Nokia phone – the latter is so small it’s easy enough to use for time. It is a matter of taste; but then taste is of more importance than ideology or belief. Time is absolutely central to human existence & consciousness, but since it is not tangible like space, it exercises a subtler, and if you like magical influence. Just as inches don’t really exist – not in the way a table or a hand exist – so seconds and minutes are not exactly real, but are a convenience that has become a determining condition. i thought about surviving with my Cold War Molnija pocket watch, which sometimes just stops running until given a good shake, but since i travel so much i really need to know the time to the minute. What, then, is the problem with my old Nokia? – nothing, except that i don’t like time to be electronically-delivered. A matter of taste, again. With the centrally human affairs, such as time, old-fash(ist) is best. i could learn to repair my Seiko, but i wouldn’t have a chance if the Nokia broke – thus, i am at the mercy of the latter, it is not truly part of a human life, anymore than is this computer i use now.
No need for ideology – taste is guide enough, reasoning and theory can come later. i can, in my spirit, reach into the Molnija or the Seiko, and hence they are tools, partaking of my mind & life, and i of their construction. i have never felt the slightest affection or partnership with a computer or mobile phone, and indeed generally find them recalcitrant and perverse, and their fans comparably cartoonish and absurd.
6. i haven’t voted in my life, but am nonetheless regarded as a right-wing nutjob because i wouldn’t support someone like Bernie Sanders. Partly, because he just looks like a choleric old Communist who would happily send millions to the gulag (whereas Trump looks like a choleric male Thatcherite Capitalist who etc.), but mostly because i feel the welfare system is wrong for people like me, and is actually poisonous to everyone, and the “tax the rich and give free stuff to the ghetto troglodytes” approach is not merely economically suicidal, but spiritually ruinous. Money is akin to time – albeit vastly less significant – of consequence to the human spirit, and if you take money for nothing, i.e. welfare, you have lost something of value in yourself.
i speak from experience, having been on the dole for 3 years after graduating; grim as my office jobs were, i never for a moment contemplated going back on the dole as a reasonable alternative, because even then i felt that there is some minimal power in working for the means of survival; but to accept money for nothing is to become a supplicant to the State, that is to an impersonal bureaucracy with which you can have no vital human connection. It is one thing to accept payment for work done, or help from friends or family – here, there is a human relationship, a duality and a reason for the exchange; living on welfare is to become impotent, as i understand it. But just as most people would see no sense in handwriting, or using a typewriter, or having a watch instead of a mobile phone, so it seems most people think society can function if “the rich” are punitively taxed for the sin of success, and their money given to vast government bureaucracies, who then administer what little passes through their capacious absorbent gut, to the ghetto spawn who never expect to work, because they have lost all sense of personal power (which begins with minimal self-respect). i feel that power, as i perceive it, is in fact the law of the universe and hence of society and individuals, and a society which works to annul the capacity of its citizens will naturally collapse, and that seems due soon.
7. As i survey the state of dreariness and mediocrity, the triumph of the lesser man, i feel a grim optimism and curiosity. i would say, with Dante:
però giri Fortuna la sua rota
come le piace, e ‘l villan la sua marra
Turn Fortune her wheel then as she list – and the clown his mattock!