Believe it or not, I like to pretend that I do everything on purpose— the words, the little games and delusions, the self-inflictions, the bad ideas, the slightest details of my daily life— all parts and pieces of a wild-eyed, prototypical ethics. An ethics that has shrugged off metaphysics and shoptalk for a veritable philosophy of human action; the mastery rather than the transcendence of finitude. I consider myself as part of the lunatic fringe of American pragmatism and American humanism— the wild cards of the American democratic experiment. The skyblue souls who still believe in infinite possibility.
I want to shape the Life-Narrative into epic form; making every last moment epigrammatic by tinkering and scheming in the medium of experience itself. The following pages represent a sort of mishmash, firststep storyboard for this prototypical ethics, in prose that somehow manages to be both sloppy and overwrought. But if at times, it seems silly and sophomoric to the heavier-blooded, leather-and-tweed types out there, just let it be known that it’s written for those who will appreciate it, in its every dimension, for what it’s trying to do.
This little transformative ethics of mine begins with the first elements of the daily routine: pissing, walking, brushing your teeth; breakfast, lunch, and dinner; sleeping, not sleeping, grudgingly commuting to work and school, watching Ripley’s Believe it or Not, masturbation, forbidden sex, the shit-shower-and-shave cycle, the walk to the mailbox, reading, torturing telemarketers, kissing, smoking, blinking, listening to Christmas music, walking your dog in your pyjamas, putting on deodorant, climbing trees— each parodied, analysed, bastardized, inverted, negated, put backwards, forwards, and sideways, torn apart and then re-assembled in an unrecognizable form. Anything and everything, until Lead finally turns to glittering Gold. Lopsided anthropology meets free-assocation meets lowflown philosophy, with all the permutations of human variety rendered into cool crisp reality.
I can imagine the dossier now: “Washed my face in the toilet basin, built an icecube igloo in my freezer, converted my bathtub into a sensory-deprivation chamber, check. Heard methyl blue colors my piss, very interesting. Turned my toaster into a time-machine. I should volunteer at the hospital for a time. How can I magnify the meaning of dishwashing? Read an entire French novella backwards and upside down, good. How many ways can a boy watch television without watching its content. How can I effectively negate sleep? When a boy wears a Maxi-Pad to class, how does this jeopardize his identity? I wonder: does identity bracket experience unnecessarily? Man, snorting Fun-Dip sure does burn! How about a Stanley Milgram experiment today on public transit. What does milk and Pepsi taste like together?…”
This kind of horseplay— fucking around with the most universal of human necessities— constitutes the first chapter in my private vision of ethics; namely, the strategy and transformation of everyday life. Honestly, this ethics has little to nothing to do with classical moralities and ethical systems, or their metaphysical underpinnings, their vacillations between obligation and prohibition, their reliance on such mysterious creatures as “ethical authority” and “ethical truth,” their false paradoxes, their Judeo-Christian residues, their simplicity, their academic sterility, or, most importantly, their narrow-gauge concept of “the field of human actions” (which basically consists of euthanasia, abortion, and murder). If and when I masturbate with a paperbag over my head, damnit people, I’m serious. And, more than that, I’m painstakingly deliberate. What do I stand to gain from a better co-ordination of my beliefs, actions, and desires? I figure about fifty-odd years of exaggerated being, and an autobiographical masterpiece that doubles as Life’s Little Instruction Manual for the ADHD.
“Chapter seventeen, section three:
wigs, haircuts, and sublime terror.”