Fear of the dark

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I’ve always been afraid of the dark. Not outdoors, but inside, in houses. Not that there was anything there. The problem was you noticed there wasn’t. It took decades, of course to realize this, where I’d search films and literature for monsters to explain and embody this nameless fear. I had no real idea of what I was afraid of. In reading books and newspapers and meeting people, I soon found there were a lot of options, but none of them could really explain the reluctance to the dark room. Nothing that is dangerous for a human is more or less dangerous depending on the degree of light.

But you can’t really hide where you are in the dark. It reveals everything. It’s a common misconception that light shows things as they really are, but it doesn’t All light does is narrow down your perspective and make you focus on few enough items or ideas to make your surroundings bearable.

In the dark, you can’t set your mind to one thing and look away from all the others. Everything is apparent at once. And if then you’re trapped in tonnes of concrete, you’ll notice. And go mad with fear. Indeed, most modern humans are quite insane.

Night outside is rarely dark, and never quiet. Unless you live in an overly populated human habitat where the only sounds are sounds of desperation, others trying hard to hide where they are with mind- numbing musical sounds.

I have said before that I wanted to build walls I didn’t need to hide from and I think I have. I fully trust that if I should die inside of my house, both me and the house will dissolve and revolve properly. Because it is ultimately the entrapment of the soul that is the horror of houses. The worst ghost under the bed is your own.

Treading the space between

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In earlier years, I traveled the world as one does, as a body moving through space and time. It’s easy, and encouraged in western soliptic society, to see travel just like this, a comet, isolated, moving through the world. But you don’t and you’re not. You move energy.

Now that I have a whole house, a microcosmos, I move around quite a lot of things I had never foreseen.

There’s the physical movement of things, the car and the trailer, the energy needed and the roads needed.

And there are the materials, outside and in, things that I have found, changed, shifted on the way. Windowpanes from one place, a bench made of driftwood here, a horseshoe from a farm there, a piece of amber found on a beach. I take things and, rather than shift them from one place to another, move them about. This does something, but I’m not sure what.

But then there is the movement of thoughts, and of wonder. I bring with me a sense of ‘what on earth is that’. People wonder what the house is, and how, and why. And this is something I’m starting to physically feel the presence of. And I think this was something I had in mind all along and part of the whole point of this piece of enclosed air and dream.

An object placed somewhere might evoke wonder at first, and then gradually be defined by its surroundings. But my house is a shape-shifter. It is not one place, one thing. It changes form, appearance and purpose from place to place and time of day. For me , of course, it stays the same, for I know it’s soul. But it will never be one thing, and nor will I.

Rediscovering the radio

Video might have killed the radio star, but living with close, warm walls have revived her in my world.

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When I was little, I used to listen to the radio all the time. This was before cable TV, certainly before netflix and The Internet was still a wild idea somewhere at CERN.

Gradually, these new and noisy things took the place of the radio, filling the space between walls with more and more light and colour. Somehow, around the same time, the walls grew hard and glaring. The interior of the modern appartement became increasingly impossible to look at, harsh and vast like a blazing desert of chrome and white. In this new and hostile environment, filling the void with sound and colour from a screen became the go-to option. So much so that I didn’t even notice how the need for outside stimuli grew. Silence was simply not an option, then the walls would simply start screaming at you until you drowned out the noise with more noise.

When I built La Chouette, it was with hope for silence in mind. To be inside a space where the walls had an integrity and a beauty of their own, walls I did not need to hide from, and where the distractions of a single book or a small radio was more than sufficient company.

I’m happy to say it does. The soft wooden panels and leather tapestries echoes Bach, Mendelssohn or Modest Musorgskij, radio plays, the occasional mindless chatter of an early morning news programme, or weather forecast in a way that quite filles the space and from where there is no need to hide.

Tiny resolutions

According to Simone De Beauvoir, Human freedom can be expressed only in concrete projects, not in the abstract. Freedom “requires the realization of concrete ends, of particular projects’. She does, however, presume that the shaping of those projects are practically  pure and free from influence.

During 2017, I made my dreams pretty concrete. And in doing so I became aware of the constant attacks on freedom and will by seemingly harmless but utterly irrelevant questions. Like ‘Can you make money out of that?’,’Does the roof still have a leak?’,’Is it safe?’ etc.

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Well, is it?

In posing a question, you demand an answer, and you create a structure in the brain of the person you pose the question to by making them create sides and choose one. And the answer will always result in a verdict, which will result in an emotional response, further deepening the structure.

A question will always represent a certain measure of success. And your answer determine the degree of this. And in relating an action or a life according to certain lines of judgement, you nudge those dreams that are questioned in the direction of the themes represented in the question. People usually never as each other  ‘Are you happy?'(without the wildly passive-aggressive underlying statement ‘as long as it makes you happy) or ‘Is this what you wanted to say?’ or ‘Do you feel free?’

