Tao Lin


a stoic philosophy based on the scientific fact that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors


we have our undesirable situations whether we are upset about them or not

if we are upset about our problems we have two problems: the problem

and our being upset about it; with thoughts as the cause of emotions

rather than the outcome the causal order is reversed

the benefit of this is that we can change our thoughts

to feel or act differently regardless of the situation

i need to win a major prize to shove in people's faces

note the similarities with buddhism

a buddhist who has achieved nirvana is not sad

primarily because it does not know the concept

of sad; the sole problem of an undesirable situation

is the absence of a philosophy allowing it to be desirable

the cessation of desire in western civilizations

often coincides with the onset of severe depression

a cessation or increase of suffering in relationships

often effects increased focus on work or art

let's compare the person shot with a rifle

who worries about who manufactured the bullets

rather than staunching the wound

with the person shot with a rifle

who distances himself from the situation

until the focus is on the distance itself

turn to page forty-eight of your workbook and read it aloud in a quiet monotone

focusing intensely on the meaning of each word, phrase, sentence, and paragraph

based on the historical fact that after i express anger, frustration, or disappointment

you treat me more considerately, then gradually less considerately

until again i am 'triggered' to express anger, frustration

or disappointment i think we may have achieved something

like the buddhist concept of the cycle of birth and rebirth

let me conceive a temporary philosophy to justify

my behavior involving the dissemination of literature

while maintaining and strengthening our identities

we should be aware that identity is a preconception

the purpose of that is yet unknown at this point

i felt a little sad this morning but was able to block it out

and now i feel better; implicitly we trust that once we discover what it is we are doing

we will return to let ourselves know; the realization of what we are actually achieving

will manifest from an as yet unoccupied perspective, a perspective with no metaphysical

temporal, or physical connection to our current situation

with the understanding that thoughts are the cause

of emotions, pain, and the experience of time

and that thoughts can be extinguished

with other thoughts or states of thoughtlessness

we become wholly irrelevant to what already exists in the universe

all of which can be valuable tools in recovery





the power of ethical reasoning


the most callous, stupid things were done

just because regulations required them

and no one thought to change the regulations

there are many human beings locked away

in special wards throughout the country

some of them abandoned by their parents

and sometimes unloved by anyone else

just as a hamster can be conditioned to press a lever for food

a human being can be conditioned by professional rewards

to ignore intellectual contradictions and the suffering of others

professional prestige, a vague sense of progress, cash money

all-stars, and the opportunity to travel

were the maintaining factors

in our society the mildly obese are respected

for their stability, fortitude, and excuses

they make a tiny difference by voting

but a big difference by spending $10,000 on things

and the voting and spending are for opposite things

the out-of-control behavior of meat-eating human beings

is actually admirable, because it's comforting to mothers

articulating intellectual convictions, isolating irrational behaviors

in emails and poems, and shoving the pultizer prize in your mom’s face

saying, 'i won the pultizer prize bitch'

to humble her into being a better person

are a few of the tasks that now control my life

alone at night i turned away from the computer

hit my face on the bed, made a noise

and turned back toward the computer

with a neutral facial expression, thinking

i knew how it felt not to be in control of one's life

the next day i said, 'if you really wanted to change

you would have changed by now'