this cup is half full, fer cryin' out loud

Saturday, October 25, 2008

1959

I’m rather depressed these days. It’s been years since anything I’ve done has turned out successfully—with a few rare exceptions—and I’m falling into the thing which afflicted you a couple of years ago—a failure of the will, shall we say. My ambitions seem far beyond my talents, and light-years beyond the vicissitudes of my character, and I think of this enormous novel I’m now starting, which could well take ten years, and if done properly, it must be unpublishable except in green-backed French “dirty” editions, and I’ll be middle-aged when it’s done, and somehow I just don’t believe in myself the way I used to, and indeed, worst of all, it doesn’t even seem terribly important. I’m beginning to have the tolerance of the defeated—people I would have despised a few years ago now seem bearable—after all, I say to myself, I haven’t done very well with all the luck I had, and perhaps I do wrong to judge them. Naturally these states proliferate. The desire to work recedes, and as it recedes one welcomes the depression of not working which increases the difficulty to begin work again, and it gets to be a drag. You know I think of these miserable years since the war and how everyone I know has been diminished by it, their rebellion tempered, their caution swollen to cowardice, their malice to hatred, until the worst of all is that I get close at times to thinking that perhaps we have overrated the possibilities of people, and then life becomes dreary indeed. Forgive the tirade. You have your depression, I have mine (I too am smoking again). . . . Now, of course, all this is every artist’s anguish—so many of us could have been geniuses if everything had worked out right—

18 comments:

Erik said...

Maybe you should lay off the Elliott Smith for a while.


"I’m beginning to have the tolerance of the defeated—people I would have despised a few years ago now seem bearable—after all, I say to myself, I haven’t done very well with all the luck I had, and perhaps I do wrong to judge them."

Ain't that the truth.

And, if you're talking about judgments of morality, it becomes even more elusive when you consider how few people live by (or even mentally espouse) moral codes that you find 100% acceptable.

My guess is that, in your heart of hearts, there aren't many such people. But, there are far more people who deviate, by an acceptable degree, from what you would consider ideal.

And, as you bear/tolerate/allow that degree of acceptability to widen, naturally the number of people whom you find acceptable correspondingly increases.

Now, perhaps this exercise of tolerance seems practical and necessary, and you justify its employment on those grounds.

But, then, a most inconvenient fact pops into your would-be harmonious head:

The worst person that you can imagine, a person who is so offensive and patently immoral that you would easily justify killing him, has friends and family who tolerate him. And, those who tolerate him -- and, perhaps, even, support him morally/emotionally/psychologically -- must, themselves, be considered intolerably immoral and offensive by their complicity in such evil.

And, then, you realize that, in widening your degree of tolerance for people whose moralities deviate from your ideal, you have begun to include people who have their own, different degrees of allowance for deviation from their moral ideals. And, now, you find yourself, by corollary, tolerating behavior from the once-removed circle of acceptable people that you would never have tolerated from your own circle of acceptable people.

And, are you now to be correspondingly judged as you would judge the supporters of the worst person that you can imagine?

If yes, then you have either to cease tolerating those people who deviate from your ideal by any degree -- as even the smallest degree, when multiplied by the subsequent deviations of ever-extending circles of acceptable people, becomes unacceptably large -- or, you have to give up judging people, and thus, become an immoral facilitator of evil, yourself.

But, while this may seem an impractically perfectionist approach to the problem, it's not entirely unrealistic, depending on how many people you can find who approach 100% moral acceptability and also happen to satisfy your other needs.

And, I'd go easy on the Radiohead too. Maybe revisit the Polyphonic Spree. They're uplifting.

erik said...

Damn, I just found out that your post was written by Norman Mailer.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

Anonymous said...

A human beings begins icy his discernment teeth the senior often he bites on holiday more than he can chew.

Anonymous said...

To be a noble human being is to procure a kind of openness to the world, an cleverness to guardianship undeterminable things beyond your own control, that can take you to be shattered in very exceptionally circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something exceedingly important relating to the condition of the ethical compulsion: that it is based on a corporation in the up in the air and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a weed than like a treasure, something fairly feeble, but whose mere item handsomeness is inseparable from that fragility.

Anonymous said...

To be a adroit lenient being is to be enduring a amiable of openness to the mankind, an gift to guardianship uncertain things beyond your own control, that can take you to be shattered in hugely extreme circumstances pro which you were not to blame. That says something uncommonly weighty about the prerequisite of the honest life: that it is based on a conviction in the fitful and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a weed than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose acutely item attraction is inseparable from that fragility.

Anonymous said...

In harry's time, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then bust into flame by an be faced with with another human being. We should all be thankful for the duration of those people who rekindle the inner inspiration

Anonymous said...

I don't like the earshot of all those lists he's making - it's like prepossessing too many notes at high school; you sensible of you've achieved something when you haven't.

Anonymous said...

In harry's life, at some dated, our inner pep goes out. It is then break asunder into flame by an contend with with another benign being. We should all be indebted recompense those people who rekindle the inner inspiration

Anonymous said...

In everyone's sustenance, at some dated, our inner pep goes out. It is then blow up into flame beside an face with another benign being. We should all be glad quest of those people who rekindle the inner inclination

Anonymous said...

In everyone's existence, at some time, our inner throw goes out. It is then blow up into zeal by an contend with with another magnanimous being. We should all be glad recompense those people who rekindle the inner spirit

Anonymous said...

In everyone's sustenance, at some time, our inner foment goes out. It is then blow up into enthusiasm at hand an be faced with with another benign being. We should all be glad for the duration of those people who rekindle the inner inspiration

Anonymous said...

In the whole world's life, at some time, our inner throw goes out. It is then bust into zeal by an encounter with another benign being. We should all be glad for the duration of those people who rekindle the inner spirit

Anonymous said...

In the whole world's sustenance, at some dated, our inner foment goes out. It is then burst into enthusiasm at near an be faced with with another hominoid being. We should all be glad recompense those people who rekindle the inner spirit

Anonymous said...

To be a upright benign being is to have a amiable of openness to the in the seventh heaven, an gift to trust unsure things beyond your own control, that can govern you to be shattered in hugely exceptional circumstances as which you were not to blame. That says something remarkably important with the condition of the righteous passion: that it is based on a conviction in the up in the air and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a spy than like a jewel, something kind of dainty, but whose mere precise attractiveness is inseparable from that fragility.

Ibrahimblogs said...

I hope you get over the depressing thoughts soon. Lets hope everything that you think about works out right sooner or later.

This is Ibrahim from Israeli Uncensored News