The kind of freedom that matters the most to me is freedom of movement. To get up and leave, to listen to my senses and have the room to act on what they tell me, to rest when I wish and to run when I want, not necessarily to strange and exotic places, but simply to move like my body needs and wants, and not have my motions decided or limited by laws, morals or architecture.

So for the new year, I will rid myself further of the rigid measurements of the dreams we are presented and I will continue to make the world a larger and stranger place. I will dream between the lines.

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Also hunt windmills. On, Rocinante!

 

Reflections at the end of the year

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soon I will be going into a short hibernation to return stranger and stronger in the new year

It has been pretty much exactly a year since I seriously started on the drawings and purchases for my house and on the way I have made a few new discoveries about myself and the place I currently reside.

  • I have not had any allergies, flu or colds since I started living in my house on wheels. I had thought that not having a long hot shower every day would worsen my problems with constant throat infections, but quite the contrary. I have so far been a lot healthier than when I lived in conventional houses with modern conveniences. I think it has a lot to do with building materials and indoor climate.
  • I have slept well, undisturbed by the constant hum of electricity that conventional houses are plagued with.
  • My wagon is perhaps the first house I have lived in, and I have lived quite a few different places, where I haven’t had the need to seek refuge from the walls in a screen or other form of vista-reducing device.
  • I was worried that my chronic fatigue syndrome brought on by a parasite in the tap water in Bergen some years ago would make it impossible to live a lifestyle that requires more activity, and while it did slow down the building, I have had a lot more energy lately.
  • I have worried far too much about everything, from weight to prices to accidents and the weather. A lot of this I think has to do with the importance of being a ‘smart consumer’ here in Norway, something that sneaks into your brain from constant washing by social media and commercialisation of the public space and which is impossible to combine with doing something really different.
  • There are laws and regulations about everything here that you hardly notice before you start to move beyond the borders of everyday life. The rewards for following these are non-existent and the repercussions ridiculously high. One of the results of this is that it is de facto illegal to be poor here, since following all the laws and regulations requires spending a lot of money or spending your entire life in a squalid flat watching tv and eating plastic.
  • There is a lot of hostility towards gypsies here. No-one will say so because being racist is against the dogma of the global, superhappy consumer, but the amount of seething, underlying hatred you meet as a traveler is staggering. Of course, most people think it quaint and amusing that I have built a little ‘dolls house’ until they realize that this is my proper residence and not just a folly. Then they either still think it interesting and perhaps a bit scary or they glaze over in a sort of primate grin before mounting some sort of poorly disguised verbal attack. We’re still only on the verbal stage though.
  • It is easy to say that you shouldn’t care about what people say, but what your surroundings think of you can make a huge difference in how easy or difficult your life will be. Also, you get really anxious from being watched constantly by people who are waiting for you to trip up.

Summa summarum, living in a house on wheels has been wonderful for my personal health and well-being, absolute disaster for my personal economy and social standing. I will, of course, do everything possible to continue my lifestyle. I will, possibly, be coming to a small town near you soon.

Frankenstein and his plastic fantastic monster

I would have made things a lot easier for myself if I had been willing to use plastic more, but I’m not. I have talked about this before and today I will elaborate.

It’s easy when faced with the pollution and environmental disaster that plastic is causing to simply dismiss it as an evil thing, but that’s not the reason, not in itself. The problem with plastic is not only that it’s unpleasant to touch, that is has no smell, doesnt reflect or contain the light, and because of that, its invariably garish colours. It is an aesthetical pollution even when not thrown in nature. But the real problem isn’t plastic in itself. The real problem is the dream of the everlasting.

Plastic is a result of our society’s fixation on conservation, but conservation like butterflies are conserved in a jar, dead, hollow shells. It is a result of the christian ide of the eternal kingdom, our idea of heaven is a place where nothing ever changes, even though most of us really would find that to be a hell.

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example of things with very different timeline, some more vapid than others

It is deeply imbedded in our culture that creation is good and destruction is evil. And even if we have found ideas from older cultures, and can repeat like parrots that without destruction, there is no creation, we don’t understand it, not emotionally. What is made is not without implication, for every thing that is created, something else isn’t. And I will say this again; matter is not infinite. 

The problem with plastic is that it is locked in its form. Even if it is recycled into other things, it can never be anything else than plastic, its basic building blocks are frozen, and those building blocks are made from something. By making more plastic, we drain the world of recourses in more ways than just the process, we kill the would in more ways than just by the suffocation of nature. We drain it.

Myths and literature has always warned of this, the nordic myth of the åsgårdian gods’ attempt to take Balder out of circulation and lock him in eternal existence, narrowly prevented by Loke. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and his attempt of pretty much the same thing as those gods, creating an eternal form, taking matter out of existence. Today, the monstrosity of this is often presented as physical deformity, but the monstrosity of Frankensteins monster is in it being matter out of place, out of existence.

I am, of course, devastated every time I break a treasured mug etc. I do appreciate the beauty of things, living or not. But to appreaciate things is also to leave them alone, to care for things while they exist and also to see what they consist of and that those things one day can be completely different, as you too shall be.