Pleasure Spots (p.985)
I went to an all-inclusive Mexican resort once, where upon arrival they slapped a bright-colored bracelet on to indicate my status as a temporary royal. Anyone without the bracelet does not get access to the bars, restaurants, pools, beaches, human-sized chess set, or beaming Mexican smiles. You were American royalty.
Each day was the same though; wake up, go to breakfast, sit by the pool and nap until lunch, then start (or continue) drinking. Once full on food and liquor, take another nap, then engage in a late-afternoon physical activity like swimming or paid tour, which was the only thing paid for out-of-pocket. Have dinner, then drinks, then pass out. Every day. I realize that seems like a perfect vacation for many, but after a short while of ubiquitous pleasure, I grew bored. Bored?! How does one get bored with being waited on hand-and-foot?
Because there was no intellectual requirement. No challenges, no goals, no debates, nothing. And I was pretty directionless at the time; I had not begun writing yet.
I quickly grew to despise the resort. I referred to it as a compound. Having everything provided felt like my will was imprisoned, because the daily milieu was not realistic in any way. Reality involves a myriad of choices, stressors, consequences and rewards, yet an all-inclusive resort dulls this stark truth by pandering to our emotions and utopic ideals. Again, I realize many people love these places, but if this vacation is merely an escape from permanent reality, how good is it really for us? I am not being an intellectual snob, it is an honest, valid question.
Another trip I took was to Moosehead Lake, during deep winter. In the other seasons the town of Greenville was a nexus of tourists, but in the dead of wintertime, it was just the locals. And me and my dog. I rented a small cabin with just enough room to stretch our legs. It snowed a few feet when we were there, which was just a few days. You could barely see the next cabin, or even the lake for that. What we did see when we looked out the large cabin windows were trees, snow mounds, an clouds. Or in other words, white with just a touch of green. It was so quiet you could hear the wind blow through the trees, the fire crackle, and the cabin groan in the wind. I kept thinking I would get lonely and would not know what to do. I anticipated loneliness, though it never came.
I went snow-shoeing. I read. I wrote a little. But--and this is going to sound cliche'--what I did most of the time was just be. There were no distractions. Just nature. I would stare out the windows wondering if I was wasting time, but my introspective thoughts were not weighted by civilized noise, making substantive thought inevitable. Thinking back to the Mexican resort, when I stared off the balcony, I always felt like I was wasting time.
What was the difference?
I have heard this lesson many times, but it was always brought up from a resort-type scenario. That is, always reactively; from a place that treated simplicity as a salve to a difficult current situation. On the other hand, when you view and experience simplicity from a cabin-scenario, as something in-itself, unencumbered by social mantras, a purer type of simplicity is experienced within the self. My teacher defines this type of experience as interjective. Interjective is not a solely subjective or objective perspective or experience, it is a mixture of both. It is the inner experience of letting your emotions and reason interact without prejudice. It battles existential dissonance. If I told you this tool/perspective allows you to be affected and effected simultaneously, you would probably balk since it sounds like jargon. I understand that, but I have no better way of portraying this concept in one sentence. I myself am still a novice.
The biggest problem with the Mexican resort was that it was so comprehensively pleasure-oriented that it strengthened and reinforced a solely subjective perspective, and subjective cues. The cues were significant in this scenario because they were the ubiquitous physical markers and artifacts purposed for maintaining or encouraging subjectivity. This is why the Mexican staff waited on us hand-and-foot 24/7; to continuously indoctrinate us that it is all about me.
Being in the cabin, on the other hand, thrust me into interjectivity due to the total immersion in nature. No matter where I turned nature greeted me. In other words, my parent greeted me. It did not thrust itself upon me with bright lights, large artifacts, smiling faces, etc., it simply just was. The quietude allowed any repressed thoughts to surface, which normally would have roused feelings of shame and embarrassment. But again, the immersion in nature let me air those thoughts, looking at them much more calmly because I was not reinforced to shame them by ubiquitous cultural/social mechanisms and institutions. Out in nature, civilization's droning has little to no power. I have thus come to believe one of civilization's purposes is to prevent this calm interjective state, because interjection allows subjectivity to be earnestly evaluated more objectively. I did not say logically--I said objectively. Logic is limiting. Interjection introduces and allows thoughts, ideals, beliefs, alternatives, arguments and existent knowledge systems to interact with each other without our socially-compulsed intervention. It is putting ourselves on the table without freaking out that we are failures, without protecting ourselves from risk, and without beating our chest in self-aggrandizement. Again, interjectivity is one of the cures of destructive, confusing existential dissonance because it is designed to ultimately harmonize us with reality.
This perspective is an active practice of simplicity. Simplicity does not always mean shaving things down to bare roots, it means engaging in activities that pertain to a natural state. What could be more simple than revealing and developing our emotional and intellectual attributes? Sure, staring out the window of the cabin shaved my normal everyday-distractions, but it also actively provided a platform for both my emotions and thoughts to interact, conflict, and eventually harmonize.
To just be.
Looking at myself in the cabin was not that hard because it was freeing. Even though it was not all about me, it involved me, though in the right proportion. Ironically, an interjective perspective is purposed to reveal our nuclear self--both emotional and intellectual--through thematically reinforcing that it is not all about us. That we are just people who choose, feel, think, and act. Just like everyone else.
Interjection is a practice of orienting/reorienting ourselves with reality. It is a form of intellectual meditation--rather than emotional meditation--because reality is the endgame. Not subjective or emotional appeasement. Due to this, even though emotions and reason are allowed to interact, the interjective process is ultimately a function and practice of objectivity. This may be hard to grasp, but I want to be clear that I am not promoting an inclusion of, or requirement of, our subjective mind in the execution of every daily practice or conversation. No matter our natural orientation of thinking versus feeling, using our intellects as our decision-making centers allows us to choose and decide more widely, and more proportionately.
The interjective practice/perspective is done by ourselves to reveal, assess, and judge ourselves, so that we can choose our means and ends more effectively and less destructively. It is a tool of developing self-sufficiency, not a tool of social diplomacy. In other words, it is not practiced when engaging others, and is only a tool of more productively engaging ourselves.
Here is Orwell's closing sentence on the matter, which I find brilliant:
For man only stays human by preserving large patches of simplicity in his life, while the tendency of many modern inventions--in particular the film, the radio and the aeroplane--is to weaken his consciousness, dull his curiosity, and in general, drive him nearer to the animals.
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