Well, not precisely.
But in one of the cuddling sessions, N. said, matter shapes consciousness – rather than the reverse (or perhaps, much more than the reverse). I have not invested the time into researching whether this line of pop-marxism from the lips of my punk-dyed psychedelic-ingesting Berlin queer friend represents the theoretical plot accurately or not.
Anyways, the remark was the punchline of a discussion in which I expressed my amazement at the level to which a live-in partner, suitably equipped with the requisite place to live in, had fixed my mental (I’d say it’s more emotional, but use the conventional term) health up to an incomparably greater degree than any therapy attempt or any self-help technique or for that reason meditation technique or whatever else there is on the market of self-improvement (is there anything I haven’t tried?) ever did.
I expressed disappointment that I’d been in some ways, by some sources, (mis)led to believe that consciousness shapes matter – a bit too much. Attitude, beliefs, blah. Mindfulness. Self-help, spirituality. Diet. Whatever. Yes, lifestyle changes within our control are helpful – they improved my situation by perhaps 5%. A level of material security did by 80% I’d say. It’s perhaps glaringly obvious if you haven’t been brainwashed by some stuff too much. But why did that last shrink again let me pay sums that I begged off other people rather than telling me to try to get into the social security system or find some other way of covering the practicalities that doesn’t require massive improvisation every couple of weeks? Why did that previous shrink tell me to take anti-anxiety pills (which I never did) rather than ever asking about my housing and material situation over 2 years? I guess it’s been going on for so long that I got used to the idea that it’s something you put up with, and if you are going nuts you need help to figure out the deeply mysterious reasons.
I actually even started to sleep through the night occasionally, not because of pills or herbs or meditation (tho I’d say I developed reasonable skill at it) but cause I know someone will pay stuff if I can’t (and in effect, the insomnia and other effects of chronic stress contribute a large part to why I can’t; I don’t know yet which part, but the proportion is becoming clearer as my system settles somewhat and I start remembering what it’s like to have a level of energy and curiosity and interest in things).
Again, it’s unbelievably banal.
I know people stuck in situations with similar levels of instability, due to a range of factors (not being very constitutionally suited for capitalism and not having family/economic buffers to compensate for it; getting into that precise cycle where material instability makes you mentally unstable which makes it too hard to fix the material side of things, etc.) … and while previously I had the feeling that I could lend some degree of support or advice, after my marxist revelation I became tempted to say: don’t bother, nothing you have currently control over is going to make a major difference (compared to a random streak of luck like, someone just giving you a house).
Anger mixed into relief and topped with bewilderment.
If you haven’t been following this blog, probably worth explaining the context of this. The context being that I keep watching a certain type of drama here and there; one specific variety of apparently pointless life-wreckage that I feel I’ll be able to play by ear with eyes closed soon. While out of the mess for a moment, I’m trying to see the patterns that get people I know and understand intimately to “drop out”, in rich first-world countries. I sometimes think it’s often an autistic drama (persons on the autism spectrum); not just queers. I’m thinking, what is the number and nature of links in the network that must give way for people to end up on the outside. Which links are usually essential?
So, not holding this to any particular empirical, logical or editorial standards – just documenting this whole family of thoughts and feelings.