It is important to have something in your life. Something that you believe in, and that brings you some joy. Something that only you do, alone. Something that you commit yourself too, unremittingly. Something that takes a period of time from every single day of your life. That rejuvenates and fills the cup again. Because this life online is a vacant one of constant war, with no boundaries or even a place to hide from it all. All is, known, or will be known, in a short time. And one can become so very empty, so quickly.
“Imagine being sentient but not alive. Seeing and even knowing, but not alive. Just looking out. Recognizing but not being alive. A person can die and still go on. Sometimes what looks out at you from a person’s eyes maybe died back in childhood.” – Philip K Dick
Or…just recently. And the ongoing life – if you can call it that, lead as an android with his phone in his hand. Responding to the notifications and little dings and bangs and whistles from an object no bigger that the palm of your hand. A little magic machine, that has poured spells all over you, and now like a genie, it has you in a bottle. Categorized, labelled and on a shelf with other androids. The algorithms have you figured out, and now know exactly what you need. And know exactly how to impulse you to have a dopamine rush.
I have been witnessing its devastating results. I am surrounded by these androids.
My friend is totally taken over by it and sadly I spend a lot of time alone – even when she is present in the room. Right there in front of me. No less than ten feet away. I listen and watch, not always but, I occasionally look over and spend a few moments watching the movements and listening to the language of the AI as its algorithms feeds her it’s dose of what it feels she needs in order to get her too the next, to keep her occupied and online for as long as possible…and I look at her blank stare, hypnotized and wandering through the world it has created for her. The reality it has created for her. The reality I know it would create for me, if I would only submit and join the social.
I criticize, but it is because I feel powerless to help my friend. There are no empty liquor bottles kicking around the room, or needles or money missing, no obvious crippling hang-overs. But the evidence is in plain sight for the looking.
The Zoom Christmas I spent with family members, drove home in my mind, what the real pandemic is…
Its tragic and sad. She suffers from a strange form of insomnia — my friend. When I ask, what is the problem, she tells me her head can’t shut down, and its too busy. Thoughts racing. After going to bed she arises to come enter the living room with phone in hand again. The anxiety of what she might be missing has grown itself into the very neural organics of her brain. She has been physically changed and acts and thinks like an alcoholic. She unwittingly has been trained via Candy Crunch or some other video game, the Facebook and Instagram feeds, the texts and tweets and haberdashery of the Internet social world to think and process information in a particular way. A way that is a sort of torment of evading the actual, but craving it so desperately. She must be active and doing something repetitive in motion in order to survive it. It seems quite Pavlovian, and I watch what happens when the bell rings, or the phone makes a new and unfamiliar sound, and the growing sense of ill ease as she tries to restrain the impulse to pick up the phone again. Her life appears to be so boring compared to the possibilities of the online, the what she has missed or ‘is’ missing. A kind of anhedonia takes hold. The anticipation must be unbearable.
“Anhedonia is a destruction of the pleasure center in the brain that doesn’t allow a person to experience pleasure from the things of life that should bring pleasure.”
…the victim is showing the critical signs of being addicted. These kinds of signs show up in people who have porn addictions and gambling addictions, people who have alcohol and drug addictions.
I am powerless even to prove this…
I have recently begun a journey back to myself. Well, back actually, to the only person I recognize as being fully alive, living and thriving; the artist in me. The painter. The person who likes to create visual things; who imagines and exercises that ability, now on a daily basis.
I spend hours painting and fussing with these things I create.
And that artist is/was the savoir I sought long ago to survive a terrible childhood and multiple disastrous relationships with not only women, but people/friends in general, and for that fact the whole world that was changing towards what we are witnessing at present.
One either goes completely insane or finds a new way to live, art is, adaptation to the things that cannot be changed. Art is the answer, for the creative impulse is the power of a single human, creating their own reality, rather than having it created for them.
I fail as human being in the modern world; I am insane there, I easily watch myself do insane things, and say insane things, but as an artist I breathe new air every breathe I take, and every thought is a new thought, exciting and easily explored for its value in moving me to a greater sense of myself. The thoughts are easily rendered down to the gold coins of my personal value. Being an artist infuses me with the assets of that greater value, that I highly regard as potent oxygen in this gray world of the Internet. This panopticon.
I am alone here; I have always been alone here. Even though an illusion was created by a system I grew up in, and by my own ignorance long ago. I spend a lot of my time by myself thinking and now, creating in my studio. I have always done that, and thought and believe that I am happy in that process, so, the lockdown really is of no concern of mine since I have always been in a studio working away at a series of paintings for a next show. It has always been natural. I stopped for while and nature abhors a vacuum I understand.
The only difference now is I do not have a task master. There are no shows, and with the dictatorship of COVID-19 and social distancing and masks and politics, I presume going to an art gallery opening for an artist will be suspended indefinitely; going to an art gallery opening was always the first luxury lost in hard times. The last thing for one to purchase in a recessed economic market is a piece of art from a living painter.
I find an even greater freedom in not being represented, I can paint what I want…in a sense an artist creates a gilded cage for themselves and so becomes slave to their own talent in a gallery stable. A name and fame separate from the art making, the actual doing. The artist at work.
The world has become so polar, so split…the inmates are now running the asylum.
I think I can say something about that, with paint.