Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Defying Gravity.

A year after I started this very self-aware project, and what do you suppose has changed? I don't gamble or want to gamble nearly as much as I used to. Big deal. If you ever thought this blog was about gambling, you sort of missed the point, I think. Although I'm grateful to all the poker players and what have you who found me in the past year. But it's not about those things. Even if I thought that it was about them when I started writing. So what then?

It's about the void. It's about self-destructive compulsions. People pick at scabs even though they know they shouldn't. Or fail to wash their hands after urinating. We all know we should. Some of us don't. Why? Is it just laziness? I think it's not just laziness. To wit: I've faked washing them for the benefit of others within earshot, which requires just as much effort as just lathering up, rinsing, and drying for real. I offer to you, the 15 people who still check in from time to time, the sum of my wisdom: some people don't wash their hands because they want desperately to test the notion that "bad" actions don't always have consequences, and neither do "good" actions, for that matter.

In other words, a test of the basic tenets of what I'll call moral physics-- namely, that good people are rewarded and bad people are punished. Some of us would be condemned by such a literal correspondence between actions and outcomes. And so we quietly resist: by not brushing after meals and still expecting to not get a cavity; by not doing our homework and still hoping to pass our classes; by playing a game we're doomed to lose and still praying to win.

There is a kind of bravery in it, don't you suppose?

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

am I the only one who reads this as a suicide note? like he jumped off a building or something? maybe i'm nuts.

1:29 AM  
Blogger Watchman said...

Nice to see a new entry...

I believe you are spot on. I was a pastor for about 18 years, and what I finally realized is that much of what I was dispensing was, as you put it, morality physics. I taught people (and believed it myself) that if you act/behave according to a religious set of rules, you will be rewarded.

Now I'm no longer in that line of work and am not "washing my hands" anymore, either. The odd thing about it is I feel like myself again.

7:34 PM  
Blogger qball, with love... said...

you know, i wish you wouldn't go away for such long periods of time...

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Nice to see you back. Take care of yourself man. You seem like an intelligent guy (from what I gather in your writing) and I'm glad to see you stay away from gambling.
I've been a small time player for a 2 years now, and I thoroughly enjoy reading your stuff.
Take care sir.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Miserly Bastard said...

I think your pseudo psychological explanation of "moral physics"--which I interpret as some sort of a conscious, semiconscious, or even unconscious effort to resist the cause-and-effect nature of Life--is overthinking and glamorizing the issue.

You are/were a problem gambler because you were either hardwired that way, or because you are suffering from some psychic injury that gambling satiates. It's as simple as that.

It has nothing to do with some sort of noble or "brave" action on your part, nor does it, frankly have anything to do with morality at all (i.e., being "good" or "bad"). Compulsive gambling does not reflect a "moral" or "immoral" state--it just reflects an aspect of your character as immutable as hair or eye color.

The big question for you, after all this navel gazing, is whether you're going to take responsibility for your circumstances, "better yourself", and end up living a nice upper middle class life? Or are you going to eventually end up face down in a gutter somewhere, covered in your own vomit and urine?

1:31 PM  
Blogger Lisa Christine said...

seriously great blog...looking forward to your next post.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Kell said...

A blog that made me think... nice change.

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Britischer said...

I suspect this may be the work of a confidence man.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Confidence man?

4:51 PM  
Blogger sincerely,sharon said...

i completely agree with this.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I related to what you wrote, "I've faked washing them for the benefit of others within earshot." I've never decided what the thought was behind the action, or why we do these random things.
I agree that it is somewhat to test the notions of right and wrong. But honestly, I do not find any bravery in the want or need to test these notions.
I see it as going through the motions of life, or just sliding by. There's nothing in it, it's a lifeless action, depressing. There is so much more- so much to be discovered and to be found exciting.
Looking forward to reading whatever it is you write next.
- Intrigued

P.S. I am a pretty girl, and I do not live with my parents...

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it. The pretty ones never leave their email addresses.

2:30 PM  
Blogger HoaNguyen said...

I am bored and was surfing. I came across your writing. It made me think. Of course, I should actually read everything you've written. But I don't have the time and since I am very new to thing (only for 5 days now). I want to invite you to come and visit my fantasy world....life is very good there. Just come and get lost in my world for a while. Take care.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

It's quite possible you are my alter-ego authoring this blog through my unconscious mind ... I'm in law school, am completely apathetic to the law, learning and essentially everything that isnt poker ... I am an excellent MTT & Sit n Go player and have made a living out of it in the past only for it to crumble beneath my unexplainable lack of discipline in cash games ... you're reaction to you're therapists remarks and comments on gambling friends are so spot on its impressive ... not sure if I've made any personal progress in reading your blog but it is by far the most entertaining and relatable thing I have read in a very long time ... keep it up

3:28 PM  
Blogger Watchman said...

post something new, dammit. I have nothing good to read.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The blogs I loved the best were when you just talked about your days. Not so keen on the navel gazing. Does it all have to mean something? Can't we just pretend to wash our hands because there is that little perverseness that creeps up on all of us every now and then? Maybe something has just happened to make us feel perverse and maybe not. Better to celebrate the fact that we are not completely brainwashed and do have a modicum of free choice left in our lives.

4:52 PM  

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