The Incapable Man

These past few days, I’ve been clicking pages like crazy on Facebook, commenting on the whole mess that was the aftermath of the Carlos Celdran incident. But I’m not even gonna go into the ideas I threw in the various debates and discussions I participated in because, most of the time, they felt like food fights. People throwing around greasy drumsticks and fried rice at each other’s faces. I’m not saying I’m above those discussions — just that unlike before when I was in college, this time, I have simply grown tired of them.

It’s like this. After a frenzied polemic on FB or on Twitter, I can’t help feeling stupid. Why?

Others look really proud of it. They continue on, blabber on, atheists vs Christians, liberals vs conservatives, facts vs theories, logic vs just sheer low-class insults. Like I said, I’m not saying I’m above it. The mere fact that I participated means that I care about what people say. But it’s the moment after that heated participation where I just feel like an actor with a dripping pie on my face, like a member of the audience threw it on my face because I suck so badly at what I do.

The truth is, I feel like I’m betraying my reality, the reality of my life as I live it. I mean, here I am, sitting here in my cubicle — one of the hundreds of square, cold, boring cubicles in a square, cold boring building somewhere in EDSA. I am a man who wakes up at 5 AM, works until 9 or 10 PM and sleeps at around 11 PM, these days, sometimes even past 12 o’clock. I’m a bona fide workhorse or beast of burden par excellence. Throw me some extra hay and I’ll work the fields for you. But it’s not even that. It’s not about the amount of work I’m doing, which results in this feeling of betrayal of reality.

No, that disgusting, pathetic feeling comes from projecting this image that I am somehow bigger than I am. There I was, saying things about poverty, what it means to fight for the poor, what involves the eradication of poverty, capitalism, fighting capitalism, love, Christianity, postmodernism, rationality, irrationality, democracy, sociology — the nerd list goes on. There I was, ranting on these things, allowing myself to feel frustrated, angry and even ashamed of a concept or a thought I defended or not defended, but every word I was saying there didn’t seem to reflect my life as I live it.

So was I acting?

Bullshit. I wasn’t acting. Thing is, I really felt like I had some very important things to say, stuff that are so fuckin’ good I just can’t let it spoil in my head untyped on those little comment boxes. So I wasn’t acting. I believed in everything I said. Moreover, when I thought something was wrong, I really thought it was god darn wrong and the guy who said that should get kicked in the nuts. Also, when I said “I don’t believe in communism like I don’t believe in god,” I meant that, and I would have written a longer diatribe about that if I had more balls to paste the entire novel of my thoughts on an FB comment box.

But let’s take that statement as an example. “I don’t believe in communism like I don’t believe in god.” My problem has to do with connecting that statement with square, cold, boring cubicles in this square, cold boring building I’m stuck in. Yes, I can go on and on about ideology and that kind of sociological analysis to connect the two together (and in fact using a sociological perspective, these two completely make sense to be related), but I’m talking more about a sort of disjunction in my life. The guilt, that nasty feeling of having a face full of pie, is coming from a disjointed accumulation of academic thoughts in my head — and my life, which is just simple, boring, working-’til-11pm kind of life.

I am tempted to criticize myself again and say “Cartesian dualism.” But what the fuck? Again, what does that concept, “Cartesian dualism,” have to do with this dead as a dodo cubicle? This monstrous contraption of an ice-cold air conditioner above my head? This silence that says “Go home it’s Saturday?”

What does this all have to do with earning money to keep on living?

Practically speaking, nothing. I understand that, ideally, these thoughts should spur me to fight for my rights and for justice and all that. Probably join rallies. Probably participate in more intelligent discussions to enlighten myself and share my philosophies to other people. Probably defend my ideas more and stick it to freakin’ phonies. Probably be a teacher and lead the younger generation to a brighter future and all that fabulous glitter. Ideally, that should happen.

Unfortunately, I don’t have such luxury. I have to write Web content after Web content until darkness descends on Boni or Ortigas. And so this inability to do something about my predicament haunts my conscience. I feel guilty not for failing to defend communism or the poor — in fact, that itself is counter to my Nietzschean philosophy — but for not having the balls nor the passion to continue deploying my “higher thoughts” at all, to push the envelope out there and really feel the need to discuss or move my ass out of the chair. I feel guilty to shirk from my former academic self and just lead a double life. In the end, that guilt transforms into a feeling of betrayal, like I’m fooling myself about what I am capable of doing.

A former professor said, “So much more is expected of us.”

My immediate thought was, “Who expects it?” and “Do they have the absolute right to expect it from me?” and finally, what if I say “I don’t give a damn?” or “I am incapable of giving a damn?”

If you’re waiting for the part where I offer my resolution of this hairy matter, there’s none. I am at a lost at what to do about my gloomy, bleak condition. I don’t know.

It’s like living as a cripple and forever being condemned with thoughts and fantasies of getting up from my wheelchair and running to the horizon.

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