by David Eide .

I'm the very last to say "this is how you should live in the early part of the 21st century." It depends wholly on your goals. If money and the "good life" is the goal then you live one way. If "saving the world" is the goal then you live a different way. If "writing novels and poems" is the goal you must opt for still another way. If "professional success and prestige" is the goal, still another.

It's a clashing, relative thing, this living.

When I was young it was very apparent to me that the "modern world" was reduced from what it was in the past in those things important to writers. But as I developed I realized that the driving motive for the modern world was progress, growth and development and that stasis was death.

The noise of technology was tolerable if one could escape the city. The sense of doom rubbed into the air by pollution was a tasty treat from the modern world. The knowledge that ones hard-earned life could end with annihilation of everything one valued and loved by the acts of men who were far inferior was unsettling. Experiencing the way the ethos of the modern world played through the intimate relations was unnerving, even ghastly. No suffering was ever relieved by money or power.

And suffering is a part of nature. It is philosophy and the spiritual that prepare one for suffering, pulls the integrity of self through the suffering, protects it and allows for a wider spirit. And you see this horrendous occurrence in modern culture of those who believe suffering has been wiped out because much disease and poverty has been wiped out but who don't understand that suffering is an eternal fact in nature. And in a culture that doesn't listen to philosophy and prides itself on its secular successes, the suffering then lowers a boom on many.

Capitalism is old-hat I would say. Capitalism always requires critique and populism. It's just hard to see any alternative to the best use of labor, brain, and capital resources. In some ways it creates an absurd world because the structure of economy determines everything and the determination is skewered. There is no truth. There is only raw power. And so "democracy" can easily slip into being a front for a tyrannical system. People don't agonize over it. They experience the pressure of money-making, take a quick glance at who has the money and settle there and then try to live as freely and happily as they can. When it is ready to end its long-run into the future we will see the signs. I don't see them and, in fact, knowledge and philosophy are more important now than ever because those are some of the few powers that can push up and against the pressures of a capitalist set-up. Or, any powerful set-up.

In other words, why get confounded on the economic system through old ideology and old feelings? Why not live as freely and thoughtfully as you can and when you run into obstacles duly report them?

The writer should rarely be "political." Or, at least, fantasize about political power. He should be alert to fantasies of political power and the exercise of political power but that's the extent of it. The writer should embed him or herself in the society and live as well as he or she can. All the action occurs on paper or a computer screen. That is the peculiar state of being a writer. He shouldn't be ashamed of it, though shame comes and shame must be fought in the center ring or all is lost.

I felt the one advantage for the writer was that he could write directly from himself, not use props, not have to write for a bottom-line, be exactly who he was and nothing else; not a bunch of characters, not a theme that might be interesting to the people but himself and what he had built as himself. That was my modus operandi in the early days.

The writer is a man in front of a multivariate reality and he writes through it, devil take the hindmost. And he receives that multivariate reality any way he can!

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