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Making Things Hard for Yourself: The Case of Writing by Dragging Stone Blocks

A friend of mine was upset with the following:

The internet, blogs, social media sites all make it too easy for people to communicate.  As a consequence each communication has less value, because it costs less.

He decided to make communication more difficult in order to impose a constraint upon himself and thereby make sure he thought good and hard before he said anything.  So he had a company with a stone lathe make him a collection of ten pound granite alphabet blocks and would write things by putting the blocks in an internal frame pack, hiking up a three mile mountain trail, arranging the blocks, and taking a picture of the resulting sentences from a tree.

This is what he wrote:

A MAN & A WOMAN WENT OUT

SHE TOOK OFF HER CLOTHES & HE WATCHED AND & SMOKED A CIGAR

THEY WANTED MORE

THEY WANTED LOVE

HE SAID YOU WOULD JUDGE ME IF YOU KNEW WHAT I WAS LIKE.

SHE SAID NOT NEC

ESSARILY

HE SAID WHAT IF I GENOCIDED A BUNCH OF ANIMALS

WHY SHE SAID

CAUSE I FELT BAD ABOUT MYSELF.

SHE SAID WHAT KIND

WHAT IF ANT?

OK.

WHAT IF CRICKET?

OK.

WHAF IF MOUSE?

OK

WHAT IF GUINEA PIG.

SHE SAID NO.  I DON’T LOVE YOU ANY MORE BECAUSE YOU ARE BAD.

SHE LEFT.

HE TOLD HER I WAS TESTING YOU.  YOU DO NOT REALLY LOVE ME IF YOU WOULD STOP CAUSE

OF GUINEA PIGS.

IT IS NOT TRUE.

I AM A GOOD GUY WITH A GOOD JOB.

***

Sometimes I think about my friend’s story and his curious method of writing it.  I realize that he tries to make things difficult for himself because he is worried that his life will be a waste if it is too easy.  He does it in how he expresses himself, and he did it in the relationship that he lightly fictionalized in his story of the nudity, the cigars, and the terrible lie about murdering cavies.

In my view he has made a mistake because the easiest thing in the world is to believe that your life will not be a waste if you make it difficult.

As if keeping from wasting your life, your words, or your love could be as easy as that or saving them could be that hard.

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5 thoughts on “Making Things Hard for Yourself: The Case of Writing by Dragging Stone Blocks

  1. N.S. Palmer says:

    An interesting mix of whimsy and serious ideas. Reading it was not wasted time.

    The story sounds like a lot of my first dates, except that they usually stop me when I get to the mouse.

  2. Many people I work with have Life Algorithms that say “I am without value” — unless I do what this other person thinks is valuable , or the opposite of value if the algorithm is hardwired to go contrary. The person who is perceived to define value in a particular context might be mother, father, grandfather, God, or whoever first activated the hardwired algorithm before the age of 27 months.

    We are fractal beings, so the beliefs (coded in the Life Algorithms) will keep “coming true” in our lives. They shape our uniqueness, and set up greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses.
    This stone typesetter was just displaying his uniqueness, which includes being “without value”

      • Doodly Squat says:

        So repulsed is he by the idea of effortlessly emitting his expressions electronically it is a relief and a pleasure to 1. invent an alternative process and 2. implement and 3. utilize it. It’s easier for him to lug and place the blocks and climb the tree than to type on a keyboard, this much is proved by the fact of his doing so. He has made his life easier.

        And, so repulsed is he of being perceived as a “good guy” that it was a relief and a pleasure to sabotage the date in his story in order to show (and then deny) that he’s anything but (we’ll discount the notion that the opposite is true: that he’s afraid of being perceived as a bad guy, clearly he’s not that type). Doubtless his repulsion is rooted in the amount of effort required to be perceived as a “good guy.” With a mouthful of cavy stew he extends his middle finger and sputters, “#&^k you s#1++y world, and #&^k what you think of me” and looks forward to opportunities to host interrogations from animal rights activists gaining free publicity in the process — again without using a keyboard. He’s a frigging supercharged effort annihilator! He must be from the Amish.

        Meaning? It’s all about potency’s psycho-chemical reward, in the moment. His memories of the event will sooth him. That’s as close as anyone gets to “meaning.”

  3. Mikey says:

    So you’re saying he shouldn’t have tried to make his life harder to extract more meaning? But then he wouldn’t have written that rad story in stones and photos! So maybe the theory was wrong but it came to the right outcome. He gained meaning. I reckon that doing things that are deliberately to make life harder is quite a good recipe for finding meaning.

    I’ve never thought about making life hard for yourself as a shortcut to finding meaning before. But now you’ve introduced me to it, I’m quite sold.

    Another thing that people often have said to me is that your meaning is related to your potential. Like, just because I’m capable of doing something, I should do it. That’s stupid.

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