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Adagia Freewrite 1- The wildest thing you'll read today 2020-12-12 01:37:57

Because of the title it means I need to write some wild shit now, it would've been a lot easier to just write something else and then see what the theme was and give it a title, but this is what happens when you start with a title; you give yourself a writing prompt.

I'll start with the mildest of the wildest.

I came across a website recently, crazyshit.com. It's got everything from extreme perversion to plain old lewd behavior, to violence and gore. I don't know that I like it, but I like that it exists. It presents the crazy messiness of life as is. I think this is important. There is very little we now see or consume - online or on any other medium - that isn't in some way framed with a bias or presented through an intermediary filter. 

"Attention, the following images may be shocking to some"
"This program contains nudity"
"Adult language, drug use"

How brittle has the species become that we've come from hunting the fucking mammoth, tearing into each other with clubs, feeding each other to wild beasts for sport, all the way to "TRIGGER WARNING"

Yes it's progress and it's good, but that's not the point. With these new filters we've lost sight of 'the humanity' of it all. It's basically a given that we are intelligent organisms destined to a comfortable life of eating, fucking, and corporate slaving for some 80ish years and then we die -oh, the tragedy! There is absolutely zero tragedy in that, if that's all you experience in life, the only tragedy is you didn't die earlier.

And the more we police everything, internet included, it the more it loses its allure and becomes nothing more than any other politico-corporate tool. If there is something more deadening to creativity than political and corporate culture I don't know it. 

There's not much of a point in describing the crazy shit I saw on crazyshit.com, I urge you to overcome any misgivings about triggers and go see for yourself. Personally I won't watch heads getting sawed off or anything particularly gory, it's really not my thing, but there's something fascinating about watching a head-on collision, a pedestrian getting tossed into the air by a truck, seemingly out of nowhere, or somebody self immolating...well, now I think of it, I guess that's just the thing, it all seems to happen so out of nowhere. 

We expect to have a warning about everything, but we don't, and then when shit happens it's fast, vicious, and absolutely merciless. It reminds you that you're no more than a soft shell of tissue and sinew, liable to break open and leak all over the place. It's not a pretty picture. But it's also not a particularly disturbing one when you realize how ordinary it all is. You realize what a veneer you've put on life by living in a nice civilized town, driving a nice civilized car, hanging out with nice, civilized people, when outside of this tightly controlled environment -  even a minor deviation outside of it -  you're in the jungle with the other beasts, and that you're either predator or prey. 
Let's be honest, most of us would be prey, like, it's not even a debate. I'd be prey so fast I'd pray to just get it over with probably. Or maybe, since I'd be so desensitized to death after crazyshit.com, I'd just start eating people. Who knows? 

But if you've gotten this far, this is the real story right here, the wildest of stories I've come across in the past month. And no, it wasn't from that website...it was from a book.

Back in Auschwitz there was a mad doctor, the Angel of Death they called him. Dr. Mengele. Like most things in Auschwitz, the Nazis didn't do much themselves. Prisoners led new arrivals to the gas chambers, prisoners cleaned up and cremated the corpses, prisoners were tasked with more or less everything that involved the running of the camp. In the case of Mengele, the human experiments were no different. The author of the book, a Hungarian Jew, had been a pathologist before the war and was well respected in his field.

On arrival at Auschwitz, Mengele 'interviewed' him and offered him the job of camp pathologist. With it came many privileges; he was not treated like other prisoners, had access to food, avoided beatings, could move freely in some cases, but then, unlike the majority of prisoners who were kept away from the gas chambers and crematoria - at least until it was their turn - he got to witness the genocide every day. Moreover, his job was to perform autopsies on the corpses of subjects in which Mengele had taken an interest; dwarves, twins, people with heterochromia, with malformations, etc. 

In general these 'specimens' were separated from the rest of the prisoners and killed separately, some with injections, others shot. Miklos Nyiszli, the pathologist, carried out his work and reported to Mengele on his findings. The saddest story was that of a father and son, each with a deformity, the son, a teenager, had a foot shorter than the other, while the father had a hump on his back. There was nothing at all strange about them as far as malformations go, but Mengele was pleased he could use them as examples of Jewish genetic inferiority. He wanted Nyiszli to examine them first 'in vivo' (while they were still alive). Noticing their hunger he gave them food, and, as they rejoiced, he had to keep the knowledge that this was their last meal to himself. Not long after they were taken behind the crematoria and executed. Their bodies were then returned to Nyiszli for dissection and further examination. 

For the most part, Nyiszli is impassive in telling the story, but it is here that he laments the cruel twist of fate, questioning how God might allow an event so abhorrent to take place. What's worse, Mengele asks him to have the skeletons extracted and sent to Berlin for display. 
How do you get a skeleton out of a body? There are two ways: One, you bury the corpse in a lime and, after a couple of weeks, remove the bones and give them a bath in a gasoline solution out of which they come out squeaky clean. The second - the fast way - you boil the body until the flesh peels off the bones, then you proceed with the gasoline bath. Mengele wanted it done fast.

Eventually a large enough metal basin was found to boil the bodies and that should've been the end of it, but no. A group of prisoners on a work detail nearby happened on the scene as they scavenged for whatever food they could find and plucked some of the meat out of the basin, believing it was the Sonderkommandos meal. 

