The Necessary Meaninglessness
from handwritten journal 10/21/12
The paranoiac’s resolve, made under duress, to never again return to the paranoid state (never again use cannabis) is often a willful rejection of knowledge, a choice to proceed in a more comfortable ignorance, dismissing as “intoxication” any of the experience’s putative significance or meaning.
As the novelist, Norman Mailer, said, “[on marijuana] one becomes aware of the enormous apparatus of nothingness.”
We attain this “awareness” by realizing that life cannot be lived when meaning exists everywhere without limit. When the music or film or novel, the overhearing of conversations on the subway, or, as Mailer offers “the hum of a hi-fi set,” refuses to loosen its uncanny grip on one or another private monologue– those epic stories of the self, by the self, about the self–which yearns and yearns for more and greater meaning, so infinite a yearning, our only path back to sanity, ironically, lay in the earnest belief of absolute non-meaning.
Notice how warmly received is the outspoken cynic as he denudes the “meaning” proffered by an abstract work of art, or by a literary symbolism, or by astrology, alchemy, or anything else among the unverifiable. Our cynic satisfies our thirst for nothingness. He relieves us temporarily from that tedious and unending search. We exhale in gratitude and think fondly of him for his practicality, his welcome and reckless ignorance of the preternatural, the bravery he’s shown by adding voice to our much coveted “enormous apparatus of nothingness.”
As a paranoiac, such raw exposure to the practical necessity of nothingness may cause internal conflict. A war may rage within the self, whereby an unpleasant struggle ensues between one’s will to remember and one’s desire to forget. So it is: “paranoia.”
Also stated by Norman Mailer: “One’s condition on marijuana is always existential.”