And even if maybe it never happened quite that way (http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v20/v20n1p20_Provan.html) there is something about the pathos of this story that is almost amusing. I don't know what exactly, maybe the sharp contrast between what we, humans, expect out of life and death, and the perverse manner in which the vagaries of life conspire to undermine our preconceptions. To think, that in a single day you might be a survivor, a victim, and a meal. That's some wild and crazy shit.

More from Gabriel Greco

Scopes of sharing your writing.

I've sent you my proto-notes on why we (in this case literally you and I personally lol) struggle to finish long works. I've also begun formalizing these thoughts on this site so that I can write a finished piece itself about a framework for how one can complete longform work without running into writers' block.

One of the things about free-writing is that it's for the writer. So in this case, you would free-write the philosophical/core-truths part (which is the part about meaning vs meaninglessness in a impalpably tragic society) so that you can get to the thing you actually write. The latter I've begun terming as drip because of how Seth Godin talks about how you have to process your work drip by drip like coffee through the filter.

Anyways, right now since there's no user interaction, it's up to you the writer to begin this process of.

1. free writing to discover what it is to say.
2. figure out the scope of your written message based on discovered message in step 1.
3. write the scoped message and share.

The free-writing part of step 1 shouldn't be shared with others (caveat here that i'll cover below) because it's more for your own discovery. I know you make some arguments in the beginning of this and could argue(haha) here that because of those arguments that the content itself is relevant. But I'd argue(ha) that these arguments were not actually for the reader and more for you to figure out the actual message which comes in the second half. So just share the second half with others, while the first is recognized more as fuel that got you to the message.

Now let me address that caveat above.

Remember I shared how I envisioned this writing community scaling horizontally so that people would cluster into small bands? Well you and I would probably end up in a small band. And so while you and I are freewriting on a daily basis, you and I would be able to see each others' free-writes (fuels for discovery), and we would try to drip a scoped message as much as possible (maybe it's everyday? maybe it's once a week? figure that out later) and only this drip would be visible to people outside our bands. And everybody within their band would be doing the same thing. Free-writing together... but sharing the bounty/drip in smaller, more refined doses.

Now I know right now this workflow i'm suggesting to you feels like BS. Why should you have to freewrite. Then begin a new draft/document and then write your actual message and only post that? So that's why I'm ideating a writing workflow that would mediate this. It would allow you to somehow define what stage you are at writing and the UI would be different. Don't know any details yet so i'm literally sharing what I know so far which is little lol.

2020-12-12 15:37:20
Now the actual comment for the actual drip you shared

Reading this reminded me of our love for Dostoevsky in a way that illuminates how impossibly fated we were to love the characters, worlds, and situations he's observed. You and I deep down are allured to tragedy, where we find it beautiful from a distance, and this distance has always been a line we've rode.

When I was in college I admired anyone who wrote something of value. If you had written a good novel I'd look up to you no questions asked. Back then I was so thirsty to be a writer so anyone who was in that position couldn't do wrong by me.

Now it's interesting because it's not like I admire Dostoevsky. I do admire things about him, but the kind of relationship I have with him is not one of admiration. But it's deeper than admiration. The people I do admire these days I kind of don't actually know them at a deep personal level... don't know their tragedy. Instead I use them as sort a resource to extract benefits into my own life. I'm thankful for them, but I don't know them.

Honestly I don't know what's more important. At this stage in my life, I've finally lived enough to figure out that trying to figure out what's better is an ultimate fool's errand. It's better to just realize that the two are different. Admiring somebody else vs understanding them.

Back in those days when writers were heroes to me I didn't understand them as well. Interestingly, as I've come to understand them more, I admire them less. But then someone might ask me if that means I like them less or if they're any less important in my life and the answer is a definite no.

In fact, with less admiration they've come to play bigger role in my life. It's almost like admiration and excitement can often be noise that blunts out other more subtleties. And understanding was one of them. I think often we go through phases of admiring someone or a group of people... and if we look at these cycles of admiration, we'll see that it's more like a drug than anything. It's a new fix each time. 

But I've been wanting to write this for the past few paragraphs now... back in those years I really liked the image of a service industry worker. I was absolutely in love and in admiration of people who worked what society would call dead-end jobs at bars and diners and cafes. They were my heroes. And I adored the lives they led even though I knew that it wasn't in their long term interests or brought a lot of downsides like financial hardships.

And there's the tragedy. I was allured to that tragedy in a Dostoevsky-esque way. In the same way we ride the line between wanting to be near tragedy but not be the subject of it. In my writing attempts during this time I've almost always made the service industry characters secondary ones. I guess I was so scared of tragedy that even in my fiction I didn't protagonize them.

Nowadays I don't admire them as much. I have a more grounded understanding of their situation without the excitement/allure. Their lives are no longer this pixie dream narrative I've spun up in my head. And here you might say 'oh now they are like the writers in your lives. You understand them more and now you are impacted by the on a deeper level' --> here I'd admit that I understand them more. But not in the same deep way. Instead I've come to understand that I don't understand them at all, and never did. And in this comment maybe this is the tragedy.

2020-12-12 16:02:09
Lots of inside baseball with you two, but this was worth it purely for crazyshit.com! Why am I just now finding out about this site??
2020-12-13 16:28:49
It is crazy, indeed. I can only take it in small doses.
2020-12-24 21:09